Resolving Apparent Contradictions of Mundane Religious Principles

2019-07-25 SB-11-21-04 - Resolving Apparent Contradictions of Mundane Religious Principles (download mp3)
by Vasudev Prabhu at ISKCON Chowpatty

 SB 11.21.4
darsito ’yam mayacaro
 dharmam udvahatam dhuram

I have revealed this way of life for those bearing the burden of mundane religious principles.

Ordinary religious principles, prescribing innumerable rules, regulations and prohibitions, are undoubtedly a great burden for those bereft of Krsna consciousness. In the First Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.1.11) it is stated, bhurini bhuri-karmani srotavyani vibhagasah: there are countless religious scriptures in the world prescribing countless religious duties. The authorized scriptures are those spoken by the Lord Himself or His representatives, as stated in this verse. In the last chapter of Bhagavad-gita (18.66) Lord Krsna states, sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja: one should give up the troublesome burden of mundane piety and directly take to the loving service of the Lord, in which everything is simplified. Lord Krsna also states in Bhagavad-gita (9.2), su-sukham kartum avyayam: the bhakti-yoga process, which depends completely upon the mercy of the Lord, is very joyful and easily performed. Similarly, Locana dasa Thakura sings,

parama karuna, pahun dui jana,
saba avatara-, sara-siromani,
 kevala ananda-kanda

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, who is Lord Krsna Himself, appeared five hundred years ago to distribute the sublime method of chanting the holy names of the Lord. In this way, rather than bearing the burden of artificial austerity, one can directly take to the Lord’s service, cleansing one’s heart and immediately experiencing transcendental bliss. Those who have taken to Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s movement follow four basic principles: no illicit sex, no eating of meat, fish or eggs, no intoxication and no gambling. They rise early in the morning, chant Hare Krsna and spend the day happily engaged in the Lord’s service. Those who follow the ritualistic karma-kanda section of the Vedas, however, are burdened with innumerable regulations, rituals and ceremonies, which must be personally performed by the worshipers or performed on their behalf by qualified brahmanas. At any moment there is danger of discrepancy resulting in the total loss of their accumulated piety. Similarly, those on the philosophical path must painstakingly define, refine and adjust philosophical categories, a process that generally ends in confusion and hopelessness. The practitioners of mystic yoga undergo grueling penances, subjecting themselves to severe heat and cold, near starvation and so on. All such materialistic persons have personal desires to fulfill, whereas the devotees of the Lord, who desire the Lord’s pleasure, simply depend upon the Lord’s mercy and go back home, back to Godhead. In the previous verse the Lord mentioned that in the material world there are endless distinctions and value judgements to be made in the course of one’s life. A devotee, however, sees Krsna within everything and everything within Krsna, remaining humble, simple and blissful in the Lord’s service. He does not perform elaborate religious ceremonies, nor does he become antisocial or immoral. The devotee simply chants the holy name of Krsna and easily achieves the highest perfection of life. Ordinary persons endeavor for bodily maintenance, but a devotee is automatically maintained by the Lord’s mercy. A devotee’s ordinary dealings and religious activities are also all dedicated to the Personality of Godhead; thus there is nothing but Krsna in a devotee’s life. Krsna gives all protection and maintenance, and the devotee gives everything to Krsna. This natural liberated situation is called Krsna consciousness. It is the ultimate absolute good, as explained by the Lord throughout this canto.

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