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Self-promoting Culture

Srila Prabhupada, Srimad Bhagavatam for Daily Living inaugurated Abhay Charanaravinda Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada wrote Light of the Bhagavata in Vrindavana in 1961. It has been published posthumously in 1984 and 1996.

Prabhupada was was born as Abhay Charan De on 1 September 1896 in Calcutta. He first met his guru, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami, in Calcutta in 1922. Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati was the founder of sixty-four Vedic institutes. Srila Prabhupada first became his student and a formally initiated disciple later, in 1933.

Already during their first meeting, in 1922, Bhaktisiddhanta convinced Srila Prabhupada to dedicate his life to teaching Vedic knowledge in the Western world, in English. In the last ten years of his life, Srila Prabhupada circled the globe twelve times on lecture tours and kept on writing books on Vedic philosophy, religion, literature and culture.

The following regrouped points are from the twentieth chapter of the Srimad Bhagavatam's Tenth Canto. It describes the autumn season in Vrindavan. The extracts should be read with discernment, for although the points are there in Prabhupada's book, some rearrangements of them could bring out a few sensible, yet differentmeanings. Just study them.

Loka means realm, Bhagavan (Blessed Lord, Blessed One) is translated into the "Supreme Personality of Godhead" by Prabhupada, and Transcendence is "Beyondness".

A. Transcendence appears, fully independent - and as Paramatma

The Absolute personality of Godhead descends.

Lord Sri Krishna incarnated Himself and took pleasure in becoming a son of a vaisya [merchant] family.

We should desire that which is eternal, blissful, and full of knowledge.

From the Transcendence, which is called Krishnaloka [Krishna + realm, plane of existence], there emanates a glowing effulgence. Krishnaloka, as above mentioned, is the residence of Bhagavan ("the Personality of Godhead"), the original Transcendence.

Krishnaloka is also called Goloka Vrindavana.

The appearance of Godhead [Oneness] in some particular family does not mean that He is limited by obligations to that family. He is fully independent.

He is the biggest of the big as the Absolute Truth, the Bhagavan, called "Supreme Personality of Godhead".

We are eternally related with Him, despite the state of forgetfulness.

Sri Krishna cannot be offered anything beyond the range of good foodstuffs like milk and milk preparations, and sugar.

By His personal example Lord Sri Krishna taught us the importance of cow protection.

The Lord says, "Besides these living beings there is another, superior personality, known as the Paramatma. He pervades all the three worlds and exists as the supreme controller. I am transcendental to all who are infallible, I am known as the Absolute Bhagavan (Supreme Personality of Godhead)." (Bg. 15.16-18, extr.).

B. Reality is based on enjoyments too

Rise to the reality. That should be the aim of life.

In the autumn season all the birds, beasts, and men become sexually disposed, and impregnation takes place as a result. A devotee, therefore, should not be discouraged. The last stage recommended is the renouncing stage of life.

Singing, dancing, and feasting can be recommended. Human life is also meant for sense enjoyment. Yet spiritual culture means pursuing a better engagement in life. The ultimate goal of cultivating the human spirit is God realization.

C. Speak judiciously or do not speak

After heavy rain showers, the fields and forests in all directions appear green and healthy. Thus they resemble a man who is strong, hearty, and good-looking.

One should not conclude that there is no good money simply because one has met with counterfeit coins.

Citizens need to be scrupulously honest and virtuous. They should be honest in the payment of taxes to the state and should have honest representatives to look over the administration.

Great reformers speak or do not speak, as the time requires.

Little creatures playing in small water pools do not understand that their days are numbered.

The small rivulets that almost dried up during the months of May and June now begin to overflow their banks, like upstarts that suddenly overflow the limits of expenditure.

The vanaprasthas [hermits, forest-dwellers] and sannyasis [wandering mendicants and ascetics] nowadays are those who were unsuccessful in family life . . . and glide down into all sorts of luxury at the expense of others.

D. Go for individuality and a Self-promiting culture

The serene sky, limitlessly expansive, is compared to the Absolute Truth.

Above is simultaneous oneness and difference.

The four divisions of society--namely the intelligent class of men (the brahmanas), the ruling class (the ksatriyas), the mercantile class (the vaisyas), and the laboring class (the sudras)- -are meant to achieve one goal in life: Self-advancing culture.

In the material world the spiritual sparks of the Personality of Godhead are covered by the material energy in different proportions.

Impersonalists prefer to merge into the existence of the Transcendence, but personalists, devotees, do not annihilate their individuality, and thus individually enjoy spiritual variegatedness in the different realms of the spiritual sky. The material sky is also the spiritual sky, but it is covered by the modes of material nature.

The internal energy and the marginal energy are of the same superior quality, but the external energy is inferior in quality.

The yajna [offering, also sacrifice] that enlightens the mind of the masses for God consciousness is recommended. This process of yajna is called the sankirtana-yajna . . . spiritual singing, dancing, and feasting.


From Bhaktivedanta's Srimad Bhagavatam for Daily Living, Srila Bhaktivedanta, Literature  

Prabhupada, Srila. Light of the Bhagavata. Los Angeles, CA: Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, 1984.

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