The Absolute Nature of the Vedic Literature

The Best of All Verses…?
It is not uncommon that when the four seed verses of the Bhagavad Gita are discussed it will often spawn a second conversation related to the immaculate nature of all 700 verses spoken by the Supreme Personalikty of Godhead.

A similar conversation comes up when someone asks a devotee: “What is the best book for me to read?” How can one actually say the Bhagavada Gita is “Better” than Sri Isopanishad, the Nectar of Instruction, or any of the compilation BBT books such as: “The Science of Self Realization”, “Beyond Illusion & Doubt” or “The Journey of Self-Discovery?” To do so would be like trying to say that the cure for a stomach ailment is better than a cure for a skin rash. They may both offer valuable remedies, but one may be more relevant than the other depending on the nature of ones illness.

If the first piece of transcendental literature someone ever received even happens to be a Back To Godhead magazine, then it is understandable how that individual might personally feel that particular issue of BTG is the most important literature ever published by the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust. The imprint made by the vehicle that carries us from a material modality to the lotus feet of Sri Krishna is so in-comparatively powerful and special that we will always think of it with fond memories. This remains true even if there appears to be some type of grammatical, technical or mundane flaw found in that publication.

“On the other hand, that literature which is full of descriptions of the transcendental glories of the name, fame, forms, pastimes, etc., of the unlimited Supreme Lord is a different creation, full of transcendental words directed toward bringing about a revolution in the impious lives of this world’s misdirected civilization. Such transcendental literatures, even though imperfectly composed, are heard, sung and accepted by purified men who are thoroughly honest.” – Srimad Bhagavat Purana Canto 1 “Creation,” Chapter 5. “Naradas Instruction on Srimad Bhagavatam for Vyasadeva” Text 11.

Yet still it is understood that ALL the verses authored by Sri Krishna are beyond comparison, so how could some be better than the others? This line of reasoning is behind the practice of those who sometimes playfully reach to get a random dose of transcendental nectar when there is no particular pressing issue. At that time some Vaishnavas will just pick up a Scripture like the Bhagavad Gita and randomly open it up to any chapter/verse to glean a divine message that they accept as an appropriate lesson for that particular moment. While this approach to sacred literature may be a bit unconventional, there is no harm in it as long as one is not randomly diving into the more esoteric stories related to Krishnas pastimes with the gopies. Highly advanced devotees have cautioned the neophytes from delving into those stories because it is too easy for the conditioned soul to perceive them from a mundane point of view.

This brings us back to the tricky dilemma of having to overlay some type of prudent discretion even on divine literature. It is historically evident that even His Divine Grace was sensitive to the fact that when he translated the Fifth Canto of the Srimad Bhagavatam, some would find the descriptions of the hellish planets very disturbing. Therefore he chose to translate the Caitanya Caritamrita prior to moving forward into that portion of the Bhagavatam. This provided more time for his fledgling disciples to increase their faith and become better prepared to embrace the contents of the Fifth Canto. That was a wise decision on his part because we now know the Fifth Canto also introduced us to descriptions of the solar system which are radically different from the heliocentric model of the universe that Copernicus described and everyone simply accepts.

Not All Puranas Are the Same
We can also understand that the various chapter titles offered in both the Bhagavad Gita and the Srimad Bhagavat Purana are a form of taxonomy that arranges the subject matter they contain in ways that simplify our ability to find relevant information when we need it. So for example one desiring to better understand God’s opulence can easily find that type of information in Chapter 10 of the Bhagavad Gita based on it’s title: “The Opulence of the Absolute.” Similarly those seeking clarification about how to distinguish between a conflicted individual and a pious man would find those guidelines in Chapter 14; The Three Modes of Nature And; Chapter 16; The Divine and Demoniac Nature.

So on one hand it is in-appropriate to declare any particular aspect of spotless Vedic knowledge as “Better” than any other portion, yet it is also accepted that for pragmatic reasons these sacred scriptures are broken into various topics to help us find the material we are looking for. This is particularly true in regards to understanding the 18 different Puranas.

There are six Vedic Puranas specifically written for audiences found in each of the three modes of nature; Goodness, Passion & Ignorance. These divisions are provided by the Supreme Lord specifically so all living entities have access to reliable knowledge. The various Puranas were brilliantly composed with a specific target audience in mind. In this way there is material available to help everyone lift their soul from conditional life to a higher stage, regardless of which mode of nature their consciousness happens to be entangled with. This also provides some explanation for why the followers of Lord Siva are as strongly persuaded by the truths found in the Shiva Purana, as the Vaishnavas are about the conclusions found in the Bhagavata Purana. Both scriptures original from the same divine source! However those with good discretion can understand that the Bhagavata Purana is written for a more astute/satvic audience. The Puranas are perfect in the sense that they all come directly from the Supreme Lord, but because they are addressing different issues pertinent to the awareness level of the reader, we separate them into the hierarchy of the tri-gunas, the three modes of nature for the benefit of the reader.

The Seed Verses of Bhagavad Gita (Bg 10.8-11)
The word seed suggests that it has the potential to grow into something bigger then itself. The verses that are accepted as the “Seed” verses of the Gita do exactly that. They are also sometime referred to as the Catur-Sloka because there are just four (Catur) seed verses (Slokas). The 700 verses of Bhagavad Gita are generally accepted as the summary study of the entire body of Vedic knowledge. Yet within the Gita these “Seed verses” are acknowledged for how nicely they summarize the essence of the Gita’s message into four concise sutras.

Now consider these four powerful Sanskrit verses provided below. If you can enter into their profound meaning, you will have effectively attained the highest stage of realization that the entire cannon of Vedic literature points towards.

The Supreme Personality of Godhead Krishna unequivocally declares:

  • “I am the source of all spiritual and material worlds. Everything emanates from Me. The wise who perfectly know this engage in My devotional service and worship Me with all their hearts.” (Bg 10.8)
  • IN this verse we are told where everything originates from & what wise people do when they realize that they have an eternal relationship with that Supreme Lord.
  • “The thoughts of My pure devotees dwell in Me, their lives are fully devoted to My service, and they derive great satisfaction and bliss from always enlightening one another and conversing about Me.” (Bg 10.9)
  • This further emphasizes the purpose of life and the experience of clarity and happiness that one will have if they take up the practice of Bhakti Yoga. (The Yoga of Love and Devotion)
  • “To those who are constantly devoted to serving Me with love, I give the understanding by which they can come to Me.” (Bg 10.10)
  • Here Krishna is again giving His personal promise that He is rewards those who reach out to Him the understanding they need in order to escape the tribulations of this world and return to Him.
  • “To show them special mercy, I, dwelling in their hearts, destroy with the shining lamp of knowledge the darkness born of ignorance.” (Bg 10.11)

This sums it all up. We are living in the darkness of chronic ignorance but most people are in denial of that stark fact. Krishna’s inferior material energy is designed to keep reminding all of us via the various ways we suffer that this world is not our proper place. It doesn’t take too long for those who are wise to understand this and recognize how their life is out of control and they are completely lost. If they are fortunate enough to come in contact with a devotee then they can take advantage of the wealth of knowledge provided in the Vedas to guide the conditioned soul thru the material quagmire back to Godhead. Here Krishna confirms that He is in everyone’s heart. All we need to do is surrender to his guidance. To whatever degree we do that, Krishna is informing us here that He will relieve his devotee from all forms of (misery due to) ignorance.

Then next gathering of the American Vedic Association Is:

2nd Tue: Sep 15, 2015: Seed Verses Of Bhagavad Gita will be discussed at the American Vedic Association Bhagavad Gita As It Is Fellowship: The Gita is the most philosophically profound sacred scripture in the world. It consists of 700 perfectly composed Sanskrit verses and is summarized with four seed verses! ● 7:30pm 640-0405 Always Free!

Ojai Days October 17, 2015

Every year Ojai holds a street festival that draws out a wide variety of artists, musicians, dancers and of course, all sorts of social, religious and philanthropic groups. This little town hosts a bizarre collection of diverse lifestyles that make it easy to think of Ojai as the Californa version of Sedona, the mecca for New Age thought.

On the third Saturday of each year main street Ojai shuts down for “Ojai Days.” I have booked a spot to bring out the Sastra Rath to present Srila Prabhupadas books and reach out to those in the community that are ready to graduate to something more than just an imaginary relationship with God.. This is an all-day affair and a it offers a great opportunity to share what you have learned at the Bhagavad Gita As It Is Fellowship Discussions with those who are lost in the sea of speculative thinking.

I would like to invite those who have the time to come by the AVA / Jagannatha Enterprises booth and spend time sharing what you can with those who want to know more about our gatherings. It makes for an interesting day and is all part of becoming more fixed up in our relationship with Krishna.

For one who explains this supreme secret to the devotees, pure devotional service is guaranteed, and at the end he will come back to Me. – Bg 18.68

I hope this meets all of you in good health and continuous thoughts about the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Sri Krishna!
Thank You!
Mayesvara Dasa

Source: Dandavats

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