Canto 11: General HistoryChapter 3: Liberation from the Illusory Energy

Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 11.3.17


yathaitām aiśvarīḿ māyāḿ

dustarām akṛtātmabhiḥ

taranty añjaḥ sthūla-dhiyo

maharṣa idam ucyatām


śrī-rājā uvāca — King Nimi said; yathā — how; etām — this; aiśvarīm — of the Supreme Lord; māyām — material energy; dustarām — unsurpassable; akṛta-ātmabhiḥ — by those who are not self-controlled; taranti — they may cross over; añjaḥ — easily; sthūla-dhiyaḥ — persons whose intelligence is dulled by materialistic attachments; maha-ṛṣeO great sage; idam — this; ucyatām — please tell.


King Nimi said: O great sage, please explain how even a foolish materialist can easily cross over the illusory energy of the Supreme Lord, which is always insurmountable for those who are not self-controlled.


According to Śrīla Śrīdhara Svāmī, sthūla-dhiyaḥ indicates those who ignorantly identify themselves with the gross material body and who are therefore unable to analyze the subtle laws of nature by which the soul transmigrates in illusion. Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī comments that sthūla-dhiyaḥ also indicates so-called pious persons who execute pompous religious ceremonies for material sense gratification rather than trying to prepare themselves to go back home, back to Godhead, by engaging in the loving devotional service of the Lord.

According to Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura, King Nimi was already an advanced devotee of the Lord and therefore knew that one can cross over the illusory energy, māyā, by surrendering to the lotus feet of the Lord and pleasing Him by pure devotional service. Therefore the King was asking the question for the benefit of those who falsely consider themselves very much learned but in fact are addicted to materialistic fruitive activities, which increasingly entangle them in illusion. In this regard Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura has quoted from the Amara-kośa dictionary to show that akṛtātmabhiḥ indicates apūrṇatvam, or one whose life is empty.

Every living being has an eternal relationship with the supreme living being, Kṛṣṇa. One may love Kṛṣṇa by thinking of Him as one's eternal master, one's most intimate friend, one's beloved child or the object of one's conjugal attraction. Of course, such ecstasies should never be confused with ordinary, material emotions, which are perverted reflections of spiritual rasas, or relationships. In the material world we try to relish these same relationships of servitude, friendship, parental love and conjugal love, but the object of such feelings is a temporary material body, which is quickly devastated by the laws of nature. These loving feelings should be directed toward the spiritual body of the Supreme Personality, Kṛṣṇa, who is the reservoir of all beauty and transcendental bliss. One who has not learned the art of directing his love to Kṛṣṇa is apūrṇa, or one whose life is ultimately empty.

According to Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura, one whose life is empty can also be called manda-dhīḥ, or one whose intelligence is crippled by a lack of broad experience. King Nimi, a pure Vaiṣṇava, was so kind that he asked, "How can such cripple-minded people cross over māyā in the easiest way possible, since by nature they are very lazy in spiritual matters?"

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