Philosophical Definitions #3

PHILOSOPHICAL DEFINITIONS LECTURE #3, 22nd Sep 2008, Bhaktivedanta Academy, Sridham Mayapur

HH BVPS Maharaja: One has to have an interest to know before one will be involved in the activity of learning and having been engaged in the activity of learning then one will naturally apply it. In this way you get pranipata, pariprasna, sevaya as sambandha, abhidheya and prayojana. Means you are taking the Pradyumna aspect, pranipata, you have a desire, then pariprasna is the process of interaction between teacher and student, and sevaya is the goal that you will apply it in your life, you use it, it will be yours and develop the character, the qualities necessary.

At the same time you can also take the sevaya as the application with the submissive inquiry, then the end result therefore will be realization. This sevaya can be in both categories: the application of the service in one’s sadhana and by that then one will get the result of valuing that as your natural activities. In other words, it is something you are going to do, you are not doing it because you are studying you are doing it because this is what you want to do. So that sevaya goes in both places: it is in abhidheya because it is the service that you are rendering but at the same time the result is then that you will be involved in that service. Abhidheya means you are acting with the jnana-aspect, your natural activities of the self that is the vijnana aspect.

So sravana, manana, nidhi-dhyasana. Sravana. We are hearing. Manana is the jnana, what you are intellectually understand and apply. Nidhidhyasana means realization, that has come from it.

Sravana, then there is the pariprasna. Manana, means it will be contemplated, also includes the pariprasna, sevaya is its application. Nidhidhyasana, its realization but at the same time it is also service, but it has gone from a sadhana to one’s lifestyle.

Devotee (1): Why reading and studying without menial service is insufficient to produce realization?

HH BVPS Maharaja: There was once a very intelligent and excellent student who had learned so much, and he wanted to learn more. He had so much knowledge. There was one teacher he wanted to study from because he knew some branches of knowledge that he didn’t know yet. So he went to this teacher, introduced him and told him how much he had already studied and that he want to study more what this teacher had to offer what was unique. Ok, let us sit down first before getting into a serious discussion and since you are a guest first take some water. He gave a glass to the student and the teacher had a jug of water and starts pouring the water into the glass. The glass fills up and student nodded that it is enough but the teacher keeps pouring water, the glass overflows but he keeps pouring water at this time the student is: Can’t you see the glass is full and nothing more will go inside. At that time, the teacher stopped pouring the water and said: exactly! Your cup is so full that no more knowledge will go in because you have no humility.

Menial service for the brahmacaris to generate humility, that is the point. He has been directly instructed by authority to perform activities. Performing those activities enthusiastically in that humble mood that will generate the ability to learn more.

For grhasthas, it is not specifically menial service, he can have servants, he can have this and that. By the nature of the grhastha asrama he has to be humble in his dealings with the family. So then he has to use his intelligence very nicely to find out how to behave and what to do. By that humility he is able to gain more knowledge. If the grhastha is proud and thinks he is great then he can’t learn anything. If the grhastha actually understands that even though I may know so much I know nothing and is always willing to learn and has a humble attitude, he can continue to learn. The grhastha asrama will also create the environment in which you will learn.

The position doesn’t matter. But the point is humility must be obtained because humility is the first item of knowledge. When Krsna describes knowledge the first quality He gives is humility. Only one out of 20 is studying sastra. 19 is one’s attitude and one’s activities. That means sitting down and studying the book is only a small part of the educational process because if you are not prepared what will you get from studying that book. Before a brahmacari heard it once and he remembered it for the rest of his life, that is prepared. Nowadays there are so many distractions, that focus is not there. Therefore as much as we can focus, the more humble we are the more we know.

Even if we are not great academic scholars and know only something very simple but we have that purity and humility then how we will be able to apply that seemingly small amount of knowledge that will be unlimited. Through a small one thing you can understand everything else. By understanding the nature of one grain of rice in the pot you can understand the nature of all the other grains of rice. Someone who has the capacity may know all the sastras but someone who only knows a portion of one if he knows that perfectly by his humble submissive service attitude and dedication to guru then he will be able to apply that to everything in his life and in others’ lives, just as the scholar will take all that body of knowledge to apply that in someone else’s life. He knows so many things but from the total he only knows that much because that is his ability to apply because of his service. But the other has a seemingly small but in his life takes up that same amount, so it has the same effect. The one is getting more out of a little bit and the scholar is getting less out of many, but putting it together it is the same volume.

4 stages of learning

Adhiti. To learn a subject thoroughly. Adhiti is like sravana. Hearing the knowledge from a teacher and this is to learn a subject thoroughly. Hearing the knowledge means you should hear it but then you should learn it thoroughly. This is just bringing out different aspects of the same thing. You can hear from a teacher and it can go on in the one ear and out the other ear. But this is you are hearing and paying attention.

Bodha. To gain insight and proficiency in one’s learning. Same as gaining an intellectual understanding through practice and reflection on what is learned. Insight and proficiency, that is your skills: Knowledge skills and values.

Acarana. Realizing the purpose of, and living according to our learning. Similar to nidhidhyasana. Acarana means that you follow it. Acara is what you do. Acarya is one who follows that. Pracara means enlightening others on acara. Vicara means to discuss the various aspects of acara from different angles. Sadacara means your own personal private practices, you practice it yourself.

Pracara. Giving this knowledge to others.

Also Srila Prabhupada quotes in the Caitanya-caritamrta, first in the Adi-lila, he also goes through these four stages and he is quoting from Vamana, Varaha or Visnu-purana but he uses slight different words. But basically it is hearing, practicing, realizing and giving to others. So it is the same stages of learning.

5 topics of Bhagavad-gita: Isvara, jiva, prakrti, kala and karma.

Isvara means the Supreme Lord and His position as the Lord of all potencies. Jiva meaning jiva-tattva. Prakrti specifically refering to material energy, and how we are illusioned about it and how to convert that back to service to Krsna. Kala is time which means activity. This will then be involved in whatever our activities are either be spiritual or material depending on how we see isvara and prakrti. Then karma is the result of kala or those activities. Means you perform material then you get either pious or impious or it is devotional or transcendental then you get the result of that.

So these are the 5 topics of Gita. It says it right there in the introduction. So there is no need of speculating what are the topics. Understanding all these things is sambandha. In this your karma is going to get you a result. Isvara, jiva, prakrti that is also known as cit, acit, isvara. Cit meaning what’s real, what has substance, that would be the jiva, the internal potency, but for us it specifically means the jiva, our connection to the internal potency. Acit the material energy which is not connected to transcendental. Isvara meaning Krsna. So it is also cit, acit, isvara. Then you have karma, that would be your activities. But here specifically kala would be the activity and karma would be the result. So then you would get sambandha, abhidheya and prayojana here. So it is a matter of what karma you want.

That’s why we can say karma-yoga and we can be talking about devotional service. We can also say karma-yoga and means that they are using karma along with some proper understanding and using it as a process for elevation. But it may just be used for liberation. Because technically the astanga-yoga system is categorized in karma. Sometimes we say karma, jnana and yoga but one must be free from these and established on the transcendental platform.  Most of the time we just say karma and jnana because yoga is actually considered karma because it is using the mind and the senses. So then it goes into that category. It can either be split off or be put together.

Just like sometimes we split the jnana into the impersonalists and the Mayavadis. The Mayavadis are just a write-off. They seemingly follow the impersonalists but they actually don’t. Because the impersonalists they don’t reject Paramatma and Bhagavan. They just don’t know about it. If you explain it to them they accept it because they are transcendentalists. Mayavadis even if you explain it to them they don’t want to accept. The impersonalist is not trying to be God and the impersonalist thinks that everything is God and therefore God can also be God so they don’t have a problem with that – but the Mayavadis think that everybody can be God except God because I am God, you can also be God but God can’t be God.

5 topics of the Upanishad

  • The nature of Brahman
  • The nature of the soul (jivatma) & it’s relationship with Brahman
  • The material energy, it’s origin & connection with Brahman
  • The means of attaining Brahman (sadhana)
  • The nature of the Supreme Goal & the status of the jiva in mukti

All religions and philosophies if you just look at these five points you will understand everything about them. Bhaktivinoda Thakura in amnaya-sutras he writes 10 sutras on each on of these. So there is 50 sutras to describe these. He is giving that as the essence of the Upanisads. It can also be used as a form those 10.

Once Atma-tattva Prabhu was discussing with a Jaimini sutra scholar, this person he argued just on Jaimini. He was in a Jaimini sampradaya, learned that and spoke that and lived that. Atma-tattva was discussing with him and the sutras were exactly to the point. So he had made his point and Atma-tattva made his point according to the amnaya-sutra which is based on these 5 topics of the Upanisads. Then after some time this scholar said what is your skeleton. What form are you using because you have some form here. Most people they talk, I heard something from here and there and they put it together. He says everything you say is consistent and it is in a specific form. So then he explained to him this amnaya-sutra.

Here we see it is the same elements that are in the Gita, because Gita is Upanisad, Gitopanisad.

  • The nature of Brahman, is isvara
  • The nature of the soul (jivatma) & it’s relationship with Brahman, is jiva
  • The material energy, it’s origin & connection with Brahman, is prakrti
  • The means of attaining Brahman (sadhana), is kala
  • The nature of the Supreme Goal & the status of the jiva in mukti, is karma

Isvara, prakrti and jiva are eternal. Kala and karma are temporary, the principles are always there but the effect on us is temporary, then we are acting not on material time and karma but on transcendental time and transcendental karma. The Upanisads and Gita are trying to get us to that position. All these can be brought back into that.

We see that sometimes we are dealing with 3, 4 or here 5 aspects, they keep moving according to the perspective. Lord Caitanya has given an expansion of this sambandha, abhidheya and prayojana that includes everything, all these details, called dasa-mula-tattva. That specifically Bhaktivinoda Thakura documented that, it was known but it wasn’t written no one had put any book together on it because it was standard.

Like japa means 108 beads and they go from big to small and they fit in a bag and so you don’t think about it. So no one thinks to write that down. So the dasa-mula is very common. So it wasn’t written. So when Bhaktivinoda Thakura was seeing that it wasn’t understood so much then he wrote this down. So that will be part of our studies, this dasa-mula.

In there you are taking these principles and expanding them to 10. In this the sambandha-jnana or cit, acit, isvara – God, the living entity and material nature – are expanded out into 7 points, then abhidheya stays as 1 point and prayojana stays as 1 point. Another additional point is from sambandha there has to be a basis for all this knowledge: that is the sastra, the Veda. From that authority, from sabda, you are going to get all the, in other words that is pramana, or authority, evidence and then prameyas are those that are proved by that authority, pramana.

So then he breaks down the element of isvara into 3 main aspects: He is the origin of everything, all-knowing, all-cognizant, all-present, all these kind of all this all that qualities. He is the Lord of all His different energies, and He is the Lord of rasa. In this we have the nava prameyas and the dasa-mula, they are the same thing. The difference is that the dasa-mula is all-encompassing because it includes rasa. Whereas the nava prameyas what is used for Vedanta-sutra or that kind of line of sastra is meant for dealing with those who haven’t necessarily accepted and therefore those doubts have to be removed. The Upanisadic will deal with 9 and your Bhagavatam will deal with 10 because Bhagavatam is for those who have already accepted the philosophy and want to go deeper. They want to remove whatever anarthas are there but they are committed to that study and lifestyle.

So then the jiva itself you have that they are conditioned. Means of three categories: conditioned, liberated and fortunate. Fortunate means conditioned souls who are in the process of becoming liberated. Then you have acintya-bhedhabheda-tattva and then you have material energy. In this way you end up with 7 aspects there. It is basically the same thing just expanded a little bit. And so then all these will be covered in there. Nature of Brahman so here is one point, dasa-mula is three points. Like that, so it’s just making it more clear.

Devotee (1): Bhagavatarka-marici-mala?

HH BVPS Maharaja: The eight of them, means the sambbandha-jnana remains exactly as it is because it’s been fully expanded in the Upanisads and in Bhagavad-gita. Now what it does it expands, means one expands into four in sabda, your authority, and then the abhidheya expands I forget how many, and then the prayojana expands.

Because the Bhagavatam then, because now we have established the sambandha now the abhidheya and prayojana can also be fully expanded. Because Gita is basically saying that you should do devotional service, you should have proper mentality of naiskarmya, you should be done as service to Krsna, you should perform your duties. Because it is part of the Mahabharata.

Mahabharata is establishing how to perform your duties. The essence of the Vedic literatures is in the Mahabharata. You have written the whole Mahabharata then one how do you know what is the essence and two how do you give the essence to someone who is not studying all those sastras? Therefore Mahabharata – it is in story form, very interesting, stories everyone likes, form the children and the family members, to the scholars everyone likes a good story, at the same time in those stories everything can be put. In there the gita gives the essence of that. Proper performance of your duties with proper knowledge and detachment, thinking of Krsna and to please Krsna, that is taking the whole process. Everything comes together as this devotional process, that is buddhi-yoga.

We are just becoming familiar with these things because when they come up later you are not bewildered. So keep this around for a while to refer to until you are very familiar. Because at different times, different examples, or different formulas will be used, these different systems. The course itself has the freedom to use all these things very, very comfortably.

Because this Bhagavad-gita study, it is the foundation, it is the basis but it’s not kid’s stuff. It is very serious, very deep study. So that means the Bhagavatam is deeper than that. That’s the idea.

5 levels of consciousness.

Prabhupada talks about this, and then there is two aspects, the levels of consciousness and the levels of acquiring knowledge, they are also they go together, they are like these parallel things, it is the same thing but described from a different point of view.

You have anna-maya, prana-maya, mano-maya, vijana-maya and ananda-maya. Sometimes mano-maya also called jnana-maya. Mano-maya is the platform of religiosity. That platform of religiosity means acting according to your nature, performing your prescribed duties, means they must be done with knowledge, jnana, and activity, the religion. It can be mano-maya meaning the mind and the senses that is applying what’s there, or jnana-maya meaning that the intelligence is used along with the mind and senses. So either can be used but the central point is the mind here, but intelligence is used with it.

That is also your manana, is the intellectual understanding through practice and reflection. Or bodha, to gain insight and proficiency in one’s learning, it is the same platform. Because a brahmacari his position is to hear and practice. That is his dharma. So that will come there. So that is where everything is happening, that is the central point.

That’s why it starts dharma, artha, kama and moksa. You could start being logical moksa, dharma , artha, kama. Or if you are talking about getting out of here kama, artha, dharma, moksa. So but it goes dharma, artha, kama and moksa. It is never said in any other way because the central point is dharma. From dharma you can go towards moksa, or from dharma you can go to artha and kama. Having done artha and kama you come back to moksa. So you can either pravrtti dharma, artha, kama then moksa. Or nivrtti dharma, moksa.

Pravrtti means the path of engaging the senses. Nivrtti means the path of not engaging the senses. Nivrtti: brahmacari, vanaprastha, sannyasa. Pravrrti: grhastha. Within grhastha-life Krsna recommends that it is also nivrtti because you are engaging all those aspects not for your sense gratification. You are engaging in sense gratification but not for sense gratification. You are engaging in sense gratification to engage the senses in the Lord’s service and to get an intellectual understanding, this bodha and manana, of what’s actually going on. It is practice so you have to become expert at it, like here insight and proficiency in one’s learning. You have heard how you are supposed to deal with family life, material energy, money and all these things and now you do it. Like Arjuna hears that he is supposed to engage in this battle in a particular consciousness, now he does it. And he is a grhastha, that is not a problem.

The question for the devotee is just which path is more suitable for him, which path will keep him fully engaged. If you don’t need a family to keep body, mind and words fully engaged in the Lord’s service why would you have one? You are already engaged, why add something that is going to distract from full engagement. But if engaging without the family the body, mind and words is not fully engaged then therefore family life is to take up that gap. Whatever the slack is that will take it up easily and probably more than what you expected. I got this little part right here I need to deal with so we’ll just add in, what happened here? And that we were just talking about the saris, we were not talking about other things. And that’s one shelf, you can only put so many on a shelf and the bar will bend, so it’s only that much on the shelf.

All these things are interconnected, we are only dealing with this point the Gita is making: engaging yourself fully in the Lord’s service – body, mind, and words. That’s all that is being discussed. That engagement is austerity. And that you are doing it as naiskarmya, with knowledge that is sacrifice. That is the element of sacrifice. Then the results of that are given away, they are given to Krsna.

Either you have given it beforehand, naiskarmya, or after you get it, sakama. Either way it is given away, that is charity. So therefore austerity, sacrifice and charity are always to be performed, they may have different details of application. You give money, because that is valuable or you give some time but eventually you are supposed to give your life and all your activities.

In other words, body, mind and words are given and whatever that produces that is given to Krsna, that is your charity. Body, mind and words are engaged in the Lord’s service for His satisfaction that is your sacrifice. Body, mind and words are engaged in the Lord’s service according to what is the appropriate way of dealing according to your position in relationship to the Lord, that is your austerity. That element of completeness is what we are trying for.

In the beginning it is a little austere so we fast have a day, that is austerity. We take that as austere. Oh it’s hot out to day, that’s austere. That is an aspect of austerity but the real point is why should you be fasting that is the austerity. That you are fasting because it is your duty, then that duty naturally has difficult aspects. It has also nice aspects, taking prasada is not a bad thing. That is also an austerity or a duty you have to perform. So therefore prasada is accepted. So therefore very difficult austerity eating all that nice prasadam.

Devotee (1): Pracarana is the fourth one, does that mean the result of our studying is that we preach or is it an activity?

HH BVPS Maharaja: It is both. It is a result that we are going to come to that platform of teaching but as vijnana it will be the platform from which we will live. Many of these things have their position when they are working on and then they can switch positions or they hold dual positions.

Any goal you have becomes part of the sambandha, once it is obtained. Because the sambandha is your field of activity, so once you have obtained a goal it becomes part of your field of activities. Then the next activity can be performed on the expanded sambandha. He has no house, now he has a house, so that becomes part of his field, now in the house he can do so many things. Prabhupada therefore explains Aniruddha always moves back to Pradyumna – because that is his source. And that Pradyumna is based on Sankarsana, because that’s his source. But the whole point is performance of activity, because Vasudeva ultimately is the source.

At the same time you can also take it that in because you have both explanations of the creation. After Krsna expands into Balarama, Balarama to Maha-Narayana, Maha-Narayana into Maha-Sankarsana and then from Sankarsana you get Pradyumna, Aniruddha and Vasudeva. Vasudeva comes on his own – and then Pradyumna is separate and Aniruddha. So you have Sankarsana, Pradyumna and Aniruddha, and then from sankarsan you get Vasudeva.

If you look at this at the dharma, artha, kama and moksa. Dharma that is Sankarsana, he establishes religious principles, from him comes artha and kama,  Pradyumna and Aniruddha come from Him. At the same time on the other way Vasudeva comes, because vasudeva-sattva that is the liberated platform. Pradyumna is the attraction to be involved in those things and Aniruddha, the senses are actually engaged in the sense objects.

That is one way to explain it, generally way to explain it. Generally that is how we deal because after that that’s how it is functioning. Based on the field of activities, having attraction to it, having a need for it therefore one will engage in the activity, Vasudeva,  therefore Vasudeva is coming from Sankarsana.

The other way is, because we are talking about the original, means originally there is Vasudeva, Krsna. Then he expands as Balarama – after that it is the other way round. All other Vasudeva’s are actually expanded from Sankarsana or Balarama. Krsna in Dvaraka is actually an expansion of Balarama, but his mood is that of Krsna. Balarama has his mood, Pradyumna has his mood, Aniruddha has his mood. But this is the other aspect.

All this is there, why is it there? Because Vasudeva wants interaction or pastimes with His devotees.  To do that you need a field of activity, then Sankarsana comes, then the field is very nice and there is attraction. Like we see in the Krsna book Krsna goes out He is walking with the devotees and then He is commenting how nice it is. Or let’s take the one in the Tenth Canto, He goes and He sees the moon, the night and the moon and the full-moon and the bright-light and the mood, the forest and the air, the season and He thinks this is a perfect time for the rasa dance. That means Sankarsana was there, inspired by that He became attracted and then He has the need, then He plays the flute and the gopis come and there is rasa dance. So the whole process is working there. Who created all that? He did, for the purpose of rasa. That’s why you can explain it both ways, both are true.

Devotee (2): Could you say that looking from tattva they all expand from Sankarsana and looking at it from rasa it all start from Vasudeva?

HH BVPS Maharaja: In one sense you could but at the same time in rasa it will still go that way. In other words, I would have a tendency if you look at it from, it would be another one I don’t think we have on here because generally that would come later but we can put it on there, is sarva-jna and muktada, these are mood of Krsna.

Sarva-jna means He knows everything, from Goloka Vrndavana He knows everything everywhere down to the little atom to the little grain of sand you are sitting on now, He knows everything. Mukdata – means that He Himself by His own will puts Himself under His own yoga-maya so He doesn’t know all of this and He only knows that He is the son of Maharaja Nanda. In other words, from the one you can say it is coming like that and the other is, He has that desire for that therefore He has arranged it like that. The other one is He doesn’t know and then He is just as seemingly as affected by the situation as everybody else is.

At the same time even in those two they both contain both. Because of His desire for rasa therefore He expands the others. The position and rasa is not a separate entity in Krsna, that’s why it is said He and His energies are non-different. Even though He is the Lord of sat, or eternality that doesn’t mean that He also not the Lord of ananda and cit. It is just that to enjoy that He gives those categories to someone else. Even though He is sambandha and everyone is basically based on Him, Balarama is the cit-potency which is the abhidheya, and Radharani is the hladini-potency. At the same time He moves to the position of Vasudeva and Balarama moves over there . That’s why the principles of knowledge are both in sambandha as Pradyumna, and abhidheya as Vasudeva. Because you perform your activity with knowledge but it is knowledge of how to make the activity work right, not knowledge of why I should do it, it is a different aspect. Sambandha is I should be doing this, it is the right thing to do, how to do that this is abhidheya, meaning doing it that is abhidheya, using you intelligence, this is better now this is this. So it’s two different aspects.

Devotee (3): Sankarsana…Vasudeva…they are therefore the same person. But according to the mood what the Lord takes up.

HH BVPS Maharaja: That’s it, there is one Lord, Krsna is one person. According to mood He expands. Depending upon the mood then there is ones that are exactly means Krsna expands like He is with the gopis they are exactly the same Krsna, they are not somebody else, they don’t have a different mood. Or He expands and they actually have a different mood like Balarama or Narayana, same person but they have a different mood.

Like the high-court judge is at home, he has different expansions  at home but they are the same: him with his wife, with his kids, with his close friends, him just kicking around on his house just on his own but it is still him just tasting different aspects but he has to do it separately while Krsna can do all of them at once. When he goes to the office, he goes to the court that is a different mood. That’s the whole point, Krsna at home or Krsna in the office. Vaikuntha is the office.

Devotee (3): In the beginning Krsna is alone and then He has His moods…

HH BVPS Maharaja: He manifests all these moods and therefore you get this broad variety. All the moods are there in Krsna and that’s way He is black, because all rasa is there. But there is that same oneness again when He wants to specifically just taste the conjugal rasa. So therefore He is golden. So it is one but it doesn’t contain all the others. It is there but they are in their hidden form. Like you will see that He will manifest as Varaha or this or that, Lord Caitanya. But that is Gaura-Narayana. Like at Yoga-pitha you have Gaura-Narayana with Visnu-priya and Laksmi-priya. Then you have Lord Caitanya as non-different from Radha-Krsna. Then you have Lord Caitanya as the Panca-tattva. So those are the Deities that are established by the acaryas so those are the three views we have of. So as Narayana He is doing that but His main point is He has come to taste as Radha and Krsna. These others are secondary.

That’s why He goes from one to two back to one. If you manifested the two then the one makes sense. If you interact then the one, then the intimacy based that interaction, in other words it is an element of rasa. While the first one is tattva: Krsna is 1, that is tattva, everything is there. But Krsna as 1 as Lord Caitanya that is what is rasa – means He is tasting the rasa. The other He is atma-rama, so He is only tasting that much. The other He is tasting the adi-rasa, which has all the taste of everything but that is the difference. (end of lecture) (end)

(Transcription by Uddhava Priya Prabhu, used with permission)

(minor adjustments made by site authors)

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