ONE STROKE OF BHAKTI-YOGA
by Gauranga Darshan Das
Atma-tattva is the science of both God and the living entity. The Supreme Lord is called Paramatma, and the living entity is called the atma. Both the Paramatma and the jivatma, being transcendental to the material energy, are called atma. Generally people have many wrong conceptions about both of them.
The wrong conception of the jivatma is to identify the material body with the pure soul, and the wrong conception of Paramatma is to think Him on an equal level with the living entity. But both misconceptions can be removed by one stroke of bhakti-yoga, just as in the sunlight both the sun and the world and everything within the sunlight are properly seen. In the darkness one cannot see the sun, nor himself, nor the world. But in the sunlight one can see the sun, himself and the world around him. Anyone who has dedicated his life to the service of the Lord by his activities, his mind and his words may stay in any condition of life and yet is no longer actually conditioned but is liberated. (10.2.37 P)
Understanding the Atma-tattva
Except for bhakti-yoga, any method for realization of atma-tattva, or the science of atma, will prove deceptive in the long run. In the Bhagavad-gita, the Lord says that only by bhakti-yoga can one know Him perfectly, and then one can enter into the science of God. The conditioned soul can regain his form of eternal knowledge and bliss simply by seeing the Lord by means of bhakti-yoga. Due to ignorance the conditioned soul is encaged in the temporary varieties of material forms. But the Supreme Lord has no such temporary form like the conditioned souls. He is always possessed of an eternal form of knowledge and bliss, and that is the difference between the Lord and the living entity. One can understand this difference by the process of bhakti-yoga.
Bhagavatam Study is also Bhakti-yoga
Brahma was told by the Lord the gist of Srimad-Bhagavatam in four original verses. Thus Srimad-Bhagavatam is not a creation of the mental speculators. The sound of Srimad-Bhagavatam is transcendental, and the resonance of Srimad-Bhagavatam is as good as that of the Vedas. Thus the topic of the Srimad-Bhagavatam is thescience of both the Lord and the living entity. Regular reading or hearing of Srimad-Bhagavatam is also performance of bhakti-yoga, and one can attain the highest perfection simply by the association of Srimad-Bhagavatam. Both Sukadeva Gosvami and Maharaja Pariksit attained perfection through the medium of Srimad-Bhagavatam. (2.9.4 P)