Benefits of Listening and Following

Srimad Bhagavatam10.85.22-23 - Benefits of Listening and Following (download mp3)
by Navin Nirada Prabhu at ISKCON Chowpatty

SB 10.85.22
sri-bhagavan uvaca
vaco vah samavetartham
 tataitad upamanmahe
yan nah putran samuddisya
 tattva-grama udahrtah

The Supreme Lord said: My dear Father, I consider your statements appropriate, since you have explained the various categories of existence by referring to Us, your sons.

Posing as Vasudeva’s dependent son, Lord Krsna expresses gratitude for His father’s edifying instructions.

SB 10.85.23
aham yuyam asav arya
 ime ca dvarakaukasah
sarve ’py evam yadu-srestha
 vimrgyah sa-caracaram

Not only I, but also you, along with My respected brother and these residents of Dvaraka, should all be considered in this same philosophical light, O best of the Yadus. Indeed, we should include all that exists, both moving and nonmoving.

To protect His parents’ intimate relationship with Him, Lord Krsna stresses the oneness of all existence in this statement to His father, Vasudeva. Vasudeva had been reminded of his sons’ greatness by hearing the sages gathered at Kuruksetra. But his sense of awe was ruining his intimate parental relationship with Krsna, and therefore Krsna wanted to dispel it.

We should not misunderstand the “oneness” Lord Krsna speaks of here. The subtle words of the Upanisads often mislead impersonalists into believing that all existence is ineffably one, without any variety in the ultimate issue. Some Upanisadic mantras emphasize the sameness of God and His creation, while others speak about their difference. Tat tvam asi svetaketo (“You are that, O Svetaketu”), for example, is an abheda-vakya, a mantra affirming that all things are one with God, being His dependent expansions. But the Upanisads also contain many bheda-vakyas, statements that affirm the unique, distinguishing qualities of the Supreme, such as this statement: ka evanyat kah pranyad yady esa akasa anando na syat, esa evanandayati. “Who would there be to activate the creation and give life to all beings if this infinite Supreme were not the original enjoyer? Indeed, He alone is the source of all pleasure.” (Taittiriya Upanisad. 2.7.1) By the influence of the Supreme Lord’s bewildering Maya, envious impersonalists read the abheda-vakyas literally and accept the bheda-vakyas only in a figurative way. Authoritative Vaisnava commentators, on the other hand, carefully reconcile the apparent contradictions in accordance with the interpretive principles of Vedic Mimamsa and the logically established conclusions of Vedanta.