Pada-padma – Lotus Feet of Krsna Srimad-Bhagavatam Canto One & Two

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But that is not the actual fact. The bhakti cult is the topmost of all transcendental activities, and therefore it is simultaneously sublime and easy. It is sublime for the pure devotees who are serious about getting in contact with the Supreme Lord, and it is easy for the neophytes who are just on the threshold of the house of bhakti. To achieve the contact of the Supreme Personality of Godhead Sri Krsna is a great science, and it is open for all living beings, including the sudras, vaisyas, women and even those lower than the lowborn sudras, so what to speak of the high-class men like the qualified brahmanas and the great self-realized kings. The other high-grade activities designated as sacrifice, charity, austerity, etc., are all corollary factors following the pure and scientific bhakti cult.
The principles of knowledge and detachment are two important factors on the path of transcendental realization. The whole spiritual process leads to perfect knowledge of everything material and spiritual, and the results of such perfect knowledge are that one becomes detached from material affection and becomes attached to spiritual activities.
Becoming detached from material things does not mean becoming inert altogether, as men with a poor fund of knowledge think. Naiskarma means not undertaking activities that will produce good or bad effects. Negation does not mean negation of the positive. Negation of the nonessentials does not meant negation of the essential.
Similarly, detachment from material forms does not mean nullifying the positive form. The bhakti cult is meant for realization of the positive form. When the positive form is realized, the negative forms are automatically eliminated.

Therefore, with the development of the bhakti cult, with the application of positive service to the positive form, one naturally becomes detached from inferior things, and he becomes attached to superior things.

Similarly, the bhakti cult, being the supermost occupation of the living being, leads him out of material sense enjoyment.
That is the sign of a pure devotee. He is not a fool, nor is he engaged in the inferior energies, nor does he have material values.
This is not possible by dry reasoning. It actually happens by the grace of the Almighty.
In conclusion,

one who is a pure devotee has all other good qualities, namely knowledge, detachment, etc.,

But one who has only knowledge or detachment is not necessarily well acquainted with the principles of the bhakti cult.
Bhakti is the supermost occupation of the human being.

dharmah svanusthitah pumsam

visvaksena-kathasu yah

notpadayed yadi ratim

srama eva hi kevalam
SYNONYMS dharmah--occupation; svanusthitah--executed in terms of one's own position; pumsam--of humankind; visvaksena--the Personality of Godhead (plenary portion); kathasu--in the message of; yah--what is; na--not; utpadayet--does produce; yadi--if; ratim--attraction; sramah--useless labor; eva--only; hi--certainly; kevalam--entirely.
TRANSLATION The occupational activities a man performs according to his own position are only so much useless labor if they do not provoke attraction for

the message of the Personality of Godhead.

PURPORT There are different occupational activities in terms of man's different conceptions of life. To the gross materialist who cannot see anything beyond the gross material body, there is nothing beyond the senses. Therefore his occupational activities are limited to concentrated and extended selfishness. Concentrated selfishness centers around the personal body--this is generally seen amongst the lower animals. Extended selfishness is manifested in human society and centers around the family, society, community, nation and world with a view to gross bodily comfort.

Above these gross materialists are the mental speculators who hover aloft in the mental spheres, and their occupational duties involve making poetry and philosophy or propagating some ism with the same aim of selfishness limited to the body and the mind.

But above the body and mind is the dormant spirit soul whose absence from the body makes the whole range of bodily and mental selfishness completely null and void.
But less intelligent people have no information of the needs of the spirit soul.
Because foolish people have no information of the soul and how it is beyond the purview of the body and mind, they are not satisfied in the performance of their occupational duties.
The question of the satisfaction of the self is raised herein.
The self is beyond the gross body and subtle mind. He is the potent active principle of the body and mind. Without knowing the need of the dormant soul, one cannot be happy simply with emolument of the body and mind. The body and the mind are but superfluous outer coverings of the spirit soul. The spirit soul's needs must be fulfilled. Simply by cleansing the cage of the bird, one does not satisfy the bird. One must actually know the needs of the bird himself.
The need of the spirit soul is that he wants to get out of the limited sphere of material bondage and fulfill his desire for complete freedom. He wants to get out of the covered walls of the greater universe. He wants to see the free light and the spirit. That complete freedom is achieved when he meets the complete spirit, the Personality of Godhead.

There is a dormant affection for God within everyone; spiritual existence is manifested through the gross body and mind in the form of perverted affection for gross and subtle matter.

Therefore we have to engage ourselves in occupational engagements that will evoke our divine consciousness. This is possible only by hearing and chanting the divine activities of the Supreme Lord, and any occupational activity which does not help one to achieve attachment for hearing and chanting the transcendental message of Godhead is said herein to be simply a waste of time. This is because other occupational duties (whatever ism they may belong to) cannot give liberation to the soul. Even the activities of the salvationists are considered to be useless because of their failure to pick up the fountainhead of all liberties.

The gross materialist can practically see that his material gain is limited only to time and space, either in this world or in the other. Even if he goes up to the Svargaloka, he will find no permanent abode for his hankering soul. The hankering soul must be satisfied by the perfect scientific process of perfect devotional service.


dharmasya hy apavargyasya

nartho 'rthayopakalpate

narthasya dharmaikantasya

kamo labhaya hi smrtah

SYNONYMS dharmasya--occupational engagement; hi--certainly; apavargyasya-- ultimate liberation; na--not; arthah--end; arthaya--for material gain; upakalpate--is meant for; na--neither; arthasya--of material gain; dharma-eka-antasya--for one who is engaged in the ultimate occupational service; kamah--sense gratification; labhaya--attainment of; hi--exactly; smrtah--is described by the great sages.
[dharma, artha, kama, moksa]

TRANSLATION All occupational engagements are certainly meant for ultimate liberation. They should never be performed for material gain. Furthermore, according to sages, one who is engaged in the ultimate occupational service should never use material gain to cultivate sense gratification.

PURPORT We have already discussed that pure devotional service to the Lord is automatically followed by perfect knowledge and detachment from material existence.

But there are others who consider that all kinds of different occupational engagements, including those of religion, are meant for material gain.

The general tendency of any ordinary man in any part of the world is to gain some material profit in exchange for religious or any other occupational service.

Even in the Vedic literatures, for all sorts of religious performances an allurement of material gain is offered, and most people are attracted by such allurements or blessings of religiosity. Why are such so-called men of religion allured by material gain?

Because material gain can enable one to fulfill desires, which in turn satisfy sense gratification. This cycle of occupational engagements includes so-called religiosity followed by material gain and material gain followed by fulfillment of desires. Sense gratification is the general way for all sorts of fully occupied men. But in the statement of Suta Gosvami, as per the verdict of the Srimad-Bhagavatam, this is nullified by the present sloka.
[SP repeats]

One should not engage himself in any sort of occupational service for material gain only. Nor should material gain be utilized for sense gratification.

How material gain should be utilized is described as follows.

kamasya nendriya-pritir

labho jiveta yavata

jivasya tattva-jijnasa

nartho yas ceha karmabhih

SYNONYMS kamasya--of desires; na--not; indriya--senses; pritih--satisfaction; labhah--gain; jiveta--self-preservation; yavata--so much so; jivasya--of the living being; tattva--the Absolute Truth; jijnasa--inquiries; na-- not; arthah--end; yah ca iha--whatsoever else; karmabhih--by occupational activities.

TRANSLATION Life's desires should never be directed toward sense gratification. One should desire only a healthy life, or self-preservation, since a human being is meant for inquiry about the Absolute Truth. Nothing else should be the goal of one's works.
PURPORT The completely bewildered material civilization is wrongly directed towards the fulfillment of desires in sense gratification.

In such civilization, in all spheres of life, the ultimate end is sense gratification. In politics, social service, altruism, philanthropy and ultimately in religion or even in salvation, the very same tint of sense gratification is ever-increasingly predominant. In the political field the leaders of men fight with one another to fulfill their personal sense gratification. The voters adore the so-called leaders only when they promise sense gratification. As soon as the voters are dissatisfied in their own sense satisfaction, they dethrone the leaders, The leaders must always disappoint the voters by not satisfying their senses.

The same is applicable in all other fields; no one is serious about the problems of life. Even those who are on the path of salvation desire to become one with the Absolute Truth and desire to commit spiritual suicide for sense gratification.
But the Bhagavatam says that one should not live for sense gratification. One should satisfy the senses only insomuch as required for self-preservation, and not for sense gratification. Because the body is made of senses, which also require a certain amount of satisfaction, there are regulative directions for satisfaction of such senses. But the senses are not meant for unrestricted enjoyment. For example, marriage or the combination of a man with a woman is necessary for progeny, but it is not meant for sense enjoyment. In the absence of voluntary restraint, there is propaganda for family planning, but foolish men do not know that family planning is automatically executed as soon as there is search after the Absolute Truth.
Seekers of the Absolute Truth are never allured by unnecessary engagements in sense gratification because the serious students seeking the Absolute Truth are always overwhelmed with the work of researching the Truth. In every sphere of life, therefore, the ultimate end must be seeking after the Absolute Truth, and that sort of engagement will make one happy because he will be less engaged in varieties of sense gratification.
And what that Absolute Truth is is explained as follows.


vadanti tat tattva-vidas

tattvam yaj jnanam advayam

brahmeti paramatmeti

bhagavan iti sabdyate

SYNONYMS vadanti--they say; tat--that; tattva-vidah--the learned souls; tattvam--the Absolute Truth; yat--which; jnanam--knowledge; advayam-- nondual; brahma iti--known as Brahman; paramatma iti--known as Paramatma; bhagavan iti--known as Bhagavan; sabdyate--it so sounded.

TRANSLATION Learned transcendentalists who know the Absolute Truth call this nondual substance Brahman, Paramatma or Bhagavan.


The Absolute Truth is both subject and object, and there is no qualitative difference there.


Brahman, Paramatma and Bhagavan are qualitatively one and the same.

  • The same substance is realized as impersonal Brahman by the students of the Upanisads,

  • as localized Paramatma by the Hiranyagarbhas or the yogis,

  • and as Bhagavan by the devotees.

In other words, Bhagavan, or the Personality of Godhead, is the last word of the Absolute Truth. Paramatma is the partial representation of the Personality of Godhead, and impersonal Brahman is the glowing effulgence of the Personality of Godhead, as the sun rays are to the sungod.
Less intelligent students of either of the above schools sometimes argue in favor of their own respective realization, but those who are perfect seers of the Absolute Truth know well that the above three features of the one Absolute Truth are different perspective views seen from different angles of vision.
As it is explained in the First Sloka of the First Chapter of the Bhagavatam, the Supreme Truth is self-sufficient, cognizant and free from the illusion of relativity.

In the relative world the knower is different from the known, but in the Absolute Truth both the knower and the known are one and the same thing. In the relative world the knower is the living spirit or superior energy, whereas the known is inert matter or inferior energy. Therefore, there is a duality of inferior and superior energy, whereas in the absolute realm both the knower and the known are of the same superior energy.

There are three kinds of energies of the supreme energetic. There is no difference between the energy and energetic, but there is a difference of quality of energies. The absolute realm and the living entities are of the same superior energy, but the material world is inferior energy. The living being in contact with the inferior energy is illusioned, thinking he belongs to the inferior energy. Therefore there is the sense of relativity in the material world.

In the Absolute there is no such sense of difference between the knower and the known, and therefore everything there is absolute.


tac chraddadhana munayo


pasyanty atmani catmanam

bhaktya sruta-grhitaya

SYNONYMS tat--that; sraddadhanah--seriously inquisitive; munayah--sages; jnana- -knowledge; vairagya--detachment; yuktaya--well equipped with; pasyanti-- see; atmani--within himself; ca--and; atmanam--the Paramatma; bhaktya--in devotional service; sruta--the Vedas; grhitaya--well received.

TRANSLATION The seriously inquisitive student or sage, well equipped [4] with knowledge and detachment, [1] realizes that Absolute Truth by rendering [2] devotional service in terms of what he has heard from the [3] Vedanta-sruti.
PURPORT The [1] Absolute Truth is realized in full by the process of devotional service to the Lord, Vasudeva, or the Personality of Godhead, who is the full-fledged Absolute Truth. Brahman is His transcendental bodily effulgence, and Paramatma is His partial representation. As such, Brahman or Paramatma realization of the Absolute Truth is but a partial realization.

There are four different types of human beings--the karmis, the jnanis, the yogis and the devotees. The karmis are materialistic, whereas the other three are transcendental. The first-class transcendentalists are the devotees who have realized the Supreme Person.

The second-class transcendentalists are those who have partially realized the plenary portion of the absolute person. And the third-class transcendentalists are those who have barely realized the spiritual focus of the absolute person.

[Vedanta sruti]

As stated in the [3] Bhagavad-gita and other Vedic literatures, the [2] Supreme Person is realized by devotional service, which is [4] backed by full knowledge and detachment from material association.

We have already discussed the point that devotional service is followed by knowledge and detachment from material association. As Brahman and Paramatma realization are imperfect realizations of the Absolute Truth, so the means of realizing Brahman and Paramatma, i.e., the paths of jnana and yoga, are also imperfect means of realizing the Absolute Truth. Devotional service, which is based on the foreground of full knowledge combined with detachment from material association and which is fixed by the aural reception of the Vedanta-sruti, is the only perfect method by which the seriously inquisitive student can realize the Absolute Truth. Devotional service is not, therefore, meant for the less intelligent class of transcendentalist.

There are three classes of devotees [because it must be realized by devotional service], namely first, second, and third class.

The third-class devotees, or the neophytes, who have no knowledge and are not detached from material association, but who are simply attracted by the preliminary process of worshiping the Deity in the temple, are called material devotees. Material devotees are more attached to material benefit than transcendental profit. Therefore, one has to make definite progress from the position of material devotional service to the second-class devotional position.

In the second-class position, the devotee can see four principles in the devotional line, namely the Personality of Godhead, His devotees, the ignorant and the envious. One has to raise himself at least to the stage of a second-class devotee and thus become eligible to know the Absolute Truth.

A third-class devotee, therefore, has to receive the instructions of devotional service from the authoritative sources of Bhagavata. The number one Bhagavata [first-class devotee] is the established personality of devotee, and the other Bhagavatam is the message of Godhead. The third-class devotee therefore has to go to the personality of devotee in order to learn the instructions of devotional service.

Such a personality of devotee is [A] not a professional man who earns his livelihood by the business of Bhagavatam. Such a devotee must be [B] a representative of Sukadeva Gosvami, like Suta Gosvami, and must [C] preach the cult of devotional service for the all-around benefit of all people.

A neophyte devotee has very little taste for hearing from the authorities. Such a neophyte devotee makes a show of hearing from the professional man to satisfy his senses. This sort of hearing and chanting has spoiled the whole thing, so one should be very careful about the faulty process. The holy messages of Godhead, as inculcated in the Bhagavad-gita or in the Srimad-Bhagavatam, are undoubtedly transcendental subjects, but even though they are so, such transcendental matters are not to be received from the professional man, who spoils them as the serpent spoils milk simply by the touch of his tongue. A sincere devotee must, therefore, be prepared to hear the Vedic literature like the Upanisads, Vedanta and other literatures left by the previous authorities or Gosvamis, for the benefit of his progress.

Without hearing such literatures, one cannot make actual progress. And without hearing and following the instructions, the show of devotional service becomes worthless and therefore a sort of disturbance in the path of devotional service. Unless, therefore, devotional service is established on the principles of sruti, smrti, purana or pancaratra authorities, the make-show of devotional service should at once be rejected. An unauthorized devotee should never be recognized as a pure devotee. By assimilation of such messages from the Vedic literatures, one can see the all-pervading localized aspect of the Personality of Godhead within his own self constantly. This is called samadhi.


atah pumbhir dvija-srestha


svanusthitasya dharmasya

samsiddhir hari-tosanam

SYNONYMS atah--so; pumbhih--by the human being; dvija-sresthah--O best among the twice-born; varna-asrama--the institution of four castes and four orders of life; vibhagasah--by the division of; svanusthitasya--of one's own prescribed duties; dharmasya--occupational; samsiddhih--the highest perfection; hari--the Personality of Godhead; tosanam--pleasing.

O best among the twice-born, it is therefore concluded that the highest perfection one can achieve by discharging the duties prescribed for one's own occupation according to caste divisions and orders of life is to please the Personality of Godhead.


Human society all over the world is divided into four castes and four orders of life.

The four castes are the intelligent caste, the martial caste, the productive caste and the laborer caste. These castes are classified in terms of one's work and qualification and not by birth.

Then again there are four orders of life, namely the student life, the householder's life, the retired and the devotional life.

In the best interest of human society there must be such divisions of life, otherwise no social institution can grow in a healthy state.

And in each and every one of the above mentioned divisions of life, the aim must be to please the supreme authority of the Personality of Godhead.
This institutional function of human society is known as the system of varnasrama-dharma, which is quite natural for the civilized life.
The varnasrama institution is constructed to enable one to realize the Absolute Truth. It is not for artificial domination of one division over another. When the aim of life, i.e., realization of the Absolute Truth, is missed by too much attachment for indriya-priti, or sense gratification, as already discussed hereinbefore, the institution of the varnasrama is utilized by selfish men to pose an artificial predominance over the weaker section. In the Kali-yuga, or in the age of quarrel, this artificial predominance is already current, but the saner section of the people know it well that the divisions of castes and orders of life are meant for smooth social intercourse and high-thinking self-realization and not for any other purpose. Herein the statement of Bhagavatam is that the highest aim of life or the highest perfection of the institution of the varnasrama-dharma is to cooperate jointly for the satisfaction of the Supreme Lord. This is also confirmed in the Bhagavad-gita (4.13).


tasmad ekena manasa

bhagavan satvatam patih

srotavyah kirtitavyas ca

dhyeyah pujyas ca nityada

SYNONYMS tasmat--therefore; ekena--by one; manasa--attention of the mind; bhagavan--the Personality of Godhead; satvatam--of the devotees; patih-- protector; srotavyah--is to be heard; kirtitavyah--to be glorified; ca-- and; dhyeyah--to be remembered; pujyah--to be worshiped; ca--and; nityada--constantly.


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