Perfection at Home—A Novel Contribution to the Fallen Humanity
[This article was written for Back to Godhead. Spelling corrections have been made for this VedaBase.—Ed]
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu the supreme merciful incarnation of Godhead is the supreme benefactor of all human race in their most fallen conditions by the stringent laws of nature.
The modernised setup of human civilization is perpetual struggle against the grim laws of nature in a befooled manner.
There was a big mirror hanging on the wall and a small chirping bird saw its shadow on the mirror. The bird thought that there is another chirping bird just opposite to him and thus it wanted to strike it by the beak. The shadow chirping bird equally struck the beak of the real one and thus a struggle of biting one another began on the face of the mirror. The befooled creature continually tried to go to the other side of the mirror without any success. We saw this illusory struggle of the befooled little bird personally and got the lesson from it how we are also befooled in the same manner on the surface of the illusory nature. Compared with the chirping bird we may be intelligent enough to understand the foolish endeavor of the tiny being but there are as many bigger problems in which we are also befooled. In the animal life it is completely impossible to understand our foolishness but in the human form of life there is every possibilities of understanding such foolishness because in the human form of life the consciousness is developed. A human being can of course know the nature of the mirror and as such he will not spoil his energy like the bird.
But there are befooled human beings in the present set of human civilization who are like the befooled bird are trying perpetually to penetrate into the mysteries of the material nature without any tangible success; because the laws of nature are not so easy that one can surmount them without the help of the Supreme Lord. They are trying to make various plans to become happy in this miserable land. In the Bhagavad-gītā (12) such foolish activities have been deprecated in the following words:—
rākṣasīm āsurīṁ caiva
prakṛtiṁ mohinīṁ śritāḥ
Foolish persons, who are captivated by the bewildering situation of the material nature, do desire to lord it over the resourceful and beautiful Nature. It is just like the small chirping bird mentioned above perpetually trying for going to the other side of the mirror through the hard glass. Such foolish persons must be baffled in their hopes because they have neglected to know the Personality of Godhead, with His multifarious potencies. The bewildered hopeful persons are of different grades. Some of them are karmīs or the fruitive workers who want to enjoy the fruits of their labor. Some of them are jñānīs who cherishes wishful desires to merge into the existence of the Supreme Being or to become one with Him. And some of them are pseudo devotees who wants to enter into the eternal kingdom without the existence of God. But all of them being inconclusive of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and disrespectful in the Person of Śrī Kṛṣṇa will be baffled in their respective attempts for the above reason.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu has however given hopes to all the above-mentioned hopeless persons by His way of teachings. He does not disturb anyone in his respective position of a karmī, jñānī, or so-called bhakta. He does not disturb others also who do not come within the above-mentioned classes of persons in their different respective positions.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu advises every one of the above classes only to hear the message of the Personality of Godhead in a submissive manner by sincere aural reception, without any irrelevant interpretation. The most dangerous thing is to interpret the message of the Personality of Godhead in one’s own interpretation in the pedagogical attitude. The only restriction that He imposes upon His audience is that they must give up the idea of a false sense that a living being is equal to the Supreme Lord in quality and quantity both and thus to become one with Him at the end. In the devotional path these two dangerous things are stumbling blocks of the superlative degree for realisation of the Supreme Truth.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu met Śrī Rāmānanda Rāya a highly placed government official and a learned scholar in the devotional science. Both of them talked on the supreme goal of life in a detailed manner. The Lord Himself played the part of an enquirer and the learned official, although he was neither a brāhmaṇa nor a sannyāsī, replied the questions of the Lord in a fitting manner.
In the beginning of the topic the devotee of the Lord Śrī Rāmānanda Rāya submitted the importance of the system of varṇāśrama-dharma, the program of regulative life in the order of four scientific castes and status of social organization. But Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya Mahāprabhu rejected this proposal as useless because both the principles of caste system as well as the orders of social life are now not in order neither such system can actually lead one to the pure transcendental state. Nobody can revive now the lost system of varṇāśrama-dharma to its original position for so many reasons and as such the system was altogether rejected as the means of self-realisation.
The next important proposal was explained by Śrī Rāmānanda Rāya on the plan of karma-yoga. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu rejected this proposal also because He knew that the foolish fruitive workers will not agree now to accept the principles of karma-yoga or do everything for the satisfaction of the Supreme Lord. Nobody can now perform any work without any desire for the fruit is as much impossible as the observance of varṇāśrama-dharma. So this was also rejected in order.
Similarly when Śrī Rāmānanda Rāya proposed about the efficacy of sannyāsa either in the order of the Māyāvādīs or in the order of the Vaiṣṇavas, the same was again rejected by the Lord for He thought that in this age sannyāsa is an impossible game. The so-called sannyāsīs dress themselves in the red garments to earn an easy livelihood but in action they are like ordinary men of filthy mind. Such filthy sannyāsīs of the age of Kali may be able to accumulate large sums of money by the plea of establishing temples and deities by exploiting foolish persons but they are unable to bring their followers to Godhead. These sannyāsīs generally construct some temples and install deities in them to exploit the religious feelings of different men but the main purpose of constructing such temples is to open different branches of income for comfortable material life although in the dress of a renouncer. They construct such temple most unauthorizedly and thus implore many foolish men to join to make contribution upon it. And some of them perform unauthorized yajñas and thus accumulate money. The temple builder sannyāsī assures every one of the contributors to become the chief donor in such pious act but ultimately none of them is given any position but the sannyāsī himself becomes all in all by accumulating a big bank balance for his personal material comfort.
A practical example of this befooling business adopted by the so-called sannyāsīs, the Geeta Mandir at Baroda which we had the opportunity to visit personally. Here we have seen that in the Mandir an idol of four-armed woman imagined by the Avidyananda sannyāsī is installed and worshipped. Along with this idol there is another statue of this nonsense sannyāsī. This sannyāsī is making such waste of public money and as a result of this the public in general is becoming disinterested in the real acts of religiosity. This sannyāsī, it is understood, has many other such temples in other cities and the poor people are so befooled that they continue to contribute in such unauthorized enterprise.
These sannyāsīs are in fact ‘iconographers’ and they are as good as the iconoclasts. The iconographers engrave an idol of his own imagination and the iconoclast who is intolerant of idol worship does break such idol. Both these iconographers and the iconoclasts have an[no?] idea scientifically what is the Śrī Mūrti. The scientific method of installment a deity of Śrī Mūrti of the Personality of Godhead is mentioned in the revealed scriptures. These so-called sannyāsīs act against the rulings of scriptures and therefore willfully violate the established law although they pretend to be the defender of faith (?). Such foolish men and selfish are never happy, neither they can attain to perfection. That is the verdict of Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā. The Avidyananda sannyāsī pretends to preach the teachings of Bhagavad-gītā but he himself is a willful violator of the principles mentioned in it. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu the Supreme Lord were aware of the intentions of the so-called sannyāsīs of this age and He expected all these disturbances by the sannyāsīs, therefore He rejected the proposal of sannyāsī or renounced order of life as the means of spiritual realisation in this age.
Similarly He rejected the attempt of becoming one with the Supreme Lord by culturing devotional service as means to this end. Devotional service mixed up with empiric type of knowledge is futile attempt for self-realisation. As such the Avidyananda sannyāsī and company do some pretention to practice devotional services but at heart the desire is to become one with the Lord where the so-called devotional services completely stop. Such pretentious religion is completely rejected by the Bhāgavata School. Transcendental loving service of the Personality of Godhead is an eternal affair of the pure devotees. It is not a means for merging into the Absolute as conceived by the Māyāvādīs. The upāsana is never to be ceased even at the liberated stage because it is an eternal engagement. The object of worship, the process of worship, and the worshipper all of them exist eternally in spite of the childish disturbances of men like Avidyananda and company. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu wanted to stop the method of false devotion because according to the Bhagwat school this is religious pretention.
When Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu rejected all these pseudo religious practices of spiritual culture, He had within His mind about the ability of the present generation poor in everything. The present generation of the human race in the Kali-yuga are hopeless spiritually emaciated persons. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, the Supreme Merciful incarnation of Godhead, gave special facilities to these emaciated population, a right of preferred perfection which was unattainable even by the personalities like Brahmā in other ages. The highest stage of attainment of loving service of the Personality of Godhead. Brahmānanda or the transcendental bliss derived out of an attempt for merging into the Absolute is compared a fig in the presence of the ocean of transcendental bliss derived from the direct loving service of the Personality of Godhead.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu is considered to be the most magnanimous incarnation of Godhead because He wanted to award the highest perfection of spiritual bliss to the emaciated persons of this age who have practically no bona fide qualification to receiving the award. He therefore accepted the following method of a spiritual realisation as it was spoken by Brahmājī. This is as follows:—
jñāne prayāsam udapāsya namanta eva
jīvanti san-mukharitāṁ bhavadīya-vārtām
sthāne sthitāḥ śruti-gatāṁ tanu-vāṅ-manobhir
ye prāyaśo ‘jita jito ‘py asi tais tri-lokyām
The only qualification that is necessary for attaining the topmost spiritual bliss is first and foremost to give up completely the idea of merging into the identity of the Absolute. This dangerous idea will never qualify one to enter into the transcendental loving service of the Lord face to face which is the highest blissful life. The living being is an infinitesimal particle of the Supreme Spirit, like a drop of water of the vast ocean. To merge into the ocean by a drop of water is not all a very difficult task and it is always at the command of the pure devotee, but to keep one’s identity as a creature of the ocean and at the same time to attain to the stage of a strength more than that of the ocean is far more glorious a thing than the act of merging into the ocean. The drop of water merged into the ocean is always at the risk of being evaporated by air unless it has not attained the necessary power to remain with the ocean. The process of attaining this transcendental strength is unknown to the person seeking to become one with the Absolute. Such persons are therefore possessed of pure fund of knowledge. To merge into the identity of the Absolute is not the highest perfection of achievement. In the Bhagavad-gītā it has been clearly mentioned that persons who are addicted to this impersonal feature of the Absolute Truth suffer more troubles than those who concentrate their devotional activities on the Personal feature of the Supreme Lord. Therefore the only qualification that is necessary for a deserving person to enter into the kingdom of Godhead is that a person must be completely reluctant to this method of salvation which is the easiest of all five categories of salvations mentioned in the scriptures, although a pure devotee is not meant for any of the above-mentioned salvationary processes.
When the puffed up idea of becoming one with the Lord is given up one is sure to become a humble and meek personality before the Lord and this submissive attitude makes him qualified to enter into the Kingdom of God. By submissive aural reception of the powerful messenger of the Lord or His bonafide representative the ācārya who is a self-realized soul, one is sure to be awakened by his original spiritual consciousness which is inborn quality of every living being that remains in dormant condition even in the primitive form of human being. Even the savage and uncivilized groups of men bow down to the order of the Supreme Powerful. As such they worship the emblems of theism on the form of thunderbolt, big ocean, big mountain or any other gigantic natural phenomenon. The dormant inborn quality of obedience to the Supreme is present in primitive condition means it is quite natural to the human being but with the advancement of so-called civilized form of life this dormant quality of human being is killed by bad association and artificial standard of conventions of the so-called civilized man. This is happened specially on account of the Avidyananda sannyāsīs now unproportionately increased by the grace of the Kali. Such sannyāsī’s one-sided preaching of one with the Absolute makes the common man a puffed up being and although Śrīpada Śaṅkarācārya adopted the method to serve some particular purpose as ordered by the Lord, just to bring in the most materialist persons to the stage of renunciation and to prove the nonimportance of the material nature, at the present moment the whole procedure is miscarried and the preaching sannyāsīs themselves enjoy in the highest standard of material comfort while preaching the nullity of the same. And all the gods(?) are being more and more pressed by the laws of nature by such false propaganda. This rabid habit of posing oneself as a God has done tremendous harm to the people at large and as a result of this they are now more passionate than ever before. This attitude is not only harmful in this life but also it is very much risky for the next and what to speak of salvation as dreamt by those misguided men. How these irresponsible men are being hurled into the ocean of material miseries is correctly pictured in the Bhagavad-gītā (Bg 16.19-20) as follows:—
tān ahaṁ dviṣataḥ krūrān saṁsāreṣu narādhamān
kṣipāmy ajasram aśubhān āsurīṣv eva yoniṣu
āsurīṁ yonim āpannā mūḍhā janmani janmani
mām aprāpyaiva kaunteya tato yānty adhamāṁ gatim
The disobedient asuras who are envious of the exalted position of the Supreme Lord are called the narādhamas (the lowest of the human being) and the mūḍhas (one who has no information of the spiritual realm). We have already discussed the position of the narādhamas and the mūḍhas in our article THE LOWEST OF MANKIND. We do not wish therefore to go into further description of these notorious creatures.
One may note herein only how the narādhamas and mūḍhas are treated by the laws of Nature. The narādhamas and the mūḍhas who do not surrender unto the Lotus feet of the Lord and still desire for salvation—are in fact sent to the lowest regions of hell instead of getting salvation from the material existence.
Many sannyāsīs who are known to be very learned men are sometimes seen to take part in the rotten politics which is the last shelter of the scoundrel, because in spite of their erudition and hard penances they had no faith in the Person of the Supreme Lord. Due to impersonal conception of their spiritual culture they cannot have position in the realm of transcendental service. As such they fall down even from their exalted position by the laws of nature and sometimes they take pleasure in the bunglings of dirty politics. As such they are sent into the cells of the prison walls and instead of becoming one with the impersonal Brahman they become one of so many criminal prisoners.
In that way the mūḍhas and the Narādhamas do not get the shelter of the lotus feet of the Supreme Lord and are forced to take birth in the species of the demons or lower grade living being. That is the progress of life in the wrong direction attained by the class of mūḍhas and narādhamas.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu wants us only not to become one of the mūḍhas and Narādhamas. There are as many mūḍhas and narādhamas in the midst of the sannyāsīs as there are in the midst of so-called householders. Similarly according to the opinion of the Lord, there are as many mahātmās in the midst of the householders as there are in the midst of the renounced order of life. He is not very eager to turn anybody into the life of sannyāsī from the life of a householder neither He is anxious to pick up spiritualists from the community of a particular class, society, nation, or group of people. He is in fact for every one and all even for the birds and the beasts in the jungle. Some mūḍha class of men consider that Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu saved the Hindu religion from the onslaught of the Muhammadans and His appearance at a suitable time for the sense gratification for the Hindu designated people was quite appropriate (?) But Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu did not appear either to serve the Hindu community or to declare war against the Muhammadan community. Even the then Kings and Nawabs of Bengal and other parts of India were friendly to Him so much that some of them intuitionally recognised Him to be the Supreme Lord. So He was never against any community but He was for all human kind. He appeared for the Supreme benefit of the complete set of the living entities never mind in whatever form of quality he may be. He wanted to teach the real science of spiritual life or He was to propagate the REAL RELIGION which is the inborn quality of the living being. He asserted that every living being is eternally a transcendental servitor of the Supreme Lord and as such the whole and cent percent energy of the living being must be engaged in the Lord’s service only. Any fraction of deviation from this universal principle of eternal relation with the Supreme Lord is proportionately a covering of the nescience, and a living being is completely freed from all designations when he is substantially purified to render transcendental service to the Lord.
According to Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu one who is sufficiently conversant in the science of Kṛṣṇa or the all attractive feature of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, may he be a brāhmaṇa, a śūdra, a sannyāsī or a householder—can act as the bona fide spiritual master for the deliverance of the fallen souls. So according to Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu one can perfect himself in any position and in any place provided he learns the science of Kṛṣṇa from the Lord of the name Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya Mahāprabhu. During His preaching propaganda He made a practical demonstration of this truth in the following manner.
He deputed Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī and Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī to expand the science of devotional service although they were householders and government officials. These Gosvāmīs were not created or inflated Gosvāmīs or the caste Gosvāmīs; but they were Gosvāmīs by action even not undergoing any ceremonial function or changes. They were Gosvāmīs even they were playing the part of the householder. They did not require to become sannyāsīs in the order of renounced life.
Considering all the different phases of preaching activities of Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, it is evident that one has to learn the art of the approved method and nobody has to change his position of worldly life. That is the purport of teachings in the Bhagavad-gītā. The process of submissive hearing from the self-realised sources will help one in every way. That will inject and that will make one able to receive the message of Godhead from the innermost region of one own self.
As a matter of fact, Back to Godhead is the helping medium to convey the self-realised messages of liberated souls. This paper does not manufacture any idea of pretentious religion in the line of Avidyananda sannyāsīs or by mental concoction. Those who are carried by the process of mental concoction can never develop his inborn quality, viz. unadulterated love of Godhead. Man’s only business during life is to awaken the divine nature of Love of Godhead. The divine nature is misused in the material plane by love of flickering objects of material gain, fame, and stability.
All material creeds under the name of socialism, communism, communalism, nationalism, altruism, bolshevism, Leninism, Gandhism, Christianism, Hinduism, Muhammadanism, or any other hundred and thousands of isms are different manifestations of the divine nature adulterated with materialism. Divine nature is spiritualism and is completely free from all the above-mentioned materialism and therefore Spiritualism is pure and simple Love of Godhead.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu wants to divert the misplaced different channels of Love into the original form and we shall gradually publish His most instructive teachings in the pages of Back to Godhead. No better spiritually realised soul than that of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu.
We shall therefore request the people in general, religionists, modern philosophers and all other enlightened men and women to take advantage of this opportunity and try to attain perfection of life at home.