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The Constitutional Function Of The Soul
22nd Kartik, 1928, Friday Afternoon
I have no capacity to tend to the feet of the denizens of this holy place. Yet by the grace of Shri Gaurasundara and urged by your good wishes, I stand here to speak only if I may thereby serve the servants of Shri Gauranga. Indeed if we can truly serve the feet of the devotees of Shri Gauranga, by whose graceful glance alone all desires, hopes, and aims in life are easily fulfilled, then that will be a crowning achievement.
We are proud of our ego. We are either given to judge sinful and pious acts or think how we can lord it over others by acquiring power. These are all base self-glorifications. But one devoted to Gauranga says that all desires actuating every object from the pillar to the highest being (Brahma), all labour for worldly possessions, all longing for enjoyment and every kind of renunciation after satiety, are all pseudo-existent and evanescent, i.e., subject to change and time. When we lose anything so acquired, life seems vacant and useless. But it is quite futile to try to straighten the tail of a dog-such being the end of all enjoyments in the fourteen spheres. All pleasures acquired as the fruits of worldly work are transitory.
Carried away by sense-perceptions of eye, ear, touch, taste and sound we turn into ego-worshippers. In this state the pure activity of the soul lies dormant. Then we also desire the pleasure in heaven. And when such ideas are strong in us we err by identifying ourselves with this mind, which thus seems to be the enjoyer of the things of this world. This propensity for selfish enjoyment deadens the pure function of the Soul.
But the Soul knows that Shri Krishna is the One Absolute Truth.
Shri Narayana is the embodiment of His Majesty. Narayana though is the ultimate source of the Absolute Truth, Krishna’s transcendent designation, form, qualities, and sportive activities (lila) excel Narayana’s Majesty by His display of sweetening Beauty. In Krishna the fullest majesty is mellowed by the most delicious sweetness (madhurya) which predominates. When we do not know all these and forget our true selves, we cannot understand the activities of a Vaishnava and the transcendental truth underlying such activities, and so give ourselves up to worldly enmity and friendship, taking things transitory and illusory as eternal and real.
Secondly, Krishna is completely all-cognisant. Material objects are not self-conscious. God is ever existent. It is, indeed, through mistake that we consider ourselves as Brahman. It is only then that such useless arguments for the effacement of all super-sensual diversity or variety in Absolute Truth take hold of us. The function of the spirit is clogged and our minds run after worldly enjoyment. The materialised mind thinks that sensual enjoyment is obtained at Krishna’s feet. But at the feet of Krishna everything is spiritual and so not an object for the gratification of our senses. When truth is obscured in us carried away by egotistic tendencies, we take things material as of the spirit.
Krishna is bliss. In Him dwells perfect joy-He is the embodiment of it. Sensual knowledge or joy is not perfect;-therein all our longings are not realised. Under the spell of sense perceptions we imagine that there might be unalloyed happiness in ego-worship or in the kaivalya state of Patanjali.
All seeking after joy is the function of the soul. When the desire for joy wakes up in our minds we commit a blunder in running after worldly objects and enjoyment. It is only when we receive a spiritual sight of Krishna that we understand that His service must, of necessity, be the sole aim in life. As long as we thus hanker after our own pleasures we try to enjoy the world through the senses and are given to hollow argumentation. But this world is not made for our enjoyment. When spiritual bliss will appear in us like the incessant flow of oil then shall we be truly tied to the feet of Krishna.
Such numerical variety as that of one, two and three exists only in worldly diversity. This diversity acquires a certain inexpressible sameness in the world of spirit. Then we can appreciate that Krishna alone is the eternal Truth Absolute. When the very existence of Truth and sensiency in our own selves becomes solely relative to Him only then we are established in our real normal state.
At present many false meanings have been imported into the word “devotion.” Regard for one’s parents, loyalty to man, obedience to the teacher, etc., pass as bhakti. But the root “bhaj” means “to serve.” If we do not clearly judge as to what must be the medium of that service then it is sure to be misapplied. As Chaitanya-candramrita sings:
kalah kalir balina indriya-vairi-vargah
shri-bhakti-marga iha kantaka koti-ruddhah
ha ha kva yami vikalah kim aham karomi
chaitanya-candra! yadi nadya krpam karosi
“This is the quarrelling age. The senses, which are our enemies, are now very powerful; and crores of thorns choke the path of pure bhakti. I am quite at a loss to know what I shall do or where I shall go unless Chaitanya Candra shows mercy unto me.”
We live in the Kali-yuga-this is an age of strife. So it happens that the self-luminous path of pure devotion is completely covered up with millions of thorns in the shape of foolish argumentations and wordy wranglings. In these circumstances it is absolutely impossible to have the knowledge of pure devotion without the mercy of Chaitanya Candra. Shri Chaitanya Candra is Krishna Himself. He is the Godhead. We cannot know God by the exertions of our senses. As the Katha Upanishad says:
nayamatma pravacanena labhyo
na medhaya na bahuna srutena
yam evaisa vrnute tena labhyas
tasyaisa atma vrnute tanum svam
“The knowledge about the all-embracing Oversoul cannot be attained either through reasoning, argumentations or hearing the Vedas; only to him does He manifest His person whom He accepts.”
Godhead is eternal. We cannot attain to Him unless we realise He is bliss Himself. One confined within his psychic range in a hundred ways cannot know what God is and so accepts things other than God as objects of his worship. Unable to understand the true subject and object of enjoyment, as well as the nature of enjoyment itself, he imagines the world as created to afford him every kind of pleasure. This materialised mind strives only after selfish enjoyment. By this fleshly form we cannot serve Krishna. It is possible only in spirit. The atomic theory of the world knows nothing of that service.
In the variety of His manifestations, Absolute Truth Himself is to be determined from Narayana. In Krishna exists Narayana, Who is His Majestic form. Baladeva is the manifestation of His Self. He is the all-pervading Oversoul. With the revelation of the function of supreme knowledge in our soul, we come to know that Krishna is the Absolute Truth. He is also perfect bliss, reverence does not stand in His way. Intimate service cannot be rendered if one is actuated by reverence. Yet Krishna is the eternal object of the devotees’ whole-hearted service. But He is to be served with the ever-existent senses of the soul. We cannot serve Him through imagination or sentiment. Super-sensuous knowledge of our relation with Him is essential. There is nobody whom I can call my own except one who is solely devoted to Krishna. Krishna alone is the one object of my service. This faith is the one glory of the Vaishnava. This is the supreme necessity of life. Material fame full of the idea of selfish enjoyment is never desirable.
Time is running short. The time for the evening wave-offering ceremony is drawing nigh. I must no longer encroach upon your time of service. If it be Krishna’s wish I shall again try to serve you. A thousand obeisances at the feet of the devotees of Krishna.