Srila Govinda Maharaj Pointing

The Ocean of Sin

In this post we are continuing our series on saranagati and the Temple of Love and Affection by presenting further explanation by Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj of Krishna’s instruction to abandon all religions and surrender unto Him.

Temple of Love and Affection Verse Eighteen

sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja
ahaṁ tvāṁ sarva-pāpebhyo mokṣayiṣyāmi mā śuchaḥ
(Srimad Bhagavad-gita: 18.66)
“Abandoning all forms of religion, surrender exclusively unto Me. I will liberate you from all sin. Do not despair.”

Explanation by Srila Govinda Maharaj
(excerpted from the upcoming release Amnaya Tattva)

Only the Lord, Krishna, can say this and it is a very serious matter. When Krishna says, Ahaṁ tvāṁ sarva-pāpebhyo mokṣayiṣyāmi, “I will liberate you from all sin,” He means that He will take full charge of the surrendering souls. It is actually the Lord’s duty to mercifully accept the surrendered souls who fully realise their eternal spiritual position and offer themselves to Him. He must say to them, “Yes, I am your Lord, and I am taking your whole charge.” Krishna promises the jiva-souls,

samo ’haṁ sarva-bhūteṣu na me dveṣyo ’sti na priyaḥ
ye bhajanti tu māṁ bhaktyā mayi te teṣu chāpy aham
  (Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā: 9.29)

I do not interfere with the freedom of any jiva-soul. But if any jiva-soul will surrender to Me and worship Me then I will take special interest in him, I will take his charge. I will look after everything for him and satisfy him.”

ananyāś chintayanto māṁ ye janāḥ paryupāsate
teṣāṁ nityābhiyuktānāṁ yoga-kṣemaṁ vahāmy aham
(Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā: 9.22)

If any jiva-soul will fully surrender to Me and serve Me with all his energy then I will give full satisfaction to him and I Myself will supply him with food, lodging and all his necessities (yoga-kṣemaṁ). It will not be necessary for him to think about his material life but only to engage in My service.”

The Lord Himself knows how He will take the surrendering souls back to the transcendental world. He knows how He will promote them from the material world to the spiritual world. And the surrendering souls will feel that, they will feel the Lord’s guardianship.

But when Krishna tells the conditioned souls, “Leave not only your irreligion but your religion also,” then a conditioned soul may ask, “If I leave behind my pious activities which are good for everyone in this world then only my sinful activities will remain. So will I be left in a sinful position with nothing good to show for myself?”

This question can be answered by understanding that the whole material world where the conditioned souls live is actually an ocean of sin, it is a world constructed for the sinful souls who are averse to the Lord (Kṛṣṇa bhuli’ sei jīva anādi-bahirmukha). Generally we know what pap, sin, is. It is a very simple thing: a sin is something unlawful in this material world. But here in Srimad Bhagavad-gita Krishna teaches a deeper idea. Krishna teaches that sin actually means anything not done for the Lord’s satisfaction. He is teaching that even pious activity is actually sinful if it is not done for the Lord’s satisfaction.

What the jiva-souls do in the material world is very simple: they eat, sleep, fear and enjoy (āhāra-nidrā-bhaya-maithunaṁ cha). This is the simple summary of all the conditioned souls’ activity. These activities can be done very piously by conditioned souls. But Krishna’s final teaching in Srimad Bhagavad-gita is that if these activities are not done with Krishna consciousness, if they are not done for the satisfaction of Krishna, then they are actually pap, sin. Although they may be done in a way that is harmonious externally within the material world, they are actually the cause of bondage in the illusory environment.

It is written in the Vedas, Vedanta, Upanishads, etc. that Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. And in Srimad Bhagavad-gita Krishna Himself says this. Nowhere else, in no other Scripture, will you hear anything like that. Many times in Srimad Bhagavad-gita Krishna Himself gives us His own identification as the Lord. He Himself declares,

ahaṁ hi sarva-yajñānāṁ bhoktā cha prabhur eva cha
na tu mām abhijānanti tattvenātaś chyavanti te
(Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā: 9.24)

I am the Lord, I am the Supreme Personality of Godhead, I am the rightful enjoyer of everything. The conditioned souls who do not recognise Me fall into the bondage of maya.”

So when Krishna says, “Ahaṁ tvāṁ sarva-pāpebhyo mokṣayiṣyāmi, I will liberate you from all sin,” He is saying that He will liberate you from the sinful world of maya, from the world where it is a sin just to exist. In this way Krishna shows the conditioned souls that all of their activity, even pious or generally religious activity, is actually sinful if it is not done as surrendered service to His lotus feet. And He also shows the conditioned souls that if they consciously enter the platform of transcendental service then they can play there happily with no fear, ma śuchaḥ. So only when the jiva-souls will surrender to Krishna and serve Him with their full energy, Man-manā bhava Mad-bhakto, Mad-yājī Māṁ namaskuru, will they find proper adjustment in life, that is, true yoga.

To be continued …

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