Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.5.28
by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Vrndavana, August 9, 1974

Pradyumna: Translation: “Thus during two seasons, the rainy season and autumn, I had the opportunity to hear these great-souled sages constantly chant the unadulterated glories of the Lord Hari. As my devotional service began, the coverings of the modes of passion and ignorance vanished.”


ittham sarat-pravrsikav rtu harer visrnvato me ’nusavam yaso ’malam sankirtyamanam munibhir mahatmabhir bhaktih pravrttatma-rajas-tamopaha

Atma-rajas-tamopaha. This is the perfection of life. We are now covered by the modes of material nature, tri-gunamayi, three gunas: sattva, rajas, tamas. So mukti means to get out of this entanglement of three gunas. That is called mukti. We are suffering different modes of material nature. We have several times explained, karanam guna-sangah asya sad-asad-yoni-janmasu. There are different types of bodies. From specie point of view, there are 8,400,000 forms. And they are due to these material modes of nature. I have several times explained. There are three modes of material nature, and if you mix, three into three, it becomes nine, and nine into nine equal to eighty-one. So little more or less, there are 8,400,000 species of life. So in order to get out of this repetition of birth and death, we require to be freed from the influence of the modes of material nature. That is the perfection of life.

So here Narada Muni says that “During the four months…” In India there are six seasons. There is summer season, and there is spring. There is autumn. Then there is winter, there is fall. In this way, there are six seasons. So the saintly persons, in the, during the autumn and rainy season, they keep together; they do not move. Because saintly persons, sannyasis, their business is to move… Grhinam dina-cetasam, mahad-vicalanam. Mahad-vicalanam. Mahat means mahatma, great souls. Great soul means not crippled souls, those who are anxious to meet the great, or the Supreme Brahman, or the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Those who are crippled souls, they are entangled with the limited circle of material enjoyment. But mahatma… Mahatma is described in the Bhagavad-gita, mahatmanas tu mam partha daivim prakrtim asritah [Bg. 9.13]. Mahatmas are not interested within this material world. They are not under the influence of the external energy. Of course, nowadays it is… Sometimes politicians are called “mahatma.” But that is not the purpose of mahatma. Mahatma is not interested with politics or sociology or… They are all material things. Or philanthropy. They are interested with the Supreme: Brahman, Paramatma and Bhagavan. Brahmeti paramatmeti bhagavan iti sabdyate. They’re interested. Especially mahatma is he who is interested with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna.

Every krsna-bhakta, Krsna conscious person, is mahatma, real mahatma. How it is? Krsna says, mahatmanas tu mam partha daivim prakrtim asritah, bhajanty ananya-manasah [Bg. 9.13]. That is mahatma. Mahatma does not mean that if you dress yourself with a certain colored cloth and have some big hairs and beards, then you become mahatma, no. The mahatma is he… Who? Daivim prakrtim asritah: “He is not under the influence of this external energy.” Daivi-prakrti means… There are two prakrtis, two natures: internal and external. Internal energy is spiritual energy, and external energy is material energy. So mahatmas, they are not under material energy.

One who is under the material energy, they are entangled with these three gunas: sattva-guna, rajo-guna, tamo-guna. The lowest is the tamo-guna, and via media is the rajo-guna, and the topmost, goodness, is sattva-guna. So even in sattva-guna, that is also entanglement. Rajo-guna, tamo-guna is certainly entanglement, but even rajo-guna, even one is situated in the sattva-guna… Sattva-guna means perfect brahmana. Satyam samo damas titiksa arjavam, jnanam vijnanam astikyam brahma-karma svabhava-jam. Even if you become a perfect brahmana, brahmana, with qualities, still, it is bondage. In bondage because, in this way, that even if you become a brahmana you’ll think yourself, “Now I have got so much knowledge, Vedic knowledge. I speak truth, satya. I can control my senses. Satyam samo damah. I can control my mind. I have got knowledge. I can tolerate.” So all these qualities, one becomes bound up. But Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu teaches, naham vipro na ca nara-patih, that “Even… I am not even a brahmana. I am not a ksatriya. I am not a vaisya. I am not a sudra.” He says. This is called sarvopadhi-vinirmuktam [Cc. Madhya 19.170]. Even if you become a brahmana, still, that is upadhi, designation.

So although there is bondage in the sattva-guna,… Urdhvam gacchanti sattva-sthah. You can be promoted to the higher planetary systems, but that is also bondage. Krsna says, abrahma-bhuvanal lokah punar avartino ’rjuna [Bg. 8.16]. If you remain within this material world, even if you are promoted to the highest planetary system, Brahmaloka, Satyaloka, still, you have to accept the material bondage, means janma-mrtyu-jara-vyadhi. Brahma, he also dies. Although he has got very, very long duration of life, he also dies. So Krsna therefore recommends, yad gatva na nivartante tad dhama paramam mama: [Bg. 15.6] “If you come to My place, then you are no more under the laws of birth, death, old age, and disease.” Tyaktva deham punar janma naiti mam eti kaunteya [Bg. 4.9]. That should be the aim of life. Those… There are others who are aspiring to go to the heavenly planet or Satyaloka or Brahmaloka, but Krsna says, mad-yajino ’pi yanti mam. Yanti deva-vrata devan pitrn yanti pitr-vratah, mad-yajino ’pi yanti mam [Bg. 9.25]. Therefore the Krsna consciousness movement is that “Why we should go to the heavenly planet or Brahmaloka or any other material planet? We shall go directly to the abode of Krsna, Goloka Vrndavana.” That is the aim of the devotees.

So that aim you can fulfill by practicing bhakti-yoga. That is mentioned here, bhaktih pravrtta atma-rajas-tamopaha. So rajas-tamas. So long one is situated in the modes of passion and ignorance, there is no hope. There is no hope. But when one comes to the platform of sattva-guna, there is little hope of transcending. So bhakti-yoga is above sattva-guna. In the sattva-guna, in the modes of goodness, you can become a nice brahmana, but simply by becoming a nice brahmana you, your, you are not free from the material bondage. When you become a pure Vaisnava, then you are free from the bondage of the material world. And to become Vaisnava, you require this devotion, bhakti. Bhakti. Immediately, beginning of bhakti means rajas-tamopaha, upaha. One who is situated even beginning, he is above the rajas-tamo-guna. He’s situated… Tada kama-lobha…

There is a… There is a verse. Nasta-prayesv abhadresu nityam bhagavata-sevaya [SB 1.2.18]. Here the same thing is described, that sankirtyamanam munibhir mahatmabhih. Sankirtyamanam. We have to hear the sankirtana not from professional men. That will not be… If you hear sankirtana from the professional men… Professional men: who makes sankirtana as the means of livelihood. Just like people do some business or work to get some money to maintain the life, similarly, if somebody takes the sankirtana as the means of livelihood, that will not help you. You can go on hearing sankirtana from such professional men for millions of years; still, you will remain where you are, not rajas-tamopaha. You cannot get out of the bondage of… Therefore you have to hear from the sankirtyamanam munibhir mahatmabhih. Mahatma. Mahatma means mahatmanas tu mam partha daivim prakrtim asritah, bhajanty ananya-manasah [Bg. 9.13]. Mahatma means those who have finished this material business. Simply they’re interested with Krsna and… Just like Haridasa Thakura or followers, Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s followers. If you hear… Just like Narada Muni. In his previous birth he heard from these mahatmas, great devotees, only for four months. It is stated here. The time is… sarat pravrsa, pravrsa, pravrsikav rtu. Sarat and autumn, two rtus, he heard. The association was there. And the result was: visrnvato me ’nusavam yaso ’malam. Krsna’s glorification, amalam, without any spot, without any… Krsna’s glories, that is real nirguna. Nirguna does not mean to become impersonal. Nirguna means without any material attributes. So when Krsna’s glories are chanted, that is not anything of this material world.

Just like Narottama dasa Thakura says, golokera prema-dhana, hari-nama-sankirtana. This hari-nama-sankirtana, that is not any vibration of this material world. That is spiritual. Golokera prema-dhana, hari-nama-sankirtana, rati na janmilo kene tay. Samsara-visanale, diba-nisi hiya jvale, visaya-visanale. Visanale and davanale, these things are described about this material world. Just like in… You sung, immediately, samsara-davanala-lidha-loka-tranaya karunya-ghanaghanatvam **. So the samsara, this material world, is just like blazing fire, davanala, and forest fire. Forest fire means nobody goes to set fire in the forest. It takes automatically. Similarly, we want to live very peacefully in this material world, but that is not possible. There will be fire. And visaya-visanale. Visaya means things which is required for sense enjoyment, ahara-nidra-bhaya-maithunam. So either you say visaya-visanale or samsara-davanale, the matter is the same. So Narottama dasa Thakura says, therefore, visaya-visanale, diba-nisi hiya jvale, juraite na koinu upay. If you want to get out of this visanala, the blazing fire of poison or forest fire, then we have to take shelter of this hari-sankirtana. Golokera prema-dhana hari-nama-sankirtana, rati na janmilo kene tay, samsara-davanale visaya-visanale diba-nisi hiya jvale juraite na koinu upay.

So in order to get out of this blazing fire of material existence, which is a combination of rajas-tamah-sattva-guna, one has to take to this devotional service, and that can be achieved only by hearing from munibhir mahatmabhih, those who are munis. Munis means they are silent about material affairs. They are simply interested with spiritual advancement of life. To give up something and to accept something… To give up something is negative, but if you do not accept something positive, this give up something will not stay. Simply to become renounced of the material world will not help. Big, big sannyasis, they gave up this material world—brahma satyam jagan mithya—but they, because they did not engage themselves in devotional service, they again come back to this material world for philanthropic work, for altruistic work, for charity, for opening schools… So simply negative will not help us. We have to accept positive.

So if we accept the positive, the negative will automatically result. Just like here it is said, bhakti-pravrtta. As soon as bhakti is accepted, then atma-rajas-tamopaha. You immediately become free. Your soul becomes free from the influence of rajas-tamas. Rajas-tamas means lust and desire. Tada rajas-tamo-bhavah kama-lobhadayas ca ye. If you are entangled in rajas-tamas, then you’ll be influenced by lusty desires, kama and lobha. The lusty desires will never be satisfied. You’ll want more, more, more. That is called greedy, lobha, lusty desires and greediness. You’ll never be free if you remain in the kama, in the rajas-tamas.

tada rajas-tamo-bhavah kama-lobhadayas ca ye ceta etair anaviddham sthitam sattve prasidati [SB 1.2.19]

Here the two modes of nature is explained, kama and lobha, er, rajas tamas. So if we are entangled with rajas-tamas, then our perpetual desire for lusty sense enjoyment and greediness will not stop. It will drag me more and more, more and more, and entangle me. But sthitam sattve prasidati. But if we give up these two qualities, the remainder quality means goodness, that sattve, you will get, you will give, you will get, at least, peace of mind. Sthitam sattve prasidati. Evam prasanna-manasah. When you are in, in the platform of satisfaction, sattva-guna… Just like the brahminical qualification. They are satisfied with anything. A brahmana is not supposed to improve his economic condition. He’s not interested. He’s simply satisfied: “By the grace of God, whatever I have got, that is sufficient.” God is supplying everyone, even birds and beasts and cats and dogs. Eko yo bahunam yo vidadhati kaman. He is giving food to everyone. So sattva-guna means to remain satisfied whatever is obtained by, from God, by His free will. That’s all. They are not after economic development.

So Vaisnava, being inherently a brahmana, he should be satisfied: “Whatever Krsna has given, that’s all right. My business is how to make advance in Krsna consciousness.” Tasyaiva hetoh prayateta kovidah. That is the Vaisnava’s business, that simply how to make perfection of life in Krsna consciousness. That is Vaisnava’s demand, not for any other improvement, economic development or this improvement. No. Because economic… It is… It is a false idea that one will be satisfied or be happy simply by economic development. No, that is not possible, practically. In your country, America, there is immense economic development, but you could not get any happiness. That is not possible. Happiness will be possible when, first of all, you are situated in the brahminical position, sattva-guna, and to come to that brahminical position, you have to give up the activities of rajas-tamo-guna. The rajas-tamo-guna is that illicit sex, meat-eating, intoxication and gambling. That’s all. So if you voluntarily give up, and be situated in the sattva-guna, then you’ll be happy. Evam prasanna-manasah.

And that happiness can be obtained, as it is stated here, bhakti, by devotional service. Bhakti-pravrtta. As soon as you begin devotional service… Yayatma suprasidati. There are many references.

sa vai pumsam paro dharmo yato bhaktir adhoksaje ahaituky apratihata yayatma suprasidati [SB 1.2.6]

So by bhakti-yoga, you’ll be happy, and as soon as you become happy, then your Krsna consciousness is very easily advanced. Evam prasanna-manaso bhagavad-bhakti-yogatah [SB 1.2.20]. Evam prasanna-manaso bhagavat, mukta-sangasya jayate. Bhagavat-tattva-vijnanam mukta-sangasya jayate. In this way we shall understand bhagavat-tattva-vijnanam, and that is the perfection of life.

So Narada Muni admits that “Simply by hearing from the realized souls, munibhir mahatmabhih, for four months during their stay in the caturmasya period, gradually I developed my Krsna consciousness, and then I began devotional service.” This is the process.

Thank you very much. (end)