A broad minded gentleman is known as Mahatma, Sadhu or Mahajan. 'Mahat' means broad, 'Atma' means soul. The term 'Mahat' is viewed from different angles of vision by the materialist and the transcendentalist respectively. According to mundane materialists conditioned by the laws of nature, a person, who can gratify the senses of such conditioned being is known as Mahatma or Mahajan. To a tradesman, the person, who allows him credit for developing the business is accepted as Mahajan. To the fruitive worker who wants to enjoy the result of his hard labour, Rishis like Jaimini (who concludes the ultimate Truth as Karma) and religionists, who can promise all classes of qualitative religious sentiments, are accepted as Mahajans. To the mystics who consider meditation and concentration of the mind as the ultimate truth, Rishis like Patanjali are considered as Mahajan. To the dry philosophical speculators, Rishis like atheist Kapila, are considered as Mahajan. To impersonal monist, Rishis like Vashista, Durbasha, Dattatreya and others are considered as Mahajans. To the atheists who are guided by the animal qualities of passion and ignorance, physically powerful men like Hirnakhya, Ravana, Meghnad, Jarasandha, Hitler, Masolini etc. are considered as Mahajans. To the devotees of teachers, Ekalabyas and Karnas are considered as Mahajans. To the effeminate persons, kings, like Maharaj Daksha able to beget children thousands in number, are considered as Mahajans. To the general mass of people suffering from insufficiency, persons, who can open hospitals and alms houses, are considered as Mahajans. To the atheist who is by his born nature, a worshipper of the material nature and is envious to the Personality of God Vishnu, dry philosophical speculators, material scientists, historians, mundane literates, sentimental poets, platform orators, social reformers, political leaders etc. are considered as Mahatmas or Mahajans. To the self-deceitful person, who considers that the science of devotional activities is the monopolised property of a certain class of flesh and blood, professional and hired spiritual masters may be considered as Mahajans. To the pseudo devotee, the imitators, of the transcendental feats of Thakur Haridas and Sree Chaitanya Mahaprabhu may be considered as Mahajan. To such devotees imitation incarnation of Godhead like Jackel Vasudev, mystics like Putana, Trinabarta, Vatsa, Baka, Agha, Dhenuka, Kalya, Pralamba who were known as the demons and atheists like Charbaka, Poundraka, Sukracharya, Bena, Sugata, Arhat all these may be considered as Mahajan. And to the foolish half-educated persons, clever self-styled Mahajan in the garb of a Sadhu, who can attract the attention of his foolish followers by enchanting and flowery languages, can also be accepted as Mahajans. But all these different types of Mahatmas or Mahajans are rejected by the authoritative revealed scriptures like Bhagwat Geeta and Sreemad Bhagbatam.
Sreemad Bhagbatam, which is the unalloyed natural commentation of the Vedanta Sutra and where everything pretentious and bewildering in the shape of (1) religiosity (2) economics (3) sense gratification and (4) merging in the impersonal Brahman, all have been completely eradicated says like this:
prayena veda tad idam na mahajano 'yam
devya vimohita-matir bata mayayalam
trayyam jadi-krta-matir madhu-puspitayam
vaitanike mahati karmani yujyananah
"The great Mahatmas or Mahajans in the estimation of the fruitive workers of this material world, and such advocates of religiosity do not know actually what is meant by a Mahatma engaged in the devotional service. Such material mahatmas are upset by the influence of the illusory external energy of Vishnu manifested in the three qualities of nature. And for this reason they are unable to (?) the worth of devotional service but are engaged in the (?) network of fruitive activities for material benefit in the worship of material nature. The intelligence of such Mahajan is bewildered by the flowery language of material science derived from the four Vedas such as Rig, Sam, Jayur, and Athurva. They are captivated by the material interpretations. Such Mahajans and Mahatmas in spite of their being worshipped by the people in general, are not engaged in the transcendental loving service of the Personality of Godhead (Purushottam)."
Such persons may be worshipped by the public as a great religious reformer (Dharmbir) and may be established as a great philosophical speculator (Jnanabir) or may be adored as the emblem of renounciation (Voiragya) and yet 'Sreemad Bhagwat' will not give them any place of recognition. Because in the opinion of 'Sreemad Bhagwatam'.-
neha yat karma dharmaya
na viragaya kalpate
jivann api mrto hi sah
"A 'Karambir' or the great fruitive plan-maker of gigantic work who does not aim at religious end; a 'Dharmabir' or the great man of religiosity who does not aim at ultimate renunciation; and the 'Tyagbir' or the great renouncer who does not give up worldly enjoyments for the service of the Supreme Lord all such great men are dead bodies while they continue to live." In fact everything that ends well, is well. The whole purpose of life is to attain to the stage of devotional service for the Supreme Lord. Therefore, the plan of work that does not end in the service of the Lord, the religiosity that does not aim at that service and the renunciation that does not end in the positive service of the Lord are all baffled. This very formula is mentioned in the Bhagwat Geeta also. It is said like this:
avajananti mam mudha
manusim tanum asritam
param bhavam ajananto
raksasim asurim caiva
prakrtim mohinim sritah
Those, who decry the Personality of Godhead because of His natural feature of a human being, without knowing the inconceivable super-human power that He possesses and His Lordship over everything and anything must be baffled in their hope to attain to the stage of devotional service, attain to the result of their fruitive work or to attain to salvation after much philosophical speculation or manouvering of a network of vocabulary. Such persons will be baffled in their aim of life because they are enamoured by the external beauty of the material nature under the influence of a demoniac mentality.
The periodical plans of the political leaders involving a great amount of human energy for the material satisfaction of a temporary span of life, may it be called as the service of one's own country, service of the humanity, service of the society, service of the family, service of the class or clan, service of the poor, service of the fallen women, service of many many demi-Gods and all such attractive features of human endeavours, without any aim to the service of the Lord are all self-centered or self-extended processes of sense gratification sure to be ended in frustration.
It is a misfortune time for the present world that such sense-gratifying unscientific plans of work, such sense-gratifying leaders of thought, such sense-gratifying brightness of humbug orators and such sense-gratifying educationists are passing by the names of Mahajans and Mahatmas!
Conditioned soul who is under the stringent controlling regulation of the material nature, who can see only to the phenomenal objects of the external cosmos, who is made a servant of sensuous enjoyment and renunciation cannot select or see the bonafide Mahatma or Mahajan due to his jaundiced eye under the influence of bewildered intelligence. Such conditioned soul is always defective in the four principles of primitive imperfections. The Personality of Godhead, therefore, directly gives the definition of a Mahatma in the following words:
bahunam janmanam ante
jnanavan mam prapadyate
vasudevah sarvam iti
sa mahatma su-durlabhah
mahatmanas tu mam partha
daivim prakrtim asritah
jnatva bhutadim avyayam
One who knows the Personality of Godhead Vasudeva as all in all, is a Mahatma who is very rarely found. One can become such a Mahatma, not by mental concoction of thinking oneself as God himself(?), but by undergoing a process of many many repeated births in searching out the real truth. When he finds out the real truth after such hard labour of mental activities he is sure to surrender unto the lotus feet of the Personality of Godhead giving up the false vanity of becoming one with Him.
Such a Mahatma comes into being when he becomes in the fold of internal energy of the Personality of Godhead. The Prakriti or the material nature under which we are now working is the external energy of the Personality of Godhead. One has to change the shelter of this Prakriti or nature to the shelter of the other Prakriti, the internal potency. When one is put into the region of internal potency one becomes perfectly a Mahatma manifested by his activities in the unalloyed service of the Personality of Godhead. He has nothing to do with the programme of work which is devoid of the service of the Lord. That is the criterion of testing the symptoms of real Mahatma or Mahajan.
It should be noted very carefully that from time immemorial, the mass of people have been misunderstanding the material covering of the spirit soul-as their real identity. The idea is formed as a result of vox populi. In such a condition of life, the mass of people, instead of being able to find out a real Mahajan and Mahatma, they are creating their own Mahajan who is able to gratify their senses and in such a way they are falling in the offensive ditches sensuous proclivities, unrestricted gratification, avarice, material gain, material prestige, material honour, misgiving violence and many many such pitfalls of life. For their guidance the Mahatma or Mahajan are definitely mentioned in the Srimad Bhagwatam. Such 12 Mahajanas as Brahma, Shiva, Narada, Kapila, Kumara, Manu, Prahlad, Janaka, Bishma, Bali, Sukhdev and Yamraj and their disciplic successions are to be accepted as Mahatmas. That is the injunctions of revealed scriptures.
A chronic disease of the common man
When we approach some gentleman and request him to become a reader of "Back to Godhead" sometimes we are replied with the words "NO TIME".
They say that they are too busy in earning money for maintaining the body and soul together. But when we ask them what do they mean by the 'Soul', they have nothing to reply.
Dr. Meghnath Saha a great scientist was busily going to a meeting of the Planning Commission. Unfortunately while going in his car on the road he died and could not ask Death to wait because he had no time at that moment.
Dr. Ansari, the great Congress leader, while dying in a moving train, on his way to home, said that he was himself a medical man and almost all his family men were so, but Death is so cruel that he was dying without any medical treatment.
Therefore, Death has been described in the Bhagwat as (In Devanagari:) "durantavirya" or the indefatigable. Death is awaiting everyone although everybody thinks that he may not die. There is life after death. The busy man should try to know this also as to whither he is going. This life is but a spot in his longest sojourn and a sane person should not be busy with a spot only. Nobody says that the body should not be maintained-but every body should know from "Bhagwat Geeta", that the body is the outward dress and the 'Soul' is the real person who puts on the dress. So if the dress is taken care of only, without any care of the real person-it is sheer foolishness and waste of time.
When God is served, everything is served. Because God is everything, but everything is not God. When something is served, everything is not served for something is not everything. Therefore service of God is the service to (?). It is something like pouring water at the root of the tree or filling the stomach with foodstuff. That is the standard of service.
In the 'Bhagwata Geeta' Shri Krishna said (Bg. 7.13-14):
"All the world is enchanted by the three modes of natural qualities and thus they don't know Me, behind all these phenomenon, who am the Supreme ever-existing Lord."
"All these illusions are certainly amusing or transcendental and they are insurmountable also. But those who serve Me only can overcome all these."
Nobody can go "Back to Godhead" or know Him as the Supreme Personality, because everyone is under the grip of the qualitative material nature. The material nature as she has three modes of qualities namely, goodness, passion and ignorance, even the highest intelligent person who may have possessed all the mundane good qualities, down to the lowest mass of people, mostly uneducated, lazy and overwhelmed with immense varieties of anxieties, none of them can know the Lord for the above reason.
The natural laws are so made that they appear before us as so many problems. They are stiff because of the three qualities. The qualities are said to be amusing because everyone is satisfied by the quality of his sense-enjoyment.
Beginning from the highest civilized man (a type of living being) down to the stool-eater Swine (another type of living being) everyone is satisfied by the object of sense gratification, even though they are all of different qualities.
A learned Brahmin who is said to be the highest qualitative living being in the mode of goodness, down to the dog or the dog-eater man, who is considered to be the lowest qualitative living being, everyone is captivated by his own qualitative nature. And as long as one is conditioned by different modes of nature one cannot know the Supreme Person the cause of all causes. All of them are imprisoned by the different modes of qualitative shackles, one is bound up by the shackles of gold while the other is bound up by the shackles of iron.
The material nature is so powerful, that she can keep under her conditions, all such illusioned living being in different categories of material modes. As the prisoner cannot himself break the shackles by his own effort so also nobody can surmount the laws of nature by his own tiny effort.
No amount of plans either of five, ten, or thousands and millions of years can therefore bring in permanent happiness to us, unless and until we take up the plan of the Supreme Lord and execute it sincerely. That is called the Standard Service.
It is therefore essential that we should all take up immediately, the execution of the plan of Shri Krishna the Personality of Godhead by our standard service as chalked out in the lessons of "Bhagwat Geeta."
The wrong type of civilization, which is too much materialistic, is dragging the total population of the world gradually towards a fall down into the lowest status of conditioned life. Conditioned life means to be more and more entangled by the laws of physical nature. The function of the physical nature is explained above. And those who are too much enamoured by such physical laws are called the Ashuras or the Atheist. The Atheist does not like to accept the Standard service which is recommended by the Supreme authority of the Personality of Godhead.
Such atheists, however they may be great religionists, scholars, scientists, politicians, philosophers, poets, artists, administrators, businessmen, lawyers, educationists etc., are befooled by the laws of nature and therefore they do not recognise the Supreme authority of the All-Powerful.
The lowest of the mankind
Almost 99.9 percent of the present population throughout the whole world are now atheist. Advancement of material science such as Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Psychology or even Metaphysics, none of these have been properly treated towards an end which is the immanation. The only book, perhaps in the whole world, that has properly dealt with the Spirit Soul the immortal part in living being is the Bhagwat Geeta which is the essence of all Vedic knowledge, is read with keen interest almost in all the countries of the world. But nobody has cared to bring in practical use the words of the Bhagwat Geeta. Such persons, who do not care to bring in practice the teaching of Bhagwat Geeta, are described in it as the lowest of the mankind for misusing the talent developed in the human form of life.
The personality of Godhead and the Spirit Soul both are qualitatively one and the same although they are quantitatively different as part and whole. When the quality of the Soul Spirit is known, the quality of the Supreme Godhead is automatically known or conversely when the quality of Godhead is known, the quality of the Soul Spirit is automatically known. Spiritual knowledge means to know either of them for to know one of them means to know both of them. The easiest process is to try to know the glorious energies of the Personality of Godhead and when He is known everything is known. In the darkness of night nothing is seen or known but in the daylight when the Sun is up everything is seen and known in its proper perspective. The material knowledge without the knowledge of the Supreme Lord is imperfect knowledge of the night and spiritual knowledge with the knowledge of the Personality of Godhead is the perfect knowledge of day light where nothing remains covered. After reading the Bhagwat Geeta if one is not able to know the Personality of Godhead, he is to be considered as the lowest of the mankind. The Sloka runs as follows: (To be continued)