Canto 7: The Science of GodChapter 7: What Prahlāda Learned in the Womb

Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 7.7.40

evaḿ hi lokāḥ kratubhiḥ kṛtā amī

kṣayiṣṇavaḥ sātiśayā na nirmalāḥ

tasmād adṛṣṭa-śruta-dūṣaṇaḿ paraḿ

bhaktyoktayeśaḿ bhajatātma-labdhaye

SYNONYMS

evam — similarly (as earthly wealth and possessions are impermanent); hi — indeed; lokāḥ — higher planetary systems like heaven, the moon, the sun and Brahmaloka; kratubhiḥ — by performing great sacrifices; kṛtāḥ — achieved; amī — all those; kṣayiṣṇavaḥ — perishable, impermanent; sātiśayāḥ — although more comfortable and pleasing; na — not; nirmalāḥpure (free from disturbances); tasmāt — therefore; adṛṣṭa-śruta — never seen or heard; dūṣaṇam — whose fault; param — the Supreme; bhaktyā — with great devotional love; uktayāas described in the Vedic literature (not mixed with jñāna or karma); īśam — the Supreme Lord; bhajata — worship; ātma-labdhaye — for self-realization.

TRANSLATION

It is learned from Vedic literature that by performing great sacrifices one may elevate himself to the heavenly planets. However, although life on the heavenly planets is hundreds and thousands of times more comfortable than life on earth, the heavenly planets are not pure [nirmalam], or free from the taint of material existence. The heavenly planets are also temporary, and therefore they are not the goal of life. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, however, has never been seen or heard to possess inebriety. Consequently, for your own benefit and self-realization, you must worship the Lord with great devotion, as described in the revealed scriptures.

PURPORT

As stated in Bhagavad-gītā, kṣīṇe puṇye martya-lokaḿ viśanti [Bg. 9.21]. Even if one is promoted to the higher planetary systems by performing great sacrifices, which are accompanied by the sinful act of sacrificing animals, the standard of happiness in Svargaloka is also not free of disturbances. There is a similar struggle for existence even for the King of heaven, Indra. Thus there is no practical benefit in promoting oneself to the heavenly planets. Indeed, from the heavenly planets one must return to this earth after one has exhausted the results of his pious activities. In the Vedas it is said, tad yatheha karma jito lokaḥ kṣīyate evam evāmutra puṇya jito lokaḥ kṣīyata. As the material positions we acquire here by hard work are vanquished in due course of time, one's residence in the heavenly planets is also eventually vanquished. According to one's activities of piety in different degrees, one obtains different standards of life, but none of them are permanent, and therefore they are all impure. Consequently, one should not endeavor to be promoted to the higher planetary systems, only to return to this earth or descend still lower to the hellish planets. To stop this cycle of going up and coming down, one must take to Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu therefore said:

brahmāṇḍa bhramite kona bhāgyavān jīva

guru-kṛṣṇa-prasāde pāya bhakti-latā-bīja

(Cc. Madhya 19.151)

The living entity is rotating in the cycle of birth and death, going sometimes to the higher planets and sometimes to the lower planets, but that is not the solution to the problems of life. But if by the grace of Kṛṣṇa one is fortunate enough to meet a guru, a representative of Kṛṣṇa, one gets the clue to returning home, back to Godhead, having achieved self-realization. This is what is actually desirable. Bhajatātma-labdhaye: one must take to Kṛṣṇa consciousness for self-realization.

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