----- Scriptural Injunctions -----



Scriptural Injunctions


(Compiled from notes on lectures of H. H. Mahavishnu Goswami)



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Our beloved Guru Maharaja is always insisting for us to seriously study the scriptures, understand them and put them into practice. We have not taken up the study of the scriptures with seriousness because we do not realize the consequences of ignoring the scriptural injunctions. Recently I was listening to a very wonderful lecture given by our beloved Guru Maharaja on the following verse from Srimad Bhagavad gita 16.23 which makes us understand the importance of following the scriptural injunctions.

yah saastra-vidhim utsrjya
vartate kaama-kaaratah
na sa siddhim avaapnoti
na sukham na paraam gatim
"He who discards scriptural injunctions and acts according to his own whims attains neither perfection, nor happiness, nor the supreme destination.”

I am trying herewith to share the nectarean instructions given by Maharaja on the above verse under the following headings:

1. Scriptures guide us and help us to think about our supreme destination.
2. To think about the supreme destination, a healthy body and a satisfied mind are prerequisites.
3. To have a satisfied mind, prescribed duties must be immaculately performed.
4. Prescribed duties depend upon the spiritual and social divisions we belong to.

The above verse summarises our own existence and at the same time guides us on practically what is our duty and how we are behaving ourselves and the consequences of our behaviour.

1. Scriptures guide us and help us to think about our supreme destination. The important thing is to remember that the basic scriptures, particularly Srimad Bhagavad gita, Srimad Bhagavatam and Chaitanya caritamrita are meant for guiding the humanity at large for our day to day life. It is a highly practical science. If you want to go to the fourth floor from the ground floor, then we have the stairs to go up and also the lift. So the same person can just take a lift and go up immediately. This is like that. Once you come here, immediately you are picked up from the material existence to the spiritual realm. We cannot ignore the ground floor because we have the basic material ingredients in our body. And these are five as you know, earth, water, fire, air and ether and because we have the gross elements in our body, however hard we try we cannot forsake our body and go higher up. So we have to find some ways in which we can practically rise ourselves. And herein the shaastras have the important role to play in our lives. Once you understand this, then every living entity being spiritual and not the body, we can move our hand with none of the capacity of our blood, bones and other material ingredients. The body has to have the spiritual spark to enable movement. As soon as the soul goes away, the body is the same but it cannot move. The movement is the sole proprietorship of the spiritual spark. And this spiritual spark cannot survive on its own because it is very tiny. So it has to have the continuous help from the supreme spirit. Otherwise it can never survive. The soul and the super soul are situated in our heart. Lord Krishna says ‘sarvasya caaham hrdi sannivishto'- "I am situated in everyone’s heart" and because the Supersoul is there with the individual soul, He continually guides the soul on how to behave in this world. It is only when we ignore the voice of the Supersoul, then we are in difficulty. Supersoul’s voice is outwardly expressed by the scriptures. So there are some do's and don’ts if you want to be happy in this world. Suppose you buy a new camera, the company issues a booklet along with the camera. If you follow the booklet, the camera operates very nicely and you get nice pictures. Once you disregard the booklet, you may break the camera or pictures will not be according to the expectations. In the same way, this body is created by Krishna and He knows how this body should behave in this world so that life will be happy. So He has to issue a booklet and that is Srimad Bhagavad gita. Further study of Bhagavad gita is very nicely and in detail given in the pages of Srimad Bhagavatam. But Bhagavad gita is the preliminary science. Somehow or the other, this scripture is very popular all over the world. Before Srila Prabhupada translated, there were nearly 400 translations of this scripture outside India and everybody is attracted to this scripture because it gives the practical instructions. That is shastra vidhi. The injunctions of the shastras. And we know from the above verse that if we disregard the scriptural injunctions and act whimsically, we can neither attain happiness, nor perfection nor the supreme destination. This is very easy to understand.

Then the next question comes as to what are the injunctions of the scriptures? Then we must know it in order to behave accordingly. These injunctions are given in the pages of the scriptures so that we can have a healthy living.

Thus the first requirement is to have a healthy body and a satisfied mind so that we can think about our supreme destination.

2. To think about the supreme destination, a healthy body and a satisfied mind are prerequisites.

First our body must be healthy and that is the first requirement. Unless the body is healthy, the pressure is normal, and the circulation is going on alright, the digestion is going on alright, then only we can sit here and think about our own destination and the whole function of the body requires the peace of mind. The mind is the controlling unit of the whole body. And unless this controlling unit is peaceful, the body cannot function properly. The mind must be satisfied. If the mind is unsteady and unsatisfied, then the whole body and the life becomes unsteady and unsatisfied. We want to escape that unsteady situation and that is why we have these places Srimad Bhagavad gita and Srimad Bhagavatam and wherein we come at least for one hour and our mind is steady.

3. To have a satisfied mind, prescribed duties must be immaculately performed.

In the Srimad Bhagavatam, the formula is given as to how the mind can remain satisfied. Srimad Bhagavatam 4.20.9 states,

yah sva-dharmena maam nityam
niraasih sraddhayaanvitah
bhajate sanakais tasya
mano raajan prasidati
The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Vishnu, continued: "My dear King Prthu, when one situated in his occupational duty engages in My loving service without motive for material gain, he gradually becomes very satisfied within."

This is the injunction. This is our practical instruction. The prescribed duties (sva dharma) must be performed immaculately well. We are all differently situated in the material world. There are so many types of work available, but whatever work we are doing, must be immaculately performed. We should be sincere workers and not shirkers. The shirkers cannot attain anything in this life.

According to the scriptures and if we see practically, our whole life in this age of quarrel and hypocrisy – Kali yuga is full of inebrities. We see that we are short-lived. We see that we are lazy. We see that we are quarrelsome. We see that we are misguided. We feel that we are unlucky and on top of these, again we are completely disturbed all the time. This is our position in this age, but the shastras try to lovingly take us out of these inebrities. That is the injunctions of the scriptures. The shastras say, 'My dear son/daughter, if you want to get out of these inebrieties, perform your duty very nicely'. ‘niyatam kuru karma tvam karma jyaayo hi akarmanah’. The prescribed duties must be performed very nicely and if you do so, there will be continuous flow of lakshmi in your life and if the continuous flow of lakshmi is there, you can spare one hour here to hear about the scriptures. If you are worried about your own bread, you can never understand these things. This is the practical point. No shastras say that you should leave everything and run away. But even then there are a few living entities who are misfits into the society. However they try, they cannot fit into the society like a square peg in a round hole. However hard they try to fit, they hardly fit. For them, renunciation is the best. So please renounce and come to these places to serve. This is the main thing to be understood. As I told you, the shastras are very practical.

Now the next question comes as to what is the prescribed duty? It is definitely decided in Srimad Bhagavad gita and Srimad Bhagavatam that there are four spiritual divisions and four social divisions.

4. Prescribed duties depend upon the spiritual and social divisions we belong to.

According to the scriptures, one’s life is divided in to four 25 years division each. First 25 years we obtain knowledge (Brahmacari ashrama). Nowadays, we have to obtain knowledge to qualify ourselves materially. Formerly it was very nice that they were going to the Gurukula to obtain the knowledge of the Supreme Absolute Truth. Even now it is needed but material knowledge is also needed. You have to fit into the society.

So once you complete 25 years of acquiring knowledge, if you cannot control your senses, then you have to get married and there is legalised sense gratification. In marriage (Grhastha ahrama), you may have children, you may earn money, and you may help all the other ashramas.

After 50 years, you should slowly and gradually retire from all the worldly things and in this situation (Vaanaprastha ashrama), try to increase the activities aimed at the supreme destination. Srimad Bhagavatam reminds us of our supreme duty in 1.2.6:

sa vai pumsaam paro dharmo
yato bhaktir adhoksaje
ahaituky apratihataa
yayaatmaa suprasidati
"The supreme occupation [dharma] for all humanity is that by which men can attain to loving devotional service unto the transcendent Lord. Such devotional service must be unmotivated and uninterrupted to completely satisfy the self."

Devotional service means, some service must be there. Unless you perform some type of service, even your grhastha ashram is a failure. The second ashram, the second 25 years, whatever work you are doing should be performed very nicely. As soon as you are bit successful there, then the retirement will be alright. You will get pension or you might have already earned money so that you can rely on. So third ashram also goes very nicely. But again in the third ashram, you are increasing the knowledge of the scriptures guiding you to the supreme destination and increasing your sincere devotional service and if you survive for 60/65 years, please renounce before yamaraja forces you to renounce. Otherwise anyway you cannot have anything with you. The time is bound to come. Today your hairs are black, tomorrow it will be mixed black and grey and soon it will be completely grey and at this stage we must renounce. Otherwise in the end, we will be forced to renounce. You cannot request Yamaraja to hold on till you go to the bank and withdraw the money. Yamaraja will say that ‘Now your account is my account’. Everything will be snatched from you. Your body is also snatched in the end. You can’t have anything. Better during the lifetime, we try to cultivate some charitable disposition. If we are attached till the end of life, your death will be very horrible, because we don’t want to die and we have to die. The struggle goes on. There was Prime Minister Churchill in England and he was in coma for 6 months. Devotees went to Srila Prabhupada and said that neither he survives nor is he dead. Prabhupada said that his file with Yamaraja is very big and so Yamaraja is sorting out his next body. Do anything and everything, but don’t increase your file with Yamaraja. Otherwise death will be horrible.

Thus these are the spiritual divisions of brahmacarya, grhastha, vaanaprastha and sannyaasa.

The four social divisions (varnas) are the intelligent class or the brahmanas, the military class or the kshatriyas, the business class or the vaishyas and the labour class or the shudras. We are following these divisions even now in one form or the other. The first division is the intelligent class. Every society has intelligent class. They guide the lower classes. The second is the military class who look after the protection. The third is the business class who look after agriculture, cow protection etc., and the shudra class, they serve others.

If we follow these duties, you must belong to one varna and one ashrama. If you are intelligent class and are in the first ashrama, your prescribed duty is to study in school or college. But to function in these 8 divisions, one strong ashrama must be there and that is the grhastha ashrama. If grhastha ashrama is strong, all other things fall in order. Because in that ashram only, you are allowed to have a bit of sense gratification and earning money. If you are well situated, you will take care of your own children i.e., brahmachari is taken care of and the vaanaprasthis - those who are retired and the sannyasis - the renounced order is also taken care of. So grhastha ashrama must be ideally followed. But the lack of ideal grhastha ashrama is the problem in the modern society and day by day, it is becoming worse and there is complete degradation. If we really love our children, as we always claim, the minimum we can give them is the real father and the mother. In case of separation of the parents, the children become mental, because children want the love of both the father and the mother, and if one is missing, he is half untrained. And because of that, they become problem children and in the whole of life they also treat anybody in anyway. They do not know the scriptures. They don’t want to know.

We are all very lucky to come under the roof of Srila Prabhupada and he is the saint who has guided us practically through these pages. He is the first saint who has not only given us philosophy, but also the practical side. We have now large communities who are following these divisions. In Alachua, Florida, they have a nice community and there are around 2000 American Vaishnava families and they have a nice temple and the whole life is situated around the temple. It is Srila Prabhupada’s mercy that we have these places where we can go and sit silently and hear the things which are worth hearing. Otherwise to hear also is impossible. Everywhere we go, we hear so much scratch. So these places are the gift of Srila Prabhupada and we are eternally indebted to him. By giving these practical methods, Prabhupada has completely purified millions of generations to come. These commentaries and purports of Srila Prabhupada are here to stay for at least 10000 years and I would request you to come to these places and make your life successful. Take some small book written by Srila Prabhupada and you can derive eternal instructions in a nutshell. If you abide by these instructions, your life can never go wrong. If we do not follow these injunctions, then there is no perfection, no happiness and what to talk of supreme destination. All these become alien to us. Always keep a small book written by Srila Prabhupada in your purse and whenever you get anytime in bus or wherever, please open and go through one paragraph and it will guide you. This is shaastra vidhi and if you give up this, then your life is less than an animal. Donkey is a celebrated fool animal in animal kingdom also. The horse, the cow and the other animals know that donkey is a fool. To that extent he is fool. But if you offer him a glass of beer, he will not touch it. But we drink it which means that we are less than a donkey. Our level completely goes down as soon as we do not hear the scriptures.

By following the scriptural injunctions, from our own material life, we are picked up and taken up to the highest realm of Krishna. If we change our lifestyle according to the scriptures, we have a healthy life. Otherwise we are always sick. If we are not at ease, we are diseased, and these are the places where you can have this ease. Sit silent and meditate on Krishna, perform kirtana, chant and hear and this gives us the ease. If we do not follow the shaastras, we are diseased and to cure this we run around the hospitals like mad persons and the doctors do not understand anything and they carry out experiments with our body. The scriptural injunctions are in front of us. As soon as we follow, everything falls in order. Hence it is our duty to read the scriptures, understand them and follow to the best of our ability.


Hare Krishna Hare Krishna

Krishna Krishna

Hare Hare

Hare Rama Hare Rama

Rama Rama

Hare Hare

and be happy.



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  • Hare krishna Dear gadadhar orabhu you are doing great work by publishing real and practical bhagvatam 


  • great.........guidance............ given to solve our problems on progressing krisna consciousness
  • Hare Krishna,
    wonderful thank you for sharing this
  • Hari Bol !!!!
    Srila Prabhupada ki Jai !!
    Maharaj ki Jai !!
  • Hari bol, what a clear cut descriptions of all the asharamas.Jai shree radhey
  • Volunteer
    Very very.... wonderful and practical guidance !!! After reading this, i feel that got a new life and another chance to make myself perfect. Jai Mahavishnu Goswami Maharaj ki Jai!!! Hare Krishna.
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