The following is my notes from His Holiness Mahavishnu Gosvami Maharaj’s class on Srimad Bhagavatam 4.6.47, given in London, July 11, 2008. Maharaj gives the cure for the different unwanted qualities mentioned in the verse and Krishna willing, we are going to post our notes from this class in parts.
GuruMaharaj has taught us that we need to learn to improve our behaviour by studying Srimad Bhagavatam, otherwise, if there is no significant change to our character taking place, our Bhagavatam studies are just for name and fame.
prthag-dhiyah karma-drsho duraashayaah
paraan duruktair vitudanty aruntudaas
taan maavadheed daiva-vadaan bhavad-vidhah
“Persons who observe everything with differentiation, who are simply attached to fruitive activities, who are mean minded, who are always pained to see the flourishing condition of others and who thus give distress to them by uttering harsh and piercing words have already been killed by providence. Thus there is no need for them to be killed again by an exalted personality like you.”
The five unwanted qualities are as follows:
1. Thinking differently (prthag-dhiyah);
2. Attachment to fruitive activities (karma-drshah);
3. Being mean-minded (duraashayaah);
4. Being always pained to see the flourishing condition of others (parodayenaarpita-hrd-rujo-anisham);
5. Giving distress to other living entities by uttering harsh and piercing words (paraan duruktair vitudanty aruntudaas).
Maharaj said, “Prthag-dhiyah means those who are thinking differently. ‘I am American, you are Indian.’ The secret of fruitive activity is that we should never discourage people who are doing fruitive activities. On the contrary, we should encourage them. By doing fruitive activities they will one day be fed up with it and come to renounce them. (Maharaj relates the example of one devotee who was a chemist for fifteen years.) He was kicked from all sides, you know. And now, within a day, he is non-chemist. So let them do. Then, one day they will come whole-heartedly to the temple. Otherwise, half-heartedly they will do fruitive activities in the temple anyway. So slowly you go on. Like the expert mother’s way. She lets her child play in another place nearby while working. When going home, if she would take the child immediately out of play, the child would cry, you know. But instead, if she plays with the child, and then afterwards picks it up, it will not cry. Similarly, we do play with them.”
HG Devakinandan Prabhu commented that SB 8.1.14 gives the same point as Maharaj mentioned: “Therefore, to enable people to reach the stage of activities that are not tinged by fruitive results, great saints first engage people in fruitive activities, for unless one begins by performing activities as recommended in the shastras, one cannot reach the stage of liberation,or activities that produce no reactions.”
In purport to Srimad Bhagavatam verse 8.1.14, His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada says, “In Bhagavad-gita verse 3.9 Lord Krishna advises, yajnaartaat karmano ‘nyatra loko ‘yam karma-bandhanah: “Work done as a sacrifice for Vishnu has to be performed, otherwise work binds one to this material world.” Generally, everyone is attracted to hard labor for becoming happy in this material world, but although various activities are going on all over the world simply for the sake of happiness, unfortunately only problems are being created from such fruitive activities. Therefore it is advised that active persons engage in activities of Krishna consciousness, which are called yajna, because then they will gradually come to the platform of devotional service.”
Maharaj continued, “Yes. If whole London stopped their fruitive activities right now, there would be total chaos. Just perform kirtana. Really, if everybody comes, we have to arrange according to varnashrama. But we’re not ready for this. Everyone has his own interest here, you know. But outside, they do their varnashrama activities perfectly.”
(Continuing to reading the above purport, until the last paragraph, below) “Recently at Mayapur an African devotee wanted to imitate Haridasa Thakura, but after fifteen days he became restless and went away. Do not suddenly try to imitate Haridasa Thakura. Engage yourself in Krishna conscious activities, and gradually you will come to the stage of liberation (muktir hitvaanyathaa rupam svarupena vyavasthitih).”
Maharaj said, “Don’t try to imitate. Try to find your own strata of spiritual life and begin from there. We all have our own strata.”
Krishna willing we will hear more nectar from Maharaj on the above verse in the subsequent offerings.
Thank you very much.
Yours in service of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva,
Amogha-drk Krishna dasa,