Chapter 2: The Transcendental Master and Supreme Yogī
na hy asya varṣmaṇaḥ puṁsāṁ
bhūri tṛpyanti me ’savaḥ
Śaunaka continued: There is no one who knows more than the Lord Himself. No one is more worshipable or more mature a yogī than He. He is therefore the master of the Vedas, and to hear about Him always is the actual pleasure of the senses.
In Bhagavad-gītā it is stated that no one can be equal to or greater than the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is conﬁrmed in the Vedas also: eko bahūnāṁ yo vidadhāti kāmān. He is the supreme living entity and is supplying the necessities of all other living entities. Thus all other living entities, both viṣṇu-tattva and jīva-tattva, are subordinate to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa. The same concept is conﬁrmed here. Na hy asya varṣmaṇaḥ puṁsāṁ: among living entities, no one can surpass the Supreme Person because no one is richer, more famous, stronger, more beautiful, wiser or more renounced than He. These qualiﬁcations make Him the Supreme Godhead, the cause of all causes. Yogīs are very proud of performing wonderful feats, but no one can compare to the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Anyone who is associated with the Supreme Lord is accepted as a ﬁrst-class yogī. Devotees may not be as powerful as the Supreme Lord, but by constant association with the Lord they become as good as the Lord Himself. Sometimes the devotees act more powerfully than the Lord. Of course, that is the Lord’s concession.
Also used here is the word varimṇaḥ, meaning the most worshipful of all yogīs. To hear from Kṛṣṇa is the real pleasure of the senses; therefore He is known as Govinda, for by His words, by His teachings, by His instruction – by everything connected with Him – He enlivens the senses. Whatever He instructs is from the transcendental platform, and His instructions, being absolute, are nondifferent from Him. Hearing from Kṛṣṇa or His expansion or plenary expansion like Kapila is very pleasing to the senses. Bhagavad-gītā can be read or heard many times, but because it gives great pleasure, the more one reads Bhagavad-gītā the more he wants to read and understand it, and each time he gets new enlightenment. That is the nature of the transcendental message. Similarly, we ﬁnd that transcendental happiness in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. The more we hear and chant the glories of the Lord, the more we become happy.
In the previous verse, the incarnation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead as Devahūti-putra Kapiladeva has been explained as bhagavān ātma-māyayā. The word bhaga means “opulence,” and vān means “one who possesses.” All the opulences of the creation are present in Bhagavān. As stated in the Vedas (Kaṭha Upaniṣad 2.2.13):
nityo nityānāṁ cetanaś cetanānām
eko bahūnāṁ yo vidadhāti kāmān
Nitya, Bhagavān, is the singular, and nityānāṁ are the plural jīvas, or living beings. Nityo nityānāṁ: we are many, but God is one. There is no limit to the jīvas; no one can count them. The word ananta means that they are without limit. All these jīvas, living entities, are being maintained by the Supreme One. We cannot conceive how many living entities are being maintained by the Supreme Lord. All the great elephants, all the small ants, all the 8,400,000 species of life are maintained by Bhagavān. Why do we worry that He will not maintain us? Those who are devotees of the Lord and have taken shelter at His lotus feet, leaving everything aside simply to render service unto Him, will certainly be cared for. In our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, we have over a hundred centers, and Kṛṣṇa is maintaining them all. None of our devotees are employed for independent incomes, yet they are all being maintained. In Bhagavad-gītā, Kṛṣṇa never says, “Do this or that, and I will then maintain you.” Rather, He states that not only will He maintain us, but He will also protect us from the results of sin, from sinful karma (Bhagavad-gītā 18.66). All of this assurance is there.
Tasyaiva hetoḥ prayateta kovidaḥ. The word kovidaḥ means “intelligent.” An intelligent person should try to attain shelter at the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa. Human life is actually meant for getting in touch with the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa. That should be our only business. The word upari indicates the higher planetary systems. There are seven higher planetary systems, and we are in the middle system, in Bhūrloka. Within this one universe, there are fourteen planetary systems, and the living entities are wandering in different bodily forms on different planets. According to karma, the living entity sometimes goes up and sometimes goes down. He wanders in this way, thinking how he can become materially happy and satisfy his senses. The śāstras say that we should not do this, that we should endeavor to understand Kṛṣṇa. We should not worry about eating and sleeping, for the needs of the body are already arranged. We do not have to work independently to maintain the body.
tal labhyate duḥkha-vad anyataḥ sukhaṁ
kālena sarvatra gabhīra-raṁhasā
Our actual endeavor should be to attain happiness; that is our real struggle for existence. According to the śāstras: tal labhyate duḥkha-vad. The word duḥkha-vad indicates that although we do not want misery, misery comes anyway. We don’t have to endeavor separately for misery. No one says, “Let there be a ﬁre in my house” or “Let my child die.” No one aspires after these things, yet they happen. Everyone is thinking, “May my child live happily” or “May I get so much money.” We do not ask or pray for catastrophes, yet they come without invitation. Similarly, whatever happiness is there for our enjoyment will also come without our asking for it. The conclusion is that we should not endeavor for so-called happiness or distress, but should try to attain that position whereby we can understand Kṛṣṇa and get shelter at His lotus feet. This should be the real human endeavor.
It was Caitanya Mahāprabhu who said to Rūpa Gosvāmī:
brahmāṇḍa bhramite kona bhāgyavān jīva
guru-kṛṣṇa-prasāde pāya bhakti-latā-bīja
“The living entity is wandering up and down, from one planet to another, and he is very fortunate if by the mercy of the spiritual master and Kṛṣṇa Himself he can get the seed of devotional service to Kṛṣṇa.” (Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya 19.151) The Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is an attempt to make people fortunate. In this age, everyone is unfortunate (manda-bhāgyāḥ), but now we are trying to reverse the situation.
Throughout the world there are problems everywhere. One country has one type of problem, and another country has another. There is strife within governments themselves, and even presidents are fraught with problems. Sometimes we may think we are very fortunate, just as President Nixon was thinking, “I am very fortunate. I have become the president of the United States.” Then he soon realized that he was most unfortunate. Actually this is the situation for everyone. We should not think that the only apprehended culprit is President Nixon and that we are safe. There is a Bengali proverb: Dry cow dung is used for fuel, and it is said that when the dry cow dung is being burned, the soft cow dung is laughing, saying, “Oh, you are being burned, but I am safe.” It does not know that when it dries out, it will be thrown into the ﬁre too. We may laugh because President Nixon is in trouble, and we may think ourselves very safe because we have a big bank balance, but actually no one is safe. Eventually everyone will dry up and be thrown in the ﬁre. That is a fact. We may survive for a few years, but we cannot avoid death. In fact, it is said, “As sure as death.” And what is the result of death? One loses everything – all honor, money, position and material life itself. Kṛṣṇa states in Bhagavad-gītā (10.34), mṛtyuḥ sarva-haraś cāham: “I am all-devouring death.” Kṛṣṇa comes as death and plunders everything – bank balance, skyscrapers, wife, children and whatever. One cannot say, “My dear death, please give me some time to adjust.” There is no adjustment; one must immediately get out.
Foolish people are unaware of the miserable conditions of material life. Kṛṣṇa says in Bhagavad-gītā (13.9), janma-mṛtyu-jarā-vyādhi-duḥkha-doṣānudarśanam. Real knowledge means knowing that however great one may be, the four principles of material life are present: birth, old age, disease and death. These exist in the highest planetary system (Brahmaloka) and in the lowest (Pātāla-loka).
tasyaiva hetoḥ prayateta kovido
na labhyate yad bhramatām upary adhaḥ
tal labhyate duḥkha-vad anyataḥ sukhaṁ
kālena sarvatra gabhīra-raṁhasā
“Persons who are actually intelligent and philosophically inclined should endeavor only for that purposeful end which is not obtainable even by wandering from the topmost planet down to the lowest planet. As far as happiness derived from sense enjoyment is concerned, it can be obtained automatically in course of time, just as in course of time we obtain miseries even though we do not desire them.” (Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 1.5.18)
When Dharmarāja asked Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira what the most wonderful thing in the world was, Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira replied: ahany ahani bhūtāni gacchantīha yamālayam. “Every moment people are dying, but those who are living are thinking, ‘My friend has died, but I shall live forever.’ ” (Mahābhārata, Vana-parva 313.116) Soft cow dung thinks the same way. This is typical of conditioned beings.
Bhagavān, the Supreme Lord, is not in this position. It is therefore said: bhagavān ātma-māyayā. We come onto this planet to enjoy or suffer life for a few days – ﬁfty or a hundred years – but Bhagavān, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, does not come for that purpose (na māṁ karmāṇi limpanti). It is further stated, na hy asya varṣmaṇaḥ: “No one is greater than Him.” No one is greater than Bhagavān or equal to Him. Everyone is inferior. According to Caitanya-caritāmṛta (Ādi 5.142), ekale īśvara kṛṣṇa, āra saba bhṛtya. There is only one master – Kṛṣṇa. All others are subservient, beginning with Lord Brahmā, Viṣṇu, Maheśvara, Indra, Candra and all the demigods (there are thirty-three million demigods) and the middle and lower species. Everyone is bhṛtya, or servant. When Kṛṣṇa orders, “My dear Mr. So-and-So, now please give up your place and leave,” one must go. Therefore everyone is a servant. This is the position of Lord Brahmā and the ant as well. Yas tv indragopam athavendram aho sva-karma. From Lord Indra to indragopa, an insigniﬁcant insect, everyone is reaping the consequences of his karma. We are creating our own karma, our next body, in this life. In this life we enjoy or suffer the results of our past karma, and in the same way we are creating further karma for our next body. Actually we should work in such a way that we will not get another material body. How can this be done? We simply have to try to understand Kṛṣṇa. As Kṛṣṇa says in Bhagavad-gītā (4.9):
janma karma ca me divyam
evaṁ yo vetti tattvataḥ
tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma
naiti mām eti so ’rjuna
“One who knows the transcendental nature of My appearance and activities does not, upon leaving the body, take his birth again in this material world, but attains My eternal abode, O Arjuna.”
This sounds very simple, but actually understanding Kṛṣṇa is very difﬁcult. If we become devotees of Kṛṣṇa, understanding Kṛṣṇa is easy. However, if we try to understand Him by jñāna, karma or yoga, we will be frustrated. There are many types of yogīs, but he who is devoted to Kṛṣṇa is the topmost yogī. Śrī Kṛṣṇa is far above all yogic processes. In India there are many yogīs who can display some magical feats. They can walk on water, make themselves very light or very heavy and so forth. But what is this compared to Kṛṣṇa’s yogic mystic powers? By His potencies, great planets are ﬂoating in space. Who can manage to ﬂoat even a small stone in the air? Sometimes a yogī may show a little mystic power by manufacturing some gold, and we are so foolish that we accept him as God. However, we forget that the real yogī, the Supreme Lord Himself, has created millions of gold mines and is ﬂoating them in space. Those who are Kṛṣṇa conscious are not befooled by yogīs who claim to be Bhagavān. A Kṛṣṇa conscious person wants only to serve the foremost yogī, Yogeśvara (varimṇaḥ sarva-yoginām). Because we are trying to become His devotees, we accept the Supreme Lord, Yogeśvara, as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Kṛṣṇa Himself states in Bhagavad-gītā (18.55):
bhaktyā mām abhijānāti
yāvān yaś cāsmi tattvataḥ
tato māṁ tattvato jñātvā
“One can understand the Supreme Personality as He is only by devotional service. And when one is in full consciousness of the Supreme Lord by such devotion, he can enter into the kingdom of God.”
This process is actually very simple. One must ﬁrst of all realize that the ﬁrst problem is the conquest of death. Presently we consider death compulsory, but actually it is not. One may be put into prison, but actually prison is not compulsory. It is due to one’s work that one becomes a criminal and is therefore put in jail. It is not compulsory for everyone to go to jail. As living entities, we have our proper place in Vaikuṇṭha-loka.
paras tasmāt tu bhāvo ’nyo
’vyakto ’vyaktāt sanātanaḥ
yaḥ sa sarveṣu bhūteṣu
naśyatsu na vinaśyati
avyakto ’kṣara ity uktas
tam āhuḥ paramāṁ gatim
yaṁ prāpya na nivartante
tad dhāma paramaṁ mama
“There is another nature, which is eternal and is transcendental to this manifested and unmanifested matter. It is supreme and is never annihilated. When all in this world is annihilated, that part remains as it is. That supreme abode is called unmanifested and infallible, and it is the supreme destination. When one goes there, he never comes back. That is My supreme abode.” (Bhagavad-gītā 8.20–21)
Everything is present in Vaikuṇṭha-loka. There we can have an eternal, blissful life full of knowledge (sac-cid-ānanda). It is not compulsory for us to rot in this material world. The easiest way to go to the Vaikuṇṭha-lokas is: janma karma ca me divyam evaṁ yo vetti tattvataḥ. Simply try to understand Kṛṣṇa. Why does He come? What are His activities? Where does He come from? Why does He come in the form of a human being? We only have to try to understand this and study Kṛṣṇa as He explains Himself in Bhagavad-gītā. What is the difﬁculty? God personally explains Himself as He is, and if we accept Bhagavad-gītā as it is, we shall no longer have to transmigrate. Tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma naiti. We shall no longer have to endure birth and death, for we can attain our spiritual bodies (sac-cid-ānanda-vigraha) and live happily in Kṛṣṇa’s family. Kṛṣṇa is providing for us here, and He will also provide for us there. So we should know that our happiness is in returning home, back to Godhead, where we can eat, drink and be merry in Kṛṣṇa’s company.