VMA 1.98 : Cutting the chains of false affection


kadā śrīmad-vṛndāvanam iha mṛṣā sneha-nigaḍaṁ
samucchidya svānāṁ śaraṇam upayāsyāmi vikalaḥ |
kvacit svāntaḥ-śalyoddharaṇam abhipaśyan na hi manāg
api śraute vartmany akhila-vidusām anumate ||1.98||
When will I cut off the chains
of false affection of my family and loved ones,
and approach Vrindavan for shelter in this world?

I see no other means for extracting
the spike of suffering from my heart,
not even by following the path of the Shrutis,
accepted and taught by all the wise.
Commentary

Prabodhananda continues to speak of his desperation in worldly life. It feels like he is in the midst of a conflagration that burns in whichever direction he turns.

The love my family and friends show towards me is false, he declares. After all, this is one of the fundamental realizations of the Upanishads. In particular I speak of this passage in the Bṛhad-āraṇyaka (2.4.5):
Truly, it is not due to love of the husband
that the husband is dear,
but due to one's love of self
that the husband is dear.

Truly, it is not due to the love of the wife
that the wife is dear,
but due to one's love of self
that the wife is dear...

Truly, it is not due to the love of anything
that that thing become dear,
but due to one's love of self
that those things become dear.

So one must see the self, O Maitreyi,
one must learn what is the self,
one must study the self,
one must meditate intently on the self.
For by seeing, hearing, reflecting on and knowing the self,
all this will be known.
The Sanskrit for this is:

na vā are patyuḥ kāmāya patiḥ priyo bhavaty 
ātmanas tu kāmāya patiḥ priyo bhavati
na vā are jāyāyai kāmāya jāyā priyā bhavaty 
ātmanas tu kāmāya jāyā priyā bhavati ...
na vā are sarvasya kāmāya sarvaṁ priyaṁ bhavaty 
ātmanas tu kāmāya sarvaṁ priyaṁ bhavati
ātmā vā are draṣṭavyaḥ śrotavyo mantavyo nididhyāsitavyo
maitreyy ātmano vā are darśanena śravaṇena matyā 
vijñānenedaṁ sarvaṁ viditam. 

For more on this passage see here.

In a sense, this means that we are indeed all narcissistic self-loving creatures, even when we are at our most agreeable and sociable. In a most fundamental way, this is the universal condition of material existence. No wonder we are fooled into thinking that we are gods or God.

But, of course, the real Self that we love is beyond our miserable finite body-encased existence, and does indeed encompass everything. Real self-love is only experienced when we are joined in oneness with that Supreme Self.

That is the self we seek in wife, husbands, sons and daughters. And, in the end, we can only love them truly if we see Him in them. But mostly, the lack of self-knowledge in those we love means that they only distract us from attaining the state whereby they will all be truly benefited. And what is the use of all worldly love and good-works -- for oneself or for others -- if there is no immersion in the Supreme Self? In the workings of karma we are all simply instruments of each other's bondage, unless we have learned the art of going to the divine root of all things.

tāvad rāgādayaḥ stenāḥ tāvat kārāgṛhaṁ gṛham
tāvan moho’ṅghri-nigaḍo yāvat kṛṣṇa na te janāḥ

Lord Brahma says: In our conditioned state, desire and hatred are like thieves that steal our spiritual wealth. When we are conditioned, our family and household become like a prison in which we are trapped. And our illusioned condition is like the chains by which we are shackled. This is our distressful condition, O Krishna, until we become attached to the company of your pure devotees and are able to reside in their midst. From that day onward, desire no longer acts like a thief to rob us, but becomes a friend and remains completely fixed on your lotus feet. From that day onward, our home becomes transcendent and an abode of eternal bliss. From that day onward, even our bewilderment serves the goal of devotion and helps us to advance in spiritual life. (SB 10.14.36) [following Bhaktivinoda Thakur]

The realization that the world is empty of love is the spear that pierces the heart. Jiva Goswami says, it is the absence of a connection to Krishna that pierces the heart.

nṛpo na hari-sevitā vyaya-kṛtī na hary-arpakaḥ
kavir na hari-varṇakaḥ śrita-gurur na hary-āśritaḥ |
guṇī na hari-tat-paraḥ sarala-dhīr na kṛṣṇāśrayaḥ
sa na braja-ramānugaḥ sva-hṛdi sapta śalyāni me

The king who does not serve Hari,
the person who spends, but offers nothing to Hari;
the poet who does not glorify Krishna with his words;
the person who has taken a spiritual master,
but not taken refuge in Hari;
the person with good qualities who is not fixed on Hari;
the simple-hearted person who has not taken shelter of Hari;
and finally, one who has taken shelter of Krishna,
but does not follow in the footsteps of the gopis –
These are the seven spears that pierce my heart.
(Gopāla-pūrva-campū 33.61)
Prabodhananda Saraswati says, "How can I remove these darts of suffering from my heart? The path of ritual karmas, of religious duties prescribed in the scriptures does not get to the root of the problem and only promises more of the same. It offers nothing but illusory happiness. My only hope lies in taking shelter of Vrindavan, where I will surely be able to find the association of rasika devotees and become absorbed in the all-blissful lilas of Radha and Krishna.


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