Bhagawatam 167: Path taken by those who engage in fruitive activities; lifespan of Brahma

Sankarsanāya namah

Maharishi Kapila continues,

“When both body and the inner being lose the ability to perform action it is death. When they again join and obtain the ability to perform action it is birth.

That which enables the being to perceive external objects is ‘gross body’. At some point the gross body loses this ability. Then it is known as death.

Seeing the gross body with the feeling ‘this is me’ and seeing all objects through the medium of this gross body is ‘birth’!

When, due to defect in the eye, the ability to see objects diminishes, the inner sight-sense (chaksu-indriya) also loses its ability to see.  It should be understood that when both eye and the sense of sight fail, the individual also loses the ability to see. Similarly, when the gross body loses its ability to perceive the world, it is known as death. Understand that birth and death pertain only to the gross body (upādhi).

Tasmān na kāryaḥ santrāso na kārpaṇya na sambhrama

Buddhvā jīva-gatiṁ dhīro mukta-saṅgaś cared iha

Therefore an intelligent person must not fear nor become mentally weak. He should not allow infatuation towards the world to enter into him. Realizing that he is the Self (atma) he should give up inclination towards the world.

This world and its bondages are purely illusory. Even this body is illusory. The aspirant should therefore practice differentiating between things permanent and impermanent (nitya-anitya vastu viveka) in this creation. Simultaneously along with this, he should practice detachment towards the world. In his day to day worldly activities, he should give up the false ego which he has towards his body.

With this the thirty first chapter of the third canto comes to an end.

Third Canto Chapter Thirty two.

In this chapter, the higher realms to which a person, who adheres to the path of goodness, ascends is described. In addition, the greatness of the path of devotion and the manner in which an ignorant person continues to rotate in the wheel of life are also described.

Kapila Maharishi continued, “A householder routinely engages in fruitive activities and enjoys their resultant benefits i.e. material prosperity (artha) and fulfillment of desires (kāma). He performs the same fruitive actions repeatedly and goes through the same cycle. Through the medium of desires he gets trapped in these worldly bondages.  (Fruitive actions are actions performed with some expectation of result).

Due to the intensity of desires, he deviates from offering worship to God with pure devotional love. Instead, due to attachment to sense gratification, he focuses upon performing rituals and Yagnas for appeasing Devatas and forefathers. Pleasing them with rituals becomes his way of life. He remains dedicated towards such actions.

Such person after leaving this gross body reaches Chandra-loka (Moon) and drinks nectar there. After exhausting his merit (punya) he once again is reborn on earth.

At the end of the kalpa i.e. at the time of dissolution, Srihari sleeps on his snake-bed. At that time all these different planes of existence, that a materialistic householder seeks refuge in, get absorbed into Him.

On the contrary are pure devotees, who do not seek to experience the fruits of their actions in the form of materialistic prosperity (artha) and fulfillment of desires (kāma)! They do not seek sense gratification and are disinclined towards this world!

Due to their pure inner mind, they are deeply dedicated towards sarva karma sanyasa (giving up fruitive actions in totality). They are devoid of egoism (I-ness) and attachments. They are eternally focused towards renunciation (sanyāsa). It is due to diligent adherence to their own dharma (swadharma) that such people obtain this pure inner mind!

After leaving this body, pure devotees travel through the path of the illumination (Sun) so as to merge into the all pervading Lord Srihari, who is the Lord for this entire creation. They reach Satya loka, the highest plane, and remain there worshipping Him.

This complete Lord is the material cause (upādāna kārana) for this creation. Through His intentions of creation and dissolution, He also becomes the instrumental/ efficient cause (nimitta kārāna).

Brahma, also known as Hiranyagarbha, has a lifespan of 2 Parārthās i.e. two sets of 50 years as per Brahma’s time calculation. After the completion of this lifespan, He too merges into the Supreme Lord.

The self-created Hiranyagarbha, the Lord of all Lords who has created this entire universe which is replete with the trigunas, enjoys his sovereignty for this period. Thereafter he determines to dissolve this entire creation which is full of egoism (I-ness) and consists of earth, water, fire, wind, space, mind, senses and subtle sensory perceptions. With this intent He merges into the absolute traitless, formless Supreme Entity known as Parabrahma.

When Hiranyagarbha merges into the Lord, these Yogis i.e. the residents of Satya loka, who are totally detached and who have conquered the life and mind, also give up their bodies and merge into the Lord. The remnant of egoism (I-ness) within them is the cause for their inability to merge into Him until now.

Atha taṁ sarva-bhūtānāṁ hṛt-padmeu ktālayam

Śrutānubhāvaṁ śaraaṁ vraja bhāvena bhāmini

O Mother! You have heard from me the glories of the Supreme Lord Srihari who resides within every heart. With total devotion please surrender unto Him.

Lord Brahma, the embodiment of Vedas who is the cause for all animate and inanimate objects, through the medium of selfless non-fruitive action (nishkāma karma) merges into Lord Narayana, the primordial being, the Supreme amongst all beings and the Lord with form and attributes. He merges into the Lord along with Marichi and other saints, along with great Yogeśwaras, eminent knowledgeable saints such as Sanaka and others and together with siddha puruśas who are accomplished in Yoga.

Yet in Him (Brahma) feelings of duality, false ego towards the body and doership of actions remain. For this reason, as soon as the equilibrium between the three attributes of Nature (trigunas) is disturbed at the commencement of creation, He, under the directive of the Supreme Lord begins the task of creation exactly as it was in the earlier period. He again manifests as the world”.

Vāsudevāya namah


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