Srimad-Bhagavatam 11.12 – Beyond Renunciation and Knowledge

Updated : Aug 29, 2019 in Articles

Srimad-Bhagavatam 11.12 – Beyond Renunciation and Knowledge


The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: My dear
Uddhava, by associating with My pure devotees one can destroy one’s attachment for all
objects of material sense gratification. Such purifying association brings Me under the
control of My devotee. One may perform the astanga-yoga system, engage in philosophical
analysis of the elements of material nature, practice nonviolence and other ordinary principles
of piety, chant the Vedas, perform penances, take to the renounced order of life, execute
sacrificial performances and dig wells, plant trees and perform other public welfare activities,
give in charity, carry out severe vows, worship the demigods, chant confidential mantras,
visit holy places or accept major and minor disciplinary injunctions, but even by performing
such activities one does not bring Me under his control.
In every yuga many living entities entangled in the modes of passion and ignorance gained
the association of My devotees. Thus, such living entities as the Daityas, Raksasas,
birds, beasts, Gandharvas, Apsaras, Nagas, Siddhas, Caranas, Guhyakas and Vidyadharas,
as well as such lower-class human beings as the vaisyas, sudras, women and others, were
able to achieve My supreme abode. Vrtrasura, Prahlada Maharaja and others like them also
achieved My abode by association with My devotees, as did personalities such as Vrsaparva, Bali
Maharaja, Banasura, Maya, Vibhisana, Sugriva, Hanuman, Jambavan, Gajendra, Jatayu, Tuladhara,
Dharma-vyadha, Kubja, the gopis in Vrndavana and the wives of the brahmanas who were performing
sacrifice. The persons I have mentioned did not undergo
serious studies of the Vedic literature, nor did they worship great saintly persons, nor
did they execute severe vows or austerities. Simply by association with Me and My devotees,
they achieved Me. The inhabitants of Vrndavana, including the
gopis, cows, unmoving creatures such as the twin arjuna trees, animals, living entities
with stunted consciousness such as bushes and thickets, and snakes such as Kaliya, all
achieved the perfection of life by unalloyed love for Me and thus very easily achieved
Me. Even though one engages with great endeavor
in the mystic yoga system, philosophical speculation, charity, vows, penances, ritualistic sacrifices,
teaching of Vedic mantras to others, personal study of the Vedas, or the renounced order
of life, still one cannot achieve Me. The residents of Vrndavana, headed by the
gopis, were always completely attached to Me with deepest love. Therefore, when My uncle
Akrura brought My brother Balarama and Me to the city of Mathura, the residents of Vrndavana
suffered extreme mental distress because of separation from Me and could not find any
other source of happiness. Dear Uddhava, all of those nights that the
gopis spent with Me, their most dearly beloved, in the land of Vrndavana seemed to them to
pass in less than a moment. Bereft of My association, however, the gopis felt that those same nights
dragged on forever, as if each night were equal to a day of Brahma.
My dear Uddhava, just as great sages in yoga trance merge into self-realization, like rivers
merging into the ocean, and are thus not aware of material names and forms, similarly, the
gopis of Vrndavana were so completely attached to Me within their minds that they could not
think of their own bodies, or of this world, or of their future lives. Their entire consciousness
was simply bound up in Me. All those hundreds of thousands of gopis,
understanding Me to be their most charming lover and ardently desiring Me in that way,
were unaware of My actual position. Yet by intimately associating with Me, the gopis
attained Me, the Supreme Absolute Truth. Therefore, My dear Uddhava, abandon the Vedic
mantras as well as the procedures of supplementary Vedic literatures and their positive and negative
injunctions. Disregard that which has been heard and that which is to be heard. Simply
take shelter of Me alone, for I am the Supreme Personality of Godhead, situated within the
heart of all conditioned souls. Take shelter of Me wholeheartedly, and by My grace be free
from fear in all circumstances. Sri Uddhava said: O Lord of all masters of
mystic power, I have heard Your words, but the doubt in my heart does not go away; thus
my mind is bewildered. The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: My
dear Uddhava, the Supreme Lord gives life to every living being and is situated within
the heart along with the life air and primal sound vibration. The Lord can be perceived
in His subtle form within the heart by one’s mind, since the Lord controls the minds of
everyone, even great demigods like Lord Siva. The Supreme Lord also assumes a gross form
as the various sounds of the Vedas, composed of short and long vowels and consonants of
different intonations. When sticks of kindling wood are vigorously
rubbed together, heat is produced by contact with air, and a spark of fire appears. Once
the fire is kindled, ghee is added and the fire blazes. Similarly, I become manifest
in the sound vibration of the Vedas. The functions of the working senses—the
organ of speech, the hands, the legs, the genital and the anus—and the functions of
the knowledge-acquiring senses—the nose, tongue, eyes, skin and ears—along with the
functions of the subtle senses of mind, intelligence, consciousness and false ego, as well as the
function of the subtle pradhana and the interaction of the three modes of material nature—all
these should be understood as My materially manifest form.
When many seeds are placed in an agricultural field, innumerable manifestations of trees,
bushes, vegetables and so on will arise from a single source, the soil. Similarly, the
Supreme Personality of Godhead, who gives life to all and is eternal, originally exists
beyond the scope of the cosmic manifestation. In the course of time, however, the Lord,
who is the resting place of the three modes of nature and the source of the universal
lotus flower, in which the cosmic manifestation takes place, divides His material potencies
and thus appears to be manifest in innumerable forms, although He is one.
Just as woven cloth rests on the expansion of lengthwise and crosswise threads, similarly
the entire universe is expanded on the lengthwise and crosswise potency of the Supreme Personality
of Godhead and is situated within Him. The conditioned soul has been accepting material
bodies since time immemorial, and these bodies are like great trees sustaining one’s material
existence. Just as a tree first blossoms and then produces fruit, similarly the tree of
material existence, one’s material body, produces the various results of material existence.
This tree of material existence has two seeds, hundreds of roots, three lower trunks and
five upper trunks. It produces five flavors and has eleven branches and a nest made by
two birds. The tree is covered by three types of bark, gives two fruits and extends up to
the sun. Those lusty after material enjoyment and dedicated to family life enjoy one of
the tree’s fruits, and swanlike men in the renounced order of life enjoy the other fruit.
One who with the help of the bona fide spiritual masters can understand this tree to be a manifestation
of the potency of the one Supreme Truth appearing in many forms actually knows the meaning of
the Vedic literature. With steady intelligence you should develop
unalloyed devotional service by careful worship of the spiritual master, and with the sharpened
ax of transcendental knowledge you should cut off the subtle material covering of the
soul. Upon realizing the Supreme Personality of Godhead, you should then give up that ax
of analytic knowledge.

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