When Karma Is Burned Up
BY: Mahesh Raja
“When someone is initiated they have received transcendental knowledge and their past karma is burned up, they must be a bit like a new born baby. Why is it they still appear and behave the same and even fall down, where has that divine knowledge gone? ”
This is often misunderstood. Formality of initiation: ceremony of name giving and bananas and sesame seeds thrown in fire yajna is not when past Karma is burned off. This is why Srila Prabhupada states this formality “That is not very important thing.”
Prabhupada: Well, initiation or no initiation, first thing is knowledge. (break) …knowledge. Initiation is formality. Just like you go to a school for knowledge, and admission is formality. That is not very important thing. (761016iv.cha Conversations)
Factually, Karma is burned up when the devotee is on the platform of understanding AND acting in his svarupa, constitutional relationship with Krsna. The *initiation* referred in this context is of theMADHYAMA adhikari.”(NoI 5) A madhyama-adhikari has received *spiritual* initiation ” This confirms with Antya 4.192 please read below.
Further evidence to support this is (NoI 5) “and has been *fully* engaged by him(Spiritual master) in the *transcendental loving service* of the Lord.” This confirms with Antya 4.192 please read below.
The mistake is made by devotees when they disregard this SPIRITUAL INITIATION on the MADHYAMA ADHIKARI. THIS initiation is NOT formality. This is transcendental knowledge (dvya jnana orDIKSA) Srila Prabhupada is offering this to us all PROVIDED we come to surrender unto His Divine Grace and chant PURE offenseless Hare Krishna. The defect is many “devotees” do not want Srila Prabhupada as diksa guru and therefore reject his diksa.
Kanistha is not fit for transcendental loving service yet– because even in the stage of fully qualified brahmana he is subject to contamination in material mode of goodness. Brahmana has to transcend the material mode of goodness (sattava) to come to the scientific understanding, see,hear and experience Krsna. The Vaisnava platform is superior in that he has attained this unalloyed position of *loving* God (suddha sattva– pure goodness). Krsna speaks to the Vaisnava. There is LOVING receprocation *exchange loving mellows*.
In order to intelligently apply the sixfold loving reciprocations mentioned in the previous verse, one must select proper persons with careful discrimination. Srila Rupa Gosvami therefore advises that we should meet with the Vaisnavas in an appropriate way, according to their particular status. In this verse he tells us how to deal with three types of devotees–the kanistha-adhikari, madhyama-adhikari and uttama-adhikari. The kanistha-adhikari is a neophyte who has received the hari-nama initiation from the spiritual master and is trying to chant the holy name of Krsna. One should respect such a person within his mind as a kanistha-vaisnava. A madhyama-adhikari has received spiritual initiation from the spiritual master and has been fully engaged by him in the transcendental loving service of the Lord.The madhyama-adhikari should be considered to be situated midway in devotional service. The uttama-adhikari, or highest devotee, is one who is very advanced in devotional service. An uttama-adhikari is not interested in blaspheming others, his heart is completely clean, and he has attained the realized state of unalloyed Krsna consciousness. According to Srila Rupa Gosvami, the association and service of such a maha-bhagavata, or perfect Vaisnava, are most desirable.
Antya 4.192 — Sanatana Gosvami Visits the Lord at Jagannatha Puri
diksa-kale bhakta kare atma-samarpana
sei-kale krsna tare kare atma-sama
diksa-kale–at the time of initiation; bhakta–the devotee; kare–does; atma–of himself; samarpana–full dedication; sei-kale–at that time; krsna–Lord Krsna; tare–him; kare–makes; atma-sama–as spiritual as Himself.
“At the time of initiation, when a devotee fully surrenders unto the service of the Lord, Krsna accepts him to be as good as Himself.
sei deha kare tara cid-ananda-maya
aprakrta-dehe tanra carana bhajaya
sei deha–that body; kare–makes; tara–his; cit-ananda-maya–full of transcendental bliss; aprakrta-dehe–in that transcendental body; tanra–His; carana–feet; bhajaya–worships.
“When the devotee’s body is thus transformed into spiritual existence, the devotee, in that transcendental body, renders service to the lotus feet of the Lord.
martyo yada tyakta-samasta-karma // niveditatma vicikirsito me
tadamrtatvam pratipadyamano // mayatma-bhuyaya ca kalpate vai
martyah–the living entity subjected to birth and death; yada–as soon as; tyakta–giving up; samasta–all; karmah–fruitive activities; nivedita-atma–a fully surrendered soul; vicikirsitah–desired to act; me–by Me; tada–at that time; amrtatvam–immortality; pratipadyamanah–attaining; maya–with Me; atma-bhuyaya–for becoming of a similar nature; ca–also; kalpate–is eligible; vai–certainly.
The living entity who is subjected to birth and death, when he gives up all material activities dedicating his life to Me for executing My order, and thus acts according to My direction, at that time he reaches the platform of immortality, and becomes fit to enjoy the spiritual bliss of exchange of loving mellows with Me.
This is a quotation from Srimad-Bhagavatam (11.29.34). At the time of initiation, a devotee gives up all his material conceptions. Therefore, being in touch with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he is situated on the transcendental platform. Thus having attained knowledge and the spiritual platform, he always engages in the service of the spiritual body of Krsna. When one is freed from material connections in this way, his body immediately becomes spiritual, and Krsna accepts His service. However, Krsna does not accept anything from a person with a material conception of life. When a devotee no longer has any desire for material sense gratification, in his spiritual identity he engages in the service of the Lord, for his dormant spiritual consciousness awakens. This awakening of spiritual consciousness makes his body spiritual, and thus he becomes fit to render service to the Lord. Karmis may consider the body of a devotee material, but factually it is not, for a devotee has no conception of material enjoyment. If one thinks that the body of a pure devotee is material, he is an offender, for that is a vaisnava-aparadha. In this connection one should consult Srila Sanatana Gosvami’s Brhad-bhagavatamrta (1.3.45 and 2.3.139).
Note: the *transcendental* (above goodness) stage is Uttama thus when one is acting in his eternal constitutional relationship (svarupa) this is then UTTAMA adhikari. In contrast Madhyama is the middle stage which enables one INITIATION (beginning):Leading to UTTAMA into Spritual atmosphere to taste and exchange loving mellows with Krsna. It is therefore actually the UTTAMA adhikari(transforming from Madhayama) that relishes loving mellows with Krsna. This is my understanding, because the words “thus transformed into spiritual existence” is a good explanation how from Madhyama adhikaris body after initiation is transformed to render service on the transcendental plane. The initiation of the Madhyama adhikari is NOT static he moves forward into Uttama adhakari positionafter initiation “in his spiritual identity he engages in the service of the Lord,” .
“At the time of initiation, a devotee gives up all his material conceptions. **Therefore, being in touch with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he is situated on the transcendental platform.** Thus having attained knowledge and the spiritual platform, he always engages in the service of the spiritual body of Krsna. When one is freed from material connections in this way, his body **immediately** becomes spiritual, and Krsna accepts His service.”
ANTYA 4 TEXT 193
“When the devotee’s body is thus transformed into spiritual existence, the devotee, in that transcendental body, renders service to the lotus feet of the Lord.
Bg 4.19 — Transcendental Knowledge
yasya sarve samarambhah // kama-sankalpa-varjitah
jnanagni-dagdha-karmanam // tam ahuh panditam budhah
yasya–one whose; sarve–all sorts of; samarambhah–in all attempts; kama–desire for sense gratification; sankalpa–determination; varjitah–are devoid of; jnana–of perfect knowledge; agni–fire; dagdha–being burnt by; karmanam–the performer; tam–him; ahuh–declare; panditam–learned; budhah–of those who know.
One is understood to be in full knowledge whose every act is devoid of desire for sense gratification. He is said by sages to be a worker whose fruitive action is burned up by the fire of perfect knowledge.
Only a person in full knowledge can understand the activities of a person in Krsna consciousness. Because the person in Krsna consciousness is devoid of all kinds of sense-gratificatory propensities, it is to be understood that he has burned up the reactions of his work by *perfect knowledge of his constitutional position as the eternal servitor* of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He is actually learned who has attained to such perfection of knowledge. Development of this knowledge of the eternal servitorship of the Lord is compared to fire. Such a fire, once kindled, can burn up all kinds of reactions to work.
SB 1.2.20 — Divinity and Divine Service
evam prasanna-manaso // bhagavad-bhakti-yogatah
bhagavat-tattva-vijnanam // mukta-sangasya jayate
evam–thus; prasanna–enlivened; manasah–of the mind; bhagavat-bhakti–the devotional service of the Lord; yogatah–by contact of; bhagavat–regarding the Personality of Godhead; tattva–knowledge; vijnanam–scientific; mukta–liberated; sangasya–of the association; jayate–becomes effective.
Thus established in the mode of unalloyed goodness, the man whose mind has been enlivened by contact with devotional service to the Lord gains positive scientific knowledge of the Personality of Godhead in the stage of liberation from all material association.
In the Bhagavad-gita (7.3) it is said that out of many thousands of ordinary men, one fortunate man endeavors for perfection in life. Mostly men are conducted by the modes of passion and ignorance, and thus they are engaged always in lust, desire, hankerings, ignorance and sleep. Out of many such manlike animals, there is actually a man who knows the responsibility of human life and thus tries to make life perfect by following the prescribed duties. And out of many thousands of such persons who have thus attained success in human life, one may know scientifically about the Personality of Godhead Sri Krsna. In the same Bhagavad-gita (18.55) it is also said that scientific knowledge of Sri Krsna is understood only by the process of devotional service (bhakti-yoga).
The very same thing is confirmed herein in the above words. No ordinary man, or even one who has attained success in human life, can know scientifically or perfectly the Personality of Godhead. Perfection of human life is attained when one can understand that he is not the product of matter but is in fact spirit. And as soon as one understands that he has nothing to do with matter, he at once ceases his material hankerings and becomes enlivened as a spiritual being. This attainment of success is possible when one is above the modes of passion and ignorance, or, in other words, when one is actually a brahmana by qualification. A brahmana is the symbol of sattva-guna, or the mode of goodness. And others, who are not in the mode of goodness, are either ksatriyas, vaisyas, sudras or less than the sudras. The brahminical stage is the highest stage of human life because of its good qualities. So one cannot be a devotee unless one at least qualifies as a brahmana. The devotee is already a brahmana by action. But that is not the end of it. As referred to above, such a brahmana has to become a Vaisnava in fact to be actually in the transcendental stage. A pure Vaisnava is a liberated soul and is transcendental even to the position of a brahmana. In the material stage even a brahmana is also a conditioned soul because although in the brahminical stage the conception of Brahman or transcendence is realized, scientific knowledge of the Supreme Lord is lacking. One has to surpass the brahminical stage and reach the vasudeva stage to understand the Personality of Godhead Krsna.
The science of the Personality of Godhead is the subject matter for study by the postgraduate students in the spiritual line. Foolish men, or men with a poor fund of knowledge, do not understand the Supreme Lord, and they interpret Krsna according to their respective whims. The fact is, however, that one cannot understand the science of the Personality of Godhead unless one is freed from the contamination of the material modes, even up to the stage of a brahmana. When a qualified brahmana factually becomes a Vaisnava, in the enlivened state of liberation he can know what is actually the Personality of Godhead.
SB 1.2.21 — Divinity and Divine Service
bhidyate hrdaya-granthis // chidyante sarva-samsayah
ksiyante casya karmani // drsta evatmanisvare
bhidyate–pierced; hrdaya–heart; granthih–knots; chidyante–cut to pieces; sarva–all; samsayah–misgivings; ksiyante–terminated; ca–and; asya–his; karmani–chain of fruitive actions; drste–having seen; eva–certainly; atmani–unto the self; isvare–dominating.
Thus the knot in the heart is pierced, and all misgivings are cut to pieces. The chain of fruitive actions is terminated when one sees the self as master.
Attaining scientific knowledge of the Personality of Godhead means seeing one’s own self simultaneously. As far as the identity of the living being as spirit self is concerned, there are a number of speculations and misgivings. The materialist does not believe in the existence of the spirit self, and empiric philosophers believe in the impersonal feature of the whole spirit without individuality of the living beings. But the transcendentalists affirm that the soul and the Supersoul are two different identities, qualitatively one but quantitatively different. There are many other theories, but all these different speculations are at once cleared off as soon as Sri Krsna is realized in truth by the process of bhakti-yoga. Sri Krsna is like the sun, and the materialistic speculations about the Absolute Truth are like the darkest midnight. As soon as the Krsna sun is arisen within one’s heart, the darkness of materialistic speculations about the Absolute Truth and the living beings is at once cleared off. In the presence of the sun, the darkness cannot stand, and the relative truths that were hidden within the dense darkness of ignorance become clearly manifested by the mercy of Krsna, who is residing in everyone’s heart as the Supersoul.
In the Bhagavad-gita (10.11) the Lord says that in order to show special favor to His pure devotees, He personally eradicates the dense darkness of all misgivings by switching on the light of pure knowledge within the heart of a devotee. Therefore, because of the Personality of Godhead’s taking charge of illuminating the heart of His devotee, certainly a devotee, engaged in His service in transcendental love, cannot remain in darkness. He comes to know everything of the absolute and the relative truths. The devotee cannot remain in darkness, and because a devotee is enlightened by the Personality of Godhead, his knowledge is certainly perfect. This is not the case for those who speculate on the Absolute Truth by dint of their own limited power of approach. Perfect knowledge is called parampara, or deductive knowledge coming down from the authority to the submissive aural receiver who is bona fide by service and surrender. One cannot challenge the authority of the Supreme and know Him also at the same time. He reserves the right of not being exposed to such a challenging spirit of an insignificant spark of the whole, a spark subjected to the control of illusory energy. The devotees are submissive, and therefore the transcendental knowledge descends from the Personality of Godhead to Brahma and from Brahma to his sons and disciples in succession. This process is helped by the Supersoul within such devotees. That is the perfect way of learning transcendental knowledge.
This enlightenment perfectly enables the devotee to distinguish spirit from matter because the knot of spirit and matter is untied by the Lord. This knot is called ahankara, and it falsely obliges a living being to become identified with matter. As soon as this knot is loosened, therefore, all the clouds of doubt are at once cleared off. One sees his master and fully engages himself in the transcendental loving service of the Lord, making a full termination of the chain of fruitive action. In material existence, a living being creates his own chain of fruitive work and enjoys the good and bad effects of those actions life after life. But as soon as he engages himself in the loving service of the Lord, he at once becomes free from the chain of karma. His actions no longer create any reaction.
Note: the Ritvik system is an arrangement by Srila Prabhupada for the person to become a neophyte(kanistha adhakari a QUALIFIED brahmana)– first. And the neophyte is –a QUALIFIED brahmana. Then advance to become a Vaisnava–under the instructions of the initiator (Diksa guru) Srila Prabhupada.
770214r2.may — Conversations
Prabhupada: Vaisnava is not so easy. The varnasrama-dharma should be established to become a Vaisnava. It is not so easy to become Vaisnava.
Hari-sauri: No, it’s not a cheap thing.
Prabhupada: Yes. Therefore this should be made. Vaisnava, to become Vaisnava, is not so easy. If Vaisnava, to become Vaisnava is so easy, why so many fall down, fall down? It is not easy. The sannyasa is for the highest qualified brahmana. And simply by dressing like a Vaisnava, that is… fall down.
Hari-sauri: So the varnasrama system is like for the kanisthas, Kanistha-adhikari.
Hari-sauri: When one is only on the platform of neophyte.
Prabhupada: Yes. Yes. Kanistha-adhikari, yes.
Hari-sauri: Varnasrama system is beneficial.
Prabhupada: Kanistha-adhikari means he must be a brahmana. That is kanistha-adhikari. The spiritual life, kanistha-adhikari, means he must be a qualified brahmana. That is kanistha. What is esteemed as very high position in the material world, brahmana, that is kanistha-adhikari.
arcayam eva haraye // pujam yah sraddhayehate
na tad-bhaktesu canyesu // sa bhaktah prakrtah smrtah
The brahmana means from the material stage gradually he is elevated to the spiritual stage. And below the brahmana there is no question of Vaisnava.
Hari-sauri: No question of?
Note: the main reason for the fall down was the envious attitude towards Srila Prabhupada (the Vaisnava) : they wanted to imitate him by usurping his His Divine Grace position to be worshipped as good as God. Power crazy. The rejection of Srila Prabhupada’s July 9th 1977 order of Ritvik system is the cause of disaster in ISKCON today. The concocted so-called gurus manufactured by the GBC were envious of Srila Prabhupada’s unique position of diksa guru. Both the GBC and their concocted “gurus” are bereft of real brahmanical qualities.
Madhya 15.277 The Lord Accepts Prasada at the House of Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya
Unless one is a fully qualified brahmana, he cannot advance in the spiritual science.
A real brahmana is never envious of Vaisnavas.
Srila Prabhupada: CC.Madhy.,Ch.1, Text 218 / 220, purport
“There are many jealous people in the dress of Vaishnavas in this Krishna Consciousness movement, and they should be completely neglected. A false acarya may try to override a vaishnava by a high-court decision, (2/3 hand vote) but Bhaktivinoda Thakura says that he is nothing but a disciple of Kali-yuga.”.
“Bhaktivinoda Thakura says, Kali-cela. He indicates that there are other Vaishnavas, pseudo-Vaishnavas, with tilaka on their nose and kunti beads around their neck. Such a pseudo-Vaishnava associates with money and women and is jealous of successful Vaishnavas. Although passing for a Vaishnava, his only business is earning money in the dress of a Vaishnava”.
Srila Prabhupada: “Why this Gaudiya Math failed? Because they tried to become more than guru. He [Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura], before passing away, he gave them all direction and never said that “This man should be the next acharya ..” But these people, just after his passing away, they began to fight, who shall be acharya . That is the failure. They never thought, “Why Guru Maharaja gave us instruction so many things, why he did not say that this man should be acharya? ” They wanted to create artificially somebody acharya, and everything failed. They did not consider even with common sense that if Guru Maharaja wanted to appoint somebody as acharya, why did he not say? He said so many things, and this point he missed? The real point? And they insist upon it. They declared some unfit person to become acharya . Then another man came, then another, acharya, another acharya . So better remain a foolish person perpetually to be directed by Guru Maharaja. That is perfection.”
Srila Prabhupada: “I am practically seeing that as soon as they, our students, begin to learn a little Sanskrit, they immediately feel they have become more than their guru. Then the policy is to kill their guru and become guru themselves”. “As soon as he learns that Guru Maharaj is dead, now I am so advanced I can kill guru and become guru. Then he is finished.” (Srila Prabhupada 1976).
Therefore we may not commit the same mistake in our ISKCON camp. Actually amongst my Godbrothers no one is qualified to become acarya. So it is better not to mix with my Godbrothers very intimately because instead of inspiring our students and disciples they may sometimes pollute them. This attempt was made previously by them, especially Madhava Maharaja and Tirtha Maharaja and Bon Maharaja but somehow or other I saved the situation. This is going on. We shall be very careful about them and not mix with them. This is my instruction to you all. They cannot help us in our movement, but they are very competent to harm our natural progress. So we must be very careful about them. Srila Prabhupada, August 16, 1976, Bombay (Conversations with Srila Prabhupada, Vol. 26, p. 59-60)