Message of the Bhagavatam: The Journey From God To God

We hear from spiritual aspirants the four terms · Bhakti (devotion), Jnana (wisdom), Vairagya (renunciation), and Tatwam (reality) in the same order. There is a significance in the order in which these terms are mentioned. Devotion awakens wisdom, wisdom promotes renunciation and renunciation confers the knowledge of Reality. We can reach the mansion of Mukti (liberation) if we walk on the stepping stones of devotion, wisdom, renunciation and the knowledge of Reality.

The Bhagavatam in its very title testifies to this truth. The term Bhagavatamu in Telugu is made up of five letters: Bha, ga, va, ta, mu. Here Bha signifies Bhakti (devotion): ga sinifies Jnana (wisdom): va signifies Vairagya (renunciation): ta signifies Tatva (the knowledge of Reality): and mu signifies Mukti (Liberation). The Bhagavatha bestows on us liberation by leading us through Devotion to Wisdom, Renunciation and the knowledge of Reality. Prahlada has given us a Dvaadashaakshara mantra, a twelve-lettered holy formula: "Throva Vedhuku Konuta Dodda Buddhi." This consists of twelve letters in Telugu. It means that the highest intelligence consists in finding the way. What is the way to be sought? It is the way to Divinity. How is it to be found? It is by knowing the source from which you have come from the Divine and you have to go back to the Divine. 

From God to God

The tenth stanza in the fourteenth chapter of the Bhagvad Gita reveals that we have come from God. The Lord's utterance is: "Mamaivaamso Jeeva loke Jeeva Bhuthah Sanatanah." This means: “You are an aspect of Me. You are not an aspect of Nature and its five elements. Since you are an aspect of Mine, there is no peace and joy for you till you reach and merge in Me." Just as a child cannot be without the mother, as a river must seek the ocean from which it has come, as the branch of a tree cannot survive separation from the tree, and as a fish cannot live outside its sustaining element water, so also man, who has come from God, cannot have real happiness until he returns to God.

One devotee sang in Kannada language thus: "Having forgotten You, I have come to this world. Leaving the Eternal that You are, I have plunged into this transient, temporary world. What joy can I reap in this clod of earth, as all joys are in You alone?" We are born in this world because we have forgotten God. We have to find our way back to God, our destination, retracing the steps by which we have come. "All living beings have to go back to the source from which they came into existence", say's the Bhagavata. It is our misfortune that we have forgotten this vital message today. To remember the source from which we came is the essential spiritual endeavour that every man should make.

Man should not be content to live like animals

Man who came to this earth in quest of the Atma (Divine Self) is wasting away his time in the frivolous pursuit of anna (material things). Animals are always busy seeking food. Man, who is endowed with intelligence should not be content to remain like animals. He should strive to reach Reality. Food, sleep, fear and mating are common to both birds and beasts. Man's life today is largely confined to these four things. Birth as a human being should be used to realising the Divinity within and not in frittering it away in sensual pursuits. Chaitanya declared: "We have installed today on the throne of our heart vicious thoughts and feelings, instead of making it the seat of the Lord."

Samsara and Samskara

It is obvious that most of us have to lead a normal family life, but it is not the life in which you should be wholly immersed. It is not Samsara (family) that follows us all through. It is the Samskara, the purity that you have achieved, that stands by you in afterlife. Some elders come to Swami and pray to Him to show them the way of God. What is the way? The way is journeying back to the place from which we have come. Suppose you go to a town and stay there in a hotel for a few days, you have to come back after finishing your work in town. You cannot live in the hotel forever, mistaking it to be your home.

The phenomenal world is like a hotel to which we have come to experience the consequences of our actions in the past. The body is a room in the hotel in which we have to undergo the Karmic consequences. Our time and body should be used for carrying out the mission on which we have come. We are engaged in accumulating wealth, gold and other material possessions. It is true that we need money to lead our life in this world. But there should be a limit to the acquisition of these worldly objects. True welfare and happiness cannot be achieved without observing limits in life. An uncontrolled life reduces man to the level of the animal.

Forgetting the primary goal of life men are wasting their time. Time is precious. Death is dangling its sword over every head. Our life span is fast diminishing like water leaking through a broken pot, or a melting block of ice. Death overtakes many even before they realise their mission in life. This is the truth that all have to realise. Fulfillment in life cannot be found by indulging in eating and drinking.

The main message of the Bhagavatha is devotion. The mother is the symbol for Bhakti (devotion). Father is the symbol for Jnana (wisdom). The preceptor is the symbol for Vairagya (renunciation). God is the very embodiment of Atmic knowledge. We can reach the Moksha (mansion of Liberation) only by ascending the four steps to Divinity.


Source: Divine Discourse on May 6, 1987

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