Śrīla Bhakti Rakṣak Śrīdhar Dev-Goswāmī Mahārāj explains the nature of the ideal civilisation.
Śrīla Śrīdhar Mahārāj: We must not forget that we are going to deal with He who is infinite and adhokṣaja. We are the object, and He is the subject—the Supersubject. It is our audacity that we go to discuss Him. Only as an instrument in the hand of our Gurus, our guides, do we venture to do so. We give some glimpse of the upper realm to attract fortunate people.
(Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā: 6.21)
[“He is beyond our intelligence and senses.”]
[“He is beyond our mind and words.”]
We must not forget all these things. If we do, then everything is lost.
Śrīmad Bhāgavatam is very fond of using the expression Adhokṣaja. Why? The Bhāgavat has come to deal with aprākṛta-rasa [supramundane love], which is very similar to things of this world. So, this warning has been repeatedly used there. Adhokṣaja means adhaḥ-kṛtam indriyajam jñānaṁ yena [“knowledge that overrides knowledge derived from the senses”]. Don’t mix your sense experience with the higher plane. Be very careful, very particular, that you do not mix things of that plane with your world experience.
yato bhaktir adhokṣaje
(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam: 1.2.6)
[“The supreme dharma is devotion to the Lord who is adhokṣaja—self-revealed.”]
Be fully conscious that what you are going to deal with is not māyā, not a fixed thing, not a thing that can be limited by four walls. Never. It has an independent nature. It is big and can show variegatedness. So, because you are seeing Him in a particular way, don’t think He is confined there. He may take another shape. Be very aware that you are dealing with someone who is independent and absolute. You can’t forcibly make Him enter the case of your knowledge. He is very particular. You can’t catch Him. He is independent—absolutely independent—and infinite in nature. Still, the Lord says,
pārāpāra-śūnya gabhīra bhakti-rasa-sindhu
tomāya chākhāite tāra kahi eka ‘bindu’
(Śrī Chaitanya-charitāmṛta: Madhya-līlā, 19.137)
“The ocean of rasa has no limit. I am trying to introduce to you one drop of it.” And a little later: “Eka-bindu jagat ḍubāya (Cc: Antya, 15.19): this one drop is sufficient to inundate the whole world.” It is a drop of the Infinite, and a part of the Infinite is also infinite. So, this respect, this primary stage, this sort of conviction, is a plane where we are to stand, and then we are to enquire. Our redaction must come out of such data.
aṇor aṇīyān mahato mahīyān
[“He is smaller than the smallest and greater than the greatest.”]
In the primary stage, all these things are to be dealt with. “He is unknown and unknowable.” The scholars have described Him like this, and that is not false. Still, a construction in the opposite side is there whose imitation we find on this side. Like jaḍa-vilās [material play], chid-vilās [spiritual play], a great structure, stands on the other side and is only approachable through service, dedication, and surrender. That is the positive side, the world of service. That is the real plane: the svarūp-śakti.
This plane of aggrandisement and exploitation cannot be the be-all and end-all of existence. “Exploit others and live.” That is suicidal in itself. Daily, civilisation and science are increasing the circumference of extortion of power from nature, taking a loan from nature, and that must be paid to the farthing. “To every action there is equal and opposite reaction.” This civilisation, wholesale, is a negative one. It is on debt from nature, and this debt must be paid back to the farthing.
jīvo jīvasya jīvanam
(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam: 1.13.47)
To maintain one body, thousands of bodies are to be sacrificed, and then only one body can stand. This is a filthy conception of life. It is suicidal in itself. So, this is no civilisation. It is not life. It a hateful form of life: at the cost of other beings, we are to maintain ourselves. “Thousands of lives must be sacrificed to maintain one.” This is a hateful conception of life. It is the plane of exploitation. Then there is the plane of renunciation, a negative reactionary plane, then there is the positive plane of service, of dedication. That is the really civilised position. The civilised position is to serve and live. In the lower part of that plane, there is some consideration for oneself. Above that, the spontaneous and unconcerned enterprise of service in love holds the highest position in our conception. That is Goloka Vṛndāvan, and that is Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Everyone is to exhaustively finish themself in the service of the Lord’s paraphernalia where Kṛṣṇa is king. That is the most laudable and high form of life, free from any form of consideration for oneself: to exhaustively give one’s whole self to the Absolute Good.
yathā taror mūla-niṣechanena
prāṇopahārāch cha yathendriyāṇāṁ
tathaiva sarvārhaṇam achyutejyā
(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam: 4.31.14)
To put food in the stomach is real help to the body, not to put food on other parts of the body. To pour water on the root of the tree is proper service to the tree, not to pour water on the branches and the leaves of the tree, ignoring the root. That is anti-harmony, anti-existence. The real conception of the Truth is sat-chit-ānanda [eternity, consciousness, and joy], satyam śivam sundaram [eternity, goodness, and beauty]. We cut off the root of these fundamental principles if we do not accept the plane of dedication. Spontaneous dedication is the real interest of every unit in the organic whole. The real fulfilment of every unit, whatever it may and wherever it may be found, is in its highest sacrifice, and thereby it also thrives highly. This is the teaching of Mahāprabhu and Bhāgavatam. Give more and have more. Not only in quantity, but in quality. We must be conscious of quality. It must be ahaitukī, causeless. Without any calculation of any gain, give yourself desperately. Be desperate to give yourself, and you will also be the gainer in that line. Give and have. But giving must be to the highest centre. That, of course, is the only condition. Giving is Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
Spoken 5 September 1981.