“What happens to a living being,” the king asked sorrowfully, “as their consciousness and cognition decays and shrinks?”
“It is so ironic,” the boy said. “By always concentrating on the pursuit of pleasures, a human ruins his chances for attaining any of them; because his powers of cognition and understanding decline, gradually transforming him into an immobile life-form.”
Silence came over everyone as they contemplated this misfortune.
Then the boy said, “If you want to avoid this terrible darkness, never let yourself become obsessed with things that disturb your progress towards the four goals: pleasure, security, morality, and liberation. Of these four goals, be the most interested in liberation, for the fearsome other three are always connected with things that end. Success or failure in those three generates a result in the ever changing qualities of this world. Thus, even the gods cannot avoid destroying the very blessings they bestow in those three areas.”
“How should we progress towards liberation?” the king asked.
“Direct your attention towards the Supersoul.”
“But how,” the king asked, “if there is a veil hiding him from my perception?”
The boy explained how to indirectly perceive the Supersoul in the world that we can readily experience. “Try to see that the All-Attractive shines inwardly and outwardly from the core of every moving and non-moving thing – as the ultimate origin of their consciousness. That brilliant shine is hidden, sheathed within the airs and senses of the body. But one should try to be aware of it, and realize, ‘I am that.’”
“It sounds as if the Supreme Soul is caged within confinements,” the king said. “How can this be?”
“He certainly manifests within these better or worse things,” the boy explained. “But those things are unreal, like ropes mistaken for snakes. By careful consideration, you will see through the illusion and realize that all these ‘snakes’ are just misconceptions of the constantly limitless uncontaminated purity of reality. In truth, the Supersoul is situated in the reality of things, which the stain of karma cannot conquer. This is why we should seek him out!”
Then, moved by a surge of devotional ecstasy, the boy sang of the Supersoul:
The tips of the petals of the lotus of his feet
delight in the dalliances of devotion.
They unbind the bonds of dire desire,
which are wild waves
those devoid of devotion can never damn.
Let us adore that most adorable Krishna,
the most brilliant form of consciousness.
The boy then looked affectionately into the king’s eyes and said, with words echoing the same melodious cadence, “Existence is such a hardship. It drowns us hopelessly in a miserable sea of fear, where our life is devoured by six sharks. But if we adore All-Attractive Hari, his adorable feet become a boat that rescues us from that dangerous and terrible sea.”
– Excerpt from an early draft of Part 4 of
Beautiful Tales of the All-Attractive
A translation of Śrīmad Bhāgavatam’s fourth canto
By Vraja Kishor
Parts 1, 2, and 3 of Beautiful Tales of the All Attractive
are available at VrajaKishor.com