om ajnana timirandhasya jnananjana salakaya
caksur unmilitam yena tasmai sri gurave namah
O Gurudeva, you are so merciful. I offer my humble pranama unto you and am praying from the core of my heart that, with the torchlight of divine knowledge, you open my eyes which have been blinded by the darkness of ignorance.
My two-week-long absence from home has prevented me from posting here. But today, I am going to post a couple posts sharing more from Srila Gurudeva's Sri Siksastaka (which, let me remind, includes commentary by Srila Bhaktivinode Thakura, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati, and Gurudeva on Mahaprabhu's Siksastakam).
I am currently reading the book's glossary, having finished this beautiful book today, upon arriving home from Los Angeles. I had a wonderful stay at the Radha Govinda Mandir on Rose avenue! It is such a beautiful temple. I was there for two weeks, and my stay included classes by Damodara Maharaja and the Appearance of Lord Nrsinghadev. =D More on that later...I have pictures I hope to figure out how to upload from my phone...
Today our entry is on the Goals of Human Attainment. This is an entry in the glossary under P called "purusartha":
"In the Vedic scriptures [the goals of human attainment] are classified into four categories: 1) dharma - religious duty, 2) artha - acquisition of wealth, 3) kama - satisfaction of material desires, and 4) moksa - liberation from material existence.
Beyond all of these is the development of unalloyed love for the Supreme Lord who is the embodiment of spiritual bliss and transcendental rasa. This is known as parama-purusartha, or the supreme object of attainment. Since this is truly the ultimate goal, why have the scriptures declared the other four as goals to be attained? By careful analysis, the underlying purpose of the sastra may be understood in this regard.
There are many different classes of men in material existence. Their tendencies and tastes are not all the same. Their aspirations may be roughly divided into the four categories mentioned above. When these four are analyzed comparatively in terms of their respective merits, it is seen that kama is lowest, then artha, dharma, and finally moksa.
In other words when these are viewed in terms of the development of consciousness, then it is seen that those in the gross bodily consciousness seek only kama. When one progresses beyond this and desires satisfaction of the mind and intellect, he seeks artha to fulfill his goals. When one looks beyond this life to the next life and aspires for superior enjoyment in the hereafter, he pursues dharma by which his goal may be accomplished. When one completely abandons the quest for material enjoyment and aspires freedom from material existence, he seeks moksa.
Thus when considered in this order, these four goals represent the successive development of human consciousness...If those who desire nothing other than bodily happiness can be encouraged to adopt religious principles to fulfill their goals, then they will develop morality and a sense of duty. If they develop faith in the Vedic principles, then by coming into the association of devotees they can be purified and aspire for the ultimate goal of bhakti...
Therefore, understanding all these points, one should strive for the parama-purusartha of krsna-prema."
[Art courtesy of BBT]