Chapter ONE The Curse Upon the Yadu Dynasty Shri Shukadeva Gosvami said: Lord Shri Krsna, accompanied by Balarama and surrounded by the Yadu dynasty, executed the killing of many demons. Then, further to remove the burden of the earth, the Lord arranged for the great Battle of Kuruksetra, which suddenly erupted in violence between the Kurus and the Pandavas. Because the sons of Pandu were enraged by the numerous offenses of their enemies, such as duplicitous gambling, verbal insults, the seizing of Draupadi's hair, and many other cruel transgressions, the Supreme Lord engaged those Pandavas as the immediate cause to execute His will. On the pretext of the Battle of Kuruksetra, Lord Krsna arranged for all the kings who were burdening the earth to assemble with their armies on opposite sides of the battlefield, and when the Lord killed them through the agency of war, the earth was relieved of its burden. The Supreme Personality of Godhead used the Yadu dynasty, which was protected by His own arms, to eliminate the kings who with their armies had been the burden of this earth. Then the unfathomable Lord thought to Himself, "Although some may say that the earth's burden is now gone, in My opinion it is not yet gone, because there still remains the Yadava dynasty itself, whose strength is unbearable for the earth." Lord Krsna thought, "No outside force could ever bring about the defeat of this family, the Yadu dynasty, whose members have always been fully surrendered to Me and are unrestricted in their opulence. But if I inspire a quarrel within the dynasty, that quarrel will act just like a fire created from the friction of bamboo in a grove, and then I shall achieve My real purpose and return to My eternal abode." My dear King Pariksit, when the supreme almighty Lord, whose desire always comes to pass, had thus made up His mind, He withdrew His own family on the pretext of a curse spoken by an assembly of brahmanas. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna, is the reservoir of all beauty. All beautiful things emanate from Him, and His personal form is so attractive that it steals the eyes away from all other objects, which then seem devoid of beauty in comparison to Him. When Lord Krsna was on the earth, He attracted the eyes of all people. When Krsna spoke, His words attracted the minds of all who remembered them. By seeing the footsteps of Lord Krsna, people became attracted to Him, and thus they wanted to offer their bodily activities to the Lord as His followers. In this way Krsna very easily spread His glories, which are sung throughout the world by the most sublime and essential Vedic verses. Lord Krsna considered that simply by hearing and chanting those glories, conditioned souls born in the future would cross beyond the darkness of ignorance. Being satisfied with this arrangement, He left for His desired destination. King Pariksit inquired: How could the brahmanas curse the Vrsnis, who were always respectful to the brahmanas, charitable, and inclined to serve senior and exalted personalities and whose minds were always fully absorbed in thought of Lord Krsna? King Pariksit continued inquiring: What was the motive for this curse? What did it consist of, O purest of the twice-born? And how could such a disagreement have arisen among the Yadus, who all shared the same goal of life? Please tell me all these things. Shukadeva Gosvami said: The Lord, who bore His body as the amalgamation of everything beautiful, dutifully executed the most auspicious activities while on the earth, although He was, in fact, without any endeavor already satisfied in all desires. Residing in His abode and enjoying life, the Lord, whose glorification is in itself magnanimous, now wanted to annihilate His dynasty, as there still remained some small part of His duty to be carried out. The sages Vishvamitra, Asita, Kanva, Durvasa, Bhrgu, Angira, Kashyapa, Vamadeva, Atri and Vasistha, along with Narada and others, once performed fruitive rituals that award abundant pious results, bring great happiness and take away the sins of Kali-yuga for the whole world by merely being recounted. The sages duly executed these rituals in the home of the chief of the Yadus, Vasudeva, the father of Lord Krsna. After Lord Krsna, who was staying in Vasudeva's house as time personified, respectfully sent the sages off at the conclusion of the ceremonies, they went to the holy place called Pindaraka. To that holy place, the young boys of the Yadu dynasty had brought Samba, son of Jambavati, dressed in woman's garb. Playfully approaching the great sages gathered there, the boys grabbed hold of the sages' feet and impudently asked them with feigned humility, "O learned brahmanas, this black-eyed pregnant woman has something to ask you. She is too embarrassed to inquire for herself. She is just about to give birth and is very desirous of having a son. Since all of you are great sages with infallible vision, please tell us whether her child will be a boy or a girl." Thus ridiculed by deceit, the sages became angry, O King, and told the boys, "Fools! She will bear you an iron club that will destroy your entire dynasty." Upon hearing the curse of the sages, the terrified boys quickly uncovered the belly of Samba, and indeed they observed that therein was an iron club. The young men of the Yadu dynasty said, "Oh, what have we done? We are so unfortunate! What will our family members say to us?" Speaking thus and being very disturbed, they returned to their homes, taking the club with them. The Yadu boys, the luster of their faces completely faded, brought the club into the royal assembly, and in the presence of all the Yadavas they told King Ugrasena what had happened. O King Pariksit, when the inhabitants of Dvaraka heard of the infallible curse of the brahmanas and saw the club, they were astonished and distraught with fear. After having the club ground to bits, King Ahuka [Ugrasena] of the Yadus personally threw the pieces, along with the remaining lump of iron, into the water of the ocean. A certain fish swallowed the iron lump, and the bits of iron, carried back to the shore by the waves, implanted themselves there and grew into tall, sharp canes. The fish was caught in the ocean along with other fish in a fishermen's net. The iron lump in the fish's stomach was taken by the hunter Jara, who fixed it as an arrowhead at the end of his shaft. Knowing fully the significance of all these events, the Supreme Lord, though capable of reversing the brahmanas' curse, did not wish to do so. Rather, in His form of time, He gladly sanctioned the events. Chapter TWO Maharaja Nimi Meets the Nine Yogendras Shri Shukadeva Gosvami said: Eager to engage in the worship of Lord Krsna, O best of the Kurus, Narada Muni stayed for some time in Dvaraka, which was always protected by the arms of Govinda. My dear King, in the material world the conditioned souls are confronted by death at every step of life. Therefore, who among the conditioned souls would not render service to the lotus feet of Lord Mukunda, who is worshipable even for the greatest of liberated souls? One day the sage among the demigods, Narada, came to the house of Vasudeva. After worshiping Narada with suitable paraphernalia, seating him comfortably and respectfully bowing down to him, Vasudeva spoke as follows. Shri Vasudeva said: My lord, your visit, like that of a father to his children, is for the benefit of all living beings. You especially help the most wretched among them, as well as those who are advanced on the path toward the Supreme Lord, Uttamashloka. The activities of demigods lead to both misery and happiness for living beings, but the activities of great saints like you, who have accepted the infallible Lord as their very soul, result only in the happiness of all beings. Those who worship the demigods receive reciprocation from the demigods in a way just corresponding to the offering. The demigods are attendants of karma, like a person's shadow, but sadhus are actually merciful to the fallen. O brahmana, although I am satisfied simply by seeing you, I still wish to inquire about those duties which give pleasure to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Any mortal who faithfully hears about them is freed from all kinds of fear. In a previous birth on this earth, I worshiped the Supreme Lord, Ananta, who alone can award liberation, but because I desired to have a child, I did not worship Him for liberation. Thus I was bewildered by the Lord's illusory energy. My dear lord, you are always true to your vow. Please instruct me clearly, so that by your mercy I may easily free myself from material existence, which is full of many dangers and keeps us constantly bound in fear. Shukadeva Gosvami said: O King, Devarsi Narada was pleased by the questions of the highly intelligent Vasudeva. Because they suggested the transcendental qualities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, they reminded Narada of Lord Krsna. Thus Narada replied to Vasudeva as follows. Shri Narada said: O best of the Satvatas, you have quite correctly asked about the eternal duty of the living entity toward the Supreme Lord. Such devotional service to the Lord is so potent that its performance can purify the entire universe. Pure devotional service rendered to the Supreme Lord is spiritually so potent that simply by hearing about such transcendental service, by chanting its glories in response, by meditating on it, by respectfully and faithfully accepting it, or by praising the devotional service of others, even persons who hate the demigods and all other living beings can be immediately purified. Today you have made me remember my Lord, the supremely blissful Personality of Godhead, Narayana. The Supreme Lord is so auspicious that whoever hears and chants about Him becomes completely pious. To explain the devotional service of the Lord, sages have related the ancient history of the conversation between the great soul King Videha and the sons of Risabha. Svayambhuva Manu had a son named Maharaja Priyavrata, and among Priyavrata's sons was Agnidhra. From Agnidhra was born Nabhi, whose son was known as Risabhadeva. Shri Risabhadeva is accepted as an expansion of the Supreme Lord, Vasudeva. He incarnated in this world to propagate those religious principles that lead living entities to ultimate liberation. He had one hundred sons, all perfect in Vedic knowledge. Of the one hundred sons of Lord Risabhadeva, the eldest, Bharata, was completely devoted to Lord Narayana. It is because of Bharata's fame that this planet is now celebrated as the great Bharata-varsa. King Bharata rejected this material world, considering all types of material pleasure temporary and useless. Leaving his beautiful young wife and family, he worshiped Lord Hari by severe austerities and attained the abode of the Lord after three lifetimes. Nine of the remaining sons of Risabhadeva became the rulers of the nine islands of Bharata-varsa, and they exercised complete sovereignty over this planet. Eighty-one sons became twice-born brahmanas and helped initiate the Vedic path of fruitive sacrifices [karma-kanda]. The nine remaining sons of Risabha were greatly fortunate sages who worked vigorously to spread knowledge of the Absolute Truth. They wandered about naked and were very well versed in spiritual science. Their names were Kavi, Havir, Antariksa, Prabuddha, Pippalayana, Avirhotra, Drumila, Camasa and Karabhajana. These sages wandered the earth seeing the entire universe, with all its gross and subtle objects, as a manifestation of the Supreme Lord and as nondifferent from the self. The nine Yogendras are liberated souls who travel freely to the planets of the demigods, the perfected mystics, the Sadhyas, the heavenly musicians, the Yaksas, the human beings, and the minor demigods such as the Kinnaras and the serpents. No mundane force can check their free movement, and exactly as they wish they can travel as well to the worlds of the sages, the angels, the ghostly followers of Lord Shiva, the Vidyadharas, the brahmanas and the cows. Once in Ajanabha [the former name of the earth], they came upon the sacrificial performance of the great soul Maharaja Nimi, which was being carried out under the direction of elevated sages. My dear King, seeing those pure devotees of the Lord, who rival the sun in brilliance, everyone present - the performer of the sacrifice, the brahmanas and even the sacrificial fires - stood in respect. King Videha [Nimi] understood that the nine sages were exalted devotees of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore, overjoyed at their auspicious arrival, he offered them suitable sitting places and worshiped them in a proper way, just as one would worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Overwhelmed by transcendental joy, the King humbly bowed his head and then proceeded to question the nine sages. These nine great souls glowed with their own effulgence and thus appeared equal to the four Kumaras, the sons of Lord Brahma. King Videha said: I think that you must be direct associates of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is famous as the enemy of the demon Madhu. Indeed, the pure devotees of Lord Visnu wander throughout the universe not for their personal, selfish interest, but to purify all the conditioned souls. For the conditioned souls, the human body is most difficult to achieve, and it can be lost at any moment. But I think that even those who have achieved human life rarely gain the association of pure devotees, who are dear to the Lord of Vaikuntha. Therefore, O completely sinless ones, I ask you to kindly tell me what the supreme good is. After all, even half a moment's association with pure devotees within this world of birth and death is a priceless treasure for any man. Please speak about how one engages in the devotional service of the Supreme Lord, if you consider me capable of properly hearing these topics. When a living entity offers loving service to the Supreme Lord, the Lord is immediately satisfied, and in return He will give even His own self to the surrendered soul. Shri Narada said: O Vasudeva, when Maharaja Nimi had thus inquired from the nine Yogendras about devotional service to the Lord, those best of saintly persons sincerely thanked the King for his questions and spoke to him with affection in the presence of the members of the sacrificial assembly and the brahmana priests. Shri Kavi said: 1 consider that one whose intelligence is constantly disturbed by his falsely identifying himself with the temporary material world can achieve real freedom from fear only by worshiping the lotus feet of the infallible Supreme Lord. In such devotional service, all fear ceases entirely. Even ignorant living entities can very easily come to know the Supreme Lord if they adopt those means prescribed by the Supreme Lord Himself. The process recommended by the Lord is to be known as bhagavata-dharma, or devotional service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. O King, one who accepts this process of devotional service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead will never blunder on his path in this world. Even while running with eyes closed, he will never trip or fall. In accordance with the particular nature one has acquired in conditioned life, whatever one does with body, words, mind, senses, intelligence or purified consciousness one should offer to the Supreme, thinking, "This is for the pleasure of Lord Narayana." Fear arises when a living entity misidentifies himself as the material body because of absorption in the external, illusory energy of the Lord. When the living entity thus turns away from the Supreme Lord, he also forgets his own constitutional position as a servant of the Lord. This bewildering, fearful condition is effected by the potency for illusion, called maya. Therefore, an intelligent person should engage unflinchingly in the unalloyed devotional service of the Lord, under the guidance of a bona fide spiritual master, whom he should accept as his worshipable deity and as his very life and soul. Although the duality of the material world does not ultimately exist, the conditioned soul experiences it as real under the influence of his own conditioned intelligence. This imaginary experience of a world separate from Krsna can be compared to the acts of dreaming and desiring. When the conditioned soul dreams at night of something desirable or horrible, or when he daydreams of what he would like to have or avoid, he creates a reality that has no existence beyond his own imagination. The tendency of the mind is to accept and reject various activities based on sense gratification. Therefore an intelligent person should control the mind, restricting it from the illusion of seeing things separate from Krsna, and when the mind is thus controlled he will experience actual fearlessness. An intelligent person who has controlled his mind and conquered fear should give up all attachment to material objects such as wife, family and nation and should wander freely without embarrassment, hearing and chanting the holy names of the Lord, the bearer of the chariot wheel. The holy names of Krsna are all- auspicious because they describe His transcendental birth and activities, which He performs within this world for the salvation of the conditioned souls. Thus the holy names of the Lord are sung throughout the world. By chanting the holy name of the Supreme Lord, one comes to the stage of love of Godhead. Then the devotee is fixed in his vow as an eternal servant of the Lord, and he gradually becomes very much attached to a particular name and form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. As his heart melts with ecstatic love, he laughs very loudly or cries or shouts. Sometimes he sings and dances like a madman, for he is indifferent to public opinion. A devotee should not see anything as being separate from the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna. Ether, fire, air, water, earth, the sun and other luminaries, all living beings, the directions, trees and other plants, the rivers and oceans - whatever a devotee experiences he should consider to be an expansion of Krsna. Thus seeing everything that exists within creation as the body of the Supreme Lord, Hari, the devotee should offer his sincere respects to the entire expansion of the Lord's body. Devotion, direct experience of the Supreme Lord, and detachment from other things - these three occur simultaneously for one who has taken shelter of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, in the same way that pleasure, nourishment and relief from hunger come simultaneously and increasingly, with each bite, for a person engaged in eating. My dear King, the devotee who worships the lotus feet of the infallible Personality of Godhead with constant endeavor thus achieves unflinching devotion, detachment and experienced knowledge of the Personality of Godhead. In this way the successful devotee of the Lord achieves supreme spiritual peace. Maharaja Nimi said: Now please tell me in greater detail about the devotees of the Supreme Lord. What are the natural symptoms by which I can distinguish between the most advanced devotees, those on the middle level and those who are neophytes? What are the typical religious activities of a Vaisnava, and how does he speak? Specifically, please describe those symptoms and characteristics by which Vaisnavas become dear to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Shri Havir said: The most advanced devotee sees within everything the soul of all souls, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Shri Krsna. Consequently he sees everything in relation to the Supreme Lord and understands that everything that exists is eternally situated within the Lord. An intermediate or second-class devotee, called madhyama-adhikari, offers his love to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is a sincere friend to all the devotees of the Lord, shows mercy to ignorant people who are innocent and disregards those who are envious of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. A devotee who faithfully engages in the worship of the Deity in the temple but does not behave properly toward other devotees or people in general is called a prakrta-bhakta, a materialistic devotee, and is considered to be in the lowest position. Even while engaging his senses in contact with their objects, one who sees this whole world as the energy of Lord Visnu is neither repelled nor elated. He is indeed the greatest among devotees. Within the material world, one's material body is always subject to birth and decay. Similarly, the life air [prana] is harassed by hunger and thirst, the mind is always anxious, the intelligence hankers for that which cannot be obtained, and all of the senses are ultimately exhausted by constant struggle in the material nature. A person who is not bewildered by the inevitable miseries of material existence, and who remains aloof from them simply by remembering the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is to be considered bhagavata- pradhana, the foremost devotee of the Lord. One who has taken exclusive shelter of the Supreme Lord, Vasudeva, becomes free from fruitive activities, which are based on material lust. In fact, one who has taken shelter of the lotus feet of the Lord is freed from even the desire to enjoy material sense gratification. Plans for enjoying sex life, social prestige and money cannot develop within his mind. Thus he is considered bhagavatottama, a pure devotee of the Lord on the highest platform. Birth in an aristocratic family and the execution of austere and pious activities certainly cause one to take pride in himself. Similarly, if one enjoys a prestigious position within society because his parents are highly respected members of the varnashrama social system, one becomes even more infatuated with himself. But if despite these excellent material qualifications one does not feel even a tinge of pride within himself, he is to be considered the dearmost servitor of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. When a devotee gives up the selfish conception by which one thinks "This is my property, and that is his," and when he is no longer concerned with the pleasures of his own material body or indifferent to the discomforts of others, he becomes fully peaceful and satisfied. He considers himself simply one among all the living beings who are equally part and parcel of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Such a satisfied Vaisnava is considered to be at the highest standard of devotional service. The lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead are sought even by the greatest of demigods, such as Brahma and Shiva, who have all accepted the Supreme Personality of Godhead as their life and soul. A pure devotee of the Lord can never forget those lotus feet in any circumstance. He will not give up his shelter at the lotus feet of the Lord for a single moment - indeed, not for half a moment - even in exchange for the benediction of ruling and enjoying the opulence of the entire universe. Such a devotee of the Lord is to be considered the best of the Vaisnavas. How can the fire of material suffering continue to burn the hearts of those who worship the Supreme Lord? The Lord's lotus feet have performed innumerable heroic deeds, and the beautiful nails on His toes resemble valuable jewels. The effulgence emanating from those nails resembles cooling moonshine, for it instantly relieves the suffering within the heart of the pure devotee, just as the appearance of the moon's cooling light relieves the burning heat of the sun. The Supreme Personality of Godhead is so kind to the conditioned souls that if they call upon Him by speaking His holy name, even unintentionally or unwillingly, the Lord is inclined to destroy innumerable sinful reactions in their hearts. Therefore, when a devotee who has taken shelter of the Lord's lotus feet chants the holy name of Krsna with genuine love, the Supreme Personality of Godhead can never give up the heart of such a devotee. One who has thus captured the Supreme Lord within his heart is to be known as bhagavata- pradhana, the most exalted devotee of the Lord. Chapter THREE Liberation from the Illusory Energy King Nimi said: Now we wish to learn about the illusory potency of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Shri Visnu, which bewilders even great mystics. My lords, please speak to us about this subject. Although I am drinking the nectar of your statements about the glories of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, my thirst is not yet satiated. Such nectarean descriptions of the Lord and His devotees are the actual medicine for conditioned souls like me, who are tormented by the threefold miseries of material existence. Shri Antariksa said: O mighty-armed King, by activating the material elements, the primeval Soul of all creation has sent forth all living beings in higher and lower species so that these conditioned souls can cultivate either sense gratification or ultimate liberation, according to their desire. The Supersoul enters the material bodies of the created beings, activates the mind and senses, and thus causes the conditioned souls to approach the three modes of material nature for sense gratification. The individual living being, the master of the material body, uses his material senses, which have been activated by the Supersoul, to try to enjoy sense objects composed of the three modes of nature. Thus he misidentifies the created material body with the unborn eternal self and becomes entangled in the illusory energy of the Lord. Impelled by deep-rooted material desires, the embodied living entity engages his active sense organs in fruitive activities. He then experiences the results of his material actions by wandering throughout this world in so-called happiness and distress. Thus the conditioned living entity is forced to experience repeated birth and death. Impelled by the reactions of his own activities, he helplessly wanders from one inauspicious situation to another, suffering from the moment of creation until the time of cosmic annihilation. When the annihilation of the material elements is imminent, the Supreme Personality of Godhead in His form of eternal time withdraws the manifest cosmos, consisting of gross and subtle features, and the entire universe vanishes into nonmanifestation. As cosmic annihilation approaches, a terrible drought takes place on earth for one hundred years. For one hundred years the heat of the sun gradually increases, and its blazing heat begins to torment the three worlds. Beginning from Patalaloka, a fire grows, emanating from the mouth of Lord Sankarsana. Its flames shooting upward, driven by great winds, it scorches everything in all directions. Hoards of clouds called Samvartaka pour torrents of rain for one hundred years. Flooding down in raindrops as long as the trunk of an elephant, the deadly rainfall submerges the entire universe in water. Then Vairaja Brahma, the soul of the universal form, gives up his universal body, O King, and enters into the subtle unmanifest nature, like a fire that has run out of fuel. Deprived of its quality of aroma by the wind, the element earth is transformed into water; and water, deprived of its taste by that same wind, is merged into fire. Fire, deprived of its form by darkness, dissolves into the element air. When the air loses its quality of touch by the influence of space, the air merges into that space. When space is deprived of its tangible quality by the Supreme Soul in the form of time, space merges into false ego in the mode of ignorance. My dear King, the material senses and intelligence merge into false ego in the mode of passion, from which they arose; and the mind, along with the demigods, merges into false ego in the mode of goodness. Then the total false ego, along with all of its qualities, merges into the mahat-tattva. I have now described maya, the illusory energy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This illusory potency, consisting of the three modes of material nature, is empowered by the Lord for the creation, maintenance and annihilation of the material universe. Now, what more do you wish to hear? King Nimi said: O great sage, please explain how even a foolish materialist can easily cross over the illusory energy of the Supreme Lord, which is always insurmountable for those who are not self-controlled. Shri Prabuddha said: Accepting the roles of male and female in human society, the conditioned souls unite in sexual relationships. Thus they constantly make material endeavors to eliminate their unhappiness and unlimitedly increase their pleasure. But one should see that they inevitably achieve exactly the opposite result. In other words, their happiness inevitably vanishes, and as they grow older their material discomfort increases. Wealth is a perpetual source of distress, it is most difficult to acquire, and it is virtual death for the soul. What satisfaction does one actually gain from his wealth? Similarly, how can one gain ultimate or permanent happiness from one's so-called home, children, relatives and domestic animals, which are all maintained by one's hard-earned money? One cannot find permanent happiness even on the heavenly planets, which one can attain in the next life by ritualistic ceremonies and sacrifices. Even in material heaven the living entity is disturbed by rivalry with his equals and envy of those superior to him. And since one's residence in heaven is finished with the exhaustion of pious fruitive activities, the denizens of heaven are afflicted by fear, anticipating the destruction of their heavenly life. Thus they resemble kings who, though enviously admired by ordinary citizens, are constantly harassed by enemy kings and who therefore never attain actual happiness. Therefore any person who seriously desires real happiness must seek a bona fide spiritual master and take shelter of him by initiation. The qualification of the bona fide guru is that he has realized the conclusions of the scriptures by deliberation and is able to convince others of these conclusions. Such great personalities, who have taken shelter of the Supreme Godhead, leaving aside all material considerations, should be understood to be bona fide spiritual masters. Accepting the bona fide spiritual master as one's life and soul and worshipable deity, the disciple should learn from him the process of pure devotional service. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Hari, the soul of all souls, is inclined to give Himself to His pure devotees. Therefore, the disciple should learn from the spiritual master to serve the Lord without duplicity and in such a faithful and favorable way that the Supreme Lord, being satisfied, will offer Himself to the faithful disciple. A sincere disciple should learn to dissociate the mind from everything material and positively cultivate association with his spiritual master and other saintly devotees. He should be merciful to those in an inferior position to him, cultivate friendship with those on an equal level and meekly serve those in a higher spiritual position. Thus he should learn to deal properly with all living beings. To serve the spiritual master the disciple should learn cleanliness, austerity, tolerance, silence, study of Vedic knowledge, simplicity, celibacy, nonviolence, and equanimity in the face of material dualities such as heat and cold, happiness and distress. One should practice meditation by constantly seeing oneself to be an eternal cognizant spirit soul and seeing the Lord to be the absolute controller of everything. To increase one's meditation, one should live in a secluded place and give up false attachment to one's home and household paraphernalia. Giving up the decorations of the temporary material body, one should dress himself with scraps of cloth found in rejected places, or with the bark of trees. In this way one should learn to be satisfied in any material situation. One should have firm faith that he will achieve all success in life by following those scriptures that describe the glories of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Bhagavan. At the same time, one should avoid blaspheming other scriptures. One should rigidly control his mind, speech and bodily activities, always speak the truth, and bring the mind and senses under full control. One should hear, glorify and meditate upon the wonderful transcendental activities of the Lord. One should specifically become absorbed in the appearance, activities, qualities and holy names of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Thus inspired, one should perform all of one's daily activities as an offering to the Lord. One should perform sacrifice, charity and penance exclusively for the Lord's satisfaction. Similarly, one should chant only those mantras which glorify the Supreme Personality of Godhead. And all one's religious activities should be performed as an offering to the Lord. Whatever one finds pleasing or enjoyable he should immediately offer to the Supreme Lord, and even his wife, children, home and very life air he should offer at the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. One who desires his ultimate self-interest should cultivate friendship with those persons who have accepted Krsna as the Lord of their life. One should further develop an attitude of service toward all living beings. One should especially try to help those in the human form of life and, among them, especially those who accept the principles of religious behavior. Among religious persons, one should especially render service to the pure devotees of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. One should learn how to associate with the devotees of the Lord by gathering with them to chant the glories of the Lord. This process is most purifying. As devotees thus develop their loving friendship, they feel mutual happiness and satisfaction. And by thus encouraging one another they are able to give up material sense gratification, which is the cause of all suffering. The devotees of the Lord constantly discuss the glories of the Personality of Godhead among themselves. Thus they constantly remember the Lord and remind one another of His qualities and pastimes. In this way, by their devotion to the principles of bhakti-yoga, the devotees please the Personality of Godhead, who takes away from them everything inauspicious. Being purified of all impediments, the devotees awaken to pure love of Godhead, and thus, even within this world, their spiritualized bodies exhibit symptoms of transcendental ecstasy, such as standing of the bodily hairs on end. Having achieved love of Godhead, the devotees sometimes cry out loud, absorbed in thought of the infallible Lord. Sometimes they laugh, feel great pleasure, speak out loud to the Lord, dance or sing. Such devotees, having transcended material, conditioned life, sometimes imitate the unborn Supreme by acting out His pastimes. And sometimes, achieving His personal audience, they remain peaceful and silent. Thus learning the science of devotional service and practically engaging in the devotional service of the Lord, the devotee comes to the stage of love of Godhead. And by complete devotion to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Narayana, the devotee easily crosses over the illusory energy, maya, which is extremely difficult to cross. King Nimi inquired: Please explain to me the transcendental situation of the Supreme Lord, Narayana, who is Himself the Absolute Truth and the Supersoul of everyone. You can explain this to me, because you are all most expert in transcendental knowledge. Shri Pippalayana said: The Supreme Personality of Godhead is the cause of the creation, maintenance and destruction of this universe, yet He has no prior cause. He pervades the various states of wakefulness, dreaming and unconscious deep sleep and also exists beyond them. By entering the body of every living being as the Supersoul, He enlivens the body, senses, life airs and mental activities, and thus all the subtle and gross organs of the body begin their functions. My dear King, know that Personality of Godhead to be the Supreme. Neither the mind nor the faculties of speech, sight, intelligence, the life air or any of the senses are capable of penetrating that Supreme Truth, any more than small sparks can affect the original fire from which they are generated. Not even the authoritative language of the Vedas can perfectly describe the Supreme Truth, since the Vedas themselves disclaim the possibility that the Truth can be expressed by words. But through indirect reference the Vedic sound does serve as evidence of the Supreme Truth, since without the existence of that Supreme Truth the various restrictions found in the Vedas would have no ultimate purpose. Originally one, the Absolute, Brahman, comes to be known as threefold, manifesting itself as the three modes of material nature - goodness, passion and ignorance. Brahman further expands its potency, and thus the power to act and the power of consciousness become manifest, along with the false ego, which covers the identity of the conditioned living being. Thus, by the expansion of the multipotencies of the Absolute, the demigods, as the embodiment of knowledge, become manifest, along with the material senses, their objects, and the results of material activity, namely happiness and distress. In this way the manifestation of the material world takes place as the subtle cause and as the material effect visible in the appearance of gross material objects. Brahman, which is the source of all subtle and gross manifestations, is simultaneously transcendental to them, being absolute. Brahman, the eternal soul, was never born and will never die, nor does it grow or decay. That spiritual soul is actually the knower of the youth, middle age and death of the material body. Thus the soul can be understood to be pure consciousness, existing everywhere at all times and never being destroyed. Just as the life air within the body, although one, becomes manifest as many in contact with the various material senses, the one soul appears to assume various material designations in contact with the material body. The spirit soul is born in many different species of life within the material world. Some species are born from eggs, others from embryos, others from the seeds of plants and trees, and others from perspiration. But in all species of life the prana, or vital air, remains unchanging and follows the spirit soul from one body to another. Similarly, the spirit soul is eternally the same despite its material condition of life. We have practical experience of this. When we are absorbed in deep sleep without dreaming, the material senses become inactive, and even the mind and false ego are merged into a dormant condition. But although the senses, mind and false ego are inactive, one remembers upon waking that he, the soul, was peacefully sleeping. When one seriously engages in the devotional service of the Personality of Godhead, fixing the Lord's lotus feet within one's heart as the only goal of life, one can destroy the innumerable impure desires lodged within the heart as a result of one's previous fruitive work within the three modes of material nature. When the heart is thus purified one can directly perceive both the Supreme Lord and one's self as transcendental entities. Thus one becomes perfect in spiritual understanding through direct experience, just as one can directly experience the sunshine through normal, healthy vision. King Nimi said: O great sages, please speak to us about the process of karma- yoga. Purified by this process of dedicating one's practical work to the Supreme, a person can very quickly free himself from all material activities, even in this life, and thus enjoy pure life on the transcendental platform. Once in the past, in the presence of my father, Maharaja Iksvaku, I placed a similar question before four great sages who were sons of Lord Brahma. But they did not answer my question. Please explain the reason for this. Shri Avirhotra replied: Prescribed duties, nonperformance of such duties, and forbidden activities are topics one can properly understand through authorized study of the Vedic literature. This difficult subject matter can never be understood by mundane speculation. The authorized Vedic literature is the sound incarnation of the Personality of Godhead Himself, and thus Vedic knowledge is perfect. Even the greatest learned scholars are bewildered in their attempts to understand the science of action if they neglect the authority of Vedic knowledge. Childish and foolish people are attached to materialistic, fruitive activities, although the actual goal of life is to become free from such activities. Therefore, the Vedic injunctions indirectly lead one to the path of ultimate liberation by first prescribing fruitive religious activities, just as a father promises his child candy so that the child will take his medicine. If an ignorant person who has not conquered the material senses does not adhere to the Vedic injunctions, certainly he will engage in sinful and irreligious activities. Thus his reward will be repeated birth and death. By executing without attachment the regulated activities prescribed in the Vedas, offering the results of such work to the Supreme Lord, one attains the perfection of freedom from the bondage of material work. The material fruitive results offered in the revealed scriptures are not the actual goal of Vedic knowledge, but are meant for stimulating the interest of the performer. One who desires to quickly cut the knot of false ego, which binds the spirit soul, should worship the Supreme Lord, Keshava, by the regulations found in Vedic literatures such as the tantras. Having obtained the mercy of his spiritual master, who reveals to the disciple the injunctions of Vedic scriptures, the devotee should worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead in the particular personal form of the Lord the devotee finds most attractive. After cleansing oneself, purifying the body by pranayama, bhuta-shuddhi and other processes, and marking the body with sacred tilaka for protection, one should sit in front of the Deity and worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The devotee should gather whatever ingredients for worshiping the Deity are available, make ready the offerings, the ground, his mind and the Deity, sprinkle his sitting place with water for purification and prepare the bathing water and other paraphernalia. The devotee should then place the Deity in His proper place, both physically and within his own mind, concentrate his attention, and mark the Deity's heart and other parts of the body with tilaka. Then he should offer worship with the appropriate mantra. One should worship the Deity along with each of the limbs of His transcendental body, His weapons such as the Sudarshana cakra, His other bodily features and His personal associates. One should worship each of these transcendental aspects of the Lord by its own mantra and with offerings of water to wash the feet, scented water, water to wash the mouth, water for bathing, fine clothing and ornaments, fragrant oils, valuable necklaces, unbroken barleycorns, flower garlands, incense and lamps. Having thus completed the worship in all its aspects in accordance with the prescribed regulations, one should then honor the Deity of Lord Hari with prayers and offer obeisances to Him by bowing down. The worshiper should become fully absorbed in meditating upon himself as an eternal servant of the Lord and should thus perfectly worship the Deity, remembering that the Deity is also situated within his heart. Then he should take the remnants of the Deity's paraphernalia, such as flower garlands, upon his head and respectfully put the Deity back in His own place, thus concluding the worship. Thus the worshiper of the Supreme Lord should recognize that the Personality of Godhead is all-pervading and should worship Him through His presence in fire, the sun, water and other elements, in the heart of the guest one receives in one's home, and also in one's own heart. In this way the worshiper will very soon achieve liberation. Chapter FOUR Drumila Explains the Incarnations of Godhead to King Nimi King Nimi said: The Supreme Personality of Godhead descends into the material world by His internal potency and according to His own desire. Therefore, please tell us about the various pastimes Lord Hari has performed in the past, is performing now and will perform in this world in the future in His various incarnations. Shri Drumila said: Anyone trying to enumerate or describe fully the unlimited qualities of the unlimited Supreme Lord has the intelligence of a foolish child. Even if a great genius could somehow or other, after a time-consuming endeavor, count all the particles of dust on the surface of the earth, such a genius could never count the attractive qualities of the Personality of Godhead, who is the reservoir of all potencies. When the primeval Lord Narayana created His universal body out of the five elements produced from Himself and then entered within that universal body by His own plenary portion, He thus became known as the Purusa. Within His body are elaborately arranged the three planetary systems of this universe. His transcendental senses generate the knowledge-acquiring and active senses of all embodied beings. His consciousness generates conditioned knowledge, and His powerful breathing produces the bodily strength, sensory power and conditioned activities of the embodied souls. He is the prime mover, through the agency of the material modes of goodness, passion and ignorance. And thus the universe is created, maintained and annihilated. In the beginning, the original Supreme Personality manifested the form of Brahma through the material mode of passion in order to create this universe. The Lord manifested His form as Visnu, the Lord of sacrifice and protector of the twice- born brahmanas and their religious duties, to maintain the universe. And when the universe is to be annihilated the same Supreme Lord employs the material mode of ignorance and manifests the form of Rudra The created living beings are thus always subject to the forces of creation, maintenance and destruction. Nara-Narayana Risi, who is perfectly peaceful and is the best of sages, was born as the son of Dharma and his wife Murti, the daughter of Daksa. Nara-Narayana Risi taught the devotional service of the Lord, by which material work ceases, and He Himself perfectly practiced this knowledge. He is living even today, His lotus feet served by the greatest of saintly persons. King Indra became fearful, thinking that Nara-Narayana Risi would become very powerful by His severe penances and seize Indra's heavenly kingdom. Thus Indra, not knowing the transcendental glories of the incarnation of the Lord, sent Cupid and his associates to the Lord's residence in Badarikashrama. As the charming breezes of spring created a most sensuous atmosphere, Cupid himself attacked the Lord with arrows in the form of the irresistible glances of beautiful women. The primeval Lord, understanding the offense committed by Indra, did not become proud. Instead He spoke laughingly as follows to Cupid and his followers, who were trembling before Him: "Do not fear, O mighty Madana, O wind-god and wives of the demigods. Rather, please accept these gifts I am offering you and kindly sanctify My ashrama by your presence." My dear King Nimi, when Nara-Narayana Risi thus spoke, eradicating the fear of the demigods, they bowed their heads with shame and addressed the Lord as follows, to invoke His compassion: Our dear Lord, You are always transcendental, beyond the reach of illusion, and therefore You are forever changeless. Your causeless compassion toward us, despite our great offense, is not at all unusual in You, since innumerable great sages who are self-satisfied and free from anger and false pride bow down humbly at Your lotus feet. The demigods place many obstacles on the path of those who worship You to transcend the temporary abodes of the demigods and reach Your supreme abode. Those who offer the demigods their assigned shares in sacrificial performances encounter no such obstacles. But because You are the direct protector of Your devotee, he is able to step over the head of whatever obstacle the demigods place before him. Some men practice severe penances to cross beyond our influence, which is like an immeasurable ocean with endless waves of hunger, thirst, heat, cold and the other conditions brought about by the passing of time, such as the sensuous wind and the urges of the tongue and sex organs. Nevertheless, although crossing this ocean of sense gratification through severe penances, such persons foolishly drown in a cow's hoofprint when conquered by useless anger. Thus they exhaust the benefit of their difficult austerities in vain. While the demigods were thus praising the Supreme Lord, the all-powerful Lord suddenly manifested before their eyes many women, who were astonishingly gorgeous, decorated with fine clothes and ornaments, and all faithfully engaging in the Lord's service. When the followers of the demigods gazed upon the fascinating mystic beauty of the women created by Nara-Narayana Risi and smelled the fragrance of their bodies, the minds of these followers became bewildered. Indeed, upon seeing the beauty and magnificence of such women, the representatives of the demigods were completely diminished in their own opulence. The Supreme Lord of lords then smiled slightly and told the representatives of heaven, who were bowing down before Him, "Please choose one of these women, whomever you find suitable for you. She will become the ornament of the heavenly planets." Vibrating the sacred syllable om, the servants of the demigods selected Urvashi, the best of the Apsaras. Placing her in front of them out of respect, they returned to the heavenly planets. The servants of the demigods reached the assembly of Indra, and thus, while all the residents of the three heavens listened, they explained to Indra the supreme power of Narayana. When Indra heard of Nara-Narayana Risi and became aware of his offense, he was both frightened and astonished. The infallible Supreme Personality of Godhead, Visnu, has descended into this world by His various partial incarnations such as Lord Hamsa [the swan], Dattatreya, the four Kumaras and our own father, the mighty Risabhadeva. By such incarnations, the Lord teaches the science of self-realization for the benefit of the whole universe. In His appearance as Hayagriva He killed the demon Madhu and thus brought the Vedas back from the hellish planet Patalaloka. In His appearance as a fish, the Lord protected Satyavrata Manu, the earth and her valuable herbs. He protected them from the waters of annihilation. As a boar, the Lord killed Hiranyaksa, the son of Diti, while delivering the earth from the universal waters. And as a tortoise, He lifted Mandara Mountain on His back so that nectar could be churned from the ocean. The Lord saved the surrendered king of the elephants, Gajendra, who was suffering terrible distress from the grips of a crocodile. The Lord also delivered the tiny ascetic sages called the Valakhilyas when they fell into the water in a cow's hoofprint and Indra was laughing at them. The Lord then saved Indra when Indra was covered by darkness due to the sinful reaction for killing Vrtrasura. When the wives of the demigods were trapped in the palace of the demons without any shelter, the Lord saved them. In His incarnation as Nrsimha, the Lord killed Hiranyakashipu, the king of demons, to free the saintly devotees from fear. The Supreme Lord regularly takes advantage of the wars between the demons and demigods to kill the leaders of the demons. The Lord thus encourages the demigods by protecting the universe through His various incarnations during the reigns of each Manu. The Lord also appeared as Vamana and took the earth away from Bali Maharaja on the plea of begging three steps of land. The Lord then returned the entire world to the sons of Aditi. Lord Parashurama appeared in the family of Bhrgu as a fire that burned to ashes the dynasty of Haihaya. Thus Lord Parashurama rid the earth of all ksatriyas twenty-one times. The same Lord appeared as Ramacandra, the husband of Sitadevi, and thus He killed the ten-headed Ravana, along with all the soldiers of Lanka. May that Shri Rama, whose glories destroy the contamination of the world, be always victorious. To diminish the burden of the earth, the unborn Lord will take birth in the Yadu dynasty and perform feats impossible even for the demigods. Propounding speculative philosophy, the Lord, as Buddha, will bewilder the unworthy performers of Vedic sacrifices. And as Kalki the Lord will kill all the low- class men posing as rulers at the end of the age of Kali. O mighty-armed King, there are innumerable appearances and activities of the Supreme Lord of the universe similar to those I have already mentioned. In fact, the glories of the Supreme Lord are unlimited. Chapter FIVE Narada Concludes His Teachings to Vasudeva King Nimi further inquired: My dear Yogendras, all of you are most perfect in knowledge of the science of the self. Therefore, kindly explain to me the destination of those who for the most part never worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Hari, who are unable to quench their material desires and who are not in control of their own selves. Shri Camasa said: Each of the four social orders, headed by the brahmanas, was born through different combinations of the modes of nature, from the face, arms, thighs and feet of the Supreme Lord in His universal form. Thus the four spiritual orders were also generated. If any of the members of the four varnas and four ashramas fail to worship or intentionally disrespect the Personality of Godhead, who is the source of their own creation, they will fall down from their position into a hellish state of life. There are many persons who have little opportunity to take part in discussions about the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Hari, and thus it is difficult for them to chant His infallible glories. Persons such as women, shudras and other fallen classes always deserve the mercy of great personalities like yourself. On the other hand, brahmanas, members of the royal order and vaishyas, even after being allowed to approach the lotus feet of the Supreme Lord, Hari, by receiving the second birth of Vedic initiation, can become bewildered and adopt various materialistic philosophies. Ignorant of the art of work, such arrogantly proud fools, enchanted and enlivened by the sweet words of the Vedas, pose as learned authorities and offer flattering entreaties to the demigods. Due to the influence of the mode of passion, the materialistic followers of the Vedas become subject to violent desires and are excessively lusty. Their anger is like that of a snake. Deceitful, overly proud, and sinful in their behavior, they mock the devotees who are dear to Lord Acyuta. The materialistic followers of Vedic rituals, giving up the worship of the Lord, instead practically worship their wives, and thus their homes become dedicated to sex life. Such materialistic householders encourage one another in such whimsical behavior. Understanding ritualistic sacrifice as a necessary item for bodily maintenance, they perform unauthorized ceremonies in which there is no distribution of foodstuffs or charity to the brahmanas and other respectable persons. Instead, they cruelly slaughter animals such as goats without any understanding of the dark consequences of their activities. The intelligence of cruel-minded persons is blinded by false pride based on great wealth, opulence, prestigious family connections, education, renunciation, personal beauty, physical strength and successful performance of Vedic rituals. Being intoxicated with this false pride, such cruel persons blaspheme the Supreme Personality of Godhead and His devotees. The Personality of Godhead is eternally situated within the heart of every embodied being; still the Lord remains situated apart, just as the sky, which is all-pervading, does not mix with any material object. Thus the Lord is the supreme worshipable object and the absolute controller of everything. He is elaborately glorified in the Vedic literature, but those who are bereft of intelligence do not like to hear about Him. They prefer to waste their time discussing their own mental concoctions, which inevitably deal with gross material sense gratification such as sex life and meat-eating. In this material world the conditioned soul is always inclined to sex, meat- eating and intoxication. Therefore religious scriptures never actually encourage such activities. Although the scriptural injunctions provide for sex through sacred marriage, for meat-eating through sacrificial offerings and for intoxication through the acceptance of ritual cups of wine, such ceremonies are meant for the ultimate purpose of renunciation. The only proper fruit of acquired wealth is religiosity, on the basis of which one can acquire a philosophical understanding of life that eventually matures into direct perception of the Absolute Truth and thus liberation from all suffering. Materialistic persons, however, utilize their wealth simply for the advancement of their family situation. They fail to see that insurmountable death will soon destroy the frail material body. According to the Vedic injunctions, when wine is offered in sacrificial ceremonies it is later to be consumed by smelling, and not by drinking. Similarly, the sacrificial offering of animals is permitted, but there is no provision for wide-scale animal slaughter. Religious sex life is also permitted, but only in marriage for begetting children, and not for sensuous exploitation of the body. Unfortunately, however, the less intelligent materialists cannot understand that their duties in life should be performed purely on the spiritual platform. Those sinful persons who are ignorant of actual religious principles, yet consider themselves to be completely pious, without compunction commit violence against innocent animals who are fully trusting in them. In their next lives, such sinful persons will be eaten by the same creatures they have killed in this world. The conditioned souls become completely bound in affection to their own corpselike material bodies and their relatives and paraphernalia. In such a proud and foolish condition, the conditioned souls envy other living entities as well as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Hari, who resides in the heart of all beings. Thus enviously offending others, the conditioned souls gradually fall down into hell. Those who have not achieved knowledge of the Absolute Truth, yet who are still beyond the darkness of complete ignorance, generally follow the threefold path of pious material life, namely religiosity, economic development and sense gratification. Not having time to reflect on any higher purpose, they become the killers of their own soul. The killers of the soul are never peaceful, because they consider that human intelligence is ultimately meant for expanding material life. Thus neglecting their real, spiritual duties, they are always in distress. They are filled with great hopes and dreams, but unfortunately these are always destroyed by the inevitable march of time. Those who have turned away from the Supreme Lord, Vasudeva, being under the spell of the Lord's illusory energy, are eventually forced to give up their so- called homes, children, friends, wives and lovers, which were all created by the illusory potency of the Supreme Lord, and enter against their will into the darkest regions of the universe. King Nimi inquired: In what colors and forms does the Supreme Personality of Godhead appear in each of the different ages, and with what names and by what types of regulative principles is the Lord worshiped in human society? Shri Karabhajana replied: In each of the four yugas, or ages - Krta, Treta, Dvapara and Kali - Lord Keshava appears with various complexions, names and forms and is thus worshiped by various processes. In Satya-yuga the Lord is white and four-armed, has matted locks and wears a garment of tree bark. He carries a black deerskin, a sacred thread, prayer beads and the rod and waterpot of a brahmacari. People in Satya-yuga are peaceful, nonenvious, friendly to every creature and steady in all situations. They worship the Supreme Personality by austere meditation and by internal and external sense control. In Satya-yuga the Lord is glorified by the names Hamsa, Suparna, Vaikuntha, Dharma, Yogeshvara, Amala, Ishvara, Purusa, Avyakta and Paramatma. In Treta-yuga the Lord appears with a red complexion. He has four arms, golden hair, and wears a triple belt representing initiation into each of the three Vedas. Embodying the knowledge of worship by sacrificial performance, which is contained in the Rig, Sama and Yajur Vedas, His symbols are the ladle, spoon and other implements of sacrifice. In Treta-yuga, those members of human society who are fixed in religiosity and are sincerely interested in achieving the Absolute Truth worship Lord Hari, who contains within Himself all the demigods. The Lord is worshiped by the rituals of sacrifice taught in the three Vedas. In Treta-yuga the Lord is glorified by the names Visnu, Yajna, Prshnigarbha, Sarvadeva, Urukrama, Vrsakapi, Jayanta and Urugaya. In Dvapara-yuga the Supreme Personality of Godhead appears with a dark blue complexion, wearing yellow garments. The Lord's transcendental body is marked in this incarnation with Shrivatsa and other distinctive ornaments, and He manifests His personal weapons. My dear King, in Dvapara-yuga men who desire to know the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is the supreme enjoyer, worship Him in the mood of honoring a great king, following the prescriptions of both the Vedas and tantras. "Obeisances to You, O Supreme Lord Vasudeva, and to Your forms of Sankarsana, Pradyumna and Aniruddha. O Supreme Personality of Godhead, all obeisances unto You. O Lord Narayana Risi, O creator of the universe, best of personalities, master of this cosmos and original form of the universe, O Supersoul of all created entities, all homage unto You." O King, in this way people in Dvapara-yuga glorified the Lord of the universe. In Kali-yuga also people worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead by following various regulations of the revealed scriptures. Now kindly hear of this from me. In the age of Kali, intelligent persons perform congregational chanting to worship the incarnation of Godhead who constantly sings the names of Krsna. Although His complexion is not blackish, He is Krsna Himself. He is accompanied by His associates, servants, weapons and confidential companions. My dear Lord, You are the Maha-purusa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and I worship Your lotus feet, which are the only eternal object of meditation. Those feet destroy the embarrassing conditions of material life and freely award the greatest desire of the soul, the attainment of pure love of Godhead. My dear Lord, Your lotus feet are the shelter of all holy places and of all saintly authorities in the line of devotional service and are honored by powerful demigods like Lord Shiva and Lord Brahma. My Lord, You are so kind that You willingly protect all those who simply bow down to You with respect, and thus You mercifully relieve all the distress of Your servants. In conclusion, my Lord, Your lotus feet are actually the suitable boat for crossing over the ocean of birth and death, and therefore even Lord Brahma and Lord Shiva seek shelter at Your lotus feet." O Maha-purusa, I worship Your lotus feet. You gave up the association of the goddess of fortune and all her opulence, which is most difficult to renounce and is hankered after by even the great demigods. Being the most faithful follower of the path of religion, You thus left for the forest in obedience to a brahmana's curse. Out of sheer mercifulness You chased after the fallen conditioned souls, who are always in pursuit of the false enjoyment of illusion, and at the same time engaged in searching out Your own desired object, Lord Shyamasundara. Thus, O King, the Supreme Lord Hari is the giver of all desirable benefits of life. Intelligent human beings worship the particular forms and names that the Lord manifests in different ages. Those who are actually advanced in knowledge are able to appreciate the essential value of this age of Kali. Such enlightened persons worship Kali-yuga because in this fallen age all perfection of life can easily be achieved by the performance of sankirtana. Indeed, there is no higher possible gain for embodied souls forced to wander throughout the material world than the Supreme Lord's sankirtana movement, by which one can attain the supreme peace and free oneself from the cycle of repeated birth and death. My dear King, the inhabitants of Satya-yuga and other ages eagerly desire to take birth in this age of Kali, since in this age there will be many devotees of the Supreme Lord, Narayana. These devotees will appear in various places but will be especially numerous in South India. O master of men, in the age of Kali those persons who drink the waters of the holy rivers of Dravida-desha, such as the Tamraparni, Krtamala, Payasvini, the extremely pious Kaveri and the Pratici Mahanadi, will almost all be purehearted devotees of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vasudeva. O King, one who has given up all material duties and has taken full shelter of the lotus feet of Mukunda, who offers shelter to all, is not indebted to the demigods, great sages, ordinary living beings, relatives, friends, mankind or even one's forefathers who have passed away. Since all such classes of living entities are part and parcel of the Supreme Lord, one who has surrendered to the Lord's service has no need to serve such persons separately. One who has thus given up all other engagements and has taken full shelter at the lotus feet of Hari, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is very dear to the Lord. Indeed, if such a surrendered soul accidentally commits some sinful activity, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is seated within everyone's heart, immediately takes away the reaction to such sin. Narada Muni said: Having thus heard the science of devotional service, Nimi, the King of Mithila, felt extremely satisfied and, along with the sacrificial priests, offered respectful worship to the sagacious sons of Jayanti. The perfect sages then disappeared before the eyes of everyone present. King Nimi faithfully practiced the principles of spiritual life he had learned from them, and thus he achieved the supreme goal of life. O greatly fortunate Vasudeva, simply apply with faith these principles of devotional service which you have heard, and thus, being free from material association, you will attain the Supreme. Indeed, the whole world has become filled with the glories of you and your good wife because the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Hari, has taken the position of your son. My dear Vasudeva, you and your good wife Devaki have manifested great transcendental love for Krsna, accepting Him as your son. Indeed, you are always seeing the Lord, embracing Him, speaking with Him, resting with Him, sitting together with Him and taking your meals with Him. By such affectionate and intimate association with the Lord, undoubtedly both of you have completely purified your hearts. In other words, you are already perfect. Inimical kings like Shishupala, Paundraka and Shalva were always thinking about Lord Krsna. Even while they were lying down, sitting or engaging in other activities, they enviously meditated upon the bodily movements of the Lord, His sporting pastimes, His loving glances upon His devotees, and other attractive features displayed by the Lord. Being thus always absorbed in Krsna, they achieved spiritual liberation in the Lord's own abode. What then can be said of the benedictions offered to those who constantly fix their minds on Lord Krsna in a favorable, loving mood? Do not think of Krsna as an ordinary child, because He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, inexhaustible and the Soul of all beings. The Lord has concealed His inconceivable opulences and is thus outwardly appearing to be an ordinary human being. The Supreme Personality of Godhead descended to kill the demoniac kings who were the burden of the earth and to protect the saintly devotees. However, both the demons and the devotees are awarded liberation by the Lord's mercy. Thus, His transcendental fame has spread throughout the universe. Shri Shukadeva Gosvami continued: Having heard this narration, the greatly fortunate Vasudeva was completely struck with wonder. Thus he and his most blessed wife Devaki gave up all illusion and anxiety that had entered their hearts. Anyone who meditates on this pious historical narration with fixed attention will purify himself of all contamination in this very life and thus achieve the highest spiritual perfection. Chapter SIX The Yadu Dynasty Retires to Prabhasa Shri Shukadeva Gosvami said: Lord Brahma then set off for Dvaraka, accompanied by his own sons as well as by the demigods and the great Prajapatis. Lord Shiva, the bestower of auspiciousness to all living beings, also went, surrounded by many ghostly creatures. The powerful Lord Indra, along with the Maruts, Adityas, Vasus, Ashvinis, Ribhus, Angiras, Rudras, Vishvedevas, Sadhyas, Gandharvas, Apsaras, Nagas, Siddhas, Caranas, Guhyakas, the great sages and forefathers and the Vidyadharas and Kinnaras, arrived at the city of Dvaraka, hoping to see Lord Krsna. By His transcendental form, Krsna, the Supreme Lord, enchanted all human beings and spread His own fame throughout the worlds. The Lord's glories destroy all contamination within the universe. In that resplendent city of Dvaraka, rich with all superior opulences, the demigods beheld with unsatiated eyes the wonderful form of Shri Krsna. The demigods covered the Supreme Lord of the universe with flower garlands brought from the gardens of heaven. Then they praised Him, the best of the Yadu dynasty, with statements containing charming words and ideas. The demigods began to speak: Our dear Lord, advanced mystie yogis, striving for liberation from the severe bondage of material work, meditate with great devotion upon Your lotus feet within their hearts. Dedicating our intelligence, senses, vital air, mind and power of speech to Your Lordship, we demigods bow down at Your lotus feet. O unconquerable Lord, You engage Your illusory energy, composed of three modes, to unleash, maintain and devastate the inconceivable manifest cosmos, all within Your own self. As the supreme superintendent of maya, You appear to be situated in the interaction of the modes of nature; however, You are never affected by material activities. In fact, You are directly engaged in Your own eternal, spiritual bliss, and thus You cannot be accused of any material infection. O greatest of all, those whose consciousness is polluted by illusion cannot purify themselves merely by ordinary worship, study of the Vedas, charity, austerity and ritual activities. Our Lord, those pure souls who have developed a powerful transcendental faith in Your glories achieve a purified state of existence that can never be attained by those lacking such faith. Great sages, desiring the highest benefit in life, always cherish Your lotus feet within their hearts, which are melted by love for You. Similarly, Your self-controlled devotees, desiring to cross beyond the material kingdom of heaven to achieve opulence equal to Yours, worship Your lotus feet in the morning, at noon and in the evening. Thus, they meditate upon Your Lordship in Your quadruple expansion. Your lotus feet are just like a blazing fire that burns to ashes all the inauspicious desires for material sense gratification. Those about to offer oblations into the fire of sacrifice in accordance with the Rig, Yajur and Sama Vedas meditate on Your lotus feet. Similarly, the practitioners of transcendental yoga meditate upon Your lotus feet, hoping for knowledge about Your divine mystic potency, and the most elevated pure devotees perfectly worship Your lotus feet, desiring to cross beyond Your illusory potency. O almighty Lord, You are so kind to Your servants that You have accepted the withered flower garland that we have placed on Your chest. Since the goddess of fortune makes her abode on Your transcendental chest, she will undoubtedly become agitated, like a jealous co-wife, upon seeing our offering also dwelling there. Yet You are so merciful that You neglect Your eternal consort Laksmi and accept our offering as most excellent worship. O merciful Lord, may Your lotus feet always aet as a blazing fire to consume the inauspicious desires within our hearts. O omnipotent Lord, in Your incarnation as Trivikrama, You raised Your leg like a flagpole to break the shell of the universe, allowing the holy Ganges to flow down, like a banner of victory, in three branches throughout the three planetary systems. By three mighty steps of Your lotus feet, Your Lordship captured Bali Maharaja, along with his universal kingdom. Your lotus feet inspire fear in the demons by driving them down to hell and fearlessness among Your devotees by elevating them to the perfection of heavenly life. We are sincerely trying to worship You, our Lord; therefore may Your lotus feet kindly free us from all of our sinful reactions. You are the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the transcendental entity who is superior to both material nature and the enjoyer of nature. May Your lotus feet bestow transcendental pleasure upon us. All of the great demigods, beginning with Brahma, are embodied living entities. Struggling painfully with one another under the strict control of Your time factor, they are just like bulls dragged by ropes tied through their pierced noses. You are the cause of the creation, maintenance and destruction of this universe. As time, You regulate the subtle and manifest states of material nature and control every living being. As the threefold wheel of time You diminish all things by Your imperceptible actions, and thus You are the Supreme Personality of Godhead. My dear Lord, the original purusa-avatara, Maha-Visnu, acquires His creative potency from You. Thus with infallible energy He impregnates material nature, producing the mahat-tattva. Then the mahat-tattva, the amalgamated material energy, endowed with the potency of the Lord, produces from itself the primeval golden egg of the universe, which is covered by various layers of material elements. O Lord, You are the supreme creator of this universe and the ultimate controller of all moving and nonmoving living entities. You are Hrsikesha, the supreme controller of all sensory activity, and thus You never become contaminated or entangled in the course of Your supervision of the infinite sensory activities within the material creation. On the other hand, other living entities, even yogis and philosophers, are disturbed and frightened simply by remembering the material objects that they have supposedly renounced in their pursuit of enlightenment. My Lord, You are living with sixteen thousand exquisitely beautiful, aristocratic wives. By their irresistible coy and smiling glances and by their lovely arching eyebrows, they send You messages of eager conjugal love. But they are completely unable to disturb the mind and senses of Your Lordship. The nectar-bearing rivers of discussions about You, and also the holy rivers generated from the bathing of Your lotus feet, are able to destroy all contamination within the three worlds. Those who are striving for purification associate with the holy narrations of Your glories by hearing them with their ears, and they associate with the holy rivers flowing from Your lotus feet by physically bathing in them. Shri Shukadeva Gosvami continued: After Brahma, along with Lord Shiva and the other demigods, thus offered prayers to the Supreme Lord, Govinda, Lord Brahma situated himself in the sky and addressed the Lord as follows. Lord Brahma said: My dear Lord, previously we requested You to remove the burden of the earth. O unlimited Personality of Godhead, that request has certainly been fulfilled. My Lord, You have reestablished the principles of religion among pious men who are always firmly bound to the truth. You have also distributed Your glories all over the world, and thus the whole world can be purified by hearing about You. Descending into the dynasty of King Yadu, You have manifested Your unique transcendental form, and for the benefit of the entire universe You have executed magnanimous transcendental activities. My dear Lord, those pious and saintly persons who in the age of Kali hear about Your transcendental activities and also glorify them will easily cross over the darkness of the age. O Supreme Personality of Godhead, O my Lord, You have descended into the Yadu dynasty, and thus You have spent one hundred twenty-five autumns with Your devotees. My dear Lord, there is nothing remaining at this time for Your Lordship to do on behalf of the demigods. You have already withdrawn Your dynasty by the curse of the brahmanas. O Lord, You are the basis of everything, and if You so desire, kindly return now to Your own abode in the spiritual world. At the same time, we humbly beg that You always protect us. We are Your humble servants, and on Your behalf we are managing the universal situation. We, along with our planets and followers, require Your constant protection. The Supreme Lord said: O lord of the demigods, Brahma, I understand your prayers and request. Having removed the burden of the earth, I have executed everything that was required on your behalf. That very Yadava dynasty in which I appeared became greatly magnified in opulence, especially in their physical strength and courage, to the extent that they threatened to devour the whole world. Therefore I have stopped them, just as the shore holds back the great ocean. If I were to leave this world without withdrawing the overly proud members of the Yadu dynasty, the whole world would be destroyed by the deluge of their unlimited expansion. Now due to the brahmana's curse, the annihilation of My family has already begun. O sinless Brahma, when this annihilation is finished and I am enroute to Vaikuntha, I will pay a small visit to your abode. Shri Shukadeva Gosvami said: Thus addressed by the Lord of the universe, the self-born Brahma fell down in obeisances at the lotus feet of the Lord. Surrounded by all the demigods, the great Brahma then returned to his personal abode. Thereafter, the Personality of Godhead observed that tremendous disturbances were taking place in the holy city of Dvaraka. Thus the Lord spoke to the assembled senior members of the Yadu dynasty as follows. The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: Our dynasty has been cursed by the brahmanas. Such a curse is impossible to counteract, and thus great disturbances are appearing everywhere around us. My dear respected elders, we must not remain any longer in this place if we wish to keep our lives intact. Let us go this very day to the most pious place Prabhasa. We have no time to delay. Once, the moon was afflicted with consumption because of the curse of Daksa, but just by taking bath at Prabhasa-ksetra, the moon was immediately freed from his sinful reaction and again resumed the waxing of his phases. By bathing at Prabhasa-ksetra, by offering sacrifice there to placate the forefathers and demigods, by feeding the worshipable brahmanas with various delicious foodstuffs and by bestowing opulent gifts upon them as the most suitable candidates for charity, we will certainly cross over these terrible dangers through such acts of charity, just as one can cross over a great ocean in a suitable boat. Shukadeva Gosvami said: O favorite son of the Kurus, thus advised by the Personality of Godhead, the Yadavas made up their minds to go to that holy place, Prabhasa-ksetra, and thus yoked their horses to their chariots. My dear King, Uddhava was a constantly faithful follower of Lord Krsna. Upon seeing the imminent departure of the Yadavas, hearing from them of the Lord's instructions and taking note of the fearful omens, he approached the Personality of Godhead in a private place. He bowed down with his head at the lotus feet of the supreme controller of the universe and with folded hands addressed Him as follows. Shri Uddhava said: O my Lord, O supreme God among all the demigods, real piety is invoked simply by hearing and chanting Your transcendental glories. My Lord, it appears that You will now withdraw Your dynasty, and thus You Yourself will finally give up Your pastimes within this universe. You are the supreme controller and the master of all mystic power. But although You are fully capable of counteracting the brahmanas' curse against Your dynasty, You are not doing so, and Your disappearance is imminent. O Lord Keshava, my dear master, I cannot tolerate giving up Your lotus feet even for a fraction of a moment. I urge You to take me along with You to Your own abode. O my dear Krsna, Your pastimes are supremely auspicious for mankind and are an intoxicating beverage for the ears. Tasting such pastimes, people forget their desires for other things. My dear Lord, You are the Supreme Soul, and thus You are most dear to us. We are Your devotees, and how can we possibly reject You or live without You even for a moment? Whether we are lying down, sitting, walking, standing, bathing, enjoying recreation, eating or doing anything else, we are constantly engaged in Your service. Simply by decorating ourselves with the garlands, fragrant oils, clothes and ornaments that You have already enjoyed, and by eating the remnants of Your meals, we, Your servants, will indeed conquer Your illusory energy. Naked sages who seriously endeavor in spiritual practice, who have raised their semen upward, who are peaceful and sinless members of the renounced order, attain the spiritual abode called Brahman. O greatest of mystics, although we are conditioned souls wandering on the path of fruitive work, we will certainly cross beyond the darkness of this material world simply by hearing about Your Lordship in the association of Your devotees. Thus we are always remembering and glorifying the wonderful things You do and the wonderful things You say. We ecstatically recall Your amorous pastimes with Your confidential conjugal devotees and how You boldly smile and move about while engaged in such youthful pastimes. My dear Lord, Your loving pastimes are bewilderingly similar to the activities of ordinary people within this material world. Shukadeva Gosvami said: O King Pariksit, thus addressed, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna, the son of Devaki, began to reply confidentially to His dear, unalloyed servant Uddhava. Chapter SEVEN Lord Krsna Instructs Uddhava The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: O greatly fortunate Uddhava, you have accurately revealed My desire to withdraw the Yadu dynasty from the earth and return to My own abode in Vaikuntha. Thus Lord Brahma, Lord Shiva and all other planetary rulers are now praying for Me to resume My residence in Vaikuntha. Answering the prayer of Lord Brahma, I descended within this world along with My plenary portion, Lord Baladeva, and performed various activities on behalf of the demigods. I have now completed My mission here. Now due to the brahmanas' curse the Yadu dynasty will certainly perish by fighting among themselves; and on the seventh day from today the ocean will rise up and inundate this city of Dvaraka. O saintly Uddhava, in the near future I will abandon this earth. Then, being overwhelmed by the age of Kali, the earth will be bereft of all piety. My dear Uddhava, you should not remain here on the earth once I have abandoned this world. My dear devotee, you are sinless, but in Kali-yuga the people will be addicted to all types of sinful activities; therefore do not stay here. Now you should completely give up all attachment to your personal friends and relatives and fix your mind on Me. Thus being always conscious of Me, you should observe all things with equal vision and wander throughout the earth. My dear Uddhava, the material universe that you perceive through your mind, speech, eyes, ears and other senses is an illusory creation that one imagines to be real due to the influence of maya. In fact, you should know that all of the objects of the material senses are temporary. One whose consciousness is bewildered by illusion perceives many differences in value and meaning among material objects. Thus one engages constantly on the platform of material good and evil and is bound by such conceptions. Absorbed in material duality, such a person contemplates the performance of compulsory duties, nonperformance of such duties and performance of forbidden activities. Therefore, bringing all your senses under control and thus subduing the mind, you should see the entire world as situated within the self, who is expanded everywhere, and you should also see this individual self within Me, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Being fully endowed with conclusive knowledge of the Vedas and having realized the ultimate purpose of such knowledge in practice, you will be able to perceive the pure self, and thus your mind will be satisfied. At that time you will become dear to all living beings, headed by the demigods, and you will never be hampered by any disturbance in life. One who has transcended material good and evil automatically acts in accordance with religious injunctions and avoids forbidden activities. The self-realized person does this spontaneously, like an innocent child, and not because he is thinking in terms of material good and evil. One who is the kind well-wisher of all living beings, who is peaceful and firmly fixed in knowledge and realization, sees Me within all things. Such a person never again falls down into the cycle of birth and death. Shri Shukadeva Gosvami said: O King, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Krsna, thus instructed His pure devotee Uddhava, who was eager to receive knowledge from the Lord. Uddhava then offered obeisances to the Lord and spoke as follows. Shri Uddhava said: My dear Lord, You alone award the results of yoga practice, and You are so kind that by Your own influence You distribute the perfection of yoga to Your devotee. Thus You are the Supreme Soul who is realized through yoga, and it is You who are the origin of all mystic power. For my supreme benefit You have explained the procedure for giving up the material world through the process of sannyasa, or renunciation. My dear Lord, O Supreme Soul, for those whose minds are attached to sense gratification, and especially for those bereft of devotion unto You, such renunciation of material enjoyment is most difficult to perform. That is my opinion. O my Lord, I myself am most foolish because my consciousness is merged in the material body and bodily relations, which are all manufactured by Your illusory energy. Thus I am thinking, "I am this body, and all of these relatives are mine." Therefore, my Lord, please instruct Your poor servant. Please tell me how I can very easily carry out Your instructions. My dear Lord, You are the Absolute Truth, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and You reveal Yourself to Your devotees. Besides Your Lordship, I do not see anyone who can actually explain perfect knowledge to me. Such a perfect teacher is not to be found even among the demigods in heaven. Indeed, all of the demigods, headed by Lord Brahma, are bewildered by Your illusory potency. They are conditioned souls who accept their own material bodies and bodily expansions to be the highest truth. Therefore, O Lord, feeling weary of material life and tormented by its distresses, I now surrender unto You because You are the perfect master. You are the unlimited, all-knowing Supreme Personality of Godhead, whose spiritual abode in Vaikuntha is free from all disturbances. In fact, You are known as Narayana, the true friend of all living beings. The Supreme Lord replied: Generally those human beings who can expertly analyze the actual situation of the material world are able to raise themselves beyond the inauspicious life of gross material gratification. An intelligent person, expert in perceiving the world around him and in applying sound logic, can achieve real benefit through his own intelligence. Thus sometimes one acts as one's own instructing spiritual master. In the human form of life, those who are self-controlled and expert in the spiritual science of Sankhya can directly see Me along with all of My potencies. In this world there are many kinds of created bodies - some with one leg, others with two, three, four or more legs, and still others with no legs - but of all these, the human form is actually dear to Me. Although I, the Supreme Lord, can never be captured by ordinary sense perception, those situated in human life may use their intelligence and other faculties of perception to directly search for Me through both apparent and indirectly ascertained symptoms. In this regard, sages cite a historical narration concerning the conversation between the greatly powerful King Yadu and an avadhuta. Maharaja Yadu once observed a certain brahmana avadhuta, who appeared to be quite young and learned, wandering about fearlessly. Being himself most learned in spiritual science, the King took the opportunity and inquired from him as follows. Shri Yadu said: O brahmana, I see that you are not engaged in any practical religious activity, and yet you have acquired a most expert understanding of all things and all people within this world. Kindly tell me, sir, how did you acquire this extraordinary intelligence, and why are you traveling freely throughout the world behaving as if you were a child? Generally human beings work hard to cultivate religiosity, economic development, sense gratification and also knowledge of the soul, and their usual motive is to increase the duration of their lives, acquire fame and enjoy material opulence. You, however, although capable, learned, expert, handsome and most eloquent, are not engaged in doing anything, nor do you desire anything; rather, you appear stupefied and maddened as if you were a ghostly creature. Although all people within the material world are burning in the great forest fire of lust and greed, you remain free and are not burned by that fire. You are just like an elephant who takes shelter from a forest fire by standing within the water of the Ganges River, O brahmana, we see that you are devoid of any contact with material enjoyment and that you are traveling alone, without any companions or family members. Therefore, because we are sincerely inquiring from you, please tell us the cause of the great ecstasy that you are feeling within yourself. Lord Krsna continued: The intelligent King Yadu, always respectful to the brahmanas, waited with bowed head as the brahmana, pleased with the King's attitude, began to reply. The brahmana said: My dear King, with my intelligence I have taken shelter of many spiritual masters. Having gained transcendental understanding from them, I now wander about the earth in a liberated condition. Please listen as I describe them to you. O King, I have taken shelter of twenty-four gurus, who are the following: the earth, air, sky, water, fire, moon, sun, pigeon and python; the sea, moth, honeybee, elephant and honey thief; the deer, the fish, the prostitute Pingala, the kurara bird and the child; and the young girl, arrow maker, serpent, spider and wasp. My dear King, by studying their activities I have learned the science of the self. Please listen, O son of Maharaja Yayati, O tiger among men, as I explain to you what I have learned from each of these gurus. A sober person, even when harassed by other living beings, should understand that his aggressors are acting helplessly under the control of God, and thus he should never be distracted from progress on his own path. This rule I have learned from the earth. A saintly person should learn from the mountain to devote all his efforts to the service of others and to make the welfare of others the sole reason for his existence. Similarly, as the disciple of the tree, he should learn to dedicate himself to others. A learned sage should take his satisfaction in the simple maintenance of his existence and should not seek satisfaction through gratifying the material senses. In other words, one should care for the material body in such a way that one's higher knowledge is not destroyed and so that one's speech and mind are not deviated from self-realization. Even a transcendentalist is surrounded by innumerable material objects, which possess good and bad qualities. However, one who has transcended material good and evil should not become entangled even when in contact with the material objects; rather, he should act like the wind. Although a self-realized soul may live in various material bodies while in this world, experiencing their various qualities and functions, he is never entangled, just as the wind which carries various aromas does not actually mix with them. A thoughtful sage, even while living within a material body, should understand himself to be pure spirit soul. Similarly, one should see that the spirit soul enters within all forms of life, both moving and nonmoving, and that the individual souls are thus all-pervading. The sage should further observe that the Supreme Personality of Godhead, as the Supersoul, is simultaneously present within all things. Both the individual soul and the Supersoul can be understood by comparing them to the nature of the sky: although the sky extends everywhere and everything rests within the sky, the sky does not mix with anything, nor can it be divided by anything. Although the mighty wind blows clouds and storms across the sky, the sky is never implicated or affected by these activities. Similarly, the spirit soul is not actually changed or affected by contact with the material nature. Although the living entity enters within a body made of earth, water and fire, and although he is impelled by the three modes of nature created by eternal time, his eternal spiritual nature is never actually affected. O King, a saintly person is just like water because he is free from all contamination, gentle by nature, and by speaking creates a beautiful vibration like that of flowing water. Just by seeing, touching or hearing such a saintly person, the living entity is purified, just as one is cleansed by contact with pure water. Thus a saintly person, just like a holy place, purifies all those who contact him because he always chants the glories of the Lord. Saintly persons become powerful by execution of austerities. Their consciousness is unshakable because they do not try to enjoy anything within the material world. Such naturally liberated sages accept foodstuffs that are offered to them by destiny, and if by chance they happen to eat contaminated food, they are not affected, just like fire, which burns up contaminated substances that are offered to it. A saintly person, just like fire, sometimes appears in a concealed form and at other times reveals himself. For the welfare of the conditioned souls who desire real happiness, a saintly person may accept the worshipable position of spiritual master, and thus like fire he burns to ashes all the past and future sinful reactions of his worshipers by mercifully accepting their offerings. Just as fire manifests differently in pieces of wood of different sizes and qualities, the omnipotent Supreme Soul, having entered the bodies of higher and lower life forms created by His own potency, appears to assume the identity of each. The various phases of one's material life, beginning with birth and culminating in death, are all properties of the body and do not affect the soul, just as the apparent waxing and waning of the moon does not affect the moon itself. Such changes are enforced by the imperceptible movements of time. The flames of a fire appear and disappear at every moment, and yet this creation and destruction is not noticed by the ordinary observer. Similarly, the mighty waves of time flow constantly, like the powerful currents of a river, and imperceptibly cause the birth, growth and death of innumerable material bodies. And yet the soul, who is thus constantly forced to change his position, cannot perceive the actions of time. Just as the sun evaporates large quantities of water by its potent rays and later returns the water to the earth in the form of rain, similarly, a saintly person accepts all types of material objects with his material senses, and at the appropriate time, when the proper person has approached him to request them, he returns such material objects. Thus, both in accepting and giving up the objects of the senses, he is not entangled. Even when reflected in various objects, the sun is never divided, nor does it merge into its reflection. Only those with dull brains would consider the sun in this way. Similarly, although the soul is reflected through different material bodies, the soul remains undivided and nonmaterial. One should never indulge in excessive affection or concern for anyone or anything; otherwise one will have to experience great suffering, just like the foolish pigeon. There once was a pigeon who lived in the forest along with his wife. He had built a nest within a tree and lived there for several years in her company. The two pigeons were very much devoted to their household duties. Their hearts being tied together by sentimental affection, they were each attracted by the other's glances, bodily features and states of mind. Thus, they completely bound each other in affection. Naively trusting in the future, they carried out their acts of resting, sitting, walking, standing, conversing, playing, eating and so forth as a loving couple among the trees of the forest. Whenever she desired anything, O King, the she-pigeon would flatteringly cajole her husband, and he in turn would gratify her by faithfully doing whatever she wanted, even with great personal difficulty. Thus, he could not control his senses in her association. Then the female pigeon experienced her first pregnancy. When the time arrived, the chaste lady delivered a number of eggs within the nest in the presence of her husband. When the time was ripe, baby pigeons, with tender limbs and feathers created by the inconceivable potencies of the Lord, were born from those eggs. The two pigeons became most affectionate to their children and took great pleasure in listening to their awkward chirping, which sounded very sweet to the parents. Thus with love they began to raise the little birds who were born of them. The parent birds became very joyful by observing the soft wings of their children, their chirping, their lovely innocent movements around the nest and their attempts to jump up and fly. Seeing their children happy, the parents were also happy. Their hearts bound to each other by affection, the foolish birds, completely bewildered by the illusory energy of Lord Visnu, continued to take care of the young offspring who had been born to them. One day the two heads of the family went out to find food for the children. Being very anxious to feed their offspring properly, they wandered all over the forest for a long time. At that time a certain hunter who happened to be wandering through the forest saw the young pigeons moving about near their nest. Spreading out his net he captured them all. The pigeon and his wife were always anxious for the maintenance of their children, and they were wandering in the forest for that purpose. Having obtained proper food, they now returned to their nest. When the lady pigeon caught sight of her own children trapped within the hunter's net, she was overwhelmed with anguish, and crying out, she rushed toward them as they cried out to her in return. The lady pigeon had always allowed herself to be bound by the ropes of intense material affection, and thus her mind was overwhelmed by anguish. Being in the grip of the illusory energy of the Lord, she completely forgot herself, and rushing forward to her helpless children, she was immediately bound in the hunter's net. Seeing his own children, who were more dear to him than life itself, fatally bound in the hunter's net along with his dearmost wife, whom he considered equal in every way to himself, the poor male pigeon began to lament wretchedly. The male pigeon said: Alas, just see how I am now destroyed! I am obviously a great fool, for I did not properly execute pious activities. I could not satisfy myself, nor could I fulfill the purpose of life. My dear family, which was the basis of my religiosity, economic development and sense gratification, is now hopelessly ruined. My wife and I were an ideal match. She always faithfully obeyed me and in fact accepted me as her worshipable deity. But now, seeing her children lost and her home empty, she has left me behind and gone to heaven with our saintly children. Now I am a wretched person living in an empty home. My wife is dead; my children are dead. Why should I possibly want to live? My heart is so pained by separation from my family that life itself has become simply suffering. As the father pigeon wretchedly stared at his poor children trapped in the net and on the verge of death, pathetically struggling to free themselves, his mind went blank, and thus he himself fell into the hunter's net. The cruel hunter, having fulfilled his desire by capturing the head pigeon, his wife and all of their children, set off for his own home. In this way, one who is too attached to family life becomes disturbed at heart. Like the pigeon, he tries to find pleasure in mundane sex attraction. Busily engaged in maintaining his own family, the miserly person is fated to suffer greatly, along with all his family members. The doors of liberation are opened wide to one who has achieved human life. But if a human being simply devotes himself to family life like the foolish bird in this story, then he is to be considered as one who has climbed to a high place only to trip and fall down. Chapter EIGHT The Story of Pingala The saintly brahmana said: O King, the embodied living entity automatically experiences unhappiness in heaven or hell. Similarly, happiness will also be experienced, even without one's seeking it. Therefore a person of intelligent discrimination does not make any endeavor to obtain such material happiness. Following the example of the python, one should give up material endeavors and accept for one's maintenance food that comes of its own accord, whether such food be delicious or tasteless, ample or meager. If at any time food does not come, then a saintly person should fast for many days without making endeavor. He should understand that by God's arrangement he must fast. Thus, following the example of the python, he should remain peaceful and patient. A saintly person should remain peaceful and materially inactive, maintaining his body without much endeavor. Even though possessed of full sensual, mental and physical strength, a saintly person should not become active for material gain but rather should always remain alert to his actual self-interest. A saintly sage is happy and pleasing in his external behavior, whereas internally he is most grave and thoughtful. Because his knowledge is immeasurable and unlimited he is never disturbed, and thus in all respects he is like the tranquil waters of the unfathomable and unsurpassable ocean. During the rainy season the swollen rivers rush into the ocean, and during the dry summer the rivers, now shallow, severely reduce their supply of water; yet the ocean does not swell up during the rainy season, nor does it dry up in the hot summer. In the same way, a saintly devotee who has accepted the Supreme Personality of Godhead as the goal of his life sometimes will receive by providence great material opulence, and sometimes he will find himself materially destitute. However, such a devotee of the Lord does not rejoice in a flourishing condition, nor is he morose when poverty-stricken. One who has failed to control his senses immediately feels attraction upon seeing a woman's form, which is created by the illusory energy of the Supreme Lord. Indeed, when the woman speaks with enticing words, smiles coquettishly and moves her body sensuously, his mind is immediately captured, and thus he falls blindly into the darkness of material existence, just as the moth maddened by the fire rushes blindly into its flames. A foolish person with no intelligent discrimination is immediately aroused at the sight of a lusty woman beautifully decorated with golden ornaments, fine clothing and other cosmetic features. Being eager for sense gratification, such a fool loses all intelligence and is destroyed just like the moth who rushes into the blazing fire. A saintly person should accept only enough food to keep his body and soul together. He should go from door to door accepting just a little bit of food from each family. Thus he should practice the occupation of the honeybee. Just as the honeybee takes nectar from all flowers, big and small, an intelligent human being should take the essence from all religious scriptures. A saintly person should not think, "This food I will keep to eat tonight and this other food I can save for tomorrow." In other words, a saintly person should not store foodstuffs acquired by begging. Rather, he should use his own hands as his plate and eat whatever fits on them. His only storage container should be his belly, and whatever conveniently fits into his belly should be his stock of food. Thus one should not imitate the greedy honeybee who eagerly collects more and more honey. A saintly mendicant should not even collect foodstuffs to eat later in the same day or the next day. If he disregards this injunction and like the honeybee collects more and more delicious foodstuffs, that which he has collected will indeed ruin him. A saintly person should never touch a young girl. In fact, he should not even let his foot touch a wooden doll in the shape of a woman. By bodily contact with a woman he will surely be captured by illusion, just as the elephant is captured by the she-elephant due to his desire to touch her body. A man possessing intelligent discrimination should not under any circumstances try to exploit the beautiful form of a woman for his sense gratification. Just as an elephant trying to enjoy a she-elephant is killed by other bull elephants also enjoying her company, one trying to enjoy a lady's company can at any moment be killed by her other lovers who are stronger than he. A greedy person accumulates a large quantity of money with great struggle and pain, but the person who has struggled so much to acquire this wealth is not always allowed to enjoy it himself or give it in charity to others. The greedy man is like the bee who struggles to produce a large quantity of honey, which is then stolen by a man who will enjoy it personally or sell it to others. No matter how carefully one hides his hard-earned wealth or tries to protect it, there are those who are expert in detecting the whereabouts of valuable things, and they will steal it. Just as a hunter takes away the honey laboriously produced by the honeybees, similarly, saintly mendicants such as brahmacaris and sannyasis are entitled to enjoy the property painstakingly accumulated by householders dedicated to family enjoyment. A saintly person dwelling in the forest in the renounced order of life should never listen to songs or music promoting material enjoyment. Rather, a saintly person should carefully study the example of the deer, who is bewildered by the sweet music of the hunter's horn and is thus captured and killed. Becoming attracted to the worldly singing, dancing and musical entertainment of beautiful women, even the great sage Risyashrnga, the son of Mrgi, fell totally under their control, just like a pet animal. Just as a fish, incited by the desire to enjoy his tongue, is fatally trapped on the fisherman's hook, similarly, a foolish person is bewildered by the extremely disturbing urges of the tongue and thus is ruined. By fasting, learned men quickly bring all of the senses except the tongue under control, because by abstaining from eating such men are afflicted with an increased desire to gratify the sense of taste. Although one may conquer all of the other senses, as long as the tongue is not conquered it cannot be said that one has controlled his senses. However, if one is able to control the tongue, then one is understood to be in full control of all the senses. O son of kings, previously in the city of Videha there dwelled a prostitute named Pingala. Now please hear what I have learned from that lady. Once that prostitute, desiring to bring a lover into her house, stood outside in the doorway at night showing her beautiful form. O best among men, this prostitute was very anxious to get money, and as she stood on the street at night she studied all the men who were passing by, thinking, "Oh, this one surely has money. I know he can pay the price, and I am sure he would enjoy my company very much." Thus she thought about all the men on the street. As the prostitute Pingala stood in the doorway, many men came and went, walking by her house. Her only means of sustenance was prostitution, and therefore she anxiously thought, "Maybe this one who is coming now is very rich...Oh, he is not stopping, but I am sure someone else will come. Surely this man who is coming now will want to pay me for my love, and he will probably give lots of money." Thus, with vain hope, she remained leaning against the doorway, unable to finish her business and go to sleep. Out of anxiety she would sometimes walk out toward the street, and sometimes she went back into her house. In this way, the midnight hour gradually arrived. As the night wore on, the prostitute, who intensely desired money, gradually became morose, and her face dried up. Thus being filled with anxiety for money and most disappointed, she began to feel a great detachment from her situation, and happiness arose in her mind. The prostitute felt disgusted with her material situation and thus became indifferent to it. Indeed, detachment acts like a sword, cutting to pieces the binding network of material hopes and desires. Now please hear from me the song sung by the prostitute in that situation. O King, just as a human being who is bereft of spiritual knowledge never desires to give up his false sense of proprietorship over many material things, similarly, a person who has not developed detachment never desires to give up the bondage of the material body. The prostitute Pingala said: Just see how greatly illusioned I am ! Because I cannot control my mind, just like a fool I desire lusty pleasure from an insignificant man. I am such a fool that I have given up the service of that person who, being eternally situated within my heart, is actually most dear to me. That most dear one is the Lord of the universe, who is the bestower of real love and happiness and the source of all prosperity. Although He is in my own heart, I have completely neglected Him. Instead I have ignorantly served insignificant men who can never satisfy my real desires and who have simply brought me unhappiness, fear, anxiety, lamentation and illusion. Oh, how I have uselessly tortured my own soul! I have sold my body to lusty, greedy men who are themselves objects of pity. Thus practicing the most abominable profession of a prostitute, I hoped to get money and sex pleasure. This material body is like a house in which I, the soul, am living. The bones forming my spine, ribs, arms and legs are like the beams, crossbeams and pillars of the house, and the whole structure, which is full of stool and urine, is covered by skin, hair and nails. The nine doors leading into this body are constantly excreting foul substances. Besides me, what woman could be so foolish as to devote herself to this material body, thinking that she might find pleasure and love in this contraption? Certainly in this city of Videha I alone am completely foolish. I neglected the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who awards us everything, even our original spiritual form, and instead I desired to enjoy sense gratification with many men. The Supreme Personality of Godhead is absolutely the most dear one for all living beings because He is everyone's well-wisher and Lord. He is the Supreme Soul situated in everyone's heart. Therefore I will now pay the price of complete surrender, and thus purchasing the Lord I will enjoy with Him just like Laksmidevi. Men provide sense gratification for women, but all these men, and even the demigods in heaven, have a beginning and an end. They are all temporary creations who will be dragged away by time. Therefore how much actual pleasure or happiness could any of them ever give to their wives? Although I most stubbornly hoped to enjoy the material world, somehow or other detachment has arisen in my heart, and it is making me very happy. Therefore the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Visnu, must be pleased with me. Without even knowing it, I must have performed some activity satisfying to Him. A person who has developed detachment can give up the bondage of material society, friendship and love, and a person who undergoes great suffering gradually becomes, out of hopelessness, detached and indifferent to the material world. Thus, due to my great suffering, such detachment awoke in my heart; yet how could I have undergone such merciful suffering if I were actually unfortunate? Therefore, I am in fact fortunate and have received the mercy of the Lord. He must somehow or other be pleased with me. With devotion I accept the great benefit that the Lord has bestowed upon me. Having given up my sinful desires for ordinary sense gratification, I now take shelter of Him, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. I am now completely satisfied, and I have full faith in the Lord's mercy. Therefore I will maintain myself with whatever comes of its own accord. I shall enjoy life with only the Lord, because He is the real source of love and happiness. The intelligence of the living entity is stolen away by activities of sense gratification, and thus he falls into the dark well of material existence. Within that well he is then seized by the deadly serpent of time. Who else but the Supreme Personality of Godhead could save the poor living entity from such a hopeless condition? When the living entity sees that the entire universe has been seized by the serpent of time, he becomes sober and sane and at that time detaches himself from all material sense gratification. In that condition the living entity is qualified to be his own protector. The avadhuta said: Thus, her mind completely made up, Pingala cut off all her sinful desires to enjoy sex pleasure with lovers, and she became situated in perfect peace. Then she sat down on her bed. Material desire is undoubtedly the cause of the greatest unhappiness, and freedom from such desire is the cause of the greatest happiness. Therefore, completely cutting off her desire to enjoy so-called lovers, Pingala very happily went to sleep. Chapter NINE Detachment from All that Is Material The saintly brahmana said: Everyone considers certain things within the material world to be most dear to him, and because of attachment to such things one eventually becomes miserable. One who understands this gives up material possessiveness and attachment and thus achieves unlimited happiness. Once a group of large hawks who were unable to find any prey attacked another, weaker hawk who was holding some meat. At that time, being in danger of his life, the hawk gave up his meat and experienced actual happiness. In family life, the parents are always in anxiety about their home, children and reputation. But I have nothing to do with these things. I do not worry at all about any family, and I do not care about honor and dishonor. I enjoy only the life of the soul, and I find love on the spiritual platform. Thus I wander the earth like a child. In this world two types of people are free from all anxiety and merged in great happiness: one who is a retarded and childish fool and one who has approached the Supreme Lord, who is beyond the three modes of material nature. Once a marriageable young girl was alone in her house because her parents and relatives had gone that day to another place. At that time a few men arrived at the house, specifically desiring to marry her. She received them with all hospitality. The girl went to a private place and began to make preparations so that the unexpected male guests could eat. As she was beating the rice, the conchshell bracelets on her arms were colliding and making a loud noise. The young girl feared that the men would consider her family to be poor because their daughter was busily engaged in the menial task of husking rice. Being very intelligent, the shy girl broke the shell bracelets from her arms, leaving just two on each wrist. Thereafter, as the young girl continued to husk the rice, the two bracelets on each wrist continued to collide and make noise. Therefore she took one bracelet off each arm, and with only one left on each wrist there was no more noise. O subduer of the enemy, I travel throughout the surface of the earth learning constantly about the nature of this world, and thus I personally witnessed the lesson of the young girl. When many people live together in one place there will undoubtedly be quarreling. And even if only two people live together there will be frivolous conversation and disagreement. Therefore, to avoid conflict, one should live alone, as we learn from the example of the bracelet of the young girl. Having perfected the yoga sitting postures and conquered the breathing process, one should make the mind steady by detachment and the regulated practice of yoga. Thus one should carefully fix the mind on the single goal of yoga practice. The mind can be controlled when it is fixed on the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Having achieved a stable situation, the mind becomes free from polluted desires to execute material activities; thus as the mode of goodness increases in strength, one can completely give up the modes of passion and ignorance, and gradually one transcends even the material mode of goodness. When the mind is freed from the fuel of the modes of nature, the fire of material existence is extinguished. Then one achieves the transcendental platform of direct relationship with the object of his meditation, the Supreme Lord. Thus, when one's consciousness is completely fixed on the Absolute Truth, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, one no longer sees duality, or internal and external reality. The example is given of the arrow maker who was so absorbed in making a straight arrow that he did not even see or notice the king himself, who was passing right next to him. A saintly person should remain alone and constantly travel without any fixed residence. Being alert, he should remain secluded and should act in such a way that he is not recognized or noticed by others. Moving without companions, he should not speak more than required. When a person living in a temporary material body tries to construct a happy home, the result is fruitless and miserable. The snake, however, enters a home that has been built by others and prospers happily. The Lord of the universe, Narayana, is the worshipable God of all living entities. Without extraneous assistance, the Lord creates this universe by His own potency, and at the time of annihilation the Lord destroys the universe through His personal expansion of time and withdraws all of the cosmos, including all the conditioned living entities, within Himself. Thus, His unlimited Self is the shelter and reservoir of all potencies. The subtle pradhana, the basis of all cosmic manifestation, is conserved within the Lord and is in this way not different from Him. In the aftermath of annihilation the Lord stands alone. When the Supreme Personality of Godhead displays His own potency in the form of time and guides His material potencies, such as the mode of goodness, into a neutral condition of equilibrium, He remains as the supreme controller of that neutral state, called pradhana, as well as of the living entities. He is also the supreme worshipable object for all beings, including liberated souls, demigods and ordinary conditioned souls. The Lord is eternally free from any material designation, and He constitutes the totality of spiritual bliss, which one experiences by seeing the Lord's spiritual form. The Lord thus exhibits the fullest meaning of the word "liberation." O subduer of the enemies, at the time of creation the Personality of Godhead expands His own transcendental potency in the form of time, and agitating His material energy, maya, composed of the three modes of material nature, He creates the mahat-tattva. According to great sages, that which is the basis of the three modes of material nature and which manifests the variegated universe is called the sutra or mahat- tattva. Indeed, this universe is resting within that mahat-tattva, and due to its potency the living entity undergoes material existence. Just as from within himself the spider expands thread through his mouth, plays with it for some time and eventually swallows it, similarly, the Supreme Personality of Godhead expands His personal potency from within Himself. Thus, the Lord displays the network of cosmic manifestation, utilizes it according to His purpose and eventually withdraws it completely within Himself. If out of love, hate or fear an embodied soul fixes his mind with intelligence and complete concentration upon a particular bodily form, he will certainly attain the form that he is meditating upon. O King, once a wasp forced a weaker insect to enter his hive and kept him trapped there. In great fear the weak insect constantly meditated upon his captor, and without giving up his body, he gradually achieved the same state of existence as the wasp. Thus one achieves a state of existence according to one's constant concentration. O King, from all these spiritual masters I have acquired great wisdom. Now please listen as I explain what I learned from my own body. The material body is also my spiritual master because it teaches me detachment. Being subject to creation and destruction, it always comes to a painful end. Thus, although using my body to acquire knowledge, I always remember that it will ultimately be consumed by others, and remaining detached, I move about this world. A man attached to the body accumulates money with great struggle to expand and protect the position of his wife, children, property, domestic animals, servants, homes, relatives, friends, and so on. He does all this for the gratification of his own body. As a tree before dying produces the seed of a future tree, the dying body manifests the seed of one's next material body in the form of one's accumulated karma. Thus assuring the continuation of material existence, the material body sinks down and dies. A man who has many wives is constantly harassed by them. He is responsible for their maintenance, and thus all the ladies constantly pull him in different directions, each struggling for her self-interest. Similarly, the material senses harass the conditioned soul, pulling him in many different directions at once. On one side the tongue is pulling him to arrange tasty food; then thirst drags him to get a suitable drink. Simultaneously the sex organs clamor for satisfaction, and the sense of touch demands soft, sensuous objects. The belly harasses him until it is filled, the ears demand to hear pleasing sounds, the sense of smell hankers for pleasant aromas, and the fickle eyes clamor for pleasing sights. Thus the senses, organs and limbs, all desiring satisfaction, pull the living entity in many directions. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, expanding His own potency, maya-shakti, created innumerable species of life to house the conditioned souls. Yet by creating the forms of trees, reptiles, animals, birds, snakes and so on, the Lord was not satisfied within His heart. Then He created human life, which offers the conditioned soul sufficient intelligence to perceive the Absolute Truth, and became pleased. After many, many births and deaths one achieves the rare human form of life, which, although temporary, affords one the opportunity to attain the highest perfection. Thus a sober human being should quickly endeavor for the ultimate perfection of life as long as his body, which is always subject to death, has not fallen down and died. After all, sense gratification is available even in the most abominable species of life, whereas Krsna consciousness is possible only for a human being. Having learned from my spiritual masters, I remain situated in realization of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and, fully renounced and enlightened by realized spiritual knowledge, wander the earth without attachment or false ego. Although the Absolute Truth is one without a second, the sages have described Him in many different ways. Therefore one may not be able to acquire very firm or complete knowledge from one spiritual master. The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: Having thus spoken to King Yadu, the wise brahmana accepted obeisances and worship from the King and felt pleased within himself. Then bidding farewell, he left exactly as he had come. O Uddhava, hearing the words of the avadhuta, the saintly King Yadu, who is the forefather of our own ancestors, became free from all material attachment, and thus his mind was evenly fixed on the spiritual platform. Chapter TEN The Nature of Fruitive Activity The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: Taking full shelter in Me, with the mind carefully fixed in the devotional service of the Lord as spoken by Me, one should live without personal desire and practice the social and occupational system called varnashrama. A purified soul should see that because the conditioned souls who are dedicated to sense gratification have falsely accepted the objects of sense pleasure as truth, all of their endeavors are doomed to failure. One who is sleeping may see many objects of sense gratification in a dream, but such pleasurable things are merely creations of the mind and are thus ultimately useless. Similarly, the living entity who is asleep to his spiritual identity also sees many sense objects, but these innumerable objects of temporary gratification are creations of the Lord's illusory potency and have no permanent existence. One who meditates upon them, impelled by the senses, uselessly engages his intelligence. One who has fixed Me within his mind as the goal of life should give up activities based on sense gratification and should instead execute work governed by the regulative principles for advancement. When, however, one is fully engaged in searching out the ultimate truth of the soul, one should not accept the scriptural injunctions governing fruitive activities. One who has accepted Me as the supreme goal of life should strictly observe the scriptural injunctions forbidding sinful activities and, as far as possible, should execute the injunctions prescribing minor regulative duties such as cleanliness. Ultimately, however, one should approach a bona fide spiritual master who is full in knowledge of Me as I am, who is peaceful, and who by spiritual elevation is not different from Me. The servant or disciple of the spiritual master should be free from false prestige, never considering himself to be the doer. He should be active and never lazy and should give up all sense of proprietorship over the objects of the senses, including his wife, children, home and society. He should be endowed with feelings of loving friendship toward the spiritual master and should never become deviated or bewildered. The servant or disciple should always desire advancement in spiritual understanding, should not envy anyone and should always avoid useless conversation. One should see one's real self-interest in life in all circumstances and should therefore remain detached from wife, children, home, land, relatives, friends, wealth and so on. Just as fire, which burns and illuminates, is different from firewood, which is to be burned to give illumination, similarly the seer within the body, the self- enlightened spirit soul, is different from the material body, which is to be illuminated by consciousness. Thus the spirit soul and the body possess different characteristics and are separate entities. Just as fire may appear differently as dormant, manifest, weak, brilliant and so on, according to the condition of the fuel, similarly, the spirit soul enters a material body and accepts particular bodily characteristics. The subtle and gross material bodies are created by the material modes of nature, which expand from the potency of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Material existence occurs when the living entity falsely accepts the qualities of the gross and subtle bodies as being his own factual nature. This illusory state, however, can be destroyed by real knowledge. Therefore, by the cultivation of knowledge one should approach the Supreme Personality of Godhead situated within oneself. By understanding the Lord's pure, transcendental existence, one should gradually give up the false vision of the material world as independent reality. The spiritual master can be compared to the lower kindling stick, the disciple to the upper kindling stick, and the instruction given by the guru to the third stick placed in between. The transcendental knowledge communicated from guru to disciple is compared to the fire arising from the contact of these, which burns the darkness of ignorance to ashes, bringing great happiness both to guru and disciple. By submissively hearing from an expert spiritual master, the expert disciple develops pure knowledge, which repels the onslaught of material illusion arising from the three modes of material nature. Finally this pure knowledge itself ceases, just as fire ceases when the stock of fuel has been consumed. My dear Uddhava, I have thus explained to you perfect knowledge. There are philosophers, however, who challenge My conclusion. They state that the natural position of the living entity is to engage in fruitive activities, and they see him as the enjoyer of the happiness and unhappiness that accrue from his own work. According to this materialistic philosophy, the world, time, the revealed scriptures and the self are all variegated and eternal, existing as a perpetual flow of transformations. Knowledge, moreover, cannot be one or eternal, because it arises from the different and changing forms of objects; thus knowledge itself is always subject to change. Even if you accept such a philosophy, My dear Uddhava, there will still be perpetual birth, death, old age and disease, since all living entities must accept a material body subject to the influence of time. Although the performer of fruitive activities desires perpetual happiness, it is clearly observed that materialistic workers are often unhappy and only occasionally satisfied, thus proving that they are not independent or in control of their destiny. When a person is always under the superior control of another, how can he expect any valuable results from his own fruitive actions? It is observed within the material world that sometimes even an intelligent person is not happy. Similarly, sometimes even a great fool is happy. The concept of becoming happy through expertly performing material activities is simply a useless exhibition of false egotism. Even if people know how to achieve happiness and avoid unhappiness, they still do not know the process by which death will not be able to exert its power over them. Death is not st all pleasing, and since everyone is exactly like a condemned man being led to the place of execution, what possible happiness can people derive from material objects or the gratification they provide? That material happiness of which we hear, such as promotion to heavenly planets for celestial enjoyment, is just like that material happiness we have already experienced. Both are polluted by jealousy, envy, decay and death. Therefore, just as an attempt to raise crops becomes fruitless if there are many problems like crop disease, insect plague or drought, similarly, the attempt to attain material happiness, either on earth or on the heavenly planets, is always fruitless because of innumerable obstacles. If one performs Vedic sacrifices and fruitive rituals without any mistake or contamination, one will achieve a heavenly situation in the next life. But even this result, which is only achieved by perfect performance of fruitive rituals, will be vanquished by time. Now hear of this. If on earth one performs sacrifices for the satisfaction of the demigods, he goes to the heavenly planets, where, just like a demigod, he enjoys all of the heavenly pleasures he has earned by his performances. Having achieved the heavenly planets, the performer of ritualistic sacrifices travels in a glowing airplane, which he obtains as the result of his piety on earth. Being glorified by songs sung by the Gandharvas and dressed in wonderfully charming clothes, he enjoys life surrounded by heavenly goddesses. Accompanied by heavenly women, the enjoyer of the fruits of sacrifice goes on pleasure rides in a wonderful airplane, which is decorated with circles of tinkling bells and which flies wherever he desires. Being relaxed, comfortable and happy in the heavenly pleasure gardens, he does not consider that he is exhausting the fruits of his piety and will soon fall down to the mortal world. Until his pious results are used up, the performer of sacrifice enjoys life in the heavenly planets. When the pious results are exhausted, however, he falls down from the pleasure gardens of heaven, being moved against his desire by the force of eternal time. If a human being is engaged in sinful, irreligious activities, either because of bad association or because of his failure to control his senses, then such a person will certainly develop a personality full of material desires. He thus becomes miserly toward others, greedy and always anxious to exploit the bodies of women. When the mind is so polluted one becomes violent and aggressive and without the authority of Vedic injunctions slaughters innocent animals for sense gratification. Worshiping ghosts and spirits, the bewildered person falls fully into the grip of unauthorized activities and thus goes to hell, where he receives a material body infected by the darkest modes of nature. In such a degraded body, he unfortunately continues to perform inauspicious activities that greatly increase his future unhappiness, and therefore he again accepts a similar material body. What possible happiness can there be for one who engages in activities inevitably terminating in death? In all the planetary systems, from the heavenly to the hellish, and for all of the great demigods who live for one thousand yuga cycles, there is fear of Me in My form of time. Even Brahma, who possesses the supreme life span of 311,040,000,000,000 years, is also afraid of Me. The material senses create material activities, either pious or sinful, and the modes of nature set the material senses into motion. The living entity, being fully engaged by the material senses and modes of nature, experiences the various results of fruitive work. As long as the living entity thinks that the modes of material nature have separate existences, he will be obliged to take birth in many different forms and will experience varieties of material existence. Therefore, the living entity remains completely dependent on fruitive activities under the modes of nature. The conditioned soul who remains dependent on fruitive activities under the material modes of nature will continue to fear Me, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, since I impose the results of one's fruitive activities. Those who accept the material concept of life, taking the variegatedness of the modes of nature to be factual, devote themselves to material enjoyment and are therefore always absorbed in lamentation and grief. When there is agitation and interaction of the material modes of nature, the living entities then describe Me in various ways such as all-powerful time, the Self, Vedic knowledge, the universe, one's own nature, religious ceremonies and so on. Shri Uddhava said: O my Lord, a living entity situated within the material body is surrounded by the modes of nature and the happiness and distress that are born of activities caused by these modes. How is it possible that he is not bound by this material encirclement? It may also be said that the living entity is ultimately transcendental and has nothing to do with the material world. Then how is he ever bound by material nature? O my Lord, Acyuta, the same living entity is sometimes described as eternally conditioned and at other times as eternally liberated. I am not able to understand, therefore, the actual situation of the living entity. You, my Lord, are the best of those who are expert in answering philosophical questions. Please explain to me the symptoms by which one can tell the difference between a living entity who is eternally liberated and one who is eternally conditioned. In what various ways would they remain situated, enjoy life, eat, evacuate, lie down, sit or move about? Chapter ELEVEN The Symptoms of Conditioned and Liberated Living Entities The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: My dear Uddhava, due to the influence of the material modes of nature, which are under My control, the living entity is sometimes designated as conditioned and sometimes as liberated. In fact, however, the soul is never really bound up or liberated, and since I am the supreme Lord of maya, which is the cause of the modes of nature, I also am never to be considered liberated or in bondage. Just as a dream is merely a creation of one's intelligence but has no actual substance, similarly, material lamentation, illusion, happiness, distress and the acceptance of the material body under the influence of maya are all creations of My illusory energy. In other words, material existence has no essential reality. O Uddhava, both knowledge and ignorance, being products of maya, are expansions of My potency. Both knowledge and ignorance are beginningless and perpetually award liberation and bondage to embodied living beings. O most intelligent Uddhava, the living entity, called jiva, is part and parcel of Me, but due to ignorance he has been suffering in material bondage since time immemorial. By knowledge, however, he can be liberated. Thus, My dear Uddhava, in the same material body we find opposing characteristics, such as great happiness and misery. That is because both the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is eternally liberated, as well as the conditioned soul are within the body. I shall now speak to you about their different characteristics. By chance, two birds have made a nest together in the same tree. The two birds are friends and are of a similar nature. One of them, however, is eating the fruits of the tree, whereas the other, who does not eat the fruits, is in a superior position due to His potency. The bird who does not eat the fruits of the tree is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who by His omniscience perfectly understands His own position and that of the conditioned living entity, represented by the eating bird. That living entity, on the other hand, does not understand himself or the Lord. He is covered by ignorance and is thus called eternally conditioned, whereas the Personality of Godhead, being full of perfect knowledge, is eternally liberated. One who is enlightened in self-realization, although living within the material body, sees himself as transcendental to the body, just as one who has arisen from a dream gives up identification with the dream body. A foolish person, however, although not identical with his material body but transcendental to it, thinks himself to be situated in the body, just as one who is dreaming sees himself as situated in an imaginary body. An enlightened person who is free from the contamination of material desire does not consider himself to be the performer of bodily activities; rather, he knows that in all such activities it is only the senses, born of the modes of nature, that are contacting sense objects born of the same modes of nature. An unintelligent person situated within the body created by his previous fruitive activities thinks, "I am the performer of action." Bewildered by false ego, such a foolish person is therefore bound up by fruitive activities, which are in fact carried out by the modes of nature. An enlightened person fixed in detachment engages his body in lying down, sitting, walking, bathing, seeing, touching, smelling, eating, hearing and so on, but is never entangled by such activities. Indeed, remaining as a witness to all bodily functions, he merely engages his bodily senses with their objects and does not become entangled like an unintelligent person. Although the sky, or space, is the resting place of everything, the sky does not mix with anything, nor is it entangled. Similarly, the sun is not at all attached to the water in which it is reflected within innumerable reservoirs, and the mighty wind blowing everywhere is not affected by the innumerable aromas and atmospheres through which it passes. In the same way, a self-realized soul is completely detached from the material body and the material world around it. He is like a person who has awakened and arisen from a dream. With expert vision sharpened by detachment, the self-realized soul cuts all doubts to pieces through knowledge of the self and completely withdraws his consciousness from the expansion of material variety. A person is considered to be completely liberated from the gross and subtle material bodies when all the functions of his vital energy, senses, mind and intelligence are performed without material desire. Such a person, although situated within the body, is not entangled. Sometimes for no apparent reason one's body is attacked by cruel people or violent animals. At other times and in other places, one will suddenly be offered great respect or worship. One who becomes neither angry when attacked nor satisfied when worshiped is actually intelligent. A saintly sage sees with equal vision and therefore is not affected by that which is materially good or bad. Indeed, although he observes others performing good and bad work and speaking properly and improperly, the sage does not praise or criticize anyone. For the purpose of maintaining his body, a liberated sage should not act, speak or contemplate in terms of material good or bad. Rather, he should be detached in all material circumstances, and taking pleasure in self-realization, he should wander about engaged in this liberated life-style, appearing like a retarded person to outsiders. If through meticulous study one becomes expert in reading Vedic literature but makes no endeavor to fix one's mind on the Supreme Personality of Godhead, then one's endeavor is certainly like that of a man who works very hard to take care of a cow that gives no milk. In other words, the fruit of one's laborious study of Vedic knowledge will simply be the labor itself. There will be no other tangible result. My dear Uddhava, that man is certainly most miserable who takes care of a cow that gives no milk, an unchaste wife, a body totally dependent on others, useless children or wealth not utilized for the right purpose. Similarly, one who studies Vedic knowledge devoid of My glories is also most miserable. My dear Uddhava, an intelligent person should never take to literatures that do not contain descriptions of My activities, which purify the whole universe. Indeed, I create, maintain and annihilate the entire material manifestation. Among all My pastime incarnations, the most beloved are Krsna and Balarama. Any so-called knowledge that does not recognize these activities of Mine is simply barren and is not acceptable to those who are actually intelligent. Coming to this conclusion of all knowledge, one should give up the false conception of material variety that one imposes upon the soul and thus cease one's material existence. The mind should be fixed on Me, since I am all- pervading. My dear Uddhava, if you are not able to free your mind from all material disturbance and thus absorb it completely on the spiritual platform, then perform all your activities as an offering to Me, without trying to enjoy the fruits. My dear Uddhava, narrations of My pastimes and qualities are all-auspicious and purify the entire universe. A faithful person who constantly hears, glorifies and remembers such transcendental activities, who through dramatic performances relives My pastimes, beginning with My appearance, and who takes full shelter of Me, dedicating his religious, sensual and occupational activities for My satisfaction, certainly obtains unflinching devotional service to Me, the eternal Personality of Godhead. One who has obtained pure devotional service by association with My devotees always engages in worshiping Me. Thus he very easily goes to My abode, which is revealed by My pure devotees. Shri Uddhava said: My dear Lord, O Supreme Personality of Godhead, what type of person do You consider to be a true devotee, and what type of devotional service is approved by great devotees as worthy of being offered to Your Lordship? My dear ruler of the universal controllers, O Lord of Vaikuntha and almighty God of the universe, I am Your devotee, and because I love You I have no other shelter than You. Therefore please explain this to me. My dear Lord, as the Absolute Truth You are transcendental to material nature, and like the sky You are never entangled in any way. Still, being controlled by Your devotees' love, You accept many different forms, incarnating according to Your devotees' desires. The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: O Uddhava, a saintly person is merciful and never injures others. Even if others are aggressive he is tolerant and forgiving toward all living entities. His strength and meaning in life come from the truth itself, he is free from all envy and jealousy, and his mind is equal in material happiness and distress. Thus, he dedicates his time to work for the welfare of all others. His intelligence is never bewildered by material desires, and he has controlled his senses. His behavior is always pleasing, never harsh and always exemplary, and he is free from possessiveness. He never endeavors in ordinary, worldly activities, and he strictly controls his eating. He therefore always remains peaceful and steady. A saintly person is thoughtful and accepts Me as his only shelter. Such a person is very cautious in the execution of his duties and is never subject to superficial transformations, because he is steady and noble, even in a distressing situation. He has conquered over the six material qualities - namely hunger, thirst, lamentation, illusion, old age and death. He is free from all desire for prestige and offers honor to others. He is expert in reviving the Krsna consciousness of others and therefore never cheats anyone. Rather, he is a well-wishing friend to all, being most merciful. Such a saintly person must be considered the most learned of men. He perfectly understands that the ordinary religious duties prescribed by Me in various Vedic scriptures possess favorable qualities that purify the performer, and he knows that neglect of such duties constitutes a discrepancy in one's life. Having taken complete shelter at My lotus feet, however, a saintly person ultimately renounces such ordinary religious duties and worships Me alone. He is thus considered to be the best among all living entities. My devotees may or may not know exactly what I am, who I am and how I exist, but if they worship Me with unalloyed love, then I consider them to be the best of devotees. My dear Uddhava, one can give up false pride and prestige by engaging in the following devotional activities. One may purify oneself by seeing, touching, worshiping, serving, and offering prayers of glorification and obeisances to My form as the Deity and to My pure devotees. One should also glorify My transcendental qualities and activities, hear with love and faith the narrations of My glories and constantly meditate on Me. One should offer to Me whatever one acquires, and accepting oneself as My eternal servant, one should give oneself completely to Me. One should always discuss My birth and activities and enjoy life by participating in festivals, such as Janmastami, which glorify My pastimes. In My temple, one should also participate in festivals and ceremonies by singing, dancing, playing musical instruments and discussing Me with other Vaisnavas. One should observe all the regularly celebrated annual festivals by attending ceremonies, pilgrimages and making offerings. One should also observe religious vows such as Ekadashi and take initiation by the procedures mentioned in the Vedas, Pancaratra and other, similar literatures. One should faithfully and lovingly support the installation of My Deity, and individually or in cooperation with others one should work for the construction of Krsna conscious temples and cities as well as flower gardens, fruit gardens and special areas to celebrate My pastimes. One should consider oneself to be My humble servant, without duplicity, and thus should help to clean the temple, which is My home. First one should sweep and dust thoroughly, and then one should further cleanse with water and cow dung. Having dried the temple, one should sprinkle scented water and decorate the temple with mandalas. One should thus act just like My servant. A devotee should never advertise his devotional activities; therefore his service will not be the cause of false pride. One should never use lamps that are offered to Me for other purposes simply because there is need of illumination, and similarly, one should never offer to Me anything that has been offered to or used by others. Whatever is most desired by one within this material world, and whatever is most dear to oneself - one should offer that very thing to Me. Such an offering qualifies one for eternal life. O saintly Uddhava, please know that you may worship Me in the sun, fire, brahmanas, cows, Vaisnavas, sky, wind, water, earth, individual soul and all living entities. My dear Uddhava, one should worship Me within the sun by chanting selected Vedic mantras and by performing worship and offering obeisances. One may worship Me within fire by offering oblations of ghee, and one may worship Me among the brahmanas by respectfully receiving them as guests, even when uninvited. I can be worshiped within the cows by offerings of grass and other suitable grains and paraphernalia for the pleasure and health of the cows, and one may worship Me within the Vaisnavas by offering loving friendship to them and honoring them in all respects. Through steady meditation I am worshiped within the inner space of the heart, and within the air I can be worshiped by knowledge that prana, the life air, is the chief among elements. I am worshiped within water by offerings of water itself, along with other elements such as flowers and tulasi leaves, and one may worship Me within the earth by proper application of confidential seed mantras. One may worship Me within the individual living entity by offering food and other enjoyable substances, and one may worship Me within all living entities by seeing the Supersoul within all of them, thus maintaining equal vision. Thus, in the previously mentioned places of worship and according to the processes I have described, one should meditate on My peaceful, transcendental form with four arms holding a conchshell, Sudarshana disc, club and lotus flower. In this way, one should worship Me with fixed attention. One who has executed sacrificial performances and pious works for My satisfaction, and who thus worships Me with fixed attention, obtains unflinching devotional service unto Me. By the excellent quality of his service such a worshiper obtains realized knowledge of Me. My dear Uddhava, I am personally the ultimate shelter and way of life for saintly liberated persons, and thus if one does not engage in My loving devotional service, which is made possible by associating with My devotees, then for all practical purposes, one possesses no effective means for escaping from material existence. My dear Uddhava, O beloved of the Yadu dynasty, because you are My servant, well-wisher and friend, I shall now speak to you the most confidential knowledge. Please hear as I explain these great mysteries to you. Chapter TWELVE Beyond Renunciation and Knowledge The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: My dear Uddhava, by associating with My pure devotees one can destroy one's attachment for all objects of material sense gratification. Such purifying association brings Me under the control of My devotee. One may perform the astanga-yoga system, engage in philosophical analysis of the elements of material nature, practice nonviolence and other ordinary principles of piety, chant the Vedas, perform penances, take to the renounced order of life, execute sacrificial performances and dig wells, plant trees and perform other public welfare activities, give in charity, carry out severe vows, worship the demigods, chant confidential mantras, visit holy places or accept major and minor disciplinary injunctions, but even by performing such activities one does not bring Me under his control. In every yuga many living entities entangled in the modes of passion and ignorance gained the association of My devotees. Thus, such living entities as the Daityas, Raksasas, birds, beasts, Gandharvas, Apsaras, Nagas, Siddhas, Caranas, Guhyakas and Vidyadharas, as well as such lower-class human beings as the vaishyas, shudras, women and others, were able to achieve My supreme abode. Vrtrasura, Prahlada Maharaja and others like them also achieved My abode by association with My devotees, as did personalities such as Vrsaparva, Bali Maharaja, Banasura, Maya, Vibhisana, Sugriva, Hanuman, Jambavan, Gajendra, Jatayu, Tuladhara, Dharma-vyadha, Kubja, the gopis in Vrndavana and the wives of the brahmanas who were performing sacrifice. The persons I have mentioned did not undergo serious studies of the Vedic literature, nor did they worship great saintly persons, nor did they execute severe vows or austerities. Simply by association with Me and My devotees, they achieved Me. The inhabitants of Vrndavana, including the gopis, cows, unmoving creatures such as the twin arjuna trees, animals, living entities with stunted consciousness such as bushes and thickets, and snakes such as Kaliya, all achieved the perfection of life by unalloyed love for Me and thus very easily achieved Me. Even though one engages with great endeavor in the mystic yoga system, philosophical speculation, charity, vows, penances, ritualistic sacrifices, teaching of Vedic mantras to others, personal study of the Vedas, or the renounced order of life, still one cannot achieve Me. The residents of Vrndavana, headed by the gopis, were always completely attached to Me with deepest love. Therefore, when My uncle Akrura brought My brother Balarama and Me to the city of Mathura, the residents of Vrndavana suffered extreme mental distress because of separation from Me and could not find any other source of happiness. Dear Uddhava, all of those nights that the gopis spent with Me, their most dearly beloved, in the land of Vrndavana seemed to them to pass in less than a moment. Bereft of My association, however, the gopis felt that those same nights dragged on forever, as if each night were equal to a day of Brahma. My dear Uddhava, just as great sages in yoga trance merge into self-realization, like rivers merging into the ocean, and are thus not aware of material names and forms, similarly, the gopis of Vrndavana were so completely attached to Me within their minds that they could not think of their own bodies, or of this world, or of their future lives. Their entire consciousness was simply bound up in Me. All those hundreds of thousands of gopis, understanding Me to be their most charming lover and ardently desiring Me in that way, were unaware of My actual position. Yet by intimately associating with Me, the gopis attained Me, the Supreme Absolute Truth. Therefore, My dear Uddhava, abandon the Vedic mantras as well as the procedures of supplementary Vedic literatures and their positive and negative injunctions. Disregard that which has been heard and that which is to be heard. Simply take shelter of Me alone, for I am the Supreme Personality of Godhead, situated within the heart of all conditioned souls. Take shelter of Me wholeheartedly, and by My grace be free from fear in all circumstances. Shri Uddhava said: O Lord of all masters of mystic power, I have heard Your words, but the doubt in my heart does not go away; thus my mind is bewildered. The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: My dear Uddhava, the Supreme Lord gives life to every living being and is situated within the heart along with the life air and primal sound vibration. The Lord can be perceived in His subtle form within the heart by one's mind, since the Lord controls the minds of everyone, even great demigods like Lord Shiva. The Supreme Lord also assumes a gross form as the various sounds of the Vedas, composed of short and long vowels and consonants of different intonations. When sticks of kindling wood are vigorously rubbed together, heat is produced by contact with air, and a spark of fire appears. Once the fire is kindled, ghee is added and the fire blazes. Similarly, I become manifest in the sound vibration of the Vedas. The functions of the working senses - the organ of speech, the hands, the legs, the genital and the anus - and the functions of the knowledge-acquiring senses - the nose, tongue, eyes, skin and ears - along with the functions of the subtle senses of mind, intelligence, consciousness and false ego, as well as the function of the subtle pradhana and the interaction of the three modes of material nature - all these should be understood as My materially manifest form. When many seeds are placed in an agricultural field, innumerable manifestations of trees, bushes, vegetables and so on will arise from a single source, the soil. Similarly, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who gives life to all and is eternal, originally exists beyond the scope of the cosmic manifestation. In the course of time, however, the Lord, who is the resting place of the three modes of nature and the source of the universal lotus flower, in which the cosmic manifestation takes place, divides His material potencies and thus appears to be manifest in innumerable forms, although He is one. Just as woven cloth rests on the expansion of lengthwise and crosswise threads, similarly the entire universe is expanded on the lengthwise and crosswise potency of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and is situated within Him. The conditioned soul has been accepting material bodies since time immemorial, and these bodies are like great trees sustaining one's material existence. Just as a tree first blossoms and then produces fruit, similarly the tree of material existence, one's material body, produces the various results of material existence. This tree of material existence has two seeds, hundreds of roots, three lower trunks and five upper trunks. It produces five flavors and has eleven branches and a nest made by two birds. The tree is covered by three types of bark, gives two fruits and extends up to the sun. Those lusty after material enjoyment and dedicated to family life enjoy one of the tree's fruits, and swanlike men in the renounced order of life enjoy the other fruit. One who with the help of the bona fide spiritual masters can understand this tree to be a manifestation of the potency of the one Supreme Truth appearing in many forms actually knows the meaning of the Vedic literature. With steady intelligence you should develop unalloyed devotional service by careful worship of the spiritual master, and with the sharpened ax of transcendental knowledge you should cut off the subtle material covering of the soul. Upon realizing the Supreme Personality of Godhead, you should then give up that ax of analytic knowledge. Chapter THIRTEEN The Hamsa-avatara Answers the Questions of the Sons of Brahma The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: The three modes of material nature, namely goodness, passion and ignorance, pertain to material intelligence and not to the spirit soul. By development of material goodness one can conquer the modes of passion and ignorance, and by cultivation of transcendental goodness one may free oneself even from material goodness. When the living entity becomes strongly situated in the mode of goodness, then religious principles, characterized by devotional service to Me, become prominent. One can strengthen the mode of goodness by cultivation of those things that are already situated in goodness, and thus religious principles arise. Religious principles, strengthened by the mode of goodness, destroy the influence of passion and ignorance. When passion and ignorance are overcome, their original cause, irreligion, is quickly vanquished. According to the quality of religious scriptures, water, one's association with one's children or with people in general, the particular place, the time, activities, birth, meditation, chanting of mantras, and purificatory rituals, the modes of nature become differently prominent. Among the ten items I have just mentioned, the great sages who understand Vedic knowledge have praised and recommended those that are in the mode of goodness, criticized and rejected those in the mode of ignorance, and shown indifference to those in the mode of passion. Until one revives one's direct knowledge of the spirit soul and drives away the illusory identification with the material body and mind caused by the three modes of nature, one must cultivate those things in the mode of goodness. By increasing the mode of goodness, one automatically can understand and practice religious principles, and by such practice transcendental knowledge is awakened. In a bamboo forest the wind sometimes rubs the bamboo stalks together, and such friction generates a blazing fire that consumes the very source of its birth, the bamboo forest. Thus, the fire is automatically calmed by its own action. Similarly, by the competition and interaction of the material modes of nature, the subtle and gross material bodies are generated. If one uses his mind and body to cultivate knowledge, then such enlightenment destroys the influence of the modes of nature that generated one's body. Thus, like the fire, the body and mind are pacified by their own actions in destroying the source of their birth. Shri Uddhava said: My dear Krsna, generally human beings know that material life brings great future unhappiness, and still they try to enjoy material life. My dear Lord, how can one in knowledge act just like a dog, an ass or a goat? The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: My dear Uddhava, a person bereft of intelligence first falsely identifies himself with the material body and mind, and when such false knowledge arises within one's consciousness, material passion, the cause of great suffering, pervades the mind, which by nature is situated in goodness. Then the mind, contaminated by passion, becomes absorbed in making and changing many plans for material advancement. Thus, by constantly thinking of the modes of material nature, a foolish person is afflicted with unbearable material desires. One who does not control the material senses comes under the control of material desires and is thus bewildered by the strong waves of the mode of passion. Such a person executes material activities, although clearly seeing that the result will be future unhappiness. Although the intelligence of a learned person may be bewildered by the modes of passion and ignorance, he should again carefully bring the mind under control. By clearly seeing the contamination of the modes of nature, he does not become attached. A person should be attentive and grave and never lazy or morose. Mastering the yoga procedures of breathing and sitting properly, one should practice fixing the mind on Me at dawn, noon and sunset, and thus gradually the mind should be completely absorbed in Me. The actual yoga system as taught by My devotees, headed by Sanaka-kumara, is simply this: Having withdrawn the mind from all other objects, one should directly and appropriately absorb it in Me. Shri Uddhava said: My dear Keshava, at what time and in what form did You instruct the science of yoga to Sanaka and his brothers? I now desire to know about these things. The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: Once, the mental sons of Lord Brahma, namely, the sages headed by Sanaka, inquired from their father about the difficult subject matter of the supreme goal of yoga. The sages headed by Sanaka said: O Lord, people's minds are naturally attracted to material sense objects, and similarly the sense objects in the form of desire enter within the mind. Therefore, how can a person who desires liberation, who desires to cross over activities of sense gratification, destroy this mutual relationship between the sense objects and the mind? Please explain this to us. The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: My dear Uddhava, Brahma himself, who is born directly from the body of the Lord and who is the creator of all living entities within the material world, being the best of the demigods, seriously contemplated the question of his sons headed by Sanaka. The intelligence of Brahma, however, was affected by his own activities of creation, and thus he could not discover the essential answer to this question. Lord Brahma desired to attain the answer to the question that was puzzling him, and thus he fixed his mind on Me, the Supreme Lord. At that time, in My form of Hamsa, I became visible to Lord Brahma. Thus seeing Me, the sages, placing Brahma in the lead, came forward and worshiped My lotus feet. Then they frankly asked Me, "Who are You?" My dear Uddhava, the sages, being eager to understand the ultimate truth of the yoga system, thus inquired from Me. Now please hear as I explain that which I spoke unto the sages. My dear brahmanas, if, when asking Me who I am, you believe that I am also a jiva soul and that there is no ultimate difference between us - since all souls are ultimately one without individuality - then how is your question possible or appropriate? Ultimately, what is the real situation or resting place both of yourselves and of Me? If by asking Me "Who are You?" you were referring to the material body, then I must point out that all material bodies are constituted of five elements, namely earth, water, fire, air and ether. Thus, you should have asked, "Who are you five?" If you consider that all material bodies are ultimately one, being constituted essentially of the same elements, then your question is still meaningless, since there would be no deep purpose in distinguishing one body from another. Thus, it appears that in asking My identity, you are merely speaking words, without any real meaning or purpose. Within this world, whatever is perceived by the mind, speech, eyes or other senses is Me alone and nothing besides Me. All of you please understand this by a straightforward analysis of the facts. My dear sons, the mind has a natural proclivity to enter into the material sense objects, and similarly the sense objects enter into the mind; but both this material mind and the sense objects are merely designations that cover the spirit soul, who is part and parcel of Me. A person who has thus achieved Me by understanding that he is not different from Me realizes that the material mind is lodged within the sense objects because of constant sense gratification, and that the material objects are existing prominently within the material mind. Having understood My transcendental nature, he gives up both the material mind and its objects. Waking, sleeping and deep sleep are the three functions of the intelligence and are caused by the modes of material nature. The living entity within the body is ascertained to possess characteristics different from these three states and thus remains us a witness to them. The spirit soul is trapped in the bondage of material intelligence, which awards him constant engagement in the illusory modes of nature. But I am the fourth stage of consciousness, beyond wakefulness, dreaming and deep sleep. Becoming situated in Me, the soul should give up the bondage of material consciousness. At that time, the living entity will automatically renounce the material sense objects and the material mind. The false ego of the living entity places him in bondage and awards him exactly the opposite of what he really desires. Therefore, an intelligent person should give up his constant anxiety to enjoy material life and remain situated in the Lord, who is beyond the functions of material consciousness. According to My instructions, one should fix the mind on Me alone. If, however, one continues to see many different values and goals in life rather than seeing everything within Me, then although apparently awake, one is actually dreaming due to incomplete knowledge, just as one may dream that one has wakened from a dream. Those states of existence that are conceived of as separate from the Supreme Personality of Godhead have no actual existence, although they create a sense of separation from the Absolute Truth. Just as the seer of a dream imagines many different activities and rewards, similarly, because of the sense of an existence separate from the Lord's existence, the living entity falsely performs fruitive activities, thinking them to be the cause of future rewards and destinations. While awake the living entity enjoys with all of his senses the fleeting characteristics of the material body and mind; while dreaming he enjoys similar experiences within the mind; and in deep dreamless sleep all such experiences merge into ignorance. By remembering and contemplating the succession of wakefulness, dreaming and deep sleep, the living entity can understand that he is one throughout the three stages of consciousness and is transcendental. Thus, he becomes the lord of the senses. You should consider how, by the influence of My illusory energy, these three states of the mind, caused by the modes of nature, have been artificially imagined to exist in Me. Having definitely ascertained the truth of the soul, you should utilize the sharpened sword of knowledge, acquired by logical reflection and from the instructions of sages and Vedic literatures, to completely cut off the false ego, which is the breeding ground of all doubts. All of you should then worship Me, who am situated within the heart. One should see that the material world is a distinct illusion appearing in the mind, because material objects have an extremely flickering existence and are here today and gone tomorrow. They can be compared to the streaking red line created by whirling a fiery stick. The spirit soul by nature exists in the single state of pure consciousness. However, in this world he appears in many different forms and stages of existence. The modes of nature divide the soul's consciousness into normal wakefulness, dreaming and dreamless sleep. All such varieties of perception, however, are actually maya and exist only like a dream. Having understood the temporary illusory nature of material things, and thus having pulled one's vision away from illusion, one should remain without material desires. By experiencing the happiness of the soul, one should give up material speaking and activities. If sometimes one must observe the material world, one should remember that it is not ultimate reality and therefore one has given it up. By such constant remembrance up till the time of death, one will not again fall into illusion. Just as a drunken man does not notice if he is wearing his coat or shirt, similarly, one who is perfect in self-realization and who has thus achieved his eternal identity does not notice whether the temporary body is sitting or standing. Indeed, if by God's will the body is finished or if by God's will he obtains a new body, a self-realized soul does not notice, just as a drunken man does not notice the situation of his outward dress. The material body certainly moves under the control of supreme destiny and therefore must continue to live along with the senses and vital air as long as one's karma is in effect. A self-realized soul, however, who is awakened to the absolute reality and who is thus highly situated in the perfect stage of yoga, will never again surrender to the material body and its manifold manifestations, knowing it to be just like a body visualized in a dream. My dear brahmanas, I have now explained to you the confidential knowledge of Sankhya, by which one philosophically distinguishes matter from spirit, and of astanga-yoga, by which one links up with the Supreme. Please understand that I am the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Visnu, and that I have appeared before you desiring to explain your actual religious duties. O best of the brahmanas, please know that I am the supreme shelter of the yoga system, analytic philosophy, virtuous action, truthful religious principles, power, beauty, fame and self-control. All superior transcendental qualities, such as being beyond the modes of nature, detached, the well-wisher, the most dear, the Supersoul, equally situated everywhere, and free from material entanglement - all such qualities, free from the transformations of material qualities, find their shelter and worshipable object in Me. [Lord Krsna continued:l My dear Uddhava, thus all of the doubts of the sages headed by Sanaka were destroyed by My words. Fully worshiping Me with transcendental love and devotion, they chanted My glories with excellent hymns. The greatest of sages, headed by Sanaka Risi, thus perfectly worshiped and glorified Me, and as Lord Brahma looked on, I returned to My own abode. Chapter FOURTEEN Lord Krsna Explains the Yoga System to Shri Uddhava Shri Uddhava said: My dear Krsna, the learned sages who explain Vedic literature recommend various processes for perfecting one's life. Considering these varieties of viewpoint, my Lord, please tell me whether all these processes are equally important, or whether one of them is supreme. My dear Lord, You have clearly explained the process of unalloyed devotional service, by which a devotee removes all material association from his life, enabling him to fix his mind on You. The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: By the influence of time, the transcendental sound of Vedic knowledge was lost at the time of annihilation. Therefore, when the subsequent creation took place, I spoke the Vedic knowledge to Brahma because I Myself am the religious principles enunciated in the Vedas. Lord Brahma spoke this Vedic knowledge to his eldest son, Manu, and the seven great sages headed by Bhrgu Muni then accepted the same knowledge from Manu. From the forefathers headed by Bhrgu Muni and other sons of Brahma appeared many children and descendants, who assumed different forms as demigods, demons, human beings, Guhyakas, Siddhas, Gandharvas, Vidyadharas, Caranas, Kindevas, Kinnaras, Nagas, Kimpurusas, and so on. All of the many universal species, along with their respective leaders, appeared with different natures and desires generated from the three modes of material nature. Therefore, because of the different characteristics of the living entities within the universe, there are a great many Vedic rituals, mantras and rewards. Thus, due to the great variety of desires and natures among human beings, there are many different theistic philosophies of life, which are handed down through tradition, custom and disciplic succession. There are other teachers who directly support atheistic viewpoints. O best among men, the intelligence of human beings is bewildered by My illusory potency, and thus, according to their own activities and whims, they speak in innumerable ways about what is actually good for people. Some say that people will be happy by performing pious religious activities. Others say that happiness is attained through fame, sense gratification, truthfulness, self-control, peace, self-interest, political influence, opulence, renunciation, consumption, sacrifice, penance, charity, vows, regulated duties or strict disciplinary regulation. Each process has its proponents. All the persons I have just mentioned obtain temporary fruits from their material work. Indeed, the meager and miserable situations they achieve bring future unhappiness and are based on ignorance. Even while enjoying the fruits of their work, such persons are filled with lamentation. O learned Uddhava, those who fix their consciousness on Me, giving up all material desires, share with Me a happiness that cannot possibly be experienced by those engaged in sense gratification. One who does not desire anything within this world, who has achieved peace by controlling his senses, whose consciousness is equal in all conditions and whose mind is completely satisfied in Me finds only happiness wherever he goes. One who has fixed his consciousness on Me desires neither the position or abode of Lord Brahma or Lord Indra, nor an empire on the earth, nor sovereignty in the lower planetary systems, nor the eightfold perfection of yoga, nor liberation from birth and death. Such a person desires Me alone. My dear Uddhava, neither Lord Brahma, Lord Shiva, Lord Sankarsana, the goddess of fortune nor indeed My own self are as dear to Me as you are. With the dust of My devotees' lotus feet I desire to purify the material worlds, which are situated within Me. Thus, I always follow the footsteps of My pure devotees, who are free from all personal desire, rapt in thought of My pastimes, peaceful, without any feelings of enmity, and of equal disposition everywhere. Those who are without any desire for personal gratification, whose minds are always attached to Me, who are peaceful, without false ego and merciful to all living entities, and whose consciousness is never affected by opportunities for sense gratification - such persons enjoy in Me a happiness that cannot be known or achieved by those lacking such detachment from the material world. My dear Uddhava, if My devotee has not fully conquered his senses, he may be harassed by material desires, but because of his unflinching devotion for Me, he will not be defeated by sense gratification. My dear Uddhava, just as a blazing fire turns firewood into ashes, similarly, devotion unto Me completely burns to ashes sins committed by My devotees. My dear Uddhava, the unalloyed devotional service rendered to Me by My devotees brings Me under their control. I cannot be thus controlled by those engaged in mystic yoga, Sankhya philosophy, pious work, Vedic study, austerity or renunciation. Only by practicing unalloyed devotional service with full faith in Me can one obtain Me, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. I am naturally dear to My devotees, who take Me as the only goal of their loving service. By engaging in such pure devotional service, even the dog-eaters can purify themselves from the contaminationof their low birth. Neither religious activities endowed with honesty and mercy nor knowledge obtained with great penance can completely purify one's consciousness if they are bereft of loving service to Me. If one's hairs do not stand on end, how can the heart melt? And if the heart does not melt, how can tears of love flow from the eyes? If one does not cry in spiritual happiness, how can one render loving service to the Lord? And without such service, how can the consciousness be purified? A devotee whose speech is sometimes choked up, whose heart melts, who cries continually and sometimes laughs, who feels ashamed and cries out loudly and then dances - a devotee thus fixed in loving service to Me purifies the entire universe. Just as gold, when smelted in fire, gives up its impurities and returns to its pure brilliant state, similarly, the spirit soul, absorbed in the fire of bhakti-yoga, is purified of all contamination caused by previous fruitive activities and returns to its original position of serving Me in the spiritual world. When a diseased eye is treated with medicinal ointment it gradually recovers its power to see. Similarly, as a conscious living entity cleanses himself of material contamination by hearing and chanting the pious narrations of My glories, he regains his ability to see Me, the Absolute Truth, in My subtle spiritual form. The mind of one meditating upon the objects of sense gratification is certainly entangled in such objects, but if one constantly remembers Me, then the mind is absorbed in Me. Therefore, one should reject all material processes of elevation, which are like the mental creations of a dream, and should completely absorb one's mind in Me. By constantly thinking of Me, one becomes purified. Being conscious of the eternal self, one should give up association with women and those intimately associated with women. Sitting fearlessly in a solitary place, one should concentrate the mind on Me with great attention. Of all kinds of suffering and bondage arising from various attachments, none is greater than the suffering and bondage arising from attachment to women and intimate contact with those attached to women. Shri Uddhava said: My dear lotus-eyed Krsna, by what process should one who desires liberation meditate upon You, of what specific nature should his meditation be, and upon which form should he meditate? Kindly explain to me this topic of meditation. The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: Sitting on a level seat that is not too high or too low, keeping the body straight and erect yet comfortable, placing the two hands on one's lap and focusing the eyes on the tip of one's nose, one should purify the pathways of breathing by practicing the mechanical exercises of puraka, kumbhaka and recaka, and then one should reverse the procedure (recaka, kumbhaka, puraka). Having fully controlled the senses, one may thus practice pranayama step by step. Beginning from the muladhara-cakra, one should move the life air continuously upward like the fibers in the lotus stalk until one reaches the heart, where the sacred syllable om is situated like the sound of a bell. One should thus continue raising the sacred syllable upward the distance of twelve angulas, and there the omkara should be joined together with the fifteen vibrations produced with anusvara. Being fixed in the omkara, one should carefully practice the pranayama system ten times at each sunrise, noon and sunset. Thus, after one month one will have conquered the life air. Keeping the eyes half closed and fixed on the tip of one's nose, being enlivened and alert, one should meditate on the lotus flower situated within the heart. This lotus has eight petals and is situated on an erect lotus stalk. One should meditate on the sun, moon and fire, placing them one after the other within the whorl of that lotus flower. Placing My transcendental form within the fire, one should meditate upon it as the auspicious goal of all meditation. That form is perfectly proportioned, gentle and cheerful. It possesses four beautiful long arms, a charming, beautiful neck, a handsome forehead, a pure smile and glowing, shark-shaped earrings suspended from two identical ears. That spiritual form is the color of a dark rain cloud and is garbed in golden-yellowish silk. The chest of that form is the abode of Shrivatsa and the goddess of fortune, and that form is also decorated with a conchshell, disc, club, lotus flower and garland of forest flowers. The two brilliant lotus feet are decorated with ankle bells and bracelets, and that form exhibits the Kaustubha gem along with an effulgent crown. The upper hips are beautified by a golden belt, and the arms are decorated with valuable bracelets. All of the limbs of that beautiful form capture the heart, and the face is beautified by merciful glancing. Pulling the senses back from the sense objects, one should be grave and self-controlled and should use the intelligence to strongly fix the mind upon all of the limbs of My transcendental body. Thus one should meditate upon that most delicate transcendental form of Mine. One should then pull the consciousness back from all the limbs of that transcendental body. At that time, one should meditate only on the wonderfully smiling face of the Lord. Being established in meditation on the Lord's face, one should then withdraw the consciousness and fix it in the sky. Then giving up such meditation, one should become established in Me and give up the process of meditation altogether. One who has completely fixed his mind on Me should see Me within his own soul and should see the individual soul within Me, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Thus, he sees the individual souls united with the Supreme Soul, just as one sees the sun's rays completely united with the sun. When the yogi thus controls his mind by intensely concentrated meditation, his illusory identification with material objects, knowledge and activities is very quickly extinguished. Chapter FIFTEEN Lord Krsna's Description of Mystic Yoga Perfections The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: My dear Uddhava, the mystic perfections of yoga are acquired by a yogi who has conquered his senses, steadied his mind, conquered the breathing process and fixed his mind on Me. Shri Uddhava said: My dear Lord Acyuta, by what process can mystic perfection be achieved, and what is the nature of such perfection? How many mystic perfections are there? Please explain these things to me. Indeed, You are the bestower of all mystic perfections. The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: The masters of the yoga system have declared that there are eighteen types of mystic perfection and meditation, of which eight are primary, having their shelter in Me, and ten are secondary, appearing from the material mode of goodness. Among the eight primary mystic perfections, the three by which one transforms one's own body are anima, becoming smaller than the smallest; mahima, becoming greater than the greatest; and laghima, becoming lighter than the lightest. Through the perfection of prapti one acquires whatever one desires, and through prakamya-siddhi one experiences any enjoyable object, either in this world or the next. Through ishita-siddhi one can manipulate the subpotencies of maya, and through the controlling potency called vashita-siddhi one is unimpeded by the three modes of nature. One who has acquired kamavasayita-siddhi can obtain anything from anywhere, to the highest possible limit. My dear gentle Uddhava, these eight mystic perfections are considered to be naturally existing and unexcelled within this world. The ten secondary mystic perfections arising from the modes of nature are the powers of freeing oneself from hunger and thirst and other bodily disturbances, hearing and seeing things far away, moving the body at the speed of the mind, assuming any form one desires, entering the bodies of others, dying when one desires, witnessing the pastimes between the demigods and the celestial girls called Apsaras, completely executing one's determination and giving orders whose fulfillment is unimpeded. The power to know past, present and future; tolerance of heat, cold and other dualities; knowing the minds of others; checking the influence of fire, sun, water, poison, and so on; and remaining unconquered by others - these constitute five perfections of the mystic process of yoga and meditation. I am simply listing these here according to their names and characteristics. Now please learn from Me how specific mystic perfections arise from specific meditations and also of the particular processes involved. One who worships Me in My atomic form pervading all subtle elements, fixing his mind on that alone, obtains the mystic perfection called anima. One who absorbs his mind in the particular form of the mahat-tattva and thus meditates upon Me as the Supreme Soul of the total material existence achieves the mystic perfection called mahima. By further absorbing the mind in the situation of each individual element such as the sky, air, fire, and so on, one progressively acquires the greatness of each material element. I exist within everything, and I am therefore the essence of the atomic constituents of material elements. By attaching his mind to Me in this form, the yogi may achieve the perfection called laghima, by which he realizes the subtle atomic substance of time. Fixing his mind completely in Me within the element of false ego generated from the mode of goodness, the yogi obtains the power of mystic acquisition, by which he becomes the proprietor of the senses of all living entities. He obtains such perfection because his mind is absorbed in Me. One who concentrates all mental activities in Me as the Supersoul of that phase of the mahat-tattva which manifests the chain of fruitive activities obtains from Me, whose appearance is beyond material perception, the most excellent mystic perfection called prakamya. One who places his consciousness on Visnu, the Supersoul, the prime mover and Supreme Lord of the external energy consisting of three modes, obtains the mystic perfection of controlling other conditioned souls, their material bodies and their bodily designations. The yogi who places his mind in My form of Narayana, known as the fourth factor, full of all opulences, becomes endowed with My nature and thus obtains the mystic perfection called vashita. One who fixes his pure mind on Me in My manifestation as the impersonal Brahman obtains the greatest happiness, wherein all his desires are completely fulfilled. A human being who concentrates on Me as the upholder of religious principles, the personification of purity and the Lord of Shvetadvipa obtains the pure existence in which he is freed from the six waves of material disturbance, namely hunger, thirst, decay, death, grief and illusion. That purified living entity who fixes his mind on the extraordinary sound vibrations occurring within Me as the personified sky and total life air is then able to perceive within the sky the speaking of all living entities. Merging one's sight into the sun planet and then the sun planet into one's eyes, one should meditate on Me as existing within the combination of sun and vision; thus one acquires the power to see any distant thing. The yogi who completely absorbs his mind in Me, and who then makes use of the wind that follows the mind to absorb the material body in Me, obtains through the potency of meditation on Me the mystic perfection by which his body immediately follows his mind wherever it goes. When the yogi, applying his mind in a certain way, desires to assume a particular form, that very form immediately appears. Such perfection is possible by absorbing the mind in the shelter of My inconceivable mystic potency, by which I assume innumerable forms. When a perfect yogi desires to enter another's body, he should meditate upon himself within the other body, and then, giving up his own gross body, he should enter the other's body through the pathways of air, as easily as a bee leaves one flower and flies into another. The yogi who has achieved the mystic perfection called svacchanda-mrtyu blocks the anus with the heel of the foot and then lifts the soul from the heart to the chest, to the neck and finally to the head. Situated within the brahma-randhra, the yogi then gives up his material body and guides the spirit soul to the selected destination. The yogi who desires to enjoy in the pleasure gardens of the demigods should meditate on the purified mode of goodness, which is situated within Me, and then the heavenly women, generated from the mode of goodness, will approach him in airplanes. A yogi who has faith in Me, absorbing his mind in Me and knowing that My purpose is always fulfilled, will always achieve his purpose by the very means he has determined to follow. A person who perfectly meditates on Me acquires My nature of being the supreme ruler and controller. His order, like Mine, can never be frustrated by any means. A yogi who has purified his existence by devotion to Me and who thus expertly knows the process of meditation obtains knowledge of past, present and future. He can therefore see the birth and death of himself and others. Just as the bodies of aquatics cannot be injured by water, similarly, the body of a yogi whose consciousness is pacified by devotion to Me and who is fully developed in yoga science cannot be injured by fire, sun, water, poison, and so forth. My devotee becomes unconquerable by meditating on My opulent incarnations, which are decorated with Shrivatsa and various weapons and are endowed with imperial paraphernalia such as flags, ornamental umbrellas and fans. A learned devotee who worships Me through yoga meditation certainly obtains in all respects the mystic perfections that I have described. For a sage who has conquered his senses, breathing and mind, who is self- controlled and always absorbed in meditation on Me, what mystic perfection could possibly be difficult to achieve? Learned experts in devotional service state that the mystic perfections of yoga that I have mentioned are actually impediments and are a waste of time for one who is practicing the supreme yoga, by which one achieves all perfection in life directly from Me. Whatever mystic perfections can be achieved by good birth, herbs, austerities and mantras can all be achieved by devotional service to Me; indeed, one cannot achieve the actual perfection of yoga by any other means. My dear Uddhava, I am the cause, the protector and the Lord of all mystic perfections, of the yoga system, of analytic knowledge, of pure activity and of the community of learned Vedic teachers. Just as the same material elements exist within and outside of all material bodies, similarly, I cannot be covered by anything else. I exist within everything as the Supersoul and outside of everything in My all-pervading feature. Chapter SIXTEEN The Lord's Opulence Shri Uddhava said: My dear Lord, You are beginningless and endless, the Absolute Truth Himself, unlimited by anything else. You are the protector and life-giver, the destruction and creation of all things that exist. My dear Lord, although it is difficult for the impious to understand that You are situated in all superior and inferior creations, those brahmanas who are actual knowers of the Vedic conclusion worship You in truth. Please tell me of the perfections that great sages achieve by worshiping You with devotion. Also, kindly explain which of Your different forms they worship. O my Lord, maintainer of all, although You are the Supersoul of the living entities, You remain hidden. Thus being bewildered by You, the living entities cannot see You, although You are seeing them. O supremely potent Lord, please explain to me Your innumerable potencies, which You manifest on the earth, in heaven, in hell and indeed in all directions. I offer my humble obeisances at Your lotus feet, which are the shelter of all holy places. The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: O best of those who know how to inquire, on the Battlefield of Kuruksetra, Arjuna, desiring to fight with his rivals, asked Me the same question that you are now posing. On the Battlefield of Kuruksetra Arjuna thought that killing his relatives would be an abominable, irreligious activity, motivated only by his desire to acquire a kingdom. He therefore desisted from the battle, thinking, "I would be the killer of my relatives. They would be destroyed." Thus Arjuna was afflicted with mundane consciousness. At that time I enlightened Arjuna, the tiger among men, with logical arguments, and thus in the front of the battle Arjuna addressed Me with questions in the same way that you are now inquiring. My dear Uddhava, I am the Supersoul of all living entities, and therefore I am naturally their well-wisher and supreme controller. Being the creator, maintainer and annihilator of all entities, I am not different from them. I am the ultimate goal of all those seeking progress, and I am time among those who exert control. I am the equilibrium of the modes of material nature, and I am natural virtue among the pious. Among things possessing qualities I am the primary manifestation of nature, and among great things I am the total material creation. Among subtle things I am the spirit soul, and of things that are difficult to conquer I am the mind. Among the Vedas I am their original teacher, Lord Brahma, and of all mantras I am the three-lettered omkara. Among letters I am the first letter, "a," and among sacred meters I am the Gayatri mantra. Among the demigods I am Indra, and among the Vasus I am Agni, the god of fire. I am Visnu among the sons of Aditi, and among the Rudras I am Lord Shiva. Among saintly brahmanas I am Bhrgu Muni, and I am Manu among saintly kings. I am Narada Muni among saintly demigods, and I am Kamadhenu among cows. I am Lord Kapila among perfected beings and Garuda among birds. I am Daksa among the progenitors of mankind, and I am Aryama among the forefathers. My dear Uddhava, among the demoniac sons of Diti know Me to be Prahlada Maharaja, the saintly lord of the asuras. Among the stars and herbs I am their lord, Candra (the moon), and among Yaksas and Raksasas I am the lord of wealth, Kuvera. I am Airavata among lordly elephants, and among aquatics I am Varuna, the lord of the seas. Among all things that heat and illuminate I am the sun, and among human beings I am the king. Among horses I am Uccaishrava, and I am gold among metals. I am Yamaraja among those who suppress and punish, and among serpents I am Vasuki. O sinless Uddhava, among the best of snakes I am Anantadeva, and among those animals with sharp horns and teeth I am the lion. Among the social orders I am the fourth, or the renounced order of life, and among the occupational divisions I am the first, the brahmanas. Among sacred and flowing things I am the holy Ganges, and among steady bodies of water I am the ocean. Among weapons I am the bow, and of the wielders of weapons I am Lord Shiva. Among residences I am Mount Sumeru, and of impervious places I am the Himalayas. Among trees I am the holy fig tree, and among plants I am those that bear grains. Among priests I am Vasistha Muni, and among those highly situated in Vedic culture I am Brhaspati. I am Kartikeya among great military leaders, and among those advancing in superior ways of life I am the great personality Lord Brahma. Among sacrifices I am study of the Veda, and I am nonviolence among vows. Among all things that purify I am the wind, fire, the sun, water and speech. Among the eight progressive states of yoga I am the final stage, samadhi, in which the soul is completely separated from illusion. Among those desiring victory I am prudent political counsel, and among processes of expert discrimination I am the science of the soul, by which one distinguishes spirit from matter. Among all speculative philosophers I am diversity of perception. Among ladies I am Shatarupa, and among male personalities I am her husband, Svayambhuva Manu. I am Narayana among the sages and Sanat-kumara among brahmacaris. Among religious principles I am renunciation, and of all types of security I am consciousness of the eternal soul within. Of secrets I am pleasant speech and silence, and among sexual pairs I am Brahma. Among the vigilant cycles of time I am the year, and among seasons I am spring. Among months I am Margashirsa, and among lunar houses I am the auspicious Abhijit. Among ages I am the Satya-yuga, the age of truth, and among steady sages I am Devala and Asita. Among those who have divided the Vedas I am Krsna Dvaipayana Vedavyasa, and among learned scholars I am Shukracarya, the knower of spiritual science. Among those entitled to the name Bhagavan I am Vasudeva, and indeed, you, Uddhava, represent Me among the devotees. I am Hanuman among the Kimpurusas, and among the Vidyadharas I am Sudarshana. Among jewels I am the ruby, and among beautiful things I am the lotus cup. Among all types of grass I am the sacred kusha, and of oblations I am ghee and other ingredients obtained from the cow. Among the enterprising I am fortune, and among the cheaters I am gambling. I am the forgiveness of the tolerant and the good qualities of those in the mode of goodness. Of the powerful I bodily and mental strength, and I am the devotional activities of My devotees. My devotees worship Me in nine different forms, among which I am the original and primary Vasudeva. Among the Gandharvas I am Vishvavasu, and I am Purvacitti among the heavenly Apsaras. I am the steadiness of mountains and the fragrant aroma of the earth. I am the sweet taste of water, and among brilliant things I am the sun. I am the effulgence of the sun, moon and stars, and I am the transcendental sound that vibrates in the sky. Among those dedicated to brahminical culture I am Bali Maharaja, the son of Virocana, and I am Arjuna among heroes. Indeed, I am the creation, maintenance and annihilation of all living entities. I am the functions of the five working senses - the legs, speech, anus, hands and sex organs - as well as those of the five knowledge-acquiring senses - touch, sight, taste, hearing and smell. I am also the potency by which each of the senses experiences its particular sense object. I am form, taste, aroma, touch and sound; false ego; the mahat-tattva; earth, water, fire, air and sky; the living entity; material nature; the modes of goodness, passion and ignorance; and the transcendental Lord. All these items, along with knowledge of their individual symptoms and the steady conviction that results from this knowledge, represent Me. As the Supreme Lord I am the basis of the living entity, of the modes of nature and of the mahat-tattva. Thus I am everything, and nothing whatsoever can exist without Me. Even though over a period of time I might count all the atoms of the universe, I could not count all of My opulences which I manifest within innumerable universes. Whatever power, beauty, fame, opulence, humility, renunciation, mental pleasure, fortune, strength, tolerance or spiritual knowledge there may be is simply an expansion of My opulence. I have briefly described to you all My spiritual opulences and also the extraordinary material features of My creation, which are perceived by the mind and defined in different ways according to circumstances. Therefore, control your speaking, subdue the mind, conquer the life air, regulate the senses and through purified intelligence bring your rational faculties under control. In this way you will never again fall onto the path of material existence. A transcendentalist who does not completely control his words and mind by superior intelligence will find that his spiritual vows, austerities and charity flow away just as water flows out of an unbaked clay pot. Being surrendered to Me, one should control the speech, mind and life air, and then through loving devotional intelligence one will completely fulfill the mission of life. Chapter SEVENTEEN Lord Krsna's Description of the Varnashrama System Shri Uddhava said: My dear Lord, previously You described the principles of devotional service that are to be practiced by followers of the varnashrama system and even ordinary, unregulated human beings. My dear lotus-eyed Lord, now please explain to me how all human beings can achieve loving service unto You by the execution of their prescribed duties. My dear Lord, O mighty-armed one, previously in Your form of Lord Hamsa You spoke to Lord Brahma those religious principles that bring supreme happiness to the practitioner. My dear Madhava, now much time has passed, and that which You previously instructed will soon practically cease to exist, O subduer of the enemy. My dear Lord Acyuta, there is no speaker, creator and protector of supreme religious principles other than Your Lordship, either on the earth or even in the assembly of Lord Brahma, where the personified Vedas reside. Thus, my dear Lord Madhusudana, when You, who are the very creator, protector and speaker of spiritual knowledge, abandon the earth, who will again speak this lost knowledge? Therefore, my Lord, since You are the knower of all religious principles, please describe to me the human beings who may execute the path of loving service to You and how such service is to be rendered. Shri Shukadeva Gosvami said: Shri Uddhava, the best of devotees, thus inquired from the Lord. Hearing his question, the Personality of Godhead, shri Krsna, was pleased and for the welfare of all conditioned souls spoke those religious principles that are eternal. The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: My dear Uddhava, your question is faithful to religious principles and thus gives rise to the highest perfection in life, pure devotional service, for both ordinary human beings and the followers of the varnashrama system. Now please learn from Me those supreme religious principles. In the beginning, in Satya-yuga, there is only one social class, called hamsa, to which all human beings belong. In that age all people are unalloyed devotees of the Lord from birth, and thus learned scholars call this first age Krta-yuga, or the age in which all religious duties are perfectly fulfilled. In Satya-yuga the undivided Veda is expressed by the syllable om, and I am the only object of mental activities. I become manifest as the four-legged bull of religion, and thus the inhabitants of Satya-yuga, fixed in austerity and free from all sins, worship Me as Lord Hamsa. O greatly fortunate one, at the beginning of Treta-yuga Vedic knowledge appeared from My heart, which is the abode of the air of life, in three divisions - as Rig, Sama and Yajur. Then from that knowledge I appeared as threefold sacrifice. In Treta-yuga the four social orders were manifested from the universal form of the Personality of Godhead. The brahmanas appeared from the Lord's face, the ksatriyas from the Lord's arms, the vaishyas from the Lord's thighs and the shudras from the legs of that mighty form. Each social division was recognized by its particular duties and behavior. The married order of life appeared from the loins of My universal form, and the celibate students came from My heart. The forest-dwelling retired order of life appeared from My chest, and the renounced order of life was situated within the head of My universal form. The various occupational and social divisions of human society appeared according to inferior and superior natures manifest in the situation of the individual's birth. Peacefulness, self-control, austerity, cleanliness, satisfaction, tolerance, simple straightforwardness, devotion to Me, mercy and truthfulness are the natural qualities of the brahmanas. Dynamic power, bodily strength, determination, heroism, tolerance, generosity, great endeavor, steadiness, devotion to the brahmanas and leadership are the natural qualities of the ksatriyas. Faith in Vedic civilization, dedication to charity, freedom from hypocrisy, service to the brahmanas and perpetually desiring to accumulate more money are the natural qualities of the vaishyas. Service without duplicity to the brahmanas, cows, demigods and other worshipable personalities, and complete satisfaction with whatever income is obtained in such service, are the natural qualities of shudras. Dirtiness, dishonesty, thievery, faithlessness, useless quarrel, lust, anger and hankering constitute the nature of those in the lowest position outside the varnashrama system. Nonviolence, truthfulness, honesty, desire for the happiness and welfare of all others and freedom from lust, anger and greed constitute duties for all members of society. The twice-born member of society achieves second birth through the sequence of purificatory ceremonies culminating in Gayatri initiation. Being summoned by the spiritual master, he should reside within the guru's ashrama and with a self- controlled mind carefully study the Vedic literature. The brahmacari should regularly dress with a belt of straw and deerskin garments. He should wear matted hair, carry a rod and waterpot and be decorated with aksa beads and a sacred thread. Carrying pure kusha grass in his hand, he should never accept a luxurious or sensuous sitting place. He should not unnecessarily polish his teeth, nor should he bleach and iron his clothes. A brahmacari should always remain silent while bathing, eating, attending sacrificial performances, chanting japa or passing stool and urine. He should not cut his nails and hair, including the armpit and pubic hair. One observing the vow of celibate brahmacari life should never pass semen. If the semen by chance spills out by itself, the brahmacari should immediately take bath in water, control his breath by pranayama and chant the Gayatri mantra Purified and fixed in consciousness, the brahmacari should worship the fire-god, sun, acarya, cows, brahmanas, guru, elderly respectable persons and demigods. He should perform such worship at sunrise and sunset, without speaking but by silently chanting or murmuring the appropriate mantras. One should know the acarya as Myself and never disrespect him in any way. One should not envy him, thinking him an ordinary man, for he is the representative of all the demigods. In the morning and evening one should collect foodstuffs and other articles and deliver them to the spiritual master. Then, being self-controlled, one should accept for oneself that which is allotted by the acarya. While engaged in serving the spiritual master one should remain as a humble servant, and thus when the guru is walking the servant should humbly walk behind. When the guru lies down to sleep, the servant should also lie down nearby, and when the guru has awakened, the servant should sit near him, massaging his lotus feet and rendering other, similar services. When the guru is sitting down on his asana, the servant should stand nearby with folded hands, awaiting the guru's order. In this way one should always worship the spiritual master. Until the student has completed his Vedic education he should remain engaged in the ashrama of the spiritual master, should remain completely free of material sense gratification and should not break his vow of celibacy [brahmacarya]. If the brahmacari student desires to ascend to the Maharloka or Brahmaloka planets, then he should completely surrender his activities to the spiritual master and, observing the powerful vow of perpetual celibacy, dedicate himself to superior Vedic studies. Thus enlightened in Vedic knowledge by service to the spiritual master, freed from all sins and duality, one should worship Me as the Supersoul, as I appear within fire, the spiritual master, one's own self and all living entities. Those who are not married - sannyasis, vanaprasthas and brahmacaris - should never associate with women by glancing, touching, conversing, joking or sporting. Neither should they ever associate with any living entity engaged in sexual activities. My dear Uddhava, general cleanliness, washing the hands, bathing, performing religious services at sunrise, noon and sunset, worshiping Me, visiting holy places, chanting japa, avoiding that which is untouchable, uneatable or not to be discussed, and remembering My existence within all living entities as the Supersoul - these principles should be followed by all members of society through regulation of the mind, words and body. A brahmana observing the great vow of celibacy becomes brilliant like fire and by serious austerity burns to ashes the propensity to perform material activities. Free from the contamination of material desire, he becomes My devotee. A brahmacari who has completed his Vedic education and desires to enter household life should offer proper remuneration to the spiritual master, bathe, cut his hair, put on proper clothes, and so on. Then, taking permission from the guru, he should go back to his home. A brahmacari desiring to fulfill his material desires should live at home with his family, and a householder who is eager to purify his consciousness should enter the forest, whereas a purified brahmana should accept the renounced order of life. One who is not surrendered to Me should move progressively from one ashrama to another, never acting otherwise. One who desires to establish family life should marry a wife of his own caste, who is beyond reproach and younger in age. If one desires to accept many wives he must marry them after the first marriage, and each wife should be of a successively lower caste. All twice-born men - brahmanas, ksatriyas and vaishyas - must perform sacrifice, study the Vedic literature and give charity. Only the brahmanas, however, accept charity, teach the Vedic knowledge and perform sacrifice on behalf of others. A brahmana who considers that accepting charity from others will destroy his austerity, spiritual influence and fame should maintain himself by the other two brahminical occupations, namely teaching Vedic knowledge and performing sacrifice. If the brahmana considers that those two occupations also compromise his spiritual position, then he should collect rejected grains in agricultural fields and live without any dependence on others. The body of a brahmana is not intended to enjoy insignificant material sense gratification; rather, by accepting difficult austerities in his life, a brahmana will enjoy unlimited happiness after death. A brahmana householder should remain satisfied in mind by gleaning rejected grains from agricultural fields and marketplaces. Keeping himself free of personal desire, he should practice magnanimous religious principles, with consciousness absorbed in Me. In this way a brahmana may stay at home as a householder without very much attachment and thus achieve liberation. Just as a ship rescues those who have fallen into the ocean, similarly, I very quickly rescue from all calamities those persons who uplift brahmanas and devotees suffering in a poverty-stricken condition. Just as the chief bull elephant protects all other elephants in his herd and defends himself as well, similarly, a fearless king, just like a father, must save all of the citizens from difficulty and also protect himself. An earthly king who protects himself and all citizens by removing all sins from his kingdom will certainly enjoy with Lord Indra in airplanes as brilliant as the sun. If a brahmana cannot support himself through his regular duties and is thus suffering, he may adopt the occupation of a merchant and overcome his destitute condition by buying and selling material things. If he continues to suffer extreme poverty even as a merchant, then he may adopt the occupation of a ksatriya, taking sword in hand. But he cannot in any circumstances become like a dog, accepting an ordinary master. A king or other member of the royal order who cannot maintain himself by his normal occupation may act as a vaishya, may live by hunting or may act as a brahmana by teaching others Vedic knowledge. But he may not under any circumstances adopt the profession of a shudra. A vaishya, or mercantile man, who cannot maintain himself may adopt the occupation of a shudra, snd a shudra who cannot find a master can engage in simple activities like making baskets and mats of straw. However, all members of society who have adopted inferior occupations in emergency situations must give up those substitute occupations when the difficulties have passed. One in the grhastha order of life should daily worship the sages by Vedic study, the forefathers by offering the mantra svadha, the demigods by chanting svaha, all living entities by offering shares of one's meals, and human beings by offering grains and water. Thus considering the demigods, sages, forefathers, living entities and human beings to be manifestations of My potency, one should daily perform these five sacrifices. A householder should comfortably maintain his dependents either with money that comes of its own accord or with that gathered by honest execution of one's duties. According to one's means, one should perform sacrifices and other religious ceremonies. A householder taking care of many dependent family members should not become materially attached to them, nor should he become mentally unbalanced, considering himself to be the lord. An intelligent householder should see that all possible future happiness, just like that which he has already experienced, is temporary. The association of children, wife, relatives and friends is just like the brief meeting of travelers. With each change of body one is separated from all such associates, just as one loses the objects one possesses in a dream when the dream is over. Deeply considering the actual situation, a liberated soul should live at home just like a guest, without any sense of proprietorship or false ego. In this way he will not be bound or entangled by domestic affairs. A householder devotee who worships Me by execution of his family duties may remain at home, go to a holy place or, if he has a responsible son, take sannyasa. But a householder whose mind is attached to his home and who is thus disturbed by ardent desires to enjoy his money and children, who is lusty after women, who is possessed of a miserly mentality and who unintelligently thinks, "Everything is mine and I am everything," is certainly bound in illusion. "O my poor elderly parents, and my wife with a mere infant in her arms, and my other young children! Without me they have absolutely no one to protect them and will suffer unbearably. How can my poor relatives possibly live without me?" Thus, because of his foolish mentality, a householder whose heart is overwhelmed by family attachment is never satisfied. Constantly meditating on his relatives, he dies and enters into the darkness of ignorance. Chapter EIGHTEEN Description of Varnashrama-dharma The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: One who desires to adopt the third order of life, vanaprastha, should enter the forest with a peaceful mind, leaving his wife with his mature sons, or else taking her along with him. Having adopted the vanaprastha order of life, one should arrange one's sustenance by eating uncontaminated bulbs, roots and fruits that grow in the forest. One may dress oneself with tree bark, grass, leaves or animal skins. The vanaprastha should not groom the hair on his head, body or face, should not manicure his nails, should not pass stool and urine at irregular times and should not make a special endeavor for dental hygiene. He should be content to take bath in water three times daily and should sleep on the ground. Thus engaged as a vanaprastha, one should execute penance during the hottest summer days by subjecting oneself to burning fires on four sides and the blazing sun overhead; during the rainy season one should remain outside, subjecting oneself to torrents of rain; and in the freezing winter one should remain submerged in water up to one's neck. One may eat foodstuffs prepared with fire, such as grains, or fruits ripened by time. One may grind one's food with mortar and stone or with one's own teeth. The vanaprastha should personally collect whatever he requires for his bodily maintenance, carefully considering the time, place and his own capacity. He should never collect provisions for the future. One who has accepted the vanaprastha order of life should perform seasonal sacrifices by offering oblations of caru and sacrificial cakes prepared from rice and other grains found in the forest. The vanaprastha, however, may never offer animal sacrifices to Me, even those sacrifices mentioned in the Vedas. The vanaprastha should perform the agnihotra, darsha and paurnamasa sacrifices, as he did while in the grhastha-ashrama. He should also perform the vows and sacrifices of caturmasya, since all of these rituals are enjoined for the vanaprastha-ashrama by expert knowers of the Vedas. The saintly vanaprastha, practicing severe penances and accepting only the bare necessities of life, becomes so emaciated that he appears to be mere skin and bones. Thus worshiping Me through severe penances, he goes to the Maharloka planet and then directly achieves Me. One who with long endeavor executes this painful but exalted penance, which awards ultimate liberation, simply to achieve insignificant sense gratification must be considered the greatest fool. If the vanaprastha is overtaken by old age and because of his trembling body is no longer able to execute his prescribed duties, he should place the sacrificial fire within his heart by meditation. Then, fixing his mind on Me, he should enter into the fire and give up his body. If the vanaprastha, understanding that even promotion to Brahmaloka is a miserable situation, develops complete detachment from all possible results of fruitive activities, then he may take the sannyasa order of life. Having worshiped Me according to scriptural injunctions and having given all one's property to the sacrificial priest, one should place the fire sacrifice within oneself. Thus, with the mind completely detached, one should enter the sannyasa order of life. "This man taking sannyasa is going to surpass us and go back home, back to Godhead." Thus thinking, the demigods create stumbling blocks on the path of the sannyasi by appearing before him in the shape of his former wife or other women and attractive objects. But the sannyasi should pay the demigods and their manifestations no heed. If the sannyasi desires to wear something besides a mere kaupina, he may use another cloth around his waist and hips to cover the kaupina. Otherwise, if there is no emergency, he should not accept anything besides his danda and waterpot. A saintly person should step or place his foot on the ground only after verifying with his eyes that there are no living creatures, such as insects, who might be injured by his foot. He should drink water only after filtering it through a portion of his cloth, and he should speak only words that possess the purity of truth. Similarly, he should perform only those activities his mind has carefully ascertained to be pure. One who has not accepted the three internal disciplines of avoiding useless speech, avoiding useless activities and controlling the life air can never be considered a sannyasi merely because of his carrying bamboo rods. Rejecting those houses that are polluted and untouchable, one should approach without previous calculation seven houses and be satisfied with that which is obtained there by begging. According to necessity, one may approach each of the four occupational orders of society. Taking the food gathered through begging, one should leave the populated areas and go to a reservoir of water in a secluded place. There, having taken a bath and washed one's hands thoroughly, one should distribute portions of the food to others who may request it. One should do this without speaking. Then, having thoroughly cleansed the remnants, one should eat everything on one's plate, leaving nothing for future consumption. Without any material attachment, with senses fully controlled, remaining enthusiastic, and satisfied in realization of the Supreme Lord and his own self, the saintly person should travel about the earth alone. Having equal vision everywhere, he should be steady on the spiritual platform. Dwelling in a safe and solitary place, his mind purified by constant thought of Me, the sage should concentrate on the soul alone, realizing it to be nondifferent from Me. By steady knowledge a sage should clearly ascertain the nature of the soul's bondage and liberation. Bondage occurs when the senses are deviated to sense gratification, and complete control of the senses constitutes liberation. Therefore, completely controlling the five senses and the mind by Krsna consciousness, a sage, having experienced spiritual bliss within the self, should live detached from insignificant material sense gratification. The sage should travel in sanctified places, by flowing rivers and within the solitude of mountains and forests. He should enter the cities, towns and pasturing grounds and approach ordinary working men only to beg his bare sustenance. One in the vanaprastha order of life should always practice taking charity from others, for one is thereby freed from illusion and quickly becomes perfect in spiritual life. Indeed, one who subsists on food grains obtained in such u humble manner purifies his existence. One should never see as ultimate reality those material things which obviously will perish. With consciousness free from material attachment, one should retire from all activities meant for material progress in this life and the next. One should logically consider the universe, which is situated within the Lord, and one's own material body, which is composed of mind, speech and life air, to be ultimately products of the Lord's illusory energy. Thus situated in the self, one should give up one's faith in these things and should never again make them the object of one's meditation. A learned transcendentalist dedicated to the cultivation of knowledge and thus detached from external objects, or My devotee who is detached even from desire for liberation - both neglect those duties based on external rituals or paraphernalia. Thus their conduct is beyond the range of rules and regulations. Although most wise, the paramahamsa should enjoy life like a child, oblivious to honor and dishonor; although most expert, he should behave like a stunted, incompetent person; although most learned, he should speak like an insane person; and although a scholar learned in Vedic regulations, he should behave in an unrestricted manner. A devotee should never engage in the fruitive rituals mentioned in the karma- kanda section of the Vedas, nor should he become atheistic, acting or speaking in opposition to Vedic injunctions. Similarly, he should never speak like a mere logician or skeptic or take any side whatsoever in useless arguments. A saintly person should never let others frighten or disturb him and, similarly, should never frighten or disturb other people. He should tolerate the insults of others and should never himself belittle anyone. He should never create hostility with anyone for the sake of the material body, for he would thus be no better than an animal. The one Supreme Lord is situated within all material bodies and within everyone's soul. Just as the moon is reflected in innumerable reservoirs of water, the Supreme Lord, although one, is present within everyone. Thus every material body is ultimately composed of the energy of the one Supreme Lord. If at times one does not obtain proper food one should not be depressed, and when one obtains sumptuous food one should not rejoice. Being fixed in determination, one should understand both situations to be under the control of God. If required, one should endeavor to get sufficient foodstuffs, because it is always necessary and proper to maintain one's health. When the senses, mind and life air are fit, one can contemplate spiritual truth, and by understanding the truth one is liberated. A sage should accept the food, clothing and bedding - be they of excellent or inferior quality - that come of their own accord. Just as I, the Supreme Lord, execute regulative duties by My own free will, similarly, one who has realized knowledge of Me should maintain general cleanliness, purify his hands with water, take bath and execute other regulative duties not by force but by his own free will. A realized soul no longer sees anything as separate from Me, for his realized knowledge of Me has destroyed such illusory perception. Since the material body and mind were previously accustomed to this kind of perception, it may sometimes appear to recur; but at the time of death the self-realized soul achieves opulences equal to Mine. One who is detached from sense gratification, knowing its result to be miserable, and who desires spiritual perfection, but who has not seriously analyzed the process for obtaining Me, should approach a bona fide and learned spiritual master. Until a devotee has clearly realized spiritual knowledge, he should continue with great faith and respect and without envy to render personal service to the guru, who is nondifferent from Me. One who has not controlled the six forms of illusion [lust, anger, greed, excitement, false pride and intoxication], whose intelligence, the leader of the senses, is extremely attached to material things, who is bereft of knowledge and detachment, who adopts the sannyasa order of life to make a living, who denies the worshipable demigods, his own self and the Supreme Lord within himself, thus ruining all religious principles, and who is still infected by material contamination, is deviated and lost both in this life and the next. The main religious duties of a sannyasi are equanimity and nonviolence, whereas for the vanaprastha austerity and philosophical understanding of the difference between the body and soul are prominent. The main duties of a householder are to give shelter to all living entities and perform sacrifices, and the brahmacari is mainly engaged in serving the spiritual master. A householder may approach his wife for sex only at the time prescribed for begetting children. Otherwise, the householder should practice celibacy, austerity, cleanliness of mind and body, satisfaction in his natural position, and friendship toward all living entities. Worship of Me is to be practiced by all human beings, regardless of social or occupational divisions. One who worships Me by his prescribed duty, having no other object of worship, and who remains conscious of Me as present in all living entities, achieves unflinching devotional service unto Me. My dear Uddhava, I am the Supreme Lord of all worlds, and I create and destroy this universe, being its ultimate cause. I am thus the Absolute Truth, and one who worships Me with unfailing devotional service comes to Me. Thus, one who has purified his existence by execution of his prescribed duties, who fully understands My supreme position and who is endowed with scriptural and realized knowledge, very soon achieves Me. Those who are followers of this varnashrama system accept religious principles according to authorized traditions of proper conduct. When such varnashrama duties are dedicated to Me in loving service, they award the supreme perfection of life. My dear saintly Uddhava, I have now described to you, just as you inquired, the means by which My devotee, perfectly engaged in his prescribed duty, can come back to Me, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Chapter NINETEEN The Perfection of Spiritual Knowledge The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: A self-realized person who has cultivated scriptural knowledge up to the point of enlightenment and who is free from impersonal speculation, understanding the material universe to be simply illusion, should surrender unto Me both that knowledge and the means by which he achieved it. For learned, self-realized philosophers I am the only object of worship, the desired goal of life, the means for achieving that goal, and the settled conclusion of all knowledge. Indeed, because I am the cause of their happiness and their freedom from unhappiness, such learned souls have no effective purpose or dear object in life except Me. Those who have achieved complete perfection through philosophical and realized knowledge recognize My lotus feet to be the supreme transcendental object. Thus the learned transcendentalist is most dear to Me, and by his perfect knowledge he maintains Me in happiness. That perfection which is produced by a small fraction of spiritual knowledge cannot be duplicated by performing austerities, visiting holy places, chanting silent prayers, giving in charity or engaging in other pious activities. Therefore, My dear Uddhava, through knowledge you should understand your actual self. Then, advancing by clear realization of Vedic knowledge, you should worship Me in the mood of loving devotion. Formerly, great sages, through the sacrifice of Vedic knowledge and spiritual enlightenment, worshiped Me within themselves, knowing Me to be the Supreme Lord of all sacrifice and the Supersoul in everyone's heart. Thus coming to Me, these sages achieved the supreme perfection. My dear Uddhava, the material body and mind, composed of the three modes of material nature, attach themselves to you, but they are actually illusion, since they appear only at the present, having no original or ultimate existence. How is it possible, therefore, that the various stages of the body, namely birth, growth, reproduction, maintenance, dwindling and death, can have any relation to your eternal self? These phases relate only to the material body, which previously did not exist and ultimately will not exist. The body exists merely at the present moment. Shri Uddhava said: O Lord of the universe! O form of the universe! Please explain to me that process of knowledge which automatically brings detachment and direct perception of the truth, which is transcendental, and which is traditional among great spiritual philosophers. This knowledge, sought by elevated personalities, describes loving devotional service unto Your Lordship. My dear Lord, for one who is being tormented on the terrible path of birth and death and is constantly overwhelmed by the threefold miseries, I do not see any possible shelter other than Your two lotus feet, which are just like a refreshing umbrella that pours down showers of delicious nectar. O almighty Lord, please be merciful and uplift this hopeless living entity who has fallen into the dark hole of material existence, where the snake of time has bitten him. In spite of such abominable conditions, this poor living entity has tremendous desire to relish the most insignificant material happiness. Please save me, my Lord, by pouring down the nectar of Your instructions, which awaken one to spiritual freedom. The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: My dear Uddhava, just as you are now inquiring from Me, similarly, in the past King Yudhisthira, who considered no one his enemy, inquired from the greatest of the upholders of religious principles, Bhisma, while all of us were carefully listening. When the great Battle of Kuruksetra had ended, King Yudhisthira was overwhelmed by the death of many beloved well-wishers, and thus, after listening to instructions about many religious principles, he finally inquired about the path of liberation. I will now speak unto you those religious principles of Vedic knowledge, detachment, self-realization, faith and devotional service that were heard directly from the mouth of Bhismadeva. I personally approve of that knowledge by which one sees the combination of nine, eleven, five and three elements in all living entities, and ultimately one element within those twenty-eight. When one no longer sees the twenty-eight separated material elements, which arise from a single cause, but rather sees the cause itself, the Personality of Godhead - at that time one's direct experience is called vijnana, or self- realization. Commencement, termination and maintenance are the stages of material causation. That which consistently accompanies all these material phases from one creation to another and remains alone when all material phases are annihilated is the one eternal. From the four types of evidence - Vedic knowledge, direct experience, traditional wisdom and logical induction - one can understand the temporary, insubstantial situation of the material world, by which one becomes detached from the duality of this world. An intelligent person should see that any material activity is subject to constant transformation and that even on the planet of Lord Brahma there is thus simply unhappiness. Indeed, a wise man can understand that just as all that he has seen is temporary, similarly, all things within the universe have a beginning and an end. O sinless Uddhava, because you love Me, I previously explained to you the process of devotional service. Now I will again explain the supreme process for achieving loving service unto Me. Firm faith in the blissful narration of My pastimes, constant chanting of My glories, unwavering attachment to ceremonial worship of Me, praising Me through beautiful hymns, great respect for My devotional service, offering obeisances with the entire body, performing first-class worship of My devotees, consciousness of Me in all living entities, offering of ordinary, bodily activities in My devotional service, use of words to describe My qualities, offering the mind to Me, rejection of all material desires, giving up wealth for My devotional service, renouncing material sense gratification and happiness, and performing all desirable activities such as charity, sacrifice, chanting, vows and austerities with the purpose of achieving Me - these constitute actual religious principles, by which those human beings who have actually surrendered themselves to Me automatically develop love for Me. What other purpose or goal could remain for My devotee? When one's peaceful consciousness, strengthened by the mode of goodness, is fixed on the Personality of Godhead, one achieves religiosity, knowledge, detachment and opulence. When consciousness is fixed on the material body, home and other, similar objects of sense gratification, one spends one's life chasing after material objects with the help of the senses. Consciousness, thus powerfully affected by the mode of passion, becomes dedicated to impermanent things, and in this way irreligion, ignorance, attachment and wretchedness arise. Actual religious principles are stated to be those that lead one to My devotional service. Real knowledge is the awareness that reveals My all- pervading presence. Detachment is complete disinterest in the objects of material sense gratification, and opulence is the eight mystic perfection, such as anima-siddhi. Shri Uddhava said: My dear Lord Krsna, O chastiser of the enemies, please tell me how many types of disciplinary regulations and regular daily duties there are. Also, my Lord, tell me what is mental equilibrium, what is self-control, and what is the actual meaning of tolerance and steadfastness. What are charity, austerity and heroism, and how are reality and truth to he described? What is renunciation, and what is wealth? What is desirable, what is sacrifice, and what is religious remuneration? My dear Keshava, O most fortunate one, how am I to understand the strength, opulence and profit of a particular person? What is the best education, what is actual humility, and what is real beauty? What are happiness and unhappiness? Who is learned, and who is a fool? What are the true and the false paths in life, and what are heaven and hell? Who is indeed a true friend, and what is one's real home? Who is a rich man, and who is a poor man? Who is wretched, and who is an actual controller? O Lord of the devotees, kindly explain these matters to me, along with their opposites. The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: Nonviolence, truthfulness, not coveting or stealing the property of others, detachment, humility, freedom from possessiveness, trust in the principles of religion, celibacy, silence, steadiness, forgiveness and fearlessness are the twelve primary disciplinary principles. Internal cleanliness, external cleanliness, chanting the holy names of the Lord, austerity, sacrifice, faith, hospitality, worship of Me, visiting holy places, acting and desiring only for the supreme interest, satisfaction, and service to the spiritual master are the twelve elements of regular prescribed duties. These twenty-four elements bestow all desired benedictions upon those persons who devotedly cultivate them. Absorbing the intelligence in Me constitutes mental equilibrium, and complete discipline of the senses is self-control. Tolerance means patiently enduring unhappiness, and steadfastness occurs when one conquers the tongue and genitals. The greatest charity is to give up all aggression toward others, and renunciation of lust is understood to be real austerity. Real heroism is to conquer one's natural tendency to enjoy material life, and reality is seeing the Supreme Personality of Godhead everywhere. Truthfulness means to speak the truth in a pleasing way, as declared by great sages. Cleanliness is detachment in fruitive activities, whereas renunciation is the sannyasa order of life. The true desirable wealth for human beings is religiousness, and I, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, am sacrifice. Religious remuneration is devotion to the acarya with the purpose of acquiring spiritual instruction, and the greatest strength is the pranayama system of breath control. Actual opulence is My own nature as the Personality of Godhead, through which I exhibit the six unlimited opulences. The supreme gain in life is devotional service to Me, and actual education is nullifying the false perception of duality within the soul. Real modesty is to be disgusted with improper activities, and beauty is to possess good qualities such as detachment. Real happiness is to transcend material happiness and unhappiness, and real misery is to be implicated in searching for sex pleasure. A wise man is one who knows the process of freedom from bondage, and a fool is one who identifies with his material body and mind. The real path in life is that which leads to Me, and the wrong path is sense gratification, by which consciousness is bewildered. Actual heaven is the predominance of the mode of goodness, whereas hell is the predominance of ignorance. I am everyone's true friend, acting as the spiritual master of the entire universe, and one's home is the human body. My dear friend Uddhava, one who is enriched with good qualities is actually said to be rich, and one who is unsatisfied in life is actually poor. A wretched person is one who cannot control his senses, whereas one who is not attached to sense gratification is a real controller. One who attaches himself to sense gratification is the opposite, a slave. Thus, Uddhava, I have elucidated all of the matters about which you inquired. There is no need for a more elaborate description of these good and bad qualities, since to constantly see good and bad is itself a bad quality. The best quality is to transcend material good and evil. Chapter TWENTY Pure Devotional Service Surpasses Knowledge and Detachment Shri Uddhava said: My dear lotus-eyed Krsna, You are the Supreme Lord, and thus the Vedic literatures, consisting of positive and negative injunctions, constitute Your order. Such literatures focus upon the good and bad qualities of work. According to Vedic literature, the superior and inferior varieties found in the human social system, varnashrama, are due to pious and sinful modes of family planning. Thus piety and sin are constant points of reference in the Vedic analysis of the components of a given situation - namely the material ingredients, place, age and time. Indeed, the Vedas reveal the existence of material heaven and hell, which are certainly based on piety and sin. Without seeing the difference between piety and sin, how can one understand Your own instructions in the form of Vedic literatures, which order one to act piously and forbid one to act sinfully? Furthermore, without such authorized Vedic literatures, which ultimately award liberation, how can human beings achieve the perfection of life? My dear Lord, in order to understand those things beyond direct experience - such as spiritual liberation or attainment of heaven and other material enjoyments beyond our present capacity - and in general to understand the means and end of all things, the forefathers, demigods and human beings must consult the Vedic literatures, which are Your own laws, for these constitute the highest evidence and revelation. My dear Lord, the distinction observed between piety and sin comes from Your own Vedic knowledge and does not arise by itself. If the same Vedic literature subsequently nullifies such distinction between piety and sin, there will certainly be confusion. The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: My dear Uddhava, because I desire that human beings may achieve perfection, I have presented three paths of advancement - the path of knowledge, the path of work and the path of devotion. Besides these three there is absolutely no other means of elevation. Among these three paths, jnana-yoga, the path of philosophical speculation, is recommended for those who are disgusted with material life and are thus detached from ordinary, fruitive activities. Those who are not disgusted with material life, having many desires yet to fulfill, should seek perfection through the path of karma-yoga. If somehow or other by good fortune one develops faith in hearing and chanting My glories, such a person, being neither very disgusted with nor attached to material life, should achieve perfection through the path of loving devotion to Me. As long as one is not satiated by fruitive activity and has not awakened his taste for devotional service by shravanam kirtanam visno one has to act according to the regulative principles of the Vedic injunctions. My dear Uddhava, a person who is situated in his prescribed duty, properly worshiping by Vedic sacrifices but not desiring the fruitive result of such worship, will not go to the heavenly planets; similarly, by not performing forbidden activities he will not go to hell. One who is situated in his prescribed duty, free from sinful activities and cleansed of material contamination, in this very life obtains transcendental knowledge or, by fortune, devotional service unto Me. The residents of both heaven and hell desire human birth on the earth planet because human life facilitates the achievement of transcendental knowledge and love of Godhead, whereas neither heavenly nor hellish bodies efficiently provide such opportunities. A human being who is wise should never desire promotion to heavenly planets or residence in hell. Indeed, a human being should also never desire permanent residence on the earth, for by such absorption in the material body one becomes foolishly negligent of one's actual self-interest. A wise person, knowing that although the material body is subject to death it can still award the perfection of one's life, should not foolishly neglect to take advantage of this opportunity before death arrives. Without attachment, a bird gives up the tree in which his nest was constructed when that tree is cut down by cruel men who are like death personified, and thus the bird achieves happiness in another place. Knowing that one's duration of life is being similarly cut down by the passing of days and nights, one should be shaken by fear. In this way, giving up all material attachment and desire, one understands the Supreme Lord and achieves perfect peace. The human body, which can award all benefit in life, is automatically obtained by the laws of nature, although it is a very rare achievement. This human body can be compared to a perfectly constructed boat having the spiritual master as the captain and the instructions of the Personality of Godhead as favorable winds impelling it on its course. Considering all these advantages, a human being who does not utilize his human life to cross the ocean of material existence must be considered the killer of his own soul. A transcendentalist, having become disgusted and hopeless in all endeavors for material happiness, completely controls the senses and develops detachment. By spiritual practice he should then fix the mind on the spiritual platform without deviation. Whenever the mind, being concentrated on the spiritual platform, is suddenly deviated from its spiritual position, one should carefully bring it under the control of the self by following the prescribed means. One should never lose sight of the actual goal of mental activities, but rather, conquering the life air and senses and utilizing intelligence strengthened by the mode of goodness, one should bring the mind under the control of the self. An expert horseman, desiring to tame a headstrong horse, first lets the horse have his way for a moment and then, pulling the reins, gradually places the horse on the desired path. Similarly, the supreme yoga process is that by which one carefully observes the movements and desires of the mind and gradually brings them under full control. Until one's mind is fixed in spiritual satisfaction, one should analytically study the temporary nature of all material objects, whether cosmic, earthly or atomic. One should constantly observe the process of creation through the natural progressive function and the process of annihilation through the regressive function. When a person is disgusted with the temporary, illusory nature of this world and is thus detached from it, his mind, guided by the instructions of his spiritual master, considers again and again the nature of this world and eventually gives up the false identification with matter. Through the various disciplinary regulations and the purificatory procedures of the yoga system, through logic and spiritual education or through worship and adoration of Me, one should constantly engage his mind in remembering the Personality of Godhead, the goal of yoga. No other means should be employed for this purpose. If, because of momentary inattention, a yogi accidentally commits an abominable activity, then by the very practice of yoga he should burn to ashes the sinful reaction, without at any time employing any other procedure. It is firmly declared that the steady adherence of transcendentalists to their respective spiritual positions constitutes real piety and that sin occurs when a transcendentalist neglects his prescribed duty. One who adopts this standard of piety and sin, sincerely desiring to give up all past association with sense gratification, is able to subdue materialistic activities, which are by nature impure. Having awakened faith in the narrations of My glories, being disgusted with all material activities, knowing that all sense gratification leads to misery, but still being unable to renounce all sense enjoyment, My devotee should remain happy and worship Me with great faith and conviction. Even though he is sometimes engaged in sense enjoyment, My devotee knows that all sense gratification leads to a miserable result, and he sincerely repents such activities. When an intelligent person engages constantly in worshiping Me through loving devotional service as described by Me, his heart becomes firmly situated in Me. Thus all material desires within the heart are destroyed. The knot in the heart is pierced, all misgivings are cut to pieces and the chain of fruitive actions is terminated when I am seen as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore, for a devotee engaged in My loving service, with mind fixed on Me, the cultivation of knowledge and renunciation is generally not the means of achieving the highest perfection within this world. Everything that can be achieved by fruitive activities, penance, knowledge, detachment, mystic yoga, charity, religious duties and all other means of perfecting life is easily achieved by My devotee through loving service unto Me. If somehow or other My devotee desires promotion to heaven, liberation, or residence in My abode, he easily achieves such benedictions. Because My devotees possess saintly behavior and deep intelligence, they completely dedicate themselves to Me and do not desire anything besides Me. Indeed, even if I offer them liberation from birth and death, they do not accept it. It is said that complete detachment is the highest stage of freedom. Therefore, one who has no personal desire and does not pursue personal rewards can achieve loving devotional service unto Me. Material piety and sin, which arise from the good and evil of this world, cannot exist within My unalloyed devotees, who, being free from material hankering, maintain steady spiritual consciousness in all circumstances. Indeed, such devotees have achieved Me, the Supreme Lord, who am beyond anything that can be conceived by material intelligence. Persons who seriously follow these methods of achieving Me, which I have personally taught, attain freedom from illusion, and upon reaching My personal abode they perfectly understand the Absolute Truth. Chapter TWENTY-ONE Lord Krsna's Explanation of the Vedic Path The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: Those who give up these methods for achieving Me, which consist of devotional service, analytic philosophy and regulated execution of prescribed duties, and instead, being moved by the material senses, cultivate insignificant sense gratification, certainly undergo the continual cycle of material existence. Steadiness in one's own position is declared to be actual piety, whereas deviation from one's position is considered impiety. In this way the two are definitely ascertained. O sinless Uddhava, in order to understand what is proper in life one must evaluate a given object within its particular category. Thus, in analyzing religious principles one must consider purity and impurity. Similarly, in one's ordinary dealings one must distinguish between good and bad, and to insure one's physical survival one must recognize that which is auspicious and inauspicious. I have revealed this way of life for those bearing the burden of mundane religious principles. Earth, water, fire, air and ether are the five basic elements that constitute the bodies of all conditioned souls, from Lord Brahma himself down to the nonmoving creatures. These elements all emanate from the one Personality of Godhead. My dear Uddhava, although all material bodies are composed of the same five elements and are thus equal, the Vedic literatures conceive of different names and forms in relation to such bodies so that the living entities may achieve their goal of life. O saintly Uddhava, in order to restrict materialistic activities, I have established that which is proper and improper among all material things, including time, space and all physical objects. Among places, those bereft of the spotted antelope, those devoid of devotion to the brahmanas, those possessing spotted antelopes but bereft of respectable men, provinces like Kikata and places where cleanliness and purificatory rites are neglected, where meat-eaters are prominent or where the earth is barren, are all considered to be contaminated lands. A specific time is considered pure when it is appropriate, either by its own nature or through achievement of suitable paraphernalia, for the performance of one's prescribed duty. That time which impedes the performance of one's duty is considered impure. An object's purity or impurity is established by application of another object, by words, by rituals, by the effects of time or according to relative magnitude. Impure things may or may not impose sinful reactions upon a person, depending on that person's strength or weakness, intelligence, wealth, location and physical condition. Various objects such as grains, wooden utensils, things made of bone, thread, liquids, objects derived from fire, skins and earthy objects are all purified by time, by the wind, by fire, by earth and by water, either separately or in combination. A particular purifying agent is considered appropriate when its application removes the bad odor or dirty covering of some contaminated object and makes it resume its original nature. The self can be cleansed by bathing, charity, austerity, age, personal strength, purificatory rituals, prescribed duties and, above all, by remembrance of Me. The brahmana and other twice-born men should be duly purified before performing their specific activities. A mantra is purified when chanted with proper knowledge, and one's work is purified when offered to Me. Thus by purification of the place, time, substance, doer, mantras and work, one becomes religious, and by negligence of these six items one is considered irreligious. Sometimes piety becomes sin, and sometimes what is ordinarily sin becomes piety on the strength of Vedic injunctions. Such special rules in effect eradicate the clear distinction between piety and sin. The same activities that would degrade an elevated person do not cause falldown for those who are already fallen. Indeed, one who is lying on the ground cannot possibly fall further. The material association that is dictated by one's own nature is considered a good quality. By refraining from a particular sinful or materialistic activity, one becomes freed from its bondage. Such renunciation is the basis of religious and auspicious life for human beings and drives away all suffering, illusion and fear. One who accepts material sense objects as desirable certainly becomes attached to them. From such attachment lust arises, and this lust creates quarrel among men. From quarrel arises intolerable anger, followed by the darkness of ignorance. This ignorance quickly overtakes a man's broad intelligence. O saintly Uddhava, a person bereft of real intelligence is considered to have lost everything. Deviated from the actual purpose of his life, he becomes dull, just like a dead person. Because of absorption in sense gratification, one cannot recognize himself or others. Living uselessly in ignorance like a tree, one is merely breathing just like a bellows. Those statements of scripture promising fruitive rewards do not prescribe the ultimate good for men hut are merely enticements for executing beneficial religious duties, like promises of candy spoken to induce a child to take beneficial medicine. Simply by material birth, human beings become attached within their minds to personal sense gratification, long duration of life, sense activities, bodily strength, sexual potency and friends and family. Their minds are thus absorbed in that which defeats their actual self-interest. Those ignorant of their real self-interest are wandering on the path of material existence, gradually heading toward darkness. Why would the Vedas further encourage them in sense gratification if they, although foolish, submissively pay heed to Vedic injunctions? Persons with perverted intelligence do not understand this actual purpose of Vedic knowledge and instead propagate as the highest Vedic truth the flowery statements of the Vedas that promise material rewards. Those in actual knowledge of the Vedas never speak in that way. Those who are full of lust, avarice and greed mistake mere flowers to be the actual fruit of life. Bewildered by the glare of fire and suffocated by its smoke, they cannot recognize their own true identity. My dear Uddhava, persons dedicated to sense gratification obtained through honoring the Vedic rituals cannot understand that I am situated in everyone's heart and that the entire universe is nondifferent from Me and emanates from Me. Indeed, they are just like persons whose eyes are covered by fog. Those who are sworn to sense gratification cannot understand the confidential conclusion of Vedic knowledge as explained by Me. Taking pleasure in violence, they cruelly slaughter innocent animals in sacrifice for their own sense gratification and thus worship demigods, forefathers and leaders among ghostly creatures. Such passion for violence, however, is never encouraged within the process of Vedic sacrifice. Just as a foolish businessman gives up his real wealth in useless business speculation, foolish persons give up all that is actually valuable in life and instead pursue promotion to material heaven, which although pleasing to hear about is actually unreal, like a dream. Such bewildered persons imagine within their hearts that they will achieve all material blessings. Those established in material passion, goodness and ignorance worship the particular demigods and other deities, headed by Indra, who manifest the same modes of passion, goodness or ignorance. They fail, however, to properly worship Me. The worshipers of demigods think, "We shall worship the demigods in this life, and by our sacrifices we shall go to heaven and enjoy there. When that enjoyment is finished we shall return to this world and take birth as great householders in aristocratic families." Being excessively proud and greedy, such persons are bewildered by the flowery words of the Vedas. They are not attracted to topics about Me, the Supreme Lord. The Vedas, divided into three divisions, ultimately reveal the living entity as pure spirit soul. The Vedic seers and mantras, however, deal in esoteric terms, and I also am pleased by such confidential descriptions. The transcendental sound of the Vedas is very difficult to comprehend and manifests on different levels within the prana, senses and mind. This Vedic sound is unlimited, very deep and unfathomable, just like the ocean. As the unlimited, unchanging and omnipotent Personality of Godhead dwelling within all living beings, I personally establish the Vedic sound vibration in the form of omkara within all living entities. It is thus perceived subtly, just like a single strand of fiber on a lotus stalk. Just as a spider brings forth from its heart its web and emits it through its mouth, the Supreme Personality of Godhead manifests Himself as the reverberating primeval vital air, comprising all sacred Vedic meters and full of transcendental pleasure. Thus the Lord, from the ethereal sky of His heart, creates the great and limitless Vedic sound by the agency of His mind, which conceives of variegated sounds such as the sparshas. The Vedic sound branches out in thousands of directions, adorned with the different letters expanded from the syllable om: the consonants, vowels, sibilants and semivowels. The Veda is then elaborated by many verbal varieties, expressed in different meters, each having four more syllables than the previous one. Ultimately the Lord again withdraws His manifestation of Vedic sound within Himself. The Vedic meters are Gayatri, Usnik, Anustup, Brhati, Pankti, Tristup, Jagati, Aticchanda, Atyasti, Atijagati and Ativirat. In the entire world no one but Me actually understands the confidential purpose of Vedic knowledge. Thus people do not know what the Vedas are actually prescribing in the ritualistic injunctions of karma-kanda, or what object is actually being indicated in the formulas of worship found in the upasana-kanda, or that which is elaborately discussed through various hypotheses in the jnana- kanda section of the Vedas. I am the ritualistic sacrifice enjoined by the Vedas, and I am the worshipable Deity. It is I who am presented as various philosophical hypotheses, and it is I alone who am then refuted by philosophical analysis. The transcendental sound vibration thus establishes Me as the essential meaning of all Vedic knowledge. The Vedas, elaborately analyzing all material duality as nothing but My illusory potency, ultimately completely negate this duality and achieve their own satisfaction. Chapter TWENTY-TWO Enumeration of the Elements of Material Creation Uddhava inquired: My dear Lord, O master of the universe, how many different elements of creation have been enumerated by the great sages? I have heard You personally describe a total of twenty-eight - God, the jiva soul, the mahat- tattva, false ego, the five gross elements, the ten senses, the mind, the five subtle objects of perception and the three modes of nature. But some authorities say that there are twenty-six elements, while others cite twenty-five or else seven, nine, six, four or eleven, and even others say that there are seventeen, sixteen or thirteen. What did each of these sages have in mind when he calculated the creative elements in such different ways? O supreme eternal, kindly explain this to me. Lord Krsna replied: Because all material elements are present everywhere, it is reasonable that different learned brahmanas have analyzed them in different ways. All such philosophers spoke under the shelter of My mystic potency, and thus they could say anything without contradicting the truth. When philosophers argue, "I don't choose to analyze this particular case in the same way that you have," it is simply My own insurmountable energies that are motivating their analytic disagreements. By interaction of My energies different opinions arise. But for those who have fixed their intelligence on Me and controlled their senses, differences of perception disappear, and consequently the very cause for argument is removed. O best among men, because subtle and gross elements mutually enter into one another, philosophers may calculate the number of basic material elements in different ways, according to their personal desire. All subtle material elements are actually present within their gross effects; similarly, all gross elements are present within their subtle causes, since material creation takes place by progressive manifestation of elements from subtle to gross. Thus we can find all material elements within any single element. Therefore, no matter which of these thinkers is speaking, and regardless of whether in their calculations they include material elements within their previous subtle causes or else within their subsequent manifest products, I accept their conclusions as authoritative, because a logical explanation can always be given for each of the different theories. Because a person who has been covered by ignorance since time immemorial is not capable of effecting his own self-realization, there must be some other personality who is in factual knowledge of the Absolute Truth and can impart this knowledge to him. According to knowledge in the material mode of goodness, there is no qualitative difference between the living entity and the supreme controller. The imagination of qualitative difference between them is useless speculation. Nature exists originally as the equilibrium of the three material modes, which pertain only to nature, not to the transcendental spirit soul. These modes - goodness, passion and ignorance - are the effective causes of the creation, maintenance and destruction of this universe. In this world the mode of goodness is recognized as knowledge, the mode of passion as fruitive work, and the mode of darkness as ignorance. Time is perceived as the agitated interaction of the material modes, and the totality of functional propensity is embodied by the primeval sutra, or mahat-tattva. I have described the nine basic elements as the enjoying soul, nature, nature's primeval manifestation of the mahat-tattva, false ego, ether, air, fire, water and earth. Hearing, touch, sight, smell and taste are the five knowledge acquiring senses, My dear Uddhava, and speech, the hands, the genitals, the anus and the legs constitute the five working senses. The mind belongs to both these categories. Sound, touch, taste, smell and form are the objects of the knowledge-acquiring senses, and movement, speech, excretion and manufacture are functions of the working senses. In the beginning of creation nature assumes, by the modes of goodness, passion and ignorance, its form as the embodiment of all subtle causes and gross manifestations within the universe. The Supreme Personality of Godhead does not enter the interaction of material manifestation but merely glances upon nature. As the material elements, headed by the mahat-tattva, are transformed, they receive their specific potencies from the glance of the Supreme Lord, and being amalgamated by the power of nature, they create the universal egg. According to some philosophers there are seven elements, namely earth, water, fire, air and ether, along with the conscious spirit soul and the Supreme Soul, who is the basis of both the material elements and the ordinary spirit soul. According to this theory, the body, senses, life air and all material phenomena are produced from these seven elements. Other philosophers state that there are six elements - the five physical elements (earth, water, fire, air and ether) and the sixth element, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. That Supreme Lord, endowed with the elements that He has brought forth from Himself, creates this universe and then personally enters within it. Some philosophers propose the existence of four basic elements, of which three - fire, water and earth - emanate from the fourth, the Self. Once existing, these elements produce the cosmic manifestation, in which all material creation takes place. Some calculate the existence of seventeen basic elements, namely the five gross elements, the five objects of perception, the five sensory organs, the mind, and the soul as the seventeenth element. According to the calculation of sixteen elements, the only difference from the previous theory is that the soul is identified with the mind. If we think in terms of five physical elements, five senses, the mind, the individual soul and the Supreme Lord, there are thirteen elements. Counting eleven, there are the soul, the gross elements and the senses. Eight gross and subtle elements plus the Supreme Lord would make nine. Thus great philosophers have analyzed the material elements in many different ways. All of their proposals are reasonable, since they are all presented with ample logic. Indeed, such philosophical brilliance is expected of the truly learned. Shri Uddhava inquired: Although nature and the living entity are constitutionally distinct, O Lord Krsna, there appears to be no difference between them, because they are found residing within one another. Thus the soul appears to be within nature and nature within the soul. O lotus-eyed Krsna, O omniscient Lord, kindly cut this great doubt out of my heart with Your own words, which exhibit Your great skill in reasoning. From You alone the knowledge of the living beings arises, and by Your potency that knowledge is stolen away. Indeed, no one but Yourself can understand the real nature of Your illusory potency. The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: O best among men, material nature and its enjoyer are clearly distinct. This manifest creation undergoes constant transformation, being founded upon the agitation of the modes of nature. My dear Uddhava, My material energy, comprising three modes and acting through them, manifests the varieties of creation along with varieties of consciousness for perceiving them. The manifest result of material transformation is understood in three aspects: adhyatmic, adhidaivic and adhibhautic. Sight, visible form and the reflected image of the sun within the aperture of the eye all work together to reveal one another. But the original sun standing in the sky is self-manifested. Similarly, the Supreme Soul, the original cause of all entities, who is thus separate from all of them, acts by the illumination of His own transcendental experience as the ultimate source of manifestation of all mutually manifesting objects. Similarly, the sense organs, namely the skin, ears, eyes, tongue and nose - as well as the functions of the subtle body, namely conditioned consciousness, mind, intelligence and false ego - can all be analyzed in terms of the threefold distinction of sense, object of perception and presiding deity. When the three modes of nature are agitated, the resultant transformation appears as the element false ego in three phases - goodness, passion and ignorance. Generated from the mahat-tattva, which is itself produced from the unmanifest pradhana, this false ego becomes the cause of all material illusion and duality. The speculative argument of philosophers - "This world is real," "No, it is not real" - is based upon incomplete knowledge of the Supreme Soul and is simply aimed at understanding material dualities. Although such argument is useless, persons who have turned their attention away from Me, their own true Self, are unable to give it up. Shri Uddhava said: O supreme master, the intelligence of those dedicated to fruitive activities is certainly deviated from You. Please explain to me how such persons accept superior and inferior bodies by their materialistic activities and then give up such bodies. O Govinda, this topic is very difficult for foolish persons to understand. Being cheated by illusion in this world, they generally do not become aware of these facts. Lord Krsna said: The material mind of men is shaped by the reactions of fruitive work. Along with the five senses, it travels from one material body to another. The spirit soul, although different from this mind, follows it. The mind, bound to the reactions of fruitive work, always meditates on the objects of the senses, both those that are seen in this world and those that are heard about from Vedic authority. Consequently, the mind appears to come into being and to suffer annihilation along with its objects of perception, and thus its ability to distinguish past and future is lost. When the living entity passes from the present body to the next body, which is created by his own karma, he becomes absorbed in the pleasurable and painful sensations of the new body and completely forgets the experience of the previous body. This total forgetfulness of one's previous material identity, which comes about for one reason or another, is called death. O most charitable Uddhava, what is called birth is simply a person's total identification with a new body. One accepts the new body just as one completely accepts the experience of a dream or a fantasy as reality. Just as a person experiencing a dream or daydream does not remember his previous dreams or daydreams, a person situated in his present body, although having existed prior to it, thinks that he has only recently come into being. Because the mind, which is the resting place of the senses, has created the identification with a new body, the threefold material variety of high, middle and low class appears as if present within the reality of the soul. Thus the self creates external and internal duality, just as a man might give birth to a bad son. My dear Uddhava, material bodies are constantly undergoing creation and destruction by the force of time, whose swiftness is imperceptible. But because of the subtle nature of time, no one sees this. The different stages of transformation of all material bodies occur just like those of the flame of a candle, the current of a river, or the fruits of a tree. Although the illumination of a lamp consists of innumerable rays of light undergoing constant creation, transformation and destruction, a person with illusory intelligence who sees the light for a moment will speak falsely, saying, "This is the light of the lamp." As one observes a flowing river, ever- new water passes by and goes far away, yet a foolish person, observing one point in the river, falsely states, "This is the water of the river." Similarly, although the material body of a human being is constantly undergoing transformation, those who are simply wasting their lives falsely think and say that each particular stage of the body is the person's real identity A person does not actually take birth out of the seed of past activities, nor, being immortal, does he die. By illusion the living being appears to be born and to die, just as fire in connection with firewood appears to begin and then cease to exist. Impregnation, gestation, birth, infancy, childhood, youth, middle age, old age and death are the nine ages of the body. Although the material body is different from the self, because of the ignorance due to material association one falsely identifies oneself with the superior and inferior bodily conditions. Sometimes a fortunate person is able to give up such mental concoction. By the death of one's father or grandfather one can surmise one's own death, and by the birth of one's son one can understand the condition of one's own birth. A person who thus realistically understands the creation and destruction of material bodies is no longer subject to these dualities. One who observes the birth of a tree from its seed and the ultimate death of the tree after maturity certainly remains a distinct observer separate from the tree. In the same way, the witness of the birth and death of the material body remains separate from it. An unintelligent man, failing to distinguish himself from material nature, thinks nature to be real. By contact with it he becomes completely bewildered and enters into the cycle of material existence. Made to wander because of his fruitive work, the conditioned soul, by contact with the mode of goodness, takes birth among the sages or demigods. By contact with the mode of passion he becomes a demon or human being, and by association with the mode of ignorance he takes birth as a ghost or in the animal kingdom. Just as one may imitate persons whom one sees dancing and singing, similarly the soul, although never the doer of material activities, becomes captivated by material intelligence and is thus forced to imitate its qualities. The soul's material life, his experience of sense gratification, is actually false, O descendant of Dasharha, just like trees' appearance of quivering when the trees are reflected in agitated water, or like the earth's appearance of spinning due to one's spinning his eyes around, or like the world of a fantasy or dream. For one who is meditating on sense gratification, material life, although lacking factual existence, does not go away, just as the unpleasant experiences of a dream do not. Therefore, O Uddhava, do not try to enjoy sense gratification with the material senses. See how illusion based on material dualities prevents one from realizing the self. Even though neglected, insulted, ridiculed or envied by bad men, or even though repeatedly agitated by being beaten, tied up or deprived of one's occupation, spat upon or polluted with urine by ignorant people, one who desires the highest goal in life should in spite of all these difficulties use his intelligence to keep himself safe on the spiritual platform. Shri Uddhava said: O best of all speakers, please explain to me how I may properly understand this. O soul of the universe, the conditioning of one's personality in material life is very strong, and therefore it is very difficult even for learned men to tolerate the offenses committed against them by ignorant people. Only Your devotees, who are fixed in Your loving service and who have achieved peace by residing at Your lotus feet, are able to tolerate such offenses. Chapter TWENTY-THREE The Song of the Avanti Brahmana. Shukadeva Gosvami said: Lord Mukunda, the chief of the Dasharhas, having thus been respectfully requested by the best of His devotees, Shri Uddhava, first acknowledged the fitness of his servant's statements. Then the Lord, whose glorious exploits are most worthy of being heard, began to reply to him. Lord Shri Krsna said: O disciple of Brhaspati, there is virtually no saintly man in this world capable of resettling his own mind after it has been disturbed by the insulting words of uncivilized men. Sharp arrows which pierce one's chest and reach the heart do not cause as much suffering as the arrows of harsh, insulting words that become lodged within the heart when spoken by uncivilized men. My dear Uddhava, in this regard a most pious story is told, and I shall now describe it to you. Please listen with careful attention. Once a certain sannyasi was insulted in many ways by impious men. However, with determination he remembered that he was suffering the fruit of his own previous karma. I will narrate to you his story and that which he spoke. In the country of Avanti there once lived a certain brahmana who was very rich and gifted with all opulences, and who was engaged in the occupation of commerce. But he was a miserly person - lusty, greedy and very prone to anger. In his home, devoid of religiosity and lawful sense gratification, the family members and guests were never properly respected, even with words. He would not even allow sufficient gratification for his own body at the suitable times. Since he was so hardhearted and miserly, his sons, in-laws, wife, daughters and servants began to feel inimical toward him. Becoming disgusted, they would never treat him with affection. In this way the presiding deities of the five family sacrifices became angry at the brahmana, who, being niggardly, guarded his wealth like a Yaksa, who had no good destination either in this world or the next, and who was totally deprived of religiosity and sense enjoyment. O magnanimous Uddhava, by his neglect of these demigods he depleted his stock of piety and all his wealth. The accumulation of his repeated exhaustive endeavors was totally lost. Some of the wealth of this so-called brahmana was taken away by his relatives, My dear Uddhava, some by thieves, some by the whims of providence, some by the effects of time, some by ordinary men and some by government authorities. Finally, when his property was completely lost, he who never engaged in religiosity or sense enjoyment became ignored by his family members. Thus he began to feel unbearable anxiety. Having lost all his wealth, he felt great pain and lamentation. His throat choked up with tears, and he meditated for a long time on his fortune. Then a powerful feeling of renunciation came over him. The brahmana spoke as follows: O what great misfortune! I have simply tormented myself uselessly, struggling so hard for money that was not even intended for religiosity or material enjoyment. Generally, the wealth of misers never allows them any happiness. In this life it causes their self-torment, and when they die it sends them to hell. Whatever pure fame is possessed by the famous and whatever praiseworthy qualities are found in the virtuous are destroyed by even a small amount of greed, just as one's attractive physical beauty is ruined by a trace of white leprosy. In the earning, attainment, increase, protection, expense, loss and enjoyment of wealth, all men experience great labor, fear, anxiety and delusion. Theft, violence, speaking lies, duplicity, lust, anger, perplexity, pride, quarreling, enmity, faithlessness, envy and the dangers caused by women, gambling and intoxication are the fifteen undesirable qualities that contaminate men because of greed for wealth. Although these qualities are undesirable, men falsely ascribe value to them. One desiring to achieve the real benefit of life should therefore remain aloof from undesirable material wealth. Even a man's brothers, wife, parents and friends united with him in love will immediately break off their affectionate relationships and become enemies over a single coin. For even a small amount of money these relatives and friends become very agitated and their anger is inflamed. Acting as rivals, they quickly give up all sentiments of goodwill and will reject one at a moment's notice, even to the point of committing murder. Those who obtain human life, which is prayed for even by the demigods, and in that human birth become situated as first-class brahmanas, are extremely fortunate. If they disregard this important opportunity, they are certainly killing their own self-interest and thus achieve a most unfortunate end. What mortal man, having achieved this human life, which is the very gateway to both heaven and liberation, would willingly become attached to that abode of worthlessness, material property? One who fails to distribute his wealth to the proper shareholders - the demigods, sages, forefathers and ordinary living entities, as well as his immediate relatives, in-laws and own self - is maintaining his wealth simply like a Yaksa and will fall down. Discriminating persons are able to utilize their money, youth and strength to achieve perfection. But I have feverishly squandered these in the useless endeavor for further wealth. Now that I am an old man, what can I achieve? Why must an intelligent man suffer by his constant vain efforts to get wealth? Indeed, this whole world is most bewildered by someone's illusory potency. For one who is in the grips of death, what is the use of wealth or those who offer it, sense gratification or those who offer it, or, for that matter, any type of fruitive activity, which simply causes one to again take birth in the material world? The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Hari, who contains within Himself all the demigods, must be satisfied with me. Indeed, He has brought me to this suffering condition and forced me to experience detachment, which is the boat to carry me over this ocean of material life. If there is any time remaining in my life, I will perform austerities and force my body to subsist on the bare necessities. Without further confusion I shall pursue that which constitutes my entire self-interest in life, and I shall remain satisfied within the self. Thus may the presiding demigods of these three worlds kindly show their mercy upon me. Indeed, Maharaja Khatvanga was able to achieve the spiritual world in a single moment. Lord Shri Krsna continued: His mind thus determined, that most excellent Avanti brahmana was able to untie the knots of desire within his heart. He then assumed the role of a peaceful and silent sannyasi mendicant. He wandered about the earth, keeping his intelligence, senses and life air under control. To beg charity he traveled alone to various cities and villages. He did not advertise his advanced spiritual position and thus was not recognized by others. O kind Uddhava, seeing him as an old, dirty beggar, rowdy persons would dishonor him with many insults. Some of these persons would take away his sannyasi rod, and some the waterpot which he was using as a begging bowl. Some took his deerskin seat, some his chanting beads, and some would steal his torn, ragged clothing. Displaying these things before him, they would pretend to offer them back but would then hide them again. When he was sitting on the bank of a river about to partake of the food that he had collected by his begging, such sinful rascals would come and pass urine on it, and they would dare to spit on his head. Although he had taken a vow of silence, they would try to make him speak, and if he did not speak they would beat him with sticks. Others would chastise him, saying, "This man is just a thief." And others would bind him up with rope, shouting, "Tie him up! Tie him up!" They would criticize and insult him, saying, "This man is just a hypocrite and a cheat. He makes a business of religion simply because he lost all his wealth and his family threw him out." Some would ridicule him by saying, "Just see this greatly powerful sage! He is as steadfast as the Himalaya Mountains. By practice of silence he strives for his goal with great determination, just like a duck." Other persons would pass foul air upon him, and sometimes others would bind this twice-born brahmana in chains and keep him captive like a pet animal. The brahmana understood that all his suffering - from other living beings, from the higher forces of nature and from his own body - was unavoidable, being allotted to him by providence. Even while being insulted by these low-class men who were trying to effect his downfall, he remained steady in his spiritual duties. Fixing his resolution in the mode of goodness, he began to chant the following song. The brahmana said: These people are not the cause of my happiness and distress. Neither are the demigods, my own body, the planets, my past work, or time. Rather, it is the mind alone that causes happiness and distress and perpetuates the rotation of material life. The powerful mind actuates the functions of the material modes, from which evolve the different kinds of material activities in the modes of goodness, ignorance and passion. From the activities in each of these modes develop the corresponding statuses of life. Although present along with the struggling mind within the material body, the Supersoul is not endeavoring, because He is already endowed with transcendental enlightenment. Acting as my friend, He simply witnesses from His transcendental position. I, the infinitesimal spirit soul, on the other hand, have embraced this mind, which is the mirror reflecting the image of the material world. Thus I have become engaged in enjoying objects of desire and am entangled due to contact with the modes of nature. Charity, prescribed duties, observance of major and minor regulative principles, hearing from scripture, pious works and purifying vows all have as their final aim the subduing of the mind. Indeed, concentration of the mind on the Supreme is the highest yoga. If one's mind is perfectly fixed and pacified, then tell me what need does one have to perform ritualistic charity and other pious rituals? And if one's mind remains uncontrolled, lost in ignorance, then of what use are these engagements for him? All the senses have been under the control of the mind since time immemorial, and the mind himself never comes under the sway of any other. He is stronger than the strongest, and his godlike power is fearsome. Therefore, anyone who can bring the mind under control becomes the master of all the senses. Failing to conquer this irrepressible enemy, the mind, whose urges are intolerable and who torments the heart, many people are completely bewildered and create useless quarrel with others. Thus they conclude that other people are either their friends, their enemies or parties indifferent to them. Persons who identify with this body, which is simply the product of the material mind, are blinded in their intelligence, thinking in terms of "I" and "mine." Because of their illusion of "this is I, but that is someone else," they wander in endless darkness. If you say that these people are the cause of my happiness and distress, then where is the place of the soul in such a conception? This happiness and distress pertain not to the soul but to the interactions of material bodies. If someone bites his tongue with his own teeth, at whom can he become angry in his suffering? If you say that the demigods who rule the bodily senses cause suffering, still, how can such suffering apply to the spirit soul? This acting and being acted upon are merely interactions of the changeable senses and their presiding deities. When one limb of the body attacks another, with whom can the person in that body be angry? If the soul himself were the cause of happiness and distress, then we could not blame others, since happiness and distress would be simply the nature of the soul. According to this theory, nothing except the soul actually exists, and if we were to perceive something besides the soul, that would be illusion. Therefore, since happiness and distress do not actually exist in this concept, why become angry at oneself or others? And if we examine the hypothesis that the planets are the immediate cause of suffering and happiness, then also where is the relationship with the soul, who is eternal? After all, the effect of the planets applies only to things that have taken birth. Expert astrologers have moreover explained how the planets are only causing pain to each other. Therefore, since the living entity is distinct from these planets and from the material body, against whom should he vent his anger? If we assume that fruitive work is the cause of happiness and distress, we still are not dealing with the soul. The idea of material work arises when there is a spiritual actor who is conscious and a material body that undergoes the transformation of happiness and distress as a reaction to such work. Since the body has no life, it cannot be the actual recipient of happiness and distress, nor can the soul, who is ultimately completely spiritual and aloof from the material body. Since karma thus has no ultimate basis in either the body or the soul, at whom can one become angry? If we accept time as the cause of happiness and distress, that experience still cannot apply to the spirit soul, since time is a manifestation of the Lord's spiritual potency and the living entities are also expansions of the Lord's spiritual potency manifesting through time. Certainly a fire does not burn its own flames or sparks, nor does the cold harm its own snowflakes or hail. In fact, the spirit soul is transcendental and beyond the experience of material happiness and distress. At whom, therefore, should one become angry? The false ego gives shape to illusory material existence and thus experiences material happiness and distress. The spirit soul, however, is transcendental to material nature; he can never actually be affected by material happiness and distress in any place, under any circumstance or by the agency of any person. A person who understands this has nothing whatsoever to fear from the material creation. I shall cross over the insurmountable ocean of nescience by being firmly fixed in the service of the lotus feet of Krsna. This was approved by the previous acaryas, who were fixed in firm devotion to the Lord, Paramatma, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Lord Shri Krsna said: Thus becoming detached upon the loss of his property, this sage gave up his moroseness. He left home, taking sannyasa, and began to travel about the earth. Even when insulted by foolish rascals he remained unswerved from his duty and chanted this song. No other force besides his own mental confusion makes the soul experience happiness and distress. His perception of friends, neutral parties and enemies and the whole material life he builds around this perception are simply created out of ignorance. My dear Uddhava, fixing your intelligence on Me, you should thus completely control the mind. This is the essence of the science of yoga. Anyone who listens to or recites to others this song of the sannyasi, which presents scientific knowledge of the Absolute, and who thus meditates upon it with full attention, will never again be overwhelmed by the dualities of material happiness and distress. Chapter TWENTY-FOUR The Philosophy of Sankhya Lord Shri Krsna said: Now I shall describe to you the science of Sankhya, which has been perfectly established by ancient authorities. By understanding this science a person can immediately give up the illusion of material duality. Originally, during the Krta-yuga, when all men were very expert in spiritual discrimination, and also previous to that, during the period of annihilation, the seer existed alone, nondifferent from the seen object. That one Absolute Truth, remaining free from material dualities and inaccessible to ordinary speech and mind, divided Himself into two categories - the material nature and the living entities who are trying to enjoy the manifestations of that nature. Of these two categories of manifestation, one is material nature, which embodies both the subtle causes and manifests products of matter. The other is the conscious living entity, designated as the enjoyer. When material nature was agitated by My glance, the three material modes - goodness, passion and ignorance - became manifest to fulfill the pending desires of the conditioned souls. From these modes arose the primeval sutra, along with the mahat-tattva. By the transformation of the mahat-tattva was generated the false ego, the cause of the living entities' bewilderment. False ego, which is the cause of physical sensation, the senses, and the mind, encompasses both spirit and matter and manifests, in three varieties: in the modes of goodness, passion and ignorance. From false ego in the mode of ignorance came the subtle physical perceptions, from which the gross elements were generated. From false ego in the mode of passion came the senses, and from false ego in the mode of goodness arose the eleven demigods. Impelled by Me, all these elements combined to function in an orderly fashion and together gave birth to the universal egg, which is My excellent place of residence. I Myself appeared within that egg, which was floating on the causal water, and from My navel arose the universal lotus, the birthplace of self-born Brahma. Lord Brahma, the soul of the universe, being endowed with the mode of passion, performed great austerities by My mercy and thus created the three planetary divisions, called Bhur, Bhuvar and Svar, along with their presiding deities. Heaven was established as the residence of the demigods, Bhuvarloka as that of the ghostly spirits, and the earth system as the place of human beings and other mortal creatures. Those mystics who strive for liberation are promoted beyond these three divisions. Lord Brahma created the region below the earth for the demons and the Naga snakes. In this way the destinations of the three worlds were arranged as the corresponding reactions for different kinds of work performed within the three modes of nature. By mystic yoga, great austerities and the renounced order of life, the pure destinations of Maharloka, Janoloka, Tapoloka and Satyaloka are attained. But by devotional yoga, one achieves My transcendental abode. All results of fruitive work have been arranged within this world by Me, the supreme creator acting as the force of time. Thus one sometimes rises up toward the surface of this mighty river of the modes of nature and sometimes again submerges. Whatever features visibly exist within this world - small or great, thin or stout - certainly contain both the material nature and its enjoyer, the spirit soul. Gold and earth are originally existing as ingredients. From gold one may fashion golden ornaments such as bracelets and earrings, and from earth one may fashion clay pots and saucers. The original ingredients gold and earth exist before the products made from them, and when the products are eventually destroyed, the original ingredients, gold and earth, will remain. Thus, since the ingredients are present in the beginning and at the end, they must also be present in the middle phase, taking the form of a particular product to which we assign for convenience a particular name, such as bracelet, earring, pot or saucer. We can therefore understand that since the ingredient cause exists before the creation of a product and after the product's destruction, the same ingredient cause must be present during the manifest phase, supporting the product as the basis of its reality. A material object, itself composed of an essential ingredient, creates another material object through transformation. Thus one created object becomes the cause and basis of another created object. A particular thing may thus be called real in that it possesses the basic nature of another object that constitutes its origin and final state. The material universe may be considered real, having nature as its original ingredient and final state. Lord Maha-Visnu is the resting place of nature, which becomes manifest by the power of time. Thus nature, the almighty Visnu and time are not different from Me, the Supreme Absolute Truth. As long as the Supreme Personality of Godhead continues to glance upon nature, the material world continues to exist, perpetually manifesting through procreation the great and variegated flow of universal creation. I am the basis of the universal form, which displays endless variety through the repeated creation, maintenance and destruction of the planetary systems. Originally containing within itself all planets in their dormant state, My universal form manifests the varieties of created existence by arranging the coordinated combination of the five elements. At the time of annihilation, the mortal body of the living being becomes merged into food. Food merges into the grains, and the grains merge back into the earth. The earth merges into its subtle sensation, fragrance. Fragrance merges into water, and water further merges into its own quality, taste. That taste merges into fire, which merges into form. Form merges into touch, and touch merges into ether. Ether finally merges into the sensation of sound. The senses all merge into their own origins, the presiding demigods, and they, O gentle Uddhava, merge into the controlling mind, which itself merges into false ego in the mode of goodness. Sound becomes one with false ego in the mode of ignorance, and all-powerful false ego, the first of all the physical elements, merges into the total nature. The total material nature, the primary repository of the three basic modes, dissolves into the modes. These modes of nature then merge into the unmanifest form of nature, and that unmanifest form merges into time. Time merges into the Supreme Lord, present in the form of the omniscient Maha-purusa, the original activator of all living beings. That origin of all life merges into Me, the unborn Supreme Soul, who remains alone, established within Himself. It is from Him that all creation and annihilation are manifested. Just as the rising sun removes the darkness of the sky, similarly, this scientific knowledge of cosmic annihilation removes all illusory duality from the mind of a serious student. Even if illusion somehow enters his heart, it cannot remain there. Thus I, the perfect seer of everything material and spiritual, have spoken this knowledge of Sankhya, which destroys the illusion of doubt by scientific analysis of creation and annihilation. Chapter TWENTY-FIVE The Three Modes of Nature and Beyond The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: O best among men, please listen as I describe to you how the living entity attains a particular nature by association with individual material modes. Mind and sense control, tolerance, discrimination, sticking to one's prescribed duty, truthfulness, mercy, careful study of the past and future, satisfaction in any condition, generosity, renunciation of sense gratification, faith in the spiritual master, being embarrassed at improper action, charity, simplicity, humbleness and satisfaction within oneself are qualities of the mode of goodness. Material desire, great endeavor, audacity, dissatisfaction even in gain, false pride, praying for material advancement, considering oneself different and better than others, sense gratification, rash eagerness to fight, a fondness for hearing oneself praised, the tendency to ridicule others, advertising one's own prowess and justifying one's actions by one's strength are qualities of the mode of passion. Intolerant anger, stinginess, speaking without scriptural authority, violent hatred, living as a parasite, hypocrisy, chronic fatigue, quarrel, lamentation, delusion, unhappiness, depression, sleeping too much, false expectations, fear and laziness constitute the major qualities of the mode of ignorance. Now please hear about the combination of these three modes. My dear Uddhava, the combination of all three modes is present in the mentality of "I" and "mine." The ordinary transactions of this world, which are carried out through the agency of the mind, the objects of perception, the senses and the vital airs of the physical body, are also based on the combination of the modes. When a person devotes himself to religiosity, economic development and sense gratification, the faith, wealth and sensual enjoyment obtained by his endeavors display the interaction of the three modes of nature. When a man desires sense gratification, being attached to family life, and when he consequently becomes established in religious and occupational duties, the combination of the modes of nature is manifest. A person exhibiting qualities such as self-control is understood to be predominantly in the mode of goodness. Similarly, a passionate person is recognized by his lust, and one in ignorance is recognized by qualities such as anger. Any person, whether man or woman, who worships Me with loving devotion, offering his or her prescribed duties unto Me without material attachment, is understood to be situated in goodness. When a person worships Me by his prescribed duties with the hope of gaining material benefit, his nature should be understood to be in passion, and one who worships Me with the desire to commit violence against others is in ignorance. The three modes of material nature - goodness, passion and ignorance - influence the living entity but not Me. Manifesting within his mind, they induce the living entity to become attached to material bodies and other created objects. In this way the living entity is bound up. When the mode of goodness, which is luminous, pure and auspicious, predominates over passion and ignorance, a man becomes endowed with happiness, virtue, knowledge and other good qualities. When the mode of passion, which causes attachment, separatism and activity, conquers ignorance and goodness, a man begins to work hard to acquire prestige and fortune. Thus in the mode of passion he experiences anxiety and struggle. When the mode of ignorance conquers passion and goodness, it covers one's consciousness and makes one foolish and dull. Falling into lamentation and illusion, a person in the mode of ignorance sleeps excessively, indulges in false hopes, and displays violence toward others. When consciousness becomes clear and the senses are detached from matter, one experiences fearlessness within the material body and detachment from the material mind. You should understand this situation to be the predominance of the mode of goodness, in which one has the opportunity to realize Me. You should discern the mode of passion by its symptoms - the distortion of the intelligence because of too much activity, the inability of the perceiving senses to disentangle themselves from mundane objects, an unhealthy condition of the working physical organs, and the unsteady perplexity of the mind. When one's higher awareness fails and finally disappears and one is thus unable to concentrate his attention, his mind is ruined and manifests ignorance and depression. You should understand this situation to be the predominance of the mode of ignorance. With the increase of the mode of goodness, the strength of the demigods similarly increases. When passion increases, the demoniac become strong. And with the rise of ignorance, O Uddhava, the strength of the most wicked increases. It should be understood that alert wakefulness comes from the mode of goodness, sleep with dreaming from the mode of passion, and deep, dreamless sleep from the mode of ignorance. The fourth state of consciousness pervades these three and is transcendental. Learned persons dedicated to Vedic culture are elevated by the mode of goodness to higher and higher positions. The mode of ignorance, on the other hand, forces one to fall headfirst into lower and lower births. And by the mode of passion one continues transmigrating through human bodies. Those who leave this world in the mode of goodness go to the heavenly planets, those who pass away in the mode of passion remain in the world of human beings, and those dying in the mode of ignorance must go to hell. But those who are free from the influence of all modes of nature come to Me. Work performed as an offering to Me, without consideration of the fruit, is considered to be in the mode of goodness. Work performed with a desire to enjoy the results is in the mode of passion. And work impelled by violence and envy is in the mode of ignorance. Absolute knowledge is in the mode of goodness, knowledge based on duality is in the mode of passion, and foolish, materialistic knowledge is in the mode of ignorance. Knowledge based upon Me, however, is understood to be transcendental. Residence in the forest is in the mode of goodness, residence in a town is in the mode of passion, residence in a gambling house displays the quality of ignorance, and residence in a place where I reside is transcendental. A worker free of attachment is in the mode of goodness, a worker blinded by personal desire is in the mode of passion, and a worker who has completely forgotten how to tell right from wrong is in the mode of ignorance. But a worker who has taken shelter of Me is understood to be transcendental to the modes of nature. Faith directed toward spiritual life is in the mode of goodness, faith rooted in fruitive work is in the mode of passion, faith residing in irreligious activities is in the mode of ignorance, but faith in My devotional service is purely transcendental. Food that is wholesome, pure and obtained without difficulty is in the mode of goodness, food that gives immediate pleasure to the senses is in the mode of passion, and food that is unclean and causes distress is in the mode of ignorance. Happiness derived from the self is in the mode of goodness, happiness based on sense gratification is in the mode of passion, and happiness based on delusion and degradation is in the mode of ignorance. But that happiness found within Me is transcendental. Therefore material substance, place, result of activity, time, knowledge, work, the performer of work, faith, state of consciousness, species of life and destination after death are all based on the three modes of material nature. O best of human beings, all states of material being are related to the interaction of the enjoying soul and material nature. Whether seen, heard of or only conceived within the mind, they are without exception constituted of the modes of nature. O gentle Uddhava, all these different phases of conditioned life arise from work born of the modes of material nature. The living entity who conquers these modes, manifested from the mind, can dedicate himself to Me by the process of devotional service and thus attain pure love for Me. Therefore, having achieved this human form of life, which allows one to develop full knowledge, those who are intelligent should free themselves from all contamination of the modes of nature and engage exclusively in loving service to Me. A wise sage, free from all material association and unbewildered, should subdue his senses and worship Me. He should conquer the modes of passion and ignorance by engaging himself only with things in the mode of goodness. Then, being fixed in devotional service, the sage should also conquer the material mode of goodness by indifference toward the modes. Thus pacified within his mind, the spirit soul, freed from the modes of nature, gives up the very cause of his conditioned life and attains Me. Freed from the subtle conditioning of the mind and from the modes of nature born of material consciousness, the living entity becomes completely satisfied by experiencing My transcendental form. He no longer searches for enjoyment in the external energy, nor does he contemplate or remember such enjoyment within himself. Chapter TWENTY-SIX The Aila-gita The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: Having achieved this human form of life, which affords one the opportunity to realize Me, and being situated in My devotional service, one can achieve Me, the reservoir of all pleasure and the Supreme Soul of all existence, residing within the heart of every living being. A person fixed in transcendental knowledge is freed from conditioned life by giving up his false identification with the products of the material modes of nature. Seeing these products as simply illusion, he avoids entanglement with the modes of nature, although constantly among them. Because the modes of nature and their products are simply not real, he does not accept them. One should never associate with materialists, those dedicated to gratifying their genitals and bellies. By following them one falls into the deepest pit of darkness, just like a blind man who follows another blind man. The following song was sung by the famous emperor Pururava. When deprived of his wife, Urvashi, he was at first bewildered, but by controlling his lamentation he began to feel detachment. When she was leaving him, even though he was naked he ran after her just like a madman and called out in great distress, "O my wife, O terrible lady! Please stop!" Although for many years Pururava had enjoyed sex pleasure in the evening hours, still he was not satisfied by such insignificant enjoyment. His mind was so attracted to Urvashi that he did not notice how the nights were coming and going. King Aila said: Alas, just see the extent of my delusion! This goddess was embracing me and held my neck in her grip. My heart was so polluted by lust that I had no idea how my life was passing. That lady cheated me so much that I did not even see the rising or setting of the sun. Alas, for so many years I passed my days in vain! Alas, although I am supposed to be a mighty emperor, the crown jewel of all kings on this earth, just see how my bewilderment has rendered me a toy animal in the hands of women! Although I was a powerful lord with great opulence, that woman gave me up as if I were no more than an insignificant blade of grass. And still, naked and without shame, I followed her, crying out to her like a madman. Where are my so-called great influence, power and sovereignty? Just like an ass being kicked in the face by his she-ass, I ran after that woman, who had already given me up. What is the use of a big education or the practice of austerities and renunciation, and what is the use of studying religious scriptures, of living in solitude and silence, if, after all that, one's mind is stolen by a woman? To hell with me! I am such a fool that I didn't even know what was good for me, although I arrogantly thought I was highly intelligent. Although I achieved the exalted position of a lord, I allowed myself to be conquered by women as if I were a bullock or a jackass. Even after I had served the so-called nectar of the lips of Urvashi for many years, my lusty desires kept rising again and again within my heart and were never satisfied, just like a fire that can never be extinguished by the oblations of ghee poured into its flames. Who but the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who lies beyond material perception and is the Lord of self-satisfied sages, can possibly save my consciousness, which has been stolen by a prostitute? Because I allowed my intelligence to become dull and because I failed to control my senses, the great confusion in my mind did not go away, even though Urvashi herself gave me wise counsel with well-spoken words. How can I blame her for my trouble when I myself am ignorant of my real, spiritual nature? I did not control my senses, and so I am like a person who mistakenly sees a harmless rope as a snake. What is this polluted body anyway - so filthy and full of bad odors? I was attracted by the fragrance and beauty of a woman's body, but what are those so- called attractive features? They are simply a false covering created by illusion. One can never decide whose property the body actually is. Does it belong to one's parents, who have given birth to it, to one's wife, who gives it pleasure, or to one's employer, who orders the body around? Is it the property of the funeral fire or of the dogs and jackals who may ultimately devour it? Is it the property of the indwelling soul, who partakes in its happiness and distress, or does the body belong to intimate friends who encourage and help it? Although a man never definitely ascertains the proprietor of the body, he becomes most attached to it. The material body is a polluted material form heading toward a lowly destination, yet when a man stares at the face of a woman he thinks, "What a good-looking lady! What a charming nose she's got, and see her beautiful smile!" What difference is there between ordinary worms and persons who try to enjoy this material body composed of skin, flesh, blood, muscle, fat, marrow, bone, stool, urine and pus? Yet even one who theoretically understands the actual nature of the body should never associate with women or with men attached to women. After all, the contact of the senses with their objects inevitably agitates the mind. Because the mind is not disturbed by that which is neither seen nor heard, the mind of a person who restricts the material senses will automatically be checked in its material activities and become pacified. Therefore one should never let his senses associate freely with women or with men attached to women. Even those who are highly learned cannot trust the six enemies of the mind; what to speak, then, of foolish persons like me. The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: Having thus chanted this song, Maharaja Pururava, eminent among the demigods and human beings, gave up the position he had achieved in the planet of Urvashi. His illusion cleansed away by transcendental knowledge, he understood Me to be the Supreme Soul within his heart and so at last achieved peace. An intelligent person should therefore reject all bad association and instead take up the association of saintly devotees, whose words cut off the excessive attachment of one's mind. My devotees fix their minds on Me and do not depend upon anything material. They are always peaceful, endowed with equal vision, and free from possessiveness, false ego, duality and greed. O greatly fortunate Uddhava, in the association of such saintly devotees there is constant discussion of Me, and those partaking in this chanting and hearing of My glories are certainly purified of all sins. Whoever hears, chants and respectfully takes to heart these topics about Me becomes faithfully dedicated to Me and thus achieves My devotional service. What more remains to be accomplished for the perfect devotee after achieving devotional service unto Me, the Supreme Absolute Truth, whose qualities are innumerable and who am the embodiment of all ecstatic experience? Just as cold, fear and darkness are eradicated for one who has approached the sacrificial fire, so dullness, fear and ignorance are destroyed for one engaged in serving the devotees of the Lord. The devotees of the Lord, peacefully fixed in absolute knowledge, are the ultimate shelter for those who are repeatedly rising and falling within the fearful ocean of material life. Such devotees are just like a strong boat that comes to rescue persons who are at the point of drowning. Just as food is the life of all creatures, just as I am the ultimate shelter for the distressed, and just as religion is the wealth of those who are passing away from this world, so My devotees are the only refuge of persons fearful of falling into a miserable condition of life. My devotees bestow divine eyes, whereas the sun allows only external sight, and that only when it is risen in the sky. My devotees are one's real worshipable deities and real family; they are one's own self, and ultimately they are nondifferent from Me. Thus losing his desire to be on the same planet as Urvashi, Maharaja Pururava began to wander the earth free of all material association and completely satisfied within the self. Chapter TWENTY-SEVEN Shri Uddhava said: My dear Lord, O master of the devotees, please explain to me the prescribed method of worshiping You in Your Deity form. What are the qualifications of those devotees who worship the Deity, on what basis is such worship established, and what is the specific method of worship? All the great sages repeatedly declare that such worship brings the greatest benefit possible in human life. This is the opinion of Narada Muni, the great Vyasadeva and my own spiritual master, Brhaspati. O most magnanimous Lord, the instructions on this process of Deity worship first emanated from Your lotus mouth. Then they were spoken by the great Lord Brahma to his sons, headed by Bhrgu, and by Lord Shiva to his wife, Parvati. This process is accepted by and appropriate for all the occupational and spiritual orders of society. Therefore I consider worship of You in Your Deity form to be the most beneficial of all spiritual practices, even for women and shudras. O lotus-eyed one, O Supreme Lord of all lords of the universe, please explain to Your devoted servant this means of liberation from the bondage of work. The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: My dear Uddhava, there is no end to the innumerable Vedic prescriptions for executing Deity worship; so I shall explain this topic to you briefly, one step at a time. One should carefully worship Me by selecting one of the three methods by which I receive sacrifice: Vedic, tantric or mixed. Now please listen faithfully as I explain exactly how a person who has achieved twice-born status through the relevant Vedic prescriptions should worship Me with devotion. A twice-born person should worship Me, his worshipable Lord, without duplicity, offering appropriate paraphernalia in loving devotion to My Deity form or to a form of Me appearing upon the ground, in fire, in the sun, in water or within the worshiper's own heart. One should first purify his body by cleansing his teeth and bathing. Then one should perform a second cleansing by smearing the body with earth and chanting both Vedic and tantric mantras. Fixing the mind on Me, one should worship Me by his various prescribed duties, such as chanting the Gayatri mantra at the three junctures of the day. Such performances are enjoined by the Vedas and purify the worshiper of reactions to fruitive activities. The Deity form of the Lord is said to appear in eight varieties - stone, wood, metal, earth, paint, sand, the mind or jewels. The Deity form of the Lord, who is the shelter of all living entities, can be established in two ways: temporarily or permanently. But a permanent Deity, having been called, can never be sent away, My dear Uddhava. The Deity that is temporarily established can optionally be called forth and sent away, but these two rituals should always be performed when the Deity is traced upon the ground. Bathing should be done with water except if the Deity is made of clay, paint or wood, in which cases a thorough cleansing without water is enjoined. One should worship Me in My Deity forms by offering the most excellent paraphernalia. But a devotee completely freed from material desire may worship Me with whatever he is able to obtain, and may even worship Me within his heart with mental paraphernalia. In worshiping the temple Deity, my dear Uddhava, bathing and decoration are the most pleasing offerings. For the Deity traced on sacred ground, the process of tattva-vinyasa is most dear. Oblations of sesame and barley soaked in ghee are the preferred offering to the sacrificial fire, whereas worship consisting of upasthana and arghya is preferred for the sun. One should worship Me in the form of water by offering water itself. Actually, whatever is offered to Me with faith by My devotee - even if only a little water - is most dear to Me. Even very opulent presentations do not satisfy Me if they are offered by nondevotees. But I am pleased by any insignificant offering made by My loving devotees, and I am certainly most pleased when nice presentations of fragrant oil, incense, flowers and palatable foods are offered with love. After cleansing himself and collecting all the paraphernalia, the worshiper should arrange his own seat with blades of kusha grass whose tips point eastward. He should then sit facing either east or north, or else, if the Deity is fixed in one place, he should sit directly facing the Deity. The devotee should sanctify the various parts of his body by touching them and chanting mantras. He should do the same for My Deity forms and then with his hands he should clean the Deity of old flowers and the remnants of previous offerings. He should properly prepare the sacred pot and the vessel containing water for sprinkling. Then, with the water of that proksaniya vessel he should sprinkle the area where the Deity is being worshiped, the offerings that are going to be presented, and his own body. Next he should decorate with various auspicious substances three vessels filled with water. The worshiper should then purify those three vessels. He should sanctify the vessel holding water for washing the Lord's feet by chanting hrdayaya nama, the vessel containing water for arghya by chanting shirase svaha, and the vessel containing water for washing the Lord's mouth by chanting shikhayai vasat. Also, the Gayatri mantra should be chanted for all three vessels. The worshiper should meditate upon My subtle form - which is situated within the worshiper's own body, now purified by air and fire - as the source of all living entities. This form of the Lord is experienced by self-realized sages in the last part of the vibration of the sacred syllable om. The devotee conceives of the Supersoul, whose presence surcharges the devotee's body, in the form corresponding to his realization. Thus the devotee worships the Lord to his full capacity and becomes fully absorbed in Him. By touching the various limbs of the Deity and chanting appropriate mantras, the devotee should invite the Supersoul to join the Deity's form, and then the devotee should worship Me. The worshiper should first imagine My seat as decorated with the personified deities of religion, knowledge, renunciation and opulence and with My nine spiritual energies. He should think of the Lord's sitting place as an eight- petaled lotus, effulgent on account of the saffron filaments within its whorl. Then, following the regulations of both the Vedas and the tantras, he should offer Me water for washing the feet, water for washing the mouth, arghya and other items of worship. By this process he achieves both material enjoyment and liberation. One should worship, in order, the Lord's Sudarshana disc, His Pancajanya conchshell, His club, sword, bow, arrows and plow, His musala weapon, His Kaustubha gem, His flower garland and the Shrivatsa curl of hair on His chest. One should worship the Lord's associates Nanda and Sunanda, Garuda, Pracanda and Canda, Mahabala and Bala, and Kumuda and Kumudeksana. With offerings such as proksana one should worship Durga, Vinayaka, Vyasa, Visvaksena, the spiritual masters and the various demigods. All these personalities should be in their proper places facing the Deity of the Lord. The worshiper should bathe the Deity every day, as opulently as his assets permit, using waters scented with sandalwood, ushira root, camphor, kunkuma and aguru. He should also chant various Vedic hymns, such as the anuvaka known as Svarna-gharma, the Mahapurusa-vidya, the Purusa-sukta and various songs of the Sama Veda, such as the Rajana and the Rohinya. My devotee should then lovingly decorate Me with clothing, a brahmana thread, various ornaments, marks of tilaka and garlands, and he should anoint My body with fragrant oils, all in the prescribed manner. The worshiper should faithfully present Me with water for washing My feet and mouth, fragrant oils, flowers and unbroken grains, along with incense, lamps and other offerings. Within his means, the devotee should arrange to offer Me sugar candy, sweet rice, ghee, shaskuli [rice-flour cakes], apupa [various sweet cakes], modaka [steamed rice-flour dumplings filled with sweet coconut and sugar], samyava [wheat cakes made with ghee and milk and covered with sugar and spices], yogurt, vegetable soups and other palatable foods. On special occasions, and daily if possible, the Deity should be massaged with ointment, shown a mirror, offered a eucalyptus stick for brushing His teeth, bathed with the five kinds of nectar, offered all kinds of opulent foods, and entertained with singing and dancing. In an arena constructed according to scriptural injunctions, the devotee should perform a fire sacrifice, utilizing the sacred belt, the sacrificial pit and the altar mound. When igniting the sacrificial fire, the devotee should bring it to a blaze with wood piled up by his own hands. After spreading kusha grass on the ground and sprinkling it with water, one should perform the anvadhana ritual according to the prescribed rules. Then one should arrange the items to be offered as oblations and should sanctify them with water from the sprinkling vessel. The worshiper should next meditate upon Me within the fire. The intelligent devotee should meditate upon that form of the Lord whose color is like molten gold, whose four arms are resplendent with the conchshell, disc, club and lotus flower, and who is always peaceful and dressed in a garment colored like the filaments within a lotus flower. His helmet, bracelets, belt and fine arm ornaments shine brilliantly. The symbol of Shrivatsa is on His chest, along with the glowing Kaustubha gem and a garland of forest flowers. The devotee should then worship that Lord by taking pieces of firewood soaked in the sacrificial ghee and throwing them into the fire. He should perform the ritual of aghara, presenting into the fire the various items of oblation drenched in ghee. He should then offer to sixteen demigods, beginning with Yamaraja, the oblation called svisti-krt, reciting the basic mantras of each deity and the sixteen-line Purusa-sukta hymn. Pouring one oblation after each line of the Purusa-sukta, he should utter the particular mantra naming each deity. Having thus worshiped the Lord in the sacrificial fire, the devotee should offer his obeisances to the Lord's personal associates by bowing down and should then present offerings to them. He should then chant quietly the mula-mantra of the Deity of the Lord, remembering the Absolute Truth as the Supreme Personality, Narayana. Once again he should offer the Deity water for washing His mouth, and he should give the remnants of the Lord's food to Visvaksena. Then he should present the Deity with fragrant perfume for the mouth and prepared betel nut. Singing along with others, chanting loudly and dancing, acting out My transcendental pastimes, and hearing and telling stories about Me, the devotee should for some time absorb himself in such festivity. The devotee should offer homage to the Lord with all kinds of hymns and prayers, both from the Puranas and from other ancient scriptures, and also from ordinary traditions. Praying, "O Lord, please be merciful to me! "he should fall down flat like a rod to offer his obeisances. Placing his head at the feet of the Deity, he should then stand with folded hands before the Lord and pray, "O my Lord, please protect me, who am surrendered unto You. I am most fearful of this ocean of material existence, standing as I am in the mouth of death." Praying in this way, the devotee should respectfully place upon his head the remnants I offer to him. And if the particular Deity is meant to be sent away at the end of the worship, then this should be performed, the devotee once again placing the light of the Deity's presence inside the light of the lotus within his own heart. Whenever one develops faith in Me - in My form as the Deity or in other bona fide manifestations - one should worship Me in that form. I certainly exist both within all created beings and also separately in My original form, since I am the Supreme Soul of all. By worshiping Me through the various methods prescribed in the Vedas and tantras, one will gain from Me his desired perfection in both this life and the next. The devotee should more fully establish My Deity by solidly constructing a temple, along with beautiful gardens. These gardens should be set aside to provide flowers for the regular daily worship, special Deity processions and holiday observances. One who offers the Deity gifts of land, markets, cities and villages so that the regular daily worship and special festivals of the Deity may go on continually will achieve opulence equal to My own. By installing the Deity of the Lord one becomes king of the entire earth, by building a temple for the Lord one becomes ruler of the three worlds, by worshiping and serving the Deity one goes to the planet of Lord Brahma, and by performing all three of these activities one achieves a transcendental form like My own. But one who simply engages in devotional service with no consideration of fruitive results attains Me. Thus whoever worships Me according to the process I have described will ultimately attain pure devotional service unto Me. Anyone who steals the property of the demigods or the brahmanas, whether originally given to them by himself or someone else, must live as a worm in stool for one hundred million years. Not only the performer of the theft but also anyone who assists him, instigates the crime, or simply approves of it must also share the reaction in the next life. According to their degree of participation, they each must suffer a proportionate consequence. Chapter TWENTY-EIGHT Jnana-yoga The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: One should neither praise nor criticize the conditioned nature and activities of other persons. Rather, one should see this world as simply the combination of material nature and the enjoying souls, all based on the one Absolute Truth. Whoever indulges in praising or criticizing the qualities and behavior of others will quickly become deviated from his own best interest by his entanglement in illusory dualities. Just as the embodied spirit soul loses external consciousness when his senses are overcome by the illusion of dreaming or the deathlike state of deep sleep, so a person experiencing material duality must encounter illusion and death. That which is expressed by material words or meditated upon by the material mind is not ultimate truth. What, therefore, is actually good or bad within this insubstantial world of duality, and how can the extent of such good and bad be measured? Although shadows, echoes and mirages are only illusory reflections of real things, such reflections do cause a semblance of meaningful or comprehensible perception. In the same way, although the identification of the conditioned soul with the material body, mind and ego is illusory, this identification generates fear within him even up to the moment of death. The Supersoul alone is the ultimate controller and creator of this world, and thus He alone is also the created. Similarly, the Soul of all existence Himself both maintains and is maintained, withdraws and is withdrawn. No other entity can be properly ascertained as separate from Him, the Supreme Soul, who nonetheless is distinct from everything and everyone else. The appearance of the threefold material nature, which is perceived within Him, has no actual basis. Rather, you should understand that this material nature, composed of the three modes, is simply the product of His illusory potency. One who has properly understood the process of becoming firmly fixed in theoretical and realized knowledge, as described herein by Me, does not indulge in material criticism or praise. Like the sun, he wanders freely throughout this world. By direct perception, logical deduction, scriptural testimony and personal realization, one should know that this world has a beginning and an end and so is not the ultimate reality. Thus one should live in this world without attachment. Shri Uddhava said: My dear Lord, it is not possible for this material existence to be the experience of either the soul, who is the seer, or of the body, which is the seen object. On the one hand, the spirit soul is innately endowed with perfect knowledge, and on the other hand, the material body is not a conscious, living entity. To whom, then, does this experience of material existence pertain? The spirit soul is inexhaustible, transcendental, pure, self-luminous and never covered by anything material. It is like fire. But the nonliving material body, like firewood, is dull and unaware. So in this world, who is it that actually undergoes the experience of material life? The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: As long as the foolish spirit soul remains attracted to the material body, senses and vital force, his material existence continues to flourish, although it is ultimately meaningless. Actually, the living entity is transcendental to material existence. But because of his mentality of lording it over material nature, his material existential condition does not cease, and, just as in a dream, he is affected by all sorts of disadvantages. Although while dreaming a person experiences many undesirable things, upon awakening he is no longer confused by the dream experiences. Lamentation, elation, fear, anger, greed, confusion and hankering, as well as birth and death, are experiences of the false ego and not of the pure soul. The living entity who falsely identifies with his body, senses, life air and mind, and who dwells within these coverings, assumes the form of his own materially conditioned qualities and work. He is designated variously in relation to the total material energy, and thus, under the strict control of supreme time, he is forced to run here and there within material existence. Although the false ego has no factual basis, it is perceived in many forms - as the functions of the mind, speech, life air and bodily faculties. But with the sword of transcendental knowledge, sharpened by worship of a bona fide spiritual master, a sober sage will cut off this false identification and live in this world free from all material attachment. Real spiritual knowledge is based on the discrimination of spirit from matter, and it is cultivated by scriptural evidence, austerity, direct perception, reception of the Puranas' historical narrations, and logical inference. The Absolute Truth, which alone was present before the creation of the universe and which alone will remain after its destruction, is also the time factor and the ultimate cause. Even in the middle stage of this creation's existence, the Absolute Truth alone is the actual reality. Gold alone is present before its manufacture into gold products, the gold alone remains after the products' destruction, and the gold alone is the essential reality while it is being utilized under various designations. Similarly, I alone exist before the creation of this universe, after its destruction and during its maintenance. The material mind manifests in three phases of consciousness - wakefulness, sleep and deep sleep - which are products of the three modes of nature. The mind further appears in three different roles - the perceiver, the perceived and the regulator of perception. Thus the mind is manifested variously throughout these threefold designations. But it is the fourth factor, existing separately from all this, that alone constitutes the Absolute Truth. That which did not exist in the past and will not exist in the future also has no existence of its own for the period of its duration, but is only a superficial designation. In My opinion, whatever is created and revealed by something else is ultimately only that other thing. Although thus not existing in reality, this manifestation of transformations created from the mode of passion appears real because the self-manifested, self- luminous Absolute Truth exhibits Himself in the form of the material variety of the senses, the sense objects, the mind and the elements of physical nature. Thus clearly understanding by discriminating logic the unique position of the Absolute Truth, one should expertly refute one's misidentification with matter and cut to pieces all doubts about the identity of the self. Becoming satisfied in the soul's natural ecstasy, one should desist from all lusty engagements of the material senses. The material body made of earth is not the true self; nor are the senses, their presiding demigods or the air of life; nor is the external air, water or fire or one's mind. All these are simply matter. Similarly, neither one's intelligence, material consciousness nor ego, nor the elements of ether or earth, nor the objects of sense perception, nor even the primeval state of material equilibrium can be considered the actual identity of the soul. For one who has properly realized My personal identity as the Supreme Godhead, what credit is there if his senses - mere products of the material modes - are perfectly concentrated in meditation? And on the other hand, what blame is incurred if his senses happen to become agitated? Indeed, what does it mean to the sun if the clouds come and go? The sky may display the various qualities of the air, fire, water and earth that pass through it, as well as such qualities as heat and cold, which continually come and go with the seasons. Yet the sky is never entangled with any of these qualities. Similarly, the Supreme Absolute Truth is never entangled with the contaminations of goodness, passion and ignorance, which cause the material transformations of the false ego. Nevertheless, until by firmly practicing devotional service to Me one has completely eliminated from his mind all contamination of material passion, one must very carefully avoid associating with the material modes, which are produced by My illusory energy. Just as an improperly treated disease recurs and gives repeated distress to the patient, the mind that is not completely purified of its perverted tendencies will remain attached to material things and repeatedly torment the imperfect yogi. Sometimes the progress of imperfect transcendentalists is checked by attachment to family members, disciples or others, who are sent by envious demigods for that purpose. But on the strength of their accumulated advancement, such imperfect transcendentalists will resume their practice of yoga in the next life. They will never again be trapped in the network of fruitive work. An ordinary living entity performs material work and is transformed by the reaction to such work. Thus he is driven by various desires to continue working fruitively up to the very moment of his death. A wise person, however, having experienced his own constitutional bliss, gives up all material desires and does not engage in fruitive work. The wise man, whose consciousness is fixed in the self, does not even notice his own bodily activities. While standing, sitting, walking, lying down, urinating, eating or performing other bodily functions, he understands that the body is acting according to its own nature. Although a self-realized soul may sometimes see an impure object or activity, he does not accept it as real. By logically understanding impure sense objects to be based on illusory material duality, the intelligent person sees them to be contrary to and distinct from reality, in the same way that a man awakening from sleep views his fading dream. Material nescience, which expands into many varieties by the activities of the modes of nature, is wrongly accepted by the conditioned soul to be identical with the self. But through the cultivation of spiritual knowledge, My dear Uddhava, this same nescience fades away at the time of liberation. The eternal self, on the other hand, is never assumed and never abandoned. When the sun rises it destroys the darkness covering men's eyes, but it does not create the objects they then see before them, which in fact were existing all along. Similarly, potent and factual realization of Me will destroy the darkness covering a person's true consciousness. The Supreme Lord is self-luminous, unborn and immeasurable. He is pure transcendental consciousness and perceives everything. One without a second, He is realized only after ordinary words cease. By Him the power of speech and the life airs are set into motion. Whatever apparent duality is perceived in the self is simply the confusion of the mind. Indeed, such supposed duality has no basis to rest upon apart from one's own soul. The duality of the five material elements is perceived only in terms of names and forms. Those who say this duality is real are pseudoscholars vainly proposing fanciful theories without basis in fact. The physical body of the endeavoring yogi who is not yet mature in his practice may sometimes be overcome by various disturbances. Therefore the following process is recommended. Some of these obstructions may be counteracted by yogic meditation or by sitting postures, practiced together with concentration on controlled breathing, and others may be counteracted by special austerities, mantras or medicinal herbs. These inauspicious disturbances can be gradually removed by constant remembrance of Me, by congregational hearing and chanting of My holy names, or by following in the footsteps of the great masters of yoga. By various methods, some yogis free the body from disease and old age and keep it perpetually youthful. Thus they engage in yoga for the purpose of achieving material mystic perfections. This mystic bodily perfection is not valued very highly by those expert in transcendental knowledge. Indeed, they consider endeavor for such perfection useless, since the soul, like a tree, is permanent, but the body, like a tree's fruit, is subject to destruction. Although the physical body may be improved by various processes of yoga, an intelligent person who has dedicated his life to Me does not place his faith in the prospect of perfecting his physical body through yoga, and in fact he gives up such procedures. The yogi who has taken shelter of Me remains free from hankering because he experiences the happiness of the soul within. Thus while executing this process of yoga, he is never defeated by obstacles. Chapter TWENTY-NINE Shri Uddhava said: My dear Lord Acyuta, I fear that the method of yoga described by You is very difficult for one who cannot control his mind. Therefore please explain to me in simple terms how someone can more easily execute it. O lotus-eyed Lord, generally those yogis who try to steady the mind experience frustration because of their inability to perfect the state of trance. Thus they weary in their attempt to bring the mind under control. Therefore, O lotus-eyed Lord of the universe, swanlike men happily take shelter of Your lotus feet, the source of all transcendental ecstasy. But those who take pride in their accomplishments in yoga and karma fail to take shelter of You and are defeated by Your illusory energy. My dear infallible Lord, it is not very astonishing that You intimately approach Your servants who have taken exclusive shelter of You. After all, during Your appearance as Lord Ramacandra, even while great demigods like Brahma were vying to place the effulgent tips of their helmets upon the cushion where Your lotus feet rested, You displayed special affection for monkeys such as Hanuman because they had taken exclusive shelter of You. Who, then, could dare reject You, the very Soul, the most dear object of worship, and the Supreme Lord of all - You who give all possible perfections to the devotees who take shelter of You? Who could be so ungrateful, knowing the benefits You bestow? Who would reject You and accept something for the sake of material enjoyment, which simply leads to forgetfulness of You? And what lack is there for us who are engaged in the service of the dust of Your lotus feet? O my Lord! Transcendental poets and experts in spiritual science could not fully express their indebtedness to You, even if they were endowed with the prolonged lifetime of Brahma, for You appear in two features - externally as the acarya and internally as the Supersoul - to deliver the embodied living being by directing him how to come to You. Shukadeva Gosvami said: Thus questioned by the most affectionate Uddhava, Lord Krsna, the supreme controller of all controllers, who takes the entire universe as His plaything and assumes the three forms of Brahma, Visnu and Shiva, began to reply, lovingly displaying His all-attractive smile. The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: Yes, I shall describe to you the principles of devotion to Me, by executing which a mortal human being will conquer unconquerable death. Always remembering Me, one should perform all his duties for Me without becoming impetuous. With mind and intelligence offered to Me, one should fix his mind in attraction to My devotional service. One should take shelter of holy places where My saintly devotees reside, and one should be guided by the exemplary activities of My devotees, who appear among the demigods, demons and human beings. Either alone or in public gatherings, with singing, dancing and other exhibitions of royal opulence, one should arrange to celebrate those holy days, ceremonies and festivals set aside specially for My worship. With a pure heart one should see Me, the Supreme Soul within all beings and also within oneself, to be both unblemished by anything material and also present everywhere, both externally and internally, just like the omnipresent sky. O brilliant Uddhava, one who thus views all living entities with the idea that I am present within each of them, and who by taking shelter of this divine knowledge offers due respect to everyone, is considered actually wise. Such a man sees equally the brahmana and the outcaste, the thief and the charitable promoter of brahminical culture, the sun and the tiny sparks of fire, the gentle and the cruel. For him who constantly meditates upon My presence within all persons, the bad tendencies of rivalry, envy and abusiveness, along with false ego, are very quickly destroyed. Disregarding the ridicule of one's companions, one should give up the bodily conception and its accompanying embarrassment. One should offer obeisances before all - even the dogs, outcastes, cows and asses - falling flat upon the ground like a rod. Until one has fully developed the ability to see Me within all living beings, one must continue to worship Me by this process with the activities of his speech, mind and body. By such transcendental knowledge of the all-pervading Personality of Godhead, one is able to see the Absolute Truth everywhere. Freed thus from all doubts, one gives up fruitive activities. Indeed, I consider this process - using one's mind, words and bodily functions for realizing Me within all living beings - to be the best possible method of spiritual enlightenment. My dear Uddhava, because I have personally established it, this process of devotional service unto Me is transcendental and free from any material motivation. Certainly a devotee never suffers even the slightest loss by adopting this process. O Uddhava, greatest of saints, in a dangerous situation an ordinary person cries, becomes fearful and laments, although such useless emotions do not change the situation. But activities offered to Me without personal motivation, even if they are externally useless, amount to the actual process of religion. This process is the supreme intelligence of the intelligent and the cleverness of the most clever, for by following it one can in this very life make use of the temporary and unreal to achieve Me, the eternal reality. Thus have I related to you - both in brief and in detail - a complete survey of the science of the Absolute Truth. Even for the demigods, this science is very difficult to comprehend. I have repeatedly spoken this knowledge to you with clear reasoning. Anyone who properly understands it will become free from all doubts and attain liberation. Anyone who fixes his attention on these clear answers to your questions will attain to the eternal, confidential goal of the Vedas - the Supreme Absolute Truth. One who liberally disseminates this knowledge among My devotees is the bestower of the Absolute Truth, and to him I give My very own self. He who loudly recites this supreme knowledge, which is the most lucid and purifying, becomes purified day by day, for he reveals Me to others with the lamp of transcendental knowledge. Anyone who regularly listens to this knowledge with faith and attention, all the while engaging in My pure devotional service, will never become bound by the reactions of material work. My dear friend Uddhava, have you now completely understood this transcendental knowledge? Are the confusion and lamentation that arose in your mind now dispelled? You should not share this instruction with anyone who is hypocritical, atheistic or dishonest, or with anyone who will not listen faithfully, who is not a devotee, or who is simply not humble. This knowledge should be taught to one who is free from these bad qualities, who is dedicated to the welfare of the brahmanas, and who is kindly disposed, saintly and pure. And if common workers and women are found to have devotion for the Supreme Lord, they are also to be accepted as qualified hearers. When an inquisitive person comes to understand this knowledge, he has nothing further to know. After all, one who has drunk the most palatable nectar cannot remain thirsty. Through analytic knowledge, ritualistic work, mystic yoga, mundane business and political rule, people seek to advance in religiosity, economic development, sense gratification and liberation. But because you are My devotee, whatever men can accomplish in these multifarious ways you will very easily find within Me. A person who gives up all fruitive activities and offers himself entirely unto Me, eagerly desiring to render service unto Me, achieves liberation from birth and death and is promoted to the status of sharing My own opulences. Shukadeva Gosvami said: Hearing these words spoken by Lord Krsna, and having thus been shown the entire path of yoga, Uddhava folded his hands to offer obeisances. But his throat choked up with love and his eyes overflowed with tears; so he could say nothing. Steadying his mind, which had become overwhelmed with love, Uddhava felt extremely grateful to Lord Krsna, the greatest hero of the Yadu dynasty. My dear King Pariksit, Uddhava bowed down to touch the Lord's lotus feet with his head and then spoke with folded hands. Shri Uddhava said: O unborn, primeval Lord, although I had fallen into the great darkness of illusion, my ignorance has now been dispelled by Your merciful association. Indeed, how can cold, darkness and fear exert their power over one who has approached the brilliant sun? In return for my insignificant surrender, You have mercifully bestowed upon me, Your servant, the torchlight of transcendental knowledge. Therefore, what devotee of Yours who has any gratitude could ever give up Your lotus feet and take shelter of another master? The firmly binding rope of my affection for the families of the Dasharhas, Vrsnis, Andhakas and Satvatas - a rope You originally cast over me by Your illusory energy for the purpose of developing Your creation - is now cut off by the weapon of transcendental knowledge of the self. Obeisances unto You, O greatest of yogis. Please instruct me, who am surrendered unto You, how I may have undeviating attachment to Your lotus feet. The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: My dear Uddhava, take My order and go to My ashrama called Badarika. Purify yourself by both touching and also bathing in the holy waters there, which have emanated from My lotus feet. Rid yourself of all sinful reactions with the sight of the sacred Alakananda River. Dress yourself in bark and eat whatever is naturally available in the forest. Thus you should remain content and free from desire, tolerant of all dualities, good- natured, self-controlled, peaceful and endowed with transcendental knowledge and realization. With fixed attention, meditate constantly upon these instructions I have imparted to you and assimilate their essence. Fix your words and thoughts upon Me, and always endeavor to increase your realization of My transcendental qualities. In this way you will cross beyond the destinations of the three modes of nature and finally come back to Me. Shukadeva Gosvami said: Thus addressed by Lord Krsna, whose intelligence destroys all the suffering of material life, Shri Uddhava circumambulated the Lord and then fell down, placing his head upon the Lord's feet. Although Uddhava was free from the influence of all material dualities, his heart was breaking, and at this time of departure he drenched the Lord's lotus feet with his tears. Greatly fearing separation from Him for whom he felt such indestructible affection, Uddhava was distraught, and he could not give up the Lord's company. Finally, feeling great pain, he bowed down to the Lord again and again, placed the slippers of his master upon his head, and departed. Thereupon, placing the Lord deeply within his heart, the great devotee Uddhava went to Badarikashrama. By engaging there in austerities, he attained to the Lord's personal abode, which had been described to him by the only friend of the universe, Lord Krsna Himself. Thus Lord Krsna, whose lotus feet are served by all great yoga masters, spoke to His devotee this nectarean knowledge, which comprises the entire ocean of spiritual bliss. Anyone within this universe who receives this narration with great faith is assured of liberation. I offer my obeisances to that Supreme Personality of Godhead, the original and greatest of all beings, Lord Shri Krsna. He is the author of the Vedas, and just to destroy His devotees' fear of material existence, like a bee He has collected this nectarean essence of all knowledge and self-realization. Thus He has awarded to His many devotees this nectar from the ocean of bliss, and by His mercy they have drunk it. Chapter THIRTY The Disappearance of the Yadu Dynasty King Pariksit said: After the great devotee Uddhava left for the forest, what did the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the protector of all living beings, do in the city of Dvaraka? After His own dynasty met destruction from the curse of the brahmanas, how could the best of the Yadus give up His body, the dearmost object of all eyes? Once their eyes were fixed upon His transcendental form, women were unable to withdraw them, and once that form had entered the ears of the sages and become fixed in their hearts, it would never depart. What to speak of acquiring fame, the great poets who described the beauty of the Lord's form would have their words invested with transcendentally pleasing attraction. And by seeing that form on Arjuna's chariot, all the warriors on the battlefield of Kuruksetra attained the liberation of gaining a spiritual body similar to the Lord's. Shukadeva Gosvami said: Having observed many disturbing signs in the sky, on the earth and in outer space, Lord Krsna addressed the Yadus assembled in the Sudharma council hall as follows. The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: O leaders of the Yadu dynasty, please note all these terrible omens that have appeared in Dvaraka just like the flags of death. We should not remain here a moment longer. The women, children and old men should leave this city and go to Shankhoddhara. We shall go to Prabhasa-ksetra, where the river Sarasvati flows toward the west. There we should bathe for purification, fast, and fix our minds in meditation. We should then worship the demigods by bathing their images, anointing them with sandalwood pulp, and presenting them various offerings. After performing the expiatory rituals with the help of greatly fortunate brahmanas, we will worship those brahmanas by offering them cows, land, gold, clothing, elephants, horses, chariots and dwelling places. This is indeed the appropriate process for counteracting our imminent adversity, and it is sure to bring about the highest good fortune. Such worship of the demigods, brahmanas and cows can earn the highest birth for all living entities. Having heard these words from Lord Krsna, the enemy of Madhu, the elders of the Yadu dynasty gave their assent, saying, "So be it." After crossing over the ocean in boats, they proceeded on chariots to Prabhasa. There, with great devotion, the Yadavas performed the religious ceremonies according to the instructions of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, their personal Lord. They also performed various other auspicious rituals. Then, their intelligence covered by Providence, they liberally indulged in drinking the sweet maireya beverage, which can completely intoxicate the mind. The heroes of the Yadu dynasty became intoxicated from their extravagant drinking and began to feel arrogant. When they were thus bewildered by the personal potency of Lord Krsna, a terrible quarrel arose among them. Infuriated, they seized their bows and arrows, swords, bhallas, clubs, lances and spears and attacked one another on the shore of the ocean. Riding on elephants and chariots with flags flying, and also on donkeys, camels, bulls, buffalos, mules and even human beings, the extremely enraged warriors came together and violently attacked one another with arrows, just as elephants in the forest attack one another with their tusks. Their mutual enmity aroused, Pradyumna fought fiercely against Samba, Akrura against Kuntibhoja, Aniruddha against Satyaki, Subhadra against Sangramajit, Sumitra against Suratha, and the two Gadas against each other. Others also, such as Nishatha, Ulmuka, Sahasrajit, Shatajit and Bhanu, confronted and killed one another, being blinded by intoxication and thus completely bewildered by Lord Mukunda Himself. Completely abandoning their natural friendship, the members of the various Yadu clans - the Dasharhas, Vrsnis and Andhakas, the Bhojas, Satvatas, Madhus and Arbudas, the Mathuras, Shurasenas, Visarjanas, Kukuras and Kuntis - all slaughtered one another. Thus bewildered, sons fought with fathers, brothers with brothers, nephews with paternal and maternal uncles, and grandsons with grandfathers. Friends fought with friends, and well-wishers with well-wishers. In this way intimate friends and relatives all killed one another. When all their bows had been broken and their arrows and other missiles spent, they seized the tall stalks of cane with their bare hands. As soon as they took these cane stalks in their fists, the stalks changed into iron rods as hard as thunderbolts. With these weapons the warriors began attacking one another again and again, and when Lord Krsna tried to stop them they attacked Him as well. In their confused state, O King, they also mistook Lord Balarama for an enemy. Weapons in hand, they ran toward Him with the intention of killing Him. O son of the Kurus, Krsna and Balarama then became very angry. Picking up cane stalks, They moved about within the battle and began to kill with these clubs. The violent anger of these warriors, who were overcome by the brahmanas' curse and bewildered by Lord Krsna's illusory potency, now led them to their annihilation, just as a fire that starts in a bamboo grove destroys the entire forest. When all the members of His own dynasty were thus destroyed, Lord Krsna thought to Himself that at last the burden of the earth had been removed. Lord Balarama then sat down on the shore of the ocean and fixed Himself in meditation upon the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Merging Himself within Himself, He gave up this mortal world. Lord Krsna, the son of Devaki, having seen the departure of Lord Rama, sat down silently on the ground under a nearby pippala tree. The Lord was exhibiting His brilliantly effulgent four-armed form, the radiance of which, just like a smokeless fire, dissipated the darkness in all directions. His complexion was the color of a dark blue cloud and His effulgence the color of molten gold, and His all-auspicious form bore the mark of Shrivatsa. A beautiful smile graced His lotus face, locks of dark blue hair adorned His head, His lotus eyes were very attractive, and His shark-shaped earrings glittered. He wore a pair of silken garments, an ornamental belt, the sacred thread, bracelets and arm ornaments, along with a helmet, the Kaustubha jewel, necklaces, anklets and other royal emblems. Encircling His body were flower garlands and His personal weapons in their embodied forms. As He sat He held His left foot, with its lotus-red sole, upon His right thigh. Just then a hunter named Jara, who had approached the place, mistook the Lord's foot for a deer's face. Thinking he had found his prey, Jara pierced the foot with his arrow, which he had fashioned from the remaining iron fragment of Samba's club. Then, seeing that four-armed personality, the hunter became terrified of the offense he had committed, and he fell down, placing his head upon the feet of the enemy of the demons. Jara said: O Lord Madhusudana, I am a most sinful person. I have committed this act out of ignorance. O purest Lord, O Uttamashloka, please forgive this sinner. O Lord Visnu, the learned say that for any man, constant remembrance of You will destroy the darkness of ignorance. O master, I have wronged You! Therefore, O Lord of Vaikuntha, please kill this sinful hunter of animals immediately so he may not again commit such offenses against saintly persons. Neither Brahma nor his sons, headed by Rudra, nor any of the great sages who are masters of the Vedic mantras can understand the function of Your mystic power. Because Your illusory potency has covered their sight, they remain ignorant of how Your mystic power works. Therefore, what can I, such a low-born person, possibly say? The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: My dear Jara, do not fear. Please get up. What has been done is actually My own desire. With My permission, go now to the abode of the pious, the spiritual world. So instructed by the Supreme Lord Krsna, who assumes His transcendental body by His own will, the hunter circumambulated the Lord three times and bowed down to Him. Then the hunter departed in an airplane that had appeared just to carry him to the spiritual sky. At that time Daruka was searching for his master, Krsna. As he neared the place where the Lord was sitting, he perceived the aroma of tulasi flowers in the breeze and went in its direction. Upon seeing Lord Krsna resting at the foot of a banyan tree, surrounded by His shining weapons, Daruka could not control the affection he felt in his heart. His eyes filled with tears as he rushed down from the chariot and fell at the Lord's feet. Daruka said: Just as on a moonless night people are merged into darkness and cannot find their way, now that I have lost sight of Your lotus feet, my Lord, I have lost my vision and am wandering blindly in darkness. I cannot tell my direction, nor can I find any peace. [Shukadeva Gosvami continued:] O foremost of kings, while the chariot driver was still speaking, before his very eyes the Lord's chariot rose up into the sky along with its horses and its flag, which was marked with the emblem of Garuda. All the divine weapons of Visnu rose up and followed the chariot. The Lord, Janardana, then spoke to His chariot driver, who was most astonished to see all this. O driver, go to Dvaraka and tell Our family members how their loved ones destroyed one another. Also tell them of the disappearance of Lord Sankarsana and of My present condition. You and your relatives should not remain in Dvaraka, the capital of the Yadus, because once I have abandoned that city it will be inundated by the ocean. You should all take your own families, together with My parents, and under Arjuna's protection go to Indraprastha. You, Daruka, should be firmly situated in devotion to Me, remaining fixed in spiritual knowledge and unattached to material considerations. Understanding these pastimes to be a display of My illusory potency, you should remain peaceful. Thus ordered, Daruka circumambulated the Lord and offered obeisances to Him again and again. He placed Lord Krsna's lotus feet upon his head and then with a sad heart went back to the city. Chapter THIRTY-ONE The Disappearance of Lord Shri Krsna Shukadeva Gosvami said: Then Lord Brahma arrived at Prabhasa along with Lord Shiva and his consort, the sages, the Prajapatis and all the demigods, headed by Indra. The forefathers, Siddhas, Gandharvas, Vidyadharas and great serpents also came, along with the Caranas, Yaksas, Raksasas, Kinnaras, Apsaras and relatives of Garuda, greatly eager to witness the departure of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. As they were coming, all these personalities variously chanted and glorified the birth and activities of Lord Shauri [Krsna]. O King, crowding the sky with their many airplanes, they showered down flowers with great devotion. Seeing before Him Brahma, the grandfather of the universe, along with the other demigods, who are all His personal and powerful expansions, the Almighty Lord closed His lotus eyes, fixing His mind within Himself, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Without employing the mystic agneyi meditation to burn up His transcendental body, which is the all-attractive resting place of all the worlds and the object of all contemplation and meditation, Lord Krsna entered into His own abode. As soon as Lord Shri Krsna left the earth, Truth, Religion, Faithfulness, Glory and Beauty immediately followed Him. Kettledrums resounded in the heavens and flowers showered from the sky. Most of the demigods and other higher beings led by Brahma could not see Lord Krsna as He was entering His own abode, since He did not reveal His movements. But some of them did catch sight of Him, and they were extremely amazed. Just as ordinary men cannot ascertain the path of a lightning bolt as it leaves a cloud, the demigods could not trace out the movements of Lord Krsna as He returned to His abode. A few of the demigods, however - notably Lord Brahma and Lord Shiva - could ascertain how the Lord's mystic power was working, and thus they became astonished. All the demigods praised the Lord's mystic power and then returned to their own planets. My dear King, you should understand that the Supreme Lord's appearance and disappearance, which resemble those of embodied conditioned souls, are actually a show enacted by His illusory energy, just like the performance of an actor. After creating this universe He enters into it, plays within it for some time, and at last winds it up. Then the Lord remains situated in His own transcendental glory, having ceased from the functions of cosmic manifestation. Lord Krsna brought the son of His guru back from the planet of the lord of death in the boy's selfsame body, and as the ultimate giver of protection He saved you also when you were burned by the brahmastra of Ashvatthama. He conquered in battle even Lord Shiva, who deals death to the agents of death, and He sent the hunter Jara directly to Vaikuntha in his human body. How could such a personality be unable to protect His own Self? Although Lord Krsna, being the possessor of infinite powers, is the only cause of the creation, maintenance and destruction of innumerable living beings, He simply did not desire to keep His body in this world any longer. Thus He revealed the destination of those fixed in the self and demonstrated that this mortal world is of no intrinsic value. Anyone who regularly rises early in the morning and carefully chants with devotion the glories of Lord Shri Krsna's transcendental disappearance and His return to His own abode will certainly achieve that same supreme destination. As soon as Daruka reached Dvaraka, he threw himself at the feet of Vasudeva and Ugrasena and drenched their feet with his tears, lamenting the loss of Lord Krsna. Daruka delivered the account of the total destruction of the Vrsnis, and upon hearing this, O Pariksit, the people became deeply distraught in their hearts and stunned with sorrow. Feeling the overwhelming pain of separation from Krsna, they struck their own faces while hurrying to the place where their relatives lay dead. When Devaki, Rohini and Vasudeva could not find their sons, Krsna and Rama, they lost consciousness out of anguish. Tormented by separation from the Lord, His parents gave up their lives at that very spot. My dear Pariksit, the wives of the Yadavas then climbed onto the funeral pyres, embracing their dead husbands. The wives of Lord Balarama also entered the fire and embraced His body, and Vasudeva's wives entered his fire and embraced his body. The daughters-in-law of Lord Hari entered the funeral fires of their respective husbands, headed by Pradyumna. And Rukmini and the other wives of Lord Krsna - whose hearts were completely absorbed in Him - entered His fire. Arjuna felt great distress over separation from Lord Krsna, his dearmost friend. But he consoled himself by remembering the transcendental words the Lord had sung to him. Arjuna then saw to it that the funeral rites were properly carried out for the dead, who had no remaining male family members. He executed the required ceremonies for each of the Yadus, one after another. As soon as Dvaraka was abandoned by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the ocean flooded it on all sides, O King, sparing only His palace. Lord Madhusudana, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is eternally present in Dvaraka. It is the most auspicious of all auspicious places, and merely remembering it destroys all contamination. Arjuna took the survivors of the Yadu dynasty - the women, children and old men - to Indraprastha, where he installed Vajra as ruler of the Yadus. Hearing from Arjuna of the death of their friend, my dear King, your grandfathers established you as the maintainer of the dynasty and left to prepare for their departure from this world. A person who with faith engages in chanting the glories of these various pastimes and incarnations of Visnu, the Lord of lords, will gain liberation from all sins.