Uninterrupted Devotional Service

Srimad Bhagavatam 10.04.20 - Uninterrupted Devotional Service (download mp3)
by Damodar Prabhu at ISKCON Chowpatty

SB 10.4.20
yathanevam-vido bhedo
yata atma-viparyayah
deha-yoga-viyogau ca
samsrtir na nivartate

One who does not understand the constitutional position of the body and the soul [atma] becomes too attached to the bodily concept of life. Consequently, because of attachment to the body and its by-products, he feels affected by union with and separation from his family, society and nation. As long as this continues, one continues his material life. [Otherwise, one is liberated.]

As confirmed in Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.2.6):

sa vai pumsam paro dharmo
yato bhaktir adhoksaje
ahaituky apratihata
yayatma suprasidati

The word dharma means "engagement." One who is engaged in the service of the Lord (yato bhaktir adhoksaje), without impediment and without cessation, is understood to be situated in his original, spiritual status. When one is promoted to this status, one is always happy in transcendental bliss. Otherwise, as long as one is in the bodily concept of life, one must suffer material conditions. Janma-mrtyu jara-vyadhi-duhkha-dosanudarsanam [Bg. 13.9]. The body is subject to its own principles of birth, death, old age and disease, but one who is situated in spiritual life (yato bhaktir adhoksaje) has no birth, no death, no old age and no disease. One may argue that we may see a person who is spiritually engaged twenty-four hours a day but is still suffering from disease. In fact, however, he is neither suffering nor diseased; otherwise he could not be engaged twenty-four hours a day in spiritual activities. The example may be given in this connection that sometimes dirty foam or garbage is seen floating on the water of the Ganges. This is called nira-dharma, a function of the water. But one who goes to the Ganges does not mind the foam and dirty things floating in the water. With his hand, he pushes away such nasty things, bathes in the Ganges and gains the beneficial results. Therefore, one who is situated in the spiritual status of life is unaffected by foam and garbage—or any superficial dirty things. This is confirmed by Srila Rupa Gosvami:

iha yasya harer dasye
karmana manasa gira
nikhilasv apy avasthasu
jivan-muktah sa ucyate

"A person acting in the service of Krsna with his body, mind and words is a liberated person, even within the material world." (Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu 1.2.187) Therefore, one is forbidden to regard the guru as an ordinary human being (gurusu nara-matir. .. naraki sah). The spiritual master, or acarya, is always situated in the spiritual status of life. Birth, death, old age and disease do not affect him. According to the Hari-bhakti-vilasa, therefore, after the disappearance of an acarya, his body is never burnt to ashes, for it is a spiritual body. The spiritual body is always unaffected by material conditions.