Qualification for Becoming A Disciple

Srimad Bhagavatam 10.63.38 - Qualification for Becoming A Disciple (download mp3)
by Shubha Vilas Prabhu at ISKCON Chowpatty

SB 10.63.38
tvam eka adyah puruso ’dvitiyas
 turyah sva-drg dhetur ahetur isah
pratiyase ’thapi yatha-vikaram
 sva-mayaya sarva-guna-prasiddhyai

You are the original person, one without a second, transcendental and self-manifesting. Uncaused, you are the cause of all, and You are the ultimate controller. You are nonetheless perceived in terms of the transformations of matter effected by Your illusory energy — transformations You sanction so that the various material qualities can fully manifest.

The acaryas comment as follows on this verse: Srila Sridhara Svami explains that the term adyah purusah, “the original purusa,” indicates that Lord Krsna expands Himself as Maha-Visnu, the first of the three purusas who take charge of cosmic manifestation. The Lord is eka advitiyah, “one without a second,” because there is no one equal to the Lord or different from Him. No one is completely equal to the Supreme Godhead, and yet because all the living beings are expansions of the potency of the Godhead, no one is qualitatively different from Him. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu nicely explains this inconceivable situation by stating that the Absolute Truth and the living beings are qualitatively one but quantitatively different. The Absolute possesses infinite spiritual consciousness, whereas the living beings possess infinitesimal consciousness, which is subject to being covered by illusion.

Srila Jiva Gosvami, commenting on the term adyah purusah, quotes from the Satvata-tantra: visnos tu trini rupani. “There are three forms of Visnu [for cosmic manifestation, etc.].” Srila Jiva Gosvami also quotes a statement of the Lord’s from sruti: purvam evaham ihasam. “In the beginning I alone existed in this world.” This statement describes the form of the Lord called the purusa-avatara, who exists before the cosmic manifestation. Srila Jiva Gosvami also quotes the following sruti-mantra: tat-purusasya purusatvam, which means “Such constitutes the Lord’s status as purusa.” Actually, Lord Krsna is the essence of the purusa incarnation because He is turiya, as described in the present verse. Jiva Gosvami explains the term turiya (literally “the fourth”) by quoting Sridhara Svami’s commentary to the Bhagavatam verse 11.15.16:

virat hiranyagarbhas ca
 karanam cety upadhayah
isasya yat tribhir hinam
 turiyam tad vidur budhah

“The Lord’s universal form, His Hiranyagarbha form and the primeval causal manifestation of material nature are all relative conceptions, but because the Lord Himself is not covered by these three, intelligent authorities call Him ‘the fourth.’”

According to Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti, the word turiya indicates that the Lord is the fourth member of the quadruple expansion of Godhead called the Catur-vyuha. In other words, Lord Krsna is Vasudeva.

Lord Krsna is sva-drk — that is, He alone can perceive Himself perfectly — because He is infinite spiritual existence, infinitely pure. He is hetu, the cause of everything, and yet He is ahetu, without cause. Therefore He is isa, the supreme controller.

The last two lines of this verse are of special philosophical significance. Why is the Lord perceived differently by different persons, although He is one? A partial explanation is given here. By the agency of Maya, the Lord’s external potency, material nature is in a constant state of transformation, vikara. In one sense, then, material nature is “unreal,” asat. But because God is the supreme reality, and because He is present within all things and all things are His potency, material objects and energies possess a degree of reality. Therefore some people see one aspect of material energy and think, “This is reality,” while other people see a different aspect of material energy and think, “No, that is reality.” Being conditioned souls, we are covered by different configurations of material nature, and thus we describe the Supreme Truth or the Supreme Lord in terms of our corrupted vision. Yet even the covering qualities of material nature, such as our conditioned intelligence, mind and senses, are real (being the potency of the Supreme Lord), and therefore through all things we can perceive, in a more or less subjective way, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. That is why the present verse states, pratiyase: “You are perceived.” Furthermore, without the manifestation of material nature’s covering qualities, the creation could not fulfill its purpose — namely, to allow the conditioned souls to make their best attempt to enjoy without God so that they will finally understand the futility of such an illusory notion.