Nitāi: “Śrī Sūta Gosvāmī said: The most powerful sage Maitreya was a friend of Vyāsadeva. Thus being encouraged, Maitreya, pleased by Vidura’s inquiry about transcendental knowledge, spoke as follows.”
dvaipāyana-sakhas tv evaṁ
maitreyo bhagavāṁs tathā
prāhedaṁ viduraṁ prīta
So this is the process of getting knowledge, to approach the proper person, guru, and submissively hear from him about transcendental knowledge. Tad viddhi praṇipātena paripraśnena sevayā [Bg. 4.34]. Don’t try to receive spiritual knowledge or transcendental knowledge very cheaply. Although it is very easy, there is no difficulty, but the process must be known. Just like any machine—we have got experience—just like sometimes our typewriter machine or this dictaphone does not work. So if we go to the proper person, who knows the work, he immediately tightens one screw or changes something; it works. The process we must know. So if I go to a pān-wala for repairing my machine, that will be not good. He does not know the process. He may know to…, how to make pān, biḍi; but doesn’t matter, he does not know how to repair a machine.
Therefore the shastric injunction is, Vedic injunction, that tad-vijñānārthaṁ sa gurum eva abhigacchet [MU 1.2.12]. If you want to know transcendental knowledge, tad-vijñāna… Tad-vijñā… It is also vijñāna. Actually, human life is meant for understanding tad-vijñāna. Tad-vijñāna means transcendental knowledge, not material knowledge, bodily. Bodily… Even a medical practitioner, he does not know, he has no knowledge of the spirit soul. He simply studies the mechanical arrangement of the body. The body’s a big machine made by nature. It is called yantra. Actually it is a machine. In the Bhagavad-gītā it is said,
hṛd-deśe ‘rjuna tiṣṭhati
Yantrārūḍhāni māyayā. This body is machine. The, those who are very much attached to this machine, for them, the yoga system is recommended because… One who is very much in the conception of the body, so they have been taught just to concentrate the mind on some practice, some gymnastic, so that mind may be concentrated and he can focus the mind towards Viṣṇu, Lord Viṣṇu. Real purpose is to understand Viṣṇu, the Supreme. So the yoga system is therefore a mechanical arrangement. But the bhakti system is above the machine, above this mechanical arrangement. That is… Therefore it is called tad-vijñāna. The mechanical understanding is material, and above that, tad-vijñāna.
So tad-vijñānārtham, if you want to understand spiritual knowledge, then you have to approach a guru. Guru. Guru means weighty, I mean to say, one who has got better knowledge. Heavy. Guru means heavy, heavy with knowledge. And what is that knowledge? “I have got so much knowledge.” No. Transcendental… Tad-vijñāna. Tad-vijñānārthaṁ sa gurum eva abhigacchet, samit-pāṇiḥ śrotriyaṁ brahma-niṣṭham [MU 1.2.12]. That heaviness is brahma-niṣṭham, how much one is attached to Brahman, Parabrahman, Bhagavān. That is guru’s qualification. Brahmaṇy upaśamāśrayam. This is the mantra of Kaṭhopaniṣad, tad-vijñānārthaṁ sa gurum evābhigacchet. Similarly, in the Bhāgavata also it is said, tasmād guruṁ prapadyeta [SB 11.3.21]. Tasmāt, “Therefore one must approach guru.” The here, in the Upaniṣad also gives definition who is guru. Guru means śrotriyaṁ brahma-niṣṭham [MU 1.2.12], “one who has received knowledge by hearing Vedas,” śrotriyam. Because Vedas are called śruti.
So those who are in the line of hearing from the preceptorial succession, disciplic succession… As it is said in the Bhagavad-gītā, evaṁ paramparā-prāptam [Bg. 4.2]. Not, I mean to say, upstart knowledge. Standard knowledge. Standard knowledge is received from the paramparā system, disciplic succession. Therefore it is said, śrotriyam. Śrotriyam means “who has heard from the paramparā system.” Śrotriyam… And the result is brahma-niṣṭham: “He is firmly fixed up in the service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.” Brahma-niṣṭham. He has no other business. This is two qualifications. He must have heard the Vedic knowledge through the disciplic succession. It does not require that he is very learned scholar. No. Simply he must hear from the authority. Śrotriyam. You have… Kṛṣṇa has given you, God has given you the ear. This is our system. Simply they hear and they become big, big preacher. It doesn’t require that he has to pass M.A., C.B.A.C., or Ph.D. examinations. Hearing is sufficient. Sthāne sthitāḥ śruti-gatāṁ tanu-vāṅ-manobhiḥ. You remain in your position, in your place. You do not require to change it. Sthāne sthitāḥ.
Sthāne sthitāḥ means the varṇāśrama, four varṇas and four āśramas. Brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya, śūdra, and four āśramas: brahmacārī, gṛhastha, vānaprastha, sannyāsa. So this is civilization. Unless the society is divided into these eight divisions, that is animal civilization. That is not human civilization. You must be systematized, regulated system. Just like in this body there are different divisions: the head division, the arm division, the belly division, and the leg division. Similarly, without these four divisions, no society can be conducted very nicely. Then it will be chaos. So sthāne sthitāḥ means to remain in these regulative principles of varṇāśrama. That is called sthāne sthitāḥ. You remain in your position. It doesn’t require you have to change. It is not that a śūdra, without becoming a brāhmaṇa… Of course, śūdra will become brāhmaṇa—by hearing. Brāhmaṇa means brahma jānātīti brāhmaṇaḥ. If he hears, even a śūdra, he can understand what is Brahman. Then he becomes brāhmaṇa. So this is required. Sthāne sthitāḥ śruti-gatāṁ tanu-vāṅ-manobhiḥ. With great attention, body, mind and words, intelligence—with everything, one must hear.
So here we see, viduram prītaḥ. Vidura was hearing from Maitreya Ṛṣi, and Maitreya Ṛṣi was very much pleased. Prīti. Unless you satisfy your teacher, or guru, very nicely, you cannot get the right knowledge. That is natural. If you receive your guru, give him very nice place, he can sit comfortably, and he’s pleased with your behavior, then he can speak very frankly and very freely, which will be very much beneficial for you. Therefore this word is… He was talking. He was preaching. He was giving instruction to Vidura, being pleased, prīti. Maitreya Ṛṣi was very much pleased. That is also recommended in the Śrīmad-Bhagavad-gītā: tad viddhi praṇipātena. Tad viddhi praṇipātena paripraśnena sevayā [Bg. 4.34]. Simply going and asking the spiritual master or guru, and not to accept his instructions, then don’t waste your time. Don’t waste your time. In a challenging spirit, if you go to a spiritual master, without any service, sevayā, and praṇipātena… Praṇipātena… Prakṛṣṭa-rūpeṇa nipāta. Nipāta means fall down, and pra means prakṛṣṭa-rūpa, sufficiently. No reservation. This knowledge, the transcendental knowledge, is based on this praṇipāta. Therefore Kṛṣṇa says, sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja: [Bg. 18.66] “You just surrender unto Me.” And similarly we have to surrender to Kṛṣṇa or His representative.
So guru is representative, external representative. Internal guru is Kṛṣṇa Himself. Īśvaraḥ sarva-bhūtānāṁ hṛd-deśe arjuna tiṣṭhati [Bg. 18.61]. Not that Īśvara, Kṛṣṇa, is in Vaikuṇṭha or Goloka Vṛndāvana. He is everywhere, even within the atom. Goloka eva nivasaty akhilātma-bhūtaḥ [Bs. 5.37]. That is Paramātmā. Ātmā is… I am ātmā, you are ātmā. We are all situated locally. You are situated within your body, I am situated within my body. But Paramātmā is situated everywhere. That is the difference between ātmā and Paramātmā. Ātmā and Paramātmā… Those who are mistaking that “There is no difference between ātmā and Paramātmā,” no, there is difference. They are one in one sense, that both of them-cognizant. They are living entities. Cetanaś cetanānām. Cetanaś cetanānām, nityo nityānām. But they are different. In the Bhagavad-gītā Kṛṣṇa says, kṣetraḥ kṣetra-jñaḥ. Kṣetra-jñaṁ cāpi māṁ viddhi sarva-kṣetreṣu bhārata [Bg. 13.3]. Kṣetra-jña means the proprietor of the kṣetra, this body. Body is called kṣetra. So I am proprietor. Not proprietor, I am occupier. Just like in a house, the tenant and the landlord. The landlord is the occupier, tenant, and the landlord is the proprietor. Similarly, we ātmās, we are simply occupier of this body. We are not proprietor. The proprietor is Paramātmā. Sarva-kṣetreṣu bhārata. So if the proprietor says that “Get out of this house,” or some, by law… Similarly, when the Paramātmā says, “Now you have to leave this body,” you have to leave this body. So this is Vedic knowledge.
So one must approach a proper guru. The guru’s qualification is, in every śāstra, that… Just like in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam it is said, tad viddhi…, er, tasmād guruṁ prapadyeta jijñāsuḥ śreya uttamam [SB 11.3.21]. One does not require to accept a guru unless he is inquisitive to understand the ultimate goal or benefit of life. Ordinary man who is interested with the bodily comforts of life, he doesn’t require a guru. But generally, the, at the present moment, guru means who can give you some bodily medicine. Approaches some saintly person, “Mahatmaji, I am suffering from this disease.” “Yes, I have mantra. Take this…” That sort of guru is accepted. So same bodily… Or some bodily wealth, bodily… No.
tad viddhi praṇipātena
upadekṣyanti te jñānaṁ
One should approach guru for seeing the tattva, the Absolute Truth. That is necessary. Not for any material benefit. One should not search out a guru for, I mean to say, curing some material disease. For that, there is medical practitioner. Why should you search out after a guru? But people search out, that “I have got some material disease, and if somebody can cure, some saintly person, then he’s guru or he’s Bhagavān. I am poor. If he can give me some money, then he’s guru.” No. The śāstra does not say like that. Guru means śrotriyaṁ brahma-niṣṭham [MU 1.2.12]. Tasmād guruṁ prapadyeta jijñāsuḥ śreya uttamam, śābde pare ca niṣṇātam [SB 11.3.21]. Guru means who knows the Vedic śāstra, the Vedas. He knows the Vedic conclusion. And the Vedic conclusion is to understand Kṛṣṇa. That is Vedic conclusion. Vedaiś ca sarvair aham eva vedyaḥ [Bg. 15.15].
Therefore those who are trying to understand Kṛṣṇa, or partially… We cannot understand fully Kṛṣṇa. That is not possible. We have not so capacity. Because Kṛṣṇa is so big. Advaitam acyutam anādim ananta. So with our limited knowledge we cannot understand… Even Kṛṣṇa does not understand Himself, Kṛṣṇa is so great. Kṛṣṇa Himself, He does not know why He’s so much attractive. Therefore, to understand this knowledge, why Kṛṣṇa is so attractive, He became Lord Caitanya, taking the ecstatic emotion of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. Rādhā-bhāva-dyuti. That’s a very great science. Kṛṣṇa is such that Kṛṣṇa… Of course, it is our calculation that Kṛṣṇa does not understand Himself. So to understand Kṛṣṇa, fully Kṛṣṇa, it is not possible. But as far as our limited knowledge is concerned, if we understand Kṛṣṇa so much, that is our perfection. That is our perfection. Therefore Kṛṣṇa says, janma karma me divyaṁ yo jānāti tattvataḥ [Bg. 4.9].
So if we understand Kṛṣṇa as a human being like us, avajānanti māṁ mūḍhāḥ [Bg. 9.11], then we are mūḍhas. “Kṛṣṇa is also… Kṛṣṇa’s body is made of these māyā elements, or external elements, like us.” Just like our body is made of these material elements. If we think Kṛṣṇa also made of that elements, of these material elements, kṣitir āpo ‘nalo vāyuḥ, then we are mistaken. Kṛṣṇa is… Here, in the previous verse, we have learned: ātma-māyayā. There are… Of course, this material energy is also ātma-māyā, Kṛṣṇa’s. Not ours. Mama māyā. Kṛṣṇa says, mama māyā. Daivī hy eṣā guṇamayī mama māyā [Bg. 7.14]. This material world is Kṛṣṇa’s. We cannot say mama māyā. No. We are under the control of this material nature. But Kṛṣṇa is the controller of the material nature. That is the difference. We are controlled by the material nature, but Kṛṣṇa is not controlled, but He’s controller. Mayādhyakṣeṇa prakṛtiḥ sūyate sa-carācaram [Bg. 9.10]. One who understands this, that this prakṛti, this material nature, is working under the direction of Kṛṣṇa, that is our real knowledge. How the things are going on? That is not possible to understand. But the summary, sum total, if we simply understand… Janmādy asya yataḥ [SB 1.1.1]. Everything is emanated from the Supreme Absolute Truth, Kṛṣṇa. That much knowledge is sufficient. Then you can increase—how they are working. How, by Kṛṣṇa’s energies, the material energy is working by the direction of Kṛṣṇa, that is advanced knowledge. But on the whole, if we… As it is stated in the Bhagavad-gītā, mayādhyakṣeṇa prakṛtiḥ sūyate sa-carācaram [Bg. 9.10]. That is perfect knowledge. If we think that this matter is working independently, as modern scientists, they think that chemical evolution… No. No chemical evolution. Life does not produce by chemical evolution. Life is from life. That… Just like Kṛṣṇa says in the Bhagavad-gītā, that ahaṁ sarvatra, ahaṁ sarvasya prabhavo mattaḥ sarvaṁ pravartate [Bg. 10.8]. The answer is given there. The Vedānta-sūtra, the question is “What is Brahman?” And the answer is there… athāto brahma jijñāsā, janmādy asya yataḥ [SB 1.1.1]. Indirectly given. The Brahman, Parabrahman, is that from whom everything emanates.
Everything means… There are two things: jaḍa and cetana, living entities and nonliving entiti…, jaḍa. Dull entities. Matter is dull. So everything means including both. Matter is also coming from Kṛṣṇa, and these cetana, or living entities, they are also coming from… And the whole world is combination of this matter and cetana—your body, my body. Apareyam itas tu viddhi me prakṛtiṁ parām, jīva-bhūtāṁ mahā-bāho yayedaṁ dhāryate jagat [Bg. 7.5]. This material energy is inferior, and the spiritual energy is superior. And superior why? Because the superior energy, the living entity, jīva-bhūta, they are controlling. Not controlling. They are trying to utilize. Just like we advanced living entities, human beings, we have created the modern civilization by utilizing the matter, utilizing the matter. That is our superiority. But we are also prakṛti. Apareyaṁ viddhi me prakṛtiṁ parām. We are parā-prakṛti, spiritual energy. This is the understanding. In this way we have to understand tattva-jñāna. The human life is meant for understanding tattva. Jīvasya tattva-jijñāsā. The Vedānta-sūtra: athāto brahma jijñāsā. Jijñāsā, tattva-jijñāsā, the same thing.
So explanation of Vedānta-sūtra is Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam begins that what is that tattva. Janmādy asya [SB 1.1.1]. Janmādy asya, from whom everything has emanated, or the Supreme, which is the source of everything, so what is the nature of that source? That is explained in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam: janmādy asya yataḥ anvayād itarataś ca artheṣu abhijñaḥ [SB 1.1.1]. That source is abhijñaḥ, cognizant, not matter. Matter is not cognizant. Life. Janmādy asya yataḥ [SB 1.1.1], cognizant. So these scientists’ theory, modern theory, that life comes from matter, this is wrong. The life comes from life. Because in the Bhagava…, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam it is explained that janmādy asya yataḥ anvayād itarataś ca artheṣu abhijñaḥ [SB 1.1.1]. The identity from whom everything emanates, He’s abhijñaḥ, cognizant. He can understand. So cognizant means life. Not only that. Tene brahma hṛdā ādi-kavaye. He instructed knowledge to Lord Brahma, about Vedic knowledge. So unless one is living entity, how he can impart knowledge?
So actually, the Absolute Truth is explained in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, or the Vedānta-sūtra’s explanation, natural explanation,… Actually, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam was written by Vyāsadeva. Here it is said, dvaipāyana-sakha. Dvaipāyana means Vyāsadeva. Vyāsadeva compiled this Brahma-sūtra, and he explained it, bhāṣyaṁ brahma-sūtrāṇām **, this Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. If we read some artificial comments on Brahma-sūtra, we’ll misunderstand. Generally, these Māyāvādīs give prominence of the comment given by Śaṅkarācārya about Brahma-sūtra, Śārīraka-bhāṣya. But that is unnatural. The natural commentation is given by the author himself, Vyāsadeva. So we have to understand… Vyāsadeva has written Brahma-sūtra, and we have to understand the meaning of Brahma… Brahma-sūtra means codes only. So codes can be explained by the author himself. So our process is to accept the Brahma-sūtra. Brahma-sūtra-padaiś caiva hetumadbhir viniścitaiḥ [Bg. 13.5]. Kṛṣṇa says in the Bhagavad-gītā. So Brahma-sūtra is nyāya-prasthāna. Nyāya-prasthāna: very logically, transcendental knowledge. So brahma-sūtra-padaiś caiva hetumadbhir viniścitaiḥ [Bg. 13.5]. So we must… Therefore, according to our Vedic system, the ācārya must understand Brahma-sūtra and explain. Then he’ll be accepted as ācārya.
Therefore two sampradāyas, the Māyāvādī sampradāya and the Vaiṣṇava sampradāya, both of them have explained the Brahma-sūtra. Otherwise, they are not authorities. Without understanding Brahma-sūtra, nobody can understand what is Brahman. Therefore here it is said that Vidura understood the ānvīkṣikyām, transcendental knowledge, from Maitreya. Who is Maitreya? Dvaipāyana-sakha. He’s the friend. That means he has association with Vyāsadeva. Just like friend and friend, the one friend knows the other friend, what is his position, what is his knowledge. So Maitreya was friend of Vyāsadeva. That means he knows what Vyāsadeva knows. So we have to approach such spiritual master or instructor who is in disciplic succession of Vyāsadeva. Vyāsadeva. Everyone claims that “We are also following Vyāsadeva.” But not superficially. Actually following Vyāsadeva. Just like Vyāsadeva accepted Kṛṣṇa as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. When Arjuna said, paraṁ brahma paraṁ dhāma pavitraṁ paramaṁ bhavān [Bg. 10.12], he accepted Kṛṣṇa as the Parabrahman, the Supreme Person. So one may say that “Arjuna was friend of Kṛṣṇa; he might have accepted like that.” No. He gave evidence that “Vyāsadeva also accepts You. Vyāsadeva also accepts You, ‘You are the Parabrahman.’ ” Vyāsadeva begins the comments on Vedānta-sūtra: oṁ namo bhagavate vāsudevāya. He begins, janmādy asya yataḥ, paraṁ satyaṁ dhīmahi [SB 1.1.1].
So if we actually are interested to understand spiritual knowledge, we must approach the representative of ācārya. Pratijāne. And ācārya means who follows Vyāsadeva. Just like Maitreya, dvaipāyana-sakha. Maitreyo bhagavān. He has been addressed as Bhagavān. Of course, the Supreme Bhagavān is Bhaga… Kṛṣṇas tu bhagavān svayam [SB 1.3.28]. But other powerful persons, just like Lord Brahmā, Lord Śiva, or Vyāsadeva, Maitreya, very, very big personalities, they are also sometimes addressed as Bhagavān. Nāradadeva. They are bhagavān. Actual Bhagavān is Kṛṣṇa. But they have attained, as far as possible… It is not possible to have the cent percent knowledge of Kṛṣṇa. Nobody can do that. Even Nārāyaṇa cannot do that. Even Bhīṣma cannot do that. But those who are, I mean to say, devotees or followers of Kṛṣṇa’s instructions fully, they are also sometimes called bhagavān. But that bhagavān does not mean artificial bhagavān. Bhagavān means he knows what Kṛṣṇa has taught. He’s also bhagavān. Bhagavāṁs tathā, prāha, he said, idam, viduram, unto Vidura, and prītaḥ, being pleased. Not that simply talking between friends and friends. No. Being prītaḥ. Just to… He’s also eager. He’s also eager, and he’s also very much pleased. Vidura was eager to receive the transcendental knowledge, and Maitreya was pleased upon him.
How one can be pleased? That is the process. Praṇipātena sevayā. You can please one simply by surrendering to himself and by rendering service, “Sir, I am your most obedient servant. Please accept me and give me instruction.” Śiṣyas te ‘haṁ śādhi māṁ prapannam [Bg. 2.7]. Even Arjuna was a very intimate friend of Kṛṣṇa, still, while learning Śrīmad-Bhagavad-gītā from Him, he surrendered himself to Kṛṣṇa and said that “I am no more your friend.” Of course, friend is also, a friend of Kṛṣṇa is also surrendered. That is… But specifically he said, śiṣyas te ‘ham. Śiṣya means “You can rule over me now.” Śās-dhātu. Śās-dhātu. From śās-dhātu, śāstra, śiṣya, śāstra, these things have come. So śiṣyas te ‘ham. Śiṣya means “Now I am under Your full control. You can use me in whatever way You like.” So in this way, ānvīkṣikyāṁ pracoditaḥ.
So this is the process of asking. Paripraśna is asking question. Of course, one, the śiṣya, must ask. He must… But not challenge. Just to understand. Jijñāsuḥ śreya uttamam. Not to defeat the spiritual master. But one should be inquisitive, inquire from the spiritual master, being jijñāsu, very inquisitive to understand the spiritual science. Not that “I know better than you. Let us talk.” No. That is not with guru. You must find out a guru where you can surrender, praṇipātena. If you don’t find a person where you cannot surrender, don’t waste your time and his time. First of all surrender. So this is the process of understanding transcendental… Ānvīkṣikyāṁ pracoditaḥ.
Thank you very much. Hare Kṛṣṇa. (end)