|Canto 10: The Summum Bonum||Chapter 87: The Prayers of the Personified Vedas|
Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 10.87.20
sva-kṛta-pureṣv amīṣv abahir-antara-saḿvaraṇaḿ
tava puruṣaḿ vadanty akhila-śakti-dhṛto 'ḿśa-kṛtam
iti nṛ-gatiḿ vivicya kavayo nigamāvapanaḿ
bhavata upāsate 'ńghrim abhavam bhuvi viśvasitāḥ
sva — by himself; kṛta — created; pureṣu — in the bodies; amīṣu — these; abahiḥ — not externally; antara — or internally; saḿvaraṇam — whose factual envelopment; tava — Your; puruṣam — living entity; vadanti — (the Vedas) say; akhila — of all; śakti — energies; dhṛtaḥ — of the possessor; aḿśa — as the expansion; kṛtam — manifested; iti — in this manner; nṛ — of the living entity; gatim — the status; vivicya — ascertaining; kavayaḥ — learned sages; nigama — of the Vedas; āvapanam — the field in which all offerings are sown; bhavataḥ — Your; upāsate — they worship; ańghrim — the feet; abhavam — which cause the cessation of material existence; bhuvi — on the earth; viśvasitāḥ — having developed faith.
The individual living entity, while inhabiting the material bodies he has created for himself by his karma, actually remains uncovered by either gross or subtle matter. This is so because, as the Vedas describe, he is part and parcel of You, the possessor of all potencies. Having determined this to be the status of the living entity, learned sages become imbued with faith and worship Your lotus feet, to which all Vedic sacrifices in this world are offered, and which are the source of liberation.
Not only does the Supreme Lord remain totally uncontaminated when He resides within the material bodies of the conditioned souls, but even the infinitesimal jīva souls are never directly touched by the coverings of ignorance and lust they acquire while passing through repeated cycles of birth and death. Thus the Taittirīya Upaniṣad (3.10.5) proclaims, sa yaś cāyaḿ puruṣe yaś cāsāv āditye sa ekaḥ: "The soul of the embodied living being is one with Him who stands within the sun. " Similarly, the Chāndogya Upaniṣad (6.8.7) teaches, tat tvam asi: "You are nondifferent from that Supreme Truth."
In this prayer, the personified Vedas refer to the finite enjoyer of material bodies (the jīva soul) as an expansion of the transcendental reservoir of all potencies, the Supreme Lord. The term aḿśa-kṛtam, "made as His portion," must be properly understood, however, in this context. The jīva is not created at any time, nor is he the same kind of expansion of the Lord as the omnipotent viṣṇu-tattva expansions. The Supreme Soul is the proper object of all worship, and the subordinate jīva soul is meant to be His worshiper. The Supreme Lord enacts His pastimes by showing Himself in innumerable aspects of His personality, whereas the jīva is forced to change bodies whenever his accumulated karmic reactions so dictate. According to Śrī Nārada Pañcarātra,
yat taṭa-sthaḿ tu cid-rūpaḿ
sa jīva iti kathyate
"The marginal potency, who is spiritual by nature, who emanates from the self-cognizant saḿvit energy, and who becomes tainted by his attachment to the modes of material nature, is called the jīva.''
Although the jīva soul is also an expansion of Lord Kṛṣṇa, he is distinguished from Kṛṣṇa's independent Viṣṇu expansions by his constitutional position on the margin between spirit and matter. As the Mahāvarāha Purāṇa explains,
svāḿśaś cātha vibhinnāḿśa
iti dvidhā śa iṣyate
aḿśino yat tu sāmarthyaḿ
yat-svarūpaḿ yathā sthitiḥ
tad eva nāṇu-mātro 'pi
bhedaḿ svāḿśāḿśinoḥ kvacit
vibhinnāḿśo 'lpa-śaktiḥ syāt
"The Supreme Lord is known in two ways: in terms of His plenary expansions and His separated expansions. Between the plenary expansions and Their source of expansion there is never any essential difference in terms of either Their capabilities, forms or situations. The separated expansions, on the other hand, possess only minute potency, being endowed only to a small extent with the Lord's powers."
The conditioned soul in this world appears as if covered by matter, internally as well as externally. Externally, gross matter surrounds him in the forms of his body and environment, while internally desire and aversion impinge upon his consciousness. But from the transcendental perspective of realized sages, both kinds of material covering are insubstantial. By logically eliminating all material identities, which are misconceptions based on the soul's gross and subtle coverings, a thoughtful person can determine that the soul is nothing material. Rather, he is a pure spark of divine spirit, a servant of the Supreme Godhead. Understanding this, one should worship the Supreme Lord's lotus feet; such worship is the fully bloomed flower of the tree of Vedic rituals. One's realization of the splendor of the Lord's lotus feet, gradually nourished by the offering of Vedic sacrifices, automatically bears the fruits of liberation from material existence and irrevocable faith in the Lord's mercy. One can accomplish all this while still living in the material world. As Lord Kṛṣṇa states in the Gopāla-tāpanī Upaniṣad (Uttara 47),
mathurā-maṇḍale yas tu
jambūdvīpe sthito 'tha vā
yo 'rcayet pratimāḿ prati
sa me priyataro bhuvi
"One who worships Me in My Deity form while living in the district of Mathurā or, indeed, anywhere in Jambūdvīpa, becomes most dear to Me in this world."
Śrīla Śrīdhara Svāmī prays,
"My Lord, please free me, Your partial expansion, from the bondage created by Your Māyā. Please do this, O abode of supreme bliss, by directing me to the service of Your feet."
Copyright © The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust International, Inc.
His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda, Founder Ācārya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness
His Holiness Hrdayananda dasa Goswami
Gopiparanadhana dasa Adhikari
Dravida dasa Brahmacari