Srimad Bhagavatam 10.87.22 - Damodar Lila Details (download mp3)
by Shubha Vilas Prabhu at ISKCON Chowpatty
tvad-anupatham kulayam idam atma-suhrt-priya-vac
carati tathonmukhe tvayi hite priya atmani ca
na bata ramanty aho asad-upasanayatma-hano
yad-anusaya bhramanty uru-bhaye ku-sarira-bhrtah
When this human body is used for Your devotional service, it acts as one’s self, friend and beloved. But unfortunately, although You always show mercy to the conditioned souls and affectionately help them in every way, and although You are their true Self, people in general fail to delight in You. Instead they commit spiritual suicide by worshiping illusion. Alas, because they persistently hope for success in their devotion to the unreal, they continue to wander about this greatly fearful world, assuming various degraded bodies.
The Vedas have strong words for those who choose to remain in illusion rather than serve the all-merciful Personality of Godhead. The Brhad-aranyaka Upanisad (4.3.15) states, aramam asya pasyanti na tam pasyati kascana; na tam vidatha ya ima jajananyad yusmakam antaram babhuva; niharena pravrta jalpya casu-trpa uktha-sasas caranti: “Everyone can see the place where the Lord manifested Himself in this world for His own pleasure, but still no one sees Him. None of you know Him who generated all these living beings, and thus there is a great difference between your vision and His. Covered by the fog of illusion, you performers of Vedic rituals indulge in useless talk and live only to gratify your senses.”
The Supreme Lord pervades this universe, as He says in the Bhagavad-gita (9.4), maya tatam idam sarvam jagat. Nothing in this world, not even the most insignificant clay pot or shred of cloth, is devoid of the presence of the Personality of Godhead. But because He keeps Himself invisible to envious eyes (avyakta-murtina), materialists are misled by His material energy and think that the source of material creation is a combination of atoms and physical forces.
Displaying their compassion for such foolish materialists, the personified Vedas advise them in this prayer to remember the real purpose for which they exist: to serve the Lord, their greatest well-wisher, with loving devotion. The human body is the ideal facility for reviving one’s spiritual consciousness; its organs — ears, tongue, eyes and so on — are quite suitable for hearing about the Lord, chanting His glories, worshiping Him and performing all the other essential aspects of devotional service.
One’s material body is destined to remain intact for only a short time, and so it is called kulayam, subject to “dissolving into the earth” (kau liyate). Nonetheless, if properly utilized it can be one’s best friend. When one is immersed in material consciousness, however, the body becomes a false friend, distracting the bewildered living entity from his true self-interest. Persons too much infatuated with their own bodies and those of their spouses, children, pets and so on are in fact misdirecting their devotion to the worship of illusion, asad-upasana. In this way, as the srutis state here, such people commit spiritual suicide, insuring future punishment for failing to carry out the higher responsibilities of human existence. As the Isopanisad (3) declares:
asurya nama te loka
tams te pretyabhigacchanti
ye ke catma-hano janah
“The killer of the soul, whoever he may be, must enter into the planets known as the worlds of the faithless, full of darkness and ignorance.”
Those who are overly attached to sense gratification, or who worship the impermanent in the form of false, materialistic scriptures and philosophies, maintain desires that carry them into more degraded bodies in each successive life. Since they are entrapped in the perpetually rotating cycle of samsara, their only hope for salvation is getting a chance to hear the merciful instructions spoken by the Supreme Lord’s devotees.
Srila Sridhara Svami prays:
tvayy atmani jagan-nathe
man-mano ramatam iha
kada mamedrsam janma
“When will I receive a human birth in which my mind may take pleasure in You, who are the Supreme Soul and Lord of the universe?”