Srila Bhakti Asraya Keshava Maharaja
I offer my respectful obeisances unto my spiritual master, who has opened my eyes, which were blinded by
the darkness of ignorance, with the torchlight of knowledge.
Home Comfort by Srila Sridhar Maharaja
Please listen attentively to what I shall explain. In a scientific way I shall try to explain, the subject to you, in general, independent of all religious conceptions. First of all we are to understand that there are three planes of life: the plane of mundane enjoyment, the plane of renunciation, and the plane of dedication. The plane of enjoyment is where we are at presently, more or less. Mundane enjoyment means exploitation; and without exploitation, none can exist in this plane:
ahastani sahastananam apadani catuspadam laghuni tatra mahatma jivo jivasya jivanam
“Those that have hands live on those who have no hands. Four-footed animals live on grass, creepers, etc. and the big live on the small.” Everything is full of life: creepers, grass, and trees also life, but without exploitation none can maintain their body here.
This is the plane of exploitation, and, as Newton’s third law says, to every action there is an equal an opposite reaction. By exploitation one takes a loan, and to clear that loan he will have to go down. In this way, there are so many jives (souls) going up and down, up and down due to action and reaction in the plane of exploitation. Society is trying to exploitation. Society is trying to exploit to the utmost; everywhere there is the attempt to live at the cost of others. Without it life is impossible in the area because this is the plane of exploitation.
The Buddhists, the Jains, the followers of Sankara, and so many others are trying to get out of this entanglement of exploitation and to find a life where there is no exploitation, no action and reaction. To avoid action and reaction they try to find a position of renunciation, and they come to a conception similar to dreamless sleep, that of Samadhi: to withdraw completely from the objective world and to remain in the subjective plane. Without allowing their feelings to move into the
lower plane, they always keep a subjective position, and that is something like dreamless sleep.
The Vaisnava section – those who serve the Supreme Personality of Godhead – are of the opinion that there is another world, the world of dedication. That dedication is just the opposite of exploitation. In the mundane plane every unit wants to exploit the environmet, but in the plane of dedication, every unit wants to serve the environment; and not only the environment, but the real key to the life of that plane is to serve the Centre. We are living in an organic whole, so every point must be true to the organic Centre. The explanation is given in Srimad-Bhagavatam by the analogy of service the root of a tree:
yatha taror mula-nisecanena trpyanti tat-skandha-bhujopasakhah pranopaharac ca yathendriyanam tatheiva sarvarhanam acyutejya (Bha: 4.31.14)
In the Vedic literature also, we wind it said, “Try to find the one by knowing whom everything is known:”
yasmina jnate sarvvamidam vijnatam bhavati yasmina prapte sarvvamidam praptam bhavati tad vijijnasasva tadeva brahma
There is a central point by knowing which, everything is known, by attaining which everything is attained. The long and short of the entire Vedic advice is to try to find out that Centre. Therefore try to find out that Centre. In the beginning some may think this to be a ludicrous claim: “By knowing one, everything is know, by getting one, everything is got – what is this? Only a madman can say such a thing!” So an analogy is given in Srimad-Bhagavatam: when you pour water onto the root of a tree, the whole tree is fed, and if you put food into the stomach, the whole body is fed, similarly, if you do service to the Centre, everything is served. It is possible and to do that means to
enter the plane of dedication. Avoiding the plane of exploitation, and also that of renunciation, try to enter the plane of dedication. Your atma, your soul proper is a member of that plane. That is the real world, whereas this is the perverted reflection.
The real world is where every unit is dedicating itself to the whole, represented by the Centre, just as in a healthy body every atom will work for the welfare of the whole body. If an atom works for itself, it exploits to the extreme, and such local works for local interest are clearly bad. Every part of the body, and every atom, is to work for the welfare of the whole system. There is a Centre, and by the guidance of that it will work. What is the position of the Centre? It is mentioned in Bhagavad-gita,
sarvva-dharmman parityajya, mam ekam saranam vraja (Bg. 18.66)
Krsna explains His position: “Abandon all dharmmas (duties) and just surrender unto Me.” Now I want to express this conception from another standpoint. Hegel was a good German philosopher and his philosophy is known as perfectionism. He has given an idea: the Absolute Truth, the Prime Cause of everything, must have two qualifications. What are they? It must be by itself and for itself.
Please try to pay attention. By itself means that He is His own cause – nothing else created Him. If anything else created Him. If anything has created Him, that creator will have the primary importance. Therefore, to be the Absolute He must be anadi, eternally existing and not created by anything. The Absolute must have this qualification.
The next qualification is that the absolute Truth is for itself. He exists for His own satisfaction, not to satisfy any other. If His existence is to satisfy another entity, then he will be secondary, and they for whose satisfaction He is living will have the prime position.
Therefore, the Absolute must have these two qualifications: He is His own cause, and He exists only to satisfy Himself, to fulfil His own purpose. The Absolute is by itself and for itself. If any straw moves, it moves to fulfil the purpose of the Absolute.
Everything – every incident, and whatever happens – must have to be for His satisfaction. So the real current is His lila, His Pastimes, but ourselves we are guided by separate interest: family interest or country interest or social interest or humanitarianism, etc. But in the infinite consideration it is all only a tiny part, and we are all engaged in acting for such separate interest. There is a clash between innumerable separate interests and so there is trouble. But we must leave all our so- called special interests, come out from misunderstanding, and try to attain the function of a unit active for the cause of the whole.
The conclusion of Bhagavad-gita given by Krsna is “Sarvva dharmmman parityajya – Give up all your duties which you think at present you have to discharge, and – mam ekam saranam vraja – surrender to My feet.”
aham tvam sarvva-papebhyo moksayisyami ma sucah
„I shall release you from all the troubles of which you can ever conceive.“ In other words you are to remember to be faithful to the Centre. At present all your respective duties are for local interest, but give up the local identification of your own interest and merge totally in the interest of the organic whole.
We see that if a police officer takes even three rupees for his own purpose, he is punished, but if he kills so many for the interest of the country, he is rewarded. Similarly, whatever is done for the satisfaction of the whole is good, but if you do anything for yourself or any local friend, you will have to be punished. In an industry, we have no right to take a bribe for our personal purpose, at the same time we have no right to call a strike, to close down the labour force, for then the industry will be destroyed.
Neither exploitation nor renunciation will do. Exploitation is clearly bad, and because we have no right to go on strike, renunciation is also bad. In an organic whole the common interest is that everyone must be dedicated to the Centre, and to the Centre means to the whole. When we put food into the stomach, the stomach will distribute it properly to every corner according to its necessity. That sort of life is Vaisnavism. There is an organic whole, and we are a part of that. We have our special duties in connection with the whole, and that is proper dedication for the whole. We are not to put food into the eye, or into the nose, or the ear, or anywhere except the stomach, then only will it be distributed properly and the whole organism will be healthy. All of us are parts of the whole universe, and our duty is to work for the whole, and that is devotion, dedication, surrender. And how are we to know about that? We will receive help from that? We will receive help from the revealed Scriptures, and from the many saints and agents who are also coming from that plane to bring us into harmony.
The religion of highest harmony has been given by Mahaprabhu Sri Chaitanyadev who explained devotion on the basis of Srimad- Bhagavats, the book which is understood to be the real conclusion of all the revealed Scriptures. In this way He explained that energy or power is not the highest thing, but knowledge is above it. Knowledge can control power and give a beneficial result, but further, knowledge itself also holds a lower position: above it is love and affection, and that is the highest. Neither knowledge nor power, but only affection can give us fulfilment of life.
Mercy is higher than justice. Justice only exists where there is the necessity of laws, rules, etc., but in the realm of the Absolute Autocrat, who is the Absolute Good, there can be no question of any apprehension about Him. He is Absolute Good, and Absolute Good is Absolute Love and Affection, and that is home! Back to God, back to home. What is home? It is where we find that we are in the midst of our well-wishers. If we do not care for our own benefit, then there are so many who will take care of us – in fact the whole environment will take care of us – and that is home. That is the domain of the Absolute, and we can enter into His service, the highest position, and thereby see
the affection, love, harmony, and beauty that exist there. All these qualities are similar and they constitute the nature of the Prime Cause and Good, and we are to go there.
Misusing our free-will we have been somehow led astray but now we are being called, “Come home, back to God and back to home, the highest position, the land of love.” This is, in general and in short, the sum total which I have presented to you – this is Krsna conception in Bhagavad-gita and in Srimad-Bhagabatam, and it is the conception that has been given by Sri Chaitanyadev. This Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math and the whole of the Gaudiya Mission is preaching only for that. “Go to the Centre, use your life for total dedication to the Centre, and the Centre is all above justice. It is all-merciful, affectionate, loving, and beautiful.”
This is general background of Vaisnava religion, of Srimad Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam and a brief history of all conceptions of religion – that is, exploitation, renunciation, and dedication are the three planes of life, and the soul proper is a member of the land of dedication. All are dedicating units but somehow, by misusing their partial free-will, they have entered into the world of exploitation. Buddha, Jain, Parasanath and others have helped those who want to withdraw from here, to get out of the entanglement of exploitation – of action and reaction – by complete retirement. They have said that after retirement, the soul can live happily. Still, there may be the possibility of again becoming entangled in this trap, but where the really free souls live, all are dedicating units, and when we want to trace what is harmonising them and maintaining them in that plane we shall see that all are working for the whole, and the whole is represented by the one Absolute Good. We are to see all these things, and for this the human birth is very valuable. In connection with the sadhus – the saints, the agent – we shall try our best to get out of this entanglement and enter into the land of love, dedication, and affection.
We have already published several books, and there are many old scriptures which also help us understand properly and in a more detailed way about all ontological aspects of religion.
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