sarva-bhÅ«teá¹£u yaá¸¥ paÅyed
bhÅ«tÄni bhagavaty Ätmany
ÅrÄ«-haviá¸¥ uvÄca - ÅrÄ« Havir said; sarva-bhÅ«teá¹£u - in all objects (in matter, spirit, and combinations of matter and spirit); yaá¸¥ - anyone who; paÅyet - sees; bhagavat-bhÄvam - the ability to be engaged in the service of the Lord; Ätmanaá¸¥ - of the supreme spirit soul, or the transcendence beyond the material concept of life; bhÅ«tÄni - all beings; bhagavati - in the Supreme Personality of Godhead; Ätmani - the basic principle of all existence; eá¹£aá¸¥ - this; bhagavata-uttamaá¸¥ - a person advanced in devotional service.
In Bhagavad-gÄ«tÄ (6.30) the Lord says:
yo mÄá¹ paÅyati sarvatra
sarvaá¹ ca mayi paÅyati
tasyÄhaá¹ na praá¹aÅyÄmi
sa ca me na praá¹aÅyati
âFor one who sees Me everywhere and sees everything in Me, I am never lost, nor is he ever lost to Me.â ÅrÄ«la PrabhupÄda comments, âA person in Ká¹á¹£á¹a consciousness certainly sees Lord Ká¹á¹£á¹a everywhere, and he sees everything in Ká¹á¹£á¹a. Such a person may appear to see all separate manifestations of the material nature, but in each and every instance he is conscious of Ká¹á¹£á¹a, knowing that everything is the manifestation of Ká¹á¹£á¹aâs energy. Nothing can exist without Ká¹á¹£á¹a, and Ká¹á¹£á¹a is the Lord of everything â this is the basic principle of Ká¹á¹£á¹a consciousness.â
The qualification for seeing Ká¹á¹£á¹a everywhere is stated in the Brahma-saá¹hitÄ (5.38):
santaá¸¥ sadaiva há¹dayeá¹£u vilokayanti
yaá¹ ÅyÄmasundaram acintya-guá¹a-svarÅ«paá¹
govindam Ädi-puruá¹£aá¹ tam ahaá¹ bhajÄmi
âI worship the primeval Lord, Govinda, who is always seen by the devotee whose eyes are anointed with the pulp of love. He is seen in His eternal form of ÅyÄmasundara, situated within the heart of the devotee.â A devotee of the highest level of spiritual qualification is glorified for the expansiveness of his spiritual vision. For example, when the stalwart demon Hiraá¹yakaÅipu questioned his self-realized son PrahlÄda MahÄrÄja as to the whereabouts of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, PrahlÄda, being a mahÄ-bhÄgavata, or pure devotee, answered straightforwardly that the Supreme Lord is everywhere. The demoniac father then asked if God was in the pillar of the palace. When PrahlÄda answered yes, Hiraá¹yakaÅipu, being a bona fide demon, struck the pillar with his sword, trying to kill God, or at least disprove His existence. Then Lord Ná¹siá¹hadeva, the most ferocious form of the Supreme Lord, immediately appeared and finished forever the illicit program of Hiraá¹yakaÅipu. Thus PrahlÄda MahÄrÄja can be accepted as an uttama-adhikÄrÄ« devotee.
A pure devotee is completely free from the tendency to enjoy things separately from the Lordâs service. He does not see anything in the universe as unfavorable, because he sees everything as the expanded potency of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Such a devoteeâs purpose in existing is to give pleasure somehow or other to the Supreme Lord. Thus everything that a pure devotee experiences, moment by moment, increases his ecstatic loving desire to satisfy the transcendental senses of the Lord.
The three modes of material nature torment the conditioned soul, who absorbs his mind in the separated, material energy of the Lord. The function of this separated energy, bhinnÄ praká¹ti, is to take the living entity away from the reality, which is that everything is within Ká¹á¹£á¹a and Ká¹á¹£á¹a is within everything. Being covered by gross ignorance, the bewildered conditioned soul believes that only the objects of his own limited vision actually exist. Sometimes such foolish persons speculate that if a tree falls in a forest with no one to hear it, there will actually be no sound. The conditioned souls do not consider that since the Supreme Personality of Godhead is all-pervading, there is no question of no oneâs hearing; the Lord always hears. As stated in the Thirteenth Chapter of Bhagavad-gÄ«tÄ (13.14), sarvataá¸¥ Årutimal loke: the Supreme Lord hears everything. He is upadraá¹£á¹Ä, the witness of everything (Bg. 13.23).
In this verse the word bhÄgavatottamaá¸¥, âthe most advanced devotee,â indicates that there are those who are not gross materialists but who are not the highest devotees. According to ÅrÄ«la BhaktisiddhÄnta SarasvatÄ« á¹¬hÄkura, those who cannot properly distinguish between devotees and nondevotees and who therefore never worship the pure devotees of the Lord are to be known as kaniá¹£á¹ha-adhikÄrÄ«s, devotees on the lowest stage of devotional service. Such kaniá¹£á¹ha-adhikÄrÄ«s engage in worship of the Supreme Lord, especially in the temple, but are indifferent to the Lordâs devotees. Thus they misunderstand this statement by Lord Åiva in the Padma PurÄá¹a:
viá¹£á¹or ÄrÄdhanaá¹ param
tasmÄd parataraá¹ devi
âO DevÄ«, the most exalted system of worship is the worship of Lord Viá¹£á¹u. Greater than that is the worship of tadÄ«ya, or anything belonging to Viá¹£á¹u.â ÅrÄ«la PrabhupÄda comments on this verse, âÅrÄ« Viá¹£á¹u is sac-cid-Änanda-vigraha. Similarly the most confidential servant of Ká¹á¹£á¹a, the spiritual master, and all devotees of Viá¹£á¹u are tadÄ«ya. The sac-cid-Änanda-vigraha, guru, Vaiá¹£á¹avas and things used by them must be considered tadÄ«ya, and without a doubt worshipable by all living beings.â (Cc. Madhya 12.38 purport)
Typically the kaniá¹£á¹ha-adhikÄrÄ« is eager to engage his materialistic qualifications in the service of the Lord, mistaking such material expertise to be the sign of advanced devotion. But by continuing to serve the Supreme Lord and the devotees engaged in propagating the Lordâs mission, the kaniá¹£á¹ha-adhikÄrÄ« also advances in his realization and comes to the stage of dedicating his activities to helping more advanced Vaiá¹£á¹avas. Even such kaniá¹£á¹ha-adhikÄrÄ«s can help ordinary living entities by their association, since at least the kaniá¹£á¹ha-adhikÄrÄ«s have faith that Ká¹á¹£á¹a is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Because of this faith, the kaniá¹£á¹ha-adhikÄrÄ« gradually becomes inimical to those who are opposed to the Lord. As he gradually becomes more and more inimical to those who hate the supremacy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and becomes more attracted to friendship with other faithful servants of the Lord, the kaniá¹£á¹ha-adhikÄrÄ« approaches the second-class stage, called madhyama. In the madhyama stage the Vaiá¹£á¹ava sees the Lord as the cause of all causes and the chief goal of everyoneâs loving propensity. He sees the Vaiá¹£á¹avas as his only friends within this morbid world and is eager to bring innocent people within the shelter of Vaiá¹£á¹ava society. Also, a madhyama-adhikÄrÄ« strictly avoids associating with the self-proclaimed enemies of God. When such an intermediate qualification becomes mature, the concept of supreme qualification begins to present itself; that is, one comes to the stage of uttama-adhikÄrÄ«.
A kaniá¹£á¹ha-adhikÄrÄ« guru, one who is simply attached to performing religious ceremonies and worshiping the Deity, without appreciation for other Vaiá¹£á¹avas, especially those who are preaching the message of the Lord, will especially appeal to persons interested in the dry cultivation of knowledge. As a living entity develops mundane piety, he proudly devotes himself to regulated work and nobly tries to detach himself from the fruits of his work. Through such regulated detached work, knowledge or wisdom gradually arises. As knowledge or wisdom becomes prominent, the pious materialist becomes attracted to altruistic and charitable work and gives up gross sinful activities. If he is fortunate, he then becomes favorable to the transcendental devotional service of the Lord. Desiring a mere intellectual understanding of devotional service, such a pious materialist may seek shelter at the feet of a kaniá¹£á¹ha-adhikÄrÄ«. If able to advance to the madhyama qualification, he then becomes attracted to a Vaiá¹£á¹ava actively engaged in preaching Ká¹á¹£á¹a consciousness. And when fully mature on the platform of intermediate devotion, he becomes attracted to the mahÄ-bhÄgavata level and is awarded a glimpse of the exalted position of the mahÄ-bhÄgavata spiritual master by the grace of Ká¹á¹£á¹a within his heart. If one gradually goes on in the devotional service of the Lord, one becomes established as a paramahaá¹sa mahÄ-bhÄgavata. At this stage all of his actions. movements and engagements in preaching are dedicated solely to the satisfaction of Ká¹á¹£á¹a. The illusory potency, mÄyÄ, has no power to throw or cover such a purified living entity. In UpadeÅÄmá¹ta (5) ÅrÄ«la RÅ«pa GosvÄmÄ« has described this stage of life as bhajana-vijÃ±am ananyam anya-nindÄdi-ÅÅ«nya-há¹dam.
A mahÄ-bhÄgavata, being empowered by the Supreme Lord, YogeÅvara, is endowed with the supernatural power to inspire and give success to the madhyama-adhikÄrÄ« who follows in his footsteps and to elevate a kaniá¹£á¹ha-adhikÄrÄ« gradually to the intermediate platform. Such devotional power springs automatically from the ocean of mercy found within the heart of a pure devotee. ÅrÄ«la BhaktisiddhÄnta SarasvatÄ« á¹¬hÄkura points out that a mahÄ-bhÄgavata has no desire to inflict punishment on the enemies of the Lord. Rather, he engages the madhyama-adhikÄrÄ«s and kaniá¹£á¹ha-adhikÄrÄ«s in preaching work to purify the polluted mentality of the inimical souls, who are falsely imagining the material world to be separate from Ká¹á¹£á¹a.
There are unfortunate living entities who are unable to understand the glory of a kaniá¹£á¹ha-adhikÄrÄ« within the realm of devotional service, have no praise for the more advanced state of intermediate devotion and cannot even begin to understand the most exalted stage, that of the uttama-adhikÄrÄ«. Such unfortunate souls, attracted to impersonal MÄyÄvÄda speculation, follow faithfully in the footsteps of Kaá¹sa, Agha, Baka and PÅ«tanÄ and are thus killed by ÅrÄ« Hari. In this way the community of sense gratifiers remains uninterested in service at the lotus feet of the Supreme Lord, and according to the individual perverted vision of so-called self-interest, each materialist chooses his own misfortune in the form of repeated birth and death in various types of material bodies. There are 8,400,000 species of material forms, and the materialistic living entities select the particular flavors of birth, old age, disease and death they wish to inflict upon themselves under the hallucinations of so-called material progress.
The analogy is given that a lusty man, being agitated by sexual desire, sees the whole world as filled with sensuous women. In a similar way, a pure devotee of Ká¹á¹£á¹a sees Ká¹á¹£á¹a consciousness everywhere, although it may be temporarily covered. Thus one sees the world just as one sees himself (Ätmavan manyate jagat). On this basis one may argue that the vision of the mahÄ-bhagavata is also illusioned, since the BhÄgavatam has already stated throughout that those conditioned by the three modes of material nature are not at all Ká¹á¹£á¹a conscious but in fact are inimical to Ká¹á¹£á¹a. But although the conditioned living entity may appear inimical to the Lord, the eternal, unalterable fact is that every living being is part and parcel of Ká¹á¹£á¹a. Although oneâs ecstatic love for Ká¹á¹£á¹a may now be covered by the influence of mÄyÄ, by the causeless mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead the conditioned soul will gradually be promoted to the stage of Ká¹á¹£á¹a consciousness.
In fact, everyone is suffering the pangs of separation from Ká¹á¹£á¹a. Because the conditioned soul imagines that he has no eternal relationship with Ká¹á¹£á¹a, he is unable to ascertain that all his miseries are due to this separation. This is mÄyÄ, or âthat which is not.â Actually, to think that misery arises from anything other than separation from Ká¹á¹£á¹a is to be in illusion. So when a pure devotee sees living entities suffering within this world, he correctly feels that just as he is suffering because of separation from Ká¹á¹£á¹a, all other living beings are also suffering from separation from Ká¹á¹£á¹a. The difference is that a pure devotee correctly ascertains the cause of his heartbreak whereas the conditioned soul, bewildered by mÄyÄ, is unable to understand his eternal relationship with Ká¹á¹£á¹a and the unlimited pain arising from neglect of that relationship.
ÅrÄ«la JÄ«va GosvÄmÄ« has quoted the following verses, which illustrate the ecstatic feelings of the topmost devotees of the Lord. In the Tenth Canto of ÅrÄ«mad-BhÄgavatam (10.35.9) the goddesses of Vraja speak as follows:
vana-latÄs tarava Ätmani viá¹£á¹uá¹
vyaÃ±jayantya iva puá¹£pa-phalÄá¸hyÄá¸¥
prema-há¹á¹£á¹a-tanavo vavá¹á¹£uá¸¥ sma
âThe creepers and trees of the forest, their branches weighed down by rich coverings of flowers and fruits, seemed to manifest Lord Viá¹£á¹u within their hearts. Exhibiting eruptions of ecstatic love upon their bodies, they poured down rains of honey.â Elsewhere in the Tenth Canto (BhÄg. 10.21.15) it is said:
nadyas tadÄ tad upadhÄrya mukunda-gÄ«tam
Äliá¹ gana-sthagitam Å«rmi-bhujair murÄrer
gá¹há¹anti pÄda-yugalaá¹ kamalopahÄrÄá¸¥
âHearing the song of Lord Mukundaâs flute, the rivers then stopped their currents, although the minds of the rivers could still be ascertained from the presence of whirlpools. With the arms of their waves the rivers seized the two lotus feet of MurÄri, taking help from the lotus plants, and thus He became trapped in their embrace.â And in the last chapter of the Tenth Canto (10.90.15), the queens of DvÄrakÄ pray:
kurari vilapasi tvaá¹ vÄ«ta-nidrÄ na Åeá¹£e
svapiti jagati rÄtryÄm Ä«Åvaro gupta-bodhaá¸¥
vayam iva sakhi kaccid gÄá¸ha-nirviddha-cetÄ
âDear kurarÄ«, now it is very late at night. Everyone is sleeping. The whole world is now calm and peaceful. At this time, the Supreme Personality of Godhead is sleeping, although His knowledge is undisturbed by any circumstance. Then why are you not sleeping? Why are you lamenting like this throughout the whole night? Dear friend, is it that you are also attracted by the lotus eyes of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and by His sweet smiling and attractive words, exactly as we are? Do those dealings of the Supreme Personality of Godhead pinch your heart as they do ours?â ÅrÄ«la ViÅvanÄtha CakravartÄ« á¹¬hÄkura has also given mother YaÅodÄ as an example of an uttama-adhikÄrÄ«, for mother YaÅodÄ actually saw all living beings within the mouth of Ká¹á¹£á¹a during the Lordâs Vá¹ndÄvana lÄ«lÄ.
ÅrÄ«la ViÅvanÄtha CakravartÄ« á¹¬hÄkura also points out in his commentary, atra paÅyed iti tathÄ darÅana-yogyataiva vivaká¹£itÄ, na tu tathÄ darÅanasya sÄrva-kÄlikatÄ. âIn this verse the word paÅyet, or âone must see,â does not mean that at every moment one is visualizing the form of Ká¹á¹£á¹a; rather, it means that one has reached the exalted platform of devotional service on which he is fit to see or is capable of seeing Ká¹á¹£á¹aâs form.â If only those who constantly see the form of Ká¹á¹£á¹a are to be considered uttama-adhikÄrÄ«s, then NÄrada, VyÄsa and Åukadeva cannot be considered topmost devotees, since they do not always see the Lord everywhere. Of course, NÄrada, VyÄsa and Åukadeva are considered to be on the highest standard of pure devotional service, and therefore the real qualification is tad-didá¹ká¹£Ädhikya, or having an overwhelming desire to see the Lord. Therefore the statement of Bhagavad-gÄ«tÄ that a devotee should see Ká¹á¹£á¹a everywhere (yo mÄá¹ paÅyati sarvatra) can be understood in terms of the example of a lusty manâs thinking that the world is full of beautiful women. Similarly, one should become transcendentally so desirous of seeing the Lord that one can perceive within the entire universe nothing but Ká¹á¹£á¹a and His potency. VÄsudevaá¸¥ sarvam iti. In ÅrÄ«la PrabhupÄdaâs correspondence in 1969 with Professor J. F. Staal of the University of California, ÅrÄ«la PrabhupÄda claimed that all of his disciples who were strictly following the intense program of Ká¹á¹£á¹a consciousness were in fact sudurlabha-mahÄtmÄs who were seeing vÄsudevaá¸¥ sarvam. In other words, if one is constantly engaged in Ká¹á¹£á¹a consciousness with an intense desire to please the Lord and one day gain His association, it is to be understood that in oneâs life there is nothing but Ká¹á¹£á¹a. ÅrÄ«la ViÅvanÄtha CakravartÄ« á¹¬hÄkura has warned us, however, that a mere theoretical or academic understanding that Ká¹á¹£á¹a is everything does not qualify one as a first-class devotee. One must actually have developed love for Ká¹á¹£á¹a. Therefore it can be practically understood that anyone who enthusiastically adopts the Ká¹á¹£á¹a consciousness program and eagerly participates in the preaching activities of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness is acting on the platform of a madhyama-adhikÄrÄ« devotee. When such a devotee becomes overwhelmed by his desire to serve Ká¹á¹£á¹a and associate with the Lord, so much so that he is not attracted to anything else within the universe, he should be understood to be an uttama-adhikÄrÄ« Vaiá¹£á¹ava, as mentioned in this verse.