How is power influencing everyone in the material world? Read more on this subject in this article based on Srimad-Bhagavatam.
atmanah saha saktibhih
muktir hitvanyatha rupam
The merging of the living entity, along with his conditional living tendency, with the mystic lying down of the Maha-Vishnu is called the winding up of the cosmic manifestation. Liberation is the permanent situation of the form of the living entity after he gives up the changeable gross and subtle material bodies.
The science of God, His various incarnations in this material world, the root cause of the creation, all these things are described in Srimad Bhagavatam; it is a great revelation of the Absolute Truth, the cause of all causes. It is not possible for us with our tiny senses or mental speculation to ascertain the purpose of this existence. The only source of all this information is the smriti and shruti – the sources of Vedic sound sabda. In the material world when we say anything, it is a conceptual mapping of something in the material world. So the material sabda is different from the object, it is only a representation. This entire materiel mapping which we create in our minds is an illusory sabda. Now the transcendental sound in this material world is a perverted reflection of real sabda.
What we hear, read from the Srimad Bhagavatam are all absolute concepts which are coming down in parampara. The significant point that is to be understood is that the Vedic sabda is a substance, it is a vastu. This Vedic sound is a way for the living entity to cling on in order to realize his original state of being — spirit. Prabhupada is explaining that there are two kinds of living entities – eternally conditioned and eternally liberated living entities. The eternally liberated living entities have no tendency to Lord over the material nature or for independent existence; they are devotees of the Lord.
The conditioned living entities come into the material world to lord but become servant of maya, material energy. A gross body and subtle body are given to the living entity during the creation and he continues his journey. When everything is finished Maha Vishnu goes into the mystic slumber and the dissolution happens. All the living entities and the universal earth merge into universal water and like that it goes to ether and finally everything merges, entire maha tattva, it becomes single energy and goes into Maha Vishnu’s body. This is not verifiable by our senses. The Srimad Bhagavatam talks about unlimited brahmandas and these brahmandas are like seeds in a bag of mustard seeds.
The Bhagavatam is revealing this truth, it is the power of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and He has created this material universe for giving an opportunity for the living entities to either lord over or go back to Him. ye yatha mam prapadyante tams tathaiva bhajamy aham – as you surrender I reciprocate. There is law of karma in this material world. In the Bhagavad-gita Krishna says – I created this material world, I created demi gods, I created different types of yajnas for the living entities to perform.
Constitutionally the living entity’s tendencies for pleasure will be fulfilled only in association with the Supreme Lord. Two options are given for the living entity, in one you have got freedom to go into the material world and try to lord ever but that will not make us happy. Our original situation is dedicating all our activities to Him, that is devotional service, and then constitutional happiness begins.
Due to law of karma, some soul’s situation may be like an animal that means his enjoyment is only sensual pleasure. He may even forget that there are higher tastes of relational pleasure or rasa. All the Vaishnava acharyas have extracted from the Vedic sruti that the living entities are after rasa and Krishna the supreme, and also the srutis have revealed that the supreme Absolute Truth is the reservoir of rasa. There are different rasas of servitude, friendship, vatsalya, madhurya. It is a great science, when you go deep into it, you will see that the living entities in this material world are desperately trying different kinds of these rasas.
In the material world for all the living entities, the common platform is power for bringing the material energy and other living entities under his influence, so that he can engage all the jivas in his service. And then finally power for the sake of power, he enjoys power in itself. Practically everybody is struggling for power for existence, just working very hard morning to evening to earn money, just for survival. Prabhupada said that ugra karma just for survival is very low quality of living. A devotee comes out of this need for power, at the same time he also has to live in this material world.
The most important thing is that the dispenser of power for all living entities is the super soul. If you take a living entity, his material senses are limited. The sense gratification that a very rich man can have and a poor man can have is almost the same; his richness doesn’t mean his number of senses has increased. When we become devotees this layer goes away.
sarva dharman parityajya
mam ekam saranam vraja
aham tvam sarva papebhyo
moksayisyami ma sucah
We surrender to Him; we don’t want to get into the contamination of earning one’s own food, shelter everything. We are very fortunate that Prabhupada has given us a platform and institution where we can actually practice this. As long as our mind is disturbed by the need for power we cannot do sravanam.
Prabhupada struggled for so many years not having enough power to create an organization like ISKCON and then at the right time everything started expanding. Similarly every devotee should have a perception of power and what the karmis are doing with power, the degree of freedom to manipulate material nature – that is the power in this material world. And this is dispensed by the Lord directly. In the Bhagavad gita He says – don’t be attached to the results of the activity. Paramatma has His own reasons why He sanctions something or why He does not sanction something. We surrender to Him and in this way a relationship of complete dependence upon the Lord for any power even for His own service – that realization is very important. Power doesn’t come independent of the Lord.
(The above transcripts have been edited for better readability. However they have not been verified and confirmed by the original speaker.)