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Title: Self-realization, liberation and bhakti
User: Swami Gaurangapada Date: 2006-10-14 14:35:00
Our Dear Swami Gaurangapada,
Nityananda! Gauranga! Hare Krishna!
Please accept my humble obeisances.
I would like to ask You the following questions:
1. What is the difference between self-realization and liberation? And what is the relation between them?
2. If it is said that the path of bhakti is means as well as destination, where are the self-realization and liberation on our way towards perfection situated?
3.† Is it necesary to become self-realized to be able to enter the Kingdom of Godhead after we leave our material body?
Thank You very very much
Remaining with humble greetings and rememberance
Q.What is the difference between self-realization and liberation? And what is the relation between them?
Answer by Swami Gaurangapada:
The first step of Self-Realization means to not only to theoretically understand (gyaana) from the Bhagavad Gita that we are not this body but soul but also realize it with divine perception (vigyaana). Once we realize we are spirit soul, part and parcle of God, obviously the next step is to understand who God is and what the soul's relationship with Him? This is known as Nityananda Gauranga Bhakti Yoga or God Realization. When both tese processes of Self-Realization are coupled together, one becomes eligible for the five kinds of liberation:
(1) Saayujya Mukti: To become one with the divine efflugence or the body of Lord Gauranga-Krishna which devotees reject though but gyaanis accept.
(2) Saarupya Mukti: To attain the same divine form of the Lord in the spiritual world to serve Him, though we don't become Him.
(3) Saalokya Mukti: To attain residence on the spiritual planet as the Lord in the spiritual world so that the soul will be able to serve Him better.
(4) Saamipya Mukti: To attain intimacy and nearness to the Lord again to serve Him better.
(5) Saarshti Mukti: To attain the same opulences as the Lord like a divine spiritual body in the spiritual world again for the purpose of rendering devotional service unto Him.
†If it is said that the path of bhakti is means as well as destination, where are the self-realization and liberation on our way towards perfection situated?Answer by Swami Gaurangapada:
Bhakti Yoga is so sublime that it begins where Self-Realization and Liberation end. So both of them are the preparation from reaching the stage of performing Bhakti Yoga. This is confirmed in this verse in the Bhagavatd Gita 18.54:
brahma-bhutah prasannatma, na socati na kankshati
samah sarveshu bhuteshu, mad-bhaktim labhate param
"When one attains the stage of self-realization or liberation from material bondage by realizing brahmananda, one becomes free from lamentation and hankering and becomes equal to all living entities. Only on that stage, the soul can begin the performance of the most sublime process of Bhakti Yoga unto Me."
Of course chanting of the Holy Names of Nityananda, Gauranga and the Hare Krishna Mahamantra is such a powerful and supreme process in Kali Yuga that one does not have to wait for self-realization and liberation start performing devotional service. Chanting grants even the most fallen person to direct engage in the topmost Bhakti Yoga to the Lord.
Is it necesary to become self-realized to be able to enter the Kingdom of Godhead after we leave our material body?
Answer by Swami Gaurangapada:
Yes, certainly. This material world is a preparation ground to make us fully perfect by chanting the Lord's Holy Names and performance of Bhakti Yoga. The Kingdom of God is fully pure and perfect and has no place for conditioned souls. It is only meant for nitya-siddha (eternally perfect) and sadhana-siddha (those who get perfected through spiritual practice) souls.