Eight milestones on the path of Bhakti

Srimad Bhagavatam 11.19.02 - Eight milestones on the path of Bhakti (download mp3)
by Chaitanya Lilla Prabhu at ISKCON Chowpatty

SB 11.19.2
j├▒aninas tv aham evestah
 svartho hetus ca sammatah
svargas caivapavargas ca
 nanyo ’rtho mad-rte priyah

For learned, self-realized philosophers I am the only object of worship, the desired goal of life, the means for achieving that goal, and the settled conclusion of all knowledge. Indeed, because I am the cause of their happiness and their freedom from unhappiness, such learned souls have no effective purpose or dear object in life except Me.

In the previous verse Lord Krsna stated that one should ultimately surrender unto Him that knowledge by which the material world is seen as illusion. Material attachments are certainly problems for the living entities, since they are diseases of the spirit soul. One who has contracted a skin disease that causes terrible itching gains only flickering relief by scratching the unbearable sores. If he does not scratch he suffers greatly, but by scratching, even though there is an instantaneous sensation of pleasure, unbearable misery follows as the itching increases. Real happiness is not found in scratching one’s skin infections but rather in becoming free from such disease. Conditioned souls are harassed by many illusory desires, and in desperation they try to gratify their senses through the hopeless scratching processes of illicit sex, meat-eating, gambling and intoxication. They further try to gain relief through material society, friendship and love, but the result is unbearable suffering. Real happiness is to eliminate completely the itching disease of material desire. Since material desire is a disease of the soul, one must acquire knowledge to treat this disease and eliminate it. Such therapeutic knowledge is essential as long as one is diseased, but when one is fully healthy, such technical medical knowledge is no longer interesting to the healthy person, and he may leave such knowledge to the doctors. Similarly, in the advanced stage of Krsna consciousness one need not think continually of one’s personal problems but may rather think of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Krsna, with love and devotion. Lord Krsna advises in the previous verse that one should eliminate one’s personal problems through technical knowledge of illusion. After giving up constant meditation on such problems, one can then become a lover of God. Lord Krsna certainly guides each and every sincere devotee internally within the heart and externally through the bona fide spiritual master. In this way, Lord Krsna gradually trains His sincere devotees to give up their irrational attachment to dead matter. Once freedom has been achieved, a devotee begins to seriously cultivate his relationship with Lord Krsna in the spiritual sky.

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