Canto 3: The Status QuoChapter 28: Kapila's Instructions on the Execution of Devotional Service

Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Srimad Bhagavatam 3.28.18

kirtanya-tirtha-yasasam

punya-sloka-yasaskaram

dhyayed devam samagrangam

yavan na cyavate manah

SYNONYMS

kirtanya -- worth singing; tirtha-yasasam -- the glories of the Lord; punya-sloka -- of the devotees; yasah-karam -- enhancing the glory; dhyayet -- one should meditate; devam -- upon the Lord; samagra-angam -- all the limbs; yavat -- as much as; na -- not; cyavate -- deviates; manah -- the mind.

TRANSLATION

The glory of the Lord is always worth singing, for His glories enhance the glories of His devotees. One should therefore meditate upon the Supreme Personality of Godhead and upon His devotees. One should meditate on the eternal form of the Lord until the mind becomes fixed.

PURPORT

One has to fix his mind on the Supreme Personality of Godhead constantly. When one is accustomed to thinking of one of the innumerable forms of the Lord -- Krishna, Vishnu, Rama, Narayana, etc. -- he has reached the perfection of yoga. This is confirmed in the Brahma-samhita: a person who has developed pure love for the Lord, and whose eyes are smeared with the ointment of transcendental loving exchange, always sees within his heart the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The devotees especially see the Lord in the beautiful blackish form of Syamasundara. That is the perfection of yoga. This yoga system should be continued until the mind does not vacillate for a moment. Om tad vishnoh paramam padam sada pasyanti surayah: the form of Vishnu is the highest individuality and is always visible to sages and saintly persons.

The same purpose is served when a devotee worships the form of the Lord in the temple. There is no difference between devotional service in the temple and meditation on the form of the Lord, since the form of the Lord is the same whether He appears within the mind or in some concrete element. There are eight kinds of forms recommended for the devotees to see. The forms may be made out of sand, clay, wood or stone, they may be contemplated within the mind or made of jewels, metal or painted colors, but all the forms are of the same value. It is not that one who meditates on the form within the mind sees differently from one who worships the form in the temple. The Supreme Personality of Godhead is absolute, and there is therefore no difference between the two. The impersonalists, who desire to disregard the eternal form of the Lord, imagine some round figure. They especially prefer the omkara, which also has form. In Bhagavad-gita it is stated that omkara is the letter form of the Lord. Similarly, there are statue forms and painting forms of the Lord.

Another significant word in this verse is punya-sloka-yasaskaram. The devotee is called punya-sloka. As one becomes purified by chanting the holy name of the Lord, so one can become purified simply by chanting the name of a holy devotee. The pure devotee of the Lord and the Lord Himself are nondifferent. It is sometimes feasible to chant the name of a holy devotee. This is a very sanctified process. Lord Caitanya was once chanting the holy names of the gopis when His students criticized Him: "Why are You chanting the names of the gopis? Why not 'Krishna'?" Lord Caitanya was irritated by the criticism, and so there was some misunderstanding between Him and His students. He wanted to chastise them for desiring to instruct Him on the transcendental process of chanting.

The beauty of the Lord is that the devotees who are connected with His activities are also glorified. Arjuna, Prahlada, Janaka Maharaja, Bali Maharaja and many other devotees were not even in the renounced order of life, but were householders. Some of them, such as Prahlada Maharaja and Bali Maharaja, were born of demoniac families. Prahlada Maharaja's father was a demon, and Bali Maharaja was the grandson of Prahlada Maharaja, but still they have become famous because of their association with the Lord. Anyone who is eternally associated with the Lord is glorified with the Lord. The conclusion is that a perfect yogi should always be accustomed to seeing the form of the Lord, and unless the mind is fixed in that way, he should continue practicing yoga.

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His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Founder Acarya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness