"To Become Spiritually Advanced"

by Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

[Caitanya Caritamrta Madhya 20.101-104 | Bombay: November 3, 1975]

Prabhupada: ...from Caitanya-caritamrta. Caitanya means "the supreme living being." In the Vedas it is said, nityo nityanam cetanas cetananam eko yo bahunam vidadhati kaman (Katha Upanisad 2.2.13). This is description of the Supreme Lord, that the Supreme Lord... (yelling outside) Huh?

Indian man: They removed a tree from there. Digging.

Prabhupada: Oh. Hare Krsna. So, what is God, that is simplified, that nityo nityanam cetanas cetananam. He is the supreme eternal being amongst many other eternal beings. We are all eternal beings. We living entities, we are... Our position is eternity. As it is described in the Bhagavad-gita, na jayate na mriyate va kadacit: "These living entities, they do not take birth or die at any time." Not "Nowadays they are taking more birth and population is increasing." This is all nonsense. Population is neither increasing nor decreasing. It may be... The living entities, they are transmigrating in this material world, not in the spiritual world. In the spiritual world they have got their eternal form. But in the material world, because the living entities have come to enjoy the material resources, therefore, according to the desire, the living entity is getting different forms of body, 8,400,000. But he is not dying. The body is changed. Tatha dehantara-praptir dhiras tatra na muhyati [Bg. 2.13].

Our death means to transmigrate to another body. Just like from childhood we are transmigrating to another body, boyhood; from boyhood we are transmigrating to another body, youth-hood; and from youth-hood we are transferred to another body, old body. Similarly, when this body will not be any more workable, then we shall transmigrate to another body. Tatha dehantara-praptir dhiras tatra na muhyati [Bg. 2.13]. Those who are dhira -- dhira means sober, thoughtful -- they are not bewildered. But those who are not dhira, adhira... There are two classes of men: dhira and adhira. Dhira means one who is spiritually situated. He is called dhira or brahma-bhutah, prasannatma [Bg. 18.54], dhira. And one who is not spiritually situated, materially situated, means on the platform of bodily conception of life, then he is adhira, he is restless, from this platform to that platform, this platform to that platform. This is going on.

So we change body; otherwise we are eternal. Na hanyate hanyamane sarire [Bg. 2.20]. This is the information we get, that after this destruction of this material body, the eternal soul is never destroyed. Na hanyate hanyamane sarire [Bg. 2.20]. We get another body. The same example: the child gets the body of a boy, boy gets the... Therefore we are eternal. And what is God? He is also eternal. So nityo nityananam. We are eternal, we are many, and God is also eternal, but He is one. He is singular number. Not that all of us, we are God. That is nonsense. We are part and parcel of God, but we are not as powerful as God. Anyone can understand it very easily. They are claiming to become God. So does he think that he is equal in power with God? No. That is foolishness. Mudha. God is one, but we are... We are also eternal, God is also eternal, but we are many. There is no...

satadha kalpitasya ca
jivah bhago sa vijneyah
sa anantyaya kalpate

[Cc. Madhya 19.140]
The description of the living being is given in the sastra that the magnitude... Kesagra-sata-bhagasya satadha kalpi...: "One ten-thousandth part of the tip of the hair." And anantyaya kalpate: "There is limitless." As in practical experience also, we have this understanding that we require a leader. In the present moment there are so many parties, so many nations, so many societies, but there is a leader. That you cannot deny. (loud popping noises from outside, like firecrackers) Just like in our, this Krsna consciousness society -- it is a society -- I happen to be the leader. Similarly, there are other parties, political parties, and business parties. Everywhere there is a leader. You cannot avoid the leader. That is not possible. You may... I put this question to Professor Kotovsky, that "What is the difference between your philosophy and our philosophy? You are Leninist; you are following the leader Lenin, and we are following the leader Krsna. So where is the difference in philosophy?" You have to follow one leader. That you cannot avoid. Without leader you cannot be guided, you cannot form a party. Everywhere you go... Just like in our country we followed the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi, so we became a nation. So everywhere you will find: there must be a leader. Without leader you cannot become a community or a nation. Similarly, who is the supreme leader? That is God, or Krsna. Therefore He is described in the Vedas, nityo nityanam cetanas cetananamv. He is the leader.

So what is the difference between the plural number nityas and singular number? Now, eka. Eka-vacana, singular number leader, God... Eko yo bahunam vidadhati kaman. That is the difference, that we are living entity and Krsna, or God, is living entity, but Krsna maintains all other living entities; we cannot maintain even ourself. And we find difficulty especially nowadays to maintain even a family. That is the difference. And still, as a rascal, I claim that "I am God. I am God." Nobody can claim unnecessarily that one is God. First of all prove that you can maintain all the living entities. You cannot maintain yourself even. You beg from door to door, and how you become God? Very simple question. Because in the Vedas (it is) said that eko yo bahunam vidadhati kaman: "That one, singular number leader, He maintains all other living entities." That we have got practical experience. He is maintaining within the sand so many crabs. He is maintaining so many ants in the hole of your room. He is maintaining millions of elephants in the African jungle. So out of 8,400,000's of forms of life, mostly 8,300,000 species of life are being maintained by that one maintainer. And some of us so-called civilized, we are trying to maintain ourself. Therefore nityo nityanam cetanas cetananam (Katha Upanisad 2.2.13). He is also consciousness. He is conscious. He is not acetana. Acetana means there is no consciousness. He is conscious, and we are also conscious.

So He is the supreme conscious person amongst ourself and He is the supreme eternal amongst ourself. That is Caitanya. Caitanya means the Supreme Being, the supreme eternal being, the supreme conscious being. And He is caitanya-caritra. Caritra means character, activities. So Caitanya-caritamrta. Amrta, amrta means also eternal or nectarine, which does not die. That Caitanya-caritamrta is there. It was written by Kaviraja Gosvami some four hundred years ago, and it was in Bengali, er, not Bengali-Sanskrit and Bengali. So now we have translated with elaborate explanation. This is the book. It is now Caitanya-caritamrta in English. So we have finished this in seventeen volumes like this. So we request you to take these volumes and read that what is the position of Caitanya, or the supreme living entity, and ourself; what is the relationship and what is His characteristics, what is our characteristics, and how we can make our activities as good as the Supreme Caitanya's. That is called Caitanya-caritamrta.

So here we are talking about Caitanya's instruction to Sanatana Gosvami. This Sanatana Gosvami was one of the important ministers in the government of the then Pathan Nawab Hussein Shah. He is very important person. He was very great scholar in Persian language, in Arabian language, and Sanskrit. And because he joined the Muslim government, he accepted the service of a Muslim government, he was rejected by the brahmana community. He was born in brahmana community, Sarasvata-brahmana. There are many Sarasvata-brahmanas in Bombay. So he belonged to that community. And because the brahmana community exterminated him, then he became almost like Muslim. Their name was also changed, Dabira Khasa and Sakara Mallika, two brothers. Later on, by the association of Caitanya Mahaprabhu, these half-converted Muslim brahmanas were again claimed by Caitanya Mahaprabhu to become the first-class brahmana, gosvami. They were Rupa Gosvami and Sanatana Gosvami. So this Sanatana Gosvami retired. First of all Rupa Gosvami retired from the government service, and then Sanatana Gosvami also retired. With great difficulty he got rid of the responsibility of government. The Nawab arrested him because he was declining to obey his order. The Nawab wanted him to stay in his post, but he declined. So when the Nawab said that "You are declining my order and you are resigning from your post. This is illegal. I shall arrest you," so Sanatana Gosvami, he replied that "You are the king, so according to our Vedic civilization a king is supposed to be the representative of God. So I cannot disobey you. But now it is my duty to retire and join Caitanya Mahaprabhu's movement. Therefore I must do it." So he arrested him. So this Sanatana Gosvami, with great difficulty he approached Caitanya Mahaprabhu at Varanasi. At that time Caitanya Mahaprabhu was staying at Varanasi. So he met Him there. And after his becoming a Vaisnava, dressed in Vaisnava, then Caitanya Mahaprabhu instructed him for two months continually just to enliven him in the matter of devotional service and write books so that in future the followers of Caitanya cult may take guide and be advanced in spiritual consciousness.

So both the brothers, they wrote many books. This book is, of course, by different devotee, Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami. But Rupa Gosvami's book, Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, which we have translated into English, Nectar of Devotion... He said in that book that... That is the verdict of Vedic culture, to follow the authorities. Krsna also said in the Bhagavad-gita, tasmad sastra-pramanam te: "Whatever you do, you must follow the sastra." Otherwise it is not bona fide. And if anyone neglects the order of sastra:

yah sastra-vidhim utsrjya
vartate kama-karatah
na siddhim sa avapnoti
na sukham na param gatim

[Bg. 16.23]
So we cannot avoid sastra. So our, this Caitanya cult is strictly under the injunction of the sastra. So he has come to Caitanya Mahaprabhu and he is submitting himself.
krpa kari' yadi more kariyacha uddhara
apana-krpate kaha 'kartavya' amara
A disciple, when he accepts guru... This is the example, Sanatana Gosvami. Tasmad prapadyeta... Tasmad gurum prapadyeta jijnasuh sreya uttamam [SB 11.3.21]. This is the injunction of the sastra. Who requires a guru? It is not a fashion, that one has to accept anyone as guru. No. A person requires a guru when he is inquisitive, tasmad gurum prapadyeta jijnasuh, when he is very much eager to understand the spiritual sreya uttamam. Uttamam. Ut means transcendental, and tama means darkness. This world is called darkness, ignorance. So one who wants to transcend this position of ignorance and wants to know the transcendental subject, means spiritual subject, brahma-jijnasa, he requires a guru, not any person, other person. If you are interested in things which is beyond this material world... That is necessary inquiry. So here is the enquiry, that Sanatana Gosvami says that "You have delivered me from the clutches of material attachment. I was minister, getting good salary, very nice post. So many aristocrats was offering me respect. So I think it was not necessary. My real necessary is to advance in spiritual consciousness. So kindly You have given me relief from this material concept of life. Now, according to Your desire, I have left everything. Now let me know what is my duty."

This is required. If anyone becomes disciple of a bona fide guru, then his duty is to ask from the guru what he can do to help guru. That is required. So Sanatana Gosvami is giving us the example. Apana-krpate kaha 'kartavya' amara. Kartavya means duty. "Now what is my duty? I have left my so-called duty, ministership. Now I am interested in my real duty, so kindly speak to me what is my duty." Another question was... First question was that "What is my duty?" Then next question is, ke ami: "Actually what I am?" Ke ami kene amaya jare tapa-traya: "I do not want sufferings, but sufferings are forced upon me, three kinds of suffering: adhyatmika, adhibhautika and adhidaivika." This is knowledge. So adhyatmika means sufferings pertaining to the body and mind, and adhibhautika means sufferings offered by other living entities. Adhibhautika. And adhidaivika, sufferings offered by natural disturbances. There are three kinds of sufferings. Just like the firework is going on, the heavy sound. It is intolerable by somebody. But still, he has to tolerate, that "This firework is going on by other persons." This is called adhibhautika. Similarly, there are so many sufferings which we do not want. Still, they are forced upon us. Therefore he said, kene amaya jare tapa-traya: "These three kinds of miseries are always giving me trouble, and at the same time, I do not know what I am." Everyone is thinking, "I am this, I am that," but he is suffering. These are very plain questions. So these questions should be put before the spiritual master, and he should get proper answer and act accordingly. Then spiritual life will be successful. Unless we are interested in such questions, there is no need of wasting time to accept any guru or spiritual master.

So again he says, sadhya-sadhana-tattva puchite na jani: "Actually I do not know. It is my duty to put questions upon you." That is also indicated in the Bhagavad-gita.

tad viddhi pranipatena
pariprasnena sevaya
upadeksyanti tad jnanam
jnaninas tattva-darsinah

[Bg. 4.34]
Tad viddhi. If you want to understand things which is beyond this material world... Tamasi ma jyotir gamah: "Don't remain within this darkness of material existence. Try to transcend, to go to the spiritual world, jyoti, where it is light." Here it is always darkness, and there there is always light. So everyone should be interested, especially in this human form of life, not to remain here like animals, cats and dogs, but to become brahma-bhutah. Aham brahmasmi. One must know. This is the duty of human life. So he says, sadhya-sadhana-tattva puchite na jani: "Now I am little interested how to become spiritually advanced, but I do not know how I shall put the question before You and what is the ultimate goal of life. These things I do not know. But I have got an inquiry." That is natural. Athato brahma jijnasa. This is the natural inquisitiveness of any conditioned life, especially in the human form of life. As it is inquired by Sanatana Gosvami, everyone should be elevated to that position to inquire, "What I am?" Krpa kari' saba tattva kaha ta' apani: "So I do not know how to place my question." This is submission. "So You can speak to me what is actually the goal of life, why I have forgotten my identification and how I shall be properly situated." This is Vedic civilization. Whole Vedic civilization means to understand oneself, to understand God and the relationship. And according to that relationship, one has to work. Then his life is successful. This is Vedic culture. Vedic culture does not mean to become a big dog. No. That is not Vedic culture. In the sastra it is said that sva-vid-varahostra-kharaih samstutah purusah pasuh [SB 2.3.19]. Purusah pasuh. In this material world, without any spiritual knowledge, if one is adored, it is just like the small animals in the jungle is praising the big animal, the lion. The lion is an animal and the small rabbit or other animals, they are also animals. So the rabbits are very much afraid of lion. That is a fact. And they worship the... This morning we were discussing one story, how a rabbit entangled one lion and saved his life. So here in this material world, similarly, the small animal may be afraid of the big animal, but the big animal or small animal, they are animals. They are animals. Therefore Bhagavata says the small animal may eulogize the big animal. That does not mean the big animal is of any importance. He is animal, that's all. Similarly, our position is that we do not go... We may not go to the big animal, but we may go to like Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Then we will be benefited. Caitanya Mahaprabhu, if we approach Caitanya Mahaprabhu... That is caitanya, living, supreme living being.

Therefore our request is that for your enlightenment of life you do not approach a big animal. You approach Krsna, the supreme being. Then you will be benefited. There is no use. And who is animal? Even if he is two-legged, but still, if he remains an animal... Who? Yasyatma-buddhih kunape tri-dhatuke [SB 10.84.13]. One who is thinking of this body as identified with the self, he is animal. Anyone, it doesn't matter. We do not speak of any particular man, but any person who does not know his real identification... As Sanatana Gosvami inquired, ke ami. He was the prime minister, but still, he did not know what he is. That will be explained. Gramya-vyavahare kahaye pandita satya kare mani apanara hitahita kichui na jani. "Some foolish person, they say that I am very learned scholar." Because he was brahmana. Brahmana is always supposed to be very learned; therefore he is called pandita, panditaji. So Sanatana Gosvami said, gramye-vyavahare: "In ordinary dealings my neighborhood men, they say 'Panditaji.' But I am such a pandita that I do not know what I am." Apanara hitahita kichui na jani: "I am such a pandita. Therefore I have come to You." This is called submission. If one is sincere... If he does not know what he is, what is his function, how he will make his life successful, then he is not pandita. So that is going on now, at the present moment, throughout the whole world, the bodily concept of life -- "I am American," "I am Indian," "I am African," "I am this," "I am that," "I am brahmana," "I am sudra," "I am black," "I am white" -- this bodily concept of life. So sastra says that "If anyone is in the bodily conception of life," sa eva go-kharah [SB 10.84.13], "he is no better than these animals."

So therefore Sanatana Gosvami is the best example to follow, how one should approach a guru, how one should take lesson from guru, how he should understand to make his life successful. These questions or answers are there in the Sanatana-siksa of Caitanya-caritamrta. So we are trying to discuss and...

prabhu kahe -- krsna-krpa tomate purna haya
saba tattva jana, tomara nahi tapa-traya
Caitanya Mahaprabhu answered that Sanatana Gosvami... But he is actually very learned. If he is not learned, then how he can give up his post as the minister, finance minister? He is actually learned because he was inquisitive that "I must know the goal of my life, I must make my life successful, and therefore I must go to Caitanya Mahaprabhu." So Caitanya Mahaprabhu appreciated his approach, that "You have come to Me for better enlightenment. That means you are not ordinary person. You are not ordinary conditioned soul. Who can sacrifice such big post and the honor and come to a sannyasi and submit to Me?" Therefore He says, prabhu kahe -- krsna-krpa purna haya: "God's mercy is fully there in You." Saba tattva jana: "You have understood all the truths of life." Saba tattva jana tomara nahi tapa-traya. And he was inquiring that "Why I am forced to accept all kinds of miserable condition of life?" But, "For You there is no such thing."

Tapa-traya. This is very important thing. One who is advanced in spiritual consciousness, for him there is no material trouble. There is no material trouble. Ahaituky apratihata. So long we are in the bodily concept of life, there are so many troubles and miserable condition of life. But as soon as you become spiritually advanced and you know your identity, that you are not this body but you are spirit soul, then... This is also confirmed in the Bhagavad-gita,

brahma-bhutah prasannatma
na socati na kanksati
samah sarvesu bhutesu
mad-bhaktim labhate param

[Bg. 18.54]
This is wanted. Every one of us should become brahma-bhutah, not to remain jiva-bhutah. That is ignorance. One must come to the platform of brahma-bhutah. Then prasannatma. He has no three kinds of material conditional life. He has no struggle for existence. Prasannatma. He is always jolly because he knows that "I am not this body. I am soul," at least theoretically, prasannatma. That is wanted.

Therefore Caitanya Mahaprabhu said that "As you have decided to relinquish, to resign your so exalted post, and you have come to Me for spiritual enlightenment, that means you are already liberated from the three material conditions of life."

Thank you very much. Hare Krsna


>>> Ref. VedaBase => Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila 20.101-104 -- Bombay, November 3, 1975