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Srimad Bhagavatam (Bhagavata Purana) :: Conto 11

The Perfection of Spiritual Knowledge

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Srimad Bhagavatam » Conto 11   

 The Perfection of Spiritual Knowledge

(1) The Supreme Lord said: 'Someone who, endowed with knowledge according to the oral tradition, is self-realized and doesn't lose himself in speculations about what true knowledge is, must, known with the fact that this universe as well as the knowledge about it is illusory to a high degree, turn his steps towards Me. (2) For the spiritual philosopher I am the only beloved one, the only self-interest, motive and final conclusion as also the elevation and way to heaven; indeed, next to Me as the favorite one, he has no other purpose. (3) They who have fully perfected their knowledge and wisdom know My lotusfeet as the supreme object and thus is the learned transcendentalist who by means of spiritual knowledge keeps to Me, most dear to Me [see also B.G. 7: 17-18]. (4) That what by means of austerities, visiting holy places, doing japa, performing charity and being of other pious deeds is awarded cannot bear comparison with the perfection awarded by but a fraction of this spiritual knowledge [compare 10.46: 32-33]. (5) Worship for that reason Me in a loving mood with the spiritual knowledge with which you know your soul and are of success with the knowledge and wisdom. (6) With the sacrifice of vedic knowledge and wisdom the sages ensured themselves of the highest perpection by worshipping Me, the Lord of All Sacrifices who is the Supersoul inside of them. (7) O Uddhava, the manifest world which is divided in three divisions and is constantly transforming, consists of the bewildering energy which proves itself in the present. But because it is not there in the beginning nor in the end, you may wonder what their relation [the relation of the modes] would be to [the true of] you. They relate only to the birth of your material body and all of that. That what at first was not there and in the end isn't there either, is only of a temporary presence.'

(8) S'rî Uddhava said: 'O Controller of the Universe, o You in the Form of the Universe, please explain the bhakti-yoga unto You that is also sought by the great, and encompasses this extensive, thoroughly settled knowledge that is as traditional as the [original] detachment and wisdom [of Brahmâ]. (9) O Lord, for the one who, tormented on the violent material path, is overwhelmed by the threefold miseries [see 1.17: 19], I see no other shelter but the canopy of Your two lotus feet that shower the nectar. (10) Please uplift this person who, bitten by the snake of time, hopelessly fell down in this dark pit. Uplift this person craving so badly for some insignificant happiness. O Might of Understanding, pour out Your words of mercy that awaken one to liberation!'

(11) The Supreme Lord said: 'This you ask now was in the past by the king who considered no one his enemy [Yudhishthhira] inquired from Bhîshma, the best of the upholders of dharma, while we were all present attentively listening [see 1.9: 25-42]. (12) When the war between the descendants of Bharata was over, he asked, overwhelmed by the destruction of his beloved well-wishers, what, after all he had heard about the many principles of religion, the nature of liberation finally would be. (13) I'll describe to you the vedic knowledge consisting of detachment, self-realization, faith and devotional service, as it was heard from the mouth of the one vowed to God [viz. Bhîshma]. (14) When one with the nine, eleven, five and three elements one finds in all living entities truly seeing the one element [of the Absolute Spirit, the Supersoul, the Lord, see 1.2: 11] within them, carries that spiritual knowledge My approval. (15) Not being of all the elements subject to the three modes but rather seeing the One who maintains, creates and annihilates this universe, is one actually of the knowledge of self-realization [vijñâna]. (16) Only that must be considered true and eternal which is present in the beginning as well as in the middle with the changes of one form into the other, as also in the end when it remains upon the annihilation of everything. (17) With the four types of evidence - the vedic truth [s'ruti], the truth of direct experience [pratyaksha], the truth by tradition [aitihya or smriti], and the truth of logical inference [anumâna] - one develops detachment from the flickering nature of the dual reality [see pramâna]. (18) Because all material activities are transient there is up to the world of Viriñca [Brahmaloka] inauspiciousness. An intelligent person knowing that everything that was experienced is time-bound will also understand that the same is true for everything else in the universe [see also shath-ûrmi, 11.3: 20 and B.G. 8: 16]. (19) Because of your love for Me I previously spoke to you about bhakti-yoga, o sinless one. Let Me also expound now on the way in which the elevation of My devotional service is achieved. (20-24) Faith in the nectar of the narrations about Me, always chanting My glories, fixed in the attachment of ceremonial worship, to relate with hymns and prayers to Me; being of a high regard for My devotional service, with all of one's body to be offering obeisances, to be of the first-class worship of My devotees, to be conscious of Me being present in all living beings, to dedicate all one's normal activities to Me and also the with words defending of My qualities, placing the mind in Me and rejecting all material desires; for My sake giving up on money as also on sensual pleasures, material happiness and passions, being of charity and offering in sacrifice, chanting the names to achieve Me and keeping to vows and austerities; that are the ways, Uddhava, in which, with those human beings who actually commit themselves to the dharma, devotional service for Me develops - what other purpose would remain for My devotee? (25) When in peace one's consciousness is absorbed in the soul, one achieves, strengthened by the mode of goodness, religiosity, spiritual knowledge, detachment and opulence. (26) But when one being fixed upon the material variety, chases one's senses in every direction and one thus is enslaved by passion, you should know that one by that [materialist] consciousness dedicated to the impermanent will attain the opposite. (27) The dharma is said to lead to My devotional service. The spiritual is honored as the vision of the Supreme Soul being present. Detachment one calls the loss of interest in the sense-objects and the opulence is recognized by the animâ and such [perfections and powers see 11.15 & 11.16 and bhaga].'

(28-32) S'rî Uddhava said: 'How many types of don'ts [yama] or does [niyama] does one speak of, o Subduer of the Enemy, what is equilibrium, what is self-control, dear Krishna, what is tolerance and what is constancy, my Lord? What is charity, what is penance, heroism, what does one say about reality and truth, what is renunciation and wealth, what is desirable, a sacrifice and what is religious financial compensation? What do You think is the strength of a person, o Fortunate One, the opulence and gain, o Kes'ava, what is education, modesty, what is superior, what is beauty and what is happiness as also unhappiness? Who is learned, who is a fool, what is the real path and what the false path, what is heaven and what is hell and who do You say is a friend and what is home? Who is wealthy, who is poor, who a miser and who is a controller; please speak to me about these matters as also about the opposite qualities, o Lord of the Truthful.'

(33-35) The Supreme Lord said: 'Nonviolence, truthfulness, not coveting or stealing the property of others, detachment, modesty, non-possessiveness, belief in God, celibacy as also silence, steadiness, forgiveness and fearlessness on the one hand, and [inner and outer] cleanliness, doing the rosary, penance, sacrifice, trustfulness, hospitality, worship of Me, visiting holy places, acting and striving for the Supreme, contentment and serving the spiritual master on the other hand are the twelve elements one remembers of yama that together with those of niyama by human beings are cultivated with devotion, my dearest, and depending on what someone wants yield results [in the sense of beatitude or prosperity]. (36-39) Equilibrium means steady absorption of the intelligence in Me [see also 11.16: 10] and self-control is the perfect discipline of the senses; tolerance means to endure unhappiness and constancy is the conquering of the tongue and genitals. The highest charity is to give up the rod [to punish others], penance is remembered as giving up the lust, heroism is to conquer one's self-love and reality implies to see the Lord everywhere. Truthfulness means to be of the pleasing and true words that are approved by the sages, cleanliness means that one is detached from performing productive labor [see also e.g. 1.1: 2 and B.G. 18: 6] and renunciation is said to be the renounced order of sannyâsa. For human beings religiousness is the wealth to desire for, I am the Most Fortunate, religious remuneration is the donation [in return] for the spiritual knowledge enjoyed and breathcontrol is the supreme strength. (40-45) Opulence is My divine nature [see 11.16 and bhaga], gain is My bhakti, education is the nullifying of the dividedness of the self [see siddhânta and advaita] and modesty is the disgust with failing in prescribed duties [with sin]. Beauty means to be of good qualities like being detached from material desires and such, happiness means to transcend hap and mishap, unhappiness entails that one meditates on the happiness of lust, and a wise person is someone who knows to tell the difference between liberation and bondage. A fool is someone who identifies himself with the body and so on [the mind etc.], the right path is leading to Me, the wrong path is to be understood as the one leading to the perplexion of consciousness and heaven implies the predominance of the mode of goodness. Hell is the predominance of the mode of ignorance, the real friend is the spiritual master who is Me, My dear friend and the human body is one's home. A rich person for sure is called he who is enriched with good qualities while a poor person is someone who is discontented. The wretched one is the one who has not conquered his senses, a controller is someone whose intelligence is not attached to the material affair and the one attached to sense gratification is of the opposite [qualities].This, Uddhava, are the subjects of your inquiry I have thus all properly elucidated. But what's the use of describing elaborately the characteristics of good and bad qualities when seeing good and bad still means that one fails to see the true goodness [of transcendence] which stands apart from the two [compare with 3.10: 28-29, 6.16: 10-11, 11.7: 8, 11.11: 16 and B.G. 7: 5].'

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SOURCE: Translation: Anand Aadhar Prabhu, http://bhagavata.org/

Production: the Filognostic Association of The Order of Time, with special thanks to Sakhya Devi Dasi for proofreading and correcting the manuscript. http://theorderoftime.com/info/guests-friends.html

The sourcetexts, illustrations and music to this translation one can find following the links from: http://bhagavata.org/