Srimad-Bhagavatam > Canto 2 ; Chapter Four
The Process of Creation
He is the Supersoul and the Supreme Lord of all self-realized souls. He is the personification of the Vedas, religious scriptures and austerities. He is worshiped by Lord Brahmā and Śiva and all those who are transcendental to all pretensions. Being so revered with awe and veneration, may that Supreme Absolute be pleased with me. (19)
May Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who is the worshipable Lord of all devotees, the protector and glory of all the kings like Andhaka and Vṛṣṇi of the Yadu dynasty, the husband of all goddesses of fortune, the director of all sacrifices and therefore the leader of all living entities, the controller of all intelligence, the proprietor of all planets, spiritual and material, and the supreme incarnation on the earth (the supreme all in all), be merciful upon me. (20)
It is the Personality of Godhead Śrī Kṛṣṇa who gives liberation. By thinking of His lotus feet at every second, following in the footsteps of authorities, the devotee in trance can see the Absolute Truth. The learned mental speculators, however, think of Him according to their whims. May the Lord be pleased with me.(21)
The Supreme Lord, the Personality of Godhead, although the Lord of all followers of different paths of self-realization, is knowable only by those who are above all pretensions. Everyone is searching for eternal peace or eternal life, and with an aim to this destination everyone is either studying the Vedic scriptures or other religious scriptures or undergoing severe austerity as empiric philosophers, as mystics yogīs or as unalloyed devotees, etc. But the Supreme Lord is perfectly realized only by the devotees because they are above all pretensions. Those who are on the path of self-realization are generally classified as karmīs, jñānīs, yogīs, or devotees of the Lord. The karmīs, who are much attracted by the fruitive activities of the Vedic rituals, are called bhukti-kāmī, or those who desire material enjoyment. The jñānīs, who try to become one with the Supreme by mental speculation, are called mukti-kāmī, or those who desire liberation from material existence. The mystic yogīs, who practice different types of austerities for attainment of eight kinds of material perfection and who ultimately meet the Supersoul (Paramātmā) in trance, are called siddhi-kāmī, or those who desire the perfection of becoming finer than the finest, becoming heavier than the heaviest, getting everything desired, having control over everyone, creating everything liked, etc. All these are abilities of a powerful yogī. But the devotees of the Lord do not want anything like that for self-satisfaction. They want only to serve the Lord because the Lord is great and as living entities they are eternally subordinate parts and parcels of the Lord. This perfect realization of the self by the devotee helps him to become desireless, to desire nothing for his personal self, and thus the devotees are called niṣkāmī, without any desire. A living entity, by his constitutional position, cannot be void of all desires (the bhukti-kāmī, mukti-kāmī and siddhi-kāmī all desire something for personal satisfaction), but the niṣkāmī devotees of the Lord desire everything for the satisfaction of the Lord. They are completely dependent on the orders of the Lord and are always ready to discharge their duty for the satisfaction of the Lord.
In the beginning Arjuna placed himself as one of those who desire self-satisfaction, for he desired not to fight in the Battle of Kurukṣetra, but to make him desireless the Lord preached the Bhagavad-gītā, in which the ways of karma-yoga, jñāna-yoga, haṭha-yoga and also bhakti-yoga were explained. Because Arjuna was without any pretension, he changed his decision and satisfied the Lord by agreeing to fight (kariṣye vacanaṁ tava) [Bg. 18.73], and thus he became desireless.
The examples of Brahmā and Lord Śiva are specifically cited here because Brahmājī, Lord Śiva, Śrīmatī Lakṣmījī and the four Kumāras (Sanaka, Sanātana, etc.) are leaders of the four desireless Vaiṣṇava sampradāyas. They are all freed from all pretensions. Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī interprets the word gata-vyalīkaiḥ as projjhita-kaitavaiḥ, or those who are freed from all pretensions (the unalloyed devotees only). In the Caitanya-caritāmṛta (Madhya 19.149) it is said:
kṛṣṇa-bhakta--niṣkāma, ata eva 'śānta'
bhukti-mukti-siddhi-kāmī, sakali 'aśānta'
Those who are after fruitive results for their pious activities, those who desire salvation and identity with the Supreme, and those who desire material perfections of mystic power are all restless because they want something for themselves, but the devotee is completely peaceful because he has no demand for himself and is always ready to serve the desire of the Lord. The conclusion is, therefore, that the Lord is for everyone because no one can achieve the result of his respective desires without His sanction, but as stated by the Lord in Bhagavad-gītā (8.9), all such results are awarded by Him only, for the Lord is adhīśvara (the original controller) of everyone, namely the Vedāntists, the great karma-kāṇḍīyas, the great religious leaders, the great performers of austerity and all who are striving for spiritual advancement. But ultimately He is realized by the pretensionless devotees only. Therefore special stress is given to the devotional service of the Lord by Śrīla Śukadeva Gosvāmī.
Since Śukadeva Gosvāmī is one of the prominent gata-vyalīkas, who are freed from all misconceptions, he therefore expresses his own realized perception of Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa as being the sum total of all perfection, the Personality of Godhead. Everyone is seeking the favor of the goddess of fortune, but people do not know that Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the beloved husband of all goddesses of fortune. In the Brahma-saṁhitā it is said that the Lord, in His transcendental abode Goloka Vṛndāvana, is accustomed to herding the surabhi cows and is served there by hundreds of thousands of goddesses of fortune. All these goddesses of fortune are manifestations of His transcendental pleasure potency (hlādinī-śakti) in His internal energy, and when the Lord manifested Himself on this earth He partially displayed the activities of His pleasure potency in His rāsa-līlā just to attract the conditioned souls, who are all after the phantasmagoria pleasure potency in degraded sex enjoyment. The pure devotees of the Lord like Śukadeva Gosvāmī, who was completely detached from the abominable sex life of the material world, discussed this act of the Lord's pleasure potency certainly not in relation to sex, but to relish a transcendental taste inconceivable to the mundaners who are after sex life. Sex life in the mundane world is the root-cause of being conditioned by the shackles of illusion, and certainly Śukadeva Gosvāmī was never interested in the sex life of the mundane world. Nor does the manifestation of the Lord's pleasure potency have any connection with such degraded things. Lord Caitanya was a strict sannyāsī, so much so that He did not allow any woman to come near Him, not even to bow down and offer respects. He never even heard the prayers of the deva-dāsīs offered in the temple of Jagannātha because a sannyāsī is forbidden to hear songs sung by the fair sex. Yet even in the rigid position of a sannyāsī He recommended the mode of worship preferred by the gopīs of Vṛndāvana as the topmost loving service possible to be rendered to the Lord. And Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī is the principal head of all such goddesses of fortune, and therefore She is the pleasure counterpart of the Lord and is nondifferent from Kṛṣṇa.
In the Vedic rituals there are recommendations for performing different types of sacrifice in order to achieve the greatest benefit in life. Such benedictions as the results of performing great sacrifices are, after all, favors given by the goddess of fortune, and the Lord, being the husband or lover of the goddess of fortune, is factually the Lord of all sacrifices also. He is the final enjoyer of all kinds of yajña; therefore Yajña-pati is another name of Lord Viṣṇu. It is recommended in the Bhagavad-gītā that everything be done for the Yajña-pati (yajñārtāt karmaṇaḥ), for otherwise one's acts will be the cause of conditioning by the law of material nature. Those who are not freed from all misconceptions (vyalīkam) perform sacrifices to please the minor demigods, but the devotees of the Lord know very well that Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the supreme enjoyer of all performances of sacrifice; therefore they perform the saṅkīrtana-yajña (śravaṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ viṣṇoḥ [SB 7.5.23]), which is especially recommended in this age of Kali. In Kali-yuga, performance of other types of sacrifice is not feasible due to insufficient arrangements and inexpert priesthood.
We have information from the Bhagavad-gītā (3.10-11) that Lord Brahmā, after giving rebirth to the conditioned souls within the universe, instructed them to perform sacrifices and to lead a prosperous life. With such sacrificial performances the conditioned souls will never be in difficulty in keeping body and soul together. Ultimately they can purify their existence. They will find natural promotion into spiritual existence, the real identity of the living being. A conditioned soul should never give up the practice of sacrifice, charity and austerity, in any circumstances. The aim of all such sacrifices is to please the Yajña-pati, the Personality of Godhead; therefore the Lord is also Prajā-pati. According to the Kaṭha Upaniṣad, the one Lord is the leader of the innumerable living entities. The living entities are maintained by the Lord (eko bahūnāṁ yo vidadhāti kāmān). The Lord is therefore called the supreme Bhūta-bhṛt, or maintainer of all living beings.
Living beings are proportionately endowed with intelligence in terms of their previous activities. All living beings are not equally endowed with the same quality of intelligence because behind such development of intelligence is the control of the Lord, as declared in the Bhagavad-gītā (15.15). As Paramātmā, Supersoul, the Lord is living in everyone's heart, and from Him only does one's power of remembrance, knowledge and forgetfulness follow (mattaḥ smṛtir jñānam apohanaṁ ca). One person can sharply remember past activities by the grace of the Lord while others cannot. One is highly intelligent by the grace of the Lord, and one is a fool by the same control. Therefore the Lord is Dhiyām-pati, or the Lord of intelligence.
The conditioned souls strive to become lords of the material world. Everyone is trying to lord it over the material nature by applying his highest degree of intelligence. This misuse of intelligence by the conditioned soul is called madness. One's full intelligence should be applied to get free from the material clutches. But the conditioned soul, due to madness only, engages his full energy and intelligence in sense gratification, and to achieve this end of life he willfully commits all sorts of misdeeds. The result is that instead of attaining an unconditional life of full freedom, the mad conditioned soul is entangled again and again in different types of bondage in material bodies. Everything we see in the material manifestation is but the creation of the Lord. Therefore He is the real proprietor of everything in the universes. The conditioned soul can enjoy a fragment of this material creation under the control of the Lord, but not self-sufficiently. That is the instruction in the Īśopaniṣad. One should be satisfied with things awarded by the Lord of the universe. It is out of madness only that one tries to encroach upon another's share of material possessions.
The Lord of the universe, out of His causeless mercy upon the conditioned souls, descends by His own energy (ātma-māyā) to reestablish the eternal relation of the conditioned souls with Him. He instructs all to surrender unto Him instead of falsely claiming to be enjoyers for a certain limit under His control. When He so descends He proves how much greater is His ability to enjoy, and He exhibits His power of enjoyment by (for instance) marrying sixteen thousand wives at once. The conditioned soul is very proud of becoming the husband of even one wife, but the Lord laughs at this; the intelligent man can know who is the real husband. Factually, the Lord is the husband of all the women in His creation, but a conditioned soul under the control of the Lord feels proud to be the husband of one or two wives.
All these qualifications as the different types of pati mentioned in this verse are meant for Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, and Śukadeva Gosvāmī has therefore especially mentioned the pati and gati of the Yadu dynasty. The members of the Yadu dynasty knew that Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa is everything, and all of them intended to return to Lord Kṛṣṇa after He had finished His transcendental pastimes on the earth. The Yadu dynasty was annihilated by the will of the Lord because its members had to return home with the Lord. The annihilation of the Yadu dynasty was a material show created by the Supreme Lord; otherwise the Lord and the members of the Yadu dynasty are all eternal associates. The Lord is therefore the guide of all devotees, and as such, Śukadeva Gosvāmī offered Him due respects with love-laden feelings.
The mystic yogīs, after a strenuous effort to control the senses, may be situated in a trance of yoga just to have a vision of the Supersoul within everyone, but the pure devotee, simply by remembering the Lord's lotus feet at every second, at once becomes established in real trance because by such realization his mind and intelligence are completely cleansed of the diseases of material enjoyment. The pure devotee thinks himself fallen into the ocean of birth and death and incessantly prays to the Lord to lift him up. He only aspires to become a speck of transcendental dust at the lotus feet of the Lord. The pure devotee, by the grace of the Lord, absolutely loses all attraction for material enjoyment, and to keep free from contamination he always thinks of the lotus feet of the Lord. King Kulaśekhara, a great devotee of the Lord, prayed:
adyaiva me viśatu mānasa-rāja-haṁsaḥ
kaṇṭhāvarodhana-vidhau smaraṇaṁ kutas te
"My Lord Kṛṣṇa, I pray that the swan of my mind may immediately sink down to the stems of the lotus feet of Your Lordship and be locked in their network; otherwise at the time of my final breath, when my throat is choked up with cough, how will it be possible to think of You?"
There is an intimate relationship between the swan and the lotus stem. So the comparison is very appropriate: without becoming a swan, or paramahaṁsa, one cannot enter into the network of the lotus feet of the Lord. As stated in the Brahma-saṁhitā, the mental speculators, even by dint of learned scholarship, cannot even dream of the Absolute Truth by speculating over it for eternity. The Lord reserves the right of not being exposed to such mental speculators. And because they cannot enter into network stem of the lotus stem of the Lord, all material speculators differ in conclusions, and at the end they make a useless compromise by saying, "as many conclusions, as many ways," according to one's own inclination. (yathā-rucam). But the Lord is not like a shopkeeper trying to please all sorts of customers in the mental speculator exchange. The Lord is what He is, the Absolute Personality of Godhead, and He demands absolute surrender unto Him only. The pure devotee, however, by following the ways of previous ācāryas, or authorities, can see the Supreme Lord through the transparent medium of a bona fide spiritual master (anupaśyanti). The pure devotee never tries to see the Lord by mental speculation, but by following in the footsteps of the ācāryas (mahājano yena gataḥ sa panthāḥ [Cc. Madhya 17.186]). Therefore there is no difference of conclusions amongst the Vaiṣṇava ācāryas regarding the Lord and the devotees. Lord Caitanya asserts that the living entity (jīva) is eternally the servitor of the Lord and that he is simultaneously one with and different from the Lord. This tattva of Lord Caitanya's is shared by all four sampradāyas of the Vaiṣṇava school (all accepting eternal servitude to the Lord even after salvation), and there is no authorized Vaiṣṇava ācārya who may think of the Lord and himself as one.
This humbleness of the pure devotee, who is one hundred percent engaged in His service, puts the devotee of the Lord in a trance by which to realize everything, because to the sincere devotee of the Lord, the Lord reveals Himself, as stated in the Bhagavad-gītā (10.10). The Lord, being the Lord of intelligence in everyone (even in the nondevotee), favors His devotee with proper intelligence so that automatically the pure devotee is enlightened with the factual truth about the Lord and His different energies. the Lord is revealed not by one's speculative power or by one's verbal jugglery over the Absolute Truth. Rather, He reveals Himself to a devotee when He is fully satisfied by the devotee's service attitude. Śukadeva Gosvāmī is not a mental speculator or compromiser of the theory of "as many ways, as many conclusions." Rather, he prays to the Lord only, invoking His transcendental pleasure. That is the way of knowing the Lord