saàskäraiù saàskåto dvijaù
niñeka-ädi—the beginning of life (the purification process of garbhädhäna, performed when the father begets a child by discharging semen into the womb of the mother); çmaçäna-antaiù—and at death, when the body is put into a crematorium and burnt to ashes; saàskäraiù—by such purification processes; saàskåtaù—purified; dvijaù—a twice-born brähmaëa; indriyeñu—into the senses; kriyä-yajïän—activities and sacrifices (which elevate one to a higher planetary system); jïäna-dépeñu—by enlightenment in real knowledge; juhvati—offers.
A twice-born brähmana [dvija] gains his life by the grace of his parents through the process of purification known as garbhädhäna. There are also other processes of purification, until the end of life, when the funeral ceremony [antyeñöi-kriyä] is performed. Thus in due course a qualified brähmana becomes uninterested in materialistic activities and sacrifices, but he offers the sensual sacrifices, in full knowledge, into the working senses, which are illuminated by the fire of knowledge.
Those interested in materialistic activities remain in the cycle of birth and death. Pravåtti-märga, or the inclination to stay in the material world to enjoy varieties of sense gratification, has been explained in the previous verse. Now, in this verse, it is explained that one who has perfect brahminical knowledge rejects the process of elevation to higher planets and accepts nivåtti-märga; in other words, he prepares himself to go back home, back to Godhead. Those who are not brähmaëas but atheists do not know what is pravåtti-märga or nivåtti-märga; they simply want to obtain pleasure at any cost. Our Krsna consciousness movement is therefore training devotees to give up the pravåtti-märga and accept the nivåtti-märga in order to return home, back to Godhead. This is a little difficult to understand, but it is very easy if one takes to Krsna consciousness seriously and tries to understand Krsna. A Krsna conscious person can understand that performing yajyna according to the karma-kanda system is a useless waste of time and that merely giving up the karma-kanda and accepting the process of speculation is also unfruitful. Therefore Narottama Däsa Thäkura has sung in his prema-bhakti-candrikä:
“karma-käëòa, jïäna-käëòa, kevala viñera bhäëòa
amåta baliyä yeba khäya
nänä yoni sadä phire, kadarya bhakñaëa kare
tära janma adhaù-päte yäya”
A life of karma-krsna or jïäna-krsna is like a poison pot, and one who takes to such a life is doomed. In the karma-krsna system, one is destined to accept birth and death again and again. Similarly, with jïäna-krsna one falls down again to this material world. Only worship of the Supreme Person offers one the safety of going back home, back to Godhead.
When to Begin
It is herein described the system of varnashrama dharma in which on is gradually elevated to indifference to the objects, to the senses and complete surrender in the service of Sri Krishna. It is described by Srila Narada Muni that the brähmaëa gains his life by the grace of his parents. Through the process of purification known as garbadhana. You see human form of life at every stage, according to Vedic culture, the most important aspect of one’s life is purification. Some very foolish materialistic people they considered that what is the benefit of taking to the purifycatory process of spiritual life, when one is young. While one is on young, one should enjoy and at the time when one exhaust all of his propensities for sense enjoyment at the end of life after dedicating one’s activities to one’s family, one’s society, one’s nation. That is the proper time to take to spiritual life, after all the time and place for everything.
But here it is described that according to civilized human beings the process of purification must begin at the ultimately earliest stages of your birth. Which means at the time of conception. According to the Vedic system your life begins at the time of conception. In fact it was commonly understood that when you are born when you are one year old. Because you are living within the womb for approximately one year. Therefore here it is very-very strongly instructed that the purification of your consciousness should begin at the very time you are conceiving within the womb of your mother. And from that point until the time of your funeral ceremony (the antesti-kriya) your whole life is a series of processes of purification. And it is through these gradual process of purification that one becomes purified from all the desire to Lord at over material nature. One becomes attached to the service to Lord and His Devotees. Here it is specifically describing that this is the life, in which every brähmaëa must accept to follow all the process of purification throughout one’s life. Otherwise one cannot be considered truly a brähmaëa. It is not simply your question of birth. It is a question of accepting the responsibility of a brähmaëa. Just like we may use as example, a person may be born a son of a policeman, but unless that person accepts the responsibilities and the austerities that is the duties of a policeman or anyone consider him a policeman. So a brähmaëa is one who by his qualities in life and by his acts, he behaves according to the duties of a brähmaëa. And this holds true for all the four varnas and all the four ashramas. But we should understand that all of the duties for a brahmana, keshetriya, vaisya, or sudra. For a brahmacäré, grihasta, banaprasta, and sannyäsé. All of these vedic injunctions prescribed are exclusively meant for the purpose of purification of the consciousness. To gradually strip one’s heart of all his propensities to enjoy separate from God. Therefore we should know very clearly that this life is none meant for any other purpose but to become purified. This is the duty of every human being and especially for those who are Brahmans because they are the leaders of the society.
In this room today, we do not have any guest. We have only very serious, initiated or aspiring initiated devotees, who very soon, if not already, will accept the sacred thread and brahmanical initiation. So this verse is specifically speaking to all of us. That the duty of a brahmana is that every step of life at every moment of the life, you must be struggling and striving for purification. You will accept what ever is purifying and you will reject whatever is un-purifying. The most important quality of brahmana is his detachment, his desire to live a simple and austere life. One of the qualities of a brahmana is simplicity. Simplicity is very simple. It means no duplicity. One is only duplicities, when one desires to loaded over material nature. Because this is a world of duality. And to the degree, we become attached to the dualistic principle that I like this or I do not like this. To the degree we attached to getting our way, which means to the degree we are attached to loading at overall material nature. To that extent our whole consciousness is filled with the dualities of honor and dishonor, pleasure and pain, happiness and distress, gain and lost, therefore in the basis of this principle of material contamination, we have to do anything, say anything in order to as they say fulfill all our purposes and get ahead on this world. Therefore this breeds duplicity. So in order to actually live a simple life, one has to live in austere life. In order to have simplicity of mind, one must have simplicity of life style, which means one must be the detached from gain or loss, pleasure or pain, honor or dishonor, happiness or distress. One must simply be seeking purification of consciousness. Therefore such a person sees no one as his enemy, no one as his friend. He only sees how I can serve Krishna and how I can help every living being. This is simplicity. As soon as we put our self first, our selfish interest first immediately there is duplicity. But when we put Krishna first and when we put those persons, who are meant to be the servant of first, which means every living being who is part of Krishna. Then our life becomes very-very simple and this is described as a very great quality of brähmaëa. Because a brähmaëa is not interest in getting ahead in this world but in purifying his consciousness to free himself from the slightest trace of desire to get ahead in this world.
Bharat Maharaj an Ideal King (Jada Bharata)
In Srimad Bhagavatam describes the story of Bharat Maharaja. In summery, he was a very great king, he was the senior most son of the incarnation of Krishna himself Brishavadeva. And Bharata Maharaja became such a fearless ruler of this world and such a selfless compassionate king that the entire planet earth to this day, according to the sashtra is named after him, Bharatvarsha the planet of King Bharat. It is described that although he, ruled the kingdom and dealt with all the situations, all the problems, he had such a simple and pure heart that internally he always simply thinking how I can best serve Krishna. And therefore when he found that his children were olden up to take over the kingdom, it is described he left his beautiful wife, he left his beautiful throne, he left his royal kingdom, just as a man leave his stool after he just passed. Without discuss for all these material condition he just walked up into the forest. He understood that as a kshetriya he had to rule the kingdom for his purification. He did not rule the kingdom in anyway shaper form for his own enjoyment or for his own fame. He did it; because it was his duty and by performing his duty he would be purified and he would help of purify others.
The Real Motive
I was reading one letter by Srila Prabhupada. A devotee was asking Srila Prabhupada that he had taken second initiation, he had studied the sashtras very carefully, and he wanted to write vaisnava literature. Srila Prabhupada quoted Krishnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami from Caitanya-caritamrita and then Srila Prabhupada explains that Krishnadas Kaviraja in this verse, he is saying that I have no qualification to write this Caitanya-caritamrita. I am simply writing it. Because there is the order of my superiors for my purification. Then Srila Prabhupada began to describe that a devotee never does anything for his own interest in regard to fame, distinction, wealth. Whatever he does in Krishna Consciousness, he does for his purification. Many people want to write books because they want to become famous authors. Then Srila Prabhupada says a devotee never considers, a devotee is not even so concerned if nobody ever read the book. He writes the book for his purification. Whether it is accepted or rejected by society does not mean that much. In this way whatever a devotee does is with this motive.
So maharaja Bharat he rule the kingdom for his purification and at the proper time, at the proper stage of life in a ksehtriyas existence, he left the kingdom behind to leave in a jungles, eating only the rough fruits, berries and herbs that grow. Living with nothing but tree bark. On the bank of Gandhaki River. He lived a life for severe penance (tapasya) for his purification and it is described that one day a deer, which was chased by a ferocious tiger and the deer was pregnant and she was runny away. She went to hump over the river and as she jumped over the river the ferocious animal began to roar and out of fear, she had a miscarriage. Then the – child fell into the river. Then the mother approaching the other side seeing her child in such a distress and such a helpless condition not being able to help her. The natural quality of the parent, they feel so deeply for the child that the mother dear died. So Bharat Maharaja, he was thinking there is no one on earth that can save this dear except me. So she took the deer in his loving hands and protected it.
Then he was thinking now how will this deer eat, that not has it’s mother, who will protected form the dangerous animals in the forest. So Bharat maharaja began to care for this dear very carefully. And gradually he became very attached to this deer. He developed the maternal and paternal affection for this deer. He became like the mother and father and he worried about the dear just like mother of a father worries about his child. When the deer would not return home on time, he would be just thinking where is he? Food is prepared he would go up to the forest, where are you, where are you? He would cry. When the deer would be in his arms, he corrects it with great affection. In this way he passed his days and at the time of death, naturally he thought about this deer. So he took next birth as a deer.
But you see, because it was an arrangement of Krishna that it was not for his own selfish purpose is that he became attached to the deer. But was out of natural sentimental compassion and because of his sincere desire for self realization, although Krishna gave him in the form of a deer, he did not abandon him, he gave him full awareness of his previous life. So as a deer, his only interest was to just go to the place, where the saints and sages were reciting the glories of the Lord and he was just hearing from them there. He was always anxious just to associate with great souls and hear their narrations of the Supreme Personality of Godhead form their lotus mouths. Very soon that dear left his body. And he took birth again in the family of a brahmana.
In this third birth he had complete awareness by the grace of Krishna, paramatma of his previous two births. He was very cautious that in this birth I am not going to entangle myself in anyway shaper form in any type of material attachments. In fact the only way to that in this world because this world is so entangled. If I have to completely disguised my self as a mad man. So although his father was a very-very distinguished and qualified brahmana, he would be constantly trying to train his son. But his son would do everything the opposite. Because he understood for well, that the only purpose of this existence is to finish of this material world and purify myself and he became an Avadhuta. His name was Jada Bharat. It is described he would never bathe, never wash. His skin was black, hair was matted, his nails were long, and his brahmana thread was black. His father would try to teach him, how to pass stool. He say now, fist you pass the stool, then wash yourself. He would wash himself first, then pass stool. Not was that finished. His father would say my god, how disgusting, he did not know, what to do with this boy?
Finally his brothers who were qualified brahmanas as well, they were talking only use of this boy, is what this to keep the crows out of their agricultural fields. They would have him a stand like a scarecrow just to keep the crows out and he was very happy just to do like that. He had no objection. And while he was out there standing like a scarecrow, some dacoits who wanted to perform a human sacrifice to the goddess kali. They saw him and they thought this man is complete mad man but looks he has a very beautiful body. He is very strong and he is very handsome. He will be a very fit offering to our goddess. So they just picked him up out of the agricultural field. Jada Bharata did not care. He was completely indifferent. Whatever Krishna wants to do to me, I do not mind, it’s all for my purification. Because when a person is accustom to also had some reversals on live. A person just sees Krishna everywhere. His brothers, the whole society, they completely ridiculed him, humiliated him. Physically abused him. They though he was a mad man. But in his heart he was the wisest, the most sensitive and the most sincere man on earth. He was just accepting all these for his purification. When the dacoits took him, he did not mind. He was depending on Krishna. He did not say a word. He did not try to fight to defend himself. They bathed his body very nicely and they put nice cloth on him, and they put him before the goddess Kali. Then they say Kalimata here is the blood of your human sacrifice to satisfy your thirst for blood.
Of course it is described in Bhagavattam that those who are deeply possessed by the modes of ignorance, they worship these ghastly forms of the demigods. So they took this sacred sword of their puja and they raised it and with all their force they started to comedown to saver the head of Jada Bharata. That within the heart of Bharat there was only pure devotion to Krishna. There is the only helpless simple dependence of Krishna’s mercy. He did not have to defend himself. Because when one has this simplicity devotion to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishan says in Bhagavad-Gita,
na me bhaktaù praëaçyati”
To my pure devotee I am the protector. He is never vanquished. So in this condition Kali who happens to be a great Vaisnavi, one of the most glorious servant of the Lord Hari. In fact she is an expansion of the Goddess of fortune Herself. But she takes this thankless position in the service of Narayana just to give as chance for those who are lower modes of ignorance to make some spiritual advancement. She became so outraged that they are going to commit this offence to her devotee. That the deity herself lifts up from the altar snatched the sword from the hands of the dacoit and started to scream with shrilling laughter and began to cutoff their heads of the each of the gang of the dacoits. Then she took their heads on the hand and hilariously laughing with the shrilling sound vibration, which was thundering throughout all directions. She was playing with their heads and bouncing them and throwing them and cutting them and the dacoits were completely smashed every single one of them was mutilated. Krishna let your will be done.
At that Bharat Maharaja went into the jungle and it was described there was a king named Rahugna and he was going on a royal procession in the beautiful Royal palanquin. And the person who was on the one side of the palanquin there are four carriers. He has some difficulty; he could no longer carry the palanquin. So the King’s procession was at a stand still. So they have to find very stout and strong man. They happen to see in the forest Jada Bharat, so they asked him to come. So of course Jada Bharat would not resist anyone, he would whatever anyone asked to do. But he would always do all wrong, purposely. Just so he would not get any credit. He knew, as soon as you something good, you become glorified and then you become proud and you become attached. Is not that correct? So it is better, if you do just everything completely wrong, then everyone condemned you, then everyone just thinks you totally useless and then there is no question of material attached to anything. He would not even talk. He appeared like a man, who is deaf and dumb. Because he was afraid if he began to speak, people were thinking he was learned and then they get proud. So they said to him, you are a stout young man, you come, you carry the King’s palanquin. He just says, hum, hum. So they agreed. So they took him. They put him on one side of the palanquin. They began to walk. He was very strong and everything was going very smoothly and all of the sudden the king felt very bad -. All of sudden one side of the palanquin just stopped and the king almost felled up. What is this? Jada Bharat stopped because some ants were on the road. And he was afraid, he might step on the ant. So he stopped. But everyone else keep going, there was no one lese care about ants. So the king, he was very disturbed. Who is doing this? Say me? Say me? He did not say anything. King said, do not you stop ever again, I am the king and you are my servant. Now proceed. They proceeded again.
Jada Bharat was nicely caring. He was strong living in the jungles. Then another ant, he immediately stopped. And as he stopped the whole palanquin fell down. In one side just almost slipped. Maharaja Ruhgna was very angry. He said, if you ever do this again, you will be killed. This is an offence to the king. Jada Bharat did not say anything. So they continued on. They went for sometime and then by the arrangement of God another ant on the road. Jada Bharat stopped. At this time the king was so furious, he just began to screaming, chastising, blaspheming this dispoured man. I am the king, you are the subject. Do you not understand the king is the representative of the God? You must die and the king was about his order to that. He was so angry. Jada Bharat still there, he was not disturbed nor was he elated by the king’s actions. He was simply seeing the divine arrangement of Krishna. Then finally Rahugna maharaja, he said, say something, do something, what kind of crazy man are you?
Although he was taking a role of an Abhadhuta, in his heart he was actually a most compassionate and loving Vaisnava. He saw that here is finally an opportunity to preach somebody, who will listen. So he began to speak. He said, my dear king, you are thinking that you are the king, you are thinking that I am your servant. But this is an illusion. Because in next birth I may be the king and you may be this servant. So who are you. This is all your great illusion that you are thinking, you are the body and you are thinking I am my body. We are not these bodies. This is all mental concoction and the greatest enemy is our own mind. In fact our mind is our only enemy. Because our mind is constantly “sankalpa-vikalpa” “accepting one thing & rejecting another thing” on the basis of the bodily conception of life for sense gratification. Therefore the purpose of human life is to become purified of the mind’s tendencies for enjoyment. And he spoke in this way. Several chapters of Srimad Bhagavatam are the beautiful illustrious instructions of Jada Bharat to king Ruhgna.
The Real Concern
When Maharaja Ruhgan heard the purifying words of Jada Bharat, he realized that this is a greatest man on earth. He came down form his palanquin and he put his head adorned with his golden crown on the feet of Jada Bharata and he surrendered. And through this beautiful narrations, we understand that in every stage of life we should be striving and struggling for purification. We should not be concerned with the external appearance of how things workout for us in this world. We should only be concerned with how we are becoming purified, by whatever circumstance comes into our life. Whether there is failure or success. Whether there is happiness or distress, honor or dishonor, pleasure or pain, a devotee simply sees every situation is an opportunity to become purified. He is not so concerned with how things workout form the sensual perspective. He is only concerned with the purification that takes place in that circumstance and the purification takes place to the extent, we accept every opportunity as an opportunity to serve Krishna and serve his devotees.
sevanaà bhaktir ucyate”
Caitanya-caritamrita Madhya 19.170
That the same mind and senses that are not causing us due to mental concoction, attachment, and so much entanglement. The same mind and senses that are engaged in Krishna’s service, Hrisikesa’s service become the very basis of our purification. So therefore a devotee’s only purpose in life is to engage in the service of lord for his purification. A devotee is not concern what my occupation is, what my occupation isn’t. What this person thinks about me or what this person does not think about me. A devotee does not think in terms of how much money I do have, or how much money I do not have. A devotee is just thinking in terms of how I can best purify my life. Without purification even if you are many materially successful in this world, your whole life is being wasted. All of your endeavors are simple creating a deeper more miserable condition of bondage. Therefore every stage of life and every circumstance of life from the time of conception, to the time one’s body is put on the fire of cremation.
A human being should always strive and struggling to purify his mind and purify his senses. And you should have really no other object in life within that. The most sublime and powerful means of purification is to always think of Krishna. To always think of Krishna and always do the will of Krishna. The will of Krishna is coming down through the disciplec succession through the spiritual masters, the great acaryas. When they speak to us, we can understand that they are speaking the will of Krishna. And we learn to always think of Krishna by acting according to their instructions. Sometimes the great souls, they tell us so many duties we must perform or through their representative, they telling us so many duties to perform. Understand that by performing these duties properly both internally as well as externally we are being trained to how to always think of Krishna. And in this life and at the time of death, if we can learn in the proper service attitude to always think of Krishna, then we return back home back to godhead. You see unless you have a humble service attitude, you cannot always think of Krishna. Thinking of Krishna is not simply based on your abilities to control your mind. Krishna says in Bhagavad-Gita
“sarvasya cähaà hådi sanniviñöo
mattaù småtir jïänam apohanaà ca”
That he within the heart is the source of remembrance knowledge and forgetfulness. You can only remember Krishna, when it is Krishna’s desire to manifests Himself within your mind. It is not by your endeavor. And Krishna manifests Himself to the humble devotee who is in the proper service attitude. One may very scholarly and always be talking about Krishna but if he has proud and he does not have a proper service attitude at the time of the greatest need, Krishna will be not there. At the time of death when your whole body is just full of pain and full of bewilderment and you are just endless distractions, all around you and within you, it is not possible to think of Krishna, unless Krishna reveals himself to you at that time. And Krishna reveals Himself according to the humility of our attitude due to serve. So therefore the spiritual master and his representatives they are meant to train us to how to think of Krishna. By training us how to attract Krishna to appear in our mind by being humble service.