Misguided Theism leads to Atheism

Srimad Bhagavatam 10.02.23-25 - Misguided Theism leads to Atheism (download mp3)
by Govinda Prabhu at ISKCON Chowpatty

SB 10.2.23
iti ghoratamad bhavat
sannivrttah svayam prabhuh
aste pratiksams taj-janma
harer vairanubandha-krt

Sukadeva Gosvami said: Deliberating in this way, Kamsa, although determined to continue in enmity toward the Supreme Personality of Godhead, refrained from the vicious killing of his sister. He decided to wait until the Lord was born and then do what was needed.

SB 10.2.24
asinah samvisams tisthan
bhuñjanah paryatan mahim
cintayano hrsikesam
apasyat tanmayam jagat

While sitting on his throne or in his sitting room, while lying on his bed, or, indeed, while situated anywhere, and while eating, sleeping or walking, Kamsa saw only his enemy, the Supreme Lord, Hrsikesa. In other words, by thinking of his all-pervading enemy, Kamsa became unfavorably Krsna conscious.

Srila Rupa Gosvami has described the finest pattern of devotional service as anukulyena krsnanusilanam [Cc. Madhya 19.167], or cultivating Krsna consciousness favorably. Kamsa, of course, was also Krsna conscious, but because he regarded Krsna as his enemy, even though he was fully absorbed in Krsna consciousness, his Krsna consciousness was not favorable for his existence. Krsna consciousness, favorably cultivated, makes one completely happy, so much so that a Krsna conscious person does not consider kaivalya-sukham, or merging into the existence of Krsna, to be a great gain. Kaivalyam narakayate. For a Krsna conscious person, even merging into the existence of Krsna, or Brahman, as impersonalists aspire to do, is uncomfortable. Kaivalyam narakayate tridasa-pur akasa-puspayate. Karmis hanker to be promoted to the heavenly planets, but a Krsna conscious person considers such promotion a will-o'-the-wisp, good for nothing. Durdantendriya-kala-sarpa-patali protkhata-damstrayate. Yogis try to control their senses and thus become happy, but a Krsna conscious person neglects the methods of yoga. He is unconcerned with the greatest of enemies, the senses, which are compared to snakes. For a Krsna conscious person who is cultivating Krsna consciousness favorably, the happiness conceived by the karmis, jñanis and yogis is treated as less than a fig. Kamsa, however, because of cultivating Krsna consciousness in a different way—that is, inimically—was uncomfortable in all the affairs of his life; whether sitting, sleeping, walking or eating, he was always in danger. This is the difference between a devotee and a nondevotee. A nondevotee or atheist also cultivates God consciousness—by trying to avoid God in everything. For example, so-called scientists who want to create life by a combination of chemicals regard the external, material elements as supreme. Such scientists do not like the idea that life is part and parcel of the Supreme Lord. As clearly stated in Bhagavad-gita (mamaivamso jiva-loke jiva-bhutah [Bg. 15.7]), the living entities do not arise from a combination of material elements, such as earth, water, air and fire, but are separated portions of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. If one can understand the position of the living entity as a separated portion of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, by studying the nature of the living entity one can understand the nature of the Supreme Godhead, since the living entity is a fragmental sample of the Godhead. But because atheists are not interested in God consciousness, they try to be happy by cultivating Krsna consciousness in various unfavorable ways.

Although Kamsa was always absorbed in thoughts of Hari, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he was not happy. A devotee, however, whether sitting on a throne or beneath a tree, is always happy. Srila Rupa Gosvami resigned from office as a government minister to sit beneath a tree, yet he was happy. Tyaktva turnam asesa-mandalapati-srenim sada tucchavat (Sad-gosvamy-astaka 4). He did not care for his comfortable position as minister; he was happy even beneath a tree in Vrndavana, favorably serving the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is the difference between a devotee and a nondevotee. For a nondevotee, the world is full of problems, whereas for a devotee the entire world is full of happiness.

visvam purna-sukhayate vidhi-mahendradis ca kitayate
yat-karunya-kataksa-vaibhavavatam tam gauram eva stumah
(Caitanya-candramrta 95)

This comfortable position of a devotee can be established by the mercy of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Yasmin sthito na duhkhena gurunapi vicalyate (Bg. 6.22). Even when a devotee is superficially put into great difficulty, he is never disturbed.

SB 10.2.25
brahma bhavas ca tatraitya
munibhir naradadibhih
devaih sanucaraih sakam
girbhir vrsanam aidayan

Lord Brahma and Lord Siva, accompanied by great sages like Narada, Devala and Vyasa and by other demigods like Indra, Candra and Varuna, invisibly approached the room of Devaki, where they all joined in offering their respectful obeisances and prayers to please the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who can bestow blessings upon everyone.

Dvau bhuta-sargau loke 'smin daiva asura eva ca [Bg. 16.6] (Padma Purana). There are two classes of men—the daivas and the asuras—and there is a great difference between them. Kamsa, being an asura, was always planning how to kill the Supreme Personality of Godhead or His mother, Devaki. Thus he was also Krsna conscious. But devotees are Krsna conscious favorably (visnu-bhaktah smrto daivah). Brahma is so powerful that he is in charge of creating an entire universe, yet he personally came to receive the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Bhava, Lord Siva, is always jubilant in chanting the holy name of the Lord. And what to speak of Narada? Narada-muni, bajaya vina, radhika-ramana-name. Narada Muni is always chanting the glories of the Lord, and his engagement is to travel all over the universe and find a devotee or make someone a devotee. Even a hunter was made a devotee by the grace of Narada. Srila Sanatana Gosvami, in his Tosani, says that the word narada-adibhih means that Narada and the demigods were accompanied by other saintly persons, like Sanaka and Sanatana, all of whom came to congratulate or welcome the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Even though Kamsa was planning to kill Devaki, he too awaited the arrival of the Supreme Personality of Godhead (pratiksams taj janma).