Transcriptions of the lectures on Srimad-Bhagavatam from Mayapur Chandrodaya Mandir
Transcribed by Ananda Tirtha Prabhu
Date: February 7,2010
Verse: Srimad-Bhagavatam 3.32.24
Speaker: HH Devamrta Swami
yadasya cittam arthesu
na vigrhnati vaisamyam
priyam apriyam ity uta
TRANSLATION: The exalted devotee’s mind becomes equipoised in sensory activities, and he is transcendental to that which is agreeable and not agreeable.
PURPORT: The significance of advancement in transcendental knowledge and detachment from material attraction is exhibited in the personality of a highly advanced devotee. For him there is nothing agreeable or disagreeable because he does not act in any way for his personal sense gratification. Whatever he does, whatever he thinks, is for the satisfaction of the Personality of Godhead. Either in the material world or in the spiritual world, his equipoised mind is completely manifested. He can understand that in the material world there is nothing good; everything is bad due to its being contaminated by material nature. The materialist’s conclusions of good and bad, moral and immoral, etc., are simply mental concoction or sentiment. Actually there is nothing good in the material world. In the spiritual field everything is absolutely good. There is no inebriety in the spiritual varieties. Because a devotee accepts everything in spiritual vision, he is equipoised; that is the symptom of his being elevated to the transcendental position. He automatically attains detachment, vairagya, then jnana, knowledge, and then actual transcendental knowledge. The conclusion is that an advanced devotee dovetails himself in the transcendental qualities of the Lord, and in that sense he becomes qualitatively one with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. [End of Srila Prabhupada's purport.]
HH Devamrta Swami: Amidst the chapters of Lord Kapiladev’s instructions to Devahuti there is so much detailed knowledge of detachment from material existence. There is knowledge of mystic yoga, there is knowledge of jnana and there is talk about liberation. Amidst all these high powered sankhya understanding in which the whole plane of analyzing is to get to devotional service, amidst all that high powered discussion and the huge scope of the discussion we should not lose sight that this whole dialogue, the interaction between Lord Kapiladev and Devahuti, what preceded that interaction and what will come after that interaction. It is all about intense affection and intense relationships.
It is interesting how Lord Kapiladev is talking about liberation. Indeed Devahuti wanted to know how to become liberated. Of course as you heard in preceding classes, the liberation that Lord Kapiladev is ultimately presenting to Devahuti is simply to have the mind absorbed in the Supreme Personality of Godhead and His service. Why do the bhakti sastras talk about the other kind of liberation – so called liberation into the impersonal Brahman? You have to – Sanatan Goswami explains – you have to talk about things and present their drawbacks so that people will not get into those things. In other words rather than simply say, “No. Don’t do it.” It is better to explain impersonal liberation is like this and therefore it is not really what we should be aiming for.
Another reason Sanatan Goswami gives is that you need something, somehow that you can compare the pleasure of devotional service to. And you can’t compare it to anything in the material world. Therefore the only thing that slightly – ever so slightly can be held up in the far distance is having something or gives some indication of the bliss of devotional service. That’s liberation. So slight at the same time of course the bhakti sastras they put down liberation. But you need some currency to compare bhakti to even though that currency is so devalued and so debased because you can’t talk about material happiness. What is that?
This is how sublime devotional service is. And this devotional service is what Lord Kapiladev wants to give to His mother. How did this dialogue come about? Kardama Muni wants to leave home. He has given his life all types of material benefits from his yoga power and he has also given her nine daughters. He is practically out the door when Devahuti very lovingly implores, “How can you go now? I acknowledge that you have taken care of me so wonderfully materially and I acknowledge that you have given me nine daughters but there is still one thing yet that I must have before you can think about leaving. I want abhaya – fearlessness.” This fearlessness that Devahuti is asking Kardama Muni for is not anything material because anything material is naturally saturated with fear.
As soon as you aspire for anything in this material existence you are also aspiring for fear. She is intelligently and humbly presenting to Kardama Muni, “Please give me some means for realizing transcendental knowledge, for realizing the cessation of material existence. After all,” she points out, “the nine daughters they will all get married and go to the house of their husbands. What is going to be the solace for me after all the daughters are gone?” But this solace that Devahuti is asking for is nothing material. She is asking for the solace of bhakti. She wants that solace comes in the form of a son who after Kardama Muni leaves that son can give her the ultimate understanding.
In this way we can see that Devahuti is obviously quite and extraordinary person yet that extraordinary nature of hers is coming out in a circumstance, in a situation of complete attachment and intense emotion. She tells Kardama Muni that, “I have been solemnly cheated by the illusory energy. Here I have this great devotee as my husband and I was just thinking of him in an ordinary way. In other words please rectify this situation. I was attached to you. I did not know your full glories. Now I understand the opportunity that I have due to my attachment for you but you are leaving. So please make some kind of adjustment besides affection.”
The history of Kardama Muni, Devahuti and Lord Kapiladev also reveals a lot about attachment. This section of the Bhagavatam is just chock-full of relationship attachment but all that relationship attachment is going for the purpose of increased bhakti. Therefore it is glorious. And at the end of the presentation of Lord Kapiladev and Devahuti, Maitreya who is telling this to Vidura says, “This is the most pure of pure histories and actually it is very confidential – the dealings between Lord Kapiladev and Devahuti.”
She is always talking about attachment. First there is attachment for her husband and she very expertly presents to Kardama Muni that attachment for the material gets you into a lot of trouble but attachment to the spiritual can open the path to liberation. “I am attached to you. Okay it happened but now let us have the real fruit of that attachment. Please make some arrangement that I can have the topmost goal of life.”
She is speaking very humble of course explaining that; “We have spent so many years in sense gratification, traveling around in mystical aircraft by the grace of your mystic power. We have done all those things. Now I am realizing something is missing. Just as you are about to leave I am realizing that something is missing. Please make an adjustment.”
Kardama Muni is very pleased to hear his wife speak like that and he assures her that, “You are going to have a son who is the Supreme Personality of Godhead and that son will do the necessary. That son will enlighten you in spiritual knowledge.” But then after the birth of Lord Kapiladev, Kardama Muni asked Kapiladev, “Can I have your permission. May I leave now? It is my desire to go and simply meditate on the Lord free from distraction.” And Lord Kapiladev indeed gives permission. Then Kardama Muni circumambulates the Lord and then goes off.
In the absence of Kardama Muni now Devahuti is going to focus her full powers of attachment on her son. She is going to present herself again as someone lost in sense gratification. “I am totally sick of the disturbances of my material senses. Because o that disturbance I am just sunk at the bottom off material existence. You are going to be my transcendental eyes. You are going to be the means for me to get out of material existence and attain the ultimate goal of life.”
There are so many chapters of Lord Kapiladev presenting knowledge to Devahuti. But then Lord Kapiladev is also going to leave. So you see there is so much attachment and affection and also there is a lot of leaving that is happening. The person who from the material point of view, from a pious point of view, the very person you think should stick around – the husband, the son, they are going. So what will happen to Devahuti?
Lord Kapiladev before He leaves He tells her, “This process I have told you about bhakti,” Out of all the different processes that He has described to her He highlights bhakti and tells her, “Go for the bhakti. It is very easy. And if you follow My instructions perfectly you will attain the goal.”
Then Lord Kapiladev leaves and Devahuti, she applies His instructions in her life. The attachment she has for her son becomes the greatest benediction because her son is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. She easily, the Bhagavatam describes detaches herself from her opulent mansion, her wealthy circumstances but she can’t give up attachment to her son. And why should she? He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. She is demonstrating the perfect of how to be attached.
First how to be attached to Kardama Muni because she finally realized right before she left what His real status is, then attachment to her son who is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. After His departure the Bhagavatam describes she is lamenting like a cow who has lost her calf. “Where is my son, where is my son? Won’t someone please bring my son back to me before I die? I will die without His presence.”
It seems like material attachment but actually she is attached to the Supreme Personality of Godhead and that intensity of attachment is so great that when she leaves this world she will join Lord Kapiladev on a special Vaikuntha planet – Kapila Vaikuntha, and there she shall always be in His presence.
Meanwhile Lord Kapiladev left and wandered to the source of the Ganga and then He followed the Ganga down to the Bay of Bengal and there the Bhagavatam says He remains in trance offering benedictions for all the conditioned souls of this world. How can there be perfection when there is attachment? Impersonalists of course can never understand this. The so-called happiness of impersonal Brahman is just theoretical. Actually it doesn’t exist. It is something that has been theorized and hypothesized by impersonalists but actually there is no happiness other than in relationship with Krishna.
So-called Brahman! What can they do for anyone? There is no so-called attachment in Brahman so how can you be attached to the Lord or His devotees? How could Devahuti be legitimately attached to Kardama Muni and Kapiladev if there is no scope for perfect attachment? In Brahman there is no change. No change means how can there be ecstasies, the transformations of heart as demonstrated by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu?
Even today dry scholars have a hard time understanding what happened to Lord Caitanya in the last part of His life. On British historian of the time describes that Sri Caitanya was a great reformer. He did wonders in India – smashing down cast banners and making everything egalitarian but the last portion of His life, who can understand it! He lost the plot completely and he became deranged in all kinds of strange moods and strange emotional expression.
The impersonalist’s view does that for you. You can’t understand how there can be transformation on the perfect and pure platform. That means you can understand how the heart melts. And what is the point to life if the heart is not melting?
When Lord Caitanya was at the house of Advaita Acarya after having been tricked by Nityananda Prabhu to go there. Of course Nityananda had also made an arrangement that Saci Matta would come there. He sent Acaryaratna to go and fetch her. And all the devotees of Nadia they came. So upon her arriving on a palanquin she saw her darling Nimai for the first time without hair, the first time that she saw the greatest attachment in her life, she saw Him without hair. He had taken sannyasa. Her darling Nimai paid full dandavats to her and she picked him up on her lap crying, caressing Him, kissing His face, “Oh my darling Nimai don’t do what Visvarupa did to me. Don’t leave like he did to me. Visvarupa took sannyasa and I never saw him again. Are you going to do the same thing?”
Lord Caitanya then spoke some beautiful eloquent words – the perfection of speaking to an attached mother! And of course Mahaprabhu’s name, one name is Matri Bhakta – perfect devotee of ones mother. He said, “This body comes from you. It has been raised by you. How can I ever forget you? Somehow or the other I took sannyasa. I don’t really know how it happened but it happened. I will never be indifferent to you. My sannyasa will never be the cause of indifference to you. Even if I had countless births I cannot repay My debt to you.” His words are saturated with bhakti emotion and I found that even in ordinary relationships in the material world those words have a powerful effect.
I remember in 1978 I needed some laxsmi to come to Mayapur. So I thought how to motivate my dear mother to release some funds because she has the habit of sometimes spending cheques and due to her conceptions, due to her religious background being a sort of a fundamentalist Christian she writes on the cheques, “For shoes, or for clothes. Not for Krishna!” (Laughter.) So I had to come up with some way, how to get the funds to go to the holy dham. So I had a great idea. I just wrote the words recited by Lord Caitanya to Saci Matta.
“This body comes from you. I can never repay my debt to you in countless births!” Of course she doesn’t accept reincarnation but anyway it sounded really good. (Laughter) “Somehow or the other I am living a monks life but I will never be indifferent to you.” One week later in the mail came a big cheque! (Laughter.)
Of course the relationship between Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Saci Matta – these things are spiritual perfection. The relationship is so intense in vatsalya prem that when there be kirtan and Lord Caitanya would be feeling that transformation of the heart and His heart will be melting in ecstasy. During the kirtan sometimes He would fall on the ground. Saci Matta would pray to the Lord, “If I have any pious activities, if I have done anything right since my childhood worship of the Supreme Lord, Visnu, please make it so that when Nimai crashes to the ground during the kirtan, He will feel no pain.”
Her acceptance that her life was simply bound up with the happiness of her son could be seen especially when other devotees wanted to cook for Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu at the house of Advaita Acarya and Saci Matta had already taken all the service. She had asserted that, as long as Lord Caitanya remained at the house of Advaita Acarya she is going to o that service though Srivas and other devotees also wanted to prepare lunch for Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. So the devotees of course all said, “Whatever your desire we will accept.”
Lord Caitanya when He heard about it He was a little unsettled in His supreme transcendental way. He gathered the devotees around him and explained that, “I can give you all up, I can’t give up all My associates. I wanted to go to Vrindavan. Nityananda tricked Me. I accept the attachment I accept the infinite depts. Of the relationships we have at the same time it is not proper for a sannyasi to remain in His hometown encircled by relatives.”
This is Lord Caitanya’s very intelligent and discreet way of saying that perhaps the news of Saci Matta’s affection was getting a bit too tight in terms of how things could be perceived by the general public because Lord Caitanya was very dedicated to strictly following the principles of sannyasa even though that strict following could cause pain to His followers and when the followers felt pain because of His strict following lord Caitanya would also feel pain but still He was concerned how did this look. So He said, “You present to Saci Matta,” He told the devotee, “Present in some way that I am here and I am gone at the same time.”
It was a very, very intense and powerful situation that had to be adjusted. Perhaps you can think of when the Pandava’s apprehended Asvattama and the whole paradox was how to kill him but not kill him. These perplexities, these paradoxes often come in Krishna consciousness and they basically can only be resolved by divine intelligence. So Lord Caitanya he had the devotees ‘put the ball in Saci Matta’s court’ so to speak.
“Present to her that I need to be here and I need to be away at the same time. I acknowledge attachment I acknowledge affection I acknowledge relationships but at the same time the proper standard has to be demonstrated.” So when devotees presented the paradox to Saci Matta she came up with this solution. “Let Him stay in Jagannath Puri. That is as good as being away and at the same time He is here because Navadvip and Jagannath Puri are like two rooms in the same house. People are always going to and fro between the two places. I will always get news of Him. In that way He won’t be criticized.”
Saci Matta revealed her heart that, “It would give me great happiness if Nimai was here all the time, at home with me, without a doubt it would give me great happiness. At the same time if others would criticize Him that would break my heart. That would be my unhappiness. Therefore what is my conclusion? Whatever makes Him happy that is my own happiness. So lets do it in this way. Let’s resolve this attachment situation. Let’s resolve this affection situation in this way.”
We can see how in bhakti we fully face the reality of affection and relationships head on. We don’t run away from those topics thinking that – “Liberation, we want to get away from all this. We have had bad experiences with affection and relationships in the material world so therefore why in the world would such affection and relation be the pinnacle, the ultimate goal of life?”
By hearing about Devahuti and Kapiladev and Kardama Muni we see such affection and such attachment and indeed Lord Kapiladev enunciates the principle – that attachment to the material is the cause of all disaster. Attachment to the spiritual especially attachment to the devotee of the Lord that leads to the greatest perfection.
Another example of relationship, affection and attachment is when Pariksit Maharaj was about to leave this world as described by Sanatan Goswami in his Brhat-bhagavatamrta. Sukadev Goswami had finished his presentation and now Pariksit was established in fearlessness as well as in pure love of Krishna. There was just this little time before his impending death by the monstrous snakebird but Pariksit Maharaj had not the slightest fear. Although there was such a short time left before death his mother suddenly showed up.
This was going to be the last time that she could see her son. But actually she was not simply motivated by bodily attachment. She knew that her son had just heard the glories of Lord Krishna from Sukadev Goswami so she was eager to get some synopsis from her son. She definitely had attachment for her son as her son but Pariksit Maharaj; he easily dealt with that because Uttara is a great devotee of the Lord.
Remember when Asvattama’s great Brahmastra weapon was chasing her to kill off Pariksit in the womb Uttara appealed to the Lord,
pahi pahi maha-yogin deva-deva jagat-pate [SB 1.8.9]
O Lord of lords, o most powerful mystic yogi I don’t mind dying but in my womb is this great devotee Pariksit please preserve him.
So she had some attachment for her son but because she was a great devotee her main attachment was to hear what Pariksit had heard from Sukadev Goswami but there wasn’t much time left. Very quickly Pariksit dealt with her maternal attachment. He explained to her the illusory nature of birth and death, he dispelled that maternal affection very quickly and then she was able to focus on him completely as a great devotee of the Lord.
She asked him, “Please just give me a synopsis. Give me a summary of what you have heard.” And Pariksit Maharaj with affection replied to her that, “Ordinarily in these kind of circumstances when you are just about to die one should be silent – mauna vrata, but you have asked me to glorify Krishna. How can I remain silent? I am thrilled to have the opportunity to repeat the glories of the Lord that Sukadev Goswami explained to me.”
All this is going on a few moments just before the snakebird is going to come. This is the intensity of relationships in the proper sense. This is the intensity of proper affection. So therefore Pariksit Maharaj gave to his mother an intense summary of the glories that Sukadev Goswami had explained to him. The more that we read Nectar of Devotion the more relationship intensity becomes known to us. It is interesting Srila Prabhupada’s instructions are – I am reading nectar of Devotion – he said whenever you come to some spot that you don’t understand, in other words that is going to be quite often especially in the second part of Nectar of Devotion don’t come to me saying Prabhupada what is this, Prabhupada what is that…[End of recording.]