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Getting out of the Cycle of Birth and Death

Following is an excerpt from the lecture on Srimad Bhagavatam 4 – Chapter 29 – Talks Between Narada and King Pracinabarhi – Text no 78 by Vraj Bihari Das

SB 4.29.78

yadaksais caritan dhyayan
karmany acinute ’sakrt
sati karmany avidyayam
bandhah karmany anatmanah

Translation by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada:

As long as we desire to enjoy sense gratification, we create material activities. When the living entity acts in the material field, he enjoys the senses, and while enjoying the senses, he creates another series of material activities. In this way the living entity becomes entrapped as a conditioned soul.

Purport by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada:

While in the subtle body, we create many plans to enjoy sense gratification. These plans are recorded in the spool of one’s mind as bija, the root of fruitive activities. In conditional life the living entity creates a series of bodies one after another, and this is called karma-bandhana. As explained in Bhagavad-gita (3.9), yajñarthat karmano ’nyatra loko ’yam karma-bandhanah: if we act only for the satisfaction of Visnu, there is no bondage due to material activity, but if we act otherwise, we become entrapped by one material activity after another. Under these circumstances, it is to be supposed that by thinking, feeling and willing we are creating a series of future material bodies. In the words of Bhaktivinoda Thakura, anadi karama-phale, padi’ bhavarnava-jale: the living entity falls into the ocean of karma-bandhana as a result of past material activities. Instead of plunging oneself into the ocean of material activity, one should accept material activity only to maintain body and soul together. The rest of one’s time should be devoted to engaging in the transcendental loving service of the Lord. In this way one can attain relief from the reactions of material activity.

Living entity creates a series of bodies one after another called Karma bandana as a result of material activities. So, one should accept material activity only to maintain body and soul together. The rest of one’s time should be devoted to the work engaging in the transcendental love and service of the Lord. Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 3, verse 9 also says, if we act only for the satisfaction of Vishnu, there is no bondage due to material activity. If we act otherwise, we become entrapped by one material activity after another.

Prabhupada says that the process to untangle one from cycle of birth and death is devotional service to Krishna and absorption in Krishna. Narada Muni also had stressed on this when talking with King Pracinabarhi, Vasudeva in his perfect transcendental vision gets two very important things: first he identifies what is actually the real problem and secondly he provides the permanent solution for the problem. Bhakti yoga can mitigate all your problems. Through the process of Bhakti yoga, Vasudeva can be seen as the supreme personality of Krishna and his various energies and Maya who was under the shelter of Krishna. Then a question arises, what is the function of Maya? Living entities are kept in complete illusion and entangled with three modes – past, present and future – by Maya.

Doctors and scientists can only identify the immediate cause. But the devotee understands that the actual cause is his/her Karma and the reason for the cause is that devotee had wanted to enjoy individually of Krishna. Like a child, whenever he gets hurt, he would share it with his parents and when he is having a good time, he usually doesn’t remember them at that moment , we also forget Krishna when we get good things in life. So, Krishna had designed the world that living entity is punished to wake up to its senses. But there are other ways also to understand Krishna consciousness. Living entity is first shown the positives of spiritual world by Krishna’s words through Bhagavad Gita. If it did not accept that, then heavy preaching is needed. Even then if it did not understand, then material world will teach the living entity through punishments to go to Krishna.

Living entities get frustrated by the embarrassing of Maya and forget to look the reality – Krishna. To rectify this, Vasudeva gave this Srimad Bhagavatam. At the preface of Srimad Bhagavatam, Prabhupada writes “The world had advanced so much but there is a problem somewhere because there are several quarrels at trivial issues. So we are presenting this Bhagavatam as cultural presentation for re-spiritualization of whole world”.

Primary symptoms of our problems are “Lamenting about the past, illusion about the present and fear about future”. Living entity is in complex problem that it is accepting the illusionary engagement of fact and therefore becomes the victim of “isms” – Capitalism, Communism, Socialism etc. It thinks that these “isms” will give peace. Prabhupada says “1000 years with these “isms” cannot give peace but love with Krishna can”.

From the words of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, “Even if someone is liberated, he/she is attracted to render unalloyed devotional service to Krishna”. Then Prabhupada gives several examples, stories, for attraction to Krishna after realization because Krishna is more attractive to devotees. Kapila dev says “Yogi should meditate on the smile of Krishna, eyebrows of Krishna and on Krishna’s laughter”. He says that Krishna’s beauty will free you from all your problems.

Srimad Bhagavatam is important that it gives two things – it removes all the sufferings of the conditioned soul and even if one does not have a suffering, it attracts the hearts of liberated souls. All souls are like transcendental competitors to attain Krishna and they don’t like each other normally. But if you study Srimad Bhagavatam, you will get dear to the devotees and also the favor and goodwill of devotees which was what pleases Krishna.

Prabhupada says “It is foolish to jump to tenth canto and hear Srimad Bhagavatam. Topics about pure devotees are also Krishna Katha because devotees are not without Krishna and Krishna is not without devotees”. So if we didn’t know how we should be under the shelter of devotees, Maya will bring us down in an unfortunate way. Therefore we should understand Krishna Katha and absorb what Prabupada had given us.

This is very beautifully explained in this Audio, please download and listen to it.


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