The Choice; Krishna or Maya?

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…So Krsna and maya are side by side. As soon as you forget Krsna, or as soon as you want to utilize Krsna for your sense gratification, it is immediately maya, darkness. And as soon as you want to serve Krsna, immediately it is light. So if we keep ourself on this side, light side, always serving Krsna, then there is no possibility of our being in contact with maya.

“The Choice; Krishna Or Maya”
Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.2.18
August 21, 1972, Los Angeles

Pradyumna: (leads chanting, etc.)

nasta-prayesv abhadresu
nityam bhagavata-sevaya
bhagavaty uttama-sloke
bhaktir bhavati naisthiki
[SB 1.2.18]

Translation: “By regularly hearing the Bhagavatam and rendering service unto the pure devotee, all that is troublesome to the heart is practically destroyed, and loving service unto the glorious Lord, who is praised with transcendental songs, is established as an irrevocable fact.”

Prabhupada: So here it is said bhagavata-sevaya, not bhagavan-sevaya. Bhagavan is Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and bhagavata means in relation with Bhagavan, who has got relationship with Bhagavan. So here it is recommended bhagavata-sevaya, not bhagavan-sevaya. The idea is that you cannot approach Bhagavan, God, directly. That is not possible. First of all, you have to serve bhagavata, the devotee bhagavata.

There are two kinds of bhagavata: book bhagavata and devotee bhagavata. So in the Siva Purana, there was a question by Parvati to Lord Siva. Lord Siva and Parvati, husband and wife. Parvati means the material nature. Srsti-sthiti-pralaya-sadhana-saktir eka chayeva yasya bhuvanani bibharti durga [Bs. 5.44]. Durga-devi. Durga-devi is in charge of this material world. It is called durga, durga, just like fort. And the superintendent of this fort is Durga. You cannot go out of this fort; you are imprisoned. So such Durga-devi, who is so powerful energy — she can create, annihilate, maintain, srsti-sthiti-pralaya-sadhana — she is always sitting by the side of her husband, Lord Siva, and questioning about spiritual enquiries. Just see. Such powerful deity is also ignorant about spiritual life. So the husband, Lord Siva, is Vaisnava, and she’s always asking, and sitting down underneath a bael tree. She can create so many universes, but for her, no building; only underneath a tree.

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The Book Bhāgavata and the Devotee Bhāgavata

The message of the Book Bhagavata is received from the devotee Bhagavata, Srila Prabhupada, and under His guidance the devotee is able to progress in devotional service. By such sincere association the disciple is able to receive transcendental knowledge very easily.

Srimad Bhagavatam
By His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Chapter 3 Divinity and Divine Service

naṣṭa-prāyeṣv abhadreṣu
nityaṁ bhāgavata-sevayā
bhagavaty uttama-śloke
bhaktir bhavati naiṣṭhikī

By regular attendance in classes on the Bhāgavatam and by rendering of service to the pure devotee, all that is troublesome to the heart is almost completely destroyed, and loving service unto the Personality of Godhead, who is praised with transcendental songs, is established as an irrevocable fact.

Here is the remedy for eliminating all inauspicious things within the heart which are considered to be obstacles in the path of self-realization. The remedy is the association of the Bhāgavatas. There are two types of Bhāgavatas, namely the book Bhāgavata and the devotee Bhāgavata. Both the Bhāgavatas are competent remedies, and both of them or either of them can be good enough to eliminate the obstacles. A devotee Bhāgavata is as good as the book Bhāgavata because the devotee Bhāgavata leads his life in terms of the book Bhāgavata and the book Bhāgavata is full of information about the Personality of Godhead and His pure devotees, who are also Bhāgavatas. Bhāgavata book and person are identical.

The devotee Bhāgavata is a direct representative of Bhagavān, the Personality of Godhead. So by pleasing the devotee Bhāgavata one can receive the benefit of the book Bhāgavata. Human reason fails to understand how by serving the devotee Bhāgavata or the book Bhāgavata one gets gradual promotion on the path of devotion. But actually these are facts explained by Śrīla Nāradadeva, who happened to be a maidservant’s son in his previous life. The maidservant was engaged in the menial service of the sages, and thus he also came into contact with them. And simply by associating with them and accepting the remnants of foodstuff left by the sages, the son of the maidservant got the chance to become the great devotee and personality Śrīla Nāradadeva. These are the miraculous effects of the association of Bhāgavatas. And to understand these effects practically, it should be noted that by such sincere association of the Bhāgavatas one is sure to receive transcendental knowledge very easily, with the result that he becomes fixed in the devotional service of the Lord. The more progress is made in devotional service under the guidance of the Bhāgavatas, the more one becomes fixed in the transcendental loving service of the Lord. The messages of the book Bhāgavata, therefore, have to be received from the devotee Bhāgavata, and the combination of these two Bhāgavatas will help the neophyte devotee to make progress on and on.

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