False Foundation Vs True Foundation
Srimad Bhagavatam 10.87.34 - False Foundation Vs True Foundation (download mp3)
by Sankirtan Prabhu at ISKCON Chowpatty
tvayi sati kim nrnam srayata atmani sarva-rase
iti sad ajanatam mithunato rataye caratam
sukhayati ko nv iha sva-vihate sva-nirasta-bhage
To those persons who take shelter of You, You reveal Yourself as the Supersoul, the embodiment of all transcendental pleasure. What further use have such devotees for their servants, children or bodies, their wives, money or houses, their land, good health or conveyances? And for those who fail to appreciate the truth about You and go on pursuing the pleasures of sex, what could there be in this entire world — a place inherently doomed to destruction and devoid of significance — that could give them real happiness?
Devotional service to Lord Visnu is considered pure when one’s sole desire is to please the Lord. Situated in that perfect consciousness, a Vaisnava has no further interest in wordly gains and is thus excused from any obligation to perform ritual sacrifices and follow austere practices of yoga. As the Mundaka Upanisad (1.2.12) states:
pariksya lokan karma-citan brahmano
nirvedam ayan nasty akrtah krtena
“When a brahmana recognizes that elevation to the heavenly planets is merely another accumulation of karma, he becomes renounced and is no longer corrupted by his actions.” The Brhad-aranyaka (4.4.9) and Katha (6.14) Upanisads confirm:
yada sarve pramucyante
kama ye ’sya hrdi sritah
atha martyo ’mrto bhavaty
atra brahma samasnute
“When a person completely gives up all the sinful desires he is harboring in his heart, he exchanges mortality for eternal spiritual life and attains real pleasure in the Absolute Truth.” And the Gopala-tapani Upanisad (Purva 15) concludes, bhaktir asya bhajanam tad ihamutropadhi-nairasyenamusmin manah-kalpanam etad eva naiskarmyam. “Devotional service is the process of worshiping the Supreme Lord. It consists of fixing one’s mind upon Him by becoming disinterested in all material designations, both in this life and the next. This indeed, is true renunciation.”
The items the srutis mention here are all measures of worldly success: svajanah, servants; atma, a beautiful body; sutah, children to be proud of; darah, an attractive and competent spouse; dhanam, financial assets; dhama, a prestigious residence; dhara, holdings of land; asavah, health and strength; and rathah, cars and other vehicles that display one’s status. But one who has begun to experience the ecstasy of devotional service loses all attraction for these things, since he finds real satisfaction in the Supreme Lord, the reservoir of all pleasure, who enjoys by sharing His own pleasures with His servitors.
We are each free to choose the course of our life: we can either dedicate our body, mind, words, talents and wealth to the glory of God, or else we can ignore Him and struggle instead for our personal happiness. The second path leads to a life of slavery to sex and ambition, in which the soul never feels real satisfaction but instead suffers continually. Vaisnavas are distressed to see materialists suffering in this way, and so they always strive to enlighten them.
Srila Sridhara Svami prays:
bhajato hi bhavan saksat
atmaiva kim atah krtyam
“For those who worship You, You become their very Self, their spiritual treasure of topmost bliss. What further use have they for mundane wives, children and so forth?”