Devotional Service Never Goes in Vain - Part 1

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

On the occasion of Vamana Jayanthi on 9th September 2011, HG Svayama Sphurathy Prabhuji took a nice class in Abu Dhabi. I am sharing herewith a few of the points from this class. Prabhuji took the verses from Srimad Bhagavatam 8.16.19 -21 and said that these verses were very much relished by our beloved Guru Maharaj.

The fifteenth chapter of eight canto of Srimad Bhagavatam explains how Bali Maharaj became very powerful after performing the Visvajit yajna and attacked the king of heaven. All the demigods being afraid of him, left the heavenly planets and went away, following the instructions of their guru. Seeing the plight of her children, Aditi, the mother of the demigods, was very afflicted. One day, after many, many years, the great sage Kashyapa, husband of Aditi, emerged from a trance and returned to the ashrama. He saw that his wife was very morose. He inquired from her about the well being of the ashrama and asked her why she looked morose. She told him that she was lamenting for the absence of her sons and requested him to tell her how her sons could return and re-occupy their positions. Moved by Aditi’s request, Kahsyapa muni instructed her in the philosophy of self-realization and spoke three verses from 8.16.19-21.

1. Education on removing the bodily concept of life: On being inquired by Kasyapa muni, Aditi said that although the Supreme Personality of Godhead is equal toward all living entities, He is especially favorable to the devotees. Thus Aditi appealed to her husband by saying that since even the Supreme controller favors His devotees, and since Indra, Kashyapa’s devoted son, was in difficulty, Kashyapa should bestow his favor upon Indra. In verse 8.16.17, she says, "O best of sages, best of all those who grant auspicious benedictions, please consider our situation and bestow upon my sons the benedictions by which they can regain what they have lost." Here she refers to the demigods as 'mamaatmajaah' meaning 'my sons.' Demigods are children of Kashyapa and Aditi and instead of referring to them as 'our children' she is referring to them as 'my sons'. This shows the extent to which she was engrossed in the bodily conception of life. Kashyapa muni was surprised as to how the whole world is influenced by affection. In Srimad Bhagavad gita, we find that both the Pandavas and the sons of Dhrtarashtra belong to the same family, but Dhrtarashtra's mind is disclosed when he deliberately claimed only his sons as Kurus (maamakaah), and he separated the sons of Pandu from the family heritage. Whereas we find that Arjuna refers to the Kauravas as sva janam - his kinsmen. So here Kashyapa muni tries to make her understand that, 'You are not the body.' Srila Prabhupada repeats in almost all the lectures that, "We are not the body, but the spirit soul, parts and parcels of Krishna." This is the first thing we have to understand. So in this way Kashyapa muni starts preaching to his wife. He speaks in verse 8.16.19:

kva deho bhautiko ’nātmā kva cātmā prakṛteḥ paraḥ
kasya ke pati-putrādyā moha eva hi kāraṇam

Kashyapa Muni continued: What is this material body, made of five elements? It is different from the spirit soul. Indeed, the spirit soul is completely different from the material elements from which the body is made. But because of bodily attachment, one is regarded as a husband or son. These illusory relationships are caused by misunderstanding.

Kashyapa muni makes it clear that the spirit soul is certainly different from the body. The material body is made of five material elements and is temporary. But the spirit soul is transcendental to the material world and is eternal. In his brilliant purport, Srila Prabhupada emphasizes the importance of spiritual education. He writes, "Unfortunately, this spiritual education is completely absent from modern human civilization. No one understands his real self-interest, which lies with the spirit soul, not with the material body. Education means spiritual education. To work hard in the bodily conception of life, without spiritual education, is to live like an animal. People are working so hard simply for bodily comforts, without education regarding the spirit soul. Thus they are living in a very risky civilization, for it is a fact that the spirit soul has to transmigrate from one body to another (tathaa dehaantara-praaptih). Without spiritual education, people are kept in dark ignorance and do not know what will happen to them after the annihilation of the present body."

From this episode, we see that the bodily conception of life extends throughout the entire universe and is also here on earth.

We shall see further explanation by Prabhuji in the upcoming mails, Krishna willing.

Thank you very much.
Yours in service of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudev,
Vaijayantimala devi dasi,
Abu Dhabi.