Srimad-Bhagavatam Canto 3, Chapter 24, Text 37

Srimad-Bhagavatam Canto 3, Chapter 24, Text 37


Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya
Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya
Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya

Srimad Bhagavatam, third Canto, twenty fourth chapter, text thirty seven. This chapter is entitled as ‘The Renunciation of Kardama Muni.’

Text thirty seven:

esa atma-patho ‘vyakto
nastah kalena bhuyasa
tam pravartayitum deham
imam viddhi maya bhrtam

esah—this; atma-pathah—path of self-realization; avyaktah—difficult to be known; nastaḥ—lost; kalena bhuyasa—in the course of time; tam—this; pravartayitum—to introduce again; deham—body; imam—this; viddhi—please know; maya—by Me; bhrtam—assumed.

This path of self-realization, which is difficult to understand, has now been lost in the course of time. Please know that I have assumed this body of Kapila to introduce and explain this philosophy to human society again.


It is not true that Sankhya philosophy is a new system of philosophy introduced by Kapila as material philosophers introduce new kinds of mental speculative thought to supersede that of another philosopher. On the material platform, everyone, especially the mental speculator, tries to be more prominent than others. The field of activity of the speculators is the mind; there is no limit to the different ways in which one can agitate the mind. The mind can be unlimitedly agitated, and thus one can put forward an unlimited number of theories. Sankhya philosophy is not like that; it is not mental speculation. It is factual, but at the time of Kapila it was lost.

In due course of time, a particular type of knowledge may be lost or may be covered for the time being; that is the nature of this material world. A similar statement was made by Lord Krishna in Bhagavad-gita. Sa kaleneha mahata yogo natah: “In course of time the yoga system as stated in Bhagavad-gita was lost.” It was coming in parampara, in disciplic succession, but due to the passage of time it was lost. The time factor is so pressing that in the course of time everything within this material world is spoiled or lost. The yoga system of Bhagavad-gita was lost before the meeting of Krishna and Arjuna. Therefore Krishna again enunciated the same ancient yoga system to Arjuna, who could actually understand Bhagavad-gita. Similarly, Kapila also said that the system of Sankhya philosophy was not exactly being introduced by Him; it was already current, but in course of time it was mysteriously lost, and therefore He appeared to reintroduce it. That is the purpose of the incarnation of Godhead. Yada yada hi dharmasya glanir bhavati bharata [Bg. 4.7]. Dharma means the real occupation of the living entity. When there is a discrepancy in the eternal occupation of the living entity, the Lord comes and introduces the real occupation of life. Any so-called religious system that is not in the line of devotional service is called adharma-samsthapana. When people forget their eternal relationship with God and engage in something other than devotional service, their engagement is called irreligion. How one can get out of the miserable condition of material life is stated in Sankhya philosophy, and the Lord Himself is explaining this sublime system.
[End of Purport]

esa atma-patho ‘vyakto
nastah kalena bhuyasa
tam pravartayitum deham
imam viddhi maya bhrtam

This path of self-realization, which is difficult to understand, has now been lost in the course of time. Please know that I have assumed this body of Kapila to introduce and explain this philosophy to human society again.
So Vedas have six branches of philosophy. In this way the Vedas have been divided in various ways. Like there is Sad Darshana, six branches of philosophy. Sar- Anga, the Vedas have six limbs. The general tendency is to explain the Vedic wisdom in a very systematic way. To present it in a systematic way there are six limbs. Even Yoga has Asta-anga, the eight limbs. Saranga Veda, Astanga Yoga, Sad Darshana, Triguna. So these are the various aspects of the Vedas.
So this Darshana, the philosophy of the Vedas…actually, darshana, although the Sanskrit word darshana has been translated into English as philosophy, but actually it is not the right expression. It is not a right expression because in the Western culture there is nothing called darshana. They don’t know what it is. Therefore they don’t have any expression for it. The closest they can come to is philosophy. But Prabhupada is pointing out here the difference between the Vedic Darshana and Western philosophy. Western philosophy is simple mental speculation. There are so many philosophers coming from so many times. Like, one of the early Western philosophers is Socrates. Then there was Aristotle. Then in the recent past, in the medieval Europe, I mean in the recent past, few hundred years back in the West there have been philosophers like Hegel, Kant, Schopenhauer in Germany. In England there has been Francis Bacon. These are all philosophers, they come and present their philosophy. Socrates came and gave a philosophy. Then Aristotle came, gave his philosophy. In this way there have been many, many philosophers, in Greece, in Rome, in England, in Europe. And still now there are so many philosophers.

But Vedic philosophy is not philosophy as such. Vedic philosophy is not mental speculation. Vedic philosophy is Darshana, what is the meaning of the word darshana? Darshana means? What is the meaning of the word darshana? Darshana means to see! The way to see the truth. That is the Sanskrit word darshana. And there are six ways to see the Absolute Truth. Those six ways to see the Absolute Truth… like we see material things. I am seeing the microphone. I am seeing the room. I am seeing you all. But what I am seeing? It is also a kind of darshana. It is a darshana, but what I am seeing? I am seeing matter but am I seeing the spirit or spiritual reality? So how to see the spiritual reality, that is the darshana.

And they are systematically coming into different levels. It is starting from Purva Mimamsa. Sanskrit word purva means? Purva can mean East and purva can mean past, yes, and purva can also mean preliminary. Preliminary, the initial. Purva Mimamsa. Mimamsa means conclusion. Purva Mimamsa is also known as Karma Mimamsa. The karmic principle, that is the Purva Mimamsa. What is the karmic principle? Who knows the karmic principle? It’s very simple. Everybody should know. Yes, Radharani? [devotee: cause and effect] Cause and effect, action reaction principle. The principle of action. Karma means action, and Mimamsa, Karma Mimamsa, the principle of action. What is the principle of action? The principle of action is the way you sow so shall you reap. The way you act accordingly you get your results, isn’t it? If you act in a wrong way will you get the right result? If you act in a wrong way it will lead to a wrong result. If you act in a right way then it will lead to the right result. So what is the result that we expect? We want enjoyment. That is the result everybody wants, isn’t it? Is there anyone who wants to suffer? Everybody wants to enjoy. Now how to enjoy that is spoken in Karma Mimamsa. Like, you act in the right way, what is the right action? Acting according to the instructions of the Vedas. That is the right action. So you act in the right way, you’ll get the right results. That means if you act in the right way, if you act according to the Vedic tenets, according to the Vedic teachings you will enjoy. If you don’t act according to the Vedic teachings you will suffer. So that is the conclusion, Mimamsa. Karma Mimamsa or Purva Mimamsa.

Then Naya. Naya is the logic. Why I am suffering? What is the preliminary, what is the basic understanding of our suffering? The basic understanding of our suffering is that this material nature is a place of suffering. If you go to a place of suffering what will you get? If you go to a hot country what will you get?  You’ll get heat! If you go to a cold country what will you get? Can you go to a cold country and expect to get heat? You have to make special arrangement for that. So this material nature is a place of suffering. So if you go to a place of suffering what will you get? If you go to a place of suffering you’ll get suffering, right? This is the conclusion of the Naya philosophy.

Then what is this world? This world is made of atoms. This place is the place of suffering but let’s find out what is this place.  The place of the atomic theory, Vaiseshika. Then after Vaiseshika comes Sankhya, what we are discussing. Sankhya means analytical study. Analyze, let us analyze the material nature, analytical study. So yesterday we briefly discussed that the material nature is analyzed with five elements. And the five elements, don’t we see? Earth, water, fire, air, ether. Now, mind you, here one consideration is that these are not the conclusions of mental speculation. That’s the difference. It is not that they are mentally speculating, “Oh, there is earth, there is fire, there is water, there is ether.” No. This knowledge is coming from the higher authority, coming from the Vedas.

So Vedic philosophy is not a matter of mental speculation but Vedic philosophy is a matter of receiving the knowledge in a proper way. That is the Vedic wisdom. It’s coming! We don’t have to speculate and find out. It is already there. Like, how many of us knew before we came to Prabhupada’s teachings that there are five elements? I think most of us didn’t know that. We may have some understanding but we didn’t have a clear understanding. So there are five elements. Then five senses. There are five senses. What are those five senses? Those five senses are eyes, ears, nose, touch and tongue. Then the Vedas are telling us, “You know, these five senses actually interact with the five elements.” Did you know that before? Or did you speculate about it? That how our eyes are interacting with fire and form is generated? You are seeing the form. Like, what is this form that we are seeing? Isn’t it a combination of our eyes and fire? Fire is light. If there was no light…fire is an element so that fire element is interacting with our eyes and we are seeing everything. If fire was not there, or if our eyes were not there, could we see? Does a blind man see? Can a blind man see? He cannot see, although light is there but because he doesn’t have the eyes. So these two components must be there. The fire must be there, light must be there. Then ether interacts with ears and the sound is produced. If ether was not there could we hear the sound? No. If I don’t have my ears can I hear the sound? No. Then air interacts with the skin. Air is blowing and I am feeling the sensation. Skin interacts with air and touch is produced. Earth interacts with nose, smell is produced. Tongue interacts with water and taste is produced. So this is how interaction between the five senses and the five elements give rise to five sense objects. These are the sense objects: sound, touch, form, smell and taste. So then we come to five working senses. How am I active? How am I acting? How am I acting? I am talking, as a result of this action, vaka. Pani, with my hands I am acting. Payu, anus. Udara, belly, and upastha, genitals. So with these five working senses one becomes active. Therefore they are known as the karmendriyas: working senses.

So then there is a consideration. There are three subtle elements: mind, intelligence and false ego. Again let us consider. Before we came across Srila Prabhupada’s teaching did we have any knowledge about this subtle matter? No. So how did you get the knowledge? Through mental speculation? Is there anybody who got this knowledge from mental speculation? No, the knowledge came from the higher authority. So that is the way to receive Vedic knowledge. The higher authority gives us the information. Then even beyond that, what is that higher authority? What the Vedas are describing? What are the Vedas saying? There is Mahat-tattva, so twenty four. Now, is there anything beyond Mahat-tattva in the material consideration, in the material nature? No. So has the whole material nature been analyzed? Okay, but the purpose of Sankhya is not to just analyze the material nature. The purpose of Sankhya is to transcend the material nature. As it has been said, atma pathi. Atma pathi means knowledge about the self. So the actual purpose of Sankhya, as Kapiladeva is pointing out, is the knowledge about the self. So can anybody understand the self by analyzing the material nature? No. So the purpose of Sankhya is not to just analyze the material nature but by analyzing the material nature come to the platform of self-realization. As I discussed yesterday from Bhagavad Gita, how did Krishna…Krishna also is discussing in Sankhya, but just in one line, or two lines.

bhumir apo nalo vayuh
kham mano budhir eva ca
ahankara itiyam me
bhinna prakritir astadha
[Bg 7.4]

Krishna didn’t go into twenty four. He just analyzed these eight. This is the way the material nature has been composed. Can anybody doubt that?  But then Krishna is saying that apareyam itas tv anyam prakritim viddhi me param [Bg 7.5], understand that this is my inferior nature. There is a superior nature. And jiva-bhutam maha-baho yayedam dharyate jagat. The jiva-bhutam, the living entities were sustaining this material nature, were exploiting this material nature, were trying to enjoy this material nature, is coming from that nature. So jiva-bhutam means we. So where did you come from? Did you have to speculate? Or if we speculated could we find our ever where you came from? At the most we could conclude that we came from my mother’s womb. That’s the understanding we have at the most. Where did you come from? I came from mother’s womb [laughs]. But the Vedas are giving a much more profound understanding. We are not this body. Body is also made of five elements and three subtle elements. Body is also a product of this bhinna prakritir astadha. But what is our real identity? The soul. The soul is actually the perceiver. He is the one who is seeing. Prakriti-sthani karshati [Bg 15.7]. Or dharyate jagat, this material nature is being exploited, or even dharyate can also mean sustain. It’s the living entities who are sustaining this material nature. Because the living entities are here, the material nature is here. If there is no living entity will there be any material manifestation? If no one is there to experience this material nature, will there be any material nature? No. So who is sustaining the material nature? The jiva-bhutam. But how they are sustaining, why they are here? They are trying to exploit. They are trying to lord over this material nature. That is the living entity.

So atma pathi, we came to atma pathinam, the path of self realization. Did you understand the self? Who is the self? Who is trying to exploit this material nature? Who is the self? Who is trying to enjoy through his senses? The senses cannot act. Senses cannot act even when the mind is not active. When the mind is not active then we see, then we hear, then we touch, then we feel? No. So it is through the mind that the senses are active and the mind is active because of the soul, because of the consciousness of the soul is coming through the mind.

So in this way we can see that Vedic science or Vedic philosophy is the most advanced science. When you go into the Vedic understanding then you see that modern science is just a bogus nonsense. It is just a bunch of bluff. They may have started off with some good intention but it ended up in a big bluff. The early scientists were honest.  They were sincere seekers. They wanted to find out. Like, as we know the story of Isaac Newton. You know the story of Sir Isaac Newton? He was sitting in a garden. He was a big thinker, very big thinker, very profound thinker. So Newton was sitting in the garden. Then all of a sudden he saw one apple fell from the tree. In Europe there are, in England, there are many apple trees. [laughs]  There are many apple trees and apples grow abundantly there. So it is not surprising to see some apple falling from the tree. So all the time apples fall from the tree. So Newton questioned why did the apple fall from the tree? Why did it fall? Why didn’t it fly? Why always apples fall? Duff! [indicating sound of falling apple] Like, has there been any instance when some apple after being dislocated from the tree went flying through the sky? [laughs] So, he questioned: why does the apple fall? And he probed into it and as a result of that he found the principle of gravity. What is the principle of gravity? Who knows? The general consideration of gravity is called the gravitational pull. The gravitational pull, that every object has a centre of gravity and it has an ability to pull or attract. Not only you are attractive but even inert objects also have that ability to attract and that is called the gravitational pull. So now we are on the earth, so earth has a tendency to attract us and as a result of that we all are clinging on the surface of the earth. So this is how he invented the principle of gravity.

Now Sankhya philosophy analyzed, how many branches of philosophy we came to so far? Let’s see who remembers. [audience member: four] Four, okay, but there are six. What are the other two? Sankhya is leading to Yoga. Yoga means connection. So through Sankhya we came to two considerations: jivatma and Paramatma. Does the jivatma have a relationship with Paramatma? Jivatma is a part and parcel of the Paramatma so it must have a relationship. If I am a part of something then I must have a relationship with the whole. So to reestablish that relationship with the whole, atma’s relationship with Paramatma is the purpose of Yoga. And this has eight different stages, therefore it is called ‘Astanga Yoga’. And what is the final stage of Astanga Yoga? Samadhi, what is the meaning of samadhi? Yes, Radha Piyari? [devotee: that the yogi sees Paramatma in the heart] Very good. Samadhi actually means trance. When does one get into a trance? When one falls asleep? Trance actually, sleep is also a kind of a trance. It’s a trance in ignorance. When you are so much in ignorance that you don’t have any awareness of the world around you it is a kind of a samadhi. It is a kind of a samadhi, actually. But samadhi is not just withdrawing from the senses or the surrounding world. Samadhi means meditating and complete absorption, total absorption.
[sound of someone’s cell phone] Throw it away! [laughs]

So when the jivatma is completely absorbed in Paramatma. What is this absorption? The absorption is that when you become attracted to something or somebody, don’t you become absorbed? When you see something extremely wonderful, what happens? Don’t you get, as the expression is, ‘awestruck’? What is the meaning of the expression awestruck? You are completely awed and you don’t have any other awareness. So similarly, when one sees the Supersoul, when one sees the Paramatma he becomes completely absorbed in the Supersoul. That stage is called samadhi. That awe or total amazement, what does that total amazement mean? The total amazement means at that stage he naturally surrenders himself.

So that surrender is the end of Yoga. So how many we got? [audience: five] Five. So we came to the end of the fifth. So what does that surrender to the Lord leads to? The surrender to the Lord leads to the final conclusion. What is the final conclusion? The final conclusion is bhakti and that bhakti has been presented through a philosophy known as Vedanta Sutra. So apparently Vedanta Sutra or Brahma Sutra is the final conclusion.

So we started with the preliminary conclusion and we came to the final conclusion through these six branches of Vedas. That means, what is the ultimate word of the Vedas? What is the ultimate goal of the Vedas? The ultimate goal of the Vedas is to surrender to Krishna. Does it make sense? Sarva dharman parityaja mam ekam sharanam vraja. But when you surrender to Krishna then another world will open up. That world is the world of Bhagavatam. Bhagavatam is the world of devotion, which is the natural development or natural commentary of Vedanta Sutra.

So that is what Kapiladeva came to explain and in Bhagavad Gita Krishna explained it very, very systematically. Like, all these Vedic philosophies’ conclusion has been drawn by Krishna in Bhagavad Gita in the most wonderful way. And when that philosophy ended, when the philosophical search ended then, when the darshana has been accomplished, through Vedanta Sutra did you see the Lord?  Okay, let’s go back again to Bhagavatam. What is Srimad Bhagavatam?  Who knows, what is Srimad Bhagavatam? Yes, Jayesh? [devotee: natural commentary on Vedanta Sutra] Okay, natural commentary on Vedanta Sutra. Yes, Shyama Piyari? [devotee: Krishna Himself]. Krishna Himself! Bhagavatam is Krishna Himself and that means Bhagavatam is Krishna’s body. The body has twelve limbs. The Bhagavatam has twelve Cantos. What are those twelve limbs of the body? Who knows? Twelve limbs of the body are: two legs, two thighs, one stomach, two arms, one chest (don’t forget the chest! [laughter]), then neck, then the face, then the forehead, then the head.

So, first two Cantos of Srimad Bhagavatam are two legs of Krishna. The third and fourth Cantos of Srimad Bhagavatam are Krishna’s thighs. Fifth Canto of Srimad Bhagavatam is Krishna’s belly. Sixth Canto of Srimad Bhagavatam is Krishna’s chest. Seventh and eighth Cantos of Srimad Bhagavatam are Krishna’s arms. Ninth Canto is Krishna’s neck. Tenth Canto is Krishna’s smiling lotus face. Eleventh Canto is Krishna’s forehead and twelfth Canto is Krishna’s head. Now, tell me, in the body which is the most important part? [audience: face] The face. So when you go to the tenth Canto then you see Krishna. Can you recognize a person by seeing his legs? If you know the person very well then you can. Yes, then you can. Can you see the person by seeing his belly? [laughter] Generally not. Can you recognize a person by seeing his neck? No, but when you see the person’s face then you see the person as he is. So that’s why the tenth Canto is Krishna’s actual identity. But Krishna must be seen in a systematic way. The darshana of the Deity starts from the feet. Feet means with the mood of surrender. And the gradually you rise to the face.

So, that knowledge was lost. So Kapiladeva came to give that knowledge. The point is that Sankhya philosophy is not manufactured by Kapila. There is another Sankhya, the atheistic Sankhya propounded by another, atheistic Kapila. That Kapila was a kshatriya. He was a king in the Agni Vamsha. Then he gave up his kingdom, he became sadhu and then he developed a philosophy. So that is also another Kapila. That is called atheistic Kapila and Nirishvara Kapila. But this Kapiladeva is the incarnation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. So when that Sankhya philosophy was lost, when the Sankhya Darshana was lost He came to propound that. That is what He is mentioning in this verse.
Thank you! Hare Krishna! All glories to Srila Prabhupada!
Any question? Yes?

Question: The atheistic Kapila came after and Lord Kapila came before. So already then Sankhya philosophy was given by Lord Kapila, then how come this atheistic Kapila gave another  philosophy under the name of Sankhya?

BCS: Yeah, that happens, you know. This is the thing about the philosophers. In the Vedic culture also there are many philosophers. Those munis and rishis they developed their philosophy. Therefore it is said that nasau rishir yasya matam na bhinnam, a philosopher must have his own philosophy. There are two lines. One line is a speculative line and the other line is the line of devotion. There are two lines. One is the spiritual line, the other is the material line. The spiritual line originally was given by this Bhagavata line which is the way to understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead. It was given to Narada Muni by Brahma. And there is a material line also. That is necessary. You need people to get involved in material nature. If everybody becomes a devotee then, I mean, the material nature as Prabhupada said, not that everybody will become a devotee. Ye yatha mam prapadyante tams tathaiva bhajamyaham [Bg 4.11]. Ye yatha mam prapadyante, as one surrenders unto Krishna so accordingly they get their way to understand Him. That’s why there is another line. That is the material line. These are the rishis, the sages. The munis and rishis. So it is said that nasau rishir yasya matam na bhinnam.

tarko apratisthah srutayor vibhinna
nasau munir yasya matam na bhinnam
dharmasya tattvam nihitam guhayam
mahajano yena gatah sa panthah
[Cc. Madhya 17.186]

So following these munis and rishis, they have their mental speculation, tarka. They get into an argument. There is a very famous argument between Yajnavalkya and Maitreyi. Maitreyi was a woman and she challenged Yajnavalkya. They are munis. They are speculators, you know. She was asking questions and he was answering. Then finally it came to Brahman and at that point Yajnavalkya told Maitreyi that, “Maitreyi, don’t ask anymore. If you do then your head will fall down. Your head will fall off.” It sounded like a curse, that if you ask any more questions your head will fall off. But the actual understanding is that he was telling don’t ask any more questions because with your head you will not understand. Right? With your head you can go up to Brahman, but if you want to go beyond Brahman then head will not go up to there. You have to understand with your heart, devotion. So they have their pastimes getting into debates and arguments, and this is how they derive their joy, the rishis. They are some sorts of mental speculators but the actual way to understand is mahajano yena gatah sa panthah: follow the path of the Mahajanas. What is the path of Mahajanas? The path of the Mahajanas is descending process. The knowledge comes from the bona fide spiritual master.

Okay, yes?
Question: [inaudible]
BCS: So what’s your point?
Question: [inaudible]
BCS: Then why one is engaged in devotional service? Your problem is don’t try to understand with your head. Try to become a devotee and try to understand with your heart. And don’t try to display your wisdom. In the Bhagavatam class don’t try to become a big devotee. Try to become a humble devotee. Okay? Become a devotee. Krishna will not appreciate your false ego. Rather, your false ego will stand between you and Krishna. Become humble, okay?

Any other question? Yes?
Question: Guru Maharaja, how should we surrender to Krishna?
BCS: How should we surrender?
Question: How should one surrender unto Krishna [unclear]
BCS: What does surrender mean? What is the surrender? What is the meaning of surrender? [In Hindi:] Surrender ka matlab kya hota hai? Surrender ka matlab hota hai samarpan. Samarpan ka matlab kya hota hai? Samarpan ka matlab hai apne aap ko arpan karna.

Question: kis tarah?
BCS: Jaise tum jo bola, bachcha jaise maa ke paas samarpan karta hai, waise samarpan karo. Apne aap ko samarpan karo, saup do apne aap ko.
Devotee: [inaudible]
BCS: Tumhi to ek drishtaanth diya hai. Hai na? Ek dristantha kaise diye hai?  Ke maa ke paas jaise bachche rote hai to matlab samarpan kis ke paas bachcha kiya hai? [devotee: maa ke paas] Usi tarah. Bhagavan ke paas apne aap ko waise he samarpan karo. Bachche ke liye maa ke bina aur koi hai? To waise hi jabh tum sochte ho ke Bhagavan ke bina aur koi nahi hai wo hai samarpan.
[Translation from transcriber RRdd: As a child puts itself completely under the care of its mother, in the same way one should put himself in the care of the Lord. When the child cries and feels helpless, it’s the mother he reaches out to. The mother means everything to the child. Similarly, in that mood offer yourself totally to the Lord, devote yourself to Him only.]

Okay, so Sadhana Siddha, you understand?  Become humble and try to…you see, why I chastised you because in the class I discussed about one thing and you are quoting Rupa Goswami from Nectar of Devotion. The question should have been in relation to the class, what has been discussed. And not only today I noticed you always ask your questions not in a straight forward way. Your questions are always in a roundabout way. Ask a straight question. Just as he asked, what is the surrender, how to surrender. And what was your question: can there be any enjoyment. That means you haven’t been listening to what I have been saying. Every class practically I point out that everybody wants to enjoy. I think today also in the class three .


Transcription : Her Grace Ranga Radhika Dasi
Editing : Hemavati Radhika Dasi
Audio reference: click here