Meditation upon the Personality of Godhead Śrī Kṛṣṇa

Narada muni meditates of Sri Krsna

This morning I was reading from the First Canto, sixth chapter of the Srimad Bhagavatam entitled “Conversation Between Nārada and Vyāsadeva”. Here Śrī Nārada Muni is explaining how it is, he attained his present transcendental body, and his encounter with the Personality of Godhead Śrī Kṛṣṇa. This is a beautiful chapter and I find myself reading it again and again.

After that, under the shadow of a banyan tree in an uninhabited forest I began to meditate upon the Supersoul situated within, using my intelligence, as I had learned from liberated souls.

As soon as I began to meditate upon the lotus feet of the Personality of Godhead with my mind transformed in transcendental love, tears rolled down my eyes, and without delay the Personality of Godhead Śrī Kṛṣṇa appeared on the lotus of my heart.

O Vyāsadeva, at that time, being exceedingly overpowered by feelings of happiness, every part of my body became separately enlivened. Being absorbed in an ocean of ecstasy, I could not see both myself and the Lord.

The transcendental form of the Lord, as it is, satisfies the mind’s desire and at once erases all mental incongruities. Upon losing that form, I suddenly got up, being perturbed, as is usual when one loses that which is desirable.

I desired to see again that transcendental form of the Lord, but despite my attempts to concentrate upon the heart with eagerness to view the form again, I could not see Him any more, and thus dissatisfied, I was very much aggrieved.

Seeing my attempts in that lonely place, the Personality of Godhead, who is transcendental to all mundane description, spoke to me with gravity and pleasing words, just to mitigate my grief.

O Nārada [the Lord spoke], I regret that during this lifetime you will not be able to see Me anymore. Those who are incomplete in service and who are not completely free from all material taints can hardly see Me.

O virtuous one, you have only once seen My person, and this is just to increase your desire for Me, because the more you hanker for Me, the more you will be freed from all material desires.

Srimad Bhagavatam
By His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
First Canto, Chapter 6, Text 15-22

full text and purports

TEXT 15

tasmin nirmanuje ‘raṇye
pippalopastha āśritaḥ
ātmanātmānam ātmasthaṁ
yathā-śrutam acintayam

tasmin—in that; nirmanuje—without human habitation; araṇye—in the forest; pippala—banyan tree; upasthe—sitting under it; āśritaḥ—taking shelter of; ātmanā—by intelligence; ātmānam—the Supersoul; ātma-stham—situated within myself; yathā-śrutam—as I had heard it from the liberated souls; acintayam—thought over.

TRANSLATION

After that, under the shadow of a banyan tree in an uninhabited forest I began to meditate upon the Supersoul situated within, using my intelligence, as I had learned from liberated souls.

PURPORT

One should not meditate according to one’s personal whims. One should know perfectly well from the authoritative sources of scriptures through the transparent medium of a bona fide spiritual master and by proper use of one’s trained intelligence for meditating upon the Supersoul dwelling within every living being. This consciousness is firmly developed by a devotee who has rendered loving service unto the Lord by carrying out the orders of the spiritual master. Śrī Nāradajī contacted bona fide spiritual masters, served them sincerely and got enlightenment rightly. Thus he began to meditate.

TEXT 16

dhyāyataś caraṇāmbhojaṁ
bhāva-nirjita-cetasā
autkaṇṭhyāśru-kalākṣasya
hṛdy āsīn me śanair hariḥ

dhyāyataḥ—thus meditating upon; caraṇa-ambhojam—the lotus feet of the localized Personality of Godhead; bhāva-nirjita—mind transformed in transcendental love for the Lord; cetasā—all mental activities (thinking, feeling and willing); autkaṇṭhya—eagerness; aśru-kala—tears rolled down; akṣasya—of the eyes; hṛdi—within my heart; āsīt—appeared; me—my; śanaiḥ—without delay; hariḥ—the Personality of Godhead.

TRANSLATION

As soon as I began to meditate upon the lotus feet of the Personality of Godhead with my mind transformed in transcendental love, tears rolled down my eyes, and without delay the Personality of Godhead Śrī Kṛṣṇa appeared on the lotus of my heart.

PURPORT

The word bhāva is significant here. This bhāva stage is attained after one has transcendental affection for the Lord. The first initial stage is called śraddhā, or a liking for the Supreme Lord, and in order to increase that liking one has to associate with pure devotees of the Lord. The third stage is to practice the prescribed rules and regulations of devotional service. This will dissipate all sorts of misgivings and remove all personal deficiencies that hamper progress in devotional service.

When all misgivings and personal deficiencies are removed, there is a standard faith in transcendental matter, and the taste for it increases in greater proportion. This stage leads to attraction, and after this there is bhāva, or the prior stage of unalloyed love for God. All the above different stages are but different stages of development of transcendental love. Being so surcharged with transcendental love, there comes a strong feeling of separation which leads to eight different kinds of ecstasies. Tears from the eyes of a devotee is an automatic reaction, and because Śrī Nārada Muni in his previous birth attained that stage very quickly after his departure from home, it was quite possible for him to perceive the actual presence of the Lord, which he tangibly experienced by his developed spiritual senses without material tinge.

TEXT 17

premātibhara-nirbhinna-
pulakāṅgo ‘tinirvṛtaḥ
ānanda-samplave līno
nāpaśyam ubhayaṁ mune

premā—love; atibhara—excessive; nirbhinna—especially distinguished; pulaka—feelings of happiness; aṅgaḥ—different bodily parts; ati-nirvṛtaḥ—being fully overwhelmed; ānanda—ecstasy; samplave—in the ocean of; līnaḥ—absorbed in; na—not; apaśyam—could see; ubhayam—both; mune—O Vyāsadeva.

TRANSLATION

O Vyāsadeva, at that time, being exceedingly overpowered by feelings of happiness, every part of my body became separately enlivened. Being absorbed in an ocean of ecstasy, I could not see both myself and the Lord.

PURPORT

Spiritual feelings of happiness and intense ecstasies have no mundane comparison. Therefore it is very difficult to give expression to such feelings. We can just have a glimpse of such ecstasy in the words of Śrī Nārada Muni. Each and every part of the body or senses has its particular function. After seeing the Lord, all the senses become fully awakened to render service unto the Lord because in the liberated state the senses are fully efficient in serving the Lord. As such, in that transcendental ecstasy it so happened that the senses became separately enlivened to serve the Lord. This being so, Nārada Muni lost himself in seeing both himself and the Lord simultaneously.

TEXT 18

rūpaṁ bhagavato yat tan
manaḥ-kāntaṁ śucāpaham
apaśyan sahasottasthe
vaiklavyād durmanā iva

rūpam—form; bhagavataḥ—of the Personality of Godhead; yat—as it is; tat—that; manaḥ—of the mind; kāntam—as it desires; śuca-apaham—vanishing all disparity; apaśyan—without seeing; sahasā—all of a sudden; uttasthe—got up; vaiklavyāt—being perturbed; durmanāḥ—having lost the desirable; iva—as it were.

TRANSLATION

The transcendental form of the Lord, as it is, satisfies the mind’s desire and at once erases all mental incongruities. Upon losing that form, I suddenly got up, being perturbed, as is usual when one loses that which is desirable.

PURPORT

That the Lord is not formless is experienced by Nārada Muni. But His form is completely different from all forms of our material experience. For the whole duration of our life we go see different forms in the material world, but none of them is just apt to satisfy the mind, nor can any one of them vanish all perturbance of the mind. These are the special features of the transcendental form of the Lord, and one who has once seen that form is not satisfied with anything else; no form in the material world can any longer satisfy the seer. That the Lord is formless or impersonal means that He has nothing like a material form and is not like any material personality.

As spiritual beings, having eternal relations with that transcendental form of the Lord, we are, life after life, searching after that form of the Lord, and we are not satisfied by any other form of material appeasement. Nārada Muni got a glimpse of this, but having not seen it again he became perturbed and stood up all of a sudden to search it out. What we desire life after life was obtained by Nārada Muni, and losing sight of Him again was certainly a great shock for him.

TEXT 19

didṛkṣus tad ahaṁ bhūyaḥ
praṇidhāya mano hṛdi
vīkṣamāṇo ‘pi nāpaśyam
avitṛpta ivāturaḥ

didṛkṣuḥ—desiring to see; tat—that; aham—I; bhūyaḥ—again; praṇidhāya—having concentrated the mind; manaḥ—mind; hṛdi—upon the heart; vīkṣamāṇaḥ—waiting to see; api—in spite of; na—never; apaśyam—saw Him; avitṛptaḥ—without being satisfied; iva—like; āturaḥ—aggrieved.

TRANSLATION

I desired to see again that transcendental form of the Lord, but despite my attempts to concentrate upon the heart with eagerness to view the form again, I could not see Him any more, and thus dissatisfied, I was very much aggrieved.

PURPORT

There is no mechanical process to see the form of the Lord. It completely depends on the causeless mercy of the Lord. We cannot demand the Lord to be present before our vision, just as we cannot demand the sun to rise whenever we like. The sun rises out of his own accord; so also the Lord is pleased to be present out of His causeless mercy. One should simply await the opportune moment and go on discharging his prescribed duty in devotional service of the Lord. Nārada Muni thought that the Lord could be seen again by the same mechanical process which was successful in the first attempt, but in spite of his utmost endeavor he could not make the second attempt successful. The Lord is completely independent of all obligations. He can simply be bound up by the tie of unalloyed devotion. Nor is He visible or perceivable by our material senses. When He pleases, being satisfied with the sincere attempt of devotional service depending completely on the mercy of the Lord, then He may be seen out of His own accord.

TEXT 20

evaṁ yatantaṁ vijane
mām āhāgocaro girām
gambhīra-ślakṣṇayā vācā
śucaḥ praśamayann iva

evam—thus; yatantam—one who is engaged in attempting; vijane—in that lonely place; mām—unto me; āha—said; agocaraḥ—beyond the range of physical sound; girām—utterances; gambhīra—grave; ślakṣṇayā—pleasing to hear; vācā—words; śucaḥ—grief; praśamayan—mitigating; iva—like.

TRANSLATION

Seeing my attempts in that lonely place, the Personality of Godhead, who is transcendental to all mundane description, spoke to me with gravity and pleasing words, just to mitigate my grief.

PURPORT

In the Vedas it is said that God is beyond the approach of mundane words and intelligence. And yet by His causeless mercy one can have suitable senses to hear Him or to speak to Him. This is the Lord’s inconceivable energy. One upon whom His mercy is bestowed can hear Him. The Lord was much pleased with Nārada Muni, and therefore the necessary strength was invested in him so that he could hear the Lord. It is not, however, possible for others to perceive directly the touch of the Lord during the probationary stage of regulative devotional service. It was a special gift for Nārada. When he heard the pleasing words of the Lord, the feelings of separation were to some extent mitigated. A devotee in love with God feels always the pangs of separation and is therefore always enwrapped in transcendental ecstasy.

TEXT 21

hantāsmiñ janmani bhavān
mā māṁ draṣṭum ihārhati
avipakva-kaṣāyāṇāṁ
durdarśo ‘haṁ kuyoginām

hanta—O Nārada; asmin—this; janmani—duration of life; bhavān—yourself; mā—not; mām—Me; draṣṭum—to see; iha—here; arhati—deserve; avipakva—immature; kaṣāyāṇām—material dirt; durdarśaḥ—difficult to be seen; aham—I; kuyoginām—incomplete in service.
TRANSLATION

O Nārada [the Lord spoke], I regret that during this lifetime you will not be able to see Me anymore. Those who are incomplete in service and who are not completely free from all material taints can hardly see Me.

PURPORT

The Personality of Godhead is described in the Bhagavad-gītā as the most pure, the Supreme and the Absolute Truth. There is no trace of a tinge of materiality in His person, and thus one who has the slightest tinge of material affection cannot approach Him. The beginning of devotional service starts from the point when one is freed from at least two forms of material modes, namely the mode of passion and the mode of ignorance. The result is exhibited by the signs of being freed from kāma (lust) and lobha (covetousness). That is to say, one must be freed from the desires for sense satisfaction and avarice for sense gratification. The balanced mode of nature is goodness. And to be completely freed from all material tinges is to become free from the mode of goodness also. To search the audience of God in a lonely forest is considered to be in the mode of goodness. One can go out into the forest to attain spiritual perfection, but that does not mean that one can see the Lord personally there. One must be completely freed from all material attachment and be situated on the plane of transcendence, which alone will help the devotee get in personal touch with the Personality of Godhead. The best method is that one should live at a place where the transcendental form of the Lord is worshiped. The temple of the Lord is a transcendental place, whereas the forest is a materially good habitation. A neophyte devotee is always recommended to worship the Deity of the Lord (arcanā) rather than go into the forest to search out the Lord. Devotional service begins from the process of arcanā, which is better than going out in the forest. In his present life, which is completely freed from all material hankerings, Śrī Nārada Muni does not go into the forest, although he can turn every place into Vaikuṇṭha by his presence only. He travels from one planet to another to convert men, gods, Kinnaras, Gandharvas, ṛṣis, munis and all others to become devotees of the Lord. By his activities he has engaged many devotees like Prahlāda Mahārāja, Dhruva Mahārāja and many others in the transcendental service of the Lord. A pure devotee of the Lord, therefore, follows in the footsteps of the great devotees like Nārada and Prahlāda and engages his whole time in glorifying the Lord by the process of kīrtana. Such a preaching process is transcendental to all material qualities.

TEXT 22

sakṛd yad darśitaṁ rūpam
etat kāmāya te ‘nagha
mat-kāmaḥ śanakaiḥ sādhu
sarvān muñcati hṛc-chayān

sakṛt—once only; yat—that; darśitam—shown; rūpam—form; etat—this is; kāmāya—for hankerings; te—your; anagha—O virtuous one; mat—Mine; kāmaḥ—desire; śanakaiḥ—by increasing; sādhuḥ—devotee; sarvān—all; muñcati—gives away; hṛt-śayān—material desires.

TRANSLATION

O virtuous one, you have only once seen My person, and this is just to increase your desire for Me, because the more you hanker for Me, the more you will be freed from all material desires.

PURPORT

A living being cannot be vacant of desires. He is not a dead stone. He must be working, thinking, feeling and willing. But when he thinks, feels and wills materially, he becomes entangled, and conversely when he thinks, feels and wills for the service of the Lord, he becomes gradually freed from all entanglement. The more a person is engaged in the transcendental loving service of the Lord, the more he acquires a hankering for it. That is the transcendental nature of godly service. Material service has satiation, whereas spiritual service of the Lord has neither satiation nor end. One can go on increasing his hankerings for the loving transcendental service of the Lord, and yet he will not find satiation or end. By intense service of the Lord, one can experience the presence of the Lord transcendentally. Therefore seeing the Lord means being engaged in His service because His service and His person are identical. The sincere devotee should go on with sincere service of the Lord. The Lord will give proper direction as to how and where it has to be done. There was no material desire in Nārada, and yet just to increase his intense desire for the Lord, he was so advised.

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