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DWT 14: Bhakti-yoga: The Quickest Way to Peace and Bliss

tadā rajas-tamo-bhāvāḥ
kāma-lobhādayaś ca ye
ceta etair anāviddhaṁ
sthitaṁ sattve prasīdati

As soon as irrevocable loving service is established in the heart, the effects of nature's modes of passion and ignorance, such as lust, desire, and hankering, disappear from the heart. Then the devotee is established in goodness, and he becomes completely happy.

—Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 1.2.19

A living being in his normal constitutional position is fully satisfied in spiritual bliss. This state of existence is called brahma-bhūta [SB 4.30.20] or ātmānandī, or the state of self-satisfaction. This self-satisfaction is not like the satisfaction of the inactive fool. The inactive fool is in the state of foolish ignorance, whereas the self-satisfied ātmānandī is transcendental to the material state of existence. This stage of perfection is attained as soon as one is fixed in irrevocable devotional service. Devotional service is not inactivity, but the unalloyed activity of the soul.

The soul's activity becomes adulterated in contact with matter, and as such the diseased activities are expressed in the form of lust, desire, hankering, inactivity, foolishness, and sleep. The effect of devotional service becomes manifest by complete elimination of these effects of passion and ignorance. The devotee is fixed at once in the mode of goodness, and he makes further progress to rise to the position of vasudeva, or the state of unmixed sattva, or śuddha-sattva. Only in this śuddha-sattva state can one always see Kṛṣṇa eye to eye by dint of pure affection for the Lord.

A devotee is always in the mode of unalloyed goodness; therefore he harms no one. But the nondevotee, however educated he may be, is always harmful. A devotee is neither foolish nor passionate. The harmful, foolish, and passionate cannot be devotees of the Lord, however they may advertise themselves as devotees by outward dress. A devotee is always qualified with all the good qualities of God. Quantitatively such qualifications may be different, but qualitatively the Lord and His devotee are one and the same.

The nondevotees, on the other hand, act under the influence of a combination of the three modes of material nature—the mode of goodness, the mode of passion, and the mode of ignorance. These modes combine in unlimited ways to produce unlimited varieties of people. Progressive life begins when one endeavors to come to the platform of the mode of goodness. By undergoing training one can come to this platform, just as by undergoing training an illiterate, uncultured, animallike man can become civilized. Even cats and dogs and tigers can be trained to be obedient. That is our practical experience.

There are two kinds of training processes for elevating the human being to the stage of pure goodness. One is the scheduled, step-by-step process: tapasā brahmacaryeṇa śamena ca damena ca [SB 6.1.13]. In this process one undergoes various austerities (tapasya), controls the sex impulse by practicing celibacy (brahmacarya), and in general controls the senses and the mind (śama dama). Also, one may give wealth in charity (tyāga). This is the gradual process of elevation.

But there is another process—Kṛṣṇa consciousness, or bhakti-yoga. Suppose you have to go up to the top floor of a ten-story building. You can go step by step, or you can take the elevator. Bhakti-yoga is the elevator. If you take up this process, then you will very quickly reach the top floor. Otherwise, you have to go step by step by step. Although both processes lead to the topmost floor, one is very slow and the other is very quick.

The beginning of bhakti-yoga is hearing about Kṛṣṇa. As described in the present verses of the Bhāgavatam, the result of hearing about Kṛṣṇa regularly is that the dirty things in the heart are cleansed almost to nil (naṣṭa-prāyeṣv abhadreṣu [SB 1.2.18]); then one becomes steady in devotional service, surpasses the modes of passion and ignorance, and is promoted to the platform of goodness (sthitaṁ sattve prasīdati). And as soon as you come to the platform of goodness, you are freed from lust and greed, the effects of the lower modes of passion and ignorance.

The whole world is moving due to the impulse of lust and greed. Those who are influenced by the lower qualities of material nature are never satisfied: "Give me more, give me more, give me more." But no matter how much one gets, one is not satisfied. A man will think, "If I can just increase my income to one thousand dollars a month, I will be satisfied." But as soon as he gets one thousand dollars, he wants a hundred thousand. Even the millionaires are not satisfied. In Paris I have seen lusty old men going to clubs. They enter the club by paying fifty dollars, and there they find young women and wine—that is their pleasure. On the one side they are not satisfied even with millions of dollars, and on the other side they want to enjoy young women. Simply greedy and lusty, that's all.

So, to become Kṛṣṇa conscious means to become free from lust and greed: ceta etair anāviddham. Viddham means "piercing." Lust and greed are always piercing and pinching the heart: "Come on, come on, enjoy!" But when you are actually a little advanced in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, these things will no longer pinch you because your heart will be cleansed.

Then you will always be joyful, prasīdati. As Kṛṣṇa says in the Bhagavad-gītā (18.54),

brahma-bhūtaḥ prasannātmā na śocati na kāṅkṣati
samaḥ sarveṣu bhūteṣu mad-bhaktiṁ labhate parām

When you come to the brahma-bhūta [SB 4.30.20] stage, the platform of liberation, you become fully joyful and no longer lament or hanker over material things (na śocati na kāṅkṣati). In material consciousness we hanker after something we do not possess, and we lament when we lose something. But in Kṛṣṇa consciousness we are free from these effects of the modes of passion and ignorance. In such consciousness you will be able to see everyone on the spiritual platform. As Kṛṣṇa explains earlier in the Bhagavad-gītā (5.18),

vidyā-vinaya-sampanne brāhmaṇe gavi hastini
śuni caiva śva-pāke ca paṇḍitāḥ sama-darśinaḥ

One in Kṛṣṇa consciousness is truly learned, and thus he sees cats and dogs and human beings equally. He doesn't see the outward dress of the body but sees the spirit soul. "Here is a spirit soul," he thinks "part and parcel of Kṛṣṇa." That kind of vision is the basis of universal brotherhood. Brotherhood will not come by passing resolutions in the United Nations. That is not possible. You have to come to the spiritual platform; then there will be love, brotherhood, equality, and fraternity. Otherwise it is all bogus propaganda.

Finally, one who comes to the spiritual platform—the brahma-bhūta [SB 4.30.20] stage—attains pure devotional service to Kṛṣṇa (mad-bhaktiṁ labhate parām [Bg. 18.54]). In other words, one becomes completely fit to serve Kṛṣṇa, and Kṛṣṇa accepts your service at that time. This stage is further described in the next verse.