Mahatma; Great Soul

Srila Prabhupada with unbrella etc.

This morning I happened upon the above picture of Srila Prabhupada, and my mind immediately thought of the following two verses from the Bhagavad-gita:

O son of Pṛthā, those who are not deluded, the great souls, are under the protection of the divine nature. They are fully engaged in devotional service because they know Me as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, original and inexhaustible. (Bg 9. 13)

Always chanting My glories, endeavoring with great determination, bowing down before Me, these great souls perpetually worship Me with devotion. (Bg 9.14)

…In this verse the description of mahātmā is clearly given. The first sign of the mahātmā is that he is already situated in the divine nature…The mahātmā does not divert his attention to anything outside Kṛṣṇa because he knows perfectly well that Kṛṣṇa is the original Supreme Person, the cause of all causes. There is no doubt about it. Such a mahātmā, or great soul, develops through association with other mahātmās, pure devotees.

…The mahātmā cannot be manufactured by rubber-stamping an ordinary man. His symptoms are described here: a mahātmā is always engaged in chanting the glories of the Supreme Lord Kṛṣṇa, the Personality of Godhead. He has no other business. He is always engaged in the glorification of the Lord. In other words, he is not an impersonalist. When the question of glorification is there, one has to glorify the Supreme Lord, praising His holy name, His eternal form, His transcendental qualities and His uncommon pastimes. One has to glorify all these things; therefore a mahātmā is attached to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. (from purports)

I find that for me personally, thinking about Srila Prabhupada is one of the best forms of meditation, is good for my Krishna consciousness, and makes me feel very fortunate to be a part of The Hare Krishna Movement.

Full text and purport

Bhagavad-gita As It Is 1972 Edition
By His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Chapter 9, Text 13-14

TEXT 13

mahātmānas tu māṁ pārtha
daivīṁ prakṛtim āśritāḥ
bhajanty ananya-manaso
jñātvā bhūtādim avyayam

mahātmānaḥ—the great souls; tu—but; mām—unto Me; pārtha—O son of Pṛthā; daivīm—divine; prakṛtim—nature; āśritāḥ—taken shelter of; bhajanti—render service; ananya-manasaḥ—without deviation of the mind; jñātvā—knowing; bhūta—creation; ādim—original; avyayam—inexhaustible.

TRANSLATION

O son of Pṛthā, those who are not deluded, the great souls, are under the protection of the divine nature. They are fully engaged in devotional service because they know Me as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, original and inexhaustible.

PURPORT

In this verse the description of mahātmā is clearly given. The first sign of the mahātmā is that he is already situated in the divine nature. He is not under the control of material nature. And how is this effected? That is explained in the Seventh Chapter: one who surrenders unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, at once becomes freed from the control of material nature. That is the qualification. One can become free from the control of material nature as soon as he surrenders his soul to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. That is the preliminary formula. Being marginal potency, as soon as the living entity is freed from the control of material nature, he is put under the guidance of the spiritual nature. The guidance of the spiritual nature is called daivīṁ prakṛtim, divine nature. So, when one is promoted in that way-by surrendering to the Supreme Personality of Godhead-one attains to the stage of great soul, mahātmā.

The mahātmā does not divert his attention to anything outside Kṛṣṇa because he knows perfectly well that Kṛṣṇa is the original Supreme Person, the cause of all causes. There is no doubt about it. Such a mahātmā, or great soul, develops through association with other mahātmās, pure devotees. Pure devotees are not even attracted by Kṛṣṇa’s other features, such as the four-armed Mahā-Viṣṇu. They are simply attracted by the two-armed form of Kṛṣṇa. Since they are not attracted to other features of Kṛṣṇa (what to speak of the demigods), they are not concerned with any form of a demigod or of a human being. They only meditate upon Kṛṣṇa in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. They are always engaged in the unswerving service of the Lord in Kṛṣṇa consciousness.

TEXT 14

satataṁ kīrtayanto māṁ
yatantaś ca dṛḍha-vratāḥ
namasyantaś ca māṁ bhaktyā
nitya-yuktā upāsate

satatam—always; kīrtayantaḥ—chanting; mām—Me; yatantaḥ ca—fully endeavoring also; dṛḍha-vratāḥ—with determination; namasyantaḥ ca—offering obeisances; mām—unto Me; bhaktyā—in devotion; nitya-yuktāḥ—perpetually engaged; upāsate—worship.

TRANSLATION

Always chanting My glories, endeavoring with great determination, bowing down before Me, these great souls perpetually worship Me with devotion.

PURPORT

The mahātmā cannot be manufactured by rubber-stamping an ordinary man. His symptoms are described here: a mahātmā is always engaged in chanting the glories of the Supreme Lord Kṛṣṇa, the Personality of Godhead. He has no other business. He is always engaged in the glorification of the Lord. In other words, he is not an impersonalist. When the question of glorification is there, one has to glorify the Supreme Lord, praising His holy name, His eternal form, His transcendental qualities and His uncommon pastimes. One has to glorify all these things; therefore a mahātmā is attached to the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

One who is attached to the impersonal feature of the Supreme Lord, the brahmajyoti, is not described as mahātmā in the Bhagavad-gītā. He is described in a different way in the next verse. The mahātmā is always engaged in different activities of devotional service, as described in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, hearing and chanting about Viṣṇu, not a demigod or human being. That is devotion: śravaṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ viṣṇoḥ, smaraṇam, and remembering Him. Such a mahātmā has firm determination to achieve at the ultimate end the association of the Supreme Lord in any one of the five transcendental rasas. To achieve that success, he engages all activities-mental, bodily and vocal, everything-in the service of the Supreme Lord, Śrī Kṛṣṇa. That is called full Kṛṣṇa consciousness.

In devotional service there are certain activities which are called determined, such as fasting on certain days, like the eleventh day of the moon, Ekādaśī, and on the appearance day of the Lord, etc. All these rules and regulations are offered by the great ācāryas for those who are actually interested in getting admission into the association of the Supreme Personality of Godhead in the transcendental world. The mahātmās, great souls, strictly observe all these rules and regulations, and therefore they are sure to achieve the desired result.
As described in the second verse of this chapter, this devotional service is not only easy, but it can be performed in a happy mood. One does not need to undergo any severe penance and austerity. He can live this life in devotional service, guided by an expert spiritual master, and in any position, either as a householder or a sannyāsī, or a brahmacārī; in any position and anywhere in the world, he can perform this devotional service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead and thus become actually mahātmā, a great soul.

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. The Hare Krishna Movement
    Jan 21, 2015 @ 09:23:09

    This Photo also reminds me of Krsna entering Dwarka

    Reply

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