Srimad Bhagavatam 11.21.14 - Different Methods of Purification (download mp3)
by Gauranga Priya Prabhu at ISKCON Chowpatty
mat-smrtya catmanah saucam
suddhah karmacared dvijah
The self can be cleansed by bathing, charity, austerity, age, personal strength, purificatory rituals, prescribed duties and, above all, by remembrance of Me. The brahmana and other twice-born men should be duly purified before performing their specific activities.
The word avastha indicates that when boys and girls are young they are kept pure by youthful innocence and that as they grow up they are kept pure through proper education and engagement. By one’s individual potency one should avoid sinful activities and the association of those inclined toward sense gratification. The word karma here refers to prescribed duties, such as worshiping the spiritual master and the Deity, chanting the Gayatri mantra three times daily and accepting spiritual initiation. The prescribed duties of the varnasrama system automatically purify one from the covering of false ego by dovetailing one’s bodily designation in appropriate religious activities. There are specific duties for brahmanas, ksatriyas, vaisyas, sudras, brahmacaris, grhasthas, vanaprasthas and sannyasis, as described previously in this canto by the Lord Himself. The most significant word here is mat-smrtya (“by remembrance of Me”). Ultimately, one cannot avoid the infection of illusion through any process except Krsna consciousness. The three modes of nature perpetually interact, and one must sometimes fall into the mode of ignorance and sometimes rise to the mode of goodness, uselessly rotating within the kingdom of illusion. But by Krsna consciousness, remembrance of the Personality of Godhead, one can actually uproot one’s tendency to act against the will of the Absolute Truth. Then one becomes freed from the clutches of maya and goes back home, back to Godhead. As stated in the Garuda Purana:
apavitrah pavitro va
sarvavastham gato ’pi va
yah smaret pundarikaksam
sa bahyabhyantare sucih
“Whether one is pure or contaminated, and regardless of one’s external situation, simply by remembering the lotus-eyed Personality of Godhead one can internally and externally cleanse one’s existence.”
Lord Caitanya recommended that we constantly remember the Supreme Lord by chanting His holy names, Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. This sublime process is essential for every human actually desirous of purifying his existence.