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TLK 44

etāvān eva loke 'smin
puṁsāṁ niḥśreyasodayaḥ
tīvreṇa bhakti-yogena
mano mayy arpitaṁ sthiram
SB 3.25.44

Therefore persons whose minds are fixed on the Lord engage in the intensive practice of devotional service. That is the only means to attain the final perfection of life. id1

Here the words mano mayy arpitam, which mean “the mind being fixed on Me,” are significant. One should fix his mind on the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa or His incarnation. To be fixed steadily in that freedom is the way of liberation. Ambarīṣa Mahārāja is an example. He fixed his mind on the lotus feet of the Lord, he spoke only on the pastimes of the Lord, he smelled only the flowers and tulasī offered to the Lord, he walked only to the temple of the Lord, he engaged his hands in cleansing the temple, he engaged his tongue in tasting the foodstuff offered to the Lord, and he engaged his ears in hearing the great pastimes of the Lord. In this way all his senses were engaged. First of all, the mind should be engaged at the lotus feet of the Lord, very steadily and naturally. Because the mind is the master of the senses, when the mind is engaged, all the senses are engaged. That is bhakti-yoga. Yoga means controlling the senses. The senses cannot be controlled in the proper sense of the term; they are always agitated. This is true also with a child—how long can he be forced to sit down silently? It is not possible. Even Arjuna said, cañcalaṁ hi manaḥ kṛṣṇa: [Bg. 6.34] “The mind is always agitated.” The best course is to fix the mind on the lotus feet of the Lord. Mano mayy arpitaṁ sthiram. If one seriously engages in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, that is the highest perfectional stage. All Kṛṣṇa conscious activities are on the highest perfectional level of human life. id2

This verse marks the conclusion of bhakti-yoga, as described by Lord Kapiladeva to His mother. Bhakti-yoga is the business of one advanced in jñāna-vairāgya, knowledge and renunciation. Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya has explained bhakti-yoga as vairāgya-vidyā-nija-bhakti-yoga [Cc. Madhya 6.254]. Bhakti-yoga begins when we accept Kṛṣṇa's instructions: id3

sarva-dharmān parityajya
mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja

“Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me.” (Bg. 18.66) id4

We have to renounce all material engagements and accept the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa. We are making one plan after another to be happy in this material world, but this place is certified by the Supreme Personality of Godhead as duḥkhālayam aśāśvatam [Bg. 8.15], a place of misery. This material world is actually meant for misery, just as a prison house is meant for punishment. Once we attain our constitutional position of brahma-bhūta [SB 4.30.20], we can enter the kingdom of God, the spiritual world. By karma-yoga we attempt to get out of the gross body, and by jñāna-yoga we attempt to get out of the subtle body, but by bhakti-yoga we can directly transcend both the subtle body (mind, intelligence and ego) and the gross material body. Then we can be situated on the spiritual platform in our original, spiritual body. As long as we are in the subtle and gross bodies, we are suffering under the three modes of material nature. Once we enter into the devotional service of the Lord, we are immediately situated on the platform of brahma-bhūta. Ahaṁ brahmāsmi (“I am Brahman”) is simply theoretical knowledge, but when one actually renders devotional service, one is situated in practical knowledge. Then one is no longer on the material platform but on the Brahman platform. id5

Prahlāda Mahārāja rendered the best service to his father, Hiraṇyakaśipu, by having him killed by Lord Nṛsiṁhadeva. Superficially it appeared that Prahlāda Mahārāja did not help his father, but this was not the case. In the śāstras it is said that if a person, even though a demon, is killed by God, he is immediately liberated. prahlāda Mahārāja was thinking, “My father is so sinful and so much opposed to God consciousness that he might not be liberated.” After Lord Nṛsiṁha killed Hiraṇyakaśipu, Prahlāda Mahārāja told the Lord, “My dear Lord, may I ask one thing from You? My father was a great atheist, and he committed many offenses at Your lotus feet. Now You have killed him. I request that he be excused and be given liberation.” Actually Hiraṇyakaśipu was already liberated, yet his affectionate son was anxious to know whether he was liberated or not. It is confirmed by the Lord that not only does a Vaiṣṇava's father, but everyone for twenty-one generations before a Vaiṣṇava receives liberation. Thus by serving the Lord, one renders the best service to his family, because twenty-one generations are liberated if one becomes a pure Vaiṣṇava. id6

The yogī's real business is to focus his mind on Kṛṣṇa. That is the real yoga system. There are many gymnastics performed by yogīs, but all this is recommended for those who are overly concerned with the body. Rendering service to Kṛṣṇa twenty-four hours daily is called bhakti-yoga, and that is real samādhi. People are working hard day and night to enjoy some results. A person in bhakti-yoga works hard day and night but offers the results to Kṛṣṇa. There is a great difference between a bhakti-yogī and an ordinary karmī. Ordinary karmīs cannot understand that the bhaktas are on the transcendental platform. id7

As we have stated before, there are innumerable forms of God—Rāma, Nṛsiṁha, Varāha, Kṛṣṇa, Kapiladeva, Balarāma and so on. Sometimes foolish people ask, “You are worshiping Kṛṣṇa. Why don't you worship Rāma?” Actually there is no difference between Kṛṣṇa and Rāma, but everyone has his preference. For instance, Hanumān was particularly devoted to Lord Rāmacandra. The gopīs are exclusively devoted to Lord Kṛṣṇa. This does not make any real difference. The Lord appears in different forms, but in all cases He is the Lord. Once Kṛṣṇa left the gopīs and changed into His four-handed Viṣṇu form. The gopīs went out searching for Kṛṣṇa, and when they saw the four-handed Viṣṇu form, they did not offer much respect. They simply wanted to see Kṛṣṇa. Actually there is no difference between Kṛṣṇa and Viṣṇu, but every devotee has a particular inclination. In the Vaiṣṇava-sampradāya, some devotees worship Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa, and others worship Sītā-Rāma and Lakṣmī-Nārāyaṇa. Some also worship Rukmiṇī-Kṛṣṇa. All of these are the same, and all of the devotees are Vaiṣṇavas. Whether one chants Hare Kṛṣṇa or Hare Rāma, it is not very important. Worship of the demigods, however, is not recommended. In any case, bhakti-yoga begins with hearing-śravaṇaṁ kīrtanam [SB 7.5.23]. After one has heard from the right source and is convinced, one will automatically perform kīrtana. Kīrtana means glorification. Kīrtana is preaching, glorifying and speaking about the Lord. Parīkṣit Mahārāja attained perfection simply by listening to Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. This is śravaṇaṁ kīrtanam. Parīkṣit Mahārāja was listening, and Śukadeva Gosvāmī was performing kīrtana by describing the glories of the Lord. Pṛthu Mahārāja simply worshiped the Lord, and Lakṣmīdevī massaged Viṣṇu's lotus feet. Arjuna made friends with the Lord, and Hanumān carried out the orders of Lord Rāmacandra. Bali Mahārāja offered everything he had to the Lord in the form of Vāmanadeva, and after he had offered all his possessions, he offered his body. There are many examples, but at the present moment, if we simply hear about Kṛṣṇa, that is sufficient. God has given us ears, and we need only go to a realized soul and hear about Kṛṣṇa from him. This is the process recommended for this age because people are very fallen and are uneducated. id8

Caitanya Mahāprabhu recommends that we search out a devotee regardless of our position. There is no need to change our position; it is better to remain where we are and simply hear about Kṛṣṇa. The Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is meant to give everybody an opportunity to hear about Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa is within everyone's heart, and as soon as He sees that one is interested in Him, He helps. This is the beginning of bhaktiid9

Even if we do not understand this philosophy, we will be purified if we hear what Kṛṣṇa says. This is the whole process of hari-saṅkīrtana. One doesn't even have to understand what this Hare Kṛṣṇa is. One only has to hear to be purified. Unless one is purified, one cannot understand God. There are many contaminations within the heart, and the people in this age are engaged in many sinful activities—illicit sex, meat-eating, intoxication and gambling. The whole world is revolving about these things, yet despite this we have to spread this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. There may be many obstacles, but they can all be transcended by Kṛṣṇa's mercy. We only have to be determined in our devotion. The rest will follow. This is the essence of Lord Kapila's instructions to His mother. id10

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