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SB 10.4.20

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His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada


yathānevaṁ-vido bhedo
yata ātma-viparyayaḥ
deha-yoga-viyogau ca
saṁsṛtir na nivartate


yathā—as; an-evam-vidaḥ—of a person who has no knowledge (about ātma-tattva and the steadiness of the ātmā in his own identity, despite the changes of the body); bhedaḥ—the idea of difference between body and self; yataḥ—because of which; ātma-viparyayaḥ—the foolish understanding that one is the body; deha-yoga-viyogau ca—and this causes connections and separations among different bodies; saṁsṛtiḥ—the continuation of conditioned life; na—not; nivartate—does stop.


One who does not understand the constitutional position of the body and the soul [ātmā] becomes too attached to the bodily concept of life. Consequently, because of attachment to the body and its by-products, he feels affected by union with and separation from his family, society and nation. As long as this continues, one continues his material life. [Otherwise, one is liberated.]


As confirmed in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (SB 1.2.6):

sa vai puṁsāṁ paro dharmo
yato bhaktir adhokṣaje
ahaituky apratihatā
yayātmā suprasīdati

The word dharma means "engagement." One who is engaged in the service of the Lord (yato bhaktir adhokṣaje), without impediment and without cessation, is understood to be situated in his original, spiritual status. When one is promoted to this status, one is always happy in transcendental bliss. Otherwise, as long as one is in the bodily concept of life, one must suffer material conditions. Janma-mṛtyu jarā-vyādhi-duḥkha-doṣānudarśanam (BG 13.9). The body is subject to its own principles of birth, death, old age and disease, but one who is situated in spiritual life (yato bhaktir adhokṣaje) has no birth, no death, no old age and no disease. One may argue that we may see a person who is spiritually engaged twenty-four hours a day but is still suffering from disease. In fact, however, he is neither suffering nor diseased; otherwise he could not be engaged twenty-four hours a day in spiritual activities. The example may be given in this connection that sometimes dirty foam or garbage is seen floating on the water of the Ganges. This is called nīra-dharma, a function of the water. But one who goes to the Ganges does not mind the foam and dirty things floating in the water. With his hand, he pushes away such nasty things, bathes in the Ganges and gains the beneficial results. Therefore, one who is situated in the spiritual status of life is unaffected by foam and garbage—or any superficial dirty things. This is confirmed by Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī:

īhā yasya harer dāsye
karmaṇā manasā girā
nikhilāsv apy avasthāsu
jīvan-muktaḥ sa ucyate

"A person acting in the service of Kṛṣṇa with his body, mind and words is a liberated person, even within the material world." (Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu 1.2.187) Therefore, one is forbidden to regard the guru as an ordinary human being (guruṣu nara-matir. .. nārakī saḥ). The spiritual master, or ācārya, is always situated in the spiritual status of life. Birth, death, old age and disease do not affect him. According to the Hari-bhakti-vilāsa, therefore, after the disappearance of an ācārya, his body is never burnt to ashes, for it is a spiritual body. The spiritual body is always unaffected by material conditions.

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