O n 24th February, HH Sivarama Swami gave a lecture on SB 6.4.24 . Below is the transcription of the lecture.
Hare Krishna! (repeats translation)
These Hamsa-guhya prayers are, as Srila Prabhupada earlier said, they are already existing Vedic prayers, they had already been assimilated by Daksa at some previous, earlier time. If you remember that Daksa was already a brahmana before he was decapitated. And so there is every likelihood that this is actually something that he is already carrying over from a previous life. But there is no necessarily indication of that. In any case he is repeating prayers that he has learnt. And these prayers are very philosophical. So this is not necessarily a easy going class.
Still Kaviraja Goswami says, siddhanta …that even though philosophical topics may be challenging, we shouldn’t really shirk from them. So it’s a very….here the Supersoul is the object of worship for Daksha. He is offering his respectful obeisances to that Supreme Lord who is dwelling within all of us.
andantara-stha-paramanu (BS 5.35)
He is not just within us but He is actually even within an atom. But still we can’t see Him. And the example is being given here that sense objects just like this microphone don’t really have a awareness or perception that they are being used. I am looking at the column over there but the column is not aware that I am looking at it. And of course that’s an obvious statement because the column is not conscious; nor is this microphone conscious.
So in one sense this analogy is somewhat derogatory because it’s saying, and in the same way we human, conscious human beings, we are not conscious of that Supreme Lord living within our hearts. We are conscious and yet despite the fact that we have consciousness, something that is so very obvious, that someone else living in our body and we are not aware of it. If someone just sat in your lap you would be very much aware of the fact that he is there or she is there. Or as in the case of all the mosquitoes that are flying around, as soon as those mosquitoes alight on you, especially when they start to bite you become very aware that they are there.
But now here we have somebody who is living within our hearts, which is about as close as you can get. Even we the spirit soul we are situated within the area, the region of the heart and despite the fact that someone is sitting right beside us, we are not conscious. We are not conscious of His presence which according to this analogy makes us no better than this microphone or that pillar.
So Daksa here is therefore is offering namaskaromi, I am offering my obeisances because by that type of offering at least I recognize the fact that someone is there who I may not be directly perceiving. Of course in our culture, which is Gaudiya Vaisnava culture, and actually in the greater Vedic culture and even in the aVedic culture, the concept of seeing is not necessarily considered to be very important. Rather the process of hearing is considered to be much more to the point.
susrusoh sraddadhanasya vasudeva-katha-rucih (SB 1.2.16)
That hearing is the proper way, vasudeva-katha-rucih is the proper way of really connecting with somebody. But we live in this sort of empiric world where we have been brainwashed with this statement – if I can’t see it, I don’t believe it! And if you just as readily ask whoever, because when you are preaching you come across that type of statement often. We have got other senses than just sight. So what’s so special about seeing? And as Srila Prabhupada would often say, “what can you see?” Can you see your eyelids? Can I actually see what this book is made of? It looks like paper, feels like paper but it’s not paper. These are atoms, atoms and molecules. I don’t see atoms and molecules, I see paper. So if I am really looking to find out well what is this book then I get one perspective of it but it’s not the real perspective.
So why so much emphasis on seeing, what has sort of degraded all the other four senses and their types of perception to some kind of lower status that all of a sudden hearing is not good. For instance someone may be around the corner, I can’t see them! But if they make a noise by hearing I get a better idea where they are! So hearing is also a good source of information.
But of course all types of empiric sensory perception is imperfect in the ultimate sense. Aroha pantha, avaroha pantha, but that process of hearing where transcendental perfect knowledge comes through the auditory senses, that is the perfect way of knowing about something.
So here Daksa is offering his obeisances to the Supersoul who he has heard about. And because, for instance say in the Western philosophy and in certain branches of Indian philosophy also, the concept of Supersoul is not accepted, therefore reality and how we perceive it doesn’t really get defined properly. This became known in more recent times by a French mathematician as, whose name was Descartes, as the “mind and body problem”. There were philosophers who conceived of a soul as being distinct from mind. But generally people accept the fact that we have got a body and aside from that we have a thinking mechanism that we call the mind. And the nature of the two are quite different. One is very gross and one is very subtle.
And some branches of philosophers they will misconstrue that actually the mind is actually spiritual. So even when you have Indian philosophies who accept the existence of the soul, how does the spiritual thing interface with the material thing? So here is the body which is a very gross material thing and here is the soul which is or the mind which is a spiritual or transcendental or at least something that is vastly different than this body. So and this is where thinking, feeling and willing take place in the soul or the mind.
So how does my desire to talk manifest into actual physical action? How does it actually take place? And when you say that there is a connect between the spiritual or the mental and the physical, then how is it that that connection point does not become compromised? Does the spiritual become material or the material become spiritual? And then both of them become impure, they lose their nature.
So this has become the mind and body problem, because what is it that is the intermediary between thinking and willing and the actual action itself. And of course that’s not always guaranteed. Because a paralyzed person may want to move but it doesn’t matter how much he wills he can’t do it. A blind person may want to see but just because he wants to see doesn’t necessarily mean that that happens.
So ultimately at least by inference and of course through the process of aural reception we learn that there must be someone else there who is the controller of both. Someone who is in touch with the thinking, feeling, willing person and who also has control over matter. And so here it says, maha-isaya, He is the supreme controller. He is not just the isaya or the controller but He is the maha-isaya, and that is the Supersoul.
So there has to be someone who is controlling matter, who is also controlling and in touch with spirit and who is aloof or transcendental, He doesn’t become contaminated by touching matter. So in Thirteenth Chapter Krishna says
upadraṣṭānumantā ca bhartā bhoktā maheśvaraḥ
paramātmeti cāpy ukto (BG 13.23)
That this is the, He is the supreme permitter and He is the one who enables. So He is permitting and He is enabling. Or at least the enabling is what takes place first.
Prabhupada here writes, “The conditioned soul has desires and the Supreme Soul fulfills them.” I have a desire to lift my arm and Supersoul fulfills that desire. But He is also the permitter. That means that He is not obliged to lift my arm. He is not obliged to move the senses so that my arms actually..…my muscles, so that my arms can lift up. And so what determines that someone can lift their arms and some else cant? And then that will be the karma. So you have your free will, oh yes, I want to do something. And then the Supersoul takes that into consideration, and says this person deserves to lift his arm. And if He thinks that it is permittable then upadraṣṭānumantā ca, then yes then He will permit you to lift.
So these are the topics that Arjuna is looking after in the beginning of the Thirteenth Chapter. He is asking after six particular topics. He wants to know,
Prakrtim purusam caiva
ksetram ksetra-jñam eva ca
etad veditum icchami
jñanam jñeyam ca kesava (bg 13.1)
So in short Arjuna is asking he wants to know about prakrti-nature; purursa –the enjoyer; the field and the knower of the field; and of knowledge and the object of knowledge. And then Krishna replies, idam sariram kaunteya (bg 13.2), this body is called the field, and one who knows this body is called the knower of the field. This becomes the first two answers that Krishna gives. So we are not the knower, we are aware, we are conscious, we are conscious at least to a certain extent we are conscious of what’s going on in this body. We feel, we can feel pain, we can hear our senses function in a certain way. We are not aware of everything, I don’t know what my blood pressure is at the present time, I don’t know how my other organs are functioning. I am not aware of everything in the body. I may be catching a cold due to the draft, there are so many other things may be going on but I am not aware. But still I am considered to be a knower of the body because I know something.
But then in the next verse, Krishna immediately qualifies, He says,
ksetra-jñam capi mam viddhi sarva-ksetresu bharata (bg 13.3)
He says but I am also the knower of the field. And of course here becomes the real distinction between one knower and the other knower. So Krishna says sarva-ksetresu, sarva means, but I know all the fields. I know everybody and I know everybody in full. So starting from Lord Siva, Lord Brahma, all down every living entity, Supreme Lord knows everything that’s going on in every body’s body.
Interestingly recently I was just reading how Jiva Goswami explains that the Supersoul is a different expansion for different personalities. For instance he says for Lord Siva the Supersoul is Sankarsana. And I think for Lord Brahma its either Pradyumna or Aniruddha and for someone else, for Manu and living entities. In any case He is in the heart of every living entity and He is sarva-ksetresu bharata. He knows what’s going on in the heart of every living entity. And
upadrastanumanta ca bharta bhokta mahesvarah (BG 13.23)
as the mahesvara, as the great controller, same terminology is being used here, He is the person who also facilitates everyone and also gives the permission according to each individual persons karma.
And then you know in the Second Canto of the Bhagavatam, there is this fantastic explanation of how through intellectual analysis one can infer the presence of the Supersoul. And I remember when I was reading that Second Canto and I was, that was before I had even moved into the temple. Before I moved into the temple I had a lot of time to read. I was reading about six eight hours a day. That stopped when I joined the temple. (laughter) I came in the evening and the next morning after morning program I sat down at a desk and I started reading, and the temple President came and he said,
“Bhakta Peter, what are you doing?” (laughter)
I said, “I am reading.”
He said, “No! No! No! It’s time to go out on book distribution.”
Anyway Srila Prabhupada there in the purport, he gives a very detailed purport of how, one cannot, I think it’s in the sixth chapter, how…..2.2.35, and that how any man, any intelligent man can understand this, or does it say ordinary man…common man, any common man. And I read that purport about 50 times because I was hoping I wasn’t a common man, I was something a little better but still couldn’t really quite grasp it. It was Srila Prabhupada’s conception of what a common man is, is a little different than our conception of a common man. Just like Prabhupada would say, “any child can understand that you are not this body.” And then we are a little older than children and we are still having difficulty coming to grips with this body problem.
So there is a need, by the process of elimination, the only way that you can explain how it is that our subtle thinking, feeling, and willing translates into action, is that there has to be a mahesvara, there has to be someone else who is in touch with these things. And it’s not me! It’s someone else. And of course that someone else is someone who is mahesvara, who is a supreme controller and someone whom we should not equate with ourselves.
And at this point of course the whole issue of are we actually equal to the Supersoul and the whole concept of mayavadi philosophy comes in and mayavadis often reinterpret these slokas to say just that. Here is one ksetrajna and here is another ksetrajna. But when you actually destroy that illusion that distinguishes the two, then you also become the knower of all bodies.
But then when he is analyzing these verses Jiva Goswami points out that it doesn’t work in terms of either the logic or the language of Bhagavad Gita and you can’t interpret it like that. So in any case even though we don’t see but still namaskaromi, we offer our obeisances. And this awareness of the presence of the Supersoul is very much a sobering phenomenon.
And Srila Prabhupada really emphasized a lot on the sort of Supersoul consciousness especially in the initial years of his preaching, although of course it is there everywhere throughout his books and of course one important thing to take from that is that wherever we go we may be ignorant of the Supersoul’s presence but He is not. He is aware of what we are doing. And of course this analogy of the two birds within the tree of the body. Why are we unaware of the Supersoul? Because we have turned away from Him, krsna bahirmukha hana bhoga vancha kare, you turn away from someone there, it’s almost as if they don’t exist.
So He sees what we are doing, He knows what we are thinking, He knows what our misbehavior is, we are not getting away with anything. So at least that’s one lesson that we can take from amongst many from this verse, is that even though we may not be aware of the presence of the Supersoul, He is there. And He really knows what’s going on.
So when we come in front of Radha Madhava then we are on our best behavior. But if we are in that consciousness that wherever we go Radha Madhava is actually within our hearts, and they are witnessing everything then we will continue to be in our best behavior. No room for misbehavior. And when we misbehave then He will actually have the right and He will take away upadrastanumanta, some permission, He will not necessarily allow us to relish all of the things that we can or should be from the practice of our devotional activities. In the same way that He can also take away or measure out what we deserve in terms of our karma and either he can make us be acrobats or he can turn us into cripples.
That’s it for time. Thank you very much!
Srila Prabhupada ki jaya! Sri Sri RadhaMadhava ki jaya!
Jaya Nitai Gaurapremanande Haribol!