Srimad Bhagavatam 11.21.43 - Three Levels to Cross before Reaching Krishna (download mp3)
by Nanda Dulal Prabhu at ISKCON Chowpatty
mam vidhatte ’bhidhatte mam
vikalpyapohyate tv aham
sabda asthaya mam bhidam
I am the ritualistic sacrifice enjoined by the Vedas, and I am the worshipable Deity. It is I who am presented as various philosophical hypotheses, and it is I alone who am then refuted by philosophical analysis. The transcendental sound vibration thus establishes Me as the essential meaning of all Vedic knowledge. The Vedas, elaborately analyzing all material duality as nothing but My illusory potency, ultimately completely negate this duality and achieve their own satisfaction.
The Lord declared in the previous verse that He alone knows the ultimate purpose of the Vedas, and now the Lord reveals that He alone is the ultimate basis and purpose of all Vedic knowledge. The karma-kanda section of the Vedas prescribes ritualistic sacrifices for promotion to heaven. Such sacrifices are the Lord Himself. Similarly, the upasana-kanda section of the Vedas designates different demigods as objects of ritualistic worship, and these deities are not different from the Lord Himself, being expansions of the Lord’s body. In the jñana-kanda section of the Vedas different philosophical methods of analysis are presented and refuted. Such knowledge, which analyzes the potency of the Supreme Lord, is not different from Him. Ultimately Lord Krsna is everything, because everything is part and parcel of the Lord’s multipotencies. Although Vedic literature entices those absorbed in material duality to begin the Vedic way of life by offering them materially desirable rewards, the Vedas eventually refute all material duality by bringing one to the stage of God consciousness, wherein there is nothing different from the Supreme Lord.
Within the Vedic literature there are various injunctions stating that at a particular stage of life one should give up fruitive rituals and take to the path of knowledge. Similarly, other injunctions declare that a self-realized soul should give up the path of speculative knowledge and take directly to the shelter of the Absolute Truth, the Personality of Godhead. But nowhere is there an injunction recommending that one give up the loving service of the Lord, because that is the eternal constitutional position of every living entity. Different philosophical theses are presented and rejected in the Vedas, since one who is progressing must give up each previous stage in the advancement of knowledge. For example, one who is addicted to sex enjoyment is taught to accept religious marriage and enjoy sex pleasure with his wife. Such ritualistic knowledge is to be given up when one attains the stage of detachment, whereupon one is recommended to take the renounced order of life. In that stage of life one is forbidden to see or speak with women. When, however, one reaches the perfection of Krsna consciousness, wherein the Lord is manifest everywhere, one may engage all living entities, including women, in the loving service of the Lord without danger of spiritual falldown. Thus different injunctions based on progressive stages of spiritual vision are presented and refuted in Vedic literature. Since all such injunctions and processes are ultimately meant for the achievement of Krsna consciousness, the loving service of the Lord, they are not different from Lord Krsna Himself. The conditioned soul, therefore, should not prematurely stop his progressive march back home, back to Godhead, by foolishly mistaking an intermediate or preliminary stage of advancement as the actual goal of life. One must understand that the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krsna, is the source, maintenance and resting place of everything, and that every living entity is the Lord’s eternal servant. In this way one should continue on the Vedic path all the way back home, back to Godhead, for eternal life of bliss and knowledge.
Thus end the purports of the humble servants of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada to the Eleventh Canto, Twenty-first Chapter, of the Srimad-Bhagavatam, entitled “Lord Krsna’s Explanation of the Vedic Path.”