Srimad Bhagavatam 02.02.27 - Cultivating your Bhakti Lata (download mp3)
by Radha Gopinath Prabhu at ISKCON Chowpatty
na yatra śoko na jarā na mṛtyur
nārtir na codvega ṛte kutaścit
yac cit tato ’daḥ kṛpayānidaṁ-vidāṁ
In that planet of Satyaloka, there is neither bereavement, nor old age nor death. There is no pain of any kind, and therefore there are no anxieties, save that sometimes, due to consciousness, there is a feeling of compassion for those unaware of the process of devotional service, who are subjected to unsurpassable miseries in the material world.
Foolish men of materialistic temperament do not take advantage of successive authorized knowledge. The Vedic knowledge is authorized and is acquired not by experiment but by authentic statements of the Vedic literatures explained by bona fide authorities. Simply by becoming an academic scholar one cannot understand the Vedic statements; one has to approach the real authority who has received the Vedic knowledge by disciplic succession, as clearly explained in the Bhagavad-gītā (4.2). Lord Kṛṣṇa affirmed that the system of knowledge as explained in the Bhagavad-gītā was explained to the sun-god, and the knowledge descended by disciplic succession from the sun-god to his son Manu, and from Manu to King Ikṣvāku (the forefather of Lord Rāmacandra), and thus the system of knowledge was explained down the line of great sages, one after another. But in due course of time the authorized succession was broken, and therefore, just to reestablish the true spirit of the knowledge, the Lord again explained the same knowledge to Arjuna, who was a bona fide candidate for understanding due to his being a pure devotee of the Lord. Bhagavad-gītā, as it was understood by Arjuna, is also explained (Bg. 10.12-13), but there are many foolish men who do not follow in the footsteps of Arjuna in understanding the spirit of Bhagavad-gītā. They create instead their own interpretations, which are as foolish as they themselves, and thereby only help to put a stumbling block on the path of real understanding, misdirecting the innocent followers who are less intelligent, or the śūdras. It is said that one should become a brāhmaṇa before one can understand the Vedic statements, and this stricture is as important as the stricture that no one shall become a lawyer who has not qualified himself as a graduate. Such a stricture is not an impediment in the path of progress for anyone and everyone, but it is necessary for an unqualified understanding of a particular science. Vedic knowledge is misinterpreted by those who are not qualified brāhmaṇas. A qualified brāhmaṇa is one who has undergone strict training under the guidance of a bona fide spiritual master.
The Vedic wisdom guides us to understanding our relation with the Supreme Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa and to acting accordingly in order to achieve the desired result of returning home, back to Godhead. But materialistic men do not understand this. They want to make a plan to become happy in a place where there is no happiness. For false happiness they try to reach other planets, either by Vedic rituals or by spacecraft, but they should know for certain that any amount of materialistic adjustment for becoming happy in a place which is meant for distress cannot benefit the misguided man because, after all, the whole universe with all its paraphernalia will come to an end after a certain period. Then all plans of materialistic happiness will automatically come to an end. The intelligent person therefore makes a plan to return home, back to Godhead. Such an intelligent person surpasses all the pangs of material existence, like birth, death, disease and old age. He is actually happy because he has no anxieties of material existence, but as a compassionate sympathizer he feels unhappiness for the suffering materialistic men, and thus he occasionally comes before the materialistic men to teach them the necessity of going back to Godhead. All the bona fide ācāryas preach this truth of returning home, back to Godhead, and warn men not to make a false plan for happiness in a place where happiness is only a myth.