Door to Liberation

Hare Krishna Prabhujis and Matajis,
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudev.

Recently I came across two interesting verses in Bhagavad Gita 16th chapter. I'll try to share the imports with all of you. In BG 16.21, Krishna says,

tri-vidhaṁ narakasyedaṁ dvāraṁ nāśanam ātmanaḥ
kāmaḥ krodhas tathā lobhas tasmād etat trayaṁ tyajet

There are three gates leading to hell- lust, anger and greed. Every sane man should give up these, for they lead to the degradation of the soul.

In the next verse, the Lord proceeds to say that one who gives up these three things can gradually attain the Supreme, by performing activities conducive for liberation. There are many methods prescribed in the scriptures to give up these three enemies. They include study of scriptures, fasting, performing severe austerities, giving charity, observing silence, respecting elders etc., One should diligently follow them to become free from these three bad qualities. All these methods are different steps in our path of progress in bhakti-yoga which is perfected by the understanding that Krishna is the Enjoyer, Proprietor and Controller of everything. In BG 5.29 the Lord explains,

bhoktāraṁ yajña-tapasāṁ sarva-loka-maheśvaram
suhṛdaṁ sarva-bhūtānāṁ jñātvā māṁ śāntim ṛcchati

One who understands me to be the enjoyer of all austerirties and sacrifices, the Supreme Lord of all planets and devas and the best well-wishing friend of all living entities attains peace from pangs of material miseries.

1. bhoktāraṁ yajña-tapasāṁ - One should understand that Lord Vishnu is the enjoyer of all sacrifices and austerities. The Taittriya Aranyaka says, "yajo vai viṣṇu viṣṇur vai yajñaṁ" (sacrifice means Lord Vishnu). Lust is the propensity by which we think that we are the enjoyers of the results of all our sacrifices and austerities. If we understand that Lord Vishnu is the real bhokta of tapas and yajna, we can overcome lust. Great devotees like Maharaj Ambarish, Parikshit and Yudhistira were adorned by this understanding.

2. sarva-loka maheśvaram - We should understand that the Lord alone is the proprietor of all the universes and He bestows good and bad things to the jivas. And He sets aside the quota for everyone based on one's karma. Greed is the uncontrollable desire towards amassing more and more possessions without recognizing the Lord's controllership and ownership. The īśāvāsya upanishad states that one should not covet other's wealth but should be satisfied with whatever the Lord allots. So when we understand that Krishna is the proprietor of everything, we can give up greed. Devotees like Sudama were living examples. They were satisfied in any position put in by the will of providence.

3. suhṛdaṁ sarva-bhūtānāṁ - When one understands that Lord Vishnu is the supreme father and everyone is His part and parcel, he can see the divinity in everybody. And knowing that Krishna is the supreme friend of everyone, one can learn how to show compassion to everyone. In Bhagavatam, we can see Lord Brahma addressing the pracetas to give up their anger. He says, Hari is the innerself of every living being and understanding this please give up your anger.

So by a systematic understanding and realization of the above three points one can give up the three bad qualities (lust, anger and greed) and attain the supreme abode. This is possible by hearing about the Lord in the association of devotees and serving the Lord to the best of one's ability. Srila Prabhupada created a nice society of devotees by which one can understand Krishna as mentioned above and become free from the influence of lust, greed and anger and thereby achieve the supreme perfection.

Thank you very much.
Yours in service of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudev,