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Only Truth Can Dispel Ignorance

Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj explains the difference between empiric and revealed knowledge, and demonstrates that only the combination of sukriti, faith, and scriptural knowledge given by the Vaishnav effects the soul’s deliverance.

This text is a continuation of the conversation from which the post Absolute Knowledge was compiled.


Student: A devotee once said to me that, as a necessity for preaching, we need to describe to the Western rational mind how the soul is transferred from one body to the next, and how it enters into a father’s semen. He requested me to ask you about this.

Srila Sridhar Maharaj: To satisfy the curiosity of scientists?

Student: Yes.

Srila Sridhar Maharaj: When shraddha [faith] springs forth from sukriti [fortune], one may not care to know all these details. If you analyse this matter, you will find that there is no end to it. Approximate knowledge of it is sufficient to help you take to the path of devotion. Analysing things scientifically does not lead to an end. Knowledge of the Absolute does not come through scientific analysis. It never comes that way. Knowledge of the Absolute comes in an independent way, that is, through sukriti. It comes from that which is nirgun [supramundane]. The nirgun approaches the nirgun to take him to the nirgun [The soul approaches the Vaishnava to take him to the Lord].

Misunderstanding, made up of the modes of material nature, even knowledge in sattva-gun [the mode of goodness], cannot lead us to the highest plane—to the nirgun world.

sa vai pumsam paro dharmo yato bhaktir adhoksaje
ahaituky apratihata yayatma suprasidati
  (Srimad Bhagavatam: 1.2.6)

What is sukriti and how does it originate? It is ahaituki and apratihata. This means it is causeless—its cause cannot be traced within the mundane world, that is, the world of the modes of nature, the misconceived world. Sukriti is beyond this world. Sukriti comes from the Lord’s agent, the devotee, and only when it accumulates sufficiently can truth disperse one’s ignorance. No part of ignorance can dispel ignorance—only truth can dispel ignorance. So, that which is nirgun can save us from all shades of misunderstanding and take us to the nirgun world.

api chet suduracharo bhajate mam ananya-bhak
sadhur eva sa mantavyah samyag vyavasito hi sah
  (Srimad Bhagavad-gita: 9.30)

Here the Lord says that one who, according to the misconceived standards of morality and purity in the material world, is most disqualified, yet has a tendency for, and spontaneous flow of, exclusive attachment to Him, should be considered a sadhu. So, the nirgun flow must be considered; other things that may be present will vanish momentarily.

Sattva-gun may take one to the highest position but at that next moment one will return here. The concocted good or bad of the mundane world only move in a circle. Something that now holds the highest position comes back down to a lower position after only a moment.

abrahma-bhuvanal lokah punar avartino ’rjuna
  (Srimad Bhagavad-gita: 8.16)

[“All beings found within the plane of Lord Brahma downwards are subject to the law of action and reaction.”]

Development in the misconceived area is no development at all. But even a little improvement towards the nirgun reality is of infinite value. It will never be destroyed and never leave you.

api chet suduracharo bhajate mam ananya-bhak
sadhur eva sa mantavyah samyag vyavasito hi sah
  (Srimad Bhagavad-gita: 9.30)

sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam sharanam vraja
aham tvam sarva-papebhyo mokshayishyami ma shuchah
  (Srimad Bhagavad-gita: 18.66)

[“Abandon all forms of religion and surrender exclusively unto Me. I will liberate you from all sin. Do not despair.”]

These advices make us have a faith that consideration of the Lord cannot be compared with anything good or bad in the worldly sense.

‘dvaite’ bhadrabhadra-jnana, saba—‘manodharma’
‘ei bhala, ei manda’—ei saba ‘bhrama’
  (Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita: Antya-lila, 4.176)

[“In the mundane world all notions of good and bad are mental speculation. ‘This is good; this is bad’—all such thinking is misunderstanding.”]

A good dream and a bad dream are both false. Do you follow? Neither the good nor the bad found in this illusory world have any value. Salvation from the glamour and charm of this world can come only from that which is nirgun, that is, from the Vaishnavas and the scriptures: Bhagavatam, Gita, and so on. Salvation springs from the nirgun world. We must be all-attentive towards that. Only that which is nirgun can help us, can snatch away our souls from the bondage of mundanity. The nirgun agents will come and snatch away the soul from the bondage of misconception; no sagun [mundane] agent can do that. He is a captive himself. Help must come from the nirgun plane.

“Despite having many possessions and great power here in this world, I am most insignificant because worldly things have no value”, such a feeling of grief and emptiness within the heart, such realisation that everything in this world is futile, makes one fit for the nirgun plane. One’s possessions in this world are like things possessed within a dream—they have no value.

When an earnest man prays for help from the nirgun world, from the world of cent per cent truth, then help from that world comes to him. Nothing from the sagun world is qualified to help him. Deception cannot free one from deception. A black marketeer may exchange goods with another black marketeer, a thief may exchange goods with another thief, but none of them are the owners of the goods.

Hare Krishna. Hare Krishna. Gauraharibol.

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