I sincerely believe that it is important to know that the first two verses of Srimad-bhagavatam 1.1.1-2, are intrinsically very important and significant.
“O my Lord, Sri Krishna, son of Vasudeva, O all-pervading Personality of Godhead, I offer my respectful obeisances unto You. I meditate upon Lord Sri Krishna because He is the Absolute Truth and the primeval cause of all causes of the creation, sustenance, and destruction of the manifested universes. He is directly and indirectly conscious of all manifestations, and He is independent because there is no other cause beyond Him. It is He, who first imparted the Vedic knowledge unto the heart of Brahma-ji, the original living being. By Him even the great sages and demigods are placed into illusion, as one is bewildered by the illusory representations of water seen in fire, or land seen on water. Only because of Him, do the material universes, temporarily manifested by the reactions of the three modes of nature, appear factual, although they are unreal. I therefore meditate upon Him, Lord Sri Krishna, who is eternally existent in the transcendental abode, which is forever free from the illusory representations of the material world. I meditate upon Him, for He is the Absolute Truth.”
This verse informs us that Krishna, the young cow-herd-boy, Govinda, is the Absolute Truth, the primeval cause of all causes of the creation, the sustenance and destruction of the manifested universes. He is directly and indirectly conscious of all manifestations, and He is independent, because there is no other cause beyond Him. Therefore, this indicates the goal of life; to develop a personal loving relationship with Him.
Lecture on Srimad-Bhagavatam 5.5.5 — Stockholm, September 10, 19:
“When one understands, ‘Yes, my only business is to surrender to Krishna, to love Krishna,’ then he is to be understood, he is enlightened, educated. Ei rüpe brahmanda bhramite kona bhagyavan [Caitanya-caritamrta Madhya 19.151].
‘According to their karma, all living entities are wsandering throughout the entire universe. Some of them are being elevated to the upper planetary systems, and some are going down into the lower planetary systems. Out of many millions of wandering living entities, one who is very fortunate gets an opportunity to associate with a bona fide spiritual master by the grace of Krishna. By the mercy of both Krishna and the spiritual master, such a person receives the seed of the creeper of devotional service.’
That is fortune. Yada na paçyaty ayatha guneham svarthe pramattah. He does not know his interest. Na te viduh svartha-gatim hi visnum [Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.5.31].
‘Persons who are strongly entrapped by the consciousness of enjoying material life, and who have therefore accepted as their leader or guru a similar blind man attached to external sense objects, cannot understand that the goal of life is to return home, back to Godhead, and engage in the service of Lord Visnu. As blind men guided by another blind man miss the right path and fall into a ditch, materially attached men led by another materially attached man are bound by the ropes of fruitive labor, which are made of very strong cords, and they continue again and again in materialistic life, suffering the threefold miseries.’
They do not know that My svartha, my interest, my goal of life, is to love, to find out God and to love Him.”
Thus Srila Prabhupada has established that the goal of life is to love Krishna, the cowherd boy described in the 1st verse of
Srimad-bhagavatam, as the Absolute-Truth. If Krishna is the Absolute Truth, one may ask,
“What is the Highest Truth?”
A portion of Srimad-bhagavatam 1.1.2 Tells us What Is The Highest Truth:,
“… Purana propounds the highest truth, which is understandable by those devotees who are fully pure in heart. The “highest truth”, is reality distinguished from illusion for the welfare of all. Such truth uproots the threefold miseries. This beautiful Srimad-bhagavatam, compiled by the great sage Vyasadeva [in his maturity], is sufficient in itself for God realization. What is the need of any other scripture? As soon as one attentively and submissively hears the message of Srimad-bhagavatam, by this culture of knowledge the Supreme Lord is established within his heart. …”
This verse is also very significant because it differentiates the “Highest-Truth” from the “Absolute-Truth”; even though “Highest” seems to be the same as “Absolute”.
Once I conducted a survey amongst Vaisnavas on the social media FaceBook. I asked the following question to several hundred devotees that I found on FaceBook,
“What is the Highest Truth?”
Only one godbrother was able to give the above reference. The other Vaisnavas, mostly disciples of Srila Prabhupada’s disciples, numbering in the hundreds, had no idea; they did not even come close to the correct answer. This proved, that most Gaudiya Vaisnavas in ISKCON, do not even know what the second verse to Srimad-bhagavatam is, says, or means.
Furthermore, in one fantastic sentence, we actually read, what the definition of the “work and action”, that is performed by a Gaudiya Vaisnava; which is,
“To distinguish reality from illusion, for the welfare of all”.
It also defines what will result by such work and action, by a Vaisnava; which is,
“Such truth uproots the threefold miseries.”
This is what Vaisnavas do. This is what Srila Prabhupada did, and that was our good fortune. It is interesting, that this kind of Vaisnava, is acting on the platform of a Madhyama-adhikari, for what is being described is nothing but pure “discrimination”, which is the main symptom of a Madhyama-adhikari. Hence. This verifies that an Uttama-adhikari, Pure-devotee, in order to preach, will step down to the Madhyama platform; and that my dear friends, is the “Highest Truth”.
Following in the footstep of Srila Prabhupada, is the purpose of this Treatise,
- “To distinguish illusion from reality”.
- “For the welfare of all”.
This verse did not say “Just for your welfare.”
There is an analogy that reconciles the phrase “For the welfare of all”.
Let say that you are sitting on the shore of a wide raging river. You have a boat and rowing paddles. Surely, you can row across the river all by yourself.
Then another person comes up to you and says,
“I would like to get to the other side of the river.”
“OK! Get into my boat and I will row you to the other side.”
You then row this person to the other side of the river with your boat. At that moment, you then realize that you are also on the other side of the river as well. Everyone, is on the other side of the river.
This is the work, and action performed by a Vaisnava belonging to the Gaudiya Vaisnava Sampradaya. By helping, others cross this ocean of material existence, one will find that they also have crossed. The “highest truth” is nicely exemplified by Srila Prabhupada and the past-acharyas.