Bhagawatam 068: Maharishi Śuka teaches about developing dispassion (vairagya)

Śuka Maharishi continues, “Swayambhuva Manu is the intellect (buddhi) of the Supreme Lord. Human being is His residence”.

Listen to this carefully. The Supreme Lord resides within the human being!

“His prowess manifested in the form of sum total of all demons. Brahmins are the face of this Supreme Lord. Kshatriyas (warrior clan) are His arms. Vaishyas (herders, traders etc.) are His thighs. Shudras (labourers) are His feet”.

The Shudras have attained such a wonderful place in this universal form!

“Together with Vasu, Rudra and many other such troops of demigods, the Supreme Lord exists as a form of the Universe!

Elaborate Yagna rituals which are coupled with chanting of Veda mantras and making offerings into the holy fire are His only activities. In this way I have explained to you the various limbs of the cosmic form of that Lord.

Spiritual aspirants, through the medium of the intellect, fix their mind in total concentration upon this universal form. There is nothing in this world apart from this universal form.

The Supreme Lord resides within each and every being in the form of the Self (atma)! Seated within the living being, through the medium of its mental activities, it is He who perceives and experiences this entire world!

During dream, the person sees himself as manifesting in various different forms. But the dream world does not have an existence separate from the person who is dreaming. Likewise, this entire world does not have an existence separate from the Supreme Lord. In fact there is nothing which is not Him or which is separate from Him.

For this reason, the aspirant should serve the Supreme Lord considering Him to be a personification of bliss. He should ensure great caution in matters pertaining to the visible world and should not get attached to them. This is because attachment towards material objects drags the aspirant downwards.

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

Second Canto Second Chapter

In this chapter the steady deep concentration (dhāraṇa) displayed by eminent saints (Yogis) has been explained. Instantaneous liberation (sadyomukti) and progressive liberation (krama mukti) have also been defined.

In the first chapter, in response to Parikshit’s question, Maharishi Śuka explained the universal form of the Supreme Lord. He expressed that through the practice of Ashtānga Yoga, single focused concentration should be developed towards the universal form and through this liberation could be attained. Now in this second chapter, some more topics pertaining to Yoga are being explained.

Maharishi Śuka continued, “O Emperor! In the period prior to creation of the Universe, Lord Brahma lost awareness of this universal form. He then meditated deeply upon the Universal form (virāt roopa) as explained in the above verses. Pleased with this meditation, the Supreme Lord restored to him the knowledge of the Universal form. Brahma now obtained unlimited supreme knowledge. Having obtained complete knowledge pertaining to creation, He created this universe exactly the same way as it existed in earlier creations.

Veda, which is nothing but a form of sound, explains the ways in which one can obtain fruits for actions performed (karma phala). It also teaches about Swarga and other heavenly planes. However, the truth is that these celestial planes (heavens) are only imaginary and theoretical and do not have any real existence. Nevertheless, the human mind eternally thinks only about such celestial planes which are of impermanent existence.

The individual being who is trapped in spiritual ignorance (ajnana), becomes deeply desirous of the comforts of this world and the next. Due to these desires, he constantly travels between these imaginary planes which have no real existence. In other words, trapped in this cycle called repeated births and deaths, the individual being forgets the essence of the Absolute Truth and thus is unable to obtain it.

Listen to the following with great attention. If needed, please listen to it again and again so that it is grasped.

The aspirant who possesses discriminatory intelligence of permanent (nitya) and impermanent (anitya) objects in the creation, should take from these imaginary worldly comforts, only as much as is needed to sustain the body. Even in those minimum necessities which he thus takes, he should not have any desire/ attachment.

In the event he is able to sustain his body without the aid of these minimum necessities, he should totally abstain from them. In other words, he should not even seek these basic minimum necessities if he is able to sustain his body without their help. He should be contented with whatever is available without his asking and should not crave for more comforts. He should not strive to obtain these additional comforts.

When a person can sleep on the bare earth, why does he seek beds and mattresses? When he can use his hand as a pillow, what is the need for using a pillow? When he can join his palms into a cup for eating food, what is the necessity of different vessels? When directions, barks of trees and clothing made from leaves are available, why does he need silken clothes?

Trees that exist purely for helping others, feed the hungry through the medium of their fruits. Can he not eat such fruits and survive? Rivers have not dried up completely. When rivers which supply drinking water are available to us, can we not quench our thirst with just this water? Is there any rule that we should not reside in mountain caves? We can happily reside in those caves.

The Supreme Lord always protects living beings who have totally surrendered to Him. Is it not enough to just pray and surrender to Him? How can those, whose eyes are closed in vanity due to excessive wealth, ever serve great Mahatmas and Jnanis?

In the form of the Self, the imperishable, eternal Lord Srihari inherently resides in the heart of every living being! Knowledge is His form! He is the only real existence! As He is the Self (atma) that resides within every being, He is dear to every being.

The spiritual aspirant, while seeking liberation, should practice dispassion (vairagya) in the manner explained above. Thinking eternally about the Supreme Lord and deriving bliss from it, he should strive eternally to serve only Him!

Narayana! Narayana!

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