Srimad Bhagavatam 11.02.52 - Yukta Vairagya in Devotees Life (download mp3)
by Radhapati Prabhu at ISKCON Chowpatty
na yasya svah para iti
vittesv atmani va bhida
sa vai bhagavatottamah
When a devotee gives up the selfish conception by which one thinks “This is my property, and that is his,” and when he is no longer concerned with the pleasures of his own material body or indifferent to the discomforts of others, he becomes fully peaceful and satisfied. He considers himself simply one among all the living beings who are equally part and parcel of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Such a satisfied Vaisnava is considered to be at the highest standard of devotional service.
The vision described by the phrase sarva-bhuta-samah, “seeing all living entities equally,” does not include one’s vision of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In this connection Srila Madhvacarya has quoted from the Hari-vamsa as follows:
na kvapi jivam visnutve
samsrtau moksa eva ca
“Under no circumstance should one consider the living entity equal to Lord Visnu, either in conditional life or in liberation.” The impersonal speculative philosophers are fond of imagining that although in our present illusion we appear to be individual entities, at liberation we shall all merge into God and be God. Such wishful thinkers cannot reasonably explain how the omnipotent God could arrive at the embarrassing position of having to enter a yoga studio, pay weekly fees, press His nose and chant mantras to regain His divinity. As stated in the Vedas, nityo nityanam cetanas cetananam eko bahunam yo vidadhati kaman. The individuality or plurality of living entities is not a product of material existence. The word nityanam, denoting the plurality of eternal entities, clearly indicates that the living entities are eternally individual parts and parcels of the Lord, who is the singular unique entity described here as ekah. In Bhagavad-gita (1.21) Arjuna said to Krsna, ratham sthapaya me ’cyuta: “My dear Acyuta, please place my chariot between the armies.” This body is also ratha, a vehicle, and therefore the best policy is to request the infallible Lord to take charge of our conditioned body and guide us on the path back to the kingdom of God. The word acyuta means “the infallible” or “one who never falls.” Learned or sane human beings will not entertain the silly notion that the omnipotent, omniscient God has slipped and fallen because of maya. No amount of wishful thinking can erase our eternal servitorship at the lotus feet of the Lord.
This fact is stated by the Lord Himself in the Varaha Purana:
jivatmaham iti kvacit
sarvair gunair su-sampannam
daivam mam jñatum arhasi
“You should never think Me one of the ordinary living entities in the jiva category. In fact I am the reservoir of all opulences and godly qualities, and therefore you should understand that I am the Supreme Lord.”
According to Srila Jiva Gosvami and Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura, this verse of Srimad-Bhagavatam does not forbid using a particular object in the Lord’s service, since a devotee is free to use anything favorable for serving Lord Krsna. This acceptance of favorable objects in the service of Krsna is called yukta-vairagya. As stated by Srila Rupa Gosvami, nirbandhah krsna-sambandhe: one should be attached for Krsna’s sake, never for one’s own sake. If one interprets this verse to indicate that one should not exercise control over any material object, even if it is favorable for serving Krsna, one falls into the bad understanding called phalgu-vairagya, or immature renunciation. Great kings such as Maharaja Yudhisthira and Maharaja Pariksit engaged the entire earth, and other Vaisnavas have engaged the entire universe in the service of Krsna. But they completely gave up the sense of their personal proprietorship. That is the point made in this verse. Just as one becomes very much concerned about any pain in one’s own body, one should be concerned with bringing the conditioned souls to the platform of devotional service so that all of their suffering will be banished forever. That is the actual purport of not distinguishing between one body and another.