Tag Archives: Bhagavat Purāṇa

Reality & the Transcendental Body of a Vaiṣṇava – Part 3

Viśvanāth Cakravārtī Ṭhākura further elaborates on this as follows:

Lord Kṛṣṇa Himself has explained how a mortal being can attain Him (SB 11.29.34):

 martyo yadā tyakta-samasta-karmā

   niveditātmā vicikīrṣito me

tadāmṛtatvaṁ pratipadyamāno

   mayātma-bhūyāya ca kalpate vai

“When a mortal being has renounced all material activities and is totally surrendered to Me, then by My desire he is granted immortality and becomes situated in the self.”

The meaning of this verse is: Taking initiation from a qualified guru, a mortal being gives up all material activities (renounces all desire that can be fulfilled through varṇāśrama-dharma) and surrenders the ātmā (the sense of “I, me, mine”) to Me (represented by the guru).

An example of surrendering the ātmā: “O Lord, whatever I am and whatever I possess, here in this world and after death, I offer at Your feet.”

Creation of a Transcendental Body 

When a person surrenders in this way, then although his mind, body, and senses are mithyā – illusory – I desire to make him special (vicikīrṣita). Thus, as I have said (SB 11.25.26), one who takes shelter of Me becomes nirguṇa. This is how My devotee becomes free from the guṇas of material nature. He is not perishable as a product of māyā (Pariṇāma-vāda), nor is he illusory as an outcome of ignorance (Vivarta-vāda). Being a product of My own special attention, he becomes situated in his svarūpa – his own nature.

Moreover, instead of saying that he is “made special,” the word used in the above verse is vicikirsita, which is formed by applying the desiderative suffix –san on the root kr (to do),  the implication of which is as follows: When the Lord begins to make him nirguṇa, then slowly by the practice of bhakti he attains the stages of niṣṭhā, ruci, asakti and rati, and thus becomes completely nirguṇa. After that he has no dealings with any illusory objects. But before he attains this stage, he continues to deal with the material objects as needed by him in the service of the Lord.

The verse therefore indicates: “Already at the time of initiation, by My trans-logical power, I invisibly create the transcendental body, mind and senses of such a person, to demonstrate the greatness of devotion.”

Material Nature Dissolved through Devotion

In SB 5.1.35 also, Śukadeva Gosvami explains that the mind, body, senses of a devotee are not only freed from material bondage, but literally destroyed, yet the body remains visible. He refers to the wonderful act of King Priyavrata who once followed the sun in his chariot, so that there would always be light, and thus created seven oceans:

naivaṁ-vidhaḥ puruṣa-kāra urukramasya

   puṁsāṁ tad-aṅghri-rajasā jita-ṣaḍ-guṇānām

citraṁ vidūra-vigataḥ sakṛd ādadīta

   yan-nāmadheyam adhunā sa jahāti bandham

“Indeed such an achievement is not wonderful for those who have controlled the six enemies by the power of the dust of the feet of Lord Urukrama (Kṛṣṇa), who performs wonderful deeds. But what is wonderful indeed is that a person born as an outcast, e.g. not qualified for any Vedic rituals, becomes free from the material body immediately, just by chanting the name of the Lord once.”

The meaning of the verse is as follows:

Even a deed like creating seven oceans, as King Priyavrata had done, does not seem wonderful in comparison to the effect of bhakti: That even a vidūra-vigataḥ – the lowest born person – by chanting the name of Lord Urukrama even once, immediately at that very moment (adhunā), becomes free from the material body, (tanvam). Although his body remains visible, it is no longer material. The material body which was produced by prārabdha karma has fallen away.

This taken together with the previously cited SB 11.29.34, indicates: At that very moment (tadā), becoming freed from mortality (amṛtatvam) – acquiring a spiritual body, he or she becomes situated with Me (māyā, atma-bhavaya).

This means that wherever Krishna is situated, the devotee is also situated there, for the sole purpose of serving Krishna. In this way, whatever material objects he comes into contact with in this world, their material nature is dissolved by the Supreme Lord because of their contact with devotion. At that very moment, He creates supremely real objects according to the desire of His devotee. What is impossible for the Lord who has trans-logical powers?

Therefore, the statements of Kṛṣṇa, cited earlier, such as “My devotion is nirguṇa” and “My temple is nirguṇa,” are very appropriate.

The following verse from the Udyama Parva of Mahābhārata has been cited even by Bhāṣyakāra (Śaṅkarācārya), who believes that the world is not real, God is not real and śāstra is not real:

 acintyāḥ khalu ye bhāvā

na tāṁs tarkeṇa yojayet.

“One should not apply logic to trans-logical objects.”

In this context, we can also refer to the following verse of Sanātana Gosvāmī (from Bṛhad Bhāgavatāmritam, 1.3.61):

kṛṣṇa-bhakti-sudhā-pānād

deha-daihika-vismṛteḥ

teṣāṁ bhautika-dehe ’pi

sac-cid-ānanda-rūpatā

“After drinking the nectar of devotion to Kṛṣṇa, devotees forget about their material bodies and all things related to them. Even in their material bodies, the transcendental qualities of eternity, knowledge and bliss become manifest.”

Similarly, in Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Antya 4.191 – 93, Lord Caitanya says:

prabhu kahe,—“vaiṣṇava-deha ‘prākṛta’ kabhu naya

’aprākṛta’ deha bhaktera ‘cid-ānanda-māyā’

The Lord said, “The body of a Vaiṣṇava is never material. His body is transcendental, made of cit and ānanda. When a person surrenders himself at the time of dikśa, at that very moment, Kṛṣṇa makes him just like Himself.”

 

Reality & the Transcendental Body of a Vaiṣṇava – Part 2

The two words pratyak and praśāntaṁ in the verse under discussion (SB 5.12.11) refer to Paramātmā, who is an expansion of Bhagavān to control and manage the phenomenal world. Paramātmā manifests as the Immanent Being in everyone’s heart. Yogīs meditate on Him. The word pratyak (the innermost being) is used for both the jīvātmā and the Paramātmā.  The word praśānta (peaceful, undisturbed by anything) in the verse is used to distinguish Paramātmā from the jīvātmā, the individual being who is always disturbed.

Bhagavān, or the supreme personal manifestation of the Absolute Reality, is the worshipable object of the devotees. He has the other two aspects (Brahman and Paramātmā) within Himself. Bharata says that learned scholar address Bhagavān as Vāsudeva – “son of Vasudeva,” i.e. Kṛṣṇa.

Śāstric Evidence about Kṛṣṇa

Next, Viśvanāth Cakravārtī Ṭhākura cites several scriptural evidences from Bhagavat Purāṇa to substantiate Bharata’s claim that Vāsudeva Kṛṣṇa is Brahman, Paramātmā and Bhagavān simultaneously:

•   In his prayers to Kṛṣṇa, as part of brahma-mohan-līlā, Lord Brahmā says that Kṛṣṇa is the eternal, complete Brahman (SB 10.14.32).

•   In the story of the killing of Pūtanā, Śrī Śukadeva refers to Kṛṣṇa as Paramātmā (SB 10.6.36).

•   While relating the childhood activities of Kṛṣṇa, Śrī Śukadeva calls Kṛṣṇa Bhagavān (SB 10.8.27).

•   In Bhagavad Gītā (14.27), Kṛṣṇa says that He is the support of Brahman.

•   Similarly, in the concluding part of His vibhūti or opulence, He says that He has entered the universe by one part of His, which means the Paramātmā feature (Gītā 10.42).

•   Similarly, while describing His opulence to Uddhava in Bhagavat Purāṇa, He says that among the various form of Bhagavān, He is Vāsudeva (SB 11.16.21).

From these statements it is clear that Kṛṣṇa, son of Vasudeva, has all three aspects of Reality, i.e. Brahman, Paramātmā and Bhagavān and is thus the most complete manifestation of the Absolute Reality.

The word bhaga as part of the term Bhagavān means aiśvarya – the controlling potency. It implies that there must be something to control, which encompasses the material as well as the spiritual world. The material world is a manifestation of māyā and according to the previous instruction of Bharata to Rahūgaṇa, it is mithyā (not eternally existent). Therefore, the real objects of Bhagavān’s control are the devotees living in His abode, which is an eternal place.

Transcendent and Mundane Activity

Next, Viśvanāth Cakravārtī Ṭhākura explains Jaḍa Bharata’s full message. He describes Bharata as saying, “O King, although you can directly perceive your worldly activities, they are all illusions – coming in and out of existence. They are perishable, limited by time and space.

“This implies that there is another type of activity of an altogether different class, beyond the guṇas and thus not bound by time and space. These are activities related to the Supremely Conscious Being and His devotees. I am trying to inform you about this, but being influenced by ignorance you have been unable to grasp it.

“Some scholars [Advaita-vādīs] call the world and all its activities mithyā – illusory. Giving this same philosophy I have called the world illusory, although in my opinion it is not exactly so. I call it illusory to help you become detached from your material experience and give you a glimpse of the Absolute Reality, in which I am situated.

“You think that I belong to the worldly illusion, but I do not. Therefore your logic does not comprehend me. You called me “fat”, “tired” and a “carrier of your palanquin” – but I told you I am not fat, nor am I tired, nor am I the carrier of your palanquin. I am not a part of these illusions because I do not identify with the material body and I am constantly situated in devotion to Kṛṣṇa. Even the Advaita-vādīs will not disagree with me on this.”

Two Opposing Schools of Thought

Viśvanāth Cakravārtī Ṭhākura describes that the King raises a doubt upon hearing this. He asks, “Bhakti is defined as the function of body, senses and mind only for the sake of Lord Kṛṣṇa. Yet, Lord Kapila states (in SB 3.29.12) that bhakti is nirguṇa – beyond matter.

“Some people (Śakti Pariṇāma-vādīs) say that the material world is a real transformation of the Lord’s external energy: that the effect retains the nature of the cause. If this is the case, I can see how it is possible for matter to become spiritualized by the power of bhakti – so I can understand how the activities of body, senses and mind of a devotee can be become spiritualized just as a touchstone can turn iron into gold.

“However another school of thought (Vivarta-vāda a.k.a. Advaita-vāda) says that the material world is only an illusion of reality: that the effect of the cause does not retain its qualities – and thus Reality can produce something wholly illusory. If this school of thought is adopted, bhakti must also be an illusion – since it is an activity done with the unreal body, mind and senses. It cannot be nirguṇa, as Lord Kapila claims. It does not even exist. If it does not exist, it cannot be given by the guru at the time of dikṣa (initiation); its sādhana is as meaningless and unreal as sowing a seed in the sky; Kṛṣṇa bhakti, its practice, and its perfection – love which can even control Bhagavān – must all be illusory.”

Jaḍa Bharata responds (from the Pariṇāma-vāda point of view, which is accepted by Bhagavat Purāṇa):

What you say is true, but nothing is impossible for Bhagavān who has trans-logical supreme power. Lord Kṛṣṇa Himself says (SB 11.29.22):

eṣā buddhimatāṁ buddhir

   manīṣā ca manīṣiṇām

yat satyam anṛteneha

   martyenāpnoti māmṛtam

“This is the wisdom of the wise, and cleverness of the clever: one can use the illusory, temporary body to attain Me, who am real and immortal.”

The meaning of this verse is: By that (yat) which is not real (anṛtena) – the mortal body (martyena) – one attains Me (mām), who is real (ṛtam).

The full sense of the verse is: Even by a false (anṛta) [because of being temporary] mortal body (martyena), one can attain Me, the Absolute Truth (ṛtam), who has a supremely blissful nature (satyam). Thus one can use the mortal material body to express devotion to Krishna by offering a leaf, flower, fragrance, incense, lamps, etc. This is the wisdom of the wise and the realization of those who are expert in deliberation.

(to be continued)