Verses 31 – 40
by Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura
(translated by Swami Bhakti Vijñāna Giri)
prakṛter bhagavac-chakteḥ pratibimba-svarūpiṇi
vimukhāvarikā māyā yat sṛṣṭḥaṁ heyatāyutam
Māyā (the material potency, Mahā-māya) is the shadow form of Śrī Bhagavān’s superior potency which covers those who are averse to Him. Her creation is inferior.
māyāsūtaṁ jagat sarvaṁ sthūla-liṅga-svarūpakam
vaikuṇṭhasya viśeṣasya pratibimbaṁ jugupsitam
The entire world that consists of both gross and subtle elements which is born of this māyā, is a trivial reflection (shadow) of the diversity of Vaikuṇṭha.
yad yad bhāti hy asad-bimbe tat-tat sarvaṁ viśeṣataḥ
varttate bhagavad-dhāmni śiva-rūpam anāmayam
All that exists in this temporary shadow world is situated in the abode of Bhagavān (Vaikuṇṭha) in an especially pristine, blissful and auspicious manner.
Now the māyā-śakti will be discussed. The one potency of Śrī Bhagavān has various names such as cit-śakti, svarūpa-śakti etc. In relation to those jīvas who are servants of Bhagavān, it is the embodiment of supreme bliss. And in relation to those jīvas who are opposed to Bhagavān, Her form of māyā covers and distracts them. She is the material or temporary reflection of the nature of the tripāda-vibhūti of Vaikuṇṭha,* and she manifests the world with its subtle and gross forms which take refuge in material nature and qualities. There is a resemblance in all the various forms within the material world manifested by the māyā-śakti with those manifested by svarūpa–śakti in Vaikuṇṭha. The only difference is the inferior nature (found in the material world) and the auspicious nature (found in Vaikuṇṭha). Suffering is the inferior part of this material world of māyā. There is no specific differences in the nature of earth, water etc., form, smell etc., or effortless actions (kriyā) and activities with desire (karma). However, in the māyika world, all those things only result in giving misery are inferior, but they do not do so in Vaikuṇṭha. Everything in Vaikuṇṭha is full of auspiciousness. That auspiciousness of Vaikuṇṭha is beyond the comprehension of a mind which is in a mutated condition due to its contact with this world and its inferior place, time and circumstances. The conception that within vaikuṇṭha-vastu (those things in connection with Vaikuṇṭha) there is an absence of any qualities (which is contradictory to that which is created by māyā), as well as the notion of formlessness, are theories (philosophies) that are defective and contradictory to the knowledge attained through samādhi. and are hinderances in attaining the goal of life (prayojana). It greatly increases one’s bewilderment, and is opposed to the pure jīva’s perception of the conscious nature (cetana-svarūpa) found within the variety of Vaikuṇṭha. The dry jñānīs find fault with our siddhānta of saviśeṣa (that the Lord has qualities). Their theory is that the reflected condition of Vaikuṇṭha, which is perceived through material thought, is also manifested via material or māyika conditions. This conclusion is certainly mundane (impure). Our sāragrāhīs have affirmed that when the state of Vaikuṇṭha is reflected, it becomes the physical māyika world. If this conclusion is rejected, then the apprehension is that all such concepts pertaining to the existence of Bhagavān and thoughts concerning Him are the results of sentiments stemming from māyā. If this is believed then everyone will become an atheist.
What is inferior? This needs to be discerned. Spacial considerations such as distance (within the material world) are inferior. The concept of distance is full of auspiciousness within Vaikuṇṭha. The inferior concepts of time, namely present, future and past are all auspicious (in Vaikuṇṭha). Objects such as water, earth, the body etc. are inferior. There are also struggles in one’s endeavours, financial affordability, various contradictory natures etc. Moreover, in this state of ours, we cannot fully comprehend what is inferior and what is auspicious due to a scarcity of beneficial conditions. However, only by the strength of svataḥ-siddha-jñāna (self-evident knowledge), the realisation of the existence of that which is inferior and auspicious becomes a natural reality. Such knowledge becomes steady.
*Translator’s Note: Tripāda-vibhūti refers to the three quarters of the creation, namely Vaikuṇṭha.
dhyānādau bhaktimat-kārye prākṛte’pi svarūpataḥ
sārāṁśā nītavaikuṇṭhāḥ kṛṣṇoddeśe hṛdi sthite
Although they are actually material, the active principle of devotional activities such as meditation etc. aimed at Kṛṣṇa within the heart, are to lead one to Vaikuṇṭha (Bhagavān).
Dhyāna (meditation) is an attribute of the mind. The nature of the mind is that it is finite and has a semblance of consciousness (cidābhāsa). However it does not possess the transcendental nature of consciousness. Therefore, through the performance of activities such as meditation etc. via the mind, a material condition is achieved. Through opposite actions one attains opposite results – according to this logic, how can one achieve transcendental Vaikuṇṭha through the activity of material meditation? If one speaks like this, then it is inconsistent. By the term dhyānādau, all mental and physical activities are implied. If one’s activities of worship are intended for the purpose of Bhagavān, then all those activities are never in vain because Śrī Bhagavān possesses qualities such as omniscience, compassion etc. Therefore, even in material sādhana, the essence in the form of one’s rasa for the divine form of the Deity is brought to Bhagavān by the cit-śakti. Māyā, the maidservant of Bhagavān, in the form of the svarūpa-śakti, also provides the paraphernalia for worship and offers the service and worship of the bound jīva to the lotus feet of Bhagavān. For this reason, the sāragrāhīs should pay no heed to the hatred towards the Deity as shown by those on the path of dry jñāna.
kṛṣṇābhimukha-jīvāstu svadharmāvastitāḥ sadā
ye tad-vimukhatāṁ prāptā māyā teṣāṁ vimohinī
However, those jīvas who are inclined towards Kṛṣṇa are always situated in their svadharma (inherent nature). Those who have acquired aversion to Kṛṣṇa are bewildered by Mahā-māyā.
cic-chakteḥ pratibimbatvāj-jagan mithyeti nocyate
sāmbandhikena liṅgena satyaṁ tad viduṣāṁ mate
Even though it is a reflection of the cit-śakti, the falsity of the world (jagat–mithyā) is not accepted. According to those persons who are knowers of tattva (spiritual truth), the world is proven to be a dependent reality.
In this section, the relationship between three tattvas will be defined. Svadharma refers to kṛṣṇa–dāsya (servitude to Kṛṣṇa). The śloka beginning with cic-chakteḥ indicates the futility of māyāvāda. This world has no eternal reality as is found in the Supreme Lord. But according to the will of Bhagavān, starting from the time of creation until the time of universal annihilation, the world is a dependent reality. Those who are knowers of tattva have determined this. The rest is clear.
jaḍeṣu jñānamālocya kṛtvā kāryāṇyaśeṣataḥ
yateta paramārthāya kāryavic caturo naraḥ
Those persons who are expert in activities should endeavour towards the highest goal while deliberating upon knowledge and fully engaging in all kinds of activities within the mundane world.
By this śloka beginning with jaḍeṣu, the philosophy of dry renunciation is rejected.
saṁsāre dravya-jātānāṁ saṁgrahe tat paro bhavet
yatas tair labhyate śāntir yayā sādhyaṁ prayojanam
In this world, one should become expert or experienced in gathering necessary items, because through such things peace can be attained. Through peace, one achieves the goal of human life (puruṣārtha).
Peace (śānti) refers to the opportunity to fulfill the primary necessity of life.
jaḍānuyantrito jīvo jñāna-vairāgya yatnataḥ
kvacin na labhate muktim īśasya kṛpayā vinā
A jīva bound by matter can never attain liberation by endeavours for jñāna and renunciation without the grace of the Supreme.
tasmājjaḍātmake dravye dṛṣṭvā kṛṣṇānvayaṁ sadā
yateta jaḍa-vijñānād ajaḍa-prāpti-sādhane
Thus, always considering those things of a material nature to be related to Kṛṣṇa, one should endeavour to draw spiritual reality from material science.
This is also clear. The word ajaḍa (non-material) means cit-tattva (spiritual reality).