Message of His Divine Grace Sree Sreemad Thakur Bhakti Vinode
Cultivation of higher spiritual knowledge which discerns the matter from spirit does not help us in the achievement of the highest goal. This may be called the life of self-satisfaction as distinguished from the life of self-realisation which means engagement in the transcendental activities of the spiritual world. Self-satisfaction without this self-realisation (attachment for spiritual activities) does not bear any substantial fruit.
“There is no other way out of this great ocean of Nescience except the unalloyed mercy of the Absolute Godhead. Living entity although superior in nature in comparison to the nature of matter, he is by association dependent and weaker than the material nature. The Absolute Godhead is the creator of all entities, He is the maintainer and deliverer of all entities. The innumerable living entities are infinitesimals and Godhead is Infinite. The infinitesimal living entity is therefore subordinate to the Infinite and as such he is transcendentally the eternal servitor of the Absolute Godhead. The Supreme Spirit Godhead is the ultimate rest of all entities. This material world is a construction of the material energy and the material existence of the living entity is a sort of punishment just like a prisoner. The punishment is due to forgetfulness of Godhead by the living entity. And therefore there is no deliverance of the living entities from the clutches of Nescience save and except by the revival of his sense of Godhead. Those who have forgotten the relation of Godhead are only the prisoners of this Material world and those who have not forgotten Him are the liberated souls.
“The conditioned souls who are bound up by the material energy can get rid of prison life by the mercy of Godhead if he prays for it by penance and service. Great Sages and Messiahs of the world have devised various ways and means for this self-realisation of the living entity and all such means can be grouped into three different channels namely good work, knowledge and devotion.
“There are many sub-divisions within good works such as the system of four castes of four orders of life, sacrifice, austerity, charity, penance and various such things. And there are scriptures wherein the respective results of all the above mentioned good works are illustrated and explained. If those results are again analysed and scrutinised, we can understand that higher station of life such as one in the Heaven, opulence in this material world, power, deliverance from miseries and diseases or attainment of higher standard of services are the net results of the above good works. And by separating the one of higher standard of services, we can only understand all other results as one of material world. As such all the results pertaining to the material energy which can be attained by the performances of good works, are but temporary and subject to exhaustion. In order of mundane time and space, created by the Material Energy, everything is limited by the laws of Nature. So all these limited acquisitions cannot help us in our attempt to get rid of the conditional life on the contrary the temporary good results of these good works bind us more strongly within the limits of material energy.
The ultimate end of attaining higher status of life is to obtain sufficient time for culture and performances of higher duties. The system of the four castes and four orders of life as introduced by the religion of the Hindus, is designed to mould up the character of the respective performers for higher duties and thus to give them ample chance for cultivating spiritual knowledge. If therefore any one who even after obtaining higher standard of life as well as sufficient leisure, does not culture this higher duties namely the cultivation of spiritual knowledge and philosophy, then according to the opinion of Bhagvats, the labour and energy lost in this direction is spent up for nothing. And in most cases it has been found that those who have obtained sufficient rest and comfort after performances of hard labour, have mostly squandered away the valuable time and energy thus obtained in different occupations other than spiritual culture. This fact proves conclusively that good works cannot give any one the ultimate goodness that is freedom from the bondage of conditioned life.
“Cultivation of higher spiritual knowledge which discerns the matter from spirit does not also help us in the achievement of the highest goal. By this culture of spiritual life one can realise only one’s self, as distinguished from gross matter, and can also understand that the spirit soul is above matter as ignorance of this fact makes him bound to undergo the rigours of conditioned life. This self-realisation may help one for attaining the marginal position between material and spiritual existence but this does not mean actual spiritual life and its spiritual activities without which the spirit soul cannot obtain the highest bliss. This marginal state of life may be called the life of self-satisfaction as distinguished from the life of self-realisation which means engagement in the transcendental activities of the spiritual world. Self-satisfaction without this self-realisation (attachment for spiritual activities) does not bear any substantial fruit.
“The quality of spiritual activity is so much attractive that it attracts even the most self-satisfied spiritualists and thus engages them in the spiritual activities as distinguished from the material activities.
“Thus the result of good works, when it gives sufficient leisure for the cultivation of spiritual activities and spiritual knowledge it is then and then only that good works or cultivation of spiritual knowledge can be accepted as means to the ultimate goal. Therefore devotional activities only can lead us to the spiritual activities and nothing else. Good works or spiritual knowledge under the guidance of devotional activities can be helpful for spiritual activities but devotional activities even without the help of good works or spiritual knowledge can alone help us in the attainment of spiritual life.
“The Personality of Godhead Sree Krishna informed Uddhava that neither good works even without any desire for fruitive action, nor spiritual knowledge, nor the system of caste and creed nor the studies of scriptures, nor penances, nor even renunciation can satisfy Him, as do the devotional activities themselves.
(Transformed into English by the Editor [Srila Prabhupada] from Bengali.)
All Glory to Sri Guru and Gauranga
[From Srila Prabhupada’s Back to Godhead Magazine 1944 Vol.1 No.1]