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RESERVATIONS Uddhava Gita 
– COLLECTION YOGA TERMS
  1. Detachment from Everything Material
  2. The Nature of Fruitive Activity

9. Detachment from Everything Material

The saintly Brahmin said: Everyone considers certain things within the material world to be most dear to him, and because of attachment to such things one eventually becomes miserable. One who understands this gives up material possessiveness and attachment and thus achieves unlimited happiness. [9.1]

Once a group of large hawks who were unable to find any prey attacked another, weaker hawk who was holding some meat. At that time, being in danger of his life, the hawk gave up his meat and experienced happiness. [9.2]

In family life, the parents are always in anxiety about their home, children and reputation. But I have nothing to do with these things. I do not worry at all about any family, and I do not care about honour and dishonour. I enjoy only the life of the soul, and I find love on the spiritual platform. Thus I wander the earth like a child. [9.3]

In this world two types of people are free from all anxiety and merged in great happiness: One who is a retarded and childish fool and one who has approached the Supreme Lord, who is beyond the three modes of material nature. [9.4]

Once a marriageable young girl was alone in her house because her parents and relatives had gone that day to another place. At that time a few men arrived at the house, specifically desiring to marry her. She received them with all hospitality. [9.5]

The girl went to a private place and began to make preparations so that the unexpected male guests could eat. As she was beating the rice, the conch-shell bracelets on her arms were colliding and making a loud noise. [9.6]

The young girl feared that the men would consider her family to be poor because their daughter was busily engaged in the menial task of husking rice. Being very intelligent, the shy girl broke the shell bracelets from her arms, leaving just two on each wrist. [9.7]

Thereafter, as the young girl continued to husk the rice, the two bracelets on each wrist continued to collide and make noise. Therefore she took one bracelet off each arm, and with only one left on each wrist there was no more noise. [9.8]

Subduer of the enemy, I travel throughout the surface of the earth learning constantly about the nature of this world, and thus I personally witnessed the lesson of the young girl. [9.9]

When many people live together in one place there will undoubtedly be quarrelling. And even if only two people live together there will be frivolous conversation and disagreement. Therefore, to avoid conflict, one should live alone, as we learn from the example of the bracelet of the young girl. [9.10]

Having perfected the yoga sitting postures and conquered the breathing process, one should make the mind steady by detachment and the regulated practice of yoga. Thus one should carefully fix the mind on the single goal of yoga practice. [9.11]

The mind can be controlled when it is fixed on the Lord. Having achieved a stable situation, the mind becomes free from polluted desires to execute material activities; thus as the mode of goodness increases in strength, one can completely give up the modes of passion and ignorance, and gradually one transcends even the material mode of goodness. When the mind is freed from the fuel of the modes of nature, the fire of material existence is extinguished. Then one achieves the transcendental platform of direct relationship with the object of his meditation, the Supreme Lord. [9.12]

Thus, when one's consciousness is completely fixed on the Absolute Truth, the Lord, one no longer sees duality, or internal and external reality. The example is given of the arrow maker who was so absorbed in making a straight arrow that he did not even see or notice the king himself, who was passing right next to him. [9.13]

A saintly person should remain alone and constantly travel without any fixed residence. Being alert, he should remain secluded and should act in such a way that he is not recognized or noticed by others. Moving without companions, he should not speak more than required. [9.14]

When a person living in a temporary material body tries to construct a happy home, the result is fruitless and miserable. The snake, however, enters a home that has been built by others and prospers happily. [9.15]

The Lord of the universe, Narayana, is the worshipable God of all living entities. Without extraneous assistance, the Lord creates this universe by his own potency, and at the time of annihilation the Lord destroys the universe through his personal expansion of time and withdraws all of the cosmos, including all the conditioned living entities, within Himself. Thus, his unlimited Self is the shelter and reservoir of all potencies. The subtle pradhana, the basis of all cosmic manifestation, is conserved within the Lord and is in this way not different from him. In the aftermath of annihilation the Lord stands alone. [9.16]

When the Lord displays his own potency in the form of time and guides his material potencies, such as the mode of goodness, into a neutral condition of equilibrium, he remains as the supreme controller of that neutral state, called pradhana, as well as of the living entities. He is also the supreme worshipable object for all beings, including liberated souls, gods and ordinary conditioned souls. The Lord is eternally free from any material designation, and he constitutes the totality of spiritual bliss, which one experiences by seeing the Lord's spiritual form. The Lord thus exhibits the fullest meaning of the word "liberation." [9.17-18]

Subduer of the enemies, at the time of creation the Lord expands his own transcendental potency in the form of time, and agitating his material energy, maya, composed of the three modes of material nature, he creates the mahat-tattva. [9.19]

According to great sages, that which is the basis of the three modes of material nature and which manifests the variegated universe is called the sutra or mahat-tattva. Indeed, this universe is resting within that mahat-tattva, and due to its potency the living entity undergoes material existence. [9.20]

Just as from within himself the spider expands thread through his mouth, plays with it for some time and eventually swallows it, similarly, the Lord expands his personal potency from within Himself. Thus, the Lord displays the network of cosmic manifestation, utilizes it according to his purpose and eventually withdraws it completely within Himself. [9.21]

If out of love, hate or fear an embodied soul fixes his mind with intelligence and complete concentration on a particular bodily form, he will certainly attain the form that he is meditating on. [9.22]

King, once a wasp forced a weaker insect to enter his hive and kept him trapped there. In great fear the weak insect constantly meditated on his captor, and without giving up his body, he gradually achieved the same state of existence as the wasp. Thus one achieves a state of existence according to one's constant concentration. [9.23]

King, from all these spiritual masters I have acquired great wisdom. Now please listen as I explain what I learned from my own body. [9.24]

The material body is also my spiritual master because it teaches me detachment. Being subject to creation and destruction, it always comes to a painful end. Thus, although using my body to acquire knowledge, I always remember that it will ultimately be consumed by others, and remaining detached, I move about this world. [9.25]

A man attached to the body accumulates money with great struggle to expand and protect the position of his wife, children, property, domestic animals, servants, homes, relatives, friends, and so on. He does all this for the gratification of his own body. As a tree before dying produces the seed of a future tree, the dying body manifests the seed of one's next material body in the form of one's accumulated karma. Thus assuring the continuation of material existence, the material body sinks down and dies. [9.26]

A man who has many wives is constantly harassed by them. He is responsible for their maintenance, and thus all the ladies constantly pull him in different directions, each struggling for her self-interest. Similarly, the material senses harass the conditioned soul, pulling him in many different directions at once. On one side the tongue is pulling him to arrange tasty food; then thirst drags him to get a suitable drink. Simultaneously the sex organs clamor for satisfaction, and the sense of touch demands soft, sensuous objects. The belly harasses him until it is filled, the ears demand to hear pleasing sounds, the sense of smell hankers for pleasant aromas, and the fickle eyes clamor for pleasing sights. Thus the senses, organs and limbs, all desiring satisfaction, pull the living entity in many directions. [9.27]

The Supreme Personality of Godhead, expanding his own potency, maya-sakti, created innumerable species of life to house the conditioned souls. Yet by creating the forms of trees, reptiles, animals, birds, snakes and so on, the Lord was not satisfied within his heart. Then he created human life, which offers the conditioned soul sufficient intelligence to perceive the Absolute Truth, and became pleased. [9.28]

After many, many births and deaths one achieves the rare human form of life, which, although temporary, affords one the opportunity to attain the highest perfection. Thus a sober human being should quickly endeavour for the ultimate perfection of life as long as his body, which is always subject to death, has not fallen down and died. After all, sense gratification is available even in the most abominable species of life, whereas Krishna consciousness is possible only for a human being. [9.29]

Having learned from my spiritual masters, I remain situated in realization of the Lord and, fully renounced and enlightened by realized spiritual knowledge, wander the earth without attachment or false ego. [9.30]

Although the Absolute Truth is one without a second, the sages have described him in many different ways. Therefore one may not be able to acquire very firm or complete knowledge from one spiritual master. [9.31]

The Lord said: Having thus spoken to King Yadu, the wise Brahmin accepted obeisances and worship from the King and felt pleased within himself. Then bidding farewell, he left exactly as he had come. [9.32]

Uddhava, hearing the words of the avadhuta, the saintly King Yadu, who is the forefather of our own ancestors, became free from all material attachment, and thus his mind was evenly fixed on the spiritual platform. [9.33]

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10. The Nature of Fruitive Activity

The Lord said: Taking full shelter in me, with the mind carefully fixed in the devotional service of the Lord as spoken by me, one should live without personal desire and practice the social and occupational system called varnasrama. [10.1]

A purified soul should see that because the conditioned souls who are dedicated to sense gratification have falsely accepted the objects of sense pleasure as truth, all of their endeavours are doomed to failure. [10.2]

One who is sleeping may see many objects of sense gratification in a dream, but such pleasurable things are merely creations of the mind and are thus ultimately useless. Similarly, the living entity who is asleep to his spiritual identity also sees many sense objects, but these innumerable objects of temporary gratification are creations of the Lord's illusory potency and have no permanent existence. One who meditates on them, impelled by the senses, uselessly engages his intelligence. [10.3]

One who has fixed me within his mind as the goal of life should give up activities based on sense gratification and should instead execute work governed by the regulative principles for advancement. When, however, one is fully engaged in searching out the ultimate truth of the soul, one should not accept the scriptural injunctions governing fruitive activities. [10.4]

One who has accepted me as the supreme goal of life should strictly observe the scriptural injunctions forbidding sinful activities and, as far as possible, should execute the injunctions prescribing minor regulative duties such as cleanliness. Ultimately, however, one should approach a bona fide spiritual master who is full in knowledge of me as I am, who is peaceful, and who by spiritual elevation is not different from me. [10.5]

The servant or disciple of the spiritual master should be free from false prestige, never considering himself to be the doer. He should be active and never lazy and should give up all sense of proprietorship over the objects of the senses, including his wife, children, home and society. He should be endowed with feelings of loving friendship toward the spiritual master and should never become deviated or bewildered. The servant or disciple should always desire advancement in spiritual understanding, should not envy anyone and should always avoid useless conversation. [10.6]

One should see one's real self-interest in life in all circumstances and should therefore remain detached from wife, children, home, land, relatives, friends, wealth and so on. [10.7]

Just as fire, which burns and illuminates, is different from firewood, which is to be burned to give illumination, similarly the seer within the body, the self-enlightened spirit soul, is different from the material body, which is to be illuminated by consciousness. Thus the spirit soul and the body possess different characteristics and are separate entities. [10.8]

Just as fire may appear differently as dormant, manifest, weak, brilliant and so on, according to the condition of the fuel, similarly, the spirit soul enters a material body and accepts particular bodily characteristics. [10.9]

The subtle and gross material bodies are created by the material modes of nature, which expand from the potency of the Lord. Material existence occurs when the living entity falsely accepts the qualities of the gross and subtle bodies as being his own factual nature. This illusory state, however, can be destroyed by real knowledge. [10.10]

Therefore, by the cultivation of knowledge one should approach the Lord situated within oneself. By understanding the Lord's pure, transcendental existence, one should gradually give up the false vision of the material world as independent reality. [10.11]

The spiritual master can be compared to the lower kindling stick, the disciple to the upper kindling stick, and the instruction given by the guru to the third stick placed in between. The transcendental knowledge communicated from guru to disciple is compared to the fire arising from the contact of these, which burns the darkness of ignorance to ashes, bringing great happiness both to guru and disciple. [10.12]

By submissively hearing from an expert spiritual master, the expert disciple develops pure knowledge, which repels the onslaught of material illusion arising from the three modes of material nature. Finally this pure knowledge itself ceases, just as fire ceases when the stock of fuel has been consumed. [10.13]

Dear Uddhava, I have thus explained to you perfect knowledge. There are philosophers, however, who challenge my conclusion. They state that the natural position of the living entity is to engage in fruitive activities, and they see him as the enjoyer of the happiness and unhappiness that accrue from his own work. According to this materialistic philosophy, the world, time, the revealed scriptures and the self are all variegated and eternal, existing as a perpetual flow of transformations. Knowledge, moreover, cannot be one or eternal, because it arises from the different and changing forms of objects; thus knowledge itself is always subject to change. Even if you accept such a philosophy, Dear Uddhava, there will still be perpetual birth, death, old age and disease, since all living entities must accept a material body subject to the influence of time. [10.14 -16]

Although the performer of fruitive activities desires perpetual happiness, it is clearly observed that materialistic workers are often unhappy and only occasionally satisfied, thus proving that they are not independent or in control of their destiny. When a person is always under the superior control of another, how can he expect any valuable results from his own fruitive actions? [10.17]

It is observed within the material world that sometimes even an intelligent person is not happy. Similarly, sometimes even a great fool is happy. The concept of becoming happy through expertly performing material activities is simply a useless exhibition of false egotism. [10.18]

Even if people know how to achieve happiness and avoid unhappiness, they still do not know the process by which death will not be able to exert its power over them. [10.19]

Death is not st all pleasing, and since everyone is exactly like a condemned man being led to the place of execution, what possible happiness can people derive from material objects or the gratification they provide? [10.20]

That material happiness of which we hear, such as promotion to heavenly planets for celestial enjoyment, is just like that material happiness we have already experienced. Both are polluted by jealousy, envy, decay and death. Therefore, just as an attempt to raise crops becomes fruitless if there are many problems like crop disease, insect plague or drought, similarly, the attempt to attain material happiness, either on earth or on the heavenly planets, is always fruitless because of innumerable obstacles. [10.21]

If one performs Vedic sacrifices and fruitive rituals without any mistake or contamination, one will achieve a heavenly situation in the next life. But even this result, which is only achieved by perfect performance of fruitive rituals, will be vanquished by time. Now hear of this. [10.22]

If on earth one performs sacrifices for the satisfaction of the gods, he goes to the heavenly planets, where, just like a god, he enjoys all of the heavenly pleasures he has earned by his performances. [10.23]

Having achieved the heavenly planets, the performer of ritualistic sacrifices travels in a glowing airplane, which he obtains as the result of his piety on earth. Being glorified by songs sung by the Gandharvas and dressed in wonderfully charming clothes, he enjoys life surrounded by heavenly goddesses. [10.24]

Accompanied by heavenly women, the enjoyer of the fruits of sacrifice goes on pleasure rides in a wonderful airplane, which is decorated with circles of tinkling bells and which flies wherever he desires. Being relaxed, comfortable and happy in the heavenly pleasure gardens, he does not consider that he is exhausting the fruits of his piety and will soon fall down to the mortal world. [10.25]

Until his pious results are used up, the performer of sacrifice enjoys life in the heavenly planets. When the pious results are exhausted, however, he falls down from the pleasure gardens of heaven, being moved against his desire by the force of eternal time. [10.26]

If a human being is engaged in sinful, irreligious activities, either because of bad association or because of his failure to control his senses, then such a person will certainly develop a personality full of material desires. He thus becomes miserly toward others, greedy and always anxious to exploit the bodies of women. When the mind is so polluted one becomes violent and aggressive and without the authority of Vedic injunctions slaughters innocent animals for sense gratification. Worshiping ghosts and spirits, the bewildered person falls fully into the grip of unauthorized activities and thus goes to hell, where he receives a material body infected by the darkest modes of nature. In such a degraded body, he unfortunately continues to perform inauspicious activities that greatly increase his future unhappiness, and therefore he again accepts a similar material body. What possible happiness can there be for one who engages in activities inevitably terminating in death? [10.27-29]

In all the planetary systems, from the heavenly to the hellish, and for all of the great gods who live for one thousand yuga cycles, there is fear of me in my form of time. Even Brahma, who possesses the supreme life span of 311,040,000,000,000 years, is also afraid of me. [10.30]

The material senses create material activities, either pious or sinful, and the modes of nature set the material senses into motion. The living entity, being fully engaged by the material senses and modes of nature, experiences the various results of fruitive work. [10.31]

As long as the living entity thinks that the modes of material nature have separate existences, he will be obliged to take birth in many different forms and will experience varieties of material existence. Therefore, the living entity remains completely dependent on fruitive activities under the modes of nature. [10.32]

The conditioned soul who remains dependent on fruitive activities under the material modes of nature will continue to fear me, the Lord, since I impose the results of one's fruitive activities. Those who accept the material concept of life, taking the variegatedness of the modes of nature to be factual, devote themselves to material enjoyment and are therefore always absorbed in lamentation and grief. [10.33]

When there is agitation and interaction of the material modes of nature, the living entities then describe me in various ways such as all-powerful time, the Self, Vedic knowledge, the universe, one's own nature, religious ceremonies and so on. [10.34]

Uddhava said: Lord, a living entity situated within the material body is surrounded by the modes of nature and the happiness and distress that are born of activities caused by these modes. How is it possible that he is not bound by this material encirclement? It may also be said that the living entity is ultimately transcendental and has nothing to do with the material world. Then how is he ever bound by material nature? [10.35]

Lord, Acyuta, the same living entity is sometimes described as eternally conditioned and at other times as eternally liberated. I am not able to understand, therefore, the actual situation of the living entity. You, my Lord, are the best of those who are expert in answering philosophical questions. Please explain to me the symptoms by which one can tell the difference between a living entity who is eternally liberated and one who is eternally conditioned. In what various ways would they remain situated, enjoy life, eat, evacuate, lie down, sit or move about? [10.36-37]

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