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NITAAI-Veda.nyf > All Scriptures By Acharyas > Bhaktivinoda Thakura > Tattva Sutra > Chapter-5

Chapter Five

Siddhanta-prakarana

The Final Conclusion

 

Sutra 41

 

jnana-suryasya hi rashmayah shastrani

 

     jnana—of knowledge; suryasya—of nthe sun; hi—indeed; rashmayah—rays; shastrani—the scriptures.

 

     Indeed, the scriptures are rays of light from the sun of transcendental knowledge.

 

Commentary by Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura

 

     Here someone may protest: Is it not so that the various scriptures present different philosophers' very different conclusions of what is the highest good for all living entities. What is the use, then, of your attempt in this Tattva-sutra to find there a single final, highest conclusion?

 

     If this is said, the the author of the sutras replies: No. It is not as you say. In this fifth chapter the author of the sutras describes the final conclusion of all knowledge, the conclusion that shows the highest good for all living entities.

 

     In this sutra the word "hi" may be interpreted to mean either "indeed" or "because". here the self-manifested original transcendental knowledge of the individual spirit souls is likened to a sun. It is likened to a sun because: 1. It is manifested from the spiritual form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, 2. it is self-manifested, 3. it destroys the darkness of ignorance, and 4. it reveals all truths. All the scriptures are then likened to rays of light emanating from that sun of transcendental knowledge. That is the meaning. In the Upanishads it is said:

 

ricah samani jajnire

 

     "The Supreme Personality of Godhead created the Rig and Sama Vedas."

 

chandamsi jajnire tasmad yajus tasmad ajayata

 

     "The Vedic hymns were born from the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The Yajur Veda was born from Him."

 

     In the Vedanta-sutra (1.1.3), Lord Vyasadeva explains:

 

shastra-yonitvat

 

     "Because the Supreme is the author of all the scriptures."

 

narayanam namaskritya

     brahmanam ca svayambhuvam

naradam tattva-sara-jnam

     krishna-dvaipayanam munim

 

     I offer my respectful obeisances to Lord Narayana, to self-born Brahma, to Narada, who knows the best of all spiritual truths, and to the great sage Krishna Dvaipayana Vyasa.

 

madhvacaryam tato vande

     tac-chishyan sampradayinah

kalau yasmin sampradaye

     sakshac chaitanya-vigrahah

 

avirasin navadvipe

     sarva-siddhanta-sagarah

saragrahi-gana yasya

     sainya-bhutah kshitau matah

 

     I also offer my respectful obeisances to Madhvacarya and the disciples in his sampradaya. In that sampradaya the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is an ocean of perfect philosophical conclusions, and who manifested His form of Lord Chaitanya, came to this earth in the town of Navadvipa. Lord Chaitanya's devotees are like soldiers conquering the earth by preaching the Lord's message.

 

na bahyam lakshanam tesham

     vina krishnanushilanam

sampradaya-svapakshatve

     sara-tyago bhaved dhruvam

 

     His followers are not attracted to the external things of this world. They are properly renounced. They are intently devoted to Lord Krishna.

 

saragrahi-janas tasmat

     sampradaya-rata na hi

yat-sampradaye yat-satyam

     tat-saram iti tan-matam

 

     They who are eager to find the truth do not limit themselves to their own country or their own community. They are eager to accept the truth and they are not concerned that a speaker of the truth may come from a different community.

 

tatra tesham pramodo hi

     tad-dharmishu ca mitrata

bahu-saj-jana-sahayyad

     duhsadhyam api sidhyati

 

     They are happy with the truth. They make friendship with persons who are sincere in following the truth. With the help of many saintly friends even the most difficult thing is easily attained.

 

mithah sara-rasalapo

     mithash cananda-karanam

sarvesham sampradayanam

     edad vai phalam adbhutam

 

     Among themselves such saintly persons relish talking about the truth. Among themselves they feel great bliss. They attain the wonderful result sought by all communities of spiritual men.

 

tasmac chri-gaura-dasanam

     madhviya-jana-sangrahah

tatrapi bahavah santi

     bahya-cihnavalambinah

 

     Many are Lord Chaitanya's servants in the Madhva-sampradaya. They are all great souls bearing marks that show they do not really belong in this material world.

 

sampradayanurodhad va

     tat-tattvajnanato 'pi va

kecit tac-cihna-shunyash ca

     saragrahitaya mata

 

     Because they follow the teachings of the spiritual sampradaya, or because they are not materialistic, these enlightened souls do not bear the marks of the material world.

 

labha-purna dosha-muktah

     sancaranty avadhuta-vat

tesham vishuddha-buddhinam

     krishna-tattva-vivekinam

namami caranambhojam

     yukta-vairagya-dharinam

 

     Self-satisfied and faultless, they wander here and there appearing like madmen to outsiders. They are pure at heart and perfectly renounced, for they know the truth of Lord Krishna. I bow down before their lotus feet.

 

     In the Mundaka Upanishad (1.1.4-5) it is said:

 

dve vidye veditavya iti ha sma yad brahma-vido vadanti para caivapara ca. tatrapara rig-vedo yajur-vedah sama-vedo 'tharva-vedah.

 

     "Enlightened souls say there are two kinds of knowledge: 1. transcendental knowledge, and 2. material knowledge. The knowledge of the Rig, Yajur, Sama, and Atharva Vedas is material knowledge.

 

shiksha-kalpo vyakaranam niruktam chando jyotisham iti atha para yatha tad aksharam adhigamyate

 

     "The study of phonetics, rituals, grammar, etymology, meter, and astrology are all material knowledge. Transcendental knowledge is the knowledge that brings one to the imperishable Supreme Personality of Godhead."

 

     In Shrimad-Bhagavatam (11.14.3-8), the Supreme Personality of Godhead explains:

 

kalena nashta pralaye

     vaniyam veda-samjnita

mayadau brahmane prokta

     dharmo yasyam mad-atmakah

 

     "By the influence of time, the transcendental sound of Vedic knowledge was lost at the time of annihilation. Therefore, when the subsequent creation took place, I spoke the Vedic knowledge to Brahma because I Myself am the religious principles enunciated in the Vedas.***

 

tena prokta sva-putraya

     manave purva-jayasa

tato bhrigv-adayo grihnan

     sapta-brahma-maharshayah

 

     "Lord Brahma spoke this Vedic knowledge to his eldest son, Manu, and the seven great sages headed by Bhrigu Muni then accepted the same knowledge from Manu.***

 

tebhyah pitribhyas tat-putra

     deva-danava-guhyakah

manushyah siddha-gandharvah

     sa-vidyadhara-caranah

 

kindevah kinnara naga

     raksha kimpurushadayah

bahvyas tesham prkritayo

     rajah-sattva-tamo-bhuvah

 

yabhir bhutani bhidyante

     bhutanam patayas tatha

yatha prakritih sarvesham

     citravacah sravanti hi

 

     "From the forefathers headed by Bhrigu Muni and other sons of Brahma appeared many children and descendants, who assumed different forms as demigods, demons, human beings, Guhyakas, Siddhas, Gandharvas, Vidyadharas, Caranas, Kindevas, Kinnaras, Nagas, Kimpurushas, and so on. All of the many universal species, along with their respective leaders, appeared with different natures and desires generated from the three modes of material nature. Therefore, because of the different characteristics of the living entities within the universe, there are a great many Vedic rituals, mantras, and rewards.***

 

evam prakriti-vaicitryad

     bhidyante matayo nrinam

paramparyena keshancit

     pashanda-matayo 'pare

 

     "Thus, due to the great variety of desires and natures among human beings, there are many different theistic philosophies of life, which are handed down through tradition, custom, and disciplic succession. There are other teachers who directly support atheistic viewpoints."***

 

     The Lord also said (Shrimad-Bhagavatam 11.8.10):

 

anubhyash ca brihadbhyash ca

     shastrebhyah kushalo narah

sarvatah saram adadyat

     pushpebhya iva shatpadah

 

     "Just as the honeybee takes nectar from all flowers, big and small, an intelligent human beings should take the essence from all religious scriptures."***

 

     In the Katha Upanishad (1.2.5) it is said:

 

avidyayam antare vartamanah

     svayam dhira panditam manyamanah

dandramyamanah pariyanti mudha

     andhenaiva niyamana yathandhah

 

     "Thinking themselves wise, they wander here and there in the darkness of ignorance. They are blind men led by another blind man."

 

     In Shrimad-Bhagavatam (2.7.51) it is said:

 

sangraho 'yam vibhutinam

     tvam etat vipuli-kuru

 

     "O Narada, this science of God, Shrimad-Bhagavatam, was spoken to me in summary by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and it was spoken as the accumulation of His diverse potencies. Please expand this science yourself."*

 

     In the Yoga-vashishtha, Third Chapter, Valmiki tells Bharadvaja:

 

drishyam nastiti bodhena

     manaso drishya-marjanam

sampannam cet tad-utpanna

     para nirvana-nirvritih

 

     "It is not seen by material eyes. If one is fortunate and his vision becomes cleansed, he will attain transcendental knowledge, renunciation, and liberation."

 

     Shriman Anandabodhendra Sarasvati comments on this verse:

 

     "Here someone may say, `Matter and spirit are different. therefore matter cannot see spirit. Therefore, of what use are the scriptures?' Fearing that someone would make this claim, the author has spoken this verse, which begins with the word `drishyam'. Spirit can certainly be seen. But it cannot be seen by material eyes. With spiritual intelligence spirit may be understood. With purified eyes one may see spirit. Liberation from the world, or the direct perception of spirit is described in the scriptures. That is the result of scripture-study."

 

     There it is also said:

 

anyatha shastra-garteshu

     luthatam bhavatam iha

bhavaty akritrima-jnanam

     kalair api na nirvritih

 

     "Without proper understanding, one is simply trapped in a cave of the scriptures. By scripture-study one must revive His own dormant spiritual knowledge. Then he may attain liberation."

 

Sutra 42

 

shastram akshameshu baliyo vivekinam naitat tan-mula-prapteh

 

     shastram—scripture akshameshu—among they who are not able; baliyah—powerful; vivekinam—of they who are wise; na—not; etat—that; tat—of that; mula—of the root; prapteh—because of attainment.

 

     For they who are not yet self-realized, scripture is very important. For they who are self-realized this is not so, for such great souls have already attained the perfect spiritual knowledge that is the root from which the scriptures have grown.

Commentary by Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura

 

     Here someone may protest: In Bhagavad-gita (16.23), the Supreme Personality of Godhead declares: "But he who discards scriptural injunctions and acts according to his own whim attains neither perfection, nor happiness, nor the supreme destination."* After all, the very word "shastra" comes from the word "shasana", which means “restriction". Therefore the individual spirit souls are always obliged to follow the restrictions enunciated in the scriptures. How can any good result come from not following the scriptures' rules?

 

     Fearing that someone would voice this protest, the author has spoken this sutra. Here the word "akshameshu" means "they who are not yet self-realized". Such persons cannot act independently. They are governed by the rules of scripture. However, for self-realized souls, who of their own desire do what is right and proper in spiritual life, this is not so. These great souls are not bound by the rules of scripture because they have already attained the perfect spiritual knowledge that is the root from which the scriptures have grown. This means that the self-realized souls have already attained the perfect spiritual knowledge that is the root from which the scriptures have grown. All the scriptures, as well as the Shariraka and Mimamsa commentaries, are meant for the souls who are not yet self-realized, who stall dwell in the world of ignorance. Therefore the words of the Lord in Bhagavad-gita (16.23) mean that for their own good the unenlightened souls, who if given independence would perform forbidden actions, the rules of scriptures are given. The rules in the scriptures are thus given to bring under control the uncontrolled, independent conditioned souls. For the liberated souls a different instruction is given. Lord Krishna explains (Bhagavad-gita 2.52):

 

yada te moha-kalilam

     buddhir vyatitarishyati

tada gantasi nirvedam

     shrotavyasya shrutasya ca

 

     "When your intelligence has passed out of the dense forest of delusion, you shall become indifferent to all that has been heard and all that is to be heard."*

 

     Lord Krishna also explains (Bhagavad-gita 2.45):

 

traigunya-visaya veda

     nistraigunyo bhavarjuna

 

     "The Vedas mainly dear with the subject of the three modes of material nature. Rise above these modes, O Arjuna." Be transcendental to all of them."*

 

     What is the need for any further explanation? In Bhagavad-gita (16.23-24), the Supreme Personality of Godhead declares:

 

yah shastra-vidhim utshrijya

     vartate kama-caratah

na sa siddhim avapnoti

     na sukham na param gatim

 

     "But he who discards scriptural injunctions and acts according to his own whim attains neither perfection, nor happiness, nor the supreme destination.*

 

tasmac chastram pramanam te

     karyakarya-vyavasthitau

jnatva shastra-vidhanoktam

     karma kartum iharhasi

 

     "One should understand what is duty and what is not duty by the regulations of the scriptures. Knowing such rules and regulations, one should act so that he may gradually be elevated."*

 

     In the Manu-samhita, Chapter Twelve, it is said:

 

bibharti sarva-bhutani

     veda-shastram sanatanam

tasmad etat param manye

     yaj jantor asya sadhanam

 

     "The eternal Vedic scriptures maintain and protect all living beings. Therefore, I think they describe the best path for the living entities to follow."

 

     In Bhagavad-gita, Arjuna asks Lord Krishna:

 

ye shastra-vidhim utshrijya

     yajante shraddhayanvitah

tesham nishtha tu ka krishna

     sattvam aho rajas tamah

 

     "O Krishna, what is the situation of one who does not follow the principles of scripture but worships according to his own imagination? Is he in goodness, in passion, or in ignorance?"*

 

     Lord Krishna replied (Bhagavad-gita 17.28):

 

ashraddhaya hutam dattam

     tapas taptam kritam ca yat

asad ity ucyate partha

     na ca tat pretya no iha

 

     "But sacrifices, austerities, and charities performed without faith in the Supreme are nonpermanent, O son of Pritha, regardless of whatever rites are performed. They are called asat and are useless both in this life and the next."*

 

     Manu also explains:

 

ajnebhyo granthinah shreshtha

     granthibhyo dharino varah

dharibhyo jnaninah shreshtha

     jnanibhyo vyavasayinah

 

     "Better than the materialistic fools are they who follow the scriptures. Better than the followers of scripture are they who meditate on the Supreme. Better than the meditators are they who are situated in transcendental knowledge. Better than these enlightened souls are the devotees, who are active in the service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead."

 

     In Shrimad-Bhagavatam (11.21.23), the Supreme Personality of Godhead explains:

 

phala-shrutir iyam nrinam

     na shreyo rocanam param

shreyo vivakshaya prokta

     yatha bhaishajya-rocanam

 

     "Those statements of scripture promising fruitive rewards do not prescribe the ultimate good for men, but are merely enticements for executing beneficial religious duties, like promises of candy spoken to induce a child to take beneficial medicine."***

 

     In Shrimad-Bhagavatam (11.21.3-4 and 11.21.7), the Supreme Personality of Godhead again explains:

 

shuddhashuddhi vidhiyete

     samaneshv api vastushu

dravyasya vicikitsartham

     guna-doshau shubhashubhau

 

dharmartham vyavaharartham

     yatrartham iti canagha

darshito 'yam mayacaro

     dharmam udvahatam dhuram

 

     "O sinless Uddhava, in order to understand what is proper in life one must evaluate a given object within its particular category. Thus, in analyzing religious principles one must consider purity and impurity. Similarly, in one's ordinary dealings one must distinguish between good and bad, and to insure one's physical survival one must recognize what is auspicious and inauspicious. I have revealed this way of life for those bearing the burden of mundane religious principles."***

 

desha-kaladi-bhavanam

     vastunam mama sattama

guna-doshau vidhiyeta

     niyamartham hi karmanam

 

     "O saintly Uddhava, in order to restrict materialistic activities, I have established that which is proper and improper among all material things, including time, space, and all physical objects."*

 

     In the Rahasya-siddhanta it is said:

 

pravrittam karma samsevya

     devanam eti samyatam

nivrittam sevyamanas tu

     bhutany atyeti panca vai

 

     "One who performs his prescribed duties becomes like the demigods. One who renounces his prescribed duties stays in the material world of five elements.

 

sarva-bhuteshu catmanam

     sarva-bhutani catmani

samah pashyann atma-yaji

     svarajyam adhigacchati

 

     "One who, seeing the Supersoul in all living beings and all living beings in the Supersoul, worships the Supersoul, attains a kingdom as his reward.

 

yathoktany api karmani

     parihaya dvijottamah

atma-jnane shame ca syad

     vedabhyase ca yatnavan

 

etad dhi janma-saphalyam

     brahmanasya visheshatah

praptyaitat krita-krityo hi

     dvijo bhavati nanyatha

 

     "One who renounces these prescribed duties and earnestly studies the Vedas to attain spiritual truth, is the best of brahmanas. His life is a great success. It should not be described in any other way"

 

     In the Mahabharata it is said:

 

puranam manavo dharmah

     sango vedash cikitsitam

ajna-siddhani catvari

     na hantavyani hetubhih

 

     "The Puranas describe the duties of human beings. The Vedas are medicine to cure the soul's disease of residence in the world of matter. The perfect teachings of the four Vedas should never be renounced."

 

     In Bhagavad-gita (9.32-33), Lord Krishna explains:

 

mam hi partha vyapashritya

     ye 'pi syuh papa-yonayah

striyo vaishyas tatha shudras

     te 'pi yanti param gatim

 

kim punar brahmanah punya

     bhakta rajarshayas tatha

 

     "O son of Pritha, those who take shelter in Me, though they be of lower birth, women, vaishyas (merchants), as well as shudras (workers), can approach the supreme destination. How much greater, then, are the brahmanas, the righteous, the devotees, and saintly kings?"*

 

Sutra 43

 

bhakte na shastram tad-vidher jnanavirodhitvat

 

     bhakte—for a devotee of the Lord; na—not; shastram—scripture; tad-vidheh—of those rules; jnana—transcendental knowledge; avirodhitvat—because of not contradicting.

 

     The rules of these scriptures do not apply to a devotee of the Lord, for an enlightened devotee never acts against the spiritual truth.

 

Commentary by Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura

 

     After explaining that they who are enlightened with transcendental knowledge are free from the rules of scripture, the author of the sutras now affirms that the devotees are especially free from these rules. The duties and prohibitions of scripture do not apply to a person who is pure in heart, renounced, filled with transcendental knowledge and engaged in devotional service. This is so because the devotee's intent engagement in devotional service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead does not in any way oppose the rules and regulations ordained by the scriptures. Here is the meaning: One attains the highest goal of life by following the rules and regulations of devotional service, not by following the rules and regulations of ordinary, non-devotional, materialistic piety. In the Shruti-shastra it is said:

 

kim aham punyam nakaravam kim aham papam akaravam tatra kah shoshakah ko mohah

 

     " `Why should I not perform pious deeds? Why should I sin?' For one who thinks in this way where is calamity? Where is illusion?"

 

     In Bhagavad-gita (2.52), the Supreme Personality of Godhead explains:

 

yada te moha-kalilam

     buddhir vyatitarishyati

tada gantasi nirvedam

     shrotavyasya shrutasya ca

 

     "When your intelligence has passed out of the dense forest of delusion, you shall become indifferent to all that has been heard and all that is to be heard."*

 

     In the Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu (1.2.292-293) it is said:

 

natra shastram na yuktim ca

     tal-lobhotpatti-lakshanam

vaidha-bhakty-adhikari tu

     bhavavirbhavanavadhi

 

atra shastram tatha tarkam

     anukulam apekshate

 

     "Therefore, in the beginning, everyone should strictly follow the regulative principles of devotional service, according to the injunctions of the scriptures and the spiritual master. Only after the stage of liberation from material contamination can one actually aspire to follow in the footsteps of the devotees in Vrindavana."*

 

     In the Manu-samhita, Chapter Ten, it is said:

 

ahimsa satyam astyeyam

     shaucam indriya-nigrahah

etam samasikam dharmam

     catur-varno 'bravin manuh

 

     "Manu declares that non-violence, truthfulness, religion, cleanliness, and sense-control should be practiced by all four varnas."

 

     Manu again explains:

 

veda-shastrartha-tattva-jno

     yatra tatrashrame vasan

ihaiva loke tishthan sa

     brahma-bhuyaya kalpate

 

     "A person who knows the true meaning of the Vedas and follows the rules of his ashrama becomes liberated even as he resides in this world."

 

     It is also said:

 

anamnateshu dharmeshu

     katham syad iti ced bhavet

yam shishta brahmana bruyuh

     sa dharmah syad asankitah

 

     "If someone says, `What is the religion of the Vedas?' the answer is given, `The true religion of the Vedas is the religion taught by great transcendentalists'."

 

     It is also said:

 

eko 'pi veda-vid dharmam

     yam vyavasthed dvijottamah

sa vijneyah paro dharmo

     najnanamudito 'yutaih

 

     "What a great transcendentalist speaks should be known to be the true religion. True religion is not the opinion of fools."

 

avratanam amantranam

     jati-matropajivinam

sahasrashah sametanam

     parisattvam na vidyate

 

     "There are many thousands of persons who do not follow vows or chant mantras, or who earn a livelihood as professional mantra-chanters or professional brahmanas. These persons have no power to teach what is the real religion, the real truth."

 

Sutra 44

 

bhaktau na varnashrama-vidhih sa tasyajnana-paratvat

 

     bhaktau—in devotional service; na—not; varnashrama-vidhih—the rules of varnashrama; sah—he; tasya—of that; ajnana—of ignorance; paratvat—because of being above.

 

     In devotional service the rules of varnashrama-dharma no longer apply, for the devotees of the Lord are above the ignorance of material life.

 

Commentary by Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura

 

     Are the devotees of the Lord obliged to follow the rules of varnashrama-dharma, or are they not obliged to follow them? The author writes this sutra to answer this question. He says: In devotional service the rules of varnashrama-dharma no longer apply. Neophyte, materialistic devotees should follow varnashrama-dharma, but advanced devotees, who are situated on the spiritual platform and are free from the grip of the modes of material nature have no use for varnashrama-dharma. This pure devotional service is described by the Lord in these words (Bhagavad-gita 7.19, and 7.17):

 

jnanavan mam prapadyate

 

     "He who is actually in knowledge surrenders unto Me."*

 

tesham jnani nitya-yukta

     eka-bhaktir vishishyate

 

     "Of these, the wise one who is in full knowledge in union with Me through pure devotional service is the best."*

 

     In Shrimad-Bhagavatam (11.18.28) the Supreme Personality of Godhead declares:

 

jnana-nishtha-virakto va

     mad-bhakto canapekshakah

sva-lingan ashramams tyaktva

     cared avidhi-gocarah

 

     "A learned transcendentalist dedicated to the cultivation of knowledge and thus detached from external objects, or My devotee who is detached even from desire for liberation, both neglect those duties based on external rituals or paraphernalia. Thus their conduct is beyond the range of rules and regulations."*

 

     In Bhagavad-gita (18.66) the Supreme Personality of Godhead declares:

 

sarva-dhgarman parityajya

     mam ekam sharanam vraja

aham tvam sarva-papebhyo

     mokshayishyami ma shucah

 

     "Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reaction. Do not fear."*

 

     Manu explains:

 

adhyapanam adhyayanam

     yajanam yajanam tatha

danam pratigraham caiva

     brahmananam akalpayat

 

     "A brahmana should: 1. study, 2. teach, 3. worship the Lord, 4. convince others to worship the Lord, 5. give charity, and 6. accept charity.

 

prajanam rakshanam danam

     ijyadhyayanam eva ca

vishayeshv aprasaktim ca

     kshatriyasya samasatah

 

     "A kshatriya should: 1. protect the citizens, 2. give charity, 3. worship the Lord, 4. study scripture, and 5. not become attached to material sense-objects.

 

pashunam rakshanam danam

     ijyadhyayanam eva ca

vanik-patham kusidam ca

     vaishyasya krishim eva ca

 

     "A vaishya should: 1. protect cows, 2. give charity, 3. worship the Lord, 4. study scripture, 5. engage in banking and commerce, and 6. engage in farming.

 

ekam eva tu shudrasya

     prabhuh karma samadishat

etesham eva varnanam

     shushrusham anasuyaya

 

     "A shudra has one duty: without envy he should faithfully serve the other varnas.

 

lokanam tu vivriddhy-artham

     mukha-bahuru-padatah

brahmanam kshatriyam vaishyam

     shudram ca niravartayat

 

     "So the people would prosper, the Supreme Personality of Godhead created the different varnas. He created the brahmanas from His head, the kshatriyas from His arms, the vaishyas from His thighs, and the shudras from His feet."

 

     In Bhagavad-gita (18.41-44), the Supreme Personality of Godhead explains:

 

brahmana-kshatriya-visham

     shudranam ca parantapa

karmani pravibhaktani

     svabhava-prabhavair gunaih

 

     "Brahmanas, kshatriyas, vaishyas, and shudras are distinguished by their qualities of work, O chastiser of the enemy, in accordance with the modes of nature.*

 

shamo damas tapah shaucam

     kshantir arjavam eva ca

jnanam vijnanam astikyam

     brahma-karma svabhava-jam

 

     "Peacefulness, self-control, austerity, purity, tolerance, honesty, wisdom, knowledge, and religiousness. These are the qualities by which the brahmanas work.*

 

shauryam tejo dhritir dakshyam

     yuddhe capy apalayanam

danam ishvara-bhavash ca

     kshatra-karma svabhava-jam

 

     "Heroism, power, determination, resourcefulness, courage in battle, generosity, and leadership are the qualities of work for the kshatriyas.*

 

krishi-go-raksha-vanijyam

     vaishya-karma svabhava-jam

paricaryatmakam karma

     shudrasyapi svabhava-jam

 

     "Farming, cow-protection, and business are the qualities of work for the vaishyas, and for the shudras there is labor and service to others."*

 

     In Bhagavad-gita (18.47, 6.43, and 6.44), the Supreme Personality of Godhead again explains:

 

shreyan sva-dharmo vigunah

     para-dharmat svanushthitat

svabhava-niyatam karma

     kurvan napnoti kilbisham

 

     "It is better to engage in one's own occupation, even though one may perform it imperfectly, than to accept another's occupation and perform it perfectly. Prescribed duties, according to one's nature, are never affected by sinful reactions."*

 

tatra tam buddhi-samyogam

     labhate paurva-dehikam

yatate ca tato bhuyah

     samsiddhau kuru-nandana

 

     "On taking such a birth, he again revives the divine consciousness of his previous life, and he tries to make further progress in order to achieve complete success, O son of Kuru.*

 

purvabhyasena tenaiva

     kriyate hy avasho 'pi sah

 

     "By virtue of the divine consciousness of his previous life, he automatically becomes attracted to the yogic principles, even without seeking them."*

 

     In the Mahabharata, Shanti-parva, in the description of giving charity, Lord Sadashiva explains:

 

brahma-svabhavah su-shroni

     samasarvatra me matih

nirgunam nirmalam brahma

     yatra tishthati sa dvijah

 

     "O girl with the beautiful thighs, a brahmana sees everyone equally..He is beyond the modes of nature. He is pure and always situated in Brahman. That is my opinion.

 

karmabhih shucibhir devi

     vishuddhatma jitendriyah

shudro 'pi dvija-vat sevya

     iti brahmabravit svayam

 

     "However, even a shudra who is pure in heart and deed and who controls his senses is equal to a brahmana, and he should be worshiped. That is the opinion of Lord Brahma himself.

 

svabhavam karma ca shubham

     yatra shudro 'pi tishthati

vishishtah sa dvijater vai

     vijneya iti me matih

 

     "A shudra who finds it natural to engage in auspicious activities is equal to a brahmana. That is my opinion.

 

na yonir napi samskaro

     na shrutam na ca santatih

karanani dvijatvasya

     vrittam eva tu karanam

 

     "Neither birth, nor ritual, nor scholarship, nor family designate one as a brahmana. The way one becomes a brahmana is by his work.

 

jyayamsam api shilena

     vihinam naiva pujyate

api shudram ca dharmajnam

     yad-vrittam api pujayet

 

     "A so-called high-class person who is degraded in his activities should not be honored, but a so-called shudra who knows the truth of religion and acts piously is worthy of worship."

 

     Shri Manu explains:

 

japyenaiva tu samsiddhyed

     brahmano natra samshayah

kuryad anyan na va kuryan

     maitro brahmana ucyate

 

     "By chanting mantras a brahmana attains perfection. Of this there is no doubt. However, a brahmana who neglects his brahminical duties is no longer a brahmana. He is merely a friend to brahmanas.

 

catur-varnyam trayo lokams

     cashramash ca prthak prthak

bhutam bhavyam bhavishyam ca

     sarvam vedat prasidhyati

 

     "The four varnas and ashramas exist in the three worlds in the past, present, and the future also. This is explained in the Vedas."

 

     In the Bhagavad-gita (2.45), the Supreme Personality of Godhead explains:

 

traigunya-vishaya veda

     nistraigunyo bhavarjuna

 

     "The Vedas mainly deal with the three modes of material nature. Rise above these modes, O Arjuna. Be transcendental to all of them."*

 

     In Shrimad-Bhagavatam (7.11.35), wise and saintly Narada tells King Yudhishthira:

 

yasya yal-lakshanam proktam

     pumso varnabhivyanjakam

yad anyatrapi drishyeta

     tat tenaiva vinirdishet

 

     "If one shows the symptoms of being a brahmana, kshatriya, vaishya, or shudra, as described above, even if he has appeared in a different class, he should be accepted according to those symptom of classification."*

 

     Manu also explains:

 

yo 'nadhitya dvijo vedam

     anyatra kurute shramam

sa jivann eva shudratvam

     ashu gacchati sanvayah

 

     "A so-called brahmana who does not study the scriptures should accept the position of another varna. If he continues pretending to be a brahmana, he and his family will become shudras."

 

     In the Bhagavad-gita (3.26), the Supreme Personality of Godhead explains:

 

na buddhi-bhedam janayed

     ajnanam karma-sanginam

 

     "Let not the wise disrupt the minds of the ignorant who are attached to fruitive action. They should not be encouraged to refrain from work, but to engage in work in a spirit of devotion."*

 

     In the Vedanta-sutra (1.3.34) it is said:

 

shug asya tad-anadara-shravanat tadadravanat sucyate hi

 

     "Because he approached impelled by unhappiness from hearing an insult, the word shudra here means `unhappy'."

 

     This sutra is explained by the passage that begins with these words of Chandogya Upanishad (4.1.1):

 

janashrutir hi pautrayanah

 

     "There was a man named Janashrutir Pautrayana. . . "

 

     The following explanation is seen in a sutra of Vyasa (Vedanta-sutra 1.3.35):

 

kshatriyatvavagatesh cottaratra caitrarathena lingat

 

     "That he is a kshatriya is understood from the clue related by the caitraratha."

 

     In other sutras (Vedanta-sutra 1.3.36-37) it is said:

 

samskara paramarshat tad-abhavabhilapac ca

 

     "This is also so because the scriptures state both the necessity of undergoing the samskaras (rituals of purification) and the exclusion of the shudras from these rituals."*

 

tad-abhava-nirdharane ca pravritteh

 

     "This is so also because care is taken to determine that a student is not a shudra."

 

     These sutras are explained by the passage that begins with these words of Chandogya Upanishad (4.4.4):

 

naham etad veda bho yad-gotro 'ham asmi

 

     "I do not know into what caste I was born. . . ."

 

Sutra 45

 

ajna-hitartham grahyam karma na virodhi

 

     ajna—of the ignorant; hitartham—for the welfare; grahyam—to be accepted; karma—activities; na—not; virodhi—opposing.

 

     Actions for the welfare of the ignorant condition souls should be accepted. These actions do not go against the principles of devotional service.

 

Commentary by Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura

 

     Here someone may protest: Why must the devotees engage in activities? After all the true goal of life to to renounce all activities.

 

     Fearing that someone would speak these words, the author has spoken this sutra. The word "ajna" here means “they who ignorant, and therefore impure in heart". In order to benefit these persons, who are not qualified to attain transcendental knowledge or engage in devotional service, and to remove such persons' lake of faith in the importance of performing the duties prescribed by the scriptures, the devotees mercifully perform the regular and occasional duties prescribed by varnashrama-dharma. That is the meaning. In Bhagavad-gita (3.21), Lord Krishna declares:

 

yad yad acarati shreshthah

 

     "Whatever action is performed by a great man, common men follow in his footsteps. And whatever standards he sets by exemplary acts, all the world pursues."*

 

     If it were true that the highest goal of life is attained by renouncing all activities, then to follow this instruction of Bhagavad-gita will certainly lead one to the destruction of all that is good. The Supreme Personality of Godhead also advises (Bbhagavad-gita 3.20):

 

loka-sangraham evapi

     sampashyan kartum arhasi

 

     "Therefore, just for the sake of educating the people in general, you should perform your work."*

 

     Because the Supreme Personality of Godhead in these words directly orders the acceptance of varnashrama duties, these duties are not opposed to the activities of devotional service. However, one should not accept duties that oppose the principles of devotional service, agitate the mind, lead to continued material bondage, create various vices, such as hatred for other living beings, or consist of lustful or forbidden activities. That is the meaning here. In Bhagavad-gita (12.15), the Supreme Personality of Godhead declares:

 

yasman nodvijate loko

     lokan nodvijate ca yah

harshamarsha-bhayodvegair

     mukto yah sa ca me priyah

 

     "He for whom no one is put into difficulty and who is not disturbed by anxiety, who is steady in happiness and distress, is very dear to Me."*

 

     In Bhagavad-gita (17.6), the Supreme Personality of Godhead also declares:

 

karshayantah sharira-stham

     bhuta-gramam acetasah

mam caivantah-sharira-stham

     tan viddhy asura-nishcayan

 

     "Those who undergo severe austerities and penance not recommended in the scriptures, performing them out of pride, egotism, lust, and attachment, who are impelled by passion and who torture their bodily organs as well as the Supersoul dwelling within are to be known as demons."*

 

     In Bhagavad-gita (3.5-9), the Supreme Personality of Godhead explains:

 

na hi kashcit kshanam api

     jatu tishthaty akarma-krit

karyate hy avashah karma

     sarvah prakriti-jair gunaih

 

     "All men are forced to act helplessly according to the impulses born of the modes of material nature. Therefore no one can refrain from doing something, not even for a moment.*

 

karmendriyani samyamya

     ya aste manasa smaran

indriyarthan vimudhatma

     mithyacarah sa ucyate

 

     "One who restrains the senses and organs of action, but whose mind dwells on sense-objects, certainly deludes himself and is called a pretender.*

 

yas tv indriyani manasa

     niyamyarabhate 'rjuna

karmendriyaih karma-yogam

     asaktah sa vishishyate

 

     "On the other hand, he who controls the senses by the mind and engages his active organs in works of devotion, without attachment, is by far superior.*

 

niyatam kuru karma tvam

     karma jyayo hy akarmanah

sharira-yatrapi ca te

     na prasiddhyed akarmanah

 

     "Perform your prescribed duty, for action is better than inaction. A man cannot even maintain his physical body without work.*

 

tad-artham karma kaunteya

     mukta-sangam samacara

 

     "Therefore, O son of Kunti, perform your prescribed duties for His satisfaction, and in that way you will always remain unattached and free from bondage."*

 

     In Bhagavad-gita (3.20-21 and 3.29), the Supreme Personality of Godhead again explains:

 

karmanaiva hi samsiddhim

     asthita janakadayah

loka-sangraham evapi

     sampashyan kartum arhasi

 

     "Even kings like Janaka and others attained the perfectional stage by performance of prescribed duties. Therefore, just for the sake of educating the people in general, you should perform your work.*

 

yad yad acarati shreshthas

     tad tad evetaro janah

sa yat pramanam kurute

     lokas tad anuvartate

 

     "Whatever action is performed by a great man, common men follow in his footsteps. And whatever standards he sets by exemplary acts, all the world pursues."*

 

prakriter guna-sammudhah

     sajjante guna-karmasu

tan akritsna-vido mandan

     kritsna-vin na vicalayet

 

     "Bewildered by the modes of material nature, the ignorant fully engage themselves in material activities and become attached. But the wise should not unsettle them, although these duties are inferior due to the performers lack of knowledge."*

 

Sutra 46

 

yathadhikaram avasthitir nopary-adhastvat

 

     yatha—as; adhikaram—qualification; avasthitih—situation; na—not; upary—above; adhastvat—or below.

 

     One should accept the role for which he is qualified, the role that is neither above nor beneath his qualification.

 

Commentary by Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura

 

     Here someone may protest: If renunciation of work is better than performance of duties, then even ignorant persons will attain the real goal of life by renouncing their duties. Since this is so, what is the use of performing one's duties?

 

     Fearing that someone would raise this protest, the author has spoken this sutra. One should accept the role for which he is qualified, the role that is neither above nor beneath his qualification. That is the meaning of this sutra. In Shrimad-Bhagavatam (11.21.2), the Supreme Personality of Godhead declares:

 

sve sve 'dhikare ya nishtha

     sagunah parikirtitah

viparyayas tu doshah syad

     ubhayor esha nishcayah

 

     "Steadiness in one's own position is declared to be actual piety, whereas deviation from one's position is considered impiety. In this way the two are definitely ascertained."***

 

     In Bhagavad-gita (3.35), the Supreme Personality of Godhead explains:

 

sva-dharme nidhanam shreyah

     para-dharmo bhayavahah

 

     "Destruction in the course of performing one's own duty is better than engaging in another's duties, for to follow another's path is dangerous."*

 

     In Shrimad-Bhagavatam (11.14.21), the Supreme Personality of Godhead explains:

 

bhaktyaham ekaya grahyah

     shraddhayatma priyah satam

bhaktih punati man-nishtha

     shvapakan api sambhavat

 

     "Being very dear to the devotees and sadhus, I am attained through unflinching faith and devotional service. This bhakti-yoga system, which gradually increases attachment for Me, purifies even a human being born among dog-eaters. That is to say, everyone can be elevated to the spiritual platform by the process of bhakti-yoga."*

 

     In Shrimad-Bhagavatam (11.21.2), the Supreme Personality of Godhead again explains:

 

sve sve 'dhikare ya nishtha

     sagunah parikirtitah

viparyayas tu doshah syad

     ubhayor esa nishcayah

 

     "Steadiness in one's own position is declared to be actual piety, whereas deviation from one's position is considered impiety. In this way the two are definitely ascertained."***

 

     When Lord Krishna had concluded His teaching in Bhagavad-gita, Arjuna spoke these words (Bhagavad-gita 18.73):

 

nashta-mohah smritir labdha

     tvat-prasadan mayacyuta

sthito 'smi gata-sandehah

     karishye vacanam tava

 

     "My dear Krishna, O infallible one, my illusion is now gone. I have regained my memory by Your mercy, and I am now firm and free from doubt and am prepared to act according to Your instructions."*

 

     In Shrimad-Bhagavatam (11.29.40), Uddhava asks Lord Krishna:

 

namo 'stu te maha-yogin

     prapannam anushadhi mam

yatha tvac-caranambhoje

     ratih syad anapayini

 

     "Obeisances unto You, O greatest of yogis. Please instruct me, who am surrendered unto You, how I may have undeviating attachment to Your lotus feet."***

 

     Manu also explains:

 

yam vadanti tamo-bhuta

     murkhadharmam atad-vidah

tat-papam shatadha bhutva

     tad-vaktrin anugacchati

 

     "They who follow the foolish and impious teachings of the ignorant teachers attain sinful reactions a hundred times over."

 

     In Bhagavad-gita (18.47), the Supreme Personality of Godhead declares:

 

shreyan dva-dharmo vigunah

     para-dharmat svanushthitat

sva-dharme nidhanam shreyah

     para-dharmo bhayavahah

 

     "It is better to engage in one's own occupation, even though one may perform it imperfectly, than to accept another's occupation and perform it perfectly. Prescribed duties, according to one's nature, are never affected by sinful reactions."*

 

     Manu also explains:

 

yo 'vamanyeta te mule

     hetu-shastrashrayad dvijah

sa sadhubhir bahishkaryo

     nastiko veda-nindakah

 

     "A brahmana who criticizes the conclusion of the scriptures is ostracized by righteous people. He who blasphemes the Vedic scriptures is an offender.

 

     In Bhagavad-gita (5.18), the Supreme Personality of Godhead declares:

 

vidya-vinaya-sampanne

     brahmane gavi hastini

shuni caiva shvapake ca

     panditah sama-darshinah

 

     "The humble sage, by virtue of true knowledge, sees with equal vision a learned and gentle brahmana, a cow, an elephant, a dog, and a dog-eater (outcaste)."*

 

     In Shrimad-Bhagavatam (3.29.28-34), the Supreme Personality of Godhead explains:

 

jivah shreshtha hy ajivanam

     tatah prana-bhritah shubhe

tatah sa-cittah pravaras

     tatash cendriya-vrittayah

 

     "Living entities are superior to inanimate objects, O blessed mother, and among them living entities who display life-symptoms are better. Animals with developed consciousness are better than them, and better still are those who have developed sense-perception.*

 

tatrapi sparsha-vedibhyah

     pravara rasa-vedinah

tebhyo gandha-vidah shreshthas 

     tatah sabda-vido varah

 

     "Among the living entities who have developed sense-perception, those who have the developed the sense of taste are better than those who have developed only the sense of touch. Better than them are those who have developed the sense of smell, and better still are those who have developed the sense of hearing.*

 

rupa-bheda-vidas tatra

     tatash cobhayatodatah

tesham bahu-padah shreshthas

     catush-padas tato dvi-pat

 

     "Better than those living entities who can perceive sound are those who can distinguish between one form and another. Better than them are those who have developed upper and lower sets of teeth, and better still are those who have many legs. Better than them are the quadrupeds, and better still are the human beings.*

 

tato varnash ca catvaras

     tesham brahmana uttamah

brahmaneshv api veda-jno

     hy artha-jno 'bhyadhikas tatah

 

     "Among human beings, the society which is divided according to quality and work is best, and in that society, the intelligent men, who are designated as brahmanas, are best. Among the brahmanas, one who has studied the Vedas is the best, and among the brahmanas who have studied the Vedas, one who knows the actual purport of Veda is best.*

 

artha-jnat samshaya-cchetta

     tatah shreyan sva-dharma-krit

mukta-sangas tato bhuyan

     adogdha dharmam atmanah

 

     "Better than the brahmana who knows the purpose of the Vedas is he who can dissipate all doubts, and better than him is one who strictly follows the brahminical principles. Better than him is one who is liberated from all material contamination, and better than him is a pure devotee, who executes devotional service without expectation of reward.*

 

tasman mayy arpitashesha-

     kriyarthatma nirantarah

mayy arpitatmanah pumso

     mayi sannyasta-karmanah

na pashyami param bhutam

     akartuh sama-darshanat

 

     "Therefore I do not find a greater person than he who has no interest outside of Mine and who therefore dedicates all his activities and all his life, everything, unto Me without cessation.*

 

manasaitani bhutani

     pranamed bahu-manayan

 

     "Such a perfect devotee offers respects to every living entity."*

 

     In the Bhagavad-gita (4.34), the Supreme Personality of Godhead explains:

 

tad viddhi pranipatena

     pariprashnena sevaya

upadekshyanti te jnanam

     jnaninas tattva-darshinah

 

     "Just try to learn the truth by approaching a spiritual master. Inquire from him submissively and render service unto him. The self-realized soul, can impart knowledge unto you because he has seen the truth."*

 

Sutra 47

 

kamyetara-bhaktir na shasta citta-vikshepatvad anitya-phalatvac ca

 

     kamya—objects of desire; itara—to others; bhaktih—devotion; na—not; shasta—gloriosu; citta-vikshepatvat—because of agitating the mind; anitya—temporary; phalatvat—because of results; ca—also.

 

     Devotion to any object other than the Supreme Personality of Godhead is not recommended, for such devotion agitates the mind and is temporary by nature.

 

Commentary by Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura

 

     Here someone may protest: On the path of performing pious deeds (karma), where one worships the demigods, pitas, and others, many benefits are obtained. Why, then, do you say that this path of pious deeds is not good?

 

     Fearing that someone would raise this protest, the author speaks this sutra. Here the word "kamya" means “the result of lusty desires", "itara" means “other than the Supreme Personality of Godhead", devotional service offered to any one of the many millions of individual spirit souls is not recommended by the devotees of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, for such devotion merely agitates the mind. There are many, many demigods and pitas and others, many many Shruti and Smriti scriptures describing them, many many rules and regulations to follow in many many different kinds of yajnas and worship offered to them. All this keeps the worshiper very very busy in many many different kinds of activities. In this way the worshiper's mind becomes agitated and he becomes influence by the material mode of passion. This is described in Bhagavad-gita (2.41), where Lord Krishna explains:

 

bahu-shakha hy anantash ca

     buddhayo vyavasayinam

 

     "The intelligence of they who are irresolute is many-branched."*

 

     These many kinds of demigod-worship bring only temporary results. As farming and commerce brings results that are very short-lived, so the wealth, good children and other benefits attained in this lifetime as well as the residence in Devaloka, Pitriloka and other benefits attained in the next lifetime are all very temporary and short-lived. That is the meaning.

 

     In the Shruti-shastra it is said:

 

agnishtomena sarva-kamo yajeta

 

     "A person filled with material desires should perform an agnishtoma-yajna."

 

     In the Chandogya Upanishad (8.1.6) it is said:

 

yatheha karma-cito lokah kshiyate evam amutra punya-cito lokah kshiyate

 

     "As the benefits gained from pious deeds in this world are soon lost, so the benefits gain in the worlds of the devas are also lost very soon."

 

     In Bhagavad-gita (9.25), the Supreme Personality of Godhead explains:

 

yanti deva-vrata devan

     pitrin yanti pitri-vratah

bhutani yanti bhutejya

     yanti mad-yajino 'pi mam

 

     "Those who worship the demigods will take birth among the demigods, those who worship ghosts and spirits will take birth among such beings, those who worship ancestors go to the ancestors, and those who worship Me will live with Me."*

 

     In Bhagavad-gita (9.22-25), the Supreme Personality of Godhead again explains:

 

ananyash cintayanto mam

     ye janah paryupasate

tesham nityabhiyuktanam

     yoga-kshemam vahamy aham

 

     "But those who worship Me with devotion, meditating on My transcendental form, to them I carry what they lack and preserve what they have.*

 

ye 'py anya-devata-bhakta

     yajante shraddhayanvitah

te 'pi mam eva kaunteya

     yajanty avidhi-purvakam

 

     "Whatever a man may sacrifice to other gods, O son of Kunti, is really meant for Me alone, but it is offered without true understanding.*

 

aham tvam sarva-yajnanam

     bhokta ca prabhur eva ca

na tu mam abhijananti

     tattvenatash cyavanti te

 

     "I am the only enjoyer and the only object of sacrifice. Those who do not recognize My true transcendental nature fall down.*

 

yanti deva-vrata devan

     pitrin yanti pitri-vratah

bhutani yanti bhutejya

     yanti mad-yajino 'pi mam

 

     "Those who worship the demigods will take birth among the demigods, those who worship ghosts and spirits will take birth among such beings, those who worship ancestors go to the ancestors, and those who worship Me will live with Me."*

 

     In Bhagavad-gita (9.30), the Supreme Personality of Godhead again explains:

 

api cet su-duracaro

     yajate mam ananya-bhak

sadhur eva sa mantavyah

     samyag vyavasito hi sah

 

     "Even if one commits the most abominable actions, if he is engaged in devotional service, he is to be considered saintly because he is properly situated."*

 

     In the Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu (1.2.60), Shrila Rupa Gosvami explains:

 

shastratah shruyate bhaktau

     nri-matrasyadhikarita

 

     "Every man has the birthright to accept devotional service and to become Krishna conscious.* This is proved with evidence from many scriptures."

 

     In the Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu (1.1.38), Shrila Rupa Gosvami again explains:

 

brahmanando bhaved esha

     cet parardha-guni-kritah

naiti bhakti-sukhambodheh

     paramanu-tulam api

 

     "Even one drop of happiness in Krishna consciousness stands beyond comparison with an ocean of happiness derived from any other activity."*

 

     In the Tantras it is said:

 

jnanatah sulabha muktir

     bhuktir yajnadi-punyatah

seyam sadhana-sahasrair

     hari-bhaktih su-durlabha

 

     "By cultivating transcendental knowledge one easily attains liberation, and by performing yajnas and pious deeds one easily attains sense gratification. However, even after thousands of spiritual struggles it is still very difficult to attain devotion to Lord Hari."

 

Sutra 48

 

pratyakshanumanabhyam bhagavata-siddhanta eva gariyan vijnanamayatvat sarva-siddhantashrayatvac ca

 

     pratyaksha—by direct perception; anumanabhyam—and philosophical speculation; bhagavata—of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; siddhanta—the conclusion; eva—indeed; gariyan—better; vijnanamayatvat—because of being filled with transcendental knowledge; sarva-siddhanta—of all consclusions; ashrayatvat—because of being the shelter; ca—and.

 

     Direct perception and logical inference both confirm that devotional service is the highest truth, for devotional service is filled with transcendental knowledge and is the resting place of all truth.

 

Commentary by Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura

 

     Here someone may ask: In this, the concluding chapter of your book, what do you consider the final conclusion, the highest truth?

 

     Thinking that someone would ask this question, the author speaks this sutra. He says that direct perception and logical inference, which are two of the great evidences to discern what is the truth, both confirm that devotional service is the highest truth. This truth of devotional service, which was described in the Mahabharata by Lord Krishna to Arjuna, in the Eleventh Canto of Shrimad-Bhagavatam by Lord Krishna to Uddhava, in the four famous verse of Shrimad-Bhagavatam to Lord Brahma, in the very first verse of Shrimad-Bhagavatam, and in many other places in the scriptures in many philosophical dialogues with many questions and answers. Thus the view held by the devotees of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the highest view, the highest truth. It is a truth higher and better than what is taught by the proponents of fruitive work, philosophical speculation, or other views. That is the meaning.

     Because it is filled with pure transcendental knowledge, and because it is thus the best of all conclusions, the conclusion accepted by all noble-hearted and spiritually intelligent persons in all countries and at all times past, present, and future, and because it is the root from which all truths have come, devotional service is the highest truth, the conclusion better than all other conclusions. This is confirmed by Lord Krishna, who in Bhagavad-gita (10.10) declares:

 

dadami buddhi-yogam tam

     yena mam upayanti te

 

     "To those who are constantly devoted and worship Me with love, I give the understanding by which they can come to Me."*

 

     In Shrimad-Bhagavatam (12.13.15) it is said:

 

sarva-vedanta-saram tat

     shri-bhagavatam ishyate

tad-rasamrita-triptasya

     nanyatra syad ratih kvacit

 

     "Shrimad-Bhagavatam is accepted as the essence of all Vedic literature and Vedanta philosophy. Whoever tastes the transcendental mellow of Shrimad-Bhagavatam is never attracted to any other literature."*

 

     Manu explains:

 

pratyaksham canumanam ca

     shastram ca trividhagamam

trayam su-viditam karyam

     dharma-shuddhim abhipsata

 

     "Direct perception, logical inference, and scripture are three methods one may employ to understand pure religion."

 

     In Shrimad-Bhagavatam (11.7.20), the Supreme Personality of Godhead explains:

 

atmano gurur atmaiva

     purushasya visheshatah

yat-pratyakshanumanabhyam

     shreyo 'sav anuvindate

 

     "An intelligent person, expert in perceiving the world around him and applying sound logic, can achieve real benefit through his own intelligence. Thus sometimes one acts as one's own instructing spiritual master."***

 

     In Bhagavad-gita (6.5), the Supreme Personality of Godhead explains:

 

uddhared atmanatmanam

     natmanam avasadayet

atmaiva hy atmano bandhur

     atmaiva ripur atmanah

 

     "A man must elevate himself by his own mind, not degrade himself. The mind is the friend of the conditioned soul, and his enemy as well."*

 

Sutra 49

 

chaitanyasya sarvacaryasyavirbhave na gurv-antaram

 

     chaitanyasya—of Lord Chaitanya; sarva—all; acaryasya—of the acarya; avirbhave—in the appearance; na—not; guru—guru; antaram—another.

 

     Now that Lord Chaitanya, the teacher of all, has appeared in this world, there is no need for any other teacher.

 

Commentary by Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura

 

     Here someone may ask: How is it possible to understand this knowledge of devotional service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead without first taking shelter of a spiritual master?

 

     To answer this question, the author speaks this sutra. he says: Now that Lord Chaitanya, the teacher of all saintly Vaishnavas who know the spiritual truth, has appeared in this world, there is no need for any other teacher. That is the meaning. In the Gopala-tapani Upanishad it is said:

 

yo brahmanam vidadhati purvam yo vai vedamsh ca prahinoti tasmai tam ha devam atma-buddhi-prakasham mumukshur vai sharanam aham prapadye

 

     "It was Krishna who in the beginning instructed Brahma in Vedic knowledge and who disseminated Vedic knowledge in the past.* I, who desire liberation, surrender to Lord Krishna, who enlightens the intelligence with transcendental knowledge."

 

     In Bhagavad-gita (10.11), the Supreme Personality of Godhead explains:

 

tesham evanukampartham

     aham ajnana-jam tamah

nashayamy atma-bhava-stho

     jnana-dipena bhasvata

 

     "Out of compassion for them, I, dwelling in their hearts, destroy with the shining lamp of knowledge the darkness born of ignorance."*

 

     In Shrimad-Bhagavatam (11.17.27), Lord Krishna explains:

 

acaryam mam vijaniyat

 

     "One should know the acarya as Myself and never disrespect him in any way."*

 

     In the Narada-pancaratra, Guru-mahatmya, it is said:

 

gurush ca jnanodgiranaj

     jnanam syan mantra-tantrayoh

tat tantram sa ca mantrash ca

     krishna-bhaktir yato bhavet

 

     "The spiritual master teaches the truth of spiritual mantras and the process of worshiping the Lord. It is because of his teaching of mantras and worship that devotional service to Lord Krishna is possible.

 

sahasra-dala-padmam ca

     sarvesham mastake mune

tatraiva tishthati guruh

     sukshma-rupena santatam

 

     "O sage, at the highest place in the spiritual world is a thousand-petal lotus flower. In a spiritual form, the spiritual master resides there eternally."

 

     In the Hari-bhakti-vilasa it is said:

 

kripaya krishnadevasya

     tad-bhakta-jana-sangatah

bhakter mahatmyam akarnya

     tam icchan sad-gurum bhajet

 

     "By the mercy of Lord Krishna, by the association of devotees, and by hearing the glories of devotional service, one desires to engage in devotional service. At that time one finds a spiritual master and dutifully worships him."

 

     In Shrimad-Bhagavatam (11.20.17), the Supreme Personality of Godhead explains:

 

nr-deham adya sulabham su-durlabham

     plavam sukalpam guru-karnadharam

mayanukulena nabhasvateritam

     puman bhavabdhim na taret sa atma-ha

 

     "When one wants to cross a large ocean he requires a strong boat. It is said that this human form of life is good boat by which one can cross the ocean of nescience. In the human form of life one can obtain the guidance of a good navigator, the spiritual master. One also gets a favorable wind by the mercy of Krishna, and that wind is the instructions of Krishna. The human body is the boat, the instructions of Lord Krishna are the favorable winds, and the spiritual master is the navigator. The spiritual master knows well how to adjust the sails to catch the winds favorably and steer the boat to its destination. If, however, one does not take advantage of this opportunity, one wastes the human form of life. Wasting time and life in this way is the same as committing suicide."*

 

     In Shrimad-Bhagavatam (11.3.21), the Yogeshvara explains:

 

tasmad gurum prapadyeta

     jijnasuh shreya uttamam

shabde pare ca nishnatam

     brahmany upasamashrayam

 

     "Any person who seriously desires to achieve real happiness must seek out a bona fide spiritual master and take shelter of him by initiation. The qualification of his spiritual master is that he must have realized the conclusion of the scriptures by deliberation and be able to convince others of these conclusions. Such great personalities, who have taken shelter of the Supreme Godhead, leaving aside all material considerations, are to be understood as bona fide spiritual masters."*

 

     In the Mundaka Upanishad (1.2.12) it is said:

 

tad-vijnanartham sa gurum evabhigacchet

     samit-panih shrotriyam brahma-nishtham

 

     "To learn the transcendental subject matter one must approach a spiritual master. In doing so, he should carry fuel to burn in sacrifice. The symptom of such a spiritual master is that he is expert in understanding the Vedic conclusion, and therefore he constantly engages in the service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead."*

 

     In the Chandogya Upanishad (6.14.2) it is also said:

 

acaryavan purusho veda

 

     "One who approaches a bona fide spiritual master can understand everything about spiritual realization."*

 

     In Shrimad-Bhagavatam (11.18.38-39), the Supreme Personality of Godhead explains:

 

duhkhodarkeshu kameshu

     jata-nirveda atmavan

ajijnasitam adharmo

     gurum munim upavrajet

 

     "One who is detached from sense gratification, knowing its result to be miserable, and who desires spiritual perfection, but who has not seriously analyzed the process for obtaining Me, should approach a bona fide and learned spiritual master.***

 

tavat paricared bhaktah

     shraddhavan anasuyakah

yavad brahma vijaniyan

     mam eva gurum adritah

 

     "Until a devotee has clearly realized spiritual knowledge, he should continue with great faith and respect and without envy to render personal service to the guru, who is nondifferent from Me."***

 

     It is also said:

 

madhu-lubdho yatha bhrngah

     pushpat pushpantaram vrajet

jnana-lubdho tatha dehi

     guror gurv-antaram vrajet

 

     "As a bee greedy for honey flies from flower to flower, so a man greedy for transcendental knowledge goes from teacher to teacher."

 

     In Shrimad-Bhagavatam (2.9.36), the Supreme Personality of Godhead again explains:

 

etavad eva jijnasyam

     tattva-jijnasunatmanah

anvaya-vyatirekabhyam

     yat syat sarvatra sarvada

 

     "A person who is searching after the Supreme Absolute Truth, the Personality of Godhead, must certainly search for it up to this, in all circumstances, in all space and time, and both directly and indirectly."*

 

     It is also said:

 

brahmanandam ca bhittva vilasati shikharam yasya yatratta-nidam

     radha-krishnakhya-lilamaya-khaga-mithunam bhinna-bhavena hinam

yasya cchaya bhavabdhi-shrama-shamana-kari bhakta-sankalpa-siddher

     hetush chaitanya-kalpa-druma iha bhuvane kashcana pradurasit

 

     "Far past the bliss of Brahman is the nest of the two birds of Shri Shri Radha-Krishna's transcendental pastimes, two birds that are not different from each other. That nest is placed on the branches of the kalpa-druma tree of Lord Chaitanya. The shade of that tree brings relief from the sufferings of repeated birth and death. To fulfill the devotees' desires, that Chaitanya tree has appeared in this world."

 

Sutra 50

 

pare purnanuraktir itareshu tulya jade yukta-vairagyam ceti sara-grahi-matam

 

     pare—for the Supreme Personality of Godhead; purna—full; anuraktih—love; itareshu—for others; tulya—equal; jade—in the material world; yukta—proper; vairagyam—renunciation; ca—also; iti—thus; sara-grahi-matam—the opinion of they who accept the truth.

 

     They who know the truth give all their love to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, are equally friendly to all living beings, and are appropriately detached from this dull and inert material world.

 

Commentary by Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura

 

     In this sutra the final conclusion is clearly expressed. Here the word "pare" means "for the Supreme Personality of Godhead", "purna" means “unbroken" and also "filled with bliss", and “anuraktih" means "the natural love in the living entity's heart". That is the meaning. "Itareshu" means "for the individual spirit souls, who are different from the Supreme Personality of Godhead", and "tulya" means "equal love for all spirit souls". here is the meaning: A madhyama-adhikari devotee sees all living entities in three classes: 1. the great souls to whom all respect should be offered, 2. the like-minded devotees, with whom friendship should be made, and 3. the people in general, to whom compassion should be shown. However, an uttama-adhikari devotee does not see these three classes of living beings. Because he sees the Supersoul, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, present in the heart of every living being, such a devotee loves all living beings equally, thinking them all equally his brothers. "Jade" means "dull and inert matter", and "yukta-vairagya" means "appropriate renunciation of material things, such as wealth, children, wife, friends, home, country, and the like. This is the opinion of exalted Vaishnava who know the truth, who do not unnecessarily try to cause dissension among the various Vaishnava sampradayas. What more need be said? Thus all the statement in this book have been supported with many quotes from the scriptures. Now this Tattva-sutra is completed.

 

haritanvaya-sambhuto

     gopinathabhidhah kriti

vivritim tattva-sutranam

     cakara vidusham mude

 

     To please the learned devotees, a saintly devotee named Gopinatha dasa, who was born in a family of Vaishnava authors, wrote these sutras.

 

jagannatha-kshetra-vasi

     mukti-mandapa-panditah

jagannatha-prasadena

     tad-vyakhyanam acikarat

 

     By the mercy of Lord Jagannatha, Gopinatha dasa, a resident of Jagannatha Puri and a learned scholar among the liberated souls, wrote these sutras.

 

grantha-gaurava-bhitya ca

     sankshiptam vivritam maya

vistarayantu sudhiyo

     bahu-vyakhyana-yuktibhih

 

     With great respect, I (Bhaktivinoda Thakura) have written a brief commentary on these sutras. May the intelligent and learned Vaishnavas write many more commentaries on this book, commentaries filled with learned explanations and arguments.