Narada Muni - Father of Devotional Service - Part 16

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

This is in continuation of the previous offering titled, "Narada Muni - The Father of Devotional Service". In the previous offering, we saw Narada Muni's instructions to Pracetas and how Pracetas wonderfully glorified Lord Krishna's unlimited mercy. Now let us continue to hear further instructions from Narada Muni.

17. Need for Bhakti: Devarsi Narada Muni spoke about inevitability of devotional service in verse SB 4.31.11 of Srimad Bhagavatam.

śrutena tapasā vā kiṁ vacobhiś citta-vṛttibhiḥ
buddhyā vā kiṁ nipuṇayā balenendriya-rādhasā

Without devotional service, what is the meaning of severe austerities, the process of hearing, the power of speech, the power of mental speculation, elevated intelligence, strength, and the power of the senses?

Srila Prabhupada in the purport says that, "our relationship with the Supreme Lord is never advanced by simple study of the Vedas. What, then, is the use in studying all the Vedas if one cannot grasp the essence of the Vedas, Krishna? There are many religious systems wherein penances and austerities are greatly stressed, but at the end no one understands Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. There is therefore no point in such penance (tapasya). If one has actually approached the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he does not need to undergo severe austerities. The Supreme Personality of Godhead is understood through the process of devotional service."

From the above verse and purport, we learn a lesson that material activities such as austerities, process of hearing, power of speech, intelligence, strength and powers of senses are useless and meaningless if these are all not engaged in the service of Lord. This is because everything that is manifested in this material world belongs to Sri Krishna. He is the proprietor. He is the controller. Our body is given by Him. We breathe with His permission. He is our Supreme father - pitāham asya jagato. Not only father, but mother, support, object of knowledge, and purifier. Lord Krishna says in the verse 17.28 of Gita that, "Anything done as sacrifice, charity or penance without faith in the Supreme, O son of Prtha, is impermanent. It is called asat and is useless both in this life and the next."

Further, Lord Krishna wonderfully declares His supremacy in Bhagavad Gita verse 5.29 as bhoktāraṁ yajña-tapasāṁ sarva-loka-maheśvaram suhṛdaṁ sarva-bhūtānāṁ - "I am the ultimate purpose of all sacrifices, austerities, Supreme Lord of all planets and demigods and above all benefactor and well wisher of all living entities." Srimad Bhagavatam 1.2.28-29 spoken by Suta Gosvamyito the sages in this regard is very encouraging and inspiring.

vāsudeva-parā vedā vāsudeva-parā makhāḥ
vāsudeva-parā yogā vāsudeva-parāḥ kriyāḥ

vāsudeva-paraṁ jñānaṁ vāsudeva-paraṁ tapaḥ
vāsudeva-paro dharmo vāsudeva-parā gatiḥ

In the revealed scriptures, the ultimate object of knowledge is Sri Krishna, the Personality of Godhead. The purpose of performing sacrifice is to please Him. Yoga is for realizing Him. All fruitive activities are ultimately rewarded by Him only. He is supreme knowledge, and all severe austerities are performed to know Him. Religion [dharma] is rendering loving service unto Him. He is the supreme goal of life.

Therefore, we need to remember only one thing that our existence is only due to mercy of Lord. Krishna willing, we will learn more about the Narada Muni's instruction to Pracetas in the next offering.

Thank you very much.
Yours in service of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva,
Manohar Suvarna
Abu Dhabi.