~ Jagad Guru Chris Butler (Siddhaswarupananda Paramahamsa)

Lord Krsna is always merciful

"O Lord, You are the Supreme Personality, and the jiva is Your part and parcel. You are always concerned for the well-being of Your servitors. Whatever situation the jiva may find himself in, Lord Krsna is always prepared to grant the jiva his heart's desire,

like a well-wishing friend who never deserts him. The relationship between Krsna and the jiva is eternal. Krsna is the Supreme Godhead and the jiva is the instrument through whom and to whom the Lord manifests His energies and opulences. The Lord is the Supreme Controller, and the jiva is the beneficiary enjoying the rewards of his actions. Whatever the servant considers desirable, the Lord mercifully bestows upon him.

"Anyone yearning for evanescent sense pleasure in the material world can also easily find it kindly provided by You. The means to attain such gratification is the performance of auspicious activities as recommended in the Vedas. They are: following the duties of the varnasrama system; performing sacrifices such as the fire sacrifice (agnistoma); executing the eightfold yoga process; offering havan or oblations; keeping vows on full-moon days; and giving in charity on auspicious days and on occasions productive of material benefit.

Although these activities are performed with Lord Visnu as the presiding Deity, there is no pure devotional attitude on the part of the performer; he unfortunately does not realize his want of spirituality because these activities never help him develop a pure spiritual mood. The results one accrues from these activities are material; one simply craves for enjoyment in higher planets. Such activities and their results can never satisfy the soul, the real self; illusion is their cause. These so-called auspicious activities only allow one to attain temporary heavenly pleasures diametrically opposed to transcendental bliss.

Deliverance from material piety

"If a person is fortunate enough to have association with a saintly personality and comes to know of his eternal identity as a servant of Lord Krsna, he easily surmounts the great obstacle of material nature. This is very rare. It happens only because of the results of huge amounts of previous pious activities that are never to be attained by the performance of fruitive works, which can give only insignificant results.

"The seeker of dry empirical knowledge understands material nature to be a place of suffering and so strives for liberation. You are merciful to them also; You have given them jnana-kanda section of the Vedas so they can pursue impersonal knowledge of the Absolute. Their final destination is absorption into the brahmajyoti. The brahmajyoti is Your spiritual effulgence and is situated on the bank of the Viraja River. All the demons killed by the Supreme Lord also end up merging with the brahmajyoti, which lies beyond the periphery of maya. Both the empiricists and the fruitive workers are non-devotees, disinclined to serve Lord Krsna. They can never relish the sweetness of Lord Krsna's service.

Pious activities leading to devotional service

"Sukrti, or pious activity, is of three varieties: 1) karmonmukhi or piety derived from fruitive activities, 2) jnanonmukhi or piety derived from the cultivation of knowledge and 3) bhakti-unmukhi or piety derived from devotional service. The first two result in enjoying the fruits of action and in liberation, respectively.

However, bhakti-unmukhi involves faith in and appreciation of pure devotional service. Such exalted piety is achieved by unknowing performance of pure devotional service, without spiritual knowledge (ajnata-sukrti). Bhakti-unmukhi is the most important kind of sukrti, and it leads the jiva to meet a pure, saintly devotee. By associating with a devotee of Krsna the jiva's faith becomes firm. Gradually he develops a taste for chanting the holy name, becomes compassionate toward all beings, and is fixed in devotional service.