His Divine Grace A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
(founder of the Hare Krsna movement)
by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Anyone who knows that this material body, made of the five gross elements, the sense organs, the working senses and the mind, is simply supervised by the fixed soul is eligible to be liberated from material bondage.
This verse describes how one can become liberated from material bondage. The first point is that one must know that the soul is different from his body. The soul is called dehi, or one who possesses the body, and the material body is called deha, or the embodiment of the soul. The body is changing at every moment, but the soul is fixed; therefore the soul is called kuta-stham. The change of body is enacted by the reactions of the three modes of nature. One who has understood the fixed position of the soul should not be disturbed by the incoming and outgoing interactions of the modes of material nature in the form of happiness and distress. In Bhagavad-gita also, Lord Krsna recommends that since happiness and distress come and go due to the interaction of the modes of nature on the body, one should not be disturbed by such external movements. Even though one is sometimes absorbed in such external movements, he has to learn to tolerate them. The living entity should be always indifferent to the action and reaction of the external body.
Lord Krsna says in Bhagavad-gita that the body, made of the gross physical elements (earth, water, fire, air and sky) and the subtle elements (mind, intelligence and ego), is completely different from the soul proper. One should therefore not be disturbed by the action and reaction of these eight gross and subtle material elements. The practical process to attain this stage of indifference is to execute devotional service. Only one who constantly engages in devotional service twenty-four hours a day can be indifferent to the action and reaction of the external body. When a man is absorbed in a particular thought, he does not hear or see any external activities, even though they are enacted in his presence. Similarly, those who are fully absorbed in devotional service do not care what is going on with the external body. That status is called samadhi. One who is actually situated in samadhi is understood to be a first-class yogi.
The question may be raised that if the living entity has to act as the superintendent of the activities of the bodily combination, then how can he be indifferent to the activities of the body? The answer is given here: these activities are completely different from the activities of the spirit soul of the living entity. A crude example can be given in this connection. A businessman riding in a motorcar sits in the car, supervises its running and advises the driver. He knows how much gasoline is used up, and he knows everything about the car, but still he is apart from the car and is more concerned with his business. Even while riding in the car, he thinks of his business and his office. He has no connection with the car, although he is sitting there. As the businessman is always absorbed in thoughts of his business, so the living entity can be absorbed in thoughts of rendering loving service to the Lord. Then it will be possible to remain separate from the activities of the material body. This position of neutrality can be possible only for a devotee.
The word baddha-sauhrdah -- "bound in friendship" -- is particularly used here. Karmis, jnanis and yogis cannot be bound in devotional service. Karmis fully engage in the activities of the body. Their aim of life is to give comfort to the body only. Jnanis try to get out of entanglement by philosophical speculation, but they have no standing in the liberated position. Because they do not take shelter under the lotus feet of the Lord, they fall down from the exalted position of Brahman realization. Yogis also have a bodily concept of life -- they think that they can achieve something spiritual by exercising the body through dharana, asana, pranayama, etc. A devotee's position is always transcendental because of his intimate relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore, to remain always aloof from the actions and reactions of the body and engage in one's real occupation, namely rendering service to the Lord, can be possible only for devotees.
One has to execute the order of Lord Visnu, whether receiving it directly from Him or from His bona fide representative, the spiritual master. Arjuna fought the Battle of Kuruksetra under the direct order of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna. Similarly, here Prthu Maharaja is also being given orders by Lord Visnu regarding the execution of his duty. We have to stick to the principles stated in the Bhagavad-gita. Vyavasayatmika buddhih: every man's duty is to receive orders from Lord Krsna or from His bona fide representative and take these orders as his life and soul, without personal considerations. Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura states that one should not care very much whether he is going to be liberated or not, but he should simply execute the direct order received from the spiritual master. If one sticks to the principle of abiding by the order of the spiritual master, he will always remain in a liberated position. A common man must execute the rules and regulations of varnasrama-dharma by working in his prescribed duty according to the caste system (brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya and sudra) and the spiritual-order system (brahmacarya, grhastha, vanaprastha and sannyasa). If one simply executes regularly and strictly the injunctions given for the different divisions of life, then one satisfies Lord Visnu.
As a king, Prthu Maharaja was ordered by Lord Visnu to keep himself always aloof from the activities of the bodily situation and to engage always in the service of the Lord and thus keep himself in the liberated stage. The word baddha-sauhrdah in the previous verse is explained herewith. One can fully remain in intimate connection with the Supreme Lord directly or receive orders from His bona fide representative the spiritual master and execute the orders sincerely when one keeps aloof from the activities of the body. The Lord helps us by giving us directions how to act in devotional service and thus advance on the path back home, back to Godhead. He instructs us outwardly in the form of the spiritual master. Therefore, one should not accept the spiritual master as an ordinary human being. The Lord says, acaryam mam vijaniyan nava-manyeta karhicit: one should not treat the spiritual master as an ordinary human being, for he is the substitute for the Supreme Personality of Godhead (SB 11.17.27). One should treat the spiritual master as the Supreme Personality of Godhead and never be envious of him or consider him to be an ordinary human being. If we follow the instruction of the spiritual master and execute devotional service to the Lord, we will remain always free from the contamination of bodily and material activities, and our life will be successful.
The Bhaktivedanta Lives In Sound Society is an international organization of Hare Krsna devotees practicing and teaching bhakti-yoga(the essence of religion) under the direct guidance of His Divine Grace A.C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, who is the last link to the ancient unbroken chain of disciplic succession(parampara) originating with the Supreme Personality of Godhead Sri Krsna Himself. Although His Divine Grace has departed physically from this world in 1977, the members of the society hold him to be still transcendentally present in his instructions.