"Intelligent persons who are endeavoring for liberation from old age and death take refuge in Me in devotional service. They are actually Brahman because they entirely know everything about transcendental activities." Bhagavad-gita 7.29
Krsna consciousness is meant for the most intelligent persons. Although it is available for everyone, those who are not intelligent will not be interested in this transcendental movement, but will continue to engage their energy in the pursuit of the flickering, illusory happiness of the material platform of activities. Despite any material qualifications they may have, they are wasting the opportunity afforded by this human form because they have not taken the opportunity to learn about spiritual life.
Thc human form is specifically meant for self-realization. Eating, sleeping, mating and defending are the sole activities of the animals, and these activities are carried on by human beings as well. Because the animal is limited in intelligence, his activities cannot extend beyond the limit of these four divisions of bodily necessities. The animals must therefore continue to engage in their pastimes of sense gratification, without any thought of understanding what is spirit and what is matter. But because human beings have a more highly developed consciousness, they can try to understand Krsna consciousness. Animals will not be interested in the discussions of Bhagavad-gita and other Vedic literatures, but human beings should give attention to this literature, for it offers complete knowledge concerning the perfection of individual existence. Our present existence is characterized by the four inevitable miseries of birth, death, old age, and disease. We are trying to enjoy life by accumulation of wealth, fame, education, etc., but all of these acquisitions bring only temporary happiness. Despite great material advancement in the fields of science, politics, education, economics, etc., we have still been unable to conquer these four material miseries, and therefore all of our enjoyment must come to an end. A person may be very beautiful, very well-educated, very wealthy, or very famous, but with the inevitable advent of old age he must become miserable, and whatever enjoyment is left to him must be abruptly ended by the arrival of death.
Although we wish to go on enjoying unrestrictedly, old age and death are inevitable. Why? The Vedanta-sutras instruct us that human life is meant for solving this problem, and the answers are to be found in the Vedic literature. Bhagavad-gita gives us information that our suffering is due to being situated on the bodily platform of life. We are thinking that our bodily existence is our real existence, and we have no knowledge that our actual identity is spirit soul. This is explained in the Second Chapter ofBhagavad-gita. Our real position is transcendental to all material conditions. "For the soul there is never birth or death. Nor, having once been, does he ever cease to be. He is unborn, eternal, ever-existing, undying, and primeval. He is not slain when the body is slain." (Bg. 2.20) So, actually, I am not this body. This body is temporary, while I am eternal; but because I am falsely identifying myself with the bodily existence, I must suffer from the miseries of material duality. As pure spirit soul, it is my original constitutional position to enjoy eternal life, but in material life I am always subject to the changes of body which must take place in the material world. His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, in his purport of The Bhagavad-gita As It Is,has written: "Change of body by the atomic individual soul is an accepted fact. Even some of the modern scientists who do not believe in the existence of the soul … have to accept continuous changes of body which appear from childhood to boyhood, and from boyhood to youth, and again from youth to old age. From old age, the change is transferred to another body."
The materialistic person tries to establish a permanent settlement in the material world. "The demoniac person thinks: 'So much wealth do I have today, and I will gain more according to my schemes. So much is mine now, and it will increase in the future, more and more. He is my enemy, and I have killed him, and my other enemy will also be killed. I am the Lord of everything; I am the enjoyer. I am perfect, powerful and happy. I am the richest man, surrounded by aristocratic relatives. There is none so powerful and happy as I am. I shall perform sacrifices, I shall make some charity, and thus I shall rejoice.' In this way, such persons are deluded by ignorance." (Bg. 16.13-15) The materialistic person, although he may be rejoicing in material opulence, is nonetheless not exempted from the miseries of old age and death. Therefore, rather than persisting in a false spirit of enjoyment under the miserable conditions of material life, intelligent persons try for liberation from those miseries.
By careful analysis one can understand that although his body is constantly changing, he is eternal. This understanding is expressed by the Vedic aphorism aham brahmasmi, "I am not this body; I am spirit soul." This is the beginning of liberation. A self-realized person knows that he is eternal spirit soul and is therefore transcendental to all material conditions. But although a living entity may realize that he is Brahman, spirit soul, such realization is not sufficient for gaining steady liberation from the clutches of the material energy. One may understand that he is Brahman, but unless he then engages himself in the activities of Brahman, he will not be able to maintain a transcendental position.
According to the laws of nature, the materialistic person who has no knowledge of the spirit soul is obliged to act on the bodily platform of sense gratification; his anxiety is increased to an unlimited extent by his misguided attempts to satisfy the insatiable desires of his senses. The person who knows that he is an eternal spiritual entity distinct from his temporary material covering may understand the futility of such engagement in fruitive action for the sake of sense gratification, but nevertheless he must also continue to act. "Even a man of knowledge acts according to his own nature, for everyone follows his nature. What can repression accomplish?" (Bg. 3.33) Even a person who has gained the understanding that he is different from his temporary material body must nonetheless continue to act according to his nature, as it is the constitution of the spirit soul itself to be always active. But one must know how to act in such a way that his activities do not obligate him to continue in the entanglement of materialism. Therefore Krsna says in Bhagavad-gita, "Intelligent persons who are endeavoring for liberation from old age and death take refuge in Me in devotional service." One should engage one's senses in the service of the master of the senses, Krsna. This devotional service to Krsna is recommended in all the Vedic literatures as the eternal activity of the living entity.
As explained in the Bhagavad-gita, the living entity is the eternal part and parcel of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and therefore his eternal constitutional position is that he is the servant of the Supreme Lord. Because the conditioned living entities are adverse to this principle of service to the Supreme Person, preferring to adopt an attitude of so-called independence, they have become entangled in the complexities of service to the material nature; and old age and death are the rewards for the living entities who foolishly indulge in such misdirected service.
The solution to the ever-present problems of material misery is not to try to artificially renounce activity, but to revive our dormant love for the Supreme Personality of Godhead and to perform all activities on His behalf. It is stated in the Vedic literature that in this current age of quarrel and dissension, the only practical process for reviving this transcendental attitude of loving service towards the Supreme Lord is the method of chanting His holy names. Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the great apostle of love of Godhead, has declared that this chanting process cleanses the heart of all material dirt accumulated for years together. Thus the fire of conditional life, of repeated birth and death, becomes extinguished. And the Srimad-Bhagavatam informs us that in this age, persons who are endowed with sufficient brain substance will participate in this sankirtana movement of chanting Hare Krsna. By this chanting process, our consciousness becomes purified, and in purified consciousness one can engage himself in transcendental activities in service of the Supreme Lord.
It is not practical to artificially renounce activity, but to become free from material limitations one should adopt the authorized process of Krsna consciousness. One should revive one's dormant love for God and perform all activities on His behalf. It is confirmed in the Bhagavad-gita that there is no material reaction to such activities performed in Krsna's service, and one who becomes conscious of Krsna passes over all the obstacles of conditioned life. The intelligent person who understands the uselessness of material activities and understands that he is Brahman, pure spirit soul, should engage in the pure spiritual activity of transcendental service to the Supreme Brahman, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Krsna.
The impersonalist philosophers do not accept this proposal of transcendental service to the Supreme Person because they refuse to admit the personal identity of the Absolute. They obstinately insist that the impersonal Brahman, the manifestation of undifferentiated spiritual energy, is the ultimate feature of the Absolute Truth, although authoritative Vedic literatures such as Bhagavad-gita and Brahma-samhita inform us that this impersonal Brahman is actually the personal ray of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The aim of the impersonalists is to annihilate their individual identity by merging with the impersonal effulgence; but, because neither knowledge nor activity is possible without the existence of individual identity, if they achieve their desired goal they immediately become ineligible to understand anything about the transcendental activities of the spiritual world. In addition, it is confirmed in the Bhagavad-gita that for those whose minds are attached to the nonmanifested, impersonal feature of the Supreme, advancement is very troublesome. Therefore intelligent persons who are endeavoring for liberation will reject the difficult and limiting path of trying to merge with the impersonal effulgence of the Supreme, but will instead engage themselves in loving devotional service to Krsna.
People who are too attached to the material concept of life will also neglect this proposal of devotional service to the Supreme Lord, because they cannot understand how the Supreme can be a person. In the materialistic concept of life, the body is temporary, full of ignorance, and full of misery, and persons who are too absorbed in materialism cannot conceive of a transcendental body which is exactly the opposite.
Actually, the Supreme is a transcendental person, and He has a spiritual body which is eternal, full of bliss and knowledge. And, because the living entity is part and parcel of this Supreme Person, he also has a similar spiritual body, which is unaffected by the material energy although temporarily covered by it. As the transcendental body of the Supreme Lord is not subject to the material conditions of birth, death, disease, and old age, similarly the original spiritual body of the living entity is not subject to these fourfold miseries.
The transcendental nature of Krsna can only be understood by His devotees; others cannot understand. This is confirmed in the Bhagavad-gita: "One can understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead as He is only by devotional service. And when one is in full consciousness of the Supreme Lord by such devotion, he can enter into the kingdom of God. Though engaged in all kinds of activities, by My mercy, the pure devotee reaches the spiritual kingdom in the end, without any pain." (Bg. 18.55-56)
By engaging in the devotional service of the Supreme Lord, one can attain to the spiritual kingdom. Because the Supreme Personality of Godhead is a person, He has His form, His abode, His activities, His associates, His pastimes but these are all transcendental. The material world with which we are currently associated is merely a perverted reflection of the transcendental abode of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and the material activities in which we are currently engaged are a perverted reflection of spiritual activities in relationship with Krsna.
The Lord is eternally present in His transcendental abode, enjoying variegated spiritual pastimes in association with those eternally liberated souls who are His devotees. This abode of the Supreme Lord is described in Bhagavad-gita as being without need of sun, moon or electricity, and in the Brahma-samhita it is more explicitly described: There are palaces made of touchstone, and the trees are all desire trees. Although these trees can grant the fulfillment of all desires, the devotees in the Supreme Lord's abode do not have any desires to fulfill yet still they have variegated transcendental desires for serving their Supreme Lord. The Lord is eternally present on His supreme planet, enjoying transcendental pastimes as a cowherd boy, and He is always surrounded by hundreds and thousands of goddesses of fortune who serve Him with great reverence and affection. The Bhagavad-gita confirms that when one develops pure love for the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he becomes eligible to enter into this spiritual world, and it is also stated there that one who attains to the abode of the Supreme Lord is never required to return again to this miserable material existence.
Intelligent persons who are endeavoring for liberation from the miserable conditions of material life can, taking shelter of the Supreme Personality of Godhead Lord Krsna in devotional service, relish transcendental activities in eternal exchange of love with Him.