Aspiring Change for Eternal Better

Srimad Bhagavatam 10.87.39 - Aspiring Change for Eternal Better (download mp3)
by Dwarkadhish Prabhu at ISKCON Chowpatty

SB 10.87.39
yadi na samuddharanti yatayo hrdi kama-jata
 duradhigamo ’satam hrdi gato ’smrta-kantha-manih
asu-trpa-yoginam ubhayato ’py asukham bhagavann
 anapagatantakad anadhirudha-padad bhavatah

Members of the renounced order who fail to uproot the last traces of material desire in their hearts remain impure, and thus You do not allow them to understand You. Although You are present within their hearts, for them You are like a jewel worn around the neck of a man who has totally forgotten it is there. O Lord, those who practice yoga only for sense gratification must suffer punishment both in this life and the next: from death, who will not release them, and from You, whose kingdom they cannot reach.

A mere show of renunciation is not sufficient to gain a person entrance into the kingdom of God. One must undergo a thorough change of heart, symptomized by a complete lack of interest in the self-destructive habits of sense gratification, both gross and subtle. Not only must the true sage refrain from even thinking of illicit sex, meat-eating, intoxication and gambling, but he must also give up his desires for reputation and position. All together these demands add up to a formidable challenge but the fruits of true renunciation in Krsna consciousness are well worth a lifetime of endeavor.

The Mundaka Upanisad (3.2.2) confirms the statements of this verse: kaman yah kamayate manyamanah sa karmabhir jayate tatra tatra. “Even a thoughtful renunciant, if he maintains any worldly desires will be forced by his karmic reactions to take birth again and again in various circumstances.” Philosophers and yogis work hard to become free from birth and death, but because they are unwilling to surrender their proud independence, their meditations are devoid of devotion to the Supreme Lord, and thus they fall short of the perfection of renunciation — pure love of God. This pure love is the only goal of a sincere Vaisnava, and therefore he must vigilantly resist the natural temptations of profit, adoration and distinction, and also the impulse to merge into an all consuming impersonal oblivion. As Srila Rupa Gosvami states in his Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu (1.1.11):

anukulyena krsnanu-
 silanam bhaktir uttama

“When first-class devotional service develops, one must be devoid of all material desires, knowledge obtained by monistic philosophy, and fruitive action. The devotee must constantly serve Krsna favorably, as Krsna desires.

For those who undergo rigorous yoga discipline only to please their senses, prolonged suffering is inevitable. Hunger, disease, the degeneration of old age, injury from accident, violence from others — these are a few of the limitless varieties of suffering one can experience to varying degrees in this world. And ultimately, death awaits, followed by painful punishment for sinful activities. Especially those who have freely indulged in sensual enjoyments at the cost of others’ lives can expect punishment so severe it is unimaginable. But the greatest pain of material existence is not misfortune in this life or being sent to hell after death: it is the emptiness of having forgotten one’s eternal relationship with the Personality of Godhead.

Srila Sridhara Svami prays:

dambha-nyasa-misena vañcita-janam bhogaika-cintaturam
 sammuhyantam ahar-nisam viracitodyoga-klamair akulam
ajña-langhinam ajñam ajña-janata-sammananasan-madam
 dinanatha daya-nidhana paramananda prabho pahi mam

“The hypocrite who cheats himself by a pretense of renunciation thinks only of sense enjoyment and thus suffers constantly. Bewildered day and night, he is overwhelmed by the exhausting endeavors he contrives for himself. This fool disobeys Your laws and is corrupted by greed for respect from other fools. O protector of the fallen, O bestower of mercy, O supremely blissful master, please save that person, myself.”