Thereafter, you should meditate upon the limbs of Viṣṇu, one after another, without being deviated from the conception of the complete body. Thus the mind becomes free from all sense objects. There should be no other thing to be thought upon. Because the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Viṣṇu, is the Ultimate Truth, the mind becomes completely reconciled in Him only.
Foolish persons, bewildered by the external energy of Viṣṇu, do not know that the ultimate goal of the progressive search after happiness is to get in touch directly with Lord Viṣṇu, the Personality of Godhead. Viṣṇu-tattva is an unlimited expansion of different transcendental forms of the Personality of Godhead, and the supreme or original form of viṣṇu-tattva is Govinda, or Lord Kṛṣṇa, the supreme cause of all causes. Therefore, thinking of Viṣṇu or meditating upon the transcendental form of Viṣṇu, specifically upon Lord Kṛṣṇa, is the last word on the subject of meditation. This meditation may be begun from the lotus feet of the Lord. One should not, however, forget or be misled from the complete form of the Lord; thus one should practice thinking of the different parts of His transcendental body, one after another. Here in this verse, it is definitely assured that the Supreme Lord is not impersonal. He is a person, but His body is different from those of conditioned persons like us. Otherwise, meditation beginning from the praṇava (oṁkāra) up to the limbs of the personal body of Viṣṇu would not have been recommended by Śukadeva Gosvāmī for the attainment of complete spiritual perfection. The Viṣṇu forms of worship in great temples of India are not, therefore, arrangements of idol worship, as they are wrongly interpreted to be by a class of men with a poor fund of knowledge; rather, they are different spiritual centers of meditation on the transcendental limbs of the body of Viṣṇu. The worshipable Deity in the temple of Viṣṇu is identical with Lord Viṣṇu by the inconceivable potency of the Lord. Therefore, a neophyte’s concentration or meditation upon the limbs of Viṣṇu in the temple, as contemplated in the revealed scriptures, is an easy opportunity for meditation for persons who are unable to sit down tightly at one place and then concentrate upon praṇava (oṁkāra) or the limbs of the body of Viṣṇu, as recommended herein by Śukadeva Gosvāmī, the great authority. The common man can benefit more by meditating on the form of Viṣṇu in the temple than on the oṁkāra, the spiritual combination of a-u-m as explained before. There is no difference between oṁkāra and the forms of Viṣṇu, but persons unacquainted with the science of Absolute Truth try to create dissension by differentiating between the forms of Viṣṇu and that of oṁkāra. Here it is indicated that the Viṣṇu form is the ultimate goal of meditation, and as such it is better to concentrate upon the forms of Viṣṇu than on impersonal oṁkāra. The latter process is also more difficult than the former.
rajas-tamobhyām ākṣiptaṁvimūḍhaṁ mana ātmanaḥyacched dhāraṇayā dhīrohanti yā tat-kṛtaṁ malam
One’s mind is always agitated by the passionate mode of material nature and bewildered by the ignorant mode of nature. But one can rectify such conceptions by the relation of Viṣṇu and thus become pacified by cleansing the dirty things created by them.
Persons generally conducted by the modes of passion and ignorance cannot be bona fide candidates for being situated in the transcendental stage of God realization. Only persons conducted by the mode of goodness can have the knowledge of the Supreme Truth. Effects of the modes of passion and ignorance are manifested by too much hankering after wealth and women. And those who are too much after wealth and women can rectify their leanings only by constant remembrance of Viṣṇu in His feature composed of impersonal potentcies. Generally the impersonalists or monists are influenced by the modes of passion and ignorance. Such impersonalists think of themselves as liberated souls, but they have no knowledge of the transcendental personal feature of the Absolute Truth. Actually they are impure in heart on account of being devoid of knowledge of the personal feature of the Absolute. In the Bhagavad-gītā, it is said that after many hundreds of births, the impersonal philosopher surrenders unto the Personality of Godhead. To acquire such a qualification of God realization in the personal feature, the neophyte impersonalist is given a chance to realize the relation of the Lord in everything by the philosophy of pantheism.
Pantheism in its higher status does not permit the student to form an impersonal conception of the Absolute Truth, but it extends the conception of the Absolute Truth into the field of the so-called material energy. Everything created by the material energy can be dovetailed with the Absolute by an attitude of service, which is the essential part of living energy. The pure devotee of the Lord knows the art of converting everything into its spiritual existence by this service attitude, and only in that devotional way can the theory of pantheism be perfected.
yasyāṁ sandhāryamāṇāyāṁyogino bhakti-lakṣaṇaḥāśu sampadyate yogaāśrayaṁ bhadram īkṣataḥ
O King, by this system of remembrance and by being fixed in the habit of seeing the all-good personal conception of the Lord, one can very soon attain devotional service to the Lord, under His direct shelter.
Success of mystic performances is achieved only by the help of the devotional attitude. Pantheism, or the system of feeling the presence of the Almighty everywhere, is a sort of training of the mind to become accustomed to the devotional conception, and it is this devotional attitude of the mystic that makes possible the successful termination of such mystic attempts. One is not, however, elevated to such a successful status without the tinge of mixture in devotional service. The devotional atmosphere created by pantheistic vision develops into devotional service in later days, and that is the only benefit for the impersonalist. It is confirmed in the Bhagavad-gītā (12.5) that the impersonal way of self-realization is more troublesome because it reaches the goal in an indirect way, although the impersonalist also becomes obsessed with the personal feature of the Lord after a long time.
rājovācayathā sandhāryate brahmandhāraṇā yatra sammatāyādṛśī vā hared āśupuruṣasya mano-malam
The fortunate King Parīkṣit, inquiring further, said: O brāhmaṇa, please describe in full detail how and where the mind has to be applied and how the conception can be fixed so that the dirty things in a person’s mind can be removed.
The dirty things in the heart of a conditioned soul are the root cause of all troubles for him. A conditioned soul is surrounded by the manifold miseries of material existence, but on account of his gross ignorance he is unable to remove the troubles due to dirty things in the heart, accumulated during the long prison life in the material world. He is actually meant to serve the will of the Supreme Lord, but on account of the dirty things in the heart, he likes to serve his concocted desires. These desires, instead of giving him any peace of mind, create new problems and thus bind him to the cycle of repeated birth and death. These dirty things of fruitive work and empiric philosophy can be removed only by association with the Supreme Lord. The Lord, being omnipotent, can offer His association by His inconceivable potencies. Thus persons who are unable to pin their faith on the personal feature of the Absolute are given a chance to associate with His virāṭ-rūpa, or the cosmic impersonal feature of the Lord. The cosmic impersonal feature of the Lord is a feature of His unlimited potencies. Since the potent and potencies are identical, even the conception of His impersonal cosmic feature helps the conditioned soul to associate with the Lord indirectly and thus gradually rise to the stage of personal contact.
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