19900722 Srimad-Bhagavatam.5.1.23 @ Hyderabad, India

The following is a lecture given by HH Jayapataka Swami on July 22nd, 1990 in Hyderabad, India. The class begins with a reading from the Srimad Bhagavatam 5th Canto 1st Chapter 23rd verse(SB5.1.23)

SB 5.1.23

iti ha vāva sa jagatī-patir īśvarecchayādhiniveśita-karmādhikāro ’khila-jagad-bandha-dhvaṁsana-parānubhāvasya bhagavata ādi-puruṣasyāṅghri-yugalānavarata-dhyānānubhāvena parirandhita-kaṣāyāśayo ’vadāto ’pi māna-vardhano mahatāṁ mahītalam anuśaśāsa.


Following the order of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Mahārāja Priyavrata fully engaged in worldly affairs, yet he always thought of the lotus feet of the Lord, which are the cause of liberation from all material attachment. Although Priyavrata Mahārāja was completely freed from all material contamination, he ruled the material world just to honor the orders of his superiors.

HH Jayapataka Swami: Translation with repetition

[HH Jayapataka Swami reads, devotees repeat the translation]

HH Jayapataka Swami: Purport by Srila Prabhupada


The words māna-vardhano mahatām (“just to show honor to superiors”) are very significant. Although Mahārāja Priyavrata was already a liberated person and had no attraction for material things, he engaged himself fully in governmental affairs just to show respect to Lord Brahmā. Arjuna had also acted in the same way. Arjuna had no desire to participate in political affairs or the fighting at Kurukṣetra, but when ordered to do so by the Supreme Lord, Kṛṣṇa, he executed those duties very nicely. One who always thinks of the lotus feet of the Lord is certainly above all the contamination of the material world. As stated in Bhagavad-gītā:

yoginām api sarveṣāṁ


śraddhāvān bhajate yo māṁ

sa me yuktatamo mataḥ

“Of all yogīs, he who always abides in Me with great faith, worshiping Me in transcendental loving service, is most intimately united with Me in yoga and is the highest of all.” (Bg. 6.47) Mahārāja Priyavrata, therefore, was a liberated person and was among the highest of yogīs,yet superficially he became the emperor of the universe in accordance with the order of Lord Brahmā. Showing respect to his superior in this way was another of his extraordinary qualifications. As stated in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (6.17.28):

nārāyaṇa-parāḥ sarve

na kutaścana bibhyati


api tulyārtha-darśinaḥ

A devotee who is actually advanced is not afraid of anything, provided he has the opportunity to execute the order of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is the proper explanation of why Priyavrata engaged in worldly affairs although he was a liberated person. Also, only because of this principle does a mahā-bhāgavata, who has nothing to do with the material world, come down to the second platform of devotional service to preach the glories of the Lord all over the world.

Thus end the Bhaktivedanata Swami translation and purport of text 23, chapter 1, canto 5 of the Srimad Bhagavatam; in the chapter titled The Activities of Mahārāja Priyavrata.

HH Jayapataka Swami: So maharaj Priyavarta, the son of Swayambu Manu was completely detached from material sense gratification, material life. He was being preached to by Narada muni to not enter into the wordily affairs. But Lord Brahma personally intervened and preached to Priyavarta that he could take this management of Manu as a devotional service, thus freeing Swayambu manu to retire. So Swayambu manu, he was in-charge of the whole universe. Not all the manus are in charge of the whole universe. But Priyavarta was in charge of all the planetary systems of the entire universe, according to these verses.

So Prabhupada uses the _____ (5:49) as the present politicians are very eager to get the control of government and they dont like to give it up even if they are in old age; they are diseased; they are weak; still they struggle to maintain their control of the governmental seats. But here Swayambu Manu is very eager to give up the seat and handover the government to Priyavarta; the universal government. So the difference is that, the rulers in the vedic age, they didn't take the government for sense gratification, but they were doing it out of a sense of duty. To maintain and protect the kingdom for the welfare of the citizens. This is why the monarchical system was very effective in the vedic age. Now-a-days people are against monarchy and they call democracy. But they should understand why monarchy was working in those days, because of qualified leadership. If there is no qualifies leadership, by whatever system you get a leader there, whether by vote or whatever; still citizens would not be properly ruled or be happy. What actually needed is a proper leader. So this is the qualification of a proper leader; to be fully Krishna Conscious. 

Prabhupada explains how by chanting the Hare Krishna Hare KRishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare / Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare, that mahamantra which is imported from the spiritual world GolokaVrindhavan.

golokera prema-dhana, hari-nāma-saṅkīrtana,

that the anomalies of the present day could be cured. So even Narada muni gave his blessing. Because when Priyavarta was taking ____ (07:51) as devotional service; not just as a matter of indulgence for him to enjoy, but Priyavarta took it up as a matter of devotional service so also Narada muni was pleased. So devotional service, you should understand is categorically different than material activity. Priyavarta is managing the government, but he is considered to be properly situated because he is doing it on the direction of his spiritual master. So slowly we must perfect our human form life. We need to do everything based upon higher instructions. Anything that we do, but the desire of sense gratification is bound to entangle us in the material world. There is no compromise actually. Any compromise means that we are entangled to be in maya. Either something is authorized by Krishna or not authorized. The same activity Narada muni was preaching to Priyavarta, "Dont do this. You be in the renounced order". The same thing when it was approved by the higher authority for proper Krishna Conscious reason then the same thing was being accepted and pleased "Yea, I could do it". So the activity is not as important as the purpose of the activity. The activity is secondary. If one is doing it to please Krishna, it is authorized by the higher authority, that is of primary importance. 

So then Prabhupada explains how thinking of the lotus feet of the Lord is the cause of liberation from material attachment. How doing our devotional service, always meditating on the lotus feet of the Lord is itself the perfection of life. An uttama adhikari is the one who is performing everything ___ (09:56) is just meditating on the Lord and His past times. And the second status of Madhyama adhikari is one who is actively preaching Krishna Consciousness. Prabhupada uses the example; just like Priyavarta was on the topmost platform, but he came down to become a monarch, a ruler, of the universe. He had to do ___ (10:24) [background noise]. Similarly there may be great pure devotees on the highest platform of devotional service. They come down to the preaching platform on the orders of the Lord. The associates of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu were nitya-siddhas, eternally liberated souls. But they came down to the platform of preaching Krishna consciousness. So this is also something very special. Prabhupada explains that there is special nectar in carrying out the Lord's devotional service in this mood of preaching. That there is special nectar there otherwise what we are doing. So the Lord asks His devotees to help Him to spread the Krishna Conscious movement. So confidential devotees take up that service. There is a group of sahajiyas – devotees who take the whole process very cheaply. They consider that all this preaching is not the highest platform. They encourage people to go directly into the; what they call the ‘sidha bhajan’ or- some kind of intimate devotional service. But they fail to realize is that because this is the desire of the Lord; even though to preach Krishna Consciousness we have to face demons, we have to convince so many people about the voracity of Krishna Consciousness, its validity, its meaning. The actually this is also highest platform because this is desired by the Lord. In in His instruction, there is no Loss or diminution. In fact King Priyavarta, he also followed the instruction of his superiors, would that have been better, would that have been pleasing. By following the Lord’s instructions, he pleased his superiors. He pleased Narada muni, he pleased everyone. And he was also indirectly preaching Krishna Consciousness, by managing a kingdom. So, of course the king also has to see that Krishna Consciousness is active throughout his area of domain.

A devotee who actually has advanced is not afraid of anything provided he has the opportunity to execute the order of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is the proper explanation of why Priyavarta engaged in the worldly affairs although he was a liberated person. So the devotees don’t have anything to do with material activity unless it is on the order of a superior. Sometimes devotees say, I want to go and do some business, if I get any profit I will give it to Krishna. If one is instructed to go out and do business that is another thing. But if one is just doing it because they want to do it, which is very risky. Many people they do services without being properly authorized by senior Vaishnavas. In which case, they are in a very dangerous position. On the other hand, Prabhupada instructed some devotees, ‘Set up BBT. Set up the book business. Print books. Sell books’. So what is the difference? Because it is on the order of Srila Prabhupada, therefor nobody is thinking that BBT book distribution is material. It is considered one of the most important wings of our whole organization. In fact ‘The most important’ you can say is publishing and distributing books. More important than building temples and anything else. But the actual activity of purchasing paper, going to the printer, making contract, getting the books published, these all so called material activity, but in order to get the book published this is required. Even Srinivas Acharya, he went with Narottama das Thakur and Shyamananda pandit. And their instruction was to go and get the books published, get them printed, and then to distribute them all over Bengal and Orissa. So even, they were the first book distributers and book publishers of our sampradaya. The books are written by the six gosvamis and Krishnadas kaviraj, but they were published Srinivas Acharya and others. So Srinivas Acharya was glorified in a song by Narottama das thakur.

Narottamadas Thakur sing that Lord Chaitanya’s devotees are His Shakti, His energy. Some of these energies are engaged in writing transcendental literatures, and some of them are engaged in distributing them. The six gosvamis were engaged in writing, and Srinivas Acharya was engaged in distributing. So all these activities are in the transcendental platform.

We shouldn’t consider carrying out the order of the guru in terms of preaching Krishna consciousness to be material. I was once Srila Prabhupada requesting more time in reading books because I was busy day and night building all the buildings in Mayapur. Maybe I didn’t present it properly, and Prabhupada started to chastise me. “Do you think that building my temples is material? Is building my temple different from reading my books? It is all spiritual.” So for executing our Krishna Consciousness, duly approved by the spiritual master in the disciplic succession, there is no question of material. So even the six gosvamis had temples constructed for their deities, some of them. They didn’t go out of their way, but someone came an offered to build the temple for Radha-Madhanmohan. So then Sanatana gosvami accepted. So in this way, devotees are engaging so many people in the Lord’s service by constructing temples for the Lord. Ramanujacharya asked various people for donations to build the temple. But they were not building. They were not giving. So even he had authorized his disciples in a very unorthodox way to do collection. Even without the permission of the donor. Somehow by the mercy of the Lord, people are not so miserly today. If we go and approach them, they are also willing to contribute in the Lord’s service. So in his way so many people are engaged in devotional service. It may be the only opportunity for many people to render devotional service to the Lord as they are too conditioned to come and chant Hare Krishna Hare KRishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare / Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare. When the temple is there then the materialistic people feel more inclined to come and chant. The purpose for the temples is to invite people to come and hear the Bhagavatam and to chant Hare Krishna and to see the Lord being worshipped. All the ceremonies are accompanied by the chanting of the Holy names. Every day we have morning and evening classes for the people. In this way the people are engaged in devotional service in so many different ways. And then sometimes while doing our devotional service there are obstacles. Srinivas acharya was bringing the books to Narottam Thakur and Shyamananda pandit from Vrindhavan. But the books were stolen. And when they saw that the books were stolen, they went practically mad. They were beating their heads on the trees, they were rolling on the ground, and they were looking everywhere. ‘Where have the books gone? All the great acharyas have given us these books and trusted us with this responsibility. But we failed to fulfil it because somehow the books got stolen. You see. Not that when the books were stolen they didn’t feel anything. Not that they didn’t care. ‘Oh!. The books are stolen. Anyway I should be transcendental. Doesn’t matter. So what!. Books or no books, what’s the difference!’. They became very excited because they were committed to carry out the orders of their superior authority. When the books were stolen they were very much in anxiety. Someone may say, some Mayavadi could come up and say ‘What type of sadhus are you? You are feeling anxieties. You shouldn’t feel any anxiety. You should be equal in happiness and distress. Why you are feeling anxiety?’ But their anxiety was not due to the happiness and distress of sense gratification. That sometimes you feel happy due to good sense gratification, sometimes you are suffering due to some material, therefor they are feeling ____ (20:24) They are feeling the anxiety of not having fulfilled the order of Guru and Krishna. Not having carried out the instructions of the higher authority. Therefore they are feeling great anxiety. That anxiety is also transcendental. So that’s what this devotional service, the impersonalists can never figure out. How the person is transcendental? He is getting anxiety; he is beating his head on the tree. What is transcendental? If his anxiety is simply to please the lord, therefore that anxiety is not material. But of course then Srinivas Acharya preached to them “Anyway, this will not bring any useful purpose so let me go, as the principle person to be assigned this duty, so I will find the books. Anyway you go and preach. But as soon as I find the books, I will inform you. Krishna must have a plan. Books must be coming available sooner or later”. So when we are doing our devotional service, we shouldn’t be discouraged even if some obstacles come up. Rather a devotee considers this as a part of Lord’s plan. Somehow he wants to engage someone in devotional service or a devotee may consider it due to my carelessness. So there is a lesson to learn, not to be careless in the future and to be more careful and be conscious. In this case, all these books were the wealth of devotional service of so many great maha-bhagavat. So Srinivas Acharya ____ (22:19) that Krishna would not let these simply be destroyed. In our devotional service sometimes it may be because of the will of the Lord or sometimes due to… The Lord sanctions, but due to our own carelessness, to teach us a lesson, to make us more conscious and surrendered. Prabhupada repeatedly told the devotees that this process of Krishna Consciousness, we have to be conscious. We have to be quite conscious about what we are doing. If we are doing things mechanically, we do things without thinking and how to please Krishna by those activities, we tend to become careless and make mistakes. If our mind is thinking about sense gratification and not in the meaning of the service we are given, then we also tend to be unconscious about what we are doing. And then mistakes start to happen. And then when we have reprehended or we have realized our mistakes, then we should take these as warning that we are not being properly attentive to our devotional service. This means that we are not properly situated in proper consciousness. So, like this the devotee take whatever happens to be a lesson in one way or another. But the sign of actually being a second class devotee is that the devotee doesn’t lose the enthusiasm for devotional service. Obstacles may come, but the enthusiasm doesn’t ___ (24:19). We need to remain always enthusiastic - utsaha. When we start off enthusiastically but later we become without enthusiasm. This is a symptom of not such a high level of devotional service. So we need to overcome these different obstacles. Rather the obstacles are like challenges. If we can overcome the obstacles enthusiastically engaging in devotional service, this is an opportunity for us to render more sincere service.

What is the big deal if everything works out exactly as we wanted, there is no obstacle, and everything is so very well, so we do the devotional service? There are some devotees in the past they said, if it wasn’t for Jagai-Madhai coming and putting that obstacle, how would people know, how merciful Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was. Because Jagai-Madhai was there, he delivered, therefore the actual extend of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s mercy became available.

Tapi tapi harinamo udalo sati_______ (25:42)

___ Lord Chaitanya’s promise to deliver all the fallen souls, so Jagai-Madhai, they were delivered. And they were so fallen. How would people know the greatness of Bheeshma, if it hadn’t been sleeping on the bed of arrows, or lying on the bed of arrows, and in spite of such a painful situation, he is offering all the prayers and glories to Krishna. So similarly, in our own consciousness when some obstacles come up, it is also a test for our self, If we are ___ (26:23) teaching, we depend on Krishna, then actually this also increases our own faith. I was having Ishtagoshti with some sankirtan devotees, and one sankirtan book distributer explained how one day the distributer who went out was having no luck, no good fortune, no books were going out, no one was stopping. He was distributing in the airport. So many people were coming out plane after plane, but nobody was stopping. So then he became very frustrated, and then prayed to Krishna, that “you please.., If somebody is there with little bit ___ (27:08) of your mercy. You please send such a person to me, to please you so that I can preach to them”. So then a new batch of ___ (27:25) another plane they came by, so one business man was going by, so “Sir”, “I am _____ (27:32) is the worst day of my whole life. This is the worst day of my life”. So then, “Sir, just one minute. I am very sad to hear that this is the worst day of your life. But we are trained to help people who are having bad days. So, this is our special duty. What happened?”. So then that person said; “Whole my life I was working to be able to show my mother a good future, to cheer my mother, [sound] but my mother died. So what’s the use? I am working so hard, just for my mother, my mother is no more. So what am I working for? So today is a very bad day for me. The worst day.” So then he started to show Bhagavad Gita, show the verses, show “This is what life is. Your mother is still living. But her soul is going on. You should take this book. This will give you a greater insight to what is life and how to relieve our anxieties.” So then he was very happy, gave a twenty dollar donation, which is quite handsome donation, 400Rs, and then took the Bhagavad-Gita. So little things like this, where the devotees think, ‘No one is taking. What am I doing here? ___(29:04) still they are serving Krishna. It is an order that I should be out here. They are praying and remembering Krishna intensively in their mind. And then, someone comes and they are able to preach, then “Ah!. Yes, Krishna has answered my prayer. Krishna is very merciful. They are able to get their faith reconfirmed by actually sticking out even in spite of the difficulty. If we make all kinds of conditions to our service, then our mind will never be fixed. We want this thing; that thing; this has to be. We should just act according to the order. You see, those devotees who are doing something not because this is the order of my Guru or this is my duty, but because of their own whims, their own desire, ‘I need this to be happy. I need that..’. Their minds are always changing. They are never fixed. Hot and cold, all this… Prabhupada gave a principle even for senior preachers; we make our proposal to senior vaishnavas, ‘We want to do this preaching for this year, and then we take their approval or their order, even for the sanyasis’. Then for one year we do that service. Just don’t change in the year. How hard it is, you do, and it’s an order. And then, if we want again next year we can propose. _____ (30:36) sanyasi who is very much senior, independent type preacher, even Prabhupada, we have a system; we should also work in this consciousness that I am working under some senior approval. Not to do independently, anytime changing one thing to the next. What to speak of others, who are not sannyasis, who are in any other order of life. Devotees. We should do very strictly according to the higher authority. Even the GBC members, they work under the GBC body. The service should be approved by the GBC body.

So in this way one can always work in the consciousness, ‘I am doing my duty for Krishna, as according to the instructions.’ Otherwise ___ (31:34) away by the chariot of the mind from one thing to the next. So when devotees lose this faith, commitment to follow higher instruction, their mind tricks them, their intelligence tricks them. That the mind tricks the intelligence that ‘I cannot put my faith in anyone’. I have to just figure out everything myself. So this way the mind remains in control. Such people, they are not peaceful.

Here Priyavarta is following the orders of his superior authority even he is doing something less ___ (32:15), less exalted – he is managing the kingdom, rather than taking sanynas. But that was felt to be needed at that time. So he is doing it. Subsequently when some other instruction is given, he will do that. We may have some doubt. We may express our doubt, ‘If I do this, I may be entangled in material life?’. Lord Brahma ___ (32:43) said ‘No. You have a blessing. You won’t be entangled. You always think of the lord.’ Someone may present their doubt. If I do this I have this doubt.’ Then some may say, ‘Yes, you are not so strong. Alright. You don’t do that. Do something else’. Or someone may say, ‘No. You can do this.’ Then we should try our best to do it. This is the __ (33:05) life of the great soul. We get practical understand, how to practice devotional service. If I say,

____ (33:13)

Follow in the footsteps of great souls. But if we don’t follow their examples, and we just want to do our own thing, but we want to rubber stamp it is devotional service. It is not the same. Had Arjuna told Krishna, ’I won’t follow your instructions. I am going to go and become a mendicant Vaishnava. Wear tilak and chant and go around the forest. I don’t want to fight Kurusketra.’ Would he have been a greater devotee? Or would he have been a bogus sadhu? We have to understand that whatever we do, we have to do it with this idea, ‘What is pleasing to Krishna?’ How do you know what is pleasing to Krishna? What do the superior representatives of Krishna say. Especially if Guru is present then one can clarify directly. But if one’s guru is not there, then one has to analyze by various shastras, sadhu, guru’s instructions are there by Guru vani, Sadhu and Shastra, by the examples of these great souls. So like that Srinivas Acharya, he went looking for the books. Finally he got the books back and then he published literatures of the goswamis, and he organized the distribution. So that for about a couple of hundred years, Lord Chaitanya’s philosophy was widely preached all over Eastern India. Then somehow again the principles became watered down or something. Different apasampradayas took hold. So again the movement of Lord Chaitanya became very difficult to ascertain. Because there were so many aucxions who were not strictly following his instructions. The Bhaktivinoda Thakur again, after studying all the instructions of previous acharyas and understanding from jagganath das bhabaji, he could realize where the movement had gone off. Then he again re-established the proper understanding and preached it widely. And then this was handed down to the disciplic succession. Then again Bhakti sidhantha, he continued to preach that widely. And then Srila Prabhupada, he took it all over the world. So he was asked, ‘What is the secret of your success?’ He said ‘if there is any secret of success, that I have, is that I have tried to follow the order of my spiritual master.’

Hare Krishna

Srila Prabhupada ki..

Devotees: Jai

Transcribed by Vidya Iyer (2017)