Shri L.P. Nagar of M/s. L.P. Nagar & Co. at Mathura and a friend of our paper ‘Back to Godhead’ has presented us a book of the name ‘Atmakatha‘ or the freaks of time. This is a book written in Hindi as the autobiography of Shri Nagarji. The most interesting part of the book is that one can enjoy in it the pleasure of reading a fiction or novel by reading this autobiography of a successful householder in fact. One cannot stop reading this book unless he has not finished the whole course. This indicates that the author is not only a successful businessman but he is also a successful writer.
The other interesting point of the book is that the author is an ideal man of household life at least at the present moment when every house is a dreadful black hole. Nowadays mostly people earn their livelihood by all means black and white. But it appears from the book that Shri L.P. Nagar although passed through a hard struggle for life and through a chequered history and yet he never deviated from the principles of morality and honesty. Even if when he deviated from such principles, he corrected it quickly with repentance and rigidly followed worldly moral codes. His life therefore will teach many householders, especially young men, that the principles of successful life must be the principles of honesty is the best policy and that alone could help one to be favoured with the mercy of Godhead through His agent the material nature.
But from our point of view this successful life of a worldly man does not end the sojourn of life’s mission. Such success only does not take us to the ultimate goal. From the life of Shri L.P. Nagar one can learn and become a prince from the stage of a beggar; or sometimes we can find that a princely man becomes a beggar in the street in spite of his acts of charity, munificence, altruism, goodness, honesty etc. Maharaj Harishchandra became homeless beggar by his pious acts of charity. Maharaj Judisthir and brothers became homeless vagabonds by their acts of goodness and honesty and there are many more examples in the history of the world as to how the freaks of time play the part of a juggler on the stage of flickering platform where we stand to play our parts. Such parts are fixed up by the illusory nature called by the name of ‘Daivi Maya.’ On the flickering platform of playful life, we are dressed sometimes either as a prince or as a beggar but in fact out of the stage, none of us is either a prince or a peasant. These features of life come and go like seasonal changes of time and according to the teachings of Bhagwat Geeta no learned man should be very serious about it.
It is not our business in the human form of life to be decorated either as a prince or a beggar but what we seriously become is that our aim must be targeted towards a release from this playful stage under some false decoration in the direction of the illusory Nature. That is our real Atmakatha. In the Bhagwat Geeta we learn it definitely that even if we are awarded the facility to play the part of a ‘Brahma,’ the first and the foremost man of the creation whose duration of life is considered to be hundreds of crores of the solar years, still we cannot be happy in this material world. The material world is condemned by the Lord Himself declaring it to be the abode of miseries and death. Even a successful householder like Sri Nagarji will also admit of this cult of miseries in the material existence. Success and failure in the material world are all but stage management of the illusory nature by allowing us to play a part which we desire to do by our own inclination. In the theatrical parties, especially in the amateur parties—the respective members do select their own parts and the director gives them instruction to dance and thus we play the part of a dancing dog in the stage of the material nature. Mother illusory nature the director of the material world gives us all facilities to play our parts very successfully. A beggar also can play his part very successfully by the expert direction of the Mother, as a great politician also can play his part. But the successful man or living entity is he who can know from the lessons of Bhagwat Geeta that he is neither a beggar nor a prince in fact but he is a part and parcel of the Supreme Lord and his only business is that in this human form of life he has to go back to home back to Godhead his eternal father. That is the story of real Atmakatha.
In the Upanishads we find it is stated that one who gets this boon of human form of life and knows everything about his real self and duty and then go back to Home, back to Godhead is really a Brahmin. But the man who comes here and engages himself to play the part of a beggar or a prince on the stage of the illusory Nature and all of sudden quits the stage by the order of the controlling deity without knowing his proper identity is called a Kripana or the miser. The miser is a mischievous man because he does not know how to utilise his acquired wealth. A miser man is captivated by his good luck (?) but does not know how to utilise the opportunity. But a Brahmin or the intelligent sane man does know the worth of his wealth and does use it properly for life’s enjoyment.
Therefore to become successful only as a worldly householder is the business of a miser; but to become successful as a learned Brahmin or intelligent man is the real success in life.
We therefore advise every successful businessman, administrator, lawyer etc. to become just an intelligent man or Brahmin who knows the value of life as also the process of going back to home, back to Godhead. A successful life in the worldly sense for a few number of years in the short span of life is no success if we do not know what we are, why there are miseries, wherefrom we have come, where we shall go, why we are begging and why we are ruling. These are some of the questions pertaining to the Atma or the spirit soul. That should be the subject matter for discussion in the Atmakatha and we would request Sri Nagarji or similar other gentlemen who are successful as householders not to stop writing Atmakatha simply by becoming a prince from the state of a beggar, but the idea should be farther and farther more extended till the real Atma, and not the unreal Atma of body and mind, has stopped altogether begging. So long there is repetition of birth and death one must know it for certain that the begging process is going on. The Atma should be completely dragged from the acts of begging or this material existence by real enlightenment of Atma and in the Bhagwat Geeta we find the following sloka spoken by the Lord Himself.
“One who is aware of everything of the spirit soul is neither gladdened by getting something of material happiness nor he is disturbed by getting something which is materially unwanted. The stable man is unbewildered and thus he is to be understood to be situated in the transcendental spiritual plane.”
The process of begging is an unwanted position and the process of ruling is the desired objective of a man in the material plane. But a spiritually realised man is above these two planes and the Bhagwat Geeta advises us to rise up to this plane of transcendental position. It is said in the 6th chapter (Bg. 6.5).
“One should deliver himself by himself and must not one degrade himself by himself. One is himself his own friend and one is himself his own enemy.”
Real Atmakatha or the story of the Atma is explained very nicely in this sloka. A living entity is himself responsible for his suffering and happiness. We have discussed this subject matter in the articles “Sufferings of Humanity.” Everyone therefore should be guard of himself.
Atma must be satisfied by Atma happiness and not by Anatma or nonspiritual happiness. Enjoyment and happiness is felt in the same category. A poor man cannot enjoy happiness freely in the company of a rich man. The Atma is superior to Anatma or the spirit is superior to matter. And therefore Atma’s perpetual hankerings is never satisfied by increase of material happiness. We see therefore no one or standard of material happiness. The ladies fashion is changing daily and yet there is no happiness. The material happiness is therefore an illusion whereas spiritual happiness is a reality to the spirit or Atma. Life remains imperfect perpetually so long the Atma is not supplied with Atmakatha. This is confirmed in the Srimad Bhagbatam as follows:—
“Noonam i.e. certainly a man is upset (Pramattam) by his material conception of existence and as such he does (Kurutey) all sorts of vicious activities (Bikarmana) conducted by the impulse of sense gratification—Indriapriti. Such vicious material activities are never counted to be genuine activities of a human being because in that way he is sure to degrade his (Atma) soul which is obliged to accept temporary body although he (Atma) is eternal spirit by nature.”
In this connection the word Atma and Bikarmana are very significant. Karma means prescribed duty. Akarma means non-prescribed activities or whimsical and non-regulated functions and Bikarmana means vicious activities or impious acts.
When one is pushed by an impulse of sense gratification, he is sure to practice ‘Bikarma‘ and thereby degrade his own soul, as mentioned above, to accept an embodiment of material covering or tabernacle. The human life is meant for liberation from such bondage of material embodiment and therefore if anyone acts in a manner so that the soul is again embodied—such actions are not surely laudable and approved by the authorities in the spiritual science. Why the authorities do not approve of this action? Because such actions are signs of defeat of the boon of human form of life (Parabhava).
So long these unlawful actions will continue to be done it must be concluded that they are being done in the darkness of ignorance. When a living entity is enchanted by bodily or material activities without any information of the Atma spirit, may he be a man, a powerful god or even if a Brahma or Indra, it is concluded that he is defeated in his life’s mission in the onward journey. So long there is fruitive activity or things done for one’s sense enjoyment and not for the service of the Supreme Lord, one’s mind is sure to be moulded in material conception of things. As such the mind is sure to accept another material body until it is purified by real knowledge or ‘Karmayoga‘ the actions by which the Lord is served.
A successful householder therefore is advised to engage his hard earned money in the service of the Supreme Lord Vasudeva. “Vasudeva Sarvamiti Sa Mahatma Sudurlava.” A person who can know by genuine Atmakatha that everything is the emanation from Vasudeva and therefore all energies must be employed in the service of Vasudeva is certainly a Mahatma. A Mahatma is recognized by action and not by the dress. Lower-grade neophytes are carried away by the data of outward dress but second grade spiritualist recognize a ‘Sadhu’ or ‘Mahatma’ by action. We have already discussed this subject matter in our article “WHO IS A SADHU.” By our material association from a time immemorial we have been accustomed to the activities of fruitive nature just to gratify our material senses. This love of sense gratification may be diverted in the activities in relation with the will of Vasudeva and Absolute as He is there is no difference between Vasudeva and His Supreme will. Such Vasudeva activities are to be accepted as real spiritual knowledge and not the one which is meant for dry speculation. Love of Godhead is the goal of spiritual life and this is confirmed in the Bhagwat as follows:—
“The mind thus being overwhelmed by the designative embodiment of the Atma, one cannot get rid of the disease of accepting material bodies unless and until one has developed a sense of love for Vasudeva.”
The sense of Love of Godhead is imbibed in everyone’s heart in dormant condition. They are simply to be revived by the process of association of pure devotees who are cent percent actually engaged in the service of the Lord. That is the way of liberation and not the way of dry speculation leading to the idea of becoming a false God himself. This mentality of associating the actual devotees is developed by the service of the Mahatma as defined in the Bhagwat Geeta. Everyone is not a Mahatma. An unalloyed devotee of the Personality of Godhead is a Mahatma and his service is the way of liberation. “Mahat Seva Dwaram Ahu Vimukte” and Tama Dwaram Joshitam Sangi Samgam i.e., to associate with the sense-gratifiers (Joshit Samgi) is the way to darkness or ignorance.
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is the ideal and unalloyed Mahatma confirmed by practical actions and by the revealed scriptures because He is Sree Krishna Himself playing the part of a Mahatma just to demonstrate the import of Mahatma described in the Bhagwat Geeta spoken by Shree Krishna Himself. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is personified practical demonstration of the thesis of Bhagwat Geeta. A successful householder therefore or a successful businessman, a successful lawyer or a successful administrator and all such respectable gentlemen must be ready to follow the footprints of the ideal Mahatma Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. One should engage his life, wealth, intelligence and words for the service of the ideal Mahatma and that will be the enigma of successful life. Our whole energy was meant for the service of the Lord which action makes the whole world actually happy and peaceful but because we have utilised our energy in the matter of love of senses, we have not only degraded ourselves but also we have brought in its train a series of mishaps in the setup of peaceful life even in the present phase.
Srila Rupa Goswami was previously a minister in the state service of Nawab Hussain Shah in Bengal and when he retired from the service he showed us the ways how to utilise one’s wealth by proper disbursement. He spent 50% of his accumulated wealth in the service of the Lord, 25% was kept for himself to meet so many emergencies of life and he distributed the balance 25% of his wealth amongst his relatives who expect to inherit something from the father. He did not allow himself spoiled by his energy in the way of giving all the money for the so-called kinsmen. That is the way to liberation. A successful householder therefore should not spoil his energy in the service of Maya but follow the footprints of Srila Rupa Goswami and engage himself in the service of the ideal Mahatma Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu who refused to accumulate even a particle of myraballan for the next days’ use and what to speak of accumulating money in the name of deities, maths and temples? Srila Rupa Goswami was not only an intelligent statesman in the service of the Nawab, but also he was an authorised Goswami in the service of the Lord. A Goswami in the line of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is nondifferent from the Mahatma described in the Bhagwat Geeta. One who engages his senses cent percent in the service of the Lord is really a controller of the senses. And one who is able to control his senses in the above way is powerful to become a Goswami and is able to recruit disciples from all over the world.