Elevation To Perfection- Part 1

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

This is based on the wonderful class given by our dear Gurudev in Singapore on the subject matter of elevating our activities to religious perfection which will lead to renunciation and finally culminating in loving service to the lotus feet of the Lord. Maharaj was super excellently explaining the verse 3.23.56 from Srimad Bhagavatam

neha yat karma dharmāya na virāgāya kalpate
na tīrtha-pada-sevāyai jīvann api mṛto hi saḥ

Anyone whose work is not meant to elevate him to religious life, anyone whose religious ritualistic performances do not raise him to renunciation, and anyone situated in renunciation that does not lead him to devotional service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, must be considered dead, although he is breathing.

Maharaj bisected the verse very nicely as under

1. How our Karma ( work ) should elevate to religious perfection.
2. How religious perfection should lead to renunciation.
3. How renunciation should lead to loving devotional service to the lotus feet of the Lord.

1.How our Karma ( work ) should elevate to religious perfection?

In Bhagavad Gita Krishna says in 3.5

na hi kaścit kṣaṇam api jātu tiṣṭhaty akarma-kṛt
kāryate hy avaśaḥ karma sarvaḥ prakṛti-jair guṇaiḥ

Everyone is forced to act helplessly according to the qualities he has acquired from the modes of material nature; therefore no one can refrain from doing something, not even for a moment.

Everyone is forced to act helplessly. In our body all the time blood circulation is going on, kidney, liver, everything is working non-stop. There is no annual holiday for the heart. Think the disaster if the heart decides to stop working. Krishna shows by His personal example that even though He is nothing to gain, still He is engaged in performance of duties. He states in Bhagavad Gita 3.22

na me pārthāsti kartavyaṁ triṣu lokeṣu kiñcana
nānavāptam avāptavyaṁ varta eva ca karmaṇi

O son of Prthaa, there is no work prescribed for Me within all the three planetary systems. Nor am I in want of anything, nor have I a need to obtain anything and yet I am engaged in prescribed duties.

In the battle field of Kurukshetra, every day after the war is over, Lord Krishna will come back and He will not take any rest. He will take care of the horses. What benefit He is going to get by doing all these? In the material world, we are all full of fruitive tendencies and these tendencies will change slowly. Ours is a preaching institute and we have to preach. By preaching, we solidify our knowledge and we should always remember that the general mass/hearers not only hear us, they see us also. In America a research was carried out on how people learn. By hearing, they learn only 3%, by seeing they learn 25% and by association they learn 100%. We think I can go on speaking and people will be hearing. If the realization is absent and we don't behave properly, everything ends in a flop. The bubble is going to burst in the end. Unknowingly, because of our fruitive mentality we want to grab everywhere. Greed is working subtly everywhere. Sri Krishna clearly draws the line on the limited extent of sense enjoyment we can have by the following verse in Srimad Bhagavad Gita 2.64

rāga-dveṣa-vimuktais tu viṣayān indriyaiś caran
ātma-vaśyair vidheyātmā prasādam adhigacchati

But a person free from all attachment and aversion and able to control his senses through regulative principles of freedom can obtain the complete mercy of the |Lord.

You are permitted to enjoy the senses (viṣayān indriyaiś caran). In the second line He draws the line This enjoyment is subject to the following two conditions:

1. ātma-vaśyaih all the senses must be under your control.
2. vidheyātmā  Regulated freedom.

This is the specialty of the human beings. Otherwise there is no difference between animals and ourselves. Animals do not know about ātma-vaśyaih and certainly they don't know about vidheyātmā. If we follow these things, the result is prasādam adhigacchati, we get the mercy of Krishna. If we don't follow, we don't get the mercy of Krishna. If you want to have the mercy upon you , this is the formula. We are not allowed to do anything we like. Anything which does not agree with regulative principles is always punishable.

neha yat karma dharmāya Those activities which don't follow these regulative principles, they cannot lead you to religious perfection. Our activities must be so very nicely arranged that every moment of our action also should lead us to religious performance and the secret of that karma is 100% and more than 100% honesty. Honesty must be there in the karma. Shirkers are rejected, workers are respected. Why are we shirkers? Because we don't know the art of foreseeing. How long we are going to work we don't know. That's why we shirk our duties. All illicit activities are there and formerly in our young age kaliyuga was there, but it was not kaliyuga at all because everybody was following this ātma-vaśyair vidheyātmā . The whole society was guided by these two words. It was a very safe society. Everybody knew everybody. There were no illicit activities at all. Dishonesty was completely absent. Honesty was to that extent prevalent that they were very satisfied with whatever they earned and they had full faith in Krishna. Immaculate honesty must be there. We learn from the pages of Srimad Bhagavatam that dishonesty or any other bad quality disturbs the digestion. Any bad quality we follow, we are bound to lose our health.

Maharaj discussed more on the same subject matter of elevating our activities to religious perfection and I shall try to post them in the subsequent mails.

Thank you very much.
Your servant in the service of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudev,
Sajjana Priya Krishna das,
Abu Dhabi.