Conquering the World

Srila Bhaktivinode Thakura’s commentary on the first verse of Sri Upadesamrta.

vaco vegam manasa krodha-vegam
jiva-vegam udaropastha-vegam
etan vegan yo visaheta dhirah
sarvam apimam prthivim sa sisyat

“A sober soul who can control the urges of speech, the mind, anger, the tongue, the belly, and the genitals can conquer the entire world.”


guru-kasarpa-bale labhi’ sambandha-vijnana
krti-jiva hayena bhajane yatnavan

“Attaining a proper conception of their relationship with the Lord by the mercy of Sri Guru, fortunate souls take up the practice of devotion.”

sei jive sri-rupa-gosvami-mahodaya
upadesamrte dhanya karena nischaya

“Srila Rupa Goswami has certainly blessed such souls with his Upadesamrta.”

grhi grhi-tyagi bhede dvi-prakara jane
upadesa bheda vicharibe vijna-gane

“There are two types of practitioners—householders and renunciate, and the wise should deduce that there are different instructions for each of them.”

grhi prati ei saba upadesa haya
grha-tyagi prati iha parakastamaya

“All these instructions are for householders, as these instructions are already fully manifest in renunciates.”

vakya-vega mano-vega krodha-vega ara
jihva-vega udara-upastha-vega chahra
ei chhaya vega sahi krsna-namasraye
jagat sasite pare parajiya bhaye

“One who tolerates the six base urges—the urges of speech, the mind, anger, the tongue, the belly, and the genitals—by taking shelter of Krishna’s name can conquer the world and overcome all fear.”

kevala saranagati krsna-bhaktimaya
bhakti pratikula tyaga tara anga haya

“Rejecting that which is unfavorable to devotion is a limb of exclusive surrender, which is filled with devotion to Krishna.”

chhaya vega sahi’ yukta-vairagya asraye
name aparadha-sunya ha-ibe nirbhaye

“One who tolerates the six urges by practicing proper renunciation will fearlessly become free from the offenses to the Name.”


sri-sri-godrumachandraya namah

“I offer my obeisance to the moon of Sri Godrumadvipa.”

yat krpa-sagarodbhutam upadesamrtam bhuvi
sri-rupena samanitam gaurachandram bhajami tam
natva grantha-pranetaram tika-karam pranamya cha
maya virachyate vrttih piyusa-parivesani

“I serve Gaurachandra. The nectar of instruction (Upadesamrta) was born from the ocean of his mercy and brought to the world by Sri Rupa. Offering my obeisance to the author of the text and the commentator, I write this commentary which showers that nectar.” (Piyusa-varsini-vrtti)

anyabhilasita-sunyam jnana-karmady-anavrtam
anukulyena krsnanusilanam bhaktir uttama

“Pure devotion is constant endeavor to please Krishna that is free from ulterior motives and unobstructed by pious action and renunciation.” (Brs, Purva-vibhaga, 1.11)

Devotional practice based on the acceptance of the favorable and rejection of the unfavorable that is prescribed in this verse is extremely necessary for devotees. Acceptance of the favorable and rejection of the unfavorable are not limbs of pure devotion itself but are limbs of surrender, which gives one the qualification for devotion and is the primary characteristic of faith.

anukulyasya sankalpah pratikulya vivarjanam
raksisyatiti visvaso goptrtve varanam tatha
atma-niksepa karpanye sad-vidha saranagatih

“Accepting the favorable, rejecting the unfavorable, confidence that Krishna will grant his protection, embracing Krishna’s guardianship, fully offering one’s self, and humility are the six limbs of surrender.” (Cc, Madhya-lila, 22.97)

In this verse, rejection of the unfavorable is prescribed. One who can completely tolerate the urges of speech, the mind, anger, the tongue, the belly, and the genitals can conquer the entire world.

sokamar sadibhir bhavair akrantam yasya manasam
katham tatra mukundasya sphurtti-sambhavana bhavet

“The Lord does not appear in the heart of one whose heart is disturbed by lamentation, anger, and other disorders.” (Padma-purana)

Lust, anger, greed, bewilderment, pride, and envy—it is known through the purport of this verse that these disturbances always arise in the human mind and engross it in mundanity through the urge of speech—using words that disturb others; the urge of the mind—various desires; the urge of anger—using harsh words; the urge of the tongue—craving the six different tastes, namely sweet, sour, astringent, salty, pungent, and bitter; the urge of the belly—excessive eating; and the urge of the genitals—craving male-female union. As a result, no pure practice of devotion takes place within the heart. The acarya of devotion, Srimad Rupa Goswami, started first of all with this verse to make the heart of one engaged in service fit for devotion. Trying to check these six urges is not itself devotional practice. Rather, it is the practice of becoming fit to enter the temple of devotion. There are instructions for checking these six urges within the practice of pious action (karma) and the practice of renunciation (jnana), but such methods should not be followed by devotees. Hearing about Krishna’s name, form, pastimes, and so forth, chanting about them, and remembering them is the practice of devotion itself.

During devotional activities, these six urges arise and disturb the practice of immature practitioners. At that time, during their endeavor to give up the ten offenses to the Name through unconditional surrender, a devotee becomes capable of avoiding these obstructions by the mercy of the Name and the power of pure devotee’s association.

srutvapi nama-mahatmyam yah priti-rahito ’dhamah
aham-mamati-paramo namni so ’py aparadha-krt

“One who, even after hearing the glories of the Name, has no love for the Name and remains degraded and engrossed in “I” and “mine” is an offender to the Name.” (Sri Padma-purana)

Devotees practice proper renunciation; they should not practice dry renunciation. Thus, there is no prescription for them to give up all contact with material affairs. As soon as the urge of the mind—thirst for the mundane—goes away, the urges of the eyes, nose, and ears become controlled. Therefore, one who conquers the six urges and adheres to the soul conquers the world. This instruction to tolerate these urges is only for householder devotees, as renunciates have already completely given up all these urges before leaving their homes.

About the Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to Top ↑