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Light of the Bhāgavata
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Light of the Bhāgavata


https://www.vedabase.com/en/lob/1

1. The arrival of clouds, accompanied by thunder and flashes of lightning all over the sky, provides a picture of life-giving hope. Covered by deep bluish clouds, the sky appears artificially dressed. The thunder and lightning within the clouds are signs of hope for a new way of life.

The serene sky, limitlessly expansive, is compared to the Absolute Truth. The living entities are truths manifested in relation with the modes of material nature. The deep bluish cloud covers only an insignificant portion of the limitless sky, and this fractional covering is compared to the quality of ignorance, or forgetfulness of the real nature of the living being. A living entity is as pure as the limitless sky.

He becomes covered by the cloud of forgetfulness, however, in his tendency for enjoying the material world. Because of this quality, called tamas (ignorance), he considers himself different from the Absolute Whole and forgets his purity, which is like that of the clear sky. This forgetfulness gives rise to separatism in false ego. Thus the forgetful living entities, individually and collectively, make sounds like thundering clouds: "I am this," "It is ours," or "It is mine." This mood of false separatism is called the quality of rajas, and it gives rise to a creative force for separate lordship over the mode of tamas. The flash of lightning is the only beam of hope that can lead one to the path of knowledge, and therefore it is compared to the mode of sattva, or goodness.

The limitless sky, or the all-pervading Absolute Truth (Brahman), is nondifferent from the covered portion of the sky, but simultaneously the whole sky is different from the fractional portion that is liable to be covered by the dark cloud. The cloud, accompanied by thunder and lightning, cannot possibly cover the limitless sky. Therefore the Absolute Truth, which is compared to the whole sky, is simultaneously one with the manifested living being and different from him. The living being is only a sample of the Absolute Truth and is Prone to be covered by the circumstantial cloud of ignorance.

There are two parties of philosophers, generally known as the monists and the dualists. The monist believes in the oneness of the Absolute Truth and the living entity, but the dualist believes in the separate identities of the living being and the Absolute Truth. Above these two classes of philosophers is the philosophy of acintya-bhedābheda tattva, or the truth of simultaneous oneness and difference. This philosophy was propounded by Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu in His explanation of the Vedānta-sūtras.

The Vedānta is the medium of philosophical interpretations, and thus the Vedānta cannot be the absolute property of any Particular class of philosopher. A sincere seeker of the Absolute Truth is called a Vedantist. Veda means "knowledge." Any department of knowledge is called a part of the Vedic knowledge, and vedānta means the ultimate conclusion of all branches of knowledge. As philosophy is called the science of all sciences, Vedānta is the ultimate philosophy of all philosophical speculations


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LoB verse 2
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LoB verse 2

LoB verse 2

2. The scorching heat of the sun evaporates water from the seas, rivers, lakes, and reservoirs, and there is little water anywhere. The people become thirsty and always look overhead for rain, but in despair. Yet just at the right moment, torrents of rain begin to fall everywhere in the land, even on the hard stones, and the land becomes overflooded.

The welfare state imposes upon its citizens scorching taxes in various forms—income tax, sales tax, land tax, terminal tax, excise tax, customs tax, and so many other taxes. But in due course, when the taxes accumulate into a large sum of money, they are utilized for the welfare of the citizens in various ways. Nonetheless, sometimes it happens that the benefits of the taxes fall like rains on stone-hearted men in the state who are unable to utilize the money properly and who squander it for sense gratification.

The common man supposes the unequal distribution of rain to represent nature's wrath for our sinful acts. There is truth in this. Thus to have an equal distribution of state-raised taxes, the citizens need to be scrupulously honest and virtuous. They should be honest in the payment of taxes to the state and should have honest representatives to look over the administration. In the modern setup of democratic states the citizens can have no cause for grievances, because the whole administration is conducted by the people themselves. If the people themselves are dishonest, the administrative machinery must be corrupt. Although a damned government of the people may be given a good or fancy name, if the people are not good they cannot have good government, regardless of which party governs the administration. Therefore good character in the consciousness of the mass of people is the first principle necessary for a good government and equal distribution of wealth.

In ancient days the kings were taught lessons in political philosophy by ideal teachers, and the citizens from village to village were taught the principles of self-realization according to the Vedic codes for both the material and the spiritual upliftment of society. Therefore the citizens were God conscious and honest in their dealings, and the kings were responsible for the welfare of the state. The same basic principles are accepted in the democratic governments of the present day, for the irresponsible party of the people is always voted out of power and must yield to the responsible party for a better government. In the cosmic administration there is only one party, which consists of the servants of God, and the responsible deities of the various planets maintain the cosmic laws in terms of the orders of the Supreme Lord. But the people suffer on account of their own folly.

And what is that folly? In Bhagavad-gītā it is said that people should perform yajñas, or sacrifices for the satisfaction of the Supreme. The Supreme is all-pervading. Therefore people must learn to perform yajñas to satisfy the all-pervading Supreme Truth. There are different yajñas prescribed for different ages, and in the present age of iron industry the yajña that enlightens the mind of the masses for God consciousness is recommended. This process of yajña is called the saṅkīrtana-yajña, or mass agitation for invoking man's lost spiritual consciousness. As soon as this movement is taken up through spiritual singing, dancing, and feasting, the people will automatically become obedient and honest.

Obedience is the first law of discipline. The people have become disobedient to the laws of God, and therefore neither rain nor wealth is equally distributed. A man who is ultimately disobedient cannot have any good qualifications. When disobedient leaders lead the disobedient people, the whole atmosphere of the administration becomes polluted and full of dangers, as when a blind man leads several other blind men. The state taxes, therefore, should be spent to build the character of the people in general. That will bring happiness to the citizens of the state.






 
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LoB verse 3
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LoB verse 3

3. Attracted by electricity throughout the sky and driven by forceful winds, clouds gradually cover the surface of the earth to satisfy the needy people by supplying water, which is the substance of their life. The clouds bestow rains upon man as the mercy of the Lord, who is always kind to the needy living being.

We should always know that God is ever kind to us. Despite our gross disobedience to the laws of God's nature, the Lord is kind enough to look after our maintenance. Water is one of the most important items for our maintenance, because without water we can neither produce food grains nor quench our thirst. Water is also required very liberally for many other purposes. Thus the Lord has preserved water on three fourths of the globe and has made it salty to preserve it. Salty water does not decompose, and that is the arrangement of providence. The Lord has engaged the powerful sun to evaporate the water of planets like earth and distill it into clear water in the clouds and then stock it on the peaks of mountains, as we stock water in overhead tanks for later distribution. part of the stock of water is refrigerated into ice, so that it will not flood the earth for no good purpose. The ice melts gradually throughout the year, flows down through the great rivers, and glides down to the sea again for preservation.

Therefore the laws of God's nature are neither blind nor accidental, as men with a poor fund of knowledge conclude. Behind the laws of nature is the living brain of God, just as there is always a lawmaker behind all the laws of the state. It does not matter whether or not we see the lawmaker behind the common laws; we must admit that there is a lawmaker. Matter can never work automatically, without a living hand, and therefore we must admit the existence of God, the supreme living being, behind the laws of nature. The Lord says in Bhagavad-gītā that nature works under His superintendence. Nature is only a power, and behind the power is a powerhouse and a brain, just as behind electrical power there is an electrical powerhouse, where everything is conducted by the brain of the resident engineer. The material nature works so nicely, and not blindly, because of the superintendence of the supreme powerful God. In the Vedic hymns (Atharva Veda) the same thing is confirmed. It is only under the superintendence of God that all the natural laws are conducted.

The Lord distributes His mercy in the form of rains on the scorched earth at times of dire necessity. He supplies rain when we are practically on the verge of death for want of water. God is merciful undoubtedly, but He bestows His mercy on us when we need it most. This is so because we forget God as soon as we obtain this mercy. We should therefore remember the mercy of God constantly if we want to avoid distress. We are eternally related with Him, despite the state of forgetfulness already described above. Bhagavad-gītā confirms that the laws of nature are stringent because they are conducted by three different modes. But one who surrenders unto the Lord overcomes the stringency of nature easily.






 
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LoB verse 4
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LoB verse 4

4. After heavy rain showers, the fields and forests in all directions appear green and healthy. Thus they resemble a man who has undergone severe austerities for some material gain and has achieved his end, for such a man is strong, hearty, and good-looking.

The greenery of the rainy season is but a temporary show. It looks very pleasant, but we must remember that it will not last. Similarly, there are persons who undergo severe austerities for some material gain, but those who are sane avoid this. Severe austerities for temporary gains are simply a waste of time and energy. Material loss and gain are destined in accordance with the formation of each particular body. There are 8,400,000 species of life, and each type of body is destined to enjoy and suffer in accordance with its particular formation. The bodily enjoyments and sufferings of a wealthy man's son are different from those of a poor man's son. Although no one undergoes severe austerities to obtain distress, it comes upon us uncalled. Similarly, the happiness we are destined to enjoy will come upon us even without our desires. Even though we may be able to avoid distress and artificially enjoy some material happiness by temporary achievements, this represents no factual gain in life. Our duty is to achieve permanent happiness and eternal life, and it is for that purpose only—for the ultimate gain—that we should undertake all sorts of penances and austerities.

This ultimate gain is possible to achieve in the human form of life. permanent happiness is possible when one is free from material sources of happiness, for continuation of material bondage means continuation of the threefold miseries. Human life is meant for ending these miseries.

We should not try to be beautiful like seasonal flowers or greenery that flourish in the rainy season but are weary in the winter. To be enlivened by the clouds of ignorance overhead and to enjoy the sight of temporary greenery is not at all desirable. One should try to live in the unlimited clear sky overflooded with the rays of the sun and moon. That is what we actually desire. A life of freedom in eternity, complete knowledge, and a blissful atmosphere is the heart's desire of an enlightened soul. We should undertake all sorts of penances and austerities to attain that permanent source of happiness.






 
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LoB verse 5
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LoB verse 5

5. The evening in the rainy season is dark all around. There is no sight of the twinkling stars on the horizon or the pleasing moon. They are covered by clouds. And the insignificant glowworms become prominent in the absence of the luminaries in the open sky.

As there are seasonal changes within a year, so there are changing ages in the duration of the manifest cosmic world. These changing ages are called yugas, or periods. As there are three modes of nature, there are also various ages dominated by these three modes. The period dominated by the mode of goodness is called Satya-yuga, the period of passion is called Tretā-yuga, the period of mixed passion and ignorance is called Dvāpara-yuga, and the period of darkness and ignorance (the last period) is called Kali-yuga, or the age of quarrel. The word kali means "quarrel." Kali-yuga is compared to the rainy season because many difficulties in life are experienced during this damp season.

In Kali-yuga there is a dearth of proper guidance. One may take guidance in the evening from the stars and moon, but in the rainy season the light of guidance comes from insignificant glowworms. The real light in life is the Vedic knowledge. Bhagavad-gītā affirms that the purpose of the Veda is to know the all-powerful Personality of Godhead. But in this age of quarrel there are quarrels even over the point of the existence of Godhead. In the godless civilization of the age of quarrel there are countless religious societies, them trying to banish God from religion. Glowworms want to be prominent in the absence of the sun and the stars, and these small groups following various religious conceptions are like glowworms trying to be prominent before the eyes of the ignorant mass of people. There are now a number of self-made incarnations people follow without authority from the Vedic literatures, and there is regular competition between one incarnation's group and another's.

The Vedic knowledge comes in a tradition from the spiritual master through the chain of disciplic succession, and the knowledge must be acquired through this chain, without deviation. In the present age of quarrel the chain has been broken here and there, and thus the Veda is now interpreted by unauthorized men who have no realization. The so-called followers of the Vedas deny the existence of God, as in the darkness of a cloudy evening the glowworms deny the existence of the moon and stars. Saner people should not be waylaid by such unscrupulous men. Bhagavad-gītā is the summary of all Vedic knowledge because it is spoken by the same Personality of Godhead who imparted the Vedic knowledge into the heart of Brahmā, the first created being in the universe. Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam was especially spoken for the guidance of the people of this age, which is darkened by the cloud of ignorance.






 
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LoB verse 6
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LoB verse 6

6. On hearing the sound of the torrential rains, the frogs come out of the mountain caves and begin to chant, like brahmacārīs who chant the Vedic hymns by the order of the spiritual master.

In this age of a godless civilization, the sages of world-recognized religious sects who believe in God must come out of their secluded places and preach the science of God, the Supreme Will, to the people in general. Hindus, Muslims, Christians, and the members of the other sects that have convincing faith in the authority of God must not sit idly now and silently watch the rapid growth of a godless civilization. There is the supreme will of God, and no nation or society can live in peace and prosperity without acceptance of this vital truth.

The warning is already there, and responsible leaders of religious sects must meet together and form a common platform of a league of devotees of the Lord. There is no need for self-realized souls to live in a secluded place. Perfect self-realized souls, engaged in the service of the Lord, are unafraid of māyā, just as law-abiding citizens of a state never fear the police. Such fearless devotees of God always speak scientifically about the existence of God, even at the risk of death. Such devotees of God feel compassion for the mass of people, who have completely forgotten the Supreme Lord and who engage in the false pursuit of happiness that ends in the sense pleasures enjoyed by the hogs and dogs.






 
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LoB verse 7
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LoB verse 7

7. The small rivulets that almost dried up during the months of May and June now begin to overflow their banks, like upstarts that suddenly overflow the limits of expenditure.

One should learn gravity from the sea and the rivulet. The sea is always within its limits, in spite of the many rivers pouring water into it. Similarly, one should properly use the assets of life and not squander them for purposes that have no permanent value. Uncontrolled, sensuous persons play with the assets of the body and accumulate wealth. But the strength of the body should be used for self-realization, not for sense gratification.

Human beings have two kinds of temperament. Some are introspective, and the others are extravagant. Those who are extravagant are enamored of the external features of phenomenal beauty and have no insight into the whole manifestation. They are practically asleep to introspection, and thus they are unable to derive any permanent value from the assets of the human form of body. But one who has developed introspection is as grave as the sea. While those who are extravagant are calm and quiet in sleep, such grave persons use the full advantage of the human form of life.

Although the animal propensities of the body should be minimized, those who are extravagant temporarily overflow in material enjoyment. Nonetheless, as soon as the rainy season of life is over, they become as dry as dry river beds. Life is meant for the right cause, or sat—that which exists for all time. In the material world, nothing is sat, or eternal, but the bad bargain of the material world can be used for the best purpose. The mind dedicated to extravagance is a bad bargain, but one can make the best use of the mind by introspection.






 
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LoB verse 8
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LoB verse 8

8. The colorful greenery of the newly grown grass, the seasonal flowers, the frog's umbrellas, the butterflies, and the other variegatedness of the rainy season perfectly represent a well-to-do family absorbed in vanity over their personal assets.

A rich man displays his opulence in various colorful ways. He has a good residential bungalow with sufficient property and a well-trimmed garden. The bungalow is decorated with up-to-date furniture and carpets. There are motorcars with dazzling polish, and a radio set receiving and broadcasting colorful news and melodious songs. All these captivate their proprietor as though he were in a dreamland of his own creation.

When the same man was as dry as fallow land and had none of these opulences, he was plain in behavior, but since obtaining all these material means of enjoyment he has forgotten the principle that everything in the world comes and goes away like the changing seasons. The beautiful Red Fort and the Taj Mahal were built by Shah Jahan, who left the place long ago, and many others have also come and gone in the same place, like seasonal flowers. Material assets are like seasonal flowers only. Either the flowers wither, or the gardener himself leaves. This is the law of nature. Therefore, if we want permanent life, knowledge, and bliss, we must seek them somewhere else, not in the changeable, temporary rainy season, which is flooded with so many varieties of pleasing sights that vanish when the season ends.

Material manifestations of things are but shadowy representations of reality. They are compared to mirages in the desert. In the desert there is no water, but the foolish deer runs after illusory water in the desert to quench his thirsty heart. Water is not unreal, but the place where we seek it is misleading. The advancement of materialistic civilization is just like a mirage in the desert. The deer runs after water in the desert with full speed, and the illusion of water moves ahead at the same speed as the foolish deer. Water is not false, but we must not seek it in the desert. A living entity, by his past experience, remembers the real happiness of his original, spiritual existence, but since he has forgotten himself he seeks spiritual or permanent happiness in matter, although this is impossible to achieve.






 
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LoB verse 9
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LoB verse 9

9. A picturesque scene of green paddy fields enlivens the heart of the poor agriculturalist, but it brings gloom to the face of the capitalist who lives by exploiting the poor farmers.

With good rains, the farmer's business in agriculture flourishes. Agriculture is the noblest profession. It makes society happy, wealthy, healthy, honest, and spiritually advanced for a better life after death. The vaiśya community, or the mercantile class of men, take to this profession. In Bhagavad-gītā the vaiśyas are described as the natural agriculturalists, the protectors of cows, and the general traders. When Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa incarnated Himself at Vṛndāvana, He took pleasure in becoming a beloved son of such a vaiśya family. Nanda Mahārāja was a big protector of cows, and Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, as the most beloved son of Nanda Mahārāja, used to tend His father's animals in the neighboring forest. By His personal example Lord Kṛṣṇa wanted to teach us the value of protecting cows. Nanda Mahārāja is said to have possessed nine hundred thousand cows, and at the time of Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa (about five thousand years ago) the tract of land known as Vṛndāvana was flooded with milk and butter. Therefore God's gifted professions for mankind are agriculture and cow protection.

Trade is meant only for transporting surplus produce to places where the produce is scanty. But when traders become too greedy and materialistic they take to large-scale commerce and industry and allure the poor agriculturalist to unsanitary industrial towns with a false hope of earning more money. The industrialist and the capitalist do not want the farmer to remain at home, satisfied with his agricultural produce. When the farmers are satisfied by a luxuriant growth of food grains, the capitalist becomes gloomy at heart. But the real fact is that humanity must depend on agriculture and subsist on agricultural produce.

No one can produce rice and wheat in big iron factories. The industrialist goes to the villagers to purchase the food grains he is unable to produce in his factory. The poor agriculturalist takes advances from the capitalist and sells his produce at a lower price. Hence when food grains are produced abundantly the farmers become financially stronger, and thus the capitalist becomes morose at being unable to exploit them.






 
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LoB verse 10
Old 4 Weeks Ago   #10
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LoB verse 10

10. Just as a living being attains a transcendentally attractive form by rendering service to Lord Hari, similarly, all the in habitants of the land and the water assume beautiful forms by taking advantage of the newly fallen water.

We have practical experience of this with our students in the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. Before becoming students, they were dirty looking, although they had naturally beautiful personal features; but due to having no information of Kṛṣṇa consciousness they appeared very dirty and wretched. Since they have taken to Kṛṣṇa consciousness, their health has improved, and by following the rules and regulations, their bodily luster has increased. When they are dressed with saffron-colored cloth, with tilaka on their foreheads and beads in their hands and on their necks, they look exactly as if they come directly from Vaikuṇṭha.

The residents of the water are the fish, frogs, and so on, and the residents of the land are the cows, deer, and so on. By constantly drinking and taking bath in the fresh rainwater of the rainy season, the tired and parched animals are refreshed, and their complexions become brilliant as their health is invigorated by the arrival of new rainwater. The lakes, ponds, and rivers are cleansed and invigorated by the downpour of new rainwater and thus become most beautiful. Similarly, a devotee of the Supreme Lord who takes advantage of the beautiful and invigorating downpour of the transcendental descriptions of God found in Vedic literature finds his spiritual consciousness invigorated and refreshed. In this way his spiritualized body becomes very beautiful.






 
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