Nondeceptive Penance - Part 1
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Hare Krishna Prabhujis and Matajis,
Please accept my humble obeisances! All glories to Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudev!
The following is a humble effort to transcribe the class by our beloved God brother HG Devakinandan Prabhuji in Chennai on Srimad Bhagavatam 2.9.4
aatma-tattva-vishuddhy-artham / yad aaha bhagavaan rtam
brahmane darshayan rupam / avyalika-vrataadrtah
"O King, the Personality of Godhead, being very much pleased with Lord Brahma because of his nondeceptive penance in bhakti-yoga, presented His eternal and transcendental form before Brahma. And that is the objective goal for purifying the conditioned soul."
1. Our first and only business is to please Krishna: In this verse, Krishna became very pleased with Brahmaji. The reason why He becomes pleased is very important because we all want to please Krishna. That is the business of the devotee. It is the business of the devotee to please Krishna and His pure devotees. That is our only business. That is our first business. Whenever we have any problems in the material world, the reason for our problems is because we have forgotten our first business. When we forget our first business, then all the problems start. That is why we lament and that is why we are morose. Because when we forget this first business, then the business we will remember is we want to live in such a way that we are pleased. So then what happens is we expect everyone to please us and of course that is impossible because expectations can never be fulfilled in the material world. Nobody can please you. You cannot please everyone. If you try pleasing somebody, somebody else is not pleased. So in this world, trying to please the world is not the way and you cannot expect everyone to please you. There were people who were not pleased even with pure devotees like Srila Prabhupada. People find fault even with great devotees. Yudhishtira Maharaj did not have a single enemy in his heart but everyone in Kaurava's army considered him as number one enemy. If Yudhishtira Maharaj lived his life thinking how to please everyone, he would never be peaceful. So our business in this world is not to run around expecting pleasure from the living entities.
2. Serving Krishna without deceptive motive: We always please other people because there is a motive. That is why the word "avyalika" in the verse is very important. Maharaj liked this word very much and he wanted us to meditate on it. The word "avyalika" means without any deceptive motive. Brahmaji's qualification to approach Krishna is that by nature he was avyalika. He had no deceptive motive in his heart. Whenever we want to please someone, it is not because we really want to please someone. We please them because hopefully we can hear sweet words from them to please us. That is the reason why we are trying to please them. That is how the entire material world is running. This samsaara is based on running around, "I scratch your back. So you have to scratch my back". In that way we run around pretending to be devotees saying, "Prabhu, I am serving you." But the moment after serving him, if we do not get what we want, then that is the end of the service. So practically speaking, the whole problem in the world is we are running after pleasing the mind and the senses and because the nature of the mind is never to be peaceful, how can you bring peace to the mind? It cannot happen. Please remember, Brahmaji pleased Krishna because he had only one thing in his heart. In his heart, he only wanted to perform the devotional service without any motive. The only motive he had was actually to please Krishna. Because we want to please Krishna and the devotees, we are prepared to perform another feature of devotional service which is very important.
3. Penance is natural for non-deceptive devotee: The moment we want to please Krishna and the devotees, we are prepared to perform another feature of devotional service which is very important. Where there is non-deceptive service, there will always be penance and austerity. This is another important qualification of a devotee. A devotee who is avyalika, for him tapas becomes natural. It is second nature to a devotee to be austere. It is not an imposition. But those who are not austere, who pretend to be austere, they want to get name and fame from the people. That kind of devotional service is not avyalika and because it is not avyalika, it cannot please Krishna. Then in the four corners of the walls of our house, we find that we cannot perform penance. But Maharaj always told us that when Brahmaji performed his penance, there was none to see him. It was the most unglamorous time to perform devotional service.
Today with big temples and congregations, nice kirtans and nice deities, it is very glamorous to perform devotional service. Maharaj said when glamor comes in devotional service, kirtan becomes a performance. Bhagavatam becomes a performance. In the Bhagavatam class, there might be sweet language, a joke, a story etc, but after that, does our life change? If life does not change, we are cheating each other. If we have avyalika, non-deception in our heart, then in any condition there will be tapasya. Brahmaji is exalted because at that time, He was the only one born, He was in full darkness and nobody could see him performing devotional service. He had no company. Nowadays we say, "Prabhu, without sadhu sanga, I am finished." What sanga did Brahmaji have? No sanga. The only sanga He had was the great winds that were blowing, darkness all around and water. When He looked down, he could not see the end of the lotus flower either. Krishna was not even giving him darshan. Imagine being created and not being able to see the creator or anything. Very precarious situation. But despite all that, what happened? Immediately Brahmaji started heartfelt prayers in his heart sincerely. Without deceptive motive, he wanted to know, "who is the origin of Me?" That is the beginning of atma-tattva – the science of God and living entity. That is the connection between avyalika and atma tattva.
4. Science of atma tattva and right behaviour: The science of atma tattva is what Sukadev Goswami is speaking and he is speaking it on the platform of how Brahmaji behaved as a devotee. Because atma tattva cannot be spoken as philosophy. It must be spoken on the strength of behaviour, because only behaviour is Bhagavatam. Maharaj said if you read and study Bhagavatam, you will behave yourself. When you behave yourself nicely, then only you can chant Krishna's names. So where there is Bhagavatam, there is behaviour. Where there is behaviour, there is chanting. BBC- Bhagavatam, Behaviour, Chanting.
5. Be serious about the purpose of our existence: Brahmaji prayed, "Whoever is my origin, please guide me to understand the purpose of