|NITAAI-Veda.nyf > All Scriptures By Acharyas > Bhaktivinoda Thakura > Chaitanya Shikshamrita > Summary|
This book is meant to delineate vaishnava philosophy and theology, not to convey the experience of bhakti and rasa.1 In that case it would simply suffice to describe the pastimes of Radha and Krishna, the embodiment of madhura rasa. There are plenty of books written on these matters, but the subject of those books is a matter of tasting.2
The learned have concluded that there are five components in deliberation: subject, doubt, reconciliation, opposition and conclusion.3 What is the subject of this book? The subject of deliberation is the life of the spirit soul. What is the doubt? The doubt is "What is life and what is life's goal?" The reconciliation is as follows. Life is of two types: pure life and conditional life. Pure life exists in the pure spiritual world. It is eternal, pure and full of bliss. There is no deficiency, no lamentation, no fear and no death. Conditional life exists in the material world. It has two types: grossly material (bahir mukha) and spiritually inclined (antar mukha). Grossly material life does not take interest in the spiritual realm, but rather turns in the opposite direction. Spiritually inclined life appears similar to grossly material life, but gives direct respect to the spiritual realm.
Grossly material conditioned souls are of four types:
without morality and without belief in God
with morality and without belief in God
with morality and with belief in God
with belief in an impersonal God
Life without morality or God has two divisions: non-human life and human life. Animals, birds and fish constitute non-human forms. In those non-human forms of life power of intelligence is almost absent.
In the human forms without morality or God, intelligence is also almost absent. This may be represented by primitive forest tribes, which, like animals, carry out action according to immediate desire. Impelled by fear and desire, they take various glittering objects such as the sun and moon as their gods. There is no moral code and no real belief in God. The quality of bhakti, present in the perfect state of the soul, is almost absent, being represented only by possession of the human form. When man gains knowledge of matter and material energy, he can progress in arts and sciences using his intelligence. By this he creates happiness for his senses, but he has no respect for morality or God. He is the second type of immoral, atheistic human being, having no regard for ethics or God.
When the human being then develops regard for moral laws, he reaches the second stage of human life. When this life becomes combined with faith in God, man attains the third stage of life. However, since the obligation to God is subservient to his moral codes, that faith does not remove his material tendency. When man attains the stage of thinking of the goal in terms of impersonal liberation, and molds his life on this concept, he loses morality, and gradually faith in God turns into faith in absolute monism. This stage, material existence based on distorted concepts of impersonalism, is the fourth stage of conditional life.
When man accepts the Supreme Lord as the all in all of life, makes all science, arts, morality, thoughts and philosophies of God subordinate to devotion to the Lord, though still materially conditioned, he is called spiritually inclined. Living in this way he is called a sadhana bhakta.
The final goal of life is to be situated in spiritual rasa in ones own pure nature after the destruction of endless material bondage. That is the result of spiritually inclined life.
Hearing this reconciliation, people situated in each of the four stages of material life will raise their respective objections. Actually, each of these types of people, utilizing their intelligence, have considered a subject, doubt, reconciliation, and objection, and come to their individual conclusions. Those conclusions are raised here as the opponent's view, or objection. The principle operating here is that each stage of life will defeat the objections raised by the next lower stage and establish a new conclusion. By mentioning the new conclusion, it is understood that the previous conclusion has been defeated. The work here is to defeat the views of life which are considered inferior. The various conclusions of these life styles have been presented in the book, but they will now be summarized and reviewed again.
The man without morals thinks in the following way. "The variegated universe is formed by the union and separation of atoms, according to the beginningless laws of material nature. There is no creator. Any faith in the Lord is simply superstition. If there were a necessity of some form of great creator, then that creator would also need to have a creator. Therefore belief in a creator has no foundation. Intelligence arises by the working of the material brain in the material body. When this actions stops, the intelligence no longer exists. Belief in a soul is but blind faith. When the body dies, existence ends or merges into primal matter. A person should therefore try to enjoy himself as much as possible as long as the body is alive, remembering as well to avoid those acts which will give future trouble in this life itself. These troubles are imprisonment, execution, death of other living entities (war), mutual animosity, sickness, and infamy. Bodily pleasure is necessary because there is nothing beyond that. In order to increase physical pleasure, everyone should make physical and mental efforts to make as much progress as possible in arts, sciences, and industry. Leave aside the forest life and increase the glamour of body, furniture, house and clothing. Enjoy more by creating delicious food, fragrant perfumes and cosmetics, sweet sounding musical instruments, vehicles, beautiful art works and enticing beds. Increase beauty by building attractive palaces and ride in a variety of automobiles. The excellence of man is his sophistication. Collate history for the benefit of living now. All the discoveries made by research must be preserved. Do not believe in anything extraordinary or illogical. Where there is a conflict between general happiness and individual happiness, sacrifice general happiness for ones own benefit."
On hearing such strong statements, the uncivilized and innocent primitive peoples give up their previous mode of action and begin to improve their life. Belief in the power of the sun and moon, maintaining themselves by hunting, and spending their time in the forest like animals becomes forgotten. In this way the immoral intelligent materialist becomes proud. Carvaka and Sardeneplasa are examples of people who advocate a life of sense pleasure.
The moral materialist, being more intelligent, can easily defeat immoral materialist. He says: " Oh brother, I respect what you say but I cannot accept your self motivated actions. They are not at all good. You are seeking out happiness in life, but without morals how can there be happiness? Do not think that your life is everything! Consider society as well. Rules which can increase the happiness of the human being in society are advisable. That is called morality. Gaining happiness through morality makes man superior to animals. It is necessary for man to accept individual suffering where it will give happiness to society. That is called selfless morality, and it is the only path for man. You must cultivate all the positive sentiments such as love, friendship and compassion in order to increase the over-all happiness of society. By doing this, violence, hatred and other evil tendencies will not be able to contaminate the heart. Universal love is universal happiness. Take up ways of increasing this happiness."
Positivists such as Compte and Mill, and socialists such as Herbert Spencer as well as lay Buddhists and atheists firmly believe this philosophy.
Moralists worshipping a fictitious God accept the same philosophy, but add, " Belief in God is also a principal moral duty. Morality can never be perfect until man has faith in God. Belief in God clearly contributes to moral standards in the following ways.
1. Even with a strong sense of morality, sometimes the attraction of sense objects is so strong that even great moralists are defeated. If the opportunity arises to enjoy immorally in secret, belief in God will act as a preventative measure. God can see what man cannot. If man thinks like that, then he will not be able to perform acts contrary to morality in secret.
2. By having belief in God, man can die peacefully due to happiness born of his faith.
3. Everyone will accept that faith in God produces greater tendency to perform pious acts than morality alone.
4. The life of a moralist with faith in God is more peaceful than that of a person with morals alone.
5. If God actually does exist, then by faith in Him so much is gained. If he does not exist, then there is still no harm in believing. On the other hand, if God does exist, it is detrimental not to have faith in Him. Therefore a true moralist must have faith in God.
6. There is happiness in worshipping the Lord and that happiness is purer than any other happiness. There is always some disturbance in material happiness, but the happiness derived from worship of the Lord is devoid of disturbance.
7. By belief in God, the tendency towards righteousness in the mind grows very quickly.
8. By faith in God, compassion and tolerance become stronger.
9. By belief in God, there is more eagerness to perform selfless action.
10. By belief in God, acceptance of afterlife arises. When this arises, man cannot be disappointed by any event in life.
Oh brother, even if God does not exist, for the above reasons and many others as well, it is necessary to believe in some form of God."
Seeing all the direct results of worship of God, the atheist is defeated by the pseudo-theist, and like Compte, they accept some worshippable object. Though there are differences between Jaimini's karma kanda, Patanjali's meditation on God and Compte's fictitious worship, the result is the same. Compte has expressed himself clearly on these points whereas Jaimini and other proponents of karma are more cautious, and do not reveal their minds.
When the pseudo theist becomes strong, the genuine theist comes forward and challenges him. "Oh brother, do not think that God is simply an imaginary device. He actually exists. Consider the following reasons.
1. Because of the perfect laws observed in the universe, there can be no doubt that a supreme intelligence has created it and is maintaining it. The power of reasoning is the best quality in man. When that power of reasoning is operating correctly, truth is discovered.
Sometimes, by neglecting details, error occurs. In operation of logic, proper concomitance is necessary. Without that logic cannot proceed very far. In trying to come to a conclusion, two elements of the syllogism (process of reasoning) must be valid. For instance, a person may conclude there is a fire on the mountain, on seeing smoke there. First, the statement "where there is smoke, there is fire" must be valid. Secondly what appears to be smoke, must be real smoke. If these two elements of the syllogism are correct, the conclusion , that there is fire on the mountain, must be true. This is the process in logical inference.
"Beauty and perfect arrangement are observed in the workings of the universe" is one element. The other element is " Whatever occurs by chance does not have perfect arrangement. Perfection can only be produced by a conscious entity with intelligence." From these two elements it may be correctly concluded "Some great conscious entity has created this universe."
2. No activity occurs without a doer. Someone may propose that that doer must also have a source. However this argument is valid only in relation to matter. A form is conceived by the intellect and this is transformed into action in the material world. The original doer or mover of matter is a conscious entity. As we do not see any mover of intellect beyond this, what is the necessity of insisting on another doer. By incorrect concomitance produced through the habit of material vision, a person searches for a doer behind the conscious entity. Give up this bad habit and with pure logic take faith in the Lord.
3. If consciousness arises by some special process through combination of atoms, there should be some evidence of this somewhere in the universe. There should be some example of this in human history. Man is produced from the womb of a mother. Nowhere is any other process observed. In spite of the growth of science, nothing otherwise has yet been observed. Someone may argue that man has arisen by chance combination of matter, and later man has adopted this particular process of birth from the womb. However, the succeeding events should be similar to the first event. Even now we should observe at least a few conscious entities arising by chance combination of matter. Therefore it can only be logically concluded that the first mother and father must have arisen from the supreme consciousness.
4. Wherever man exists, belief in God also exists. Therefore belief in God is a basic attribute in the character of man. Someone may object that faith in God exists in the primitive stage of human life, and by the advancement of knowledge this is eradicated. Error is not of one variety, but truth is always one. For instance, ten plus ten equals twenty. This is the same in all countries and all places, because it is a truth. The statement "Ten plus ten equals twenty five", being a false total, is not common to the whole world. Belief in God exists even in the inhabitants of the most remote islands. Objection to this universal phenomenon, which arises simply from the prejudices of material education, cannot be considered.
5. It is absolutely necessary for man to accept God and afterlife if he wants to raise his position as a human being. If a man has only a few days to live, he cannot have much hope and aspiration. Man fulfills his higher aspirations, hopes and ambitious goals to the degree that faith in God naturally manifests in his character. Men devoid of faith in God have insignificant purpose in life.
6. If faith in God based on sound reasoning and gratitude in the form of following his orders is absent, then real worship of the Lord, which is the main item of morality, also becomes absent. By this absence, the life of man becomes imperfect, and in the absence of basic obligations life becomes sinful.
By logically deriving conclusions in this way, knowledge will increase and in the shelter of this knowledge, life will advance in the spheres of science, arts, morality and faith in God, and the whole world will benefit. This will give you peace and happiness after death. Those processes which reject the existence of God cannot offer you happiness after death. Oh brother, you have offered your hopes to an imaginary God, but a real God can offer you benefit thousands of times greater.
It is necessary to cultivate knowledge of science, arts, morality and God, but this cultivation is of two types: improper and proper. Improper cultivation refers to cultivation performed at the wrong time and in the wrong way, without considering ones own qualification. A person should practice according to his qualification. If he does more or less, the proper result will not manifest. Qualification is according to ones nature. Nature arises due to original circumstance, teachings and association. When you take support of the scientific system of varnasrama of Bharata after discerning your qualification, you will perfect your activities and attain the final goal. Please understand that your soul is deathless, through logic and intrinsic faith. Then your life in vaidha bhakti will be perfect in all respects. Though you appear to have arisen from your mother's womb, by transcendental logic and advanced methods, raise and embellish that self to higher existence. You existed before this birth, and after this life you will exist. Without such conviction, your faith in God will not be pure.
Some person, being born in a family of devotees naturally becomes a devotee. Another person, taking birth in materialist's family, will likely be a materialist. Thereafter, the teachings and association may be favorable or unfavorable. When the person attains full intellectual capacity, his nature becomes fixed. According to that nature, the person does his activities. Since in one lifetime all results of action must be received0, one person will go to heaven and another to hell. Is this the proper work of the all merciful, all discerning Lord? Those religions which accept one life-span for all activity are imperfect and unreasonable. Do not be limited by these religions; recognize the elevated nature of the soul. Taking shelter of varnasrama dharma you will be happy.
It is necessary to perform work according to the scriptural injunctions. This work is of two types: with desire and without desire. You should not be attracted to work which directly strengthens the senses for enjoyment. Desireless work is obligatory. In doing such work, there is no desire, even if it yields sense pleasure, for desire refers to self interest. In performing work as a matter of duty there is no desire or kama. By this work, the Lord is satisfied. When the Lord is satisfied, both material satisfaction and liberation are possible.
With this solid reasoning a person should establish himself in varnasrama dharma and live a life of theistic morality. At this stage he begins the serious attempt to discover the goal of human life. He begins to consider the relation of soul and God. After coming to a conclusion however, the real question is not yet solved, and the person then asks, "Who am I? What is my relation to the world? What is my relation to God? What is my final position?"
There are three types of reconciliation to the doubt raised: action for ones own happiness; annihilation ones self interest in impersonal knowledge; and bhakti, the cultivation of the soul's inherent nature.
The theistic moralist supporting the first solution will say: I am an infinitesimal soul, controlled by dharma and adharma, and always desiring happiness. I have a relation with the universe as enjoyer of the enjoyed. There is one portion of the material world which is the essence of pure enjoyment. I will go there and attain perfect happiness. My relation to the Lord is this: the Lord is the creator , I am the created; the Lord is the bestower, I am the receiver; the Lord is the maintainer, I am the maintained; the Lord is the protector, I am the protected; the Lord is the powerful, am weak; the Lord is destroyer, I cam be destroyed; the Lord is the lawmaker, I am the follower of the laws; the Lord is the judge, I am the judged. If the Lord is pleased, my suffering disappears and I have the possibility of attaining happiness. Performance of yoga is also included in this solution. Samadhi is the goal and the yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, dhyana, dharana are its constituents steps. Pratyahara is the mode for attaining results. Samadhi is the destroyer of suffering and the cause of happiness.
In the second solution, a person gives up theistic morality and progresses to impersonal conceptions. I am a knowing object, brahman is a knowing object. I am a portion of brahman. Anything material must be avoided. Matter is the opposite of brahman. I am brahman but by illusion I am thinking that I am an individual soul. There is nothing except brahman. Whatever I see as matter is due to ignorance. By thinking of myself as brahman, I will attain impersonal liberation. This is the final goal of the individual.
In the third solution, the theistic moralist says: I am actually spiritual, but only a particle of spirit. The Lord is the Supreme Spirit. The material world is not false or illusory. The concept of "I" which I hold in this world is due to my weakness of knowledge. I am eternally the servant of the Lord. My relation with the world is temporary. This relation has arisen due to the desire of the Lord. As I decrease my opposition to the Lord my attraction for the spiritual realm will grow. My real eternal position is to realize myself as the servant of the Lord. By cultivating this relationship, as a secondary result, I attain liberation from the material world, and as a primary, eternal result, I attain prema. My eternal relationship with the Lord is that of servant and served.
Whoever becomes bound to the first solution takes karma as the chief means and established the Lord a limb of karma. The result has no eternal qualities. That solution is not without faults. There is no display of the independence of the Lord in their life. Dependence on rule predominates. Such persons are called karmis.
Whoever becomes bound by the second solution, aims at destruction of the self and performs false renunciation. He neither establish himself in this world nor does he finally attain a stable non-material position. By accepting negative thought patterns he renders his life useless. Such persons are called jnana kandis.
Those who are bound by the first solution (sangati) will accept the third solution as the opponents view (purvapaksa). " Taking shelter of bhakti, you regard all material happiness as insignificant, and our goal of attaining happiness on svarga or elsewhere as detestable. By renouncing everything from brahma to the immovable entities you give up working for the progress of the world. You reject the world altogether. But this world is our field of activity. By performing acts dear to the Lord, I attain happiness in this life and the next. By negating all of this, you impede the attainment of everyone's happiness.
The devotee replies as follows and supplies the conclusion. "Oh brother, though there is nothing of particular importance for the soul to attain in this world, if you examine the life of the devotee you will see that whatever good is possible for this world is attained only by the actions of the devotee. Do whatever you can in the realms of science, art, crafts and morality. I do not object to those activities, rather such things also provided facility for the cultivation of bhakti. The devotees are not dry renunciates, but rather enjoyers of bliss. I accept all actions which are pleasing to the Lord. Please do not perform action with the motive of selfish happiness, which only a secondary result, but performs all actions for increasing devotion to the Lord. There is only a slight difference between you and I in the matter of action. The difference is however that you perform work with a sense of duty and I perform work with a feeling of serving the Lord. I may reduce some of those actions as they are not suitable, but this is not the same as negligence to perform action in your mode of life. You may stop your duties for no good reason, but I neglect those duties because of devotion to the Lord. For you, the world is a field of activity, but for me it is a field of performing acts of devotion. I understand that all your actions are actually material. You are theistic moralist karmi; I am called a devotee, servant of God.
The actions of a devotee and a theistic moralist are in many places identical but according to the faith, the nature of the actions is different. As the actions of the theistic moralist are not aiming at anything beyond matter they are despicable. Though he respects the Lord, he does not accept the spiritual form of the Lord or the final destination of the soul. He cannot get deliverance from the wheel of karma. When the theistic moralist realizes the insignificance of the material world and tries to attain liberation from the bondage of karma, he sees three possible ways to accomplish this.
1. One should gradually give up attraction for material karma and become fixed in spiritual truth.
2. One should offer all action for material results to Vishnu, the Supreme Spirit. In performing karmas one should think of the pleasure of Vishnu. After performing the karma, offer the results to Krishna.
3. All obligatory karma should be done with devotion to Krishna. Those duties which, not performing, in no way obstruct normal existence, should be rejected.
Those who accept the first path are yogis or ascetics. The ascetics try to loosen the knot of karma by undergoing great difficulties. This Vedic process includes panca agni vidya and nididhyasana. Different types of yoga like astanga yoga, sadanga yoga, dattatreya yoga, and goraksanathi yoga have been prescribed. Among them hatha yoga and Patanjala's raja yoga are highly esteemed in the world. The astanga yoga of Patanjala is chief. The person must first practice yama: non violence, truth, no stealing, celibacy, and not accepting from others. Then he practices niyama: cleanliness, satisfaction, austerity, study, meditation on God. By doing this he gives up all bad actions and becomes habituated to good actions. He then practices postures, and then breath control. Having controlled his breath, he concentrates on a form of Vishnu and then fix the mind steadily on Vishnu. Before the meditation however, the mind must be withdrawn from all sense objects. When the mind has become motionless, samadhi is attained. The main intent of this process it to become free of karma by practicing rejection. However it is a slow process and has many obstacles.4
Those who maintain the second method think that whatever material thing a person desires should be dedicated to the pleasure of Vishnu and then offered to Krishna. However this act is contrary to nature.5 Can a heart moved by material pleasure naturally decide to please Vishnu? If he does this for show then it cannot be regarded as a sincere attempt. It is only meant to deceive the mind. The devotion for Vishnu of all the women who worship anna purna in order to have enough food in future lives is simply words. It goes without saying that it is not possible to attain liberation from material bondage by such offerings.
The third means is correct, because it involves action which is correspond to what attracts the mind. If a person is attracted to delicious food, he can eat food which has been offered to the Lord. By doing this simultaneously he will cultivate his attraction to the Lord and satisfy his material attachment. By tasting the higher pleasure, very quickly the lower taste will transform into the higher taste. This is classed as secondary bhakti but is still distinct from karma. Although karma is present in the desire for result, it is still possible to destroy karma itself in this process. When all bodily and mental actions act according to this secondary devotion, then they become subordinate to secondary bhakti and then serve real bhakti. Those theistic moralists who have this inclination become devotionally inclined. All other theistic moralists are still materially engaged."6
In defeating all the opposing views (purvapaksa), bhakti becomes established as the only practical method. Bhakti is the highest attainment for man. It does not contradict the progress of society or the welfare of the living entities. It bestows the inherent eternal peace and bliss to the soul. Bhakti is the way of life for the human being. It is perfect and all auspicious. It is the only spiritual thing in the material world.7 By cultivating sadhana bhakti the devotee attains the stage of bhava, and finally prema. Then the sweet and majestic Lord , the abode of Laksmi, opens his storehouse of rasa and says, "Oh friend, I have been carefully holding this storehouse you. You alone have rights to it. Rejecting me, you fell under the spell of my energy of illusion. Continuously I have shown great regard for you. As you have attained this by your own efforts, I am extremely pleased. Serve my ever fresh pleasurable form and play with me in the endless ocean of bliss. Do not fear, do not lament, for you have attained eternal life of bliss. For me, you have cut all chains of material attachment. I will not be able to repay the debt of love you have shown. Be naturally satisfied in your service."
To those who rejects the nectarean instructions of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and takes up other teachings, Rsabha deva has give the following instructions in the Fifth Canto of Bhagavatam, 5th Chapter. Keep this instruction in your mind.
One who cannot deliver his dependents from the path of repeated birth and death should never become a spiritual master, a father, a husband, a mother or a worshipable demigod.
1 I offer my obeisances unto the feet of all who hear or read this discourse. Kindly hear with attention the conclusion of all these statements. A sincere student should not neglect discussion of such conclusions, considering them controversial, for such discussions strengthen the mind. Thus one's mind becomes attached to Shri Krishna. C.C..Adi.2.116-117
Study Shrimad Bhagavatam very scrutinizingly. Then you will understand the actual meaning of Brahma sutra. C.C.Madhya 25.153
2 Tenth Canto, Bhagavatam, Gita Govinda of Jayadeva, Krishna Karnamrta of Bilvamangala, Lalita Madhava and Vidagdha Madhava by :Rupa Gosvami
3 khalu visaya samsaya purvapaksa siddhanta sangati bhedat panca nyayangani Baladeva, Vedanta Sutra
4 It is that by practicing restraint of the senses by the yoga system one can get relief from the disturbances of desire and lust, but this is not sufficient to give satisfaction to the soul, for this is derived from devotional service to the Personality of Godhead. S.B.1.6.354
5 If varnasrasma dhkaram is to be established again, the faults that have arisen the present system must be given up. Those who wish to benefit their nation should institute the following instructions, otherwise he cannot benefit the nation.
Having completed brahmacari life, opne should becomea grhastha. Having become a grhastha one should become a vanaprastha. Having become a vanaprastha one should become a sannyasi. But a brahmacari or a grhastha may also become a sannyasi. Jabala Upanisad
Thus when all a man's activities are dedicated to the service of the Lord, those very activities which caused his perpetual bondage become the destroyer of the tree of work. Whatever work is done here in this life for the satisfaction of the mission of the Lord is called bhakti yoga, or transcendental loving service to the Lord, and what is called knowledge becomes a concomitant factor S.B.1.5.34-35
If one acts in his profession according to his position in the modes of nature and gradually gives up these activities, he attains the niskama stage. If one shows the symptoms of being a brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya or sudra, as described above, even if he has appeared in a different class, he should be accepted according to those symptoms of classification. S.B.7.11.32,35
6 If one worships the Lord, what is the necessity of austerities? If one does not worship the Lord, what is accomplished by austerities? If the Lord is realized within and without, then what can austerity accomplish? If the Lord cannot be realized within or without, what can austerities accomplish? Narada Pancaratra
7 Remembrance of Lord Krishna's lotus feet destroys everything inauspicious and awards the greatest good fortune. It purifies the heart and bestows devotion for the Supreme Soul, along with knowledge enriched with realization and renunciation. S.B.12.12.55