WHAT IS SELF REALIZATION ?

This is the church where in my youth, I engaged in godly service for many years as altar boy, sacristan and public reader of Epistle as well as Gospel, according to the Judeo-Christian tradition. Now of course I have graduated to the most excellent Hare Krishna tradition as presented by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, my most illustrious Spiritual Master. We note that there is one striking common factor with the ISKCON Krishna Balaram Temple  in Vrndavan India, the birth place of Lord Krishna, which reminds us very much of Srila Prabhupada: The church bells ring regularly. In this particular case they are preprogrammed to ring every quarter hour day and night.

I know from personal experience that Srila Prabhupada was very much insistent on this point: the bells MUST ring regularly. At Krishna Balaram Mandir it is done manually even today thanks to the excellent management in place, headed by His Grace Pancagauda Prabhu from USA. Even if in the middle of the night if the chowkidar would miss the ringing, Srila Prabhupada would notice and take appropriate action. All glories to Srila Prabhupada!

 

 

 

TRANSLATION

Whenever a person experiences, by self-realization, that both the gross and subtle bodies have nothing to do with the pure self, at that time he sees himself as well as the Lord.

PURPORT

The difference between self-realization and material illusion is to know that the temporary or illusory impositions of material energy in the shape of gross and subtle bodies are superficial coverings of the self. The coverings take place due to ignorance. Such coverings are never effective in the person of the Personality of Godhead. Knowing this convincingly is called liberation, or seeing the Absolute. This means that perfect self-realization is made possible by adoption of godly or spiritual life. Self-realization means becoming indifferent to the needs of the gross and subtle bodies and becoming serious about the activities of the self. The impetus for activities is generated from the self, but such activities become illusory due to ignorance of the real position of the self. By ignorance, self-interest is calculated in terms of the gross and subtle bodies, and therefore a whole set of activities is spoiled, life after life. When, however, one meets the self by proper culture, the activities of the self begin. Therefore a man who is engaged in the activities of the self is called jévan-mukta, or a liberated person even in the conditional existence.
This perfect stage of self-realization is attained not by artificial means, but under the lotus feet of the Lord, who is always transcendental. In the Bhagavad-gétä the Lord says that He is present in everyone’s heart, and from Him only all knowledge, remembrance or forgetfulness take place. When the living being desires to be an enjoyer of material energy (illusory phenomena), the Lord covers the living being in the mystery of forgetfulness, and thus the living being misinterprets the gross body and subtle mind to be his own self. And by culture of transcendental knowledge, when the living being prays to the Lord for deliverance from the clutches of forgetfulness, the Lord, by His causeless mercy, removes the living being’s illusory curtain, and thus he realizes his own self. He then engages himself in the service of the Lord in his eternal constitutional position, becoming liberated from the conditioned life. All this is executed by the Lord either through His external potency or directly by the internal potency.

from Srimad Bhagavatam, amala puranam, Canto 1, Chapter 3 text 33, translation and commentary by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the Founder-Acharya of ISKCON, Institutor of the BBT and Founder of BTG magazine. Published and distributed by the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust / krishna.com.

 

 

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