Krishna Consciousness Is Real Medicine

Srimad Bhagavatam 11.03.44 - Krishna Consciousness Is Real Medicine (download mp3)
by Dayal Chandra Prabhu at ISKCON Chowpatty

SB 11.3.44
paroksa-vado vedo ’yam
 balanam anusasanam
karma-moksaya karmani
 vidhatte hy agadam yatha

Childish and foolish people are attached to materialistic, fruitive activities, although the actual goal of life is to become free from such activities. Therefore, the Vedic injunctions indirectly lead one to the path of ultimate liberation by first prescribing fruitive religious activities, just as a father promises his child candy so that the child will take his medicine.

As stated in Bhagavad-gita, traigunya-visaya veda nistraigunyo bhavarjuna. The Vedas apparently offer fruitive results within the three modes of material nature. Those who perform ritualistic ceremonies or austerities in the mode of goodness are offered the chance for promotion to the higher planetary systems called Svargaloka. Asnanti divyan divi deva-bhogan. Similarly, those who perform karma-kanda, or fruitive religious activities in the mode of passion, are allowed to become great rulers or wealthy men on earth and enjoy great prestige and earthly power. But as stated in the Manu-samhita, pravrttir esa bhutanam nivrttis tu maha-phala: “Although fruitive religious activities are very much popular among the conditioned souls, the actual perfection of life is achieved when one gives up all fruitive endeavor.”

If a father tells his child, “You must take this medicine by my order,” the child may become fearful and rebellious and reject the medicine. Therefore, the father entices his child by saying, “I am going to give you a delicious piece of candy. But if you want this candy, first just take this little bit of medicine, and then you can have the candy.” Such indirect persuasion is called paroksa-vadah, or an indirect description that conceals the actual purpose. The father presents his proposal to the child as if the ultimate goal were to receive the candy and only a minor condition must be fulfilled to receive it. Actually, however, the father’s goal is to administer the medicine to the child and cure him of his disease. Thus, describing the primary purpose indirectly and concealing it with a secondary proposal is called paroksa-vadah, or indirect persuasion.

Since the great majority of conditioned souls are addicted to sense gratification (pravrttir esa bhutanam), the Vedic karma-kanda rituals offer them a chance to become free from temporary materialistic sense gratification by making them greedy for fruitive Vedic results such as promotion to heaven or a powerful ruling position on earth. In all Vedic rituals Visnu is worshiped, and thus one is gradually promoted to the understanding that one’s actual self-interest is to surrender to Visnu. Na te viduh svartha-gatim hi visnum. Such an indirect method is prescribed for balanam, those who are childish or foolish. An intelligent person can immediately understand by direct analysis the actual purpose of Vedic literature as described by the Lord Himself (vedais ca sarvair aham eva vedyah). All Vedic knowledge ultimately aims at achieving shelter at the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Without such shelter one must rotate within the 8,400,000 species offered by the illusory energy of the Lord. Ordinary material vision, either through gross sense perception or the subtle perception of rational induction, always yields imperfect knowledge distorted by the desire for illusory material enjoyment. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura comments that the cultivation of impersonal self-realization is also a disturbance to the conditioned souls, since the impersonal speculative process is an artificial attempt to become completely formless. Such an attempt is not at all in accord with the proper judgment of the Vedas, which is described in Bhagavad-gita (vedais ca sarvair aham eva vedyah).

In Lord Caitanya’s movement there is no need to childishly pursue fruitive material results and gradually be dragged to actual knowledge. According to Caitanya Mahaprabhu:

harer nama harer nama
 harer namaiva kevalam
kalau nasty eva nasty eva
 nasty eva gatir anyatha

In Kali-yuga life is very short (prayenalpayusah), and people are generally undisciplined (mandah), misguided (sumanda-matayah), and overwhelmed by the unfavorable results of their previous activities (manda-bhagyah). Thus their minds are never peaceful (upadrutah), and their very brief life span vitiates the possibility of their gradually progressing through the path of Vedic ritualistic activities. Therefore, the only hope is to chant the holy names of the Lord, harer nama. In the Srimad-Bhagavatam (12.3.51) it is stated:

kaler dosa-nidhe rajann
 asti hy eko mahan gunah
kirtanad eva krsnasya
 mukta-sangah param vrajet

Kali-yuga is an ocean of hypocrisy and pollution. In Kali-yuga all natural elements are polluted, such as water, earth, sky, mind, intelligence and ego. The only auspicious aspect of this fallen age is the process of chanting the holy names of the Lord (asti hy eko mahan gunah). Simply by the delightful process of krsna-kirtana one is freed from his connection to this fallen age (mukta-sanga) and goes back home, back to Godhead (param vrajet). Sometimes the preachers of the Krsna consciousness movement also use the paroksa, or indirect method of persuasion, offering a nice transcendental sweet to the conditioned soul to entice him to come to the lotus feet of the Lord. Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s movement is kevala ananda-kanda, simply blissful. But by the mercy of Caitanya Mahaprabhu even one who is indirectly attracted to the Krsna consciousness movement achieves very quickly the perfection of life and goes back home, back to Godhead.