Bhakti is the Path of the Paramahamsas

by Pawaneshwar Prabhu at ISKCON Chowpatty

SB 02.09.18
hṛṣyat-tanuḥ prema-bharāśru-locanaḥ
nanāma pādāmbujam asya viśva-sṛg
yat pāramahaṁsyena pathādhigamyate

Lord Brahmā, thus seeing the Personality of Godhead in His fullness, was overwhelmed with joy within his heart, and thus in full transcendental love and ecstasy, his eyes filled with tears of love. He thus bowed down before the Lord. That is the way of the highest perfection for the living being [paramahaṁsa].

In the beginning of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam it is stated that this great literature is meant for the paramahaṁsas. Paramo nirmatsarāṇāṁ satām, i.e., the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is meant for persons completely free from malice. In the conditioned life the malicious life begins from the top, namely bearing malice against the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The Personality of Godhead is an established fact in all the revealed scriptures, and in the Bhagavad-gītā the personal feature of the Supreme Lord is especially mentioned, so much so that the last portion of the great literature has emphatically stressed that one should surrender unto the Personality of Godhead to be saved from the miseries of life. Unfortunately, persons with impious backgrounds do not believe in the Personality of Godhead, and everyone wants to become God himself without any qualification. This malicious nature in the conditioned soul continues even up to the stage when a person wants to be one with the Lord, and thus even the greatest of the empiric philosophers speculating on becoming one with the Supreme Lord cannot become a paramahaṁsa because the malicious mind is there. Therefore the paramahaṁsa stage of life can be attained only by those who are fixed in the practice of bhakti-yoga. This bhakti-yoga begins if a person has the firm conviction that simply discharging devotional service to the Lord in full transcendental love can elevate him to the highest perfectional stage of life. Brahmājī believed in this art of bhakti-yoga; he believed in the instruction of the Lord to execute tapa, and he discharged the function with great penance and thus achieved the great success of seeing the Vaikuṇṭhalokas and the Lord also by personal experience. No one can reach the abode of the Supreme Lord by any mechanical means of the mind or machine, but one can reach the abode of the Vaikuṇṭhalokas simply by following the process of bhakti-yoga because the Lord can be realized only through the bhakti-yoga process. Lord Brahmājī was actually sitting on his lotus seat, and from there, by executing the process of bhakti-yoga in great seriousness, he could see the Vaikuṇṭhalokas with all variegatedness as well as the Lord in person and His associates.

Following in the footsteps of Lord Brahmā, any person, even up to this day, can attain the same perfection by following the path of the paramahaṁsa as recommended herein. Lord Caitanya also approved of this method of self-realization for men in this age. One should first, with all conviction, believe in the Personality of Godhead Śrī Kṛṣṇa, and without making efforts to realize Him by speculative philosophy, one should prefer to hear about Him from the Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā and later from the text of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. One should hear such discourses from a person Bhāgavatam and not from the professional man, or from the karmī, jñānī or yogī. That is the secret of learning the science. One does not need to be in the renounced order of life; he can remain in his present condition of life, but he must search out the association of a bona fide devotee of the Lord and hear from him the transcendental message of the Lord with faith and conviction. That is the path of the paramahaṁsa recommended herein. Amongst various holy names of the Lord, He is also called ajita, or one who can never be conquered by anyone else. Yet He can be conquered by the paramahaṁsa path, as practically realized and shown by the great spiritual master Lord Brahmā. Lord Brahmā has personally recommended this paramahaṁsa-panthāḥ in his own words as follows:

jñāne prayāsam udapāsya namanta eva
jīvanti sanmukharitāṁ bhavadīya vārtām
sthāne sthitāḥ śruti-gatāṁ tanu-vāṅ-manobhir
ye prāyaśo ’jita jito ’py asi tais trilokyām
Lord Brahmā said, “O my Lord Kṛṣṇa, a devotee who abandons the path of empiric philosophical speculation aimed at merging in the existence of the Supreme and engages himself in hearing Your glories and activities from a bona fide sādhu, or saint, and who lives an honest life in the occupational engagement of his social life, can conquer Your sympathy and mercy even though You are ajita, or unconquerable.” (Bhāg. 10.14.3) That is the path of the paramahaṁsas, which was personally followed by Lord Brahmā and later recommended by him for attaining perfect success in life.

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