Paris June 15, 1974
How we can recognize a person truly free from the influence of material nature.
prayena munayo rajan
nairgunya-stha ramante sma
"O King Pariksit, mainly the topmost transcendentalists who are above the regulative principles and restrictions take pleasure in describing the glories of the Lord." (Srimad-Bhagavatam 2.1.7)
There is a stage called the paramahamsa stage. At that time, one does not very strictly follow the regulative principles. Or, rather, it is not that the paramahamsas are not following, but they're above all regulative principles. We should not imitate that position: "Now we have become paramahamsas, and we can neglect all regulative principles." No. You must prove that you are a paramahamsa.
What is the paramahamsa stage? Nairgunya-stha ramante sma gunanukathane hareh when one's only business is to glorify Krsna. A paramahamsa does not think, "I have become a paramahamsa. Let me eat and sleep." No. The symptom is that one cannot waste a moment without glorifying Krsna. That is a paramahamsa. When you cannot remain even for a single moment without describing Krsna, then you can know that you are on the paramahamsa stage. No attachment for anything material; simply attachment for Krsna.
Then you can give up the regulative principles. Not before that. Don't imitate. You must first come to that positive stage.
The paramahamsa stage is not simply negative. You must stand on a positive platform. Those who are sunyavadi [voidists] are simply concerned with the negative. The other day a Zen Buddhist came. He said that the goal is "to become desireless." These people do not know that it is impossible to become desireless. Therefore they are disturbed always. It is not possible to become desireless. That is a negative post, nirvana.
That is Buddha philosophy, nirvana. "Stop these material nonsense activities." But unless one has positive activities, how he can give up this nonsense? Param drstva nivartate [Bhagavad-gita 2.59]. You must give someone good engagement. Otherwise, he'll go on committing all nonsense. Just like you. You have been given good engagement deity worship and so many other things. You are engaged. Therefore you have no time to divert your attention for nonsense things.
To try to stop nonsense artificially will not work. The U.S. government tried to stop intoxication LSD by spending millions of dollars. Not a single man was stopped. And here in Krsna consciousness, as soon as they come, immediately they stop. Why? Param drstva nivartate. When one understands that he is getting better "intoxication," then he thinks, "Why shall I go to LSD?" That is required.
Here it is said, nivrtta vidhi-sedhatah. There are two things vidhi and nisedha, or do's and don'ts. We say, "Chant the Hare Krsna mantra," and "No illicit sex." Positive and negative. Vidhi means do's, and nisedha do not's.
These do's and don'ts are the beginning of life. Don't try to become a paramahamsa from the very beginning. Then you'll fall flat. Nairgunya means above material nature. Material nature is called traigunya. Traigunya means the three modes of material nature: goodness, passion, and ignorance. When you rise above these three gunas, or modes, then there is the possibility of becoming a paramahamsa.
Krsna advised Arjuna, traigunyavisaya veda nistraigunyo bhavarjuna [Bhagavad-gita 2.45]. The Vedas deal with the three gunas, giving directions according to each one. For persons in sattva-guna, or the mode of goodness, there are sixPuranas. There are eighteen Puranas in all. Some of them are for persons situated in the mode of goodness, some of them are for persons in rajo-guna (passion), and some of them are for persons in tamo-guna (ignorance).
In the Vedas there is a recommendation to worship goddess Kali. That is for the tamo-guna, not for the sattva-guna. The Puranas for sattva-guna include the Visnu Purana, Brahmanda Purana, Brahma-vaivarta Purana, and Bhagavata Purana. Knowledge has to be given to everyone, but according to each person's capacity. If one is in tamo-guna, you cannot raise him immediately to the sattva-guna. Tamo-guna is meat-eating, drinking. These are in tamo-guna in darkness. The Vedas give everyone a chance: "All right, you want to eat meat? All right, eat meat. But offer it to the goddess Kali." That means that there is a restriction. Meat-eating is not required, but a rascal will not want to hear this immediately. Therefore give him some concession: "All right, you can eat meat by offering a sacrifice. Not the cow, but a lower animal, like goats."
But regulated meat-eating is not meant for sattva-guna. For persons in sattva-guna the prescription is different. And for rajo-guna the prescription is different.
Rise Above the Modes
On the whole, we are always mixed up with the sattva-guna, rajo-guna, and tamo-guna. That is our material position. Therefore sometimes we come to Krsna consciousness when we are in sattva-guna, and when tamo-guna or rajo-guna attacks, we sometimes fall down. So we have to rise above these gunas. Traigunya-visaya veda nistraigunyo bhavarjuna. Krsna advised Arjuna, "Rise above these three gunas."
How it can be done? Simply by hearing about Krsna. This is nairgunya-stha ramante sma gunanukathane hareh. If you simply engage yourself only in hearing about Krsna, then you are nistraigunya, above the modes. That is the process. Simple. No other business than hearing about Krsna.
We have given you so many books. Don't sleep. Don't waste a single moment. Of course, you have to sleep, but reduce it as much as possible. Eating, sleeping, mating, and defending reduce them.
That is the example shown by the six Gosvamis. Nidrahara-viharakadivijitau: they conquered eating, sleeping, and sex. That is the spiritual platform. No more sleeping, no more eating, no more sex life. That is perfection. And one who can conquer these three things eating, sleeping, and sex is fearless, automatically. There is no requirement of defense because such a person can meet any situation.
That is the paramahamsa stage, where there is no regulation. Don't imitate. Some of our students have exhibited that their thought is "There is no need of regulations. We are all paramahamsas." Not paramahamsa rascal number one! Here is the test of the paramahamsa: one who is not influenced by the material qualities rajo-guna, sattva-guna, and tamo-guna. And the test of that is that one has conquered eating, sleeping, and sense enjoyment.
Rise above the modes by hearing about Krsna. The Gosvamis were always writing books about Krsna. Following their example, we are simply describing the different activities and attributes of Krsna. In today's verse it is said, gunanukatha: "describing the glories of the Lord."Anu means not whimsically, but by following the superior authorities. You cannot write anything not approved by the superior authorities. Therefore, we have to give examples, with quotations from the sastra, the scripture. What I am speaking, it is supported by the sastras. Not that I have inventive power "I can write anything I like." That is nonsense. Anukathane means you must hear from the authority perfectly. Then try to write. Not that you write whimsically, whatever you like. That is not allowed. And that will not be accepted.
Therefore, in the beginning of this chapter [2.1.1] we learned,
variyan esa te prasnah
krto loka-hitam nrpa
srotavyadisu yah parah
"My dear King, your question is glorious because it is very beneficial to all kinds of people. The answer to this question is the prime subject matter for hearing, and it is approved by all transcendentalists." Atmavit-sammatah: "It is approved by the realized souls." Not that whimsically I do something or you question something. No. The question must be approved by atmavit, a self-realized person, and the answer should be given by the self-realized person. That is wanted.
We have no independence, either materially or spiritually. But we're falsely thinking to become independent. That is called illusion, maya. The rascals do not know that there is no independence at all, either materially or spiritually. Just like the outlaws they have no independence, either criminally or civilly. When a person is a good citizen there is no independence, and when he's a criminal there is no independence. So why is he thinking, "I shall act criminally and become independent"? That is not possible. And because he cannot understand it, he is a rascal. His independence is illusion.
Where is your independence? Illusion. Maya. When you are under the strict rules and regulations of material nature, how are you independent? Daivi hy esa gunamayi mama maya duratyaya [Bhagavad-gita 7.14]. People think that to surrender to Krsna is a slave mentality. "I shall remain free." But where is your freedom, sir? That is illusion.
As long as one is a rascal, falsely thinking that he's independent, he must observe the regulative principles, vidhinisedha. When he's actually situated on the transcendental platform, that is called nairgunya-sthah. Stha means "situated,""not flickering,""permanent." So nairgunya means devotional service. That is nairgunya.
That is stated in the Bhagavad-gita:
mam ca yo 'vyabhicarena
sa gunan samatityaitan
"One who engages in full devotional service, unfailing in all circumstances, at once transcends the modes of material nature and thus comes to the level of Brahman." [14.26]
na socati na kanksati
samah sarvesu bhutesu
mad-bhaktim labhate param
"One who is thus transcendentally situated at once realizes the Supreme Brahman and becomes fully joyful. He never laments or desires to have anything. He is equally disposed toward every living entity. In that state he attains pure devotional service unto Me." [18.54]
Everything is there in Bhagavad-gita.
Nairgunya means one who is twenty-four hours engaged in devotional service. He's on the nairgunya platform and is no longer influenced by the material qualities. Mam ca yo 'vyabhicarena. Avyabhicarena means without any flaw, without any fault. When one is strictly following and engaged in devotional service according to the restriction, or instruction, of the sastra and spiritual master, one can conquer or surpass the three modes of material nature. And that stage is brahma-bhutah.
Symptoms of the Spiritual Platform
Now, everyone can say, "I am now in the brahma-bhutah." But the symptom of one on that platform is given, so you cannot cheat. What is that symptom? Brahma-bhutah prasannatma. If you are actually on the brahmabhutah platform, then the symptom will be prasannatma: jolly, always. There will be no more moroseness. Always jolly. That is the first symptom. "Oh, I am now free from the material clutches."
As soon as you are actually engaged in devotional service, there will be no more punishment by the material nature. Therefore you will always be jubilant, prasannatma. What is the meaning of prasannatma? Prasannatma means na socati na kanksati: not desiring anything, and not lamenting for anything. That is the brahma-bhutah stage. If something is lost, "Never mind. Krsna desired the loss. That's all right." And if there is a gain, one does not jump like a monkey "Oh, I have gained this! I have gained this!" [Laughter.]
No. Everything is Krsna's. I am engaged in Krsna's service. If there is some loss, it is Krsna's desire. And if there is some profit, it is Krsna's money. I don't possess anything. Why shall I jump? Of course, we can jump. "Oh, we have gained so many things for Krsna!" That is different.
Another symptom of the brahmabhuta stage is samah sarvesu bhutesu: equal to everyone. One who understands that everyone is a spirit soul, some way or other entangled in a material body, is fit for transcendental service to the Lord.
After being liberated from the three material modes, one has to be situated in nistraigunya. Here it is stated "nairgunya."Nairgunya and nistraigunya have the same meaning. Nairgunya-stha ramante: one enjoys life. As soon as you come to the platform of nairgunya, free from the infection of the three material qualities, then ramante: everything is pleasure.
Therefore those who are yogis who are bhaktas, bhakti-yogis also enjoy life. It is not that we restrict: "Don't enjoy the senses." Sense "enjoyment" is not enjoyment; it is bondage. Suppose I am enjoying either illicit or legal sex. I am under bondage. Even it is legal sex life, I get children, and then I have a duty to the children. So either in goodness or in ignorance, there is bondage.
Therefore one has to rise above the three modes, and then one enjoys. What is that enjoyment? Ramante yogino 'nante. That is not limited enjoyment, for few minutes. No. Anante, eternal enjoyment. And that is satyanande, that is real ananda. That is real bliss. When your ananda does not stop, that is real ananda. And the ananda, or the pleasure, which is for a few seconds or a few minutes, that is not ananda. That is illusion. Real ananda will continue. It will never stop. It will never end. Therefore it is said,
ramante yogino 'nante
"The Supreme Absolute Truth is called Rama because the transcendentalists take pleasure in the unlimited true pleasure of spiritual existence." [Padma Purana] When we enter the platform of continuous blissfulness, ananda, that is the connection with, and that is the meaning of, Rama. That means that when one is situated in the service of the Param Brahma, the Supreme Truth, his life is successful.
Fix the Mind On Kassa
Here it is said, nairgunya-stha ramante sma gunanukathane hareh: when not a single moment is wasted without talking about Krsna. So practice this. First of all, fix your mind on the lotus feet of Krsna. If your mind is fixed, then the other senses will act, because the other senses act under the leadership of the mind. Your mind is your enemy or your friend. The mind engaged in Krsna consciousness is your friend. And the mind engaged in other consciousness is your enemy.
You can create your mind as friend or enemy according to your desire. Deity worship means to fix your mind on the lotus feet of Krsna, always worshiping Krsna. If you fix your mind on the lotus feet of Krsna, immediately you are nairgunya-stha situated in the nairgunya, the transcendental platform.
In another place, it is said,
srnvatam sva-kathah Krsnah
hrdy antah-stho hy abhadrani
vidhunoti suhrt satam
"SriKrsna, the Personality of Godhead, who is the Paramatma [Supersoul] in everyone's heart and the benefactor of the truthful devotee, cleanses desire for material enjoyment from the heart of the devotee who has developed the urge to hear His messages, which are in themselves virtuous when properly heard and chanted." [Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.2.17]
Krsna is situated within your heart. He's your best friend. Suhrdam sarvabhutanam. He's always considering how your perfect welfare can be done. Krsna is so nice a friend. When I take the body of a hog, Krsna is there advising me. And when I am in the body of a human being, there also Krsna is advising me. Krsna is so kind. Therefore suhrdam sarva-bhutanam. He's the friend not only of human beings, but even of the hogs, dogs, cats everyone. Suhrdam sarva-bhutanam.
This is the science one has to know. People are trying to become leaders of society to act for others' welfare, but that is impossible. If a person is a rascal, how he can become the friend of the citizens? One's business should be to make friendship with Krsna and advise others to make friendship with Krsna. That is real leadership. But the rascals do not know what is their own benefit, and they have become leaders.
Sanatana Gosvami said to Lord Caitanya, apanara hitahita kichui na jani. . . . "Sir, I was a government minister. People used to say that I was a very learned scholar, and I accepted that. But when I came into contact with you, I thought, 'What kind of leader am I? I do not know what is beneficial for me. I am such a leader. I am such a fool. I do not know my own benefit, and I want to become a leader to lead others for benefit in life.'"
Andha yathandhair upaniyamanah. How can a blind man lead other blind men? That is cheating. All these leaders are blind themselves. They do not know the aim of life, and they're becoming leaders. So the blind leader and the blind followers are all going to hell. That is the position of the world.
Therefore we should be careful that we don't imitate "I have now become a paramahamsa. I do not require to follow the rules and regulations. Let me do whatever I like." Don't do that. The test is there: gunanukathane hareh. When you are aparamahamsa, you have no other business than simply to hear about Krsna and chant about Krsna.