Canto 1: Creation
Chapter 7: The Son of Droṇa Punished
ātmārāmāś ca munayo
nirgranthā apy urukrame
kurvanty ahaitukīḿ bhaktim
All different varieties of ātmārāmas
[those who take pleasure in ātmā, or spirit self],
especially those established on the path of self-realization,
though freed from all kinds of material bondage,
desire to render unalloyed devotional service unto the Personality of Godhead.
This means that the Lord possesses transcendental qualities and therefore can attract everyone,
including liberated souls.
sūtaḥ uvāca — Sūta Gosvāmī said;
ātmārāmāḥ — those who take pleasure in ātmā (generally, spirit self);
ca — also;
munayaḥ — sages;
nirgranthāḥ — freed from all bondage;
api — in spite of;
urukrame — unto the great adventurer;
kurvanti — do;
ahaitukīm — unalloyed;
bhaktim — devotional service;
ittham-bhūta — such wonderful;
guṇaḥ — qualities;
hariḥ — of the Lord.
Explanation of the Ātmārāma Verse in Śrīmad Bhāgavatam
Lord Caitanya next explained a very famous verse known as the Ātmārāma verse, which appears in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam as follows:
ātmārāmāś ca munayo
nirgranthā apy urukrame
kurvanty ahaitukīṁ bhaktim
This verse indicates that those who are liberated souls and are fully self-satisfied will eventually become devotees of the Lord. This injunction is especially meant for the impersonalists, for the impersonalists have no information of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
They try to remain satisfied with the impersonal Brahman, but Kṛṣṇa is so attractive and so strong that He attracts their minds.
This is the purport of this verse.
This verse had been previously explained to a great Vedāntist known as Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya.
After taking lessons from Lord Caitanya, Sanātana Gosvāmī referred to this incident and prayed to the Lord to again explain the Ātmārāma verse.
Kavirāja Gosvāmī, the author of Caitanya-caritāmṛta, appreciating the Lord’s explanation of the Ātmārāma verse, has also glorified Lord Caitanya in his prayers. Falling flat at the feet of Lord Caitanya, Sanātana Gosvāmī requested Him to explain the verse as He had formerly explained it to Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya.
Sanātana explained his eagerness to hear the same explanation in order that he might be enlightened.
Being thus requested by Sanātana, the Lord replied:
“I do not understand why Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya so much appreciated My explanation. As far as I am concerned, I don’t even remember what I said to him. But because you are asking this of Me, I shall, with the help of your association, try to explain whatever I can remember.”
Thus the speaker and the audience are very intimately connected; the speaker is enlightened by the presence of the audience. The speaker, or master, can speak very nicely on transcendental subject matters before an understanding audience; therefore Lord Caitanya said that He did not know how to explain the Sanskrit verse but that since He was in the association of Sanātana He would try to explain it.
The Lord then went on to point out that there are eleven items in the Ātmārāma verse: (1) ātmārāmāḥ, (2) ca, (3) munayaḥ, (4) nirgranthāḥ, (5) api, (6) urukrame, (7) kurvanti, (8) ahaitukīm, (9) bhaktim, (10) ittham-bhūta-guṇaḥ, (11) hariḥ.
The Lord then began to explain each and every one of these items.
As far as the word ātmārāma is concerned, the Lord explained that the word ātmā is used to indicate:
(1) the Supreme Absolute Truth, (2) the body, (3) the mind, (4) endeavor, (5) conviction, (6) intelligence, and (7) nature.
The word ārāma means enjoyer; therefore anyone who takes pleasure in the cultivation of the knowledge of these seven items is known as ātmārāma.
The Lord then explained about the different kinds of ātmārāmas, or transcendentalists.
As for the word munayaḥ, or muni, those who are great thinkers are called munis. Sometimes the word muni is also applied to a person who is very grave. Great sages, great austere persons, great mystics and learned scholars are also called munis.
The next word, nirgrantha, indicates freedom from the bondage of illusion.
Nirgrantha also means “One who has no connection with spiritual injunctions.”
Grantha means revealed scriptures, and nir is an affix which is used to mean “no connection,” “constructing,” and also “prohibiting.” There are many instructions for spiritual realization, but persons who have no connection with such scriptural injunctions are also known as nirgrantha. There are many people who are foolish, low-born and misbehaved and who have no entrance into the revealed scriptures and injunctions, and therefore they are called nirgrantha. Because grantha is also used for the purpose of collecting riches, the word nirgrantha also indicates a poor man, bereft of all riches, who is attempting to collect riches.
The word urukrama is used to indicate a highly powerful person.
The word krama is used to indicate the act of stepping, and the word urukrama indicates one who can step forward very far.
The greatest step forward was taken by Lord Vāmanadeva, who covered the whole universe in two steps.
Thus the word urukrama indicates the Supreme Lord Vāmanadeva. This extraordinary feature of Lord Vāmanadeva is thus explained in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (2.7.40).
viṣṇor nu vīrya-gaṇanāṁ katamo ‘rhatīha
yaḥ pārthivāny api kavir vimame rajāṁsi
caskambha yaḥ sva-raṁhasāskhalatā tri-prṣṭhaṁ
yasmāt tri-sāmya-sadanād uru-kampayānam
“No one can estimate the inconceivable potencies of Lord Viṣṇu. Even if one can count the number of atomic combinations in this material world, he still cannot count the different energies of the Supreme Lord. As Vāmanadeva, the Lord was so powerful that simply by stepping forward He covered the whole universe from Brahmaloka down to Pātālaloka.”
The inconceivable energies of the Lord are spread throughout the creation. He is all-pervading, and by His energy He sustains all planetary systems, yet through His pleasure potency He remains situated in His personal abode known as Goloka. By the expansion of His opulence, He is present in all the Vaikuṇṭha planets as Nārāyaṇa. By expanding His material energy, He creates innumerable universes with innumerable planets within them. Thus no one can estimate the wonderful activities of the Supreme Lord, and therefore the Supreme Lord is known as urukrama, the wonderful actor.
In the Viśvaprakāśa dictionary, the word krama is defined as “an expert display of energies,” as well as “stepping forward very quickly.”
The word kurvanti is used to mean “working for others.” There is another word similar to this which is used when one’s activities are done for one’s own personal sense gratification, but the word kurvanti is used when activities are performed for the satisfaction of the Supreme. Thus in this verse the word can only indicate the rendering of transcendental service to the Lord.
The word hetu is used to indicate the reason or cause. Generally people are engaged in transcendental activities for three reasons: some want material happiness, some want mystic perfection and some want liberation from material bondage. As far as material enjoyment is concerned, there are so many varieties that no one can enumerate them. As far as perfections in mystic power are concerned, there are eighteen, and as far as types of liberation from material bondage are concerned, there are five.
The state of being where all these varieties of enjoyment are conspicuous by their absence is called ahaitukī.
The ahaitukī qualification is especially mentioned because by the ahaitukī service of the Lord, one can achieve the favor of the Lord.
The word bhakti can be used in ten different ways. Out of these ten, there is sādhana-bhakti, or occupational devotional service. The other nine are called prema-bhakti, love of Godhead. Those who are situated in the neutral position attain perfection up to love of Godhead. Similarly, those who are situated in the relationship of master and servant attain love of Godhead to the stage of attachment. Those who are related in friendship attain love of God to the point of fraternity. Those who are in love with God as His parents are elevated to the point of transcendental emotion. But only those who are related with the Supreme in conjugal love can experience the highest of ecstasies. Thus there are different meanings for the word bhakti.
The Lord next explained the different meanings of ittham-bhūta-guṇa. Ittham bhūta indicates fully transcendental pleasure before which the transcendental pleasure known as brahmānanda becomes like straw.
In the Hari-bhakti-sudhodaya (14.36), a devotee says:
brāhmāṇy api jagad guro
“My Lord, O Supreme, simply by understanding You or seeing You, the pleasure which we derive is so great that the pleasure of brahmānanda becomes insignificant.”
In other words, the pleasure derived by understanding Kṛṣṇa as He is-as the all-attractive reservoir of all pleasures and the reservoir of all pleasure-giving tastes with all transcendental qualifications-attracts one to become His devotee. By virtue of such attraction, one can give up fruitive activities and all endeavors for liberation and can even abandon the intense desire to achieve success in yoga mystic power. The attraction of Kṛṣṇa is so intense that one can lose respect for all other means of self-realization and simply surrender unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
The Lord also explained the word guṇa in all its different meanings.
Guṇa indicates the unlimited transcendental qualities of Kṛṣṇa, primarily His sac-cid-ānanda form. In His transcendental blissful knowledge and eternity, He is fully perfect, and His perfection is increased when He is controlled by the attention of His devotee. God is so kind and merciful that He can give Himself in exchange for the devotional service of the devotee. His transcendental qualities are such that the perfection of His beauty, His perfect reciprocation of love between Himself and His devotees, and the flavor of His transcendental qualities attract different kinds of transcendentalists and liberated souls. For example, He attracted the mind of Sanaka Kumāra simply by the aroma emanating from the flowers offered to Him. The mind of Śukadeva Gosvāmī was attracted by the transcendental pastimes of Lord Kṛṣṇa, and the minds of the damsels of Vṛndāvana were attracted by His personal beauty. Rukmiṇī’s attention was attracted by His bodily features and transcendental qualities, and the mind of the goddess of fortune was attracted by His flute playing and other transcendental features. Lord Kṛṣṇa attracts the minds of all young girls and elderly ladies by His childlike activities. He also attracts the minds of His friends by His friendly activities. When He appeared in Vṛndāvana, He even attracted the birds, beasts, trees and plants. Indeed, everyone became attracted in love and affection for Kṛṣṇa.
The word hari has different meanings, of which two are foremost. Hari means that He takes away all inauspicious things from the devotee’s life and that He attracts the mind of the devotee by awarding him transcendental love of Godhead.
Kṛṣṇa is so attractive that anyone who can remember Him in some way or another becomes freed from the four kinds of material miseries. The Lord gives special attention to His devotee and banishes the devotee’s various sinful activities, which are stumbling blocks for the advancement of devotional service. This is called routing the influence of ignorance. Simply by hearing about Him, one develops love for Him. That is the gift of the Lord. On one side He takes away inauspicious things, and on the other side He awards the most auspicious things. That is the meaning of hari. When a person is developed in love of Godhead, his body, mind and everything else are attracted by the transcendental qualities of the Lord. Such is the power of Kṛṣṇa’s merciful activities and transcendental qualities. He is so attractive that out of transcendental attachment, a devotee will abandon all four principles of spiritual life-religiosity, economic development, regulation of sense gratification and salvation.
api and ca
The words api and ca are adverbs and can be used for virtually any purpose. The word ca, or “and,” can render seven different readings to the whole construction.
The Lord thus established the import of the eleven words in the Ātmārāma verse, and then He began to explain the import of each item as follows. The word brahman indicates the greatest in all respects. The Lord is the greatest in all opulences. No one can excel Him in wealth, strength, fame, beauty, knowledge and renunciation. Thus the word brahman indicates the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa. In the Viṣṇu Purāṇa (1.12.57) the word brahman is given to indicate the greatest of all; the Supreme Lord is the greatest, and there is no limit to His expanding as the greatest. One may conceive of Brahman’s greatness, yet this greatness grows in such a way that no one can estimate how great He actually is.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead is realized in three aspects, but they are all one and the same. The Absolute Truth, the Supreme Personality, Kṛṣṇa, is everlasting. In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (2.9.33) it is said that He exists before the manifestation of this cosmic world, that He exists during its continuance, and that He continues to exist after its annihilation. Therefore He is the soul of everything great. He is all-pervading and all-witnessing, and He is the supreme form of everything.
There are three different kinds of transcendental processes mentioned in Vedic literature by which one can understand and achieve that supreme perfection of the Absolute Truth. They are called the process of knowledge, the process of mystic yoga, and the process of devotional service. The followers of these three processes realize the Absolute Truth in three different aspects. Those who follow the process of knowledge realize Him as impersonal Brahman; those who follow the process of yoga realize Him as the localized Supersoul; and those who follow the process of devotional service realize Him as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Śrī Kṛṣṇa. In other words, although the word Brahman indicates Kṛṣṇa and nothing else, still, according to the process that is followed, the Lord is realized in three different aspects.
As far as devotional service is concerned, there are two divisions. In the beginning there is vidhi-bhakti, or devotional service with regulative principles. In the higher stage there is rāga-bhakti, or devotional service in pure love.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead is the Absolute Truth, but He is manifested by the expansions of His different energies also. Those who follow the regulative principles of devotional service ultimately attain the Vaikuṇṭha planets in the spiritual world, but one who follows the principles of love in devotional service attains to the supreme abode, the highest planet in the spiritual world known as Kṛṣṇaloka or Goloka Vṛndāvana.
Transcendentalists can also be divided into three categories. The word akāma refers to one who does not have any material desires. Mokṣa-kāma refers to one who seeks liberation from material miseries, and sarva-kāma refers to one who has the material desire to enjoy. The most intelligent transcendentalist gives up all other processes and engages himself in the devotional service of the Lord, even though he may have many desires. It is not by any kind of transcendental activity-neither fruitive action, nor the cultivation of knowledge, nor cultivation of mystic yoga-that a person can achieve the highest perfection without adding a tinge of devotional service. But for devotional service, all other transcendental processes are just like nipples on the neck of a goat. The nipples on a goat’s neck may be squeezed, but they do not supply milk. If one is to derive actual perfection from his process, he must take to the devotional service of Kṛṣṇa. In Bhagavad-gītā it is stated:.
catur-vidhā bhajante māṁ
janāḥ sukṛtino ‘rjuna
ārto jijñāsur arthārthī
jñānī ca bharatarṣabha
“O best among the Bhāratas [Arjuna], four kinds of pious men render devotional service unto Me-the distressed, the desirer of wealth, the inquisitive, and he who is searching for knowledge of the Absolute.” (Bg. 7.16)
When these four types of people amass righteous activities, they come to the devotional service of the Lord. Out of these four, those who are distressed and those who desire wealth are called devotees with desires, whereas the other two, the inquisitive and the searcher for wisdom, are seekers of liberation. Because they worship Kṛṣṇa, they are all considered to be very fortunate. In due course of time, if they give up all desires and become pure devotees of the Supreme Lord, they can be considered most fortunate. Such fortunate beginners can develop only in the association of pure devotees of Lord Kṛṣṇa. When one associates with pure devotees, he becomes a pure devotee himself. This is confirmed in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (1.10.11):
hātuṁ notsahate budhaḥ
kīrtyamānaṁ yaśo yasya
sakṛd ākarṇya rocanam
“A person who is actually intelligent is able-by association of pure devotees-to hear about Lord Kṛṣṇa and His activities.”
These activities are so attractive that when one hears of them, he does not give up his association with the Lord.
But for the association of pure devotees, all other association is kaitava, or cheating. This is confirmed in the First Canto of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam wherein it is stated that all cheating processes which obstruct transcendental realization are to be thrown off. By Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam one can understand reality as it is, and such understanding helps one transcend the three kinds of material miseries. Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is compiled by the greatest sage, Vyāsadeva, and it is a work coming out of his mature experience. By understanding Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam and rendering devotional service, one can immediately capture the Supreme Lord within his heart.
Lord Caitanya then explained that the word projjhita means”desire for liberation.” One great commentator explained that desire for liberation is the most obstructive stumbling block on the path of God realization. Somehow or other, if one comes to Kṛṣṇa and begins to hear about Him, Kṛṣṇa is so kind that He awards him His lotus feet as a center. Having such a focal point, a devotee or transcendentalist forgets everything and engages himself in the devotional service of the Lord. When one comes to the Lord in devotional service, or in full Kṛṣṇa consciousness, the reward is the Supreme Himself. Once engaged for the Supreme, one no longer asks for anything, as do the distressed man and he who desires material possessions. The method of devotional service, the service itself, association of pure devotees and the causeless mercy of the Lord all act so wonderfully that one can give up all activities and become absorbed in Kṛṣṇa, even if he is distressed, in want of material possessions, inquisitive or is actually a wise man cultivating knowledge.
In summary, Kṛṣṇa is the meaning behind all the words in the Ātmārāma verse. Up to this point Lord Caitanya spoke only of the introduction to the Ātmārāma verse.
Next He explains its real position.
In the cultivation of knowledge there are two kinds of transcendentalists. One of them worships the impersonal Brahman, and the other desires liberation. Since monists worship the impersonal feature of Brahman, they are therefore called worshipers of Brahman. These Brahman worshipers are further divided into three categories: the neophyte, one who is absorbed in Brahman realization, and one who has actually realized himself as Brahman. If devotional service is added, the knower of Brahman can then become liberated; otherwise there is no possibility of liberation. Anyone who is fully engaged in devotional service in Kṛṣṇa consciousness is understood to be already realized in Brahman. Devotional service is so strong that one is attracted to Kṛṣṇa even from the platform of Brahman worship. The Lord awards the devotee the perfection of a spiritual body, and he eternally engages in the transcendental service of Kṛṣṇa. It is when the devotee understands and becomes attracted by Kṛṣṇa’s transcendental qualities that he wholeheartedly engages in devotional service. For instance, the four Kumāras and Śukadeva Gosvāmī were liberated from the beginning, yet in their later life they became attracted to the pastimes of Kṛṣṇa and became devotees. Sanaka Kumāra was attracted by the aroma of the flowers offered to Kṛṣṇa, and the other Kumāras were attracted by the transcendental qualities of the Lord and thus engaged in His devotional service. The nine mystics mentioned in the Eleventh Canto of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam are understood to have been transcendentalists from birth by virtue of hearing of the transcendental qualities of Kṛṣṇa from Brahmā, Lord Śiva and Nārada.
Sometimes one becomes attracted to Kṛṣṇa and His transcendental qualities simply by looking upon the beautiful features of His transcendental body, in which case one abandons the desire for liberation and engages in His devotional service. The devotee regrets his loss of time in the so-called cultivation of knowledge and becomes a pure devotee of the Lord.
There are two kinds of liberated souls having material bodies: the soul liberated by devotional service and the soul liberated by the cultivation of knowledge. The liberated soul in devotional service, attracted by the transcendental qualities of Kṛṣṇa, becomes more and more elevated, whereas those who engage in dry speculation and simply cultivate knowledge without devotion fall due to their many offenses. This is confirmed in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.2.32) where it is stated:
ye ‘nye ‘ravindākṣa vimukta-māninas
tvayy asta-bhāvād aviśuddha-buddhayaḥ
āruhya kṛcchreṇa paraṁ padaṁ tataḥ
patanty adho ‘nādṛta-yuṣmad-aṅghrayaḥ
“O Lord, the intelligence of those who think themselves liberated but who have no devotion is not pure. Even though they rise to the highest point of liberation by dint of severe penances and austerity, they are sure to fall down again into this material existence, for they do not take shelter at Your lotus feet.”
This is also confirmed in Bhagavad-gītā:
na śocati na kāṅkṣati
samaḥ sarveṣu bhūteṣu
mad-bhaktiṁ labhate parām
“One who is transcendentally situated at once realizes the Supreme Brahman. He never laments nor desires to have anything; he is equally disposed to every living entity. In that state, he attains pure devotional service unto Me.” (Bg. 18.54)
Thus one who is actually situated in Brahman realization has no reason to lament or desire. He is equal to everyone and is thus eligible for devotional service. This was also accepted by Bilvamaṅgala Ṭhākura, who, in his later life, lamented: “I was situated as a monist in order to become one with the Supreme, but somehow or other I contacted a naughty boy and became His eternal servitor.” In other words, those who attain self-realization by the execution of devotional service attain a transcendental body, and, being attracted to the transcendental qualities of Kṛṣṇa, engage fully in pure devotional service.
Anyone who is not attracted to Kṛṣṇa is understood to be still under the spell of the illusory energy (māyā), but one who is attempting to be liberated by the process of devotional service is actually liberated from the spell of māyā. In the Eleventh Canto of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam there are many instances recorded of devotees who became liberated in this life simply by engaging in devotional service.
SB 1.7 – Explanation of the ātmārāma verse
Submitted by Radhikesh on Thu, 2012-06-07 16:35
Lord Caitanya’s explanation of the verse follows.
There are eleven words in the verse, namely (1) ātmārāma (2) munayaḥ (3) nirgrantha (4) api (5) ca (6) urukrama (7) kurvanti (8) ahaitukīm (9) bhaktim (10) ittham-bhūta-guṇaḥ (11) hariḥ.
There are seven synonyms for the word ātmā: (1) Brahman (brahma) (Absolute Truth) (2) body (deha) (3) mind (mana) (4) endeavor (yatna) (5) endurance (dhṛti) (6) intelligence (buddhi) (7) nature (svabhāva). The word ātmārāma refers to one who enjoys these seven items.
The word munayaḥ refers to (1) those who are thoughtful (manana śīla) (2) those who are grave or silent (maunī) (3) ascetics (tapasvī) (4) those who keep great vows (vratī) (5) mendicants (yati) (6) sages (ṛṣi).
The word nirgrantha refers to one who is liberated from nescience (avidyā-granthi-hīna), one who is freed from the obligation of the rules and regulations (vidhi-niṣedha) mentioned in the Vedas (veda-śāstra), one who has no knowledge (jñāna), an illiterate (mūrkha), lowborn (nīca), unclean persons (mleccha), unregulated (śāstra-rikta-gaṇa), capitalist (dhana-sañcayī), and the penniless (nirdhana). The prefix ni is used in the sense of certainty, gradation, construction or forbiddance, and grantha is used in the sense of wealth, thesis and composition.
The word urukrama means one whose activities are glorious. This word specifically indicates the Lord’s incarnation as Vāmana, who covered the whole universe by immeasurable steps (krama). Thru His all pervasive feature, the Lord has expanded the entire creation, and in His personal feature He is always present in Goloka. He maintains the material creation by His external potency, Goloka by His conjugal potency and Vaikuṇṭha planets by His aiśvarya potency.
The word kurvanti refers to doing things for someone else. Therefore, it means that the ātmārāmas render devotional service unto the Lord not for personal interest but for the pleasure of the Lord, Urukrama. In Sanskrit, the verb ‘to do’ has two forms, called parasmai-pada and ātmane-pada. When things are done for one’s personal satisfaction, the form is called ātmane-pada. In that case kurvate is used in Sanskrit. When things are done for others, the verb form changes to kurvanti.
Chapter 26: Bhattacarya is Converted
Teachings of Lord Caitanya
The Lord then quoted some verses from the Puranas by which He established that Sankaracarya was deputed to teach by the order of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He quoted a verse from the Padma Purana (62.31) in which it is stated that the Lord ordered Mahadeva, Lord Siva, to present some imaginary interpretations of Vedic literatures in order to divert people from the actual purpose of the Vedas.
“By doing so you will attempt to make them atheists,” the Lord said. “After that, they can produce more population.”
It is also stated in Padma Purana (25.9) that Lord Siva explained to his wife, Parvati, that in the age of Kali he would come in the form of a brahmana to preach an imperfect interpretation of the Vedas, known as Mayavadism, which in actuality is but a second edition of atheistic Buddhist philosophy.
Bhattacarya was overwhelmed by these explanations of Lord Caitanya. After hearing Mayavada philosophy explained by Lord Caitanya, he could not speak.
After he remained silent for some time, Lord Caitanya asked him,
“My dear Bhattacarya, don’t be confused by this explanation. Please take it from Me that the devotional service of the Supreme Lord is the highest perfectional stage of human understanding. Indeed, it is so attractive that even those who are already liberated become devotees by the inconceivable potency of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.”
There are many such conversions in Vedic literature. For instance, in Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.7.10) the famous Atmarama verse is especially meant for those who are attracted to self-realization and liberated from all material attachments. Such liberated impersonalists become attracted to devotional service by the various activities of Lord Krishna. Such are the transcendental qualities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Actually, in pure consciousness the living entity understands himself as the eternal servant of the Supreme Lord. Under the spell of illusion, a person accepts the gross and subtle bodies as his self; such a conception is the basis of the doctrine of transference. Actually the part and parcel of the Supreme is not eternally subjected to gross and subtle bodily life. The gross and subtle coverings do not comprise the living entity’s eternal form; they can be changed. In other words, the living entity, who is originally pure spirit, can be conditioned by the gross and subtle bodies and, by freeing himself from these gross and subtle conditionings, again attain his situation as pure spirit.
Mayavadi philosophers take advantage of this doctrine of transference by saying that the living entity is under the wrong impression when he thinks himself to be part and parcel of the Supreme. They maintain that the living entity is the Supreme Himself. This doctrine cannot be tenable.
Bhattacarya then asked Lord Caitanya
Bhattacarya then asked Lord Caitanya to explain the famous Atmarama verse, for he desired to hear it from the Lord Himself. Lord Caitanya replied that first of all Bhattacarya should explain the verse according to his own understanding, and then Lord Caitanya would explain it.
Bhattacarya then began to explain the Atmarama sloka, using his methods of logic and grammar. Thus he explained the Atmarama sloka in nine different ways.
The Lord appreciated his erudite scholarship in explaining the verse and said:
“My dear Bhattacarya, I know that you are a representative of the learned scholar Brihaspati and can explain any portion of the sastras nicely. Yet your explanation is more or less based on academic education only. Aside from this academic scholarly approach, there is another explanation.”
Lord Caitanya explained the Atmarama sloka
Then, at the request of Bhattacarya, Lord Caitanya explained the Atmarama sloka.
The words of the verse were analyzed thus: (1) atmaramah, (2) ca, (3) munayah, (4) nirgranthah, (5) api, (6) urukrame, (7) kurvanti, (8) ahaitukim, (9) bhaktim, (10) itthambhuta-gunah, (11) harih. This verse has already been explained in the Lord’s teachings to Sanatana Gosvami.
Lord Caitanya did not mention the nine different explanations of Bhattacarya, but He did explain the verse by analyzing these eleven words. In this way, He expounded sixty-one different explanations of the verse.
In summary He said that the Supreme Personality of Godhead is full of innumerable potencies; no one can estimate how many transcendental qualities He possesses. His qualities are always inconceivable, and all processes of self-realization inquire into the potencies, energies and qualities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. However, the devotees of the Lord immediately accept the inconceivable position of the Lord.
Lord Caitanya explained that even great liberated souls like the Kumaras and Sukadeva Gosvami were also attracted to the transcendental qualities of the Supreme Lord.
Bhattacarya appreciated Lord Caitanya’s explanation, and he concluded that Lord Caitanya was none other than Krishna Himself. Bhattacarya then began to deprecate his own position, relating that he had at first considered Lord Caitanya to be an ordinary human being and therefore committed an offense. He then fell down at the lotus feet of Lord Caitanya, deprecating himself, and requested the Lord to show His causeless mercy upon him. Lord Caitanya appreciated the humility of this great scholar and therefore exhibited His own form, first with four hands, and then with six hands (shadbhuja).
Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya then repeatedly fell down at the Lord’s lotus feet and composed various prayers to Him. He was undoubtedly a great scholar, and after receiving the causeless mercy of the Lord, he was empowered to explain the Lord’s activities in different ways. Indeed, he was able to express the method of chanting Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.7.10 by Manonatha Dasa
atmaramas ca munayo
nirgrantha apy urukrame
kurvanty ahaitukim bhaktim
“All different varieties of atmaramas, especially those established on the path of self-realization, though freed from all kinds of material bondage, desire to render unalloyed devotional service unto the Personality of Godhead. This means that the Lord possesses transcendental qualities and therefore can attract everyone, including liberated souls.”
Those who practice the disciplines of yoga gain spiritual advancement. At the present moment most of us are in a bodily conception of life, thinking “I am the body”, “I am the mind”. This consciousness is called avidya, or falsity. We are actually not the body but a much subtler nature. The Vedas, amongst which the Srimad-Bhagavatam is the foremost, give precise informations about this nature, of which we are presently ignorant about.
In this verse the word atmarama is not casual. It wants to offer one of those informations. The meaning is that whoever makes spiritual advancement become satisfied. People are very worried about taking up the process of spiritual advancement because it entails abandoning material life. They think, “what about my parents, my wife, my sons, my home, my friends, my society?” Thinking to give all of that up they tremble and experience uneasiness. Nobody likes to give up something. We would always keep everything, even things who will cause unhappyness. We have an atyahara nature. Accumulation of anything makes us feel to be ishvaras, Lords. But we are not ishvaras. The proof is that everything will be forcibly taken away from us, and we will not be able to oppose it. We are fake ishvaras. It is an illusion, something unreal; it is an idea, a desire, but can never be true for the simple fact that there is already an Ishvara. There cannot be two Ishvaras. Or, there can be many Ishavaras but only a Parameshvara, a Supreme Ishavara.
This “falsity consciousness” (maya) brings us far from the reality. So we mistake unhappiness for happines and happiness for unhappiness. We suffer at the very thought to give up material things, which are exactly the source of our sufferings, and do not feel enthusiasm for embracing yoga life, although there we can find such a happiness as it is very difficult to describe. If we read attentively the biographies of Lord Caitanya we’ll find many many descriptions of spiritual emotions and even the authors, like Vrinadavna dasa Thakura and Krishnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami, admit their incapacity to describe them properly. But actually if you read with the right attitude you can taste a little drop of that ananda, happiness.
Srila Suta Gosvami, while speaking this verse, the famous atmarama verse, wanted to convey this idea, that a real spiritualist is supremely happy, so much so that it does not need anything else than his own self to be happy. The atmarama sage has everything inside. Heat or cold, night or day, youth or old age, heath or desease, life or death, for him everything is exaclty the same. He does not make difference because all of this regards the material sphere and not the spiritual in which he is living. So, spiritual life is a life of pleasure.
However, this verse wants to teach another principle of truth, which is probably one of the highest of all: that the gunas of the Lord, His qualities, His personality, His very self, are the Supreme Truth. There is no highest truth. Some class of deviated men hold that above the personality of Ishvara there is a negation. The perfection of anything is its negation. There is no positive truth, truth is negative. Everything is an illusion, we as sperson do not exist, this world do not exist, the Supreme Personality of Godhead do not exist. The only reality is the undifferentiated Brahman.
Suta Gosvami, here in this verse, seems to strongly disagree, so much so that according to him even the atmarama souls, those who are completely renounced, those who have no attachment whatsoever, feel a helpless attractions to the spiritual activities of the Lord, Urukrama. Srila Prabhupada translates the term Urukrama as the “great Adventurer”. That is proper translation applyed to the context of this verse. Sri Krishna enacts so many pastimes and takes pleasures in many adventures. It is also human to feel attraction to a life of adventures. We could say that is human because it is divine. We have a divine nature, we look like Him. So, if even liberated souls feel attraction to His activities means that those lilas are not material. Furthermore, they have to be supreme, otherwise those atmaramas would not feel any attraction to them.
So much attracted are to those activities that they desire to love within their hearts that infinitely attractive Lord.
Therefore, on the base of Suta Gosvami’s and Srimad-Bhagavatam’s authority, the points of views of the mayavadis have to be rejected, and the devotees can go on in their lives of devotions without fear of being in mistake.
#Manonatha Dasa (ACBSP)
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