" Make your own field and continue to be Ritvik and act on my behalf."
- Śrīla Prabhupāda: July 31, 1977.
Sunday, 13 January 2013
Sri Tattva- Sutra:A Self-realized devotee not controlled by the scriptures
Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur writes in Sri Tattva- Sutra:
"This Tattva-Sutra is obtained and proved by the eternal realization.
Therefore, it can be known as the very essence of the Vedas. This is
originated from the Supreme Lord Sri Krishna-Caitanya, and hence, is the
origin of all the revealed scriptures. Only the Reality has been
accepted in this treatise.
"The Divine Knowledge is
characterized as the sun whereas all the scriptures (sastra) are rays of
that sun. This saying reveals that no scripture can contain the Divine
Knowledge to the fullest extent. The self-evident knowledge of the jivas
is the source of all the scripture. This self-evident knowledge should
be understood as God-given. The sages endowed with compassionate hearts
have received this self-evident knowledge (axiomatic truths) from the
Supreme Lord, and recorded the same in the scriptures for the benefit of
all jivas. This recorded portion of this primeval knowledge (God-given
to the jiva) has been manifested in the form of the Vedas.
independent cultivation of the self-evident knowledge is always
necessary. This is the important thing needed in understanding the Truth
along with the study of the scriptures. Since the knowledge (Divine
Knowledge) itself is the origin of the scriptures, those who disregard
the root and depend upon the branches cannot have any well-being. Now,
it may be argued that, when all the scriptures have been derived of the
self-evident faith, where is the need for honoring them? The answer is
that, in the conditioned state of the jivas, the real knowledge is
covered by the darkness of ignorance. In the devotional cultivation
associated with retraction, when the hidden Reality is gradually
manifested in the state of Bhakti-Samadhi, the jivas will be realizing
the self-evident knowledge.
"Beginning from the time of cosmic
creation until today, a great amount of knowledge about the Reality has
been discovered by the sages. Apart from that limitless knowledge
discovered, still the sages are occasionally delivering many new facts
about the Reality, obtained in their devotional trance of Samadhi. All
these discovered principles may be called as the scriptures. By the help
of a certain principle another one may be properly understood.
Therefore, it is imperative to carefully record all these discovered
principles of Reality. Without following this process, the ultimate
conclusions of the discovered principles can never be attained.
"Sri Brahma, the original propounder of the scriptures enlightened Sri
Narada with the principles of Reality discovered by himself and advised
him to develop the same by the further discovery of other Divine
"All the discovered principles of the Reality will
get added to the scriptural knowledge and help the future developments
of the same. Therefore, those who believe in the self-evident faith,
they can never disparage the scriptures if at all they are intelligent
in the study of them. But, those who are not endowed with the study of
the principles of Bhakti, which is the essential purport of the
scriptures, their scriptural learning is only a waste of labor.
"Therefore, the essence-seekers' conclusion is that, all the principles
will be decided by the help of self-evident knowledge. All the
scriptures should be understood by the help of that unalloyed knowledge.
But, this rule does not apply to those whose self-evident knowledge has
been adulterated with the empirical knowledge. Hence the following
"Scriptural ordinances are intended for the
regulation of the ignorant human beings whereas those who are endowed
with discretion and Divine Wisdom are not controlled by them.
"Similarly, Manu also has elaborately explained the importance of scriptures and finally told the following:
"In this way; in all the scriptures these two signs can be seen viz.,
1) honor of the revealed scriptures in general, 2) secondary importance
of the scriptures in comparison to the self-evident faith. But, the
authors of the scriptures do not clearly indicate the lightness of the
scriptures. The reason for such an attitude is that, the meritorious
people who are authorized to discard the scriptural binding can
naturally become independent of the scriptures by the help of the hidden
indications of the scriptural authors and also by their own purified
knowledge. Such meritorious persons can carry on the sinless activities
by the help of his own intellect as well as by the advice of the
scriptures. In that stage, the scriptures will not have any binding over
them but only they serve as their guides. On the other hand those who
are unable to understand their own spiritual path due to the lack of
self-evident knowledge and due to ignorance who may not be able to
ascertain their duties and fall into misery due to sensuality, for such
people the scriptural ordinances are imperative. Such persons should not
know that there is any way for them apart from the bindings of the
scriptures. When they become authorized due to their advancement, they
will be able to know this secret by the suggestions of the scriptures.
"Since knowledge itself is the root of the scriptures the one who has
attained that self-evident knowledge will not be ruled by the
scriptures, but only they guide him with advises. In case of ignorant
people, this is not so. They must be governed by the rules of the
scriptures for their upliftment, if not they will have their inevitable
down fall due to the sensual addictions. If it is argued that, instead
of governing by means of tedious rules, let the scriptures help the
ignorant people by means of friendly advises. The reason for such an
attitude is that the ignorant people do not understand their own good
and bad due to the lack of knowledge. Due to the instinctual habits they
will engage in wanton activities.
"Since their nature is
mostly inclined towards the gratification of the senses, for their
spiritual betterment the scriptures try to reform them through many
types of tricks, by applying coercion, and with skillfulness etc. Often
the scriptures threaten the ignorant people with punishment of the hell,
at times they put forth the temptations of heavenly enjoyments. Again,
they reform the human beings depending upon their inclinations. In many
scriptures one may see the sanction of liquor, polygamy, killing of
animals etc. All those are meant for the gradual control of the
barbarian human beings by means of sanctioning some type of restricted
activities according to their inclination. By their gradual reformation,
the scriptures want to put them in the path of detachment. The many
types of fruits mentioned along with those activities are only meant for
attracting the attention of the ignorant followers.
argument may arise in this regard that, this 'Tattva-Sutra' also being a
scripture, why the secret purport of the scriptures has been openly
given here? The answer is that, this book of 'Tattva-Sutra" has been
published for the benefit of the self-realized Bhagavata devotees. They
are authorized to know about all these thoughts. By the help of these
aphorisms, their intellect will become favorable for the cultivation of
Divine Love. Therefore, the author has openly declared here the
"Devotees of the Supreme Lord are not controlled by the scriptures since their activities are congenial to the Divine Wisdom.
"Therefore, when the self-realized devotees ordain any new arrangement,
they should be agreed with as a religious code, even if such new
arrangements are not found in the scriptural dictums of the previous
sages." (All of the above quotes are from Sri Tattva- Sutra by
Bhaktivinode Thakur, pages 191-204)