Tag Archives: Shiva

Within & Beyond this World

Srimad Bhagavatam 2.6.17

Nārada: It seems unusual that an entity so essential and fundamental to this world should have its true, original position beyond it.

Brahmā: It is not unusual. Take life-air (prāṇa) for example. It has its own energy, but it also lends its energy to other things. Another example is the Sun, it shines by its own power, but lends its radiance to all things. In a similar way, the Supreme Person is situated apart, within his own power, but lends his power to all things. Thus he is both within and beyond everything.

18-20

Nārada: I really want to know how the Supreme Person exists beyond this world. Please explain this to me!

Brahmā: He is the perfection of fearless nectar, far exceeding any mortal happiness! My dear spiritually inspired child, we cannot find any limit on his excellence!

Please understand that the place in which we all dwell reflects merely one-fourth of the Supreme Person. His true abode is beyond even what is beyond the three worlds – a place of nectar, security, and fearlessness.

That place beyond our world represents three-fourths of the Supreme Person. It is the abode of those who are not forced into rebirth. Those who instead take birth within our three worlds do so because they have a selfish bent, being without very strong convictions toward that Supreme Person.

21

Nārada: What happens to those souls?

Brahmā: They roam far and wide within our worlds.

Nārada: In what directions?

Brahmā: Those with some knowledge move towards emancipation. Those without knowledge move towards accumulation. In truth, the Supreme Person is the shelter for both of them.

22

Nārada: I can see why he would be the shelter of those striving towards enlightenment, but how is he also the shelter of those striving to accumulate material objects?

Brahmā: What are they searching for except him!? The egg of the universe comes from him. It produces elements, senses, and powers that allow the two to interact – everything they desire.

Nārada: Then, since they both seek the Supreme Person, are the those who strive for material objects on an equal footing with those who strive for emancipation?

Brahmā: No. Those who seek enlightenment are more evolved.

Nārada: Why?

Brahmā: Their outlook is more like the divine outlook of the Supreme Person.

Nārada: How so?

Brahmā: The Supreme Person is uninterested in the material objects he manifests in this world.

Nārada: Why?

Brahmā: All these things are simply like sunshine, but he is the brilliant sun!


We Want to Hear About All-Attractive Krishna!

SB 1.18.11

The sages said:

Sūta, may your life be smooth, gracious, unending and brilliantly famous! Your glorification of Krishna is just like the nectar of immortality for us mortals.

12

Smoke permeated us, body and mind, and confused our duties. But you are giving us the delicious honey made from the nectar of the lotus flower of Govinda’s feet.

13

What to speak of any mortal desire, not even paradise or enlightenment can compare to a moment’s intimacy with those who are intimate with the All-Attractive.

14

How could anyone who truly understands pleasure ever get enough of discussing he who is the singular haven of the greatest among the great souls? Even the masters of yoga, headed by Śiva and lotus-born Brahmā, cannot comprehend the endless qualities of he who is beyond quality.

15

You are among the greatest of the great souls whose singular haven is the foremost All-Attractive. You possess the knowledge to explain the completely pure and exalted activities of Hari. We are very eager to hear this!

16

Tell us the knowledge spoken by Vyāsa’s son, by which the great devotee Parīkṣit fixed his intellect upon liberation and was carried to the soles of the feet that are adored by the king of birds, Garuḍa.

17

Tell us every meaning of those utterly purifying words, wondrously establishing divine union, brimming with the activities of the Infinite, which magnify the bliss of devotees like Parīkṣit.


Arjuna Remember’s Krishna – Part II

11

He protected us in the forest when we were in very deep trouble,
When Durvāsa, who eats with unlimited disciples, was sent by our enemy.
When he had a morsel of left over spinach and rice, the three worlds felt full
In their minds, while they were still submerged within the water.

Duryodhana, the main enemy of the Pāṇḍavas, sent the powerful sage Durvāsa with his thousands of disciples to dine with Yudhiṣṭhira while they were exiled in the forest. There was no way Yudhiṣṭhira could feed so many people, so Durvāsa would be inconvenienced. Durvāsa is famous for getting angry easily and cursing people seriously, so Duryodhana made this scheme in the hopes that Durvāsa would curse the Pāṇḍavas.

In this midst of this calamity, Kṛṣṇa also visited Yudhiṣṭhira and ate a small morsel that was still left in the cooking pot. He felt great satisfaction. Because Godhead is the root from which all other souls are branches, when he felt full, Durvāsa and all the sages also felt completely full and did not return to Yudhiṣṭhira after taking their baths in the nearby river..

12

By his power, once I fought against the Blessed Trident Wielder (Śiva),
And astonished him and the daughter of the mountains (Pārvatī),
so that he gave his own weapon to me.
And others also followed suit. Thus even with my mortal body
I could enter the house of the Great King (Indra) and have half of his throne.

13

While there, my two scepter-like arms,
Whose trademark is to hold the Gāṇḍiva Bow,
Became the shelter for Indra and the gods, while I killed their enemy.
All because I was empowered by him (Kṛṣṇa).
And now I am robbed of that empowering person.

14

Because of being with him, the unsurpassable ocean of the Kuru’s strength
I surpassed in a single chariot, full of invincible power.
I retrieved the great wealth stolen by my enemies
And claimed the effulgent bejeweled crowns from their heads.

15

Bhīṣma, Karṇa, our guru, and Śalya,
Protected by an enourmouse phalax of great warriors
and a circle of decorated chariots
When I went into it, O powerful king,
It was his glance that deflated all their strength, enthusiasm, and longevity.

16

Because he protected me
The terrible weapons of my guru,
Bhīṣma, Karṇa, Naptṛ, Trigarta, Śalya, Saindhava, Bāhlika and others
Were ineffective
Just like the demons could not even scratch the servant of Nṛhari.

Nṛhari is another way of saying Narahari, or Narasiṁha.

17

My strange attitude made the soul’s-savior, the Master, my own chariot driver
Though his lotus-like feet are worshipped by the wise who see salvation.
When my horses were thirsty and I had to stand on the ground
The great warriors did not attack!
By his mercy I was completely free of worry.

18

We joked and jested so delightfully, beautified by his smile.
“Hey Cousin! Hey my friend Arjun! Hey Kuru’s-son!”
Oh god of kings, these conversations touched my very heart
Remembering sweet Kṛṣṇa (Mādhava) floods me to the core.

19

On a bed, or a seat, or on a walk, boasting, eating… Always we were one!
When one misbehaved the other would sarcastically say,
“Oh what an ideal person you are!”
Like a friend towards a friend, or a father towards his child
That greatest of the great tolerated my horribly familiar attitude.

In extreme grief, reality becomes distorted. Therefore Arjuna now feels that he was wrong to behave so intimately with Kṛṣṇa. But the truth is that Kṛṣṇa was delighted by his friendship incalculably more than he can ever be pleased with endless universes of worshipfully distant awestruck penitents.

20

Without him, oh lord of kings, without that supreme person
My friend, my beloved, my well-wisher… my very soul becomes a void.
Recently I was guarding the bodies of the The Adventurer’s women,
Was attacked by farmers, and defeated as if I was a woman.


The Astrology of Emperor Pariksit

12

When the planets became favorable for all good fortune, they produced the heir of the dynasty – as powerful as Pāṇdu.

13

Out of affection, the king had the most learned scholars, headed by Dhaumya & Kṛpa, read the auspicious astrological nativity of this newborn.

Learned souls know how to foretell the future in various ways, chiefly by astrology. What we are about the hear is a collection of learned astrologers headed by Dhaumya and Kṛpa informing the king of the future of his newborn grand-nephew.

14

Knowing what should be done on the birth of a child, the King gave gifts of the highest quality gold, cows, land, villages, elephants and horses. He sumptuously fed the intellectuals.

Intellectuals are most important in society, but they do not earn much money. Thus it is a very important social custom to feed them and give them gifts on every occasion.

15-17

Very satisfied, those intellectuals spoke:

“This spotless child will certainly be the foremost in the family of Puru. Unstoppable destiny intended to destroy him, but the all-powerful and all-pervading Viṣṇu, rescued him – because of his affection for you. Thus the boy will be famous throughout the world by the name Viṣṇu Rāta (Viṣṇu-Rescued). Undoubtedly he is a great soul, extremely blessed, the pinnacle of divine love.”

The intellectuals described Parīkṣit as mahān, mahā-bhāga, and mahā-bhāgavata – a great soul, greatly blessed, and the greatest devotee.

18

The blessed King asked:

Oh best of truthful souls, will this boy have glory and fame following the footsteps of his forbearers: great souls famous as pious philosopher-kings?

19-26

The intellectuals replied:

O Pārtha,
In maintaining the citizens he will be exactly like Ikṣvaku, Manu’s son.
In truthfulness and obedience to teachers he will be exactly like Rāma, Dāśaratha’s son.
In giving charity and giving shelter he will be like Śibi of Uśīnara.
In expanding the renown of his kin by performing sacrifices he will be like Duṣyanta’s son.
In bowmanship he will equal the Arjunas.

He will be unstoppable as an inferno, insurmountable as an ocean.
He will be powerful as a lion, unwavering as the Himalaya,
He will be forbearing as the earth, as patient as parents.
In being merciful and generous he will be like grandparents.

In giving shelter to all living beings he will be like Śiva
and the god who is the shelter of the goddess of fortune [Viṣṇu].
In having all glorious spiritual qualities he will be like Kṛṣṇa,
to whom he is devoted.
In altruism he will be like Rantideva.
In following rules he will be like Yayāti.
In patience he will be like Bali.
In saintly devotion he will be like Prahlāda.

He will conduct many horse sacrifices.
He will be a follower of the experienced.
He will father many philosopher-kings.
For the sake of world peace
he will curb the insubordinate and extinguish the cantankerous.

Ikṣvaku, the son of the personality from whom the Human race descends, was the first king to prohibit meat eating.

Śibi was so charitable and protective that he wanted to give away to others his own right to enter heaven, and was ready to give his own life to protect a bird.

Duṣyanta’s son is Bhārata, after whom the great Mahābhārata is named.

The other Arjuna besides the Pāṇḍava is Kārttavīrya-Arjuna: a powerful thousand-armed warrior who was the impetus for Parśurāma killing 21 generations of warriors.

Rantideva is famous as the most magnanimous king who was virtually obsessed with giving everything he had to others.

Yayāti, like Rantideva is a famous and very ancient king. He performed thousands of different Vedic sacrifices.

Bali is an exemplar of patience because he kept his cool resolve to fulfill his promise to Viṣṇu, even when his guru was warning him not to. His grandfather was the famous Prahlāda, son of Hiraṇyakaśipu.

As far as horse sacrifices, even a cursory study of Vedic culture will show that they did not conceive of animal rights with the same sensitivities as we have today. This is not to insinuate that they had any less concern for the well-being of all living entities, just that they implemented this concern in a different manner than would make sense to a modern activist.

27-28

His own death will come from the dragon Takṣa, as a result of a curse from the child of a twice-born. When he hears of this he will cast off all attachments, take full shelter in Hari, and inquire about the true goal of the soul from the learned son of Vyāsa. He will then leave his body beside the Ganges and go directly to the abode of fearlessness.

Most of the astrological reading given by the intellectuals, in texts 19-26, pertained to the newborn king’s character, but here they make an extremely concrete prediction regarding the boy’s death. They did not hesitate to pronounce the nature of the newborn’s death. Perhaps because the family was so elevated and did not consider death an unnatural and awful thing, like most of us do.

29

Thus those learned experts of natal astrology advised the king. Wondrously paid, they returned to their own homes.

30

The boy would become famous as “The Examiner” (Parīkṣit) because he examined everyone he saw, in search of that person he saw before, whom he constantly contemplated.

The “person he saw before” refers to the person he saw before his birth, Viṣṇu.

31

The prince grew quickly and luxuriantly like the waxing moon day after day, under the care of his many parents.


On God and Gods

 Thus far, Suta has explained to the sages that:

  • Devotion to the Supreme Entity is the most beneficial human goal
  • It completely liberates a person from all troubles and fates, and delivers complete satisfaction and joy.
  • It revolves around the service of loving discussion about the divine beloved
  • Such loving discussion destroys all troubles and delivers supreme bliss in progressive stages beginning with interest in the topic and culminating in direct personal relationship with the divine beloved.

Suta concludes this section by saying:

[22] “That is why wise people always want to busy themselves in the extraordinarily delightful and soul-satisfying affairs of devotion to the all-attractive son of Vasudeva, Krishna.”

Now some of the sages listening to Suta pose a question, “Why is all this only about Krishna and other incarnations of Vishnu? Why don’t you mention devotion to other divinities?”

[23] Suta answers with a quote: “The Supreme Person, though beyond the world and singular, takes three forms that operate within the three energies of the world – clarity, ambition, and rest – and perform tasks like creation. They are known as Hari, Viriñci, and Hara. Humanity derives the highest benefit, as expected, from the form operating in the energy of clarity.”

There is one supreme deity just beyond the world, overseeing its existence. That one deity does not directly touch the world and become involved in its complications. But he creates expansions of himself to do so, for it is necessary. These expansions are “the gods” and similar powerful creatures. Primary among all of them are three gods, who take charge of the three fundamental natural energies for the sake of performing three tasks crucial to the unfolding of the universe.

  • Creation is one such task. It is accomplished through the energy of ambition (rajo-guṇa) by the deity who is the embodiment of that creative energy, Brahmā (“Viriñci”).
  • Destruction is another essential task. This is accomplished via the energy of rest (tamo-guṇa) by the deity who embodies that energy, Śiva (“Hara”).
  • Maintenance of things between their creation and destruction is the third essential task. It is accomplished through the energy of clarity (sattva-guṇa) by the deity of clarity, Viṣṇu (“Hari”).

In quoting this, Suta recognizes and affirms a plurality of deities and gods worthy of respect and all linked to the Original Person. But in the final line of the quote he explains why devotion to these many gods does not have the same significance and effect as devotion to Krishna and the forms of Vishnu. The logic in this line is that since the mode of clarity is the most beneficial form of nature, it makes perfect sense that Vishnu, who is the embodiment of that clarity, is the most beneficial form of divinity. The divine loving devotion Suta speaks of in Śrīmad Bhāgavatam is directed towards Krishna and the forms of Vishnu, and not to other less beneficial divinities.

Suta proceeds to explain why the energy of clarity is supremely beneficial:

[24] “From earth grows wood, which creates smoke and fire. But it is only fire which is most beneficial to humanity. Similarly there is rest, ambition and clarity but only clarity grants direct spiritual perception.”

Here Suta references a very sophisticated analogy. The earth is similar to the One Great Person. The earth is the root source of wood (trees), smoke and fire – just as the One Great Person is the root source of the three main gods. But this does not indicate that all three gods are of equal importance and relevance to humanity’s ultimate good. Fire is the most important thing for humanity, more important than wood or smoke. Wood is analogous to the solidifying and strengthening mode of rest (tamas), smoke to the dust-raising mode of creative ambition (rajas), and fire to the illuminating mode of clarity (sattva). The mode of clarity alone has the power to illuminate the human mind and grant it direct spiritual perception and joyful self-realization. Thus, sensibly, the deity of clarity – Vishnu – is more beneficial to humanity than any other form of divinity, because Vishnu most powerfully possess the powers of clarity (sattva) and therefore can deliver the most important, joyful, and real benedictions.

[25] “That is why,” Suta continues, “sages have always engaged themselves in devotions for the all-attractive one beyond contamination of the material energies. Thus they attained absolutely undistorted spiritual clarity, as will any of you who follow them.”

The word adhokṣaja (“beyond contamination of material energies”), deserves at least a short comment. If Vishnu is the deity of the material energy of clarity, how can he be worthy of this name, Adhokṣaja? The word sattvaṁ viśuddhaṁ (“absolutely undistorted clarity of existence”) answers. It says that the mode of clarity, unmixed with the other two: ambition or rest, is the state of being in the pure reality which exists transcendentally to the material creation. Within the material creation we experience clarity as a material phenomenon because it is always mixed with some amounts of the need to create or destroy some condition, and is therefore never experienced in its pure state, unadulterated by the energies of ambition and rest. But in the transcendental manifestation pure clarity exists as the underlying foundation of transcendent reality. Vishnu is pure clarity, and is therefore a transcendent divinity: Adhokṣaja. Thus, other divinities – though certainly worthy of deep respect – are categorically inferior to Vishnu and his expansions.

At this point, some of the sages presented Suta with another question, “Why then do many people worship non-transcendent gods?”

[26] “Those who want a permanent solution to their troubles seek liberation. They are always respectful and never spiteful of anyone, much less any powerful divinity, but they certainly reject the often horrific forms of such material gods and are exclusively devoted to the peaceful and pleasant expansions of the Supreme Personality.”

Because material nature, with constant creation and destruction, is often horrific and ghastly, the deities of this world are often grotesque and frightening beings. Transcendence, however, is joyful and peaceful. Transcendental deities, the expansions of the Original Person Nārāyaṇa, are thus always blissful and pleasant to see.

[27] “Others have more base desires, requiring creation or destruction of various practical goal or obstacles. Naturally they are devoted to deities connected to creation and destruction, and thus worship their ancestors, powerful spirits, and superhuman universal forefathers due to their hunger for power and wealth.”

Suta has explained the reasonable cause for worshiping inferior powers. But now wants to make a powerful statement dissuading such:

[28-29]

Krishna is paramount education

Krishna is paramount ritualism

Krishna is paramount mysticism

Krishna is paramount duty

Krishna is paramount knowledge

Krishna is paramount sacrifice

Krishna is paramount religion

Krishna is the paramount objective

This resoundingly powerful statement surely set the hairs of the sages bristling with joy and excitement. In it, Suta mentioned the main components of human culture, the main paths through which human beings try to obtain their objectives: education, rituals, mystic power, dutiful righteousness, comprehension and knowledge, self-sacrifice, & religious morality. For each he says that the son of Vasudeva, Krishna is the paramount finish line.

What Suta says here is that the ultimate aim of every human desire is joy, satisfaction, & happiness. Such cannot be had in the constantly shifting environment of creation and destruction. It can only be had in the beginningless and endless transcendence. Thus the ultimate goal of any person – be he spiritually minded or not – can only be satisfied perfectly by Vishnu and Vishnu’s expansions, the deity of transcendent clarity.

Therefore everyone, regardless of their immediate proclivities or interests, should turn their devotions towards topics of Śrī Krishna – the topics we are about to enjoy in this Śrīmad Bhāgavatam.