What Makes a Devotee Rare

Srimad Bhagavatam 11.19.40-45 - What Makes a Devotee Rare (download mp3)
by Chaitanya Lila Prabhu at ISKCON Chowpatty

SB 11.19.40-45
bhago ma aisvaro bhavo
 labho mad-bhaktir uttamah
vidyatmani bhida-badho
 jugupsa hrir akarmasu
srir guna nairapeksyadyah
 sukham duhkha-sukhatyayah
duhkham kama-sukhapeksa
 pandito bandha-moksa-vit
murkho dehady-aham-buddhih
 pantha man-nigamah smrtah
utpathas citta-viksepah
 svargah sattva-gunodayah
narakas tama-unnaho
 bandhur gurur aham sakhe
grham sariram manusyam
 gunadhyo hy adhya ucyate
daridro yas tv asantustah
 krpano yo ’jitendriyah
gunesv asakta-dhir iso
 guna-sango viparyayah
eta uddhava te prasnah
 sarve sadhu nirupitah
kim varnitena bahuna
 laksanam guna-dosayoh
guna-dosa-drsir doso
 gunas tubhaya-varjitah

Actual opulence is My own nature as the Personality of Godhead, through which I exhibit the six unlimited opulences. The supreme gain in life is devotional service to Me, and actual education is nullifying the false perception of duality within the soul. Real modesty is to be disgusted with improper activities, and beauty is to possess good qualities such as detachment. Real happiness is to transcend material happiness and unhappiness, and real misery is to be implicated in searching for sex pleasure. A wise man is one who knows the process of freedom from bondage, and a fool is one who identifies with his material body and mind. The real path in life is that which leads to Me, and the wrong path is sense gratification, by which consciousness is bewildered. Actual heaven is the predominance of the mode of goodness, whereas hell is the predominance of ignorance. I am everyone’s true friend, acting as the spiritual master of the entire universe, and one’s home is the human body. My dear friend Uddhava, one who is enriched with good qualities is actually said to be rich, and one who is unsatisfied in life is actually poor. A wretched person is one who cannot control his senses, whereas one who is not attached to sense gratification is a real controller. One who attaches himself to sense gratification is the opposite, a slave. Thus, Uddhava, I have elucidated all of the matters about which you inquired. There is no need for a more elaborate description of these good and bad qualities, since to constantly see good and bad is itself a bad quality. The best quality is to transcend material good and evil.

The Supreme Personality of Godhead is naturally full of six opulences, namely unlimited beauty, wealth, fame, knowledge, strength and renunciation. Therefore the greatest profit in life is to achieve personal loving service to the Lord, who is naturally the reservoir of all pleasure. Real education means to give up the false idea that anything is separate from the Lord, the source of all potencies. Similarly, one should not falsely consider the individual soul to be different or separate from the Supreme Soul. Mere bashfulness does not constitute modesty. One should spontaneously withdraw in disgust from sinful activities; then one is actually modest or humble. One who is satisfied in Krsna consciousness and thus does not seek material pleasure or suffer material unhappiness is considered to be actually situated in happiness. The most wretched person is one addicted to sex pleasure, and a wise man is one who knows the process of freedom from such material bondage. A fool is one who gives up his eternal friendship with Lord Krsna and instead identifies himself with his own temporary material body, mind, society, community and family. The real path in life is not simply a modern interstate highway or, in more simple cultures, a footpath free of thorns and mud. It is that path that leads to Lord Krsna. The wrong path in life is not simply a road having many thieves or tollbooths; it is that path that leads one to utter confusion in material sense gratification. A heavenly situation is that in which the mode of goodness predominates, rather than that found on the planet of Indra, where passion and ignorance sometimes disturb the celestial atmosphere. Hell is anywhere the mode of ignorance is predominant, and not merely the hellish planets, where, according to Lord Siva, a pure devotee can think of Krsna and remain happy. Our actual friend in life is the bona fide spiritual master, who saves us from all dangers. Among all gurus, Lord Krsna is Himself the jagad-guru, or spiritual master of the entire universe. In material life our own material body is our immediate home, rather than some structure of bricks, cement, stone and wood. A rich man is one who possesses innumerable good qualities; he is not a neurotic fool with a large bank account. A poor man is one who is unsatisfied, which is self-explanatory. One who cannot control his senses is certainly wretched and miserable in life, whereas one who detaches himself from material life is actually a lord or controller. In modern times there are remnants of aristocracy in Europe and other countries, but such so-called lords often display the habits of lower forms of life. A real lord is one who conquers material existence by rising to the spiritual platform. A person who is attached to material life will undoubtedly manifest the opposites of all the good qualities mentioned here, and he is thus the symbol of going backward in life. The Lord concludes His analysis by stating that there is no need for further elaboration of these good and bad qualities. Indeed, the purpose of life is to transcend materially good and bad qualities and come to the liberated platform of pure Krsna consciousness. This point will be further explained in the following chapter.

Thus end the purports of the humble servants of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada to the Eleventh Canto, Nineteenth Chapter, of the Srimad-Bhagavatam, entitled “The Perfection of Spiritual Knowledge.”

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