Chapter 3: The Means of Achievement

Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Nārada Bhakti Sūtra 46

kas tarati kas tarati māyāḿ yaḥ sańgaḿ tyajati yo mahānubhāvaḿ sevate nirmamo bhavati


kaḥ — who; tarati — crosses beyond; kaḥ — who; tarati — crosses beyond; māyām — illusion; yaḥhe who; sańgam — material association; tyajati — abandons; yaḥ — who; mahā-anubhāvam — the wise person; sevate — serves; nirmamaḥ — free from false proprietorship; bhavati — becomes.


Who can cross beyond illusion? One who abandons material association, serves the sages, and becomes selfless.


Crossing over māyā is sometimes compared to crossing an ocean. At the time of death the conditioned soul has to transmigrate to another material body, and even if he is born in a higher planet, he still has to suffer repeated birth and death. To cross the limits of this ocean of saḿsāra, he has to go back to Godhead. But this is very difficult, because any material desires, whether sinful or pious, will plunge the conditioned soul back into saḿsāra.

However, Lord Kṛṣṇa makes the process easy. In the Bhagavad-gītā (7.14) He states,

daivī hy eṣā guṇa-mayī mama māyā duratyayā

mām eva ye prapadyante māyām etāḿ taranti te

"This divine energy of mine, consisting of the three modes of material nature, is difficult to overcome. But those who have surrendered unto Me can easily cross beyond it."

Nārada is now giving detailed information on how to surrender to Kṛṣṇa and cross over the powerful ocean of illusion. In this sūtra he mentions renouncing attachment, associating with great souls, and becoming free of possessiveness. One has to attempt all these and other favorable methods, but at the same time one must understand that he cannot swim across the ocean on his own. By one's sincere acts of devotion, Kṛṣṇa is moved to come to the rescue. Lord Kṛṣṇa tells Arjuna, "But those who worship Me, giving up all their activities unto Me and being devoted to Me without deviation, engaged in devotional service — for them I am the swift deliverer from the ocean of birth and death" (Bg. 12.6-7). In his purport Śrīla Prabhupāda states, "Simply by chanting the holy name of KṛṣṇaHare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare — a devotee of the Lord can approach the supreme destination easily and happily, but this destination cannot be approached by any other process of religion."

As already stated, the mercy of the Lord is best obtained from His pure devotees. They enable one to take shelter of the Lord's lotus feet, which act like a boat to carry one across the vast ocean of māyā:

O lotus-eyed Lord, by concentrating one's meditation on Your lotus feet, which are the reservoir of all existence, and by accepting those lotus feet as the boat by which to cross the ocean of nescience, one follows in the footsteps of mahā-janas [great saints, sages, and devotees]. By this simple process, one can cross the ocean of nescience as easily as one steps over the hoofprint of a calf. [Bhāg. 10.2.30]

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His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda, Founder Ācārya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness
Satsvarupa dasa Goswami
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