Way Out of Fatigue
(Compiled from notes on lectures of H. H. Mahavishnu Goswami)
In the present civilization we find that the majority of the population are completely fatigued in their endeavour to improve the so called standard of life and are full of restlessness. Peace and refreshment are very rare to find and Srimad Bhagavatam in the verse 4.26.11, describes this situation and Srila Prabhupada gives a brilliant purport to this verse. tatah ksut-trt-parisraanto
nivrtto grham eyivaan
"After this, the King, very much fatigued, hungry and thirsty, returned to his royal palace. After returning, he took a bath and had an appropriate dinner. Then he took rest and thus became freed from all restlessness."
Srila Prabhupada writes in his purport:
‘A materialistic person works throughout the whole week very, very hard. He is always asking, “Where is money? Where is money?” Then, at the end of the week, he wants to retire from these activities and go to some secluded place to rest. King Puranjana returned to his home because he was very much fatigued from hunting animals in the forest. When a person comes to his senses and understands how he is engaging in sinful activities, he returns to his conscience, which is herein figuratively described as the palace. Generally a materialistic person is infected by the material modes of passion and ignorance. The results of passion and ignorance are lust and greed. In the life of a materialist, activity means working in lust and greed. However, when he comes to his senses, he wants to retire.
King Puranjana’s coming home, taking bath and having an appropriate dinner indicate that a materialistic person must retire from sinful activities and become purified by accepting a spiritual master and hearing from him about the values of life. If one would do this, he would feel completely refreshed, just as one feels after taking a bath. After receiving initiation from a bona fide spiritual master, one must abandon all kinds of sinful activities, namely illicit sex, intoxication, gambling and meat-eating.’
Our beloved Guru Maharaja gave a very enlightening lecture on the above verse and it practically gives us the way out of fatigue and mental anguish.
The meaning of devotee is that we are devoted to the Supreme Absolute Truth. Otherwise, if we are devoted to anything else, that will produce reactions and fatigue. Sometimes when the aeroplanes crash, the reason is given that it is due to metal fatigue. The metal gets tired of ferrying the passengers and it gives off. That fatigue is in us also. Daily we are fatigued. This is because we are carrying the material lump (body) and it is the nature of the material lump to make us fatigued. Hence the process to get out of this given in Srimad Bhagavatam 2.8.6:
dhautaatmaa purusah krsna-
paada-mulam na muncati
paanthah sva-saranam yathaa
"A pure devotee of the Lord whose heart has once been cleansed by the process of devotional service never relinquishes the lotus feet of Lord Krishna, for they fully satisfy him, as a traveler is satisfied at home after a troubled journey."
The Importance of the Cleansing Process:
When the soul completely gets rid of all the material hankerings, then 'krsna paada mulam na muncati' - the soul never leaves the lotus feet of the lord. So first we have to cleanse our soul. The soul is so very tiny and it is bound to be covered by the irregularities. That is why the Supersoul never leaves the soul. The Supersoul stays in our heart but is never touched by our lust, greed or the lower modes.
Srila Prabhupada gives a very nice example for this. An iron-rod in the association of fire becomes red hot and does not act as an iron rod but acts as fire. The iron rod does not have the capacity of fire, but as soon as it associates with the fire, it becomes red hot and till it is red hot, it will act as fire. But as soon as it gets cold, it loses its potency. This is our position also. Every second of our existence, this cleansing process must go on. As soon as this process is stopped, we are victimized by the lower modes, and then, once we are victimized by the lower modes, the highly elevated living entities also, we are surprised that how they can behave in this way. The root cause is that the cleansing process stops, and this process should continue according to our conditions. Otherwise, as soon as the association of the fire is not there, the iron rod comes back to being an iron rod. That’s what happens to us also. That is why Srila Prabhupada has given us the daily process of mangala arati, chanting, reading Srimad Bhagavatam and Bhagavad gita. So we must be doing these things on a daily basis without fail. We should not get tired of these things.
We should be exhausted by the things which are not recommended by the Shastras. We should be completely fed up with them. We should touch these things only to the minimum extent required. This is practical. If we touch more than that, we are bound to be consumed. We have to stay in our material life. We have the material body. So we have our material necessities. To that extent we touch. It is very difficult to understand this point. But we have so many innumerable desires, and we are just consumed, and years and years and years are gone and then we are surprised that since last so many years I am chanting and nothing is happening. We get fed up and again we go back to the material conceptions and consumptions. We have to be patient regarding these things.
We should not behave like the insect that falls into the lamp again and again till it is burnt to death. This is our condition also. However hard we try to understand, so many purports are there, so many instructions are there, but our life is very dirty inside. We may try put on the garb of devotee. We are all situated in different age groups but age doesn’t matter. This is the only way. With all the materialistic tendencies, we should set aside at least some time of the day to sit and seriously study and understand these things.
The activities that do not require our attention, we think that they require our attention. This is our foolishness. We are not needed at all for these activities and they just go on – prakrteh kriyamaanaani gunaih karmaani sarvashah ahankaara vimudaatmaa kartaaham iti manyate. Activities are going on according to the three modes of material nature. So many pilots die, but the planes are going on. So many businessmen die, but the shops are not closed. We are here and the activities go on and we are not here also, the activities will go on. This is true regarding our family matters also. But we poke our nose and again and again we are hit on the nose, but still we poke. This is because we are unaware of what an immaculate manager Krishna is.
Srimad Bhagavatam verse 4.26.11.
Srila Prabhupada stresses the importance of eating appropriate food in his purport to the above verse as follows;
"The word 'ucitaahaarah' used in this verse is important. Ucita means “Appropriate.” One must eat appropriately and not take after food as hogs take after stool. For a human being there are eatables described in Bhagavad-gita (17.8) as saattvika-aahaara, or food in the mode of goodness. One should not indulge in eating food in the modes of passion and ignorance. This is called ucitaahaara, or appropriate eating. One who is always eating meat or drinking liquor, which is eating and drinking in passion and ignorance, must give these things up so that his real consciousness may be awakened. In this way one may become peaceful and refreshed. If one is restless or fatigued, one cannot understand the science of God."
Maharaja went on to explain the necessity of eating appropriate food as summarised below. We are all under the conception that ‘I am managing everything and everything is going on alright because of me.’ Maharaja completely thrashed this idea by his following powerful words.
The first thing we have to recognise is that our own body is not under our control. We eat prasadam and we do not know how it is digested. Once we put the food inside our mouth, we do not know what is happening. Once we vomit the foodstuff, we know how obnoxious the material is. We should be satisfied with the required eatables only and that too regulated. Otherwise everything is going to be obnoxious in our body. If we are not able to bear that stuff when we vomit, how can the body bear it? The body is completely filthy. With filth, everything goes rotten and what can be the guarantee that this body will continue with all the filth? This body is continuing only because of Krishna’s mercy. Otherwise with all the filth inside, we cannot survive. Day in and day out we are thinking that we are going to get up tomorrow.
The way out of this is to reserve at least sometime to seriously understand these things. We may not be able to devote 24 hours, if you can devote, so far so better, but if you can’t, at least sometime must be seriously utilised in this. We should always remember the words of Srila Prabhupada that "Devotional service, which is based on the foreground of full knowledge combined with detachment from material association and which is fixed by the aural reception of the Vedaanta-sruti, is the only perfect method by which the seriously inquisitive student can realize the Absolute Truth". (Purport to SB 1.2.12)
Here the foreground of knowledge is that irregular food habits cause all the diseases. The foodstuff which we relished, we are not able to taste it back when it is vomited. Can anybody claim, ‘I am a King. My food will not be obnoxious’? Without exception this is the truth. Why can’t we develop the transcendental intelligence and think about these tings. We take it for granted that we are going to survive. Not a single second we can survive without His mercy. The things which are going on inside our body are inconceivable. In that again, production of by-products is going on, dwindling is going on, growth is going on. This is all beyond our control. Our own existence is beyond our control. How can we control other living entities existence? Still we try to lord it over. However we may love our children, children have to eat, and they have to have the filthy material inside. As soon as Krishna wants to withdraw the soul, they die. The filthy material is the cause of our death. We only survive, till He sanctions it. We can’t avoid Him. That is the point. Completely unexpectedly this body will have to leave and this is certain. As soon as we come to this knowledge, it gives us the impetus to go to Krishna who is completely transcendental.
Then we have to come to the understanding that we are nourished only by devotional service. There is no need of too much of food. Little here and there is enough. Because we fail to recognise the fact that we are always completely nourished by devotional service, we depend upon so many other things for our nourishment. Because we are nourished it is called ‘poshana’ or ‘pushti’. The vallabha sampradaaya is called ‘pushti marga’. This is because they know definitely that they are getting nourishment from Krishna and to that extent they are effulgent. As soon as we know this, we have to go to Him to keep our whole body in order. That goes without saying. That is why it is very essential that the curative process in the body must never be stopped. We eat hard food and it must be causing scratches in the food pipe or intestine and all this is being repaired automatically. The repairing work is always going on and they are never in order. They can only be in order, if our attention is diverted from intestine to Krishna. Otherwise we have to go through the stomach operations. We have to change to food in the mode of goodness and that is ‘ucitahaaraa’. In mode of goodness also we have to worry about our stomach. The stomach is only 6 inches and we can’t stretch it to make it 3 feet . Food may be free but stomach is ours. That we forget.
Hence we have to think about these things and meditate on them. We must know the instrument we are carrying and the importance of devotional service to keep it in perfect order. Our lack of awareness of these things is the reason for our fatigue. Apart from this, again and again we are playing with our mind and body to follow the obnoxious path. We are in the mode of ignorance and too much hankering is going on. Then so many illicit ideas are going on. Unless we are really attached to Krishna
these ideas will not go away. And these ideas will alone kill us. That we do not know. This is the foreground of knowledge. Everywhere Krishna is a must. But we brush Him aside. And feel ‘I am must’. Please hand over these things to Him and He will immaculately manage. Depending upon Krishna is really worthwhile and only the very rare living entities will do it. Everywhere we are thinking I am prominent. We are nothing really.
Maharaja was insisting that all our habits must be free from the modes of passion and ignorance. Srimad Bhagavatam states in 1.2.19:
kaama-lobhaadayas ca ye
ceta etair anaaviddham
sthitam sattve prasidati
"As soon as irrevocable loving service is established in the heart, the effects of nature’s modes of passion and ignorance, such as lust, desire and hankering, disappear from the heart. Then the devotee is established in goodness, and he becomes completely happy." The lower modes result in lust and greed. Greed and pride are very subtle and they will cling on anywhere. We should be very particular to get rid of greed. Greed must be shredded all the time. Greed destroys us. If we are not greedy, we may actually get more. This is an important and fine point for our practical life and everything should be practically made possible. Otherwise these pages have no meaning. We read again and again the same things, but even then it does not sink into our minds. We may be able to stop the gross activities but the subtle mind is working. Mind is the reservoir of different ideas and hankerings of millions of lifetimes. Because our devotional service was not complete, we had to take the subtle body with us. So mind is our constant companion and again ego is there and that spoils the whole thing. We should try to get rid of the bad tendencies and this is the necessity of the present chaos. Day by day chaos is increasing. So we should be able to digest these things and present it according to time and circumstances. That is what initiation means.
Srimad Bhagavatam very wonderfully describes how we should initiate ourselves everyday in this process in 1.2.3;
yah svaanubhaavam akhila-sruti-saaram ekam
adhyaatma-dipam atititirsataam tamo 'ndham
samsaarinaam karunayaaha puraana-guhyam
tam vyaasa-sunum upayaami gurum muninaam
"Let me offer my respectful obeisances unto him [Suka], the spiritual master of all sages, the son of Vyaasadeva, who, out of his great compassion for those gross materialists who struggle to cross over the darkest regions of material existence, spoke this most confidential supplement to the cream of Vedic knowledge, after having personally assimilated it by experience."
The above is our daily initiation. Sva-anubhavam means our own experience. Everybody is full of experiences. Then we have shruti saaram i.e we have the essence of all the scriptures. We have thousands of magazines in the modern civilization and they are all contaminated because reality is absent. With the combination of our own experience and the scriptural essence, there is adhyaatma deepam - the transcendental lamp of knowledge is rekindled in our hearst. As soon as the lamp is rekindled, there is atititirsataam tamondham - we can easily cross over the blinded darkness of ignorance. Then we have to compassionately speak out this knowledge for the benefit of all the materialistic people suffering repeated births and deaths here (samsaarinaam karunaya aaha). Srimad Bhagavatam gives us the information to get out of this material rut. Our own constitutional position is the best. The child is naturally very happy with the mother.
Our contamination is because of the lower modes and we will be completely pure once we get out of the modes. We have to think about these things again and again and Krishna helps us to get out of the contamination. Then all mental anguish and fatigue goes away. Because of contamination, anguish is there. Otherwise there is no fatigue or anguish. We have to take bath in Srimad Bhagavatam. Dirty body can be cleansed by water. Dirty consciousness cannot be cleansed by water. So wash your consciousness always. Nourish your eagerness that in this life time, today only we should be liberated. That is how we should be eager. Try to spend as much time as possible with Srimad Bhagavatam, Srimad Bhagavad gita and Chaitanya Caritamrita.
Srila Prabhupada has given us everything in toto and if we lose touch with his literature, we are doomed. With fixed and one pointed intelligence we have to go to him and there is no necessity of any other literature. To that extent we should be fanatical about him. Any time we feel low, we just have to open a small book by Srila Prabhupada and we become completely free from all fatigue and anguish and we feel peaceful and refreshed.
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna
Hare Rama Hare Rama
and be happy.