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Nitya-dharma O Sambandhabhidheya-prayojana (Pramana-vicara O Prameya Arambha)
Eternal Religion and Sambandha, Abhidheya, and Prayojana (Evidence and Truth)
The next evening Vrajanatha sat down under the bakula tree facing the courtyard of Shrivasa's home. The saintly elderly babaji had developed a kind of paternal love for Vrajanatha. He was waiting for Vrajanatha to come. When Vrajanatha arrived, the babaji at once came out from the courtyard. Embracing Vrajanatha, he took him to his cottage (bhajana-kutira) in a grove of jasmine vines to one side of Shrivasa's courtyard. Touching the dust of the saintly babaji's feet, Vrajanatha and thought his life had now become successful. He humbly said, "O saintly babaji, please teach me the ".fn 2}Dasha-mula, which contains the essence of our Lord Nimai's teachings."
His heart blossoming with happiness to hear this very appropriate question, the elderly saintly babaji said, “Baba, I will explain the Dasha-mula to you. You are a pandita. Please carefully understand the truths described in these verses. The first verse is this:
amnayah praha tattvam harim iha paramam sarva-shaktim rasabdhim
tad-bhinnamshamsh ca jivan prakriti-kavalitan tad-vimuktamsh ca bhavat
bhedabheda-prakasham sakalam api hareh sadhanam shuddha-bhaktim
sadhyam tat-pritim evety upadishati janan gauracandrah svayam sah
"The Vedas teach that Lord Hari is the Supreme Truth. He has all potencies and He is an ocean of the nectar of transcendental mellows. The individual spirit souls, which are His parts-and-parcels, are divided into groups, some swallowed up by the material energy, and others free from her clutches. Everything that exists is simultaneously one and different from Him. Pure devotional service is the way to attain Lord Hari. The goal of life is to love Him. This Lord Gaurachandra personally taught to the living entities."
In the verses that begin here, Shriman Gaurachandra teaches ten truths to the faithful souls. Of these the first verse describes the various kinds of evidence, and the remaining nine verses describe various truths learned from these evidences. First the evidence is given, and then the truths that may be learned from that evidence. Evidence is called “pramana". The verse I have just recited is an introductory verse that contains a summary of the ".fn 2}Dasha-mula. The verse that follows it is the first verse of the Dasha-mula proper. In verses two through eight the relationship (sambandha) of the souls and the Lord is revealed. In verse nine the activities (abhidheya) of that relationship are described. In verse ten the true need of the living entities (prayojana) is described. The meaning of the introductory, summary verse is this: The word "amnayah" means “the statements of the Vedas as they are understood through the disciplic succession". The Vedas, the Shrimad-Bhagavatam and other Smriti-shastras that follow the Vedas, and the direct perception and other kinds of evidence that support the evidence of scripture are all called "pramana", or evidence. These evidences support the following definite conclusions: 1. Lord Hari is the Supreme Truth, 2. He has all potencies, 3. He is an ocean of the nectar of transcendental mellows, 4. the two liberated and conditioned souls are His parts-and-parcels, 5. some souls are imprisoned by the material energy, and others free from her clutches, 6. the entire universe, which contains both matter and spirit, is inconceivably, simultaneously one and different from Him, 7. devotional service is the way to attain Lord Hari, and 8. the goal of life is to love Lord Krishna.
After hearing this summary verse, Vrajanatha said, “O saintly babaji, now is not the time for me to ask any questions. After you recite the first verse I will speak any questions that may rise in my heart. Hearing this, the elderly babaji said, "Good. Good. I will recite the first of these mula verses. Please listen carefully.
svatah-siddho vedo hari-dayita-vedhah-prabhrititah
pramanam sat-praptam pramiti vishayan tan nava-vidhan
tatha pratyakshadi-pramiti-sahitam sadhayati nah
na yuktis tarkakhya pravishati tatha shakti-rahita
`The self-evident Vedas, which by Lord Hari's mercy are obtained from the disciplic succession beginning with the demigod Brahma, and which are accompanied by other sources of evidence, such as direct perception, are the evidence for the following nine truths. Ordinary logic, called `tarka', has no power to enter a discussion of these truths.' "
Vrajanatha: In there any evidence in the Vedas that Brahma taught disciples?
Babaji: Yes. There is. In the Mundaka Upanishad (1.1.1) it is said:
brahma devanam prathamah sambabhuva
vishvasya karta bhuvanasya gopta
sa brahma-vidyam sarva-vidya-pratishtham
atharvaya jyeshtha-putraya praha
"Brahma, who sin the first demigod, the creator of the universe, the protector of the worlds, spoke knowledge of the Supreme, the first of all kinds of knowledge, to his eldest son, Atharva."
There it is also said (Mundaka Upanishad 1.2.13):
yenaksharam purusham veda satyam
provaca tam tattvato brahma-vidyam
"Brahma taught him the science of the eternal Supreme Person."
Vrajanatha: Is there any evidence that when they wrote the smriti-shastras the sages gave the proper interpretations of the Vedas?
Babaji: In Shrimad-Bhagavatam, which is the crest jewel of all scriptures, the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself explains (11.14.3):
kalena nashta pralaye
mayadau brahmane prokta
dharmo yasyam mad-atmakah
tena prokta sva-putraya
manave purvajaya sa
"At the time of cosmic annihilation, the Vedas became lost. At the beginning of the next creation I again taught the Vedas to the demigod Brahma, for the principles of true religion are My very heart. Then Brahma repeated this knowledge to his first son Manu. Then the seven great sages, whose leader is Bhrigu, learned this knowledge from Manu."
Vrajanatha: Why is there a Vaishnava disciplic succession?
Babaji: Misled by impersonalism, many people in the world have left the true path. If the devotees untainted by impersonalism do not have their own disciplic succession, the it will be very difficult to associate with true devotees of the Lord. In the Padma Puraana it is written:
mantras te nishphala matah
"Unless you are initiated by a bona-fide spiritual master in the disciplic succession, the mantra that you might have received is without any effect.* The four Vaishnava disciplic successions, beginning from Lakshmi-devi, Brahma, Shiva, and Sanaka Kumara, have purified the entire world."
Of all of these, the disciplic succession from Lord Brahma is the oldest. The disciplic succession begins with Brahma and extends even to the present day. The Vedas, Vedangas, Vedanta, and other scriptures have been passed down unchanged from an ancient time, carefully preserved by the disciplic succession. Nothing has been changed or added to the scripture under the care the disciplic succession. Therefore no one should doubt that the Vedas and other scriptures that are accepted by the bona-fide disciplic succession are authentic. There is a great need for a bona-fide disciplic succession. Therefore from the earliest time the great saints have followed the bona-fide disciplic succession.
Vrajanatha: Are there complete lists of the disciplic successions?
Babaji: The lists contain the names of only the most important acaryas. It is their names that are included in the lists.
Vrajanatha: I wish to hear the list of acaryas in the disciplic succession from Brahma.
Babaji: Here is the list:
chishyo brahma jagat-patih
tasya shishyo narado 'bhud
vyasas tasyapi shishyatam
shuko vyasasya shishyatvam
tasya shishyo naraharis
tac-chishyo madhavo dvijah
akshobhyas tasya shishyo 'bhut
tasya shishyo jnanasindhus
tasya shishyo mahanidhih
vidyanidhis tasya shishyo
rajendras tasya sevakah
jayadharma munis tasya
shrimad-vishnupuri yas tu
jayadharmasya shishyo 'bhud
vyasatirthas tasya shishyo
yash cakre vishnu-samhitam
tasya shishyo madhavendro
yad-dharmo 'yam pravartitah
"Lord Brahma is the direct disciple of Vishnu, the Lord of the spiritual sky. His disciple is Narada, Narada's disciple is Vyasa, and Vyasa's disciples are Shukadeva Gosvami and Madhvacarya. Padmanabha Acarya is the disciple of Madhvacarya, and Narahari is the disciple of Padmanabha Acarya. Madhava is the disciple of Narahari, Akshobhya is the direct disciple Madhava, and Jayatirtha is the disciple of Akshobhya. Jayatirtha's disciple is Jnanasindhu, and his disciple is Mahanidhi. Vidyanidhi is the disciple of Mahanidhi, and Rajendra is the disciple of Vidyanidhi. Jayadharma is the disciple of Rajendra. Purushottama is the disciple of Jayadharma. Shriman Lakshmipati is the disciple of Vyasatirtha, who is the disciple of Purushottama. And Madhavendra Puri is the disciple of Lakshmipati."*
Vrajanatha: In this verse it is said that the Vedas are the "only evidence", and direct perception along with the other sources of evidence, should be accepted only to help in understanding the Vedas. However, nyaya, sankhya, and the other philosophies are also sources of evidence. The Puranas, direct perfection, inference, comparison, the Vedas, the Vedic histories (itihasa),. understanding something by its absence (anupalabdhi), circumstantial evidence (arthapatti), and probability (sambhava) are all considered different sources of evidence. Why should it be considered that some kinds of evidence are more valuable than others. If direct perception and inference are not considered sources of evidence, then what kind of of knowledge will one be able to get? Please explain this so that I may understand.
Babaji: Direct perception and other sources of evidence like it all depend on the material senses. The material senses of the conditioned soul are subject to four defects: 1. bhrama (mistakes), 2. pramada (illusions), 3. vipralipsa (cheating), and 4. karanapatava (sensory inefficiency). How can one attain true knowledge with such faulty instruments? The Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself appeared in the hearts of the great saints and sages as they were rapt in meditation on Him. The Lord them gave them the perfect knowledge that is the Vedas. Therefore without fear one can accept the Vedas as truth.
Vrajanatha: Please explain these four defects: mistakes, illusions, cheating, and sensory inefficiency.
Babaji: When the imperfect material senses make mistakes in perceiving the world around it, that is called “bhrama". Seeing a mirage in the desert is an example of such a mistake. The intelligence of the conditioned souls is limited. Therefore, when such a limited intelligence tries to understand the unlimited Supreme Truth, the limited intelligence is bound to be illusioned in many ways. That is called "pramada". An example of this is seen when the material intelligence, limited by time and space, questions how the Supreme Person could have created the material world of time and space. Doubt is called "vipralipsa". The material senses are not very efficient tools for acquiring knowledge. When they make mistakes again and again that is called "karanapatava".
Vrajanatha: Do not sensory perception and other sources of knowledge have any value at all?
Babaji: Is there a way to understand the material world except with the material senses and other like sources of knowledge? Still, all these sources of knowledge are powerless to understand the spiritual world. For the spiritual world the Vedas are the only source of knowledge. If sense perception and these other sources of evidence confirm the truths revealed in the Vedas, then the knowledge they give may be accepted. Therefore sense perception and other like sources of knowledge may be accepted only when the confirm the teachings of the self-perfect Vedas.
Vrajanatha: Are the Bhagavad-gita, Shrimad-Bhagavatam and other like scriptures not sources of true knowledge?
Babaji: The Bhagavad-gita has come from the mouth of the Supreme Lord Himself. It is also called the Gita Upanishad. It is counted as one of the Vedas. Because they are the teachings of Lord Gauranga, the ten verses of Dasha-mula are also one of the Vedas. The Shrimad-Bhagavatam is an anthology of the truths described in the Vedas. It is the crest jewel of all sources of knowledge. If they confirm the Vedas' teachings, the other smriti-shastras are also sources of true knowledge. The tantra-shastras are of three kinds: 1. those in the mode of goodness, 2. those in passion, and 3. those in ignorance. Among them, the pancaratras and other tantras in the mode of goodness expand the confidential portions of the Vedas' teachings. The word "tantra" comes from the verbal root "tan" (to expand). Therefore these tantras are also counted among the sources of true knowledge.
Vrajanatha: The Vedas consist of many different books. Among them which should be accepted and which not? Please tell me.
Babaji: In the course of time certain unscrupulous men interpolated many new chapters, mandalas, and mantras in the text of the Vedas. Therefore it is not that all the parts of the Vedas should be accepted. What in the course of time the acaryas in the bona-fide disciplic succession have accepted, that should be considered the actual Veda. What they have rejected as interpolations should not be accepted.
Vrajanatha: What books of the Vedas have the acaryas of the bona-fide disciplic successions accepted?
Babaji: The acariyas have accepted the twelve upanishads named Isha, Kena, Katha, Prashna, Mundaka, Mandukya, Taittiriya, Aitareya, Chandogya, Brihad-aranyaka, and Shvetashvatara, as well as the Gopala-tapani Upanishad, the Nrisimha-tapani Upanishad, and other like tapani upanishads, as well as the brahmanas, mandalas, and other portions of the Rig, Yajur, Sama, and Atharva Vedas. The acaryas have accepted all these books as sources of genuine knowledge.
Vrajanatha: You said that material logic has no power to understand spiritual things. What is the proof of that?
Babaji: In the Katha Upanishad (1.2.9) it is said:
naisha tarkena matir apaneya
"The spiritual truth cannot be understood by material logic."
In the Vedanta-sutra (2.1.11) it is said:
"Transcendental topics cannot be understood by argument or logic."*
In these and other statement of the Veda and Vedanta it is seen that material logic is cannot be counted on as a source of true spiritual knowledge. In the Mahabharata (Bhishma-parva 5.22) it is said:
acintyah khalu ye bhava
na tams tarkena yojayet
prakritibhyah param yac ca
tad acintyasya lakshanam
"Anything transcendental to material nature is called inconceivable, whereas arguments are all mundane. Since mundane arguments cannot touch transcendental subject matters, one should not try to understand transcendental subject matters through mundane arguments."*
In these words of the Mahabharata, the limits of material logic are seen. The conclusion of devotional service is also explained in these words written by Shrila Rupa Gosvami (Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu 1.1.32):
svalpapi rucir eva syat
yuktis tu kevala naiva
yad asya apratishthata
"For persons who have a natural taste for understanding books like Bhagavad-gita and Shrimad-Bhagavatam. devotional service is easier than for those simply accustomed to mental speculation and argumentative processes."*
Material logic cannot bring a definitive, conclusive understanding. This is described in the following words (Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu 1.1.33):
yatnenopadito 'py arthah
"A person may become governed by certain convictions derived by his own arguments and decisions. Then another person, who may be a greater logician, will nullify these conclusions and establish another thesis. In this way the path of argument will never be safe or conclusive."*
If this is so, then what is the use of material logic and argument?
Vrajanatha: O saintly babaji, I accept that the self-perfect Vedas are the best of all sources of knowledge. If they try to contradict the Vedas, the logicians are merely speaking in vain. Now please recite the second verse of the Dasha-mula.
haris tv ekam tattvam vishi-shiva-suresha-pranamitah
tad evedam brahma prakriti-rahitam tat-tanu-mahah
paratma tasyamsho jagad-anugato vishva-janakah
sa vai radha-kanto nava-jalada-kantish cid-udayah
"Lord Hari is the only Supreme Truth. Brahma. Siva, and Indra bow down before Him. The impersonal Brahman, which is completely untouched by matter, is the effulgence of His transcendental form. The all-pervading Supersoul is His expansion. He is the father of the material universes. He is the lover of Shri Radha. His form is splendid like a dark monsoon cloud. He is completely spiritual."
Vrajanatha: the Upanishads teach that the impersonal Brahman is the highest truth and it is beyond the touch of matter. Why, then, does Shriman Gaura-Hari affirm that it is the effulgence of Lord Hari's body? Please explain that to me.
Babaji: Lord Hari is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, bhagavan. The word "bhagavan" means "He who possesses six opulences". In the Vishnu Purana (6.5.47) it is written:
viryasya yashasah shriyah
shannam bhaga itingana
"Full wealth, strength, fame, beauty, knowledge, and renunciationthese are the six opulences of the Supreme Personality of Godhead."*
These six opulences are interrelated, like the limbs of a body. Which of them is the body? Which of them are the limbs? The body is the resting place of the limbs. The tree is the body, and the branches are the limbs. The whole form is the body, and the hands and feet are included among the limbs. The body is the resting place of the limbs. Of the Supreme Lord's opulences, His handsomeness is the body and the other opulences are the limbs. Wealth, strength, and fame are three limbs. The effulgence of fame consists of knowledge and renunciation. Therefore these two are the effulgence of one of the limbs. They are the opulences of an opulence. They are not direct opulences themselves. Knowledge of changeless spirit and renunciation of matter are the parts of the body of the impersonal Brahman. The impersonal Brahman is the effulgence emanating from the spiritual worlds. The unchanging, inactive, formless, qualityless Brahman is not the independent highest truth. It is the form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead that is the independent highest truth. The light of a fire is not independent. It is the fire itself that is independent, and the light is merely one of the fire's qualities.
Vrajanatha: In many places in the Vedas, after the impersonal Brahman was described, the text declared, "Om Shantih. Shantih. Harih. Om". In the way the Vedas affirm the superiority of Lord Hari. Who is Lord Hari?
Babaji: Lord Hari is Radha and Krishna, who enjoy transcendental pastimes.
Vrajanatha: I will ask about this later. Now please tell me: What kind of expansion of the Supreme Lord (bhagavan) is the Supersoul (paramatma), the father of the material universes?
Babaji: Employing the two opulences of wealth and strength, the Supreme Lord created the material world of maya. After creating the world, the Lord expanded Himself as Vishnu and entered it. When the Lord expands Himself, each expansion is perfect and complete. This is described in the following words of Brihad-aranyaka Upanishad (5.1):
purnam adah purnam idam
purnat purnam udacyate
purnasya purnam adaya
"The Supreme Personality of Godhead is perfect and complete, and because He is completely perfect, all emanations from Him, such as this phenomenal world, are perfectly equipped as complete wholes. Whatever is produced of the complete whole is also complete in itself. Because He is the complete whole, even though so many complete units emanate from Him, He remains the complete balance."*
Therefore the Supersoul (paramatma), is Lord Vishnu, who is perfect and complete, who has entered the material world, and who protects the material world. Lord Vishnu thus manifests in three forms, as: 1. Karanodakashayi Vishnu, Kshirodakashayi Vishnu, and Garbhodakashayi Vishnu. The Karana Ocean, which is also known as the Viraja River, lies on the boundary that separates the spiritual and material worlds. To that place Lord Maha-Vishnu goes and reclines on the Karana Ocean. Thus He is Karanodakashayi Vishnu. Glancing at her from far away, the Lord employs Maya-devi to create the material world. The Lord Himself describes this in these words of Bhagavad-gita (9.10):
"The material nature is working under My direction, O son of Kunti, and it is producing all moving and unmoving beings."*
In the Vedas it is said (Aitareya Upanishad 1.1):
"The Supreme Personality of Godhead glanced over the material creation."*
It is also said (Aitareya Upanishad 1.1):
sa imal lokan ashrijata
"The Supreme Personality of Godhead created this entire material world."*
Then the Supreme Lord, whose glance is so powerful, expands Himself as Garbhodakashayi Vishnu and enters the material world. The particles of light that constitute Lord Maha-Vishnu's glance are the conditioned spirit souls. Into the heart of each conditioned soul, the Lord enters in a form the size of a thumb. That form is called Kshirodakashayi Vishnu or Hiranyagarbha. Thus the Supreme Personality of Godhead and the individual spirit soul both reside in the heart. This is described in the following words of Shvetashvatara Upanishad (4.6):
dva suparna sayuja sakhaya
"The individual spirit soul and the Supersoul, Supreme Personality of Godhead, are like two friendly birds sitting on the same tree."*
In this way the Shruti-shastra explains that the Supreme Personality of Godhead and the individual spirit soul are like two birds. The bird that is the Supreme Personality of Godhead gives the fruits of karma, and the bird that is the individual spirit soul tries to enjoy the material world. In Bhagavad-gita (10.41-42), the Supreme Lord declares:
yad yad vibhutimat sattvam
shrimad urjitam eva va
tat tad evavagaccha tvam
"Know that all beautiful, glorious, and mighty creations spring from but a spark of My splendor.*
kim jnatena tavarjuna
vishtabhyaham idam kritsnam
ekamshena sthito jagat
"But what need is there, Arjuna, for all this detailed knowledge? With a single fragment of Myself I pervade and support this entire creation."*
Therefore the Supersoul (paramatma), who creates, enters, protects, and controls the material world, is an expansion of the Supreme Personality of Godhead (bhagavan).
Vrajanatha: I accept that the impersonal Brahman is the effulgence of the Supreme Personality of Godhead's body and that the Supersoul is His expansion. Now please tell me: What is the proof that Lord Krishna is the original form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead?
Babaji: The Supreme Personality of Godhead has all opulence and sweetness eternally. When His opulence is manifested, He is Lord Narayana, the master of the spiritual world and the origin of Lord Maha-Vishnu. Thus when His pastimes of opulence are manifest He is Lord Narayana, and when His pastimes of sweetness are manifest, He is Lord K\rshna. Lord K\rshna possesses the highest limit of sweetness. The effulgence of His sweetness is so great that it eclipses all opulences that exist anywhere. Therefore the conclusion is that Lord Narayana and Lord Krishna are not different. However, in the spiritual world the greatest sweetness of transcendental mellows is present in Lord Krishna. He is the highest resting place of all transcendental mellows. This is explained in the following words of the Rig Veda (18.104.22.168):
apashyam gopam anipadyamanama ca para ca pathibhish carantam. sa-sadhricih. sa vishu-cirvasana avarivarti bhuvaneshv antah.
"I have seen a certain gopa dressed in colorful garments and accompanied by many beautiful girls as He wanders the pathways in the spiritual world. That same gopa again and again enters the material worlds and stays in the hearts of the living beings."
In the Chandogya Upanishad (8.13.1) it is said:
shyamac chavalam prapadye shavalac chyamam prapadye
"To attain Shri Radha I surrender to Lord Krishna. To attain Lord Krishna I surrender to Shri Radha."
These verses describe the liberated souls and their relationship with Lord Krishna. In Shrimad-Bhagavatam (1.3.28) it is said:
ete camshah kalah pumsah
krishnas tu bhagavan svayam
"All of the above-mentioned incarnations are either plenary portions or portions of the plenary portions of the Lord, but Lord Shri Krishna is the original Personality of Godhead."*
In the Bhagavad-gita (7.7) Lord Krishna Himself declares:
mattah parataram naynat
kincid asti dhananjaya
"O conqueror of wealth (Arjuna), there is no truth superior to Me."*
In the Gopala-tapani Upanishad (1.20) it is said:
eko vashi sarvagah krishna idya
eko 'pi san bahudha yo 'vabhati
"Lord Krishna is the worshipable, all-pervading supreme controller, and although He is one, He manifests in many forms."
Vrajanatha: Lord Krishna has an average-sized form. How can He be present everywhere? If we accept that Lord Krishna has a form, we must also accept that His form can only stay in one place at time. Limited in this way He must have many faults. Now He must fall under the control of the material modes. No longer can He be supremely independent. How can all these defects be removed from Lord Krishna?
Babaji: Baba, you are a conditioned soul trapped in the material world of maya. That is why you have all these doubts. As long as it is bound by the ropes of maya, your intelligence will never be able to touch the transcendental reality. When it tries to understand the pure spiritual reality, it will assume that spirit has qualities and forms just like those of matter. When it does this, the intelligence becomes worried that it has followed the wrong path. Then the intelligence begins to imagine that the Supreme Spirit has no form and no qualities. In this way the intelligence becomes cheated and cannot understand the truth about the Supreme Spirit. In truth the defects you think might affect the ordinary-sized form of Lord Krishna do not have any bearing on His true spiritual form. The idea that the Supreme Spirit is "formless", "unchanging", and "inactive" are ideas obtained by looking for the exact opposites of what appears in the material world. These are also qualities of a certain kind. Qualities of another kind are Lord Krishna's handsome form, His face blossoming with happiness, His lotus eyes, His lotus feet, which give peacefulness to the devotees, and all His graceful limbs perfect for enjoying transcendental pastimes. This pure spiritual form of Lord Krishna is one feature of the Lord. When these two features, the personal and impersonal, are considered, it is seen that the average-sized form of Lord Krishna is the most handsome and pleasing. This is described in the following words of Shri Narada-pancaratra:
nishcetanatmaka-sharira-gunaish ca hinah
sarvatra ca svagata-bheda-vivarjitatma
"Lord Krishna is supremely independent. His form and qualities are free of any possible flaw. His body is not like the bodies made of matter. His hands, feet, face, belly, and all the other parts of His body are all made of transcendental bliss and nothing else. Lord Krishna is not different from His body. He does not reside in a material body different from Himself, as the conditioned souls in the material world do. He and His body are one."
Lord Krishna's form is eternal and full of knowledge and bliss. His qualities are not material. Nothing about Him is material in even the slightest degree. He is not limited by material time and space. His form is fully present in every place for all time. He is one. His form has all knowledge. The material world is so large it cannot be measured by the conditioned souls. It is natural that a form of average size could never be present everywhere in the material world. However, in the spiritual world all qualities have limitless power. Therefore the average-sized form of Lord Krishna can be present everywhere. That is actually one of its natural qualities. In the material world an average-sized form cannot be all-pervading. However, the supremely handsome spiritual form of Lord Krishna is certainly all-pervading. The extraordinary qualities of that form are very different from the qualities of material forms. That spiritual form is very glorious. Can anyone be more glorious than the all-pervading Supreme Spirit? In the material world everything is limited by time and space. What is the glory of a form that is free from the limits of time and present everywhere? Lord Krishna's transcendental abode of Vraja is described in the Chandogya Upanishad, which calls it "Brahma-pura". That abode is perfectly spiritual. It has all spiritual wonders. Its activities are all spiritual. Its places are spiritual. Its land and water are spiritual. Its rivers and trees are spiritual. Its sky is spiritual. Its sun, moon, and stars are all spiritual. They have not the slightest drop of any material flaw. Rather they are filled with spiritual bliss. O baba, the Navadvipa-Mayapura where you are sitting now is that same spiritual world. However, because you are trapped in Maya's net you cannot reach out and touch it. When you attain the mercy of a great saintly person you will see that everything in this place is spiritual. Then you will be living in the spiritual world of Vraja. Where did you get the idea that the average-sized form of Lord Krishna could have any flaws? The glory of Lord Krishna's average-sized spiritual form is far from what your material intelligence can understand. This has happened because in the past you committed many impious deeds.
Vrajanatha: O saintly babaji, Shri Shri Radha-Krishna's forms, beauty, features, pastimes, companions, homes, forest-groves, and all else of Them are purely spiritual. A wise man will not doubt that. However, in what times and places do They manifest Their forms, abodes, and pastimes?
Babaji: Shri Krishna is the master of all potencies. He can make any impossible thing possible. There is nothing surprising in this. He is playful and enjoys transcendental pastimes. Whatever He wishes is at once accomplished. He has all powers. If He wishes, He can bring His transcendental form and abode to the material world. There is no doubt of that.
Vrajanatha: The doubt is this. By His own will Lord Krishna appears in the material world. However, the people who see Him tend to think that His "transcendental abode" is a material place like other material places, His “transcendental form" is a material form like the forms of ordinary human beings, and His "transcendental pastimes in Vraja" are ordinary material activities. Why do they see like that? If it is true that Lord Krishna has mercifully appeared within the material word, why do not all people see that His form is spiritual?
Babaji: One of Lord Krishna's limitless transcendental qualities is His mercy to His devotees. Employing His hladini shakti, He gives His devotees the power to see that everything about Him is spiritual. To His devotees He reveals everything about His transcendental pastimes. However, the non-devotees' eyes, ears, and other senses, which are contaminated by many offenses, cannot see any difference between the pastimes of the Lord and ordinary historical narratives of human activities.
Vrajanatha: Did not Shri Krishna descend to this material world to show mercy to the people in general?
Babaji: His descent to this world brings all auspiciousness. When He descends to this world and manifests His transcendental pastimes, the devotees can see that His form and pastimes are purely spiritual. The non-devotees surely see them as material. Still, merely by seeing them, the non-devotees gain great spiritual merit. When this spiritual merit accumulates and becomes very great they become able to have faith in pure devotional service. Therefore the Lord's descent to this world brings a great benefit to the conditioned souls.
Vrajanatha: Why are Lord Krishna's pastimes not clearly described in every page of the Vedas?
Babaji: On every page the Vedas again and again sing the glories of Lord Krishna's pastimes. In some places they are described directly, and in other places they are only hinted at. When the words of the texts directly refer to Lord Krishna, the description is direct. An example of that is the following words of the Chandogya Upanishad:
shyamac chavalam prapadye shavalac chyamam prapadye
"To attain Shri Radha I take shelter of Lord Krishna. To attain Lord Krishna I take shelter of Shri Radha."
In these words and the words that follow it in the Chandogya Upanishad, the liberated souls and their service to Lord Krishna in the different rasas is clearly described. When the words only hint at the description of Lord Krishna, the description is indirect. In the conversations of Yajnavalkya, Gargi, and Maitreyi (in the Brihad-aranyaka Upanishad), the description of Lord Krishna is at first indirect, and then at the end direct. In some places the Vedas have described Lord Krishna's eternal pastimes directly, and in other places, chanting the glories of the impersonal Brahman and the Supersoul, the Vedas have described Lord Krishna only indirectly. In truth, the Vedas have taken a vow to chant the glories of Lord Krishna.
Vrajanatha: O saintly babaji, Lord Krishna is the Supreme Truth. Of this there is no doubt. However, what is the status of Brahma, Siva, Indra, Surya, Ganesha, and the other demigods worshiped in this world? Please tell me. Many brahmanas say that Shiva is the Supreme Truth and no one is higher than Him. I was born in the family of such a brahmana, and I have heard and repeated this idea since childhood. What is the truth of this? Please tell me.
Babaji: Now I will describe to you the relative merits of the ordinary living entities, the demigods and demigoddesses worshiped in this world, and the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Please listen. I will now repeat to you a list of some of Lord Krishna's transcendental qualities. They are described in these words of a great philosopher (Shrila Rupa Gosvami's Shri Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu:
ayam neta suramyangah
ruciras tejasa yukto
"Krishna, the supreme hero, has the most beautiful transcendental body. This body possesses all good features. It is radiant and very pleasing to the eyes. His body is powerful, strong, and youthful.*
"Krishna is the linguist of all wonderful languages. He is a truthful and very pleasing speaker. He is expert in speaking, and He is a very wise, learned, scholar, and a genius.*
vidadgdhash caturo dakshah
shastra-cakshuh shucir vashi
"Krishna is very expert in artistic enjoyment. He is highly cunning, expert, grateful, and firmly determined in His vows. He knows how to deal according to time, person, and country, and He sees through the scriptures and authoritative books. He is very clean and self-controlled.*
sthiro dantah kshama-shilo
gambhiro dhritiman samah
vadanyo dharmikah shurah
"Lord Krishna is steady, His senses are controlled, and He is forgiving, grave, and calm. He is also equal to all. Moreover, He is magnanimous, religious, chivalrous, and kind. He is always respectful to respectable people.*
dakshino vinayi hriman
sukhi bhakta-suhrit prema-
"Krishna is very simple and liberal, He is humble and bashful, and He is the protector of the surrendered soul. He is very happy, and He is always the well-wisher of His devotee. He is auspicious, and He is submissive to love.*
pratapi kirtiman rakta-
"Krishna is very influential and famous, and He is the object of attachment for everyone. He is the shelter of the good and the virtuous. He is attractive to the minds of women, and He is worshiped by everyone. He is very, very rich.*
variyan ishvarash ceti
samudra iva pancashad
durvigaha harer ami
"Krishna is the Supreme, and He is always glorified as the Supreme Lord and controller. Thus all the previously mentioned transcendental qualities are in Him. The fifty qualities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead above mentioned are as deep as the ocean. In other words, they are difficult to fully comprehend.*
jiveshv ete vasanto 'pi
"These qualities are sometimes very minutely exhibited in living beings, but they are fully manifest in the Supreme Personality of Godhead.*
atha panca-guna ye syur
"Apart from these fifty qualities, there are five other qualities found in the Supreme Personality of Godhead that are partially present in demigods like Shiva.*
athocyante gunah panca
ami krishne kiladbhutah
"These qualities are: 1. the Lord is always situated in His original position, 2. He is omniscient, 3. He is always fresh and youthful, 4. He is the concentrated form of eternity, knowledge and bliss, and 5. He is the possessor of all mystic perfection. There are another five qualities, which exist in the Vaikuntha planets in Narayana, the Lord of Laksmi. These qualities are also present in Krishna, but are not present in demigods like Lord Shiva or in other living entities. These are: 1. inconceivable supreme power, 2. generating innumerable universes from the body, 3. being the original source of all incarnations, 4. bestowing salvation upon enemies killed, and 5. the ability to attract exalted persons who are satisfied in themselves. Although these qualities are present in Narayana, the dominating Deity of the Vaikuntha planets, they are even more wonderfully present in Krishna.*
"Apart from these sixty transcendental qualities, Krishna has an additional four transcendental qualities, which are not manifest even in the personality of Narayana. These are: 1. Krishna is like an ocean filled with eaves of pastimes that evoke wonder within everyone in the three worlds. 2. In His activities of conjugal love, He is always surrounded by His dear devotees who possess unequaled love for Him. 3. He attracts the minds of all three worlds by the melodious vibration of His flute. 4. His personal beauty and opulence are beyond compare. No one is equal to Him, and no one is greater than Him. Thus the Supreme Personality of Godhead astonishes all living entities, both moving and nonmoving, within the three worlds. He is so beautiful that He is called Krishna.*
lila premna priyadhikyam
ity asadharanam proktam
"Above Narayana, Krishna has four specific transcendental qualitiesHis wonderful pastimes, an abundance of wonderful associates who are very dear to Him (like the gopis), His wonderful beauty, and the wonderful vibration of His flute. Lord Krishna is more exalted than ordinary living beings and demigods like Lord Shiva. He is even more exalted than His own personal expansion Narayana."*
These sixty-four opulences are fully, eternally and splendidly manifest in Lord Krishna, whose pure spiritual form is eternal and full of knowledge and bliss. The last four opulences are present only in the form of Lord Krishna. They are not present in even the Lord's pastime incarnations. Now that these four qualities are excluded, the remaining sixty qualities are fully and splendidly manifest in Lord Narayana, who is the master of the spiritual sky, and whose form is perfectly spiritual. When the next five opulences are excluded, the remaining fifty-five opulences are present in Lord Shiva and other exalted demigods. Drops of the remaining fifty opulences may be seen in the individual spirit souls. Shiva, Brahma, Surya, Ganesha, and Indra are partial expansions of the Lord. Given jurisdiction to rule over certain affairs in the material universe, they are considered incarnations of the Lord's opulences. Still, they are individual souls, servants of the Supreme Lord. By their mercy many people attained pure devotional service. They are rulers over the conditioned souls, and that is why they are objects of worship in the material world. The worship of them gradually leads to worship of the Supreme Lord. If they give to certain souls the gift of pure devotional service to Lord Krishna, those souls consider them spiritual masters and worship them eternally. Lord Shiva, who is filled with devotion to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is considered non-different from the Supreme Lord Himself. That is why people addicted to the ideas of impersonalism take shelter of Him and consider Him the highest form of the Supreme.