The Perfection of Human Life

human body

…The perfection of human life is attained by following three principles of civilization: protecting the cows, maintaining the brahminical culture and, above all, becoming a pure devotee of the Lord. Without becoming a devotee of the Lord, one cannot perfect one’s human life. The perfection of human life is to be elevated to the spiritual world, where there is no birth, no death, no disease and no old age. That is the highest perfectional aim of human life. Without this aim, any amount of material advancement in so-called comforts can only bring the defeat of the human form of life. (from purport SB 3.3.28)

Full text and purport

Srimad Bhagavatam
By His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Canto Three, Chapter 3, Text 28

annaṁ coru-rasaṁ tebhyo
dattvā bhagavad-arpaṇam
go-viprārthāsavaḥ śūrāḥ
praṇemur bhuvi mūrdhabhiḥ

annam—foodstuff; ca—also; uru-rasam—highly delicious; tebhyaḥ—unto the brāhmaṇas; dattvā—after supplying; bhagavat-arpaṇam—which was first offered to the Personality of Godhead; go—cows; vipra—brāhmaṇas; artha—purpose; asavaḥ—purpose of living; śūrāḥ—all the valiant kṣatriyas; praṇemuḥ—offered obeisances; bhuvi—touching the ground; mūrdhabhiḥ—with their heads.

TRANSLATION

Thereafter they offered the brāhmaṇas highly delicious foodstuffs first offered to the Personality of Godhead and offered their respectful obeisances by touching their heads to the ground. They lived perfectly by protecting the cows and the brāhmaṇas.

PURPORT

The behavior exhibited by the descendants of Yadu in the pilgrimage site of Prabhāsa was highly cultured and exactly to the point of human perfection. The perfection of human life is attained by following three principles of civilization: protecting the cows, maintaining the brahminical culture and, above all, becoming a pure devotee of the Lord. Without becoming a devotee of the Lord, one cannot perfect one’s human life. The perfection of human life is to be elevated to the spiritual world, where there is no birth, no death, no disease and no old age. That is the highest perfectional aim of human life. Without this aim, any amount of material advancement in so-called comforts can only bring the defeat of the human form of life.

Brāhmaṇas and Vaiṣṇavas do not accept any foodstuff which is not first offered to the Personality of Godhead. Foodstuff offered to the Lord is accepted by the devotees as the mercy of the Lord. After all, the Lord supplies all kinds of foodstuff, both to the human being and to other animals. A human being must be conscious of the fact that all foodstuffs, namely grains, vegetables, milk, water, etc.—the prime necessities of life—are supplied for mankind by the Lord, and such foodstuffs cannot be manufactured by any scientist or materialist in a laboratory or factory established by human effort. The intelligent class of men are called brāhmaṇas, and those who have realized the Absolute Truth in His supreme personal feature are called Vaiṣṇavas. But both of them accept foodstuffs which are the remnants of sacrifice. Sacrifice is ultimately meant to satisfy the yajña-puruṣa, Viṣṇu. In Bhagavad-gītā (3.13) it is said that one who accepts foodstuffs as the remnants of sacrifice is freed from all sinful reactions, and one who cooks foodstuffs for maintenance of his body takes in all kinds of sins, which lead only to suffering. The foodstuffs prepared by the Yadus at the Prabhāsa pilgrimage site to offer to the bona fide brāhmaṇas there were all offered to the Personality of Godhead, Viṣṇu. The Yadus offered their sincere obeisances by touching their heads to the ground. The Yadus or any enlightened family in Vedic culture are trained for attainment of human perfection by total cooperation of service between the different divisions of social orders.

prasadam  the Lord's mercy

The word uru-rasam is also significant here. Hundreds of delicacies can be prepared simply by the combination of grains, vegetables and milk. All such preparations are in the mode of goodness and therefore may be offered to the Personality of Godhead. As stated in Bhagavad-gītā (9.26), the Lord accepts only foodstuffs which are within the range of fruits, flowers, leaves and liquids, provided they are offered in complete devotional service. Devotional service is the only criterion for a bona fide offering to the Lord. The Lord assures that He positively eats such foodstuffs offered by the devotees. So, judging from all sides, the Yadus were perfectly trained civilized persons, and their being cursed by the brāhmaṇa sages was only by the desire of the Lord; the whole incident was a warning to all concerned that no one should behave lightly with brāhmaṇas and Vaiṣṇavas.

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