Aug 17

Dear Devotees and Friends:

Please accept our humble dandavats.

Hare Krishna.

We pray to Sri Sri Guru-Gauranga-Gandharvika-Madanmohan Jiu that the New Year may bring all auspiciousness to everyone. We pray that by their mercy and grace all of us can progress joyfully in our spiritual journey – to Go Back Home Back to Godhead.

Here are the recordings for 17 August 2008 satsanga.
Part 1:

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(downloads – [downloadcounter(17_August_HH_BMPS_BI_Weekly_Satsanga_1.mp3)])

Part 2:

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(downloads – [downloadcounter(17_August_HH_BMPS_BI_Weekly_Satsanga_2.mp3)])

In this Satsanga a scientific discussion is presented on understanding how one can come to the transcendental platform. A verse from “Rg Veda” is also discussed.

 Srimad Bhagavad Gita As It Is

Based upon this verse, a question was asked by a devotee in the online satsanga, “If I move my hand, if the soul doesn’t move it, how do the three modes cause these actions, or is it done by the demigods?”

In one of the past Satsangas, His Holiness Bhakti Madhava Puri Swami, Ph.D. (Puri Maharaj) of Bhaktivedanta Institute, explained that actually it is due to the acintya sakti of Supreme Personality of Godhead Lord Sri Krishna. Just by thinking about it, our hand moves, so we can say it is due to the acintya sakti of Lord Sri Krishna, and thus we cannot understand it.

Srila Prabhupada says: “Just like I am the soul, I am here within this body. So I cut my hair; it is again growing. I do not know how I am creating, but I am creating. My nail is growing—I am growing, I am creating. But I do not know. That is ignorance.”

In the Satsanga Puri Maharaj answered that actually it is very difficult to understand how movement occurs. Just like our hair is growing out from our head. How is it happening? Are we in control of growing our hairs on our head? The finger nails are also growing out. They are constantly growing out so we have to cut them. Similarly, can we stop the growth of our hairs so that we don’t have to have haircut anymore? We are not in control of many such activities of our own body and yet somehow they are happening. Even breathing – ordinarily we are not in charge of that. It is being regulated by what is called the autonomic nervous system. Our heart is beating; blood pressure is being maintained. All these things are all being done automatically.

Red Squirrel

Many things are happening in the body like that. We are eating food and it is digesting very nicely in most cases, unless we have some illness. We are not in charge of that. Then how does it happen? If we had to figure out how to make the stomach digest food everytime we ate, then it would be a very complicated process indeed. So, somehow all those complicated things are going on and the automatic systems of the body are controlling them. That is what the scientists explain.

But Vedantic science (or Samkhya) says that it is done by the modes of material nature – the trigunas: sattva, raja and tama. They are causing the permutations, combinations and movements of the things that are made up of those three modes occurring in this world. Bodily substance and activities are actually composed of and controlled by the modes of material nature. How to understand this? For that we require some philosophical understanding about modes of material nature. How they are working will determine how the activities of this world are going on. They are actually not controlled by us.

Srila Prabhupada
Srila Prabhupada explained that we desire and God fulfills that desire. This idea is also given in the Bhagavad-gitaye yatha mam prapadyante, the Lord is fulfilling the desires of the living entities, according to what way they relate to Him, depending on how much they surrender to Him. How they relate to Him in whatever way, He fulfills their needs.

It is also not a function of Paramatma, or the localized aspect of Krishna. Material energy is one of Krishna’s energies, mayadhyaksena prakrti (Bg 9.10).  It is His external energy (bahiranga shakti). Thus He does not directly manage the affairs of the material world. Even though material energy is Krishna’s energy it is, nonetheless, His indirect energy. It is not His direct or internal energy (antaranga shakti) and thus He is not directly concerned with it., just as we are not directly concerned with our breathing. Breathing directly concerns us but we are only indirectly concerned with it, we don’t have to consciously do it. It is going on automatically. As we have mentioned previously, it is controlled by the autonomic nervous system. So Krishna also has an automatic system, His material energy.

The material energy works according to certain mechanical rules, and is going on under the control of those laws like a machine (Bg. 18.61 yantra arudhani mayaya). In that way Krishna’s automatic system is working so that He has no need to pay any attention to that. Thus the external material energy is performing all the actions and reactions of the body.

Parikchit Sukadeva

When a living entity turns directly to Krishna and focuses his attention on His personal form, then by His mercy Krishna establishes direct guidance through guru and vaisanava who act under His internal energy. In this way He shows concern for what a devotee wants, what a devotee is saying to Him, etc. That is a platform transcendental to the external workings of the material world. Only a very fortunate soul can come to that divine platform of action when he gets a connection with a pure devotee, by surrendering to and serving that authentic devotee (i.e. a devotee who is likewise surrendered to Krishna through His devotee. The first such devotee in our parampara line is Brahma). One who can do that achieves the transcendental platform. But without surrender and without service under the guidance of a vaisnava, he remains in contact only with the external energy. Everything in that unsurrendered state is going on according to the laws of material nature, according to the mundane administrative arrangement of the Lord.

To understand these things in detail may be difficult for the conditioned soul because it is a great science. Still, in a general way we can understand the basics as explained in the Bhagavad-gita. Our purpose is not to simply continue in the material consciousness of life. Material consciousness is an unsurrendered stage of existence – a stage where we are rather tying to lord it over and exploit the resources of the material nature. That attitude is putting us under the control of the modes of material nature or the three gunas. For that reason we will have to work according to the actions and reactions of those modes.

A devotee, therefore, wants to take complete shelter at the lotus feet of the Lord’s devotees, and wants to learn how to come under the control of the antaranga sakti, which is the internal energy or Will of the Lord, the transcendental energy of the Lord. By the grace of Guru, by the grace of sadhu, by the grace of vaisnava we can gradually come under the control of that internal energy by accepting their guidance. Their influence can take us to the stage where we can come under the full control of the antaranga sakti, the transcendental energy of the Lord. Hence one has to approach a devotee in the proper mood of humility. And even then ‘approach’ means to humbly submit ourselves to the divine will that descends through Krishna’s devotee and in that way come under the influence of the internal energy by their grace. In that way we can enter the higher world, the service world, where all are serving, dedicating units.

We are always under the influence of something. We think that in this material world we are independent, but actually we are under the influence of maya sakti, the external energy of the Lord. By changing our attitude from that of exploitation to dedication it is possible for us to come under the influence of the internal energy of the Lord.  One who engages in unselfish devotional service, sacrificing everything for the service to the Lord, will gradually be allowed to enter the divine world. Under the influence of that world his whole life will be magically transformed.


Pure devotees exist in this world to help us in our journey back to Godhead, so we must always remember that Gurudeva is not an ordinary person. Guru actually serves as a function of the Supreme Lord. Guru is the Supreme Lord’s function of gathering up the conditioned souls and taking them back to Godhead. Guru takes them back to the lotus feet of the Lord. That is the real meaning of Guru – one who can direct us in that way. And wherever that function is found we should bow our head there and try to serve so that we can assume our spiritual position in the world of service. It is foolish and suicidal to give resistance to the manifest form of such divine mercy.

Our proper position, constitutional position, is that we are the eternal servants of the Supreme Lord. What we are is very important to understand, and we should not minimize the scientific process given in the scriptures for achieving our constitutional vocation. We may be very careful not to minimize that by taking this process cheaply, i.e. approaching guru while retaining some mundane purposes. Rather we want to cooperate fully with the agents of the Lord and thus attain our true position as spiritual beings, endeavoring our utmost to go back home, back to Godhead.

H.H. Bhakti Madhava Puri Maharaj also discussed the second sloka of the Nasadiya sutras from the Rg veda. [Nasadiya Sukta, Rigveda, Canto 10, Hymn 129. (English rendering by Ralph T.H. Griffith, 1889)]

Na mrityuraseedamritam na tarhi na ratrya anha aseetpraketah

Aneedavatam svadhayatadekam tasmadhchanyanna parah kim canas [2]

Death was not then, nor was there aught immortal: no sign was there, the day’s and night’s divider. That One Thing, breathless, breathed by its own nature: apart from it was nothing whatsoever.

Maharaja’s commentary.

It is mentioned here in an obscure language that temporality or time is absent by invoking the absence of death. Without time there is no space or anything occupying space, and no movement. The word death or mortal also refers to that which is finite. Whatever is finite has limit in time and space. For example, a stone is a finite thing, because there is a space in which the stone exists and then at its limit there is a space where it does not exist. It only goes on to a certain extent and then it ceases to be. The stone is there, held in your hand. It has certain boundary. It has certain size. If we determine its size, then you know there exists a place where there is no stone – the boundary. So in that sense we can say that that is where the stone is dead or dies. Beyond a certain limit, the stone dies and becomes air. Air is outside the limit of stone, and what is outside or beyond the limit of stone, we can call it the death of the stone where the stone does not exist anymore. So the stone has a certain space where it exists and a certain space where it does not exist. Therefore we call it finite.

But that which exists without limit, does not have any boundary. That which does not cease to exist in space is called infinite. And that which does not cease to exist in time, we can call that immortal. This sloka is saying there was no death – meaning there was nothing finite or temporal, and neither was there anything infinite or immortal. So this represents a stage of complete lack of all determination. Nothing was there to be determined. This explains something like the impersonal conception of Brahman, which is the indeterminate or undifferentiated aspect of Brahman. There was nothing there to which a reference could be made. And this idea is again reinforced by the next sentence which says that no sign was there. Even the distinction between day and night was not there. This again indicates the lack of any determination.

What is meant by sign? The word ‘sign’ implies representation. A sign indicates that there must be something there to signify or represent. So the idea of signifying or representing is implied by the word sign. Thus three things are present since the action of signifying implies that a signifier, sign and thing signified must exist. Therefore, what it is being presented here is that if there is no sign then there is nothing to be signified. For example, ‘day’ signifies that there is light – or that the sun is out. Where there is no sign, there is also nothing to signify, and therefore nothing to distinguish as one thing being different from another. That state of complete indetermination or complete indifference we call that the impersonal conception of Brahman – where there is no differentiation, no duality of any kind. That is the way the impersonalists understand Brahman. Of course, Vaisnavas understand Brahman differently. Brahman does not carry the same undifferentiated meaning for Vaisnavas who accept the indeterminate universality of Brahman as only an abstract moment of the intrinsically dynamic differentiation within Brahman.

For the Vaisnavas, Brahman does not mean that there is no distinction. Rather Brahman implies that no distinction has been made. No consciousness is active there or it is simply remaining in a deep sleeping stage. Just as in this world some people are not making proper discrimination about things. We can say they are sleeping in this world – or they have a sleeping consciousness. For instance, the German philosopher Immanuel Kant called his unconsciousness of the real meaning of causality,  “dogmatic slumber.”

body soul  

What is the soul and what is the body? Those who don’t make any distinction between body and soul consider that everything is merely the physical body. They make no distinction between body, mind and soul. However, that does not mean that the distinction is not there.  Animals also make no such distinction, so at that level they are like the animals. But distinction is there – the soul is there, mind is there, even if some people are not making a distinction of those things. They have no knowledge of that distinction, and thus no awareness or consciousness of that fact. This merging of what is actually distinct into indeterminate oneness is similar to the impersonal conception of Brahman.

If individuals have no consciousness of something then for them it appears as if it is not there. However it may actually be there, but they are not taking any note of it. They do not notice it due to their absorption in particular ways of living, or thinking or their particular stage of awareness. So when awareness is not awakened, then one may be in at a stage of making no distinctions and consider things to be indeterminate. The finer determination of things is there but only by coming in contact with those who have knowledge of that distinction, then we may also learn from them how to become aware of it. What is already there is not known to the sleeping consciousness, but is known to the awakened sage.

All Glories all Sadhus, Guru and Vaisnavas.

Thanking you.

Your humble servants

Purushottama Jagannatha Das & Sushen Das

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