[This article also appears as the final part of the article “Theosophy Ends in Vaishnavism” in Back to Godhead Vol I Parts I-IV published in 1944]
“It is from this realisation of an interlinking of all mankind, and in a very precise manner the interlinking of man and man within any community, whether small like a village, or large like a nation, that the reality underlying the word ‘citizen’ derives its implications of responsibility, duty and sacrifice. The Theosophist knows, by his knowledge of the pattern, that men have not come together to form communities because of greed or for the purpose of self-protection; but that they have together primarily because they are to be mutually helpful, each to give what he can to the others, and to receive from them what he needs and to help to release in every other the Goodness, Love and Beauty that lie hidden in the heart of every man, woman and child.
“It is towards this goal that the Great Plan has fostered civilization from savage to civilized; therefore the word civilized connoted the duties of Citizenship. Among these duties are a valiant defense of those who are unjustly attacked, to protect the weak against the exploitation by the strong, and to release the hidden Beauty of the Divine in all men and things, by aiding in the development of the sciences and the arts, and by all ways which appeal to the Highest in Man and which bind man to man and nation to nation.”
The Vaisnavite accepts all the above principles in the bond of universal brotherhood but he can see that these ties of brotherhood are only superficial and they cannot stand for a permanent relationship. Great leaders of thought in almost all countries in the world have tried this method of binding man to man and nation to nation by some sort of altruistic method but the Vaisnavite differs from them that such process may temporarily cause some sort of external brotherhood between man to man, etc., but will fail in the ultimate, unless one is not helped to revive his inborn-nature technically called “Swarupa” as distinguished from his “Birupa” or external nature. The valiant defense of those who are unjustly attacked or protect the weak from the exploitation by the strong, are undoubtedly worthy of mention for binding man to man and nation to nation but the Vaisnavite wants to make every one and all so strong that he would not need any outside protection nor will be exploited by… …anyone else. The Vaisnavite says that a living entity when he forgets his real “Swarupa” as the eternal transcendental subordinate unit of service, becomes exploited and constantly attacked by the “Birupa” or material nature. The exploitation and attack which we generally see externally on our fellowbeings are but the attacks and exploitation of the Grim Material Nature which tries to put the conditioned soul to the path of righteousness in an indirect method-just like the teacher chastises the student in order to put the latter into righteousness. Temporary help to save one from such attack or exploitation, may save one from such attacks or exploitation by a visible agent of the material nature, but that will not save the sufferer from the hands of Material nature which is called Godly and unsurmountable in the Bhagwat Geeta. When a culprit is given punishment within the walls of a prison house by the Superintendent of the prison, the childish cry of other prisoners or protest by them can give some temporary relief to the prisoner meant for punishment, but that cannot give him real relief. Brotherhood within the prison walls by the prisoners themselves will not surely improve their ideal of universal brotherhood under the grip of the Jailor in charge.
The whole ideal of universal brotherhood, peace and amity will surely give permanent delight as soon as the brothers are given relief from the exploitation and attacks of the Material Nature just like prisoners when they are freed from the control of the Jail Superintendent to relish the sweetness of brotherhood conceived by them. Within the walls of a prison house brotherhood for mutual relief is revolt against laws of the Jail and as such universal brotherhood within the laws of Material Nature is meaningless.
The Vaisnavite therefore tries to bring one first of all out of the exploitation and attack from the hands of Material Nature by putting one under the guidance of Yogamaya and then only he conceives for a real universal brotherhood between man to man and nation to nation.
The process of getting relief from the exploiting and attacking hands of the Material Nature is to surrender oneself unconditionally unto the care of the Absolute Personality of Godhead and that is the recognised formula in the Bhagwat Geeta. When one gets “BACK TO GODHEAD” he can really form an unit in the ideals of universal Brotherhood and none else.
Every action in the mundane world is influenced by the modes of Material Nature and as such they are activated either by good ideals, passion or ignorance. The first class actions are performed under the modes of goodness but even such actions are influenced by the material nature as a result of which they are nonpermanent, imperfect and uncongenial.
So in order to get rid from the exploiting and attacking hands of the Material Nature, one has to transcend the modes of material nature by constant service of the Personality of Godhead because that is the process of transcending the modes of material nature. When every one therefore is engaged in the service of the Personality of Godhead it is then and then only in relation with the Personality of Godhead everything becomes perfect, permanent and transcendental. That is the process concluded in Bhagwat Geeta.
The Personality of Godhead says in the 26th sloka of the 14th chapter as follows:—
“And he who worships Me by an exclusive devotion in service, having passed over all the three modes, is conformed to the nature of Brahman (the Absolute).” [Bg. 14.26]
Thus according to the Vaisnavite, only those who will engage themselves in the devotional service of the Personality of Godhead by their life, money, intelligence and words can be eligible to be a member of the bond of universal brotherhood. By serving the whole only the units can be served.
The ideals of the Theosophist as put by H. P. Blavatsky are as follows:—
“Let thy Soul lend its ear to every cry of pain like as the lotus bares its heart to drink the morning son.
Let not the fierce sun dry on tear of pain before thyself has wiped it from the sufferer’s eye.
But let each burning human tear drop on thy heart and there remain; nor ever brush it off until that caused it is removed.
These tears, O thou of heart most merciful, these are the streams that irrigate the fields of charity immortal.”
These words can be given practical shape only by those who have dedicated their life for cent per cent service of the Personality of Godhead and without this they will simply remain as golden ideals never to be fulfilled in the kingdom of man. The devotees only think for the fallen and down-trodden, try to pick them up from the mud of material existence and it is they only who try for the permanent benefit of the sufferers from the exploitating and attacking hands of the Grim Material Nature represented by the figure of the Goddess Kalika in destructive mode.
“Charity immortal” can be effected only when we are able to revive one’s remembrance of the eternal service of the Personality of Godhead. How this service can be performed is a subject for delineation in another chapter but as the Theosophist says that to become a citizen in the kingdom of God implies responsibility, duty and sacrifice, the responsibility of a Vaisnavite is to revive in the consciousness of every one and all, the transcendental relation of Godhead. The duty is first to engage oneself in the transcendental service of the Personality of Godhead and then to try to engage others also in the same transcendental engagement and therefore there must be sacrifice of life, money, intelligence and word for the propagation and revival of such transcendental activities. Lord Jesus Christ sacrificed His life for this cause and everyone who wants to enter into the Kingdom of God must be ready to sacrifice at least portion of his income if not other things in order to turn this hell into the Kingdom of God. God is Great and He reserves the right of not being exposed to the mundane speculationist and dry philosophers but He appears Himself by His own Will and Independence when He is offered transcendental loving services in all respects. The Sun appears in the morning just out of His own accord and not being bound up by the extraneous effort of the scientist. The scientist will fail to make appear the Sun at night by the discovery of all searchlights and scientific instruments. When He appears, ignorance disappears and one is able to see Him All-Good, All-Knowledge and All-Beautiful and one is also able to see himself too, that he is also all-good, all-knowledge and all-beautiful qualitatively. When he rises one can see the sun in the rays of the sun and not only the sun but also himself and all other things by him. As with the appearance of the Sun the darkness flies away so with the appearance of Godhead by His transcendental Name, Fame, Form, Qualities, etc., ignorance, poverty and wretchedness disappears; that is the verdict of all savants and scriptures.
The Theosophist tries to know the Godhead and His Kingdom in the Pattern by slow degrees in the process of self-effort and by the inductive process of generalisation but the Vaisnavite’s process is the opposite. He approaches a Superior Authority who knows Godhead and His kingdom and tries to know from him submissively by the process of deduction in a mode of service and relevant sincere questions for knowing the truth. The thirty-fourth sloka of the fourth chapter of Bhagwat Geeta enjoins this in the following words:—
“Learn this (knowledge of Godhead and His Kingdom, etc.) by doing reverence (i.e., by becoming disciple) by counter-questions and by services. The Wise (one who has realised Godhead and His Kingdom) who has seen the Truth will teach (this knowledge) unto thee.” [Bg. 4.34]
The process of the Vaisnavite is easier and perfect than the process of the empiric philosophers who try to know God and His Kingdom by dint of their poor fund of limited senses and imperfect knowledge derived from sensual speculation. In ordinary course of our life also we approach to the right person for learning a subject perfectly. We do not approach an engineer if we want to learn the science of medicines. Similarly if we want to know God and His kingdom or if we want to be servant of God, we must approach a real servant of God and must not approach one who is a servant of dog. Unless therefore one has not approached to the feet of one who is transcendentally wise and perfect, it is useless to talk of God and His kingdom.
In that process the Vaisnavite has realised Sree Krishna as the Absolute Personality of Godhead and the Origin of all causes. The Great Goswamins have discovered 64 transcendental qualities in their fullness in Sree Krishna which are never to be found out in any other person or god and therefore found Him (Krishna) as All-Good, All-Knowledge and All-Beautiful.
The Theosophist realises Sree Krishna in His Impersonal Aspect Brahman or All-pervading Vishnu Who dwells within as Paramatma and without as the Virata and this realisation is in perfect harmony with the observation of the Vaisnava. But the Vaisnava goes still deeper and sees Him as the Personality of Godhead “Bhagwan.” The all-pervading aspect of the Personality of Godhead is realised by the Vaisnava simultaneously along with his realisation of His Personal Aspect. The vivid example for this is Pralhad Moharaj. When Pralhad Moharaj was being threatened by His atheist father Hiranyakashipu to be killed instantaneously, He (Pralhad Moharaj) stood firmly and boldly without any care for His father’s threatening words. Hiranyakashipu asked, “How is it that you, foolish boy dare to neglect my anger which threatens the whole of the universe? Under whose influence you are so much fearless that you do not take any care for my words?”
Pralhad Moharaj replied to his father, “Oh king, the strength on which I depend is not only my strength but that is also your strength and that strength is also the strength of all strong men. Under that strength everything animate or inanimate in this universe works as subordinate. He is the Almighty, He is the Time, He is the Power of the senses, He is the strength of the mind, He is the strength of the body and He is the spirit of the sense organs. His power is unlimited, He is the Greatest of all, He is the Lord of the three modes of nature and He by His own strength, creates, maintains or destroys this whole universe. You may give up your this faithless character, do not nourish this nature of enmity and friendship within your heart but be equal to all beings. There is no other greater enemy than the mind who is uncontrolled and always going astray. To feel for all entities as one with us is the highest form of religion. In the ancient time some foolish men like yourself used to think as if they have conquered all the four corners of the universe, without conquering the six senses within themselves who are all-killing objects. But there is no enemy for the one, who is equal to all entities, self-conquered saint. The enemy is created by our ignorance only.”
The atheist father became too much angry on these words of his son Pralhad Moharaj and began to taunt him saying, “You fool, you dare to ill-fame me and call yourself as the conqueror of all enemy and thus you are proud of your acquisition. By this I can clearly understand that you are strongly desirous of death as I know those who want to die say all these rubbish words before me. Do you believe that there is any God more powerful than myself? Where does He live? If He is all-pervading why does He not live within this pillar before me? I shall sever your head from your body who is so much proud and let your God come here and save you.”
Pralhad Moharaj still remained silent as He knew that God is all-pervading and that He is sure to live within the pillar marked by Hiranyakashipu. Hiranyakashipu broke the Pillar and the Personality of Godhead came out of it in the shape of Narasingha just to kill the atheist Hiranyakashipu and other demonic people.
So the Vaisnavite’s realisation of the Absolute Godhead is full and perfect in all of His different aspects while the realisation of the Empiricist or the Mystics (Yogins) or Fruitive worker are but partial and imperfect as they can only realise in one aspect of the Absolute Truth.
The Theosophist as an unit in the Whole desires to mould his destiny and thereby the destiny of the Whole. The individual soul when he becomes a Vaisnava that is, identifies himself with the interest of the Visnu, the Lord of the Universe, it is then only he realises his real position as a unit in the Whole and thus he finds out his duty towards the Whole also. He realises that he is a part in the Whole and not equal with the Whole. He is simultaneously one with the Whole and different too. He realises that Sree Krishna the Absolute Personality of Godhead is Great and Infinite while he himself although the part and parcel of that Infinite—is infinitesimal. He is the Fire and the individual souls are innumerable emanated sparks from Him. As such qualitatively the individual souls have the same potency of fire as the Fire himself. Sree Krishna the Absolute Personality of Godhead is All-attractive, so the individual soul when he actually realises his own position and thus becomes attracted by Sree Krishna—he is then able to attract thousands and thousands of other individual souls towards the Lotus Feet of Sree Krishna. In other words when an individual soul realises himself fully by the mercy of Sree Krishna, it is then only possible for him to attract others to the Lotus Feet of the Absolute Personality of Godhead. At this stage only the individual soul can realise that he is an eternal servitor of the Great and the Infinite. Eternal life is his constitution and transcendental Love of Godhead is his business or religion. As such the Vaisnavite at this stage moulds his destiny by activities which transcendentally increases his Love of God and similarly he tries for others so that they may also revive their latent constitution of Love and Service for the Absolute Person. These activities are as practical as we have to do our daily necessary works and are never to be simply an intellectual speculation with result of fatigue and disappointment. The practical works are so much real that they gradually put oneself in the ocean of transcendental Bliss and the whole universe shall appear to such lover of God, as all-blissful, eternal and full of light. This is called unconditional pure and eternal life of the individual soul in his spiritual existence.
As such the Vaisnavite can distinguish the life of an individual soul in divisions namely unconditional and conditional. As referred to above the individual soul remains the same part and parcel of the Great and the Infinite both in the unconditional as well as conditional states. It is never to be misunderstood that in the unconditional state the individual soul becomes the Infinite from infinitesimal. And because the individual soul is infinitesimal always and never the Infinite, he is subject to become conditional under the laws of material nature and were he infinite at any stage he would have never been subjected to a conditional life under the laws of Nature. That is his marginal position.