Power of Following Spiritual Master's Instructions

Srimad Bhagavatam 10.87.47-50 - Power of Following Spiritual Master's Instructions (download mp3)
by Vishwarup Prabhu at ISKCON Chowpatty

SB 10.87.47
ity adyam rsim anamya
 tac-chisyams ca mahatmanah
tato ’gad asramam saksat
 pitur dvaipayanasya me

[Sukadeva Gosvami continued:] After saying this, Narada bowed down to Sri Narayana Rsi, the foremost of sages, and also to His saintly disciples. He then returned to the hermitage of my father, Dvaipayana Vyasa.

SB 10.87.48
sabhajito bhagavata
tasmai tad varnayam asa
 narayana-mukhac chrutam

Vyasadeva, the incarnation of the Personality of Godhead, respectfully greeted Narada Muni and offered him a seat, which he accepted. Narada then described to Vyasa what he had heard from the mouth of Sri Narayana Rsi.

SB 10.87.49
ity etad varnitam rajan
 yan nah prasnah krtas tvaya
yatha brahmany anirdesye
 nirgune ’pi manas caret

Thus I have replied to the question you asked me, O King, concerning how the mind can have access to the Absolute Truth, which is indescribable by material words and devoid of material qualities.

SB 10.87.50
yo ’syotpreksaka adi-madhya-nidhane yo ’vyakta-jivesvaro
 yah srstvedam anupravisya rsina cakre purah sasti tah
yam sampadya jahaty ajam anusayi suptah kulayam yatha
 tam kaivalya-nirasta-yonim abhayam dhyayed ajasram harim

He is the Lord who eternally watches over this universe, who exists before, during and after its manifestation. He is the master of both the unmanifest material energy and the spirit soul. After sending forth the creation He enters within it, accompanying each living entity. There He creates the material bodies and then remains as their regulator. By surrendering to Him one can escape the embrace of illusion, just as a dreaming person forgets his own body. One who wants liberation from fear should constantly meditate upon Him, Lord Hari, who is always on the platform of perfection and thus never subject to material birth.

By glancing upon the dormant universe at the time of sending forth the jiva souls into creation, the Supreme Lord provides all their necessities: For those living entities who are fruitive workers, He provides the intelligence and senses needed to achieve success in material work. For those who seek transcendental knowledge, He provides the intelligence by which they can merge into the spiritual effulgence of God, thus attaining liberation. And for the devotees He provides the understanding that leads them to His pure devotional service.

To arrange for these varied facilities, the Lord impels material nature to begin the process of universal evolution. Thus the Lord is the nimitta-karanam, or effective cause, of creation. He is also the upadana-karanam, the ingredient cause, inasmuch as everything emanates from Him and He alone is constantly present before, during and after the manifestation of the created cosmos. Lord Narayana Himself states this in the Catuh-sloki Bhagavatam:

aham evasam evagre
 nanyad yat sad-asat-param
pascad aham yad etac ca
 yo ’vasisyeta so ’smy aham

“It is I, the Personality of Godhead, who was existing before the creation, when there was nothing but Myself. Nor was there the material nature, the cause of this creation. That which you see now is also I, the Personality of Godhead and after annihilation what remains will also be I, the Personality of Godhead.” (Bhag. 2.9.33) Primeval Maya and the jiva soul may deserve the respective titles of upadana and nimitta causes of creation in a relative sense, but the Lord, after all, is the origin of both of them.

Until he chooses to accept the mercy of the Personality of Godhead, the jiva soul is anusayi, helplessly bound up in the embrace of illusion. When he turns to the Lord’s worship, he becomes anusayi in a different sense: fallen like a rod to pay obeisances at the Lord’s feet. By that surrender the soul easily casts illusion aside. Even though the liberated soul may still seem to be living in a material body, the connection he has with it is only an external appearance; he pays no more regard to it than a sleeping man pays to his body while busily engaged far, far away in his dream-world.

One gives up ignorance by abandoning false identification with one’s material body. Sometimes one can achieve this state only by a severe effort that takes many lifetimes, but in some cases the Lord may show special consideration for one He favors, regardless of how little credit that soul may have earned by regulated practice. In the words of Sri Bhismadeva, yam iha niriksya hata gatah svarupam: “Those who simply saw Krsna on the Battlefield of Kuruksetra attained their original forms after being killed.” (Bhag. 1.9.39) That even demons like Agha, Baka and Kesi were liberated by Lord Krsna without having performed any spiritual practices is an indication of His unique position as the original Personality of Godhead. Knowing this, we should put aside all fear and doubt and give ourselves fully to the process of devotional service.

As his final words of commentary on this chapter, Srila Sridhara Svami writes:

bhoga-yoga-pradam vande
 madhavam karmi-namrayoh

“With their effulgence, the crest jewels among all the srutis offer arati to the lotus feet of Lord Madhava. I pay homage to Him, who bestows the material enjoyment honored by material workers, and who also grants the divine connection with Him prized by those who bow down to Him with reverence.”

Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura also takes this opportunity to offer this humble prayer:

he bhakta dvary ayam caƱcad-
 valadhi rauti vo manak
prasadam labhatam yasmad
 visistah sveva nathati

“O devotees, this poor creature is standing at your doorway, waving his tail and barking. Please let him have a little prasadam so that he may become exceptional among dogs and get the best of masters as his owner.” Here the acarya makes a pun on his own name: vis(istah), “exceptional”; sva(iva), “like a dog”; natha(ati), “having a master.” Such is the perfection of Vaisnava humility.

Thus end the purports of the humble servants of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada to the Tenth Canto, Eighty-seventh Chapter, of the Srimad-Bhagavatam, entitled “The Prayers of the Personified Vedas.”