The timeless teachings of Kapiladev unfold within the pages of Srimad Bhagavatam, the central text in the tradition of Bhakti Yoga (the yoga of affection). It is said that this knowledge has been preserved and passed down through an authentic chain of teachers and students since beyond the estimation of recorded history. The account speaks of Kapila’s mother Devahuti who, like many of us, finds herself in a position of great anxiety and so asks for a way out:
“How can I be free from fear?”
As a frequent participant of fear, I found this section of the Srimad Bhagavatam profoundly valuable in my life, and with the recent turn in our global circumstances, it’s perhaps never been so relevant. Kapila explains the root causes of anxiety, gives meaning to the vast universal creation, reveals the secrets of true love in connection with our source, and administers the tools by which one can remove all blocks on the path to self-realisation.
This video series takes the shape of 7 short poems, inspired by the translations of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, in the hope that others may be inspired to discover these original books. Of course there are various versions of the Kapila Gita in circulation, but this rendition of A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami, in the form of his Srimad Bhagavatam, can be accepted as uniquely authentic, being within the unbroken line of legitimate preceptors.
Modern education systems have defined intelligence as retained knowledge, but the Vedic concept of intellect rests on one’s ability to distinguish spirit from matter, illusion from the real. Without that higher perspective we are simply dealing with the minute details of a temporal world. In consideration of this the structure of the Kapila Gita can be divided in two parts. The first half deals with ‘Jnana’, an understanding of the spiritual path to freedom; the second half then draws our focus to ’Vairagya’ – identification and rejection of the material chains that binds us. Spiritual knowledge enchants us to move higher, whereas the cold realities of our present environment serve to wake us up. Ultimately we are not meant for this world, but in changing our attitude towards it we can enter an entirely new (yet familiar) realm of healthy existence, full cognisance and inner satisfaction.
Hello, my name is Bala Nimai das, aka Ben Loka, and I’ve been practicing the path of Bhakti for some years (but don’t let that put you off). I have been personally healed, transformed and inspired by reading these important texts and I wanted to get to know them better. It is said the best way to learn is to share whatever we’ve received.
As mentioned in the teachings of Kapila, one’s attachments in this world can be transferred toward a higher purpose, knowing that all energy and ability belongs to a Supreme energetic. This project – a combination of writing, research, design and animation – is my attempt to link whatever I have in service, in the hope that such things will be made pure in purpose. I hope you might find something here to inspire or encourage you on your own journey.
Anxiety is a problem. Wish you were fearless? Want to find the exit door out of this world of uncertainty? Kapiladeva teaches that an honest analysis of the world removes the fear attached to it. A key part of the process is to transfer our attachments from matter to spirit – using what we have for a higher purpose. He exposes the root of our material imprisonment as the desire to enjoy selfishly, but resolves that by mixing with enlightened beings, hearing their wisdom and deeply contemplating it, we gain trust, advancement, attraction to the Supreme, and finally an understanding of who we really are.
What is this world anyway? What is the point? Could it all be a dream? This section deals with the essential root of our problems, the cause of our suffering: misidentification with ourselves as matter. The solution given is to wake up to reality, to let go of our childish possessiveness over the unreal, and place some trust in a spiritual practice (namely, Bhakti Yoga). The alternative is to become engrossed in the intricate tapestry of material elements and miss out on something wonderful.
What does it look like to be free? A liberated soul has a multitude of qualities, but we can boil it down to the simple fact that entanglement springs from selfishness and enlightenment from acting selflessly. Conquering the material spell is largely helped if we learn to control the waverings of the mind and meditate on the attractiveness of the Supreme Person (our true soulmate). Even while on this path there are varying degrees of sincerity and we may find our spiritual practice mixed with lower tendencies. The best course is to aspire for our every action to be an act of service to please the Supreme, the unlimited person known as Sri Krishna.
Our vision of the world and others shapes our reality. It is said that according to the manner of acts we perform, a corresponding set of senses, and a particular body, are awarded to us, so that we may continue along that path. Kapila indicates that there is a hierarchy of bodies, ranging from the inanimate objects and plantlife, through to animals, humans, and culminating in the pure selfless self-realised devotee. Yes we should see all others equally as spiritual souls within, but discrimination is essential. Unity in diversity necessitates that I give respect to higher beings and compassion to those apparently lower down. Functioning in this considerate and mindful way gives pleasure to God and facilitates our own progression.
‘Don’t waste your time or time will waste you.’ The unfortunate lifetime of a materialist, absorbed in matter as the days and years slip by. It should be emphasised here that the phases of life depicted – one’s marriage, occupation, children, disease, old age and death – are destructive to the forgetful soul, but these same things are a source of liberation for one who connects them in service to the Supreme. This second half of of Kapila’s teachings is an impetus to free ourself from illusion. Time, as a representative of Supreme power, is pushing us towards detachment from the unreal. Either we let go, or the things we cling to will be detach themselves from us. Upon realising our precarious position, we become alert to the rare opportunity of human life.
It is described how the conscious child in the womb, now aware that his own misguided choices have led to this moment, offers a heartfelt prayer of repentance and gratitude. However due to the trauma of birth the child enters a spiral of forgetfulness. Accepting the material body as himself, he forms material hankerings, accepting non-permanent things as his own, which lead to anger and envy, bringing one under the deep covering of illusion. We further learn that bad company blocks our ability to realise the truth. However this wisdom given by Kapila allows one access to a higher vision, while developing a sense of pessimism to one’s material identity. Strengthened by devotion to the Supreme one can be unconcerned with the material world, and instead remain always in touch with the eternal.
Fully enlightened by the teachings of Kapiladeva, Devahuti gives up her possessiveness over material assets and concentrates her intent fully on loving remembrance of the Supreme (who just happens to be her son in this case). Fearless and happy, she declares the power and purifying effect of chanting the sacred name of the Divine. In meditative trance she ultimately forgets her body, as one would forget their body created in a dream. In that liberated state she realises the Supersoul, the Supreme Person.
All this information is but a preliminary study in the greater picture of spirituality. The notions of detachment brought about by Kapila’s Sankhya philosophy find their completeness in collaboration with the experience of Bhakti Yoga, the path of attraction.
These teachings of Kapiladeva make up just a few chapters in the phenomenal Srimad Bhagavatam, an unchanged literary masterpiece that stands unaltered for the past 5000 years. It’s narrative takes the reader on an elevating journey of self-realisation, progressively shining light on the mysteries of the universe, the enemies of the mind, and the ultimate goal of life. The work culminates in a detailed description on the ultimate meditation: the soul’s loving relationship with God – the Supreme Personality, Sri Krishna.
His Divine Grace Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhuapda
This little project was inspired by and is dedicated to His Divine Grace Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, a spiritual master from India who travelled to America in 1965, at the age of 70, desiring to share the teachings of Bhakti Yoga with the Western world. Not knowing anyone and with hardly any possessions or money, he arrived in New York City, where he sat in a city park daily and sang kirtan. As crowds gathered by the day, he shared the message of bhakti – that each of us is an eternal spark of God. While we discriminate on the basis of class, race, gender and religion, beneath the temporary covering of the body, we are all equal. All material pleasure is temporary and can never bring lasting satisfaction. Awakening our relationship with God through service and love, anyone can find a deep happiness that will never diminish. He founded a movement called the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, which now has over 600 centres in the world. (Text: kirtanlondon.com)
I’m grateful that you chose to be here, and it would be wonderful to connect with you, whomever you may be.
I'm planning to release a set of lessons over the next few months and you'll be the first to know. For a limited time it’s FREE... well, ‘donation based’. So if you do it for free you only pay with your guilt.