Published on March 10th, 2022 | by Harmonist staff3
Real Relationships Centered Around Bhagavān
By Babaji Satyanarayana Dasa, originally published by The Jiva Institute.
There is an important sūtra of Purva-mīmāṁsā (3.1.22): guṇānāṁ ca parārthatvāt asambandhaḥ samatvāt syāt. Its translation is very technical, so I will explain it in a simplified manner. The word guṇa here refers to objects and actions that are meant for the main yajña, which is referred to by the word para, primary. The sūtra is in relation to the action of the ādhāna (placing of fire) and pavamāna-havis (a type of offering for fire) used for the saṁskāra of fire, agni. Here agni is primary and ādhāna-karma and pavamāna-havis are secondary to agni. The sūtra denies any direct relationship between ādhāna-karma and pavamāna-havis. These objects and actions have a relationship with agni because they are its subsidiaries, but they do not have any independent relationship with each other.
To put it in simple language, the sūtra says that if there is a primary object with subsidiaries, then the subsidiaries are not interrelated to each other independent of the primary. In other words, the subsidiaries do not have a relationship by themselves.
The word guṇa means “quality.” A quality is inherent in a substance. It does not exist independent of the substance. The substance is called primary, and the quality is called secondary because a quality is rooted or sheltered in the substance. A substance can have many qualities. These qualities have no relation with each other except through the substance in which they exist. For example, a yellow lotus flower has color, weight, fragrance, shape, etc. as its qualities. The color, weight, fragrance, and shape have no relation with each other. Their relationship is only on the basis of the lotus.
Similarly, if a person performs various activities, then these activities are not related to each other. If Rāmadāsa showers, applies tilaka, cooks, offers the bhoga to Kṛṣna, takes prasādam, and then goes to work, then the activities of showering, applying tilaka, cooking, offering, eating, and going have no relation with each other independent of Rāmadāsa.
This principle can also be extended to our relationships with each other. In the material world, there are basically three real things: substances, qualities, and actions. They are all ultimately rooted in Kṛṣna. Therefore, He is called the cause of all causes, sarva-kāraṇa-kāraṇam.1 Kṛṣna also says that He is the source of all substances and actions, ahaṁ sarvasya prabhavaḥ mattaḥ sarvaṁ pravartate.2 Here the word prabhavaḥ refers to substances and pravartate refers to actions. Qualities are inseparable from substances; therefore, Kṛṣṇa does not make an explicit mention of them. Śrī Kṛṣṇa also says that all jīvas in the material world are His parts, aṁśas.3 That means Kṛṣṇa is primary, being the whole, and the jīvas are secondary, being His aṁśas. By the application of the above-stated Pūrva-mīmāṁsa sūtra, no two or more jīvas can have any real relationship with each other. Their relationship can only be through Kṛṣṇa, the fountainhead of all jīvas. This means that without keeping Kṛṣṇa in the center, no relationship in human society can truly function because it is only an imagination. There is no real relationship. Furthermore, it is also understood that no one can truly own anything because a relationship between owner and owned is not possible. All ownership is imaginary and based on a common agreement of people, called law or constitution. This explains why materialistic people and those who do not believe in scripture are never satisfied in their relationships or possessions.
Furthermore, this also explains why even the followers of śāstra and longtime devotees are not able to have loving, fulfilling relationships with each other, if they do not keep the ultimate principle in mind, the devotional relationship to Kṛṣna as defined by Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī:
anyābhilāṣitā-śūnyaṃ jñāna-karmādy-anāvṛtamBhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu 1.1.11
ānukūlyena kṛṣṇānuśīlanaṃ bhaktir uttamā
In forgetfulness of this goal, jealousy, envy, hatred, materialistic competition, and criticism occupy the mind of a devotee. With this mindset, they are not able to see how every disciple of the guru is a part of Kṛṣna only. They cannot see that the guru is a manifestation of Kṛṣṇa and the devotees are subsidiaries to assist him. Those who can see and act on this principle can experience Vaikuṇṭha right here because Vaikuṇṭha is not simply a physical place. Vaikuṇṭha is primarily the consciousness defined in the Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu verse. This is the primary teaching of Bhāgavata Purāṇa. This is the rahasya—the secret.