|Canto 3: The Status Quo||Chapter 21: Conversation Between Manu and Kardama|
Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 3.21.31
kṛtvā dayāḿ ca jīveṣu
dattvā cābhayam ātmavān
mayy ātmānaḿ saha jagad
drakṣyasy ātmani cāpi mām
kṛtvā — having shown; dayām — compassion; ca — and; jīveṣu — toward living beings; dattvā — having given; ca — and; abhayam — assurance of safety; ātma-vān — self-realized; mayi — in Me; ātmānam — yourself; saha jagat — along with the universe; drakṣyasi — you will perceive; ātmani — in yourself; ca — and; api — also; mām — Me.
Showing compassion to all living entities, you will attain self-realization. Giving assurance of safety to all, you will perceive your own self as well as all the universes in Me, and Myself in you.
The simple process of self-realization for every living entity is described here. The first principle to be understood is that this world is a product of the supreme will. There is an identity of this world with the Supreme Lord. This identity is accepted in a misconceived way by the impersonalists; they say that the Supreme Absolute Truth, transforming Himself into the universe, loses His separate existence. Thus they accept the world and everything in it to be the Lord. That is pantheism, wherein everything is considered to be the Lord. This is the view of the impersonalist. But those who are personal devotees of the Lord take everything to be the property of the Supreme Lord. Everything, whatever we see, is the manifestation of the Supreme Lord; therefore, everything should be engaged in the service of the Lord. This is oneness. The difference between the impersonalist and the personalist is that the impersonalist does not accept the separate existence of the Lord, but the personalist accepts the Lord; he understands that although He distributes Himself in so many ways, He has His separate personal existence. This is described in Bhagavad-gītā: "I am spread all over the universe in My impersonal form. Everything is resting on Me, but I am not present." There is a nice example regarding the sun and the sunshine. The sun, by its sunshine, is spread all over the universe, and all the planets rest on the sunshine. But all the planets are different from the sun planet; one cannot say that because the planets are resting on the sunshine, these planets are also the sun. Similarly, the impersonal or pantheistic view that everything is God is not a very intelligent proposal. The real position, as explained by the Lord Himself, is that although nothing can exist without Him, it is not a fact that everything is Him. He is different from everything. So here also the Lord says: "You will see everything in the world to be nondifferent from Me." This means that everything should be considered a product of the Lord's energy, and therefore everything should be employed in the service of the Lord. One's energy should be utilized for one's self-interest. That is the perfection of the energy.
This energy can be utilized for real self-interest if one is compassionate. A person in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, a devotee of the Lord, is always compassionate. He is not satisfied that only he himself is a devotee, but he tries to distribute the knowledge of devotional service to everyone. There are many devotees of the Lord who faced many risks in distributing the devotional service of the Lord to people in general. That should be done.
It is also said that a person who goes to the temple of the Lord and worships with great devotion, but who does not show sympathy to people in general or show respect to other devotees, is considered to be a third-class devotee. The second-class devotee is he who is merciful and compassionate to the fallen soul. The second-class devotee is always cognizant of his position as an eternal servant of the Lord; he therefore makes friendships with devotees of the Lord, acts compassionately toward the general public in teaching them devotional service, and refuses to cooperate or associate with nondevotees. As long as one is not compassionate to people in general in his devotional service to the Lord, he is a third-class devotee. The first-class devotee gives assurance to every living being that there is no fear of this material existence: "Let us live in Kṛṣṇa consciousness and conquer the nescience of material existence."
It is indicated here that Kardama Muni was directed by the Lord to be very compassionate and liberal in his householder life and to give assurance to the people in his renounced life. A sannyāsī, one in the renounced order of life, is meant to give enlightenment to the people. He should travel, going from home to home to enlighten. The householder, by the spell of māyā, becomes absorbed in family affairs and forgets his relationship with Kṛṣṇa. If he dies in forgetfulness, like the cats and dogs, then his life is spoiled. It is the duty of a sannyāsī, therefore, to go and awaken the forgetful souls with enlightenment of their eternal relationship with the Lord and to engage them in devotional service. The devotee should show mercy to the fallen souls and also give them the assurance of fearlessness. As soon as one becomes a devotee of the Lord, he is convinced that he is protected by the Lord. Fear itself is afraid of the Lord; therefore, what has he to do with fearfulness?
To award fearlessness to the common man is the greatest act of charity. A sannyāsī, or one who is in the renounced order of life, should wander from door to door, from village to village, from town to town and from country to country, all over the world as far as he is able to travel, and enlighten the householders about Kṛṣṇa consciousness. A person who is a householder but is initiated by a sannyāsī has the duty to spread Kṛṣṇa consciousness at home; as far as possible, he should call his friends and neighbors to his house and hold classes in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Holding a class means chanting the holy name of Kṛṣṇa and speaking from Bhagavad-gītā or Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. There are immense literatures for spreading Kṛṣṇa consciousness, and it is the duty of each and every householder to learn about Kṛṣṇa from his sannyāsī spiritual master. There is a division of labor in the Lord's service. The householder's duty is to earn money because a sannyāsī is not supposed to earn money but is completely dependent on the householder. The householder should earn money by business or by profession and spend at least fifty percent of his income to spread Kṛṣṇa consciousness; twenty-five percent he can spend for his family, and twenty-five percent he should save to meet emergencies. This example was shown by Rūpa Gosvāmī, so devotees should follow it.
Actually, to be one with the Supreme Lord means to be one with the interest of the Lord. Becoming one with the Supreme Lord does not imply becoming as great as the Supreme Lord. It is impossible. The part is never equal to the whole. The living entity is always a minute part. Therefore his oneness with the Lord is that he is interested in the one interest of the Lord. The Lord wants every living entity to always think about Him, to be His devotee and always worship Him. This is clearly stated in Bhagavad-gītā: man-manā bhava mad-bhaktaḥ. Kṛṣṇa wants everyone always to think of Him. Everyone should always offer obeisances to Kṛṣṇa. This is the will of the Supreme Lord, and devotees should try to fulfill His desire. Since the Lord is unlimited, His desire is also unlimited. There is no stoppage, and therefore the service of the devotee is also unlimited. In the transcendental world there is unlimited competition between the Lord and the servitor. The Lord wants to fulfill His desires unlimitedly, and the devotee also serves Him to fulfill His unlimited desires. There is an unlimited oneness of interest between the Lord and His devotee.
Copyright © The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust International, Inc.
His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda, Founder Ācārya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness