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Teachings of Lord Kapila

Teachings of Lord Kapila

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“Teachings of Lord Kapila” by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta SwamiPrabhupada.COPYRIGHT NOTICE: This is an evaluation copy of the printed version ofthis book, and is NOT FOR RESALE. This evaluation copy is intended forpersonal non-commercial use only, under the “fair use” guidelinesestablished by international copyright laws. You may use this electronicfile to evaluate the printed version of this book, for your own privateuse, or for short excerpts used in academic works, research, studentpapers, presentations, and the like. You can distribute this evaluationcopy to others over the Internet, so long as you keep this copyrightinformation intact. You may not reproduce more than ten percent (10%) ofthis book in any media without the express written permission from thecopyright holders. Reference any excerpts in the following way:“Excerpted from “Teachings of Lord Kapila” by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami,courtesy of the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust International,www.Krishna.com.”This book and electronic file is Copyright 1977-2003 Bhaktivedanta BookTrust International, 3764 Watseka Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90034, USA.All rights reserved. For any questions, comments, correspondence, or toevaluate dozens of other books in this collection, visit the website ofthe publishers,www.Krishna.com.ForewordKapila Muni, a renowned sage of antiquity, is the author of thephilosophical system known as Sankhya, which forms an important part oflndia's ancient philosophical heritage. Sankhya is both a system ofmetaphysics, dealing with the elemental principles of the physicaluniverse, and a system of spiritual knowledge, with its own methodology,culminating in full consciousness of the Supreme Absolute. Kapila,however, is not an ordinary philosopher or sage. According to Vedictradition, the tradition of lndia's ancient scriptural literature, HeHimself is an avatara (incarnation) of the Supreme Absolute Truth.Kapila's teachings are originally inscribed in the Srimad-Bhagavatam, or Bhagavata purana, one of the most important scripturaldocuments of Vedic theism. Within the Bhagavatam, Kapila's teachingscomprise Chapters Twenty-five through Thirty-three of the Third Canto.This book, Teachings of Lord Kapila, the Son of Devahuti, is based on aunique series of lectures presented in Bombay, India, in the spring ofthis series, Srila Prabhupada spoke from the Twenty-fifth Chapter, whichcontains the beginning of Lord Kapila's teachings. Srila Prabhupada isthe author of a celebrated multivolume translation and commentary on theentire text of the Bhagavatam, and at the time of the Kapila lectures hehad already completed his written commentary on the section of theBhagavatam dealing with Kapiladeva's teachings. In these speciallectures, however, Srila Prabhupada went into significantly greaterdetail in elucidating the verses and shed an even broader light uponthese fascinating teachings.
 
The text begins with the words of Saunaka, the foremost of thesages of Naimisaranya, the vastly learned sages to whom Srimad-Bhagavatam was originally spoken some thousands of years ago. The sageshave already heard about Lord Kapiladeva from Suta Gosvami, an exaltedspiritual master, and it is clear from Saunaka's words that they acceptKapila Muni as being an incarnation of the Lord Himself and as thereforebeing the highest authority on yoga and transcendental knowledge. Inrecounting the history of Lord Kapila, Suta Gosvami, in accordance withVedic principles for presenting spiritual knowledge, refers to discourseby great spiritual masters who have previously discussed this samesubject. In this case, Suta Gosvami refers to a discussion betweenVidura and the great sage Maitreya, who was a friend of Vyasadeva, theoriginal compiler of the Vedic literature.As Suta Gosvami has already described, Lord Kapila appeared in thisworld as the son of Kardama Muni, a master of mystic yoga, and his wife,Devahuti. Both Kardama Muni and Devahuti were aware of the divinity oftheir son. Indeed, even before Kapila's birth, Lord Brahma himself, thechief created person in this universe, had appeared before Devahuti andrevealed to her that her son was to be an incarnation of the SupremeLord and that this incarnation would enlighten her with spiritualknowledge.According to the Vedic social system, a man with a grown son mayaccept the order of sannyasa, thus renouncing all connections with hisfamily and worldly life, and entrust his wife to the care of his son.Kardama Muni, of course, knew that his son was an incarnation of theSupreme Lord, yet to honor this Vedic system and emphasize itsimportance, he too eventually accepted sannyasa, entrusting his wife,Devahuti, to the care of his divine son, Kapiladeva. Therefore, as SutaGosvami begins to answer Saunaka's request to hear further about LordKapiladeva, the sages have already been informed of how Kardama Munideparted for the forest, leaving Kapiladeva behind with Devahiti.After Kardama Muni's departure, Devahuti, remembering the propheticwords of Lord Brahma, approaches her divine son and humbly expresses herdesire for spiritual enlightenment: "My Lord, I have fallen into theabyss of ignorance. Your Lordship is my only means of getting out ofthis darkest region of ignorance because You are my transcendental eye,which, by Your mercy only, I have attained after many, many births....Now be pleased, my Lord, to dispel my great delusion... You are the axwhich can cut the tree of material existence. I therefore offer myobeisances to You, who are the greatest of all transcendentalists, and Iinquire from You as to the relationship between man and woman andbetween spirit and matter." (Srimad-Bhagavatam 3.25.7-11) Pleased by Hismother's pure desire for spiritual enlightenment, and feeling greatcompassion for her, Kapila begins to speak on the Sankhya philosophy.Now, what is Sankhya? Insofar as Sankhya deals with the elementalcategories or principles of the physical universe, Sankhya is whatWestern scholars generally refer to as "metaphysics." The term sankhyaliterally means "to count." This name is used because Sankhya philosophyenumerates principles of cosmic evolution by rational analysis. Theetymological meaning of the word sankhya is "that which explains verylucidly by analysis of material elements." Philosophically, this term isused because the Sankhya system expounds analytical knowledge thatenables one to distinguish between matter and spirit. This understandingculminates in bhakti, devotion for and service to the Supreme. It may be
 
said, therefore, that Sankhya and bhakti form two aspects of the sameprocess, bhakti being the ultimate goal or ultimate aspect of Sankhya.It is interesting to note, at this point, that long after LordKapila's descent, an imitation Kapila appeared on the Indiansubcontinent and propounded a nontheistic Sankhya. That which isgenerally studied as Sankhya in the contemporary academic context isactually this later, nontheistic, materialistic Sankhya. The Sankhyaphilosophy, propounded by the original Kapila, is practically unknown inthe West. Teachings of Lord Kapila, the Son of Devahuti (along withSrila Prabhupada's complete commentary on Kapila's Sankhya in hisedition of Srimad-Bhagavatam) is probably the first major exposition inthe English language on the original, theistic Sankhya. It shouldtherefore be of considerable interest to scholars in this field.Because the basic principle and the ultimate goal of LordKapiladeva's Sankhya philosophy is bhakti, this is the subject withwhich Lord Kapiladeva begins His instructions to Devahuti. Consequently,because this volume, Teachings of Lord Kapila, the Son of Devahuti, isSrila Prabhupada's commentary on the beginning of Lord Kapila'steachings, it is chiefly concerned with the science of bhakti-yoga--theprocess of linking with God (yoga means "linking") through bhakti(devotion).As the actual history begins, Devahuti approaches her son, Kapila,and with deep humility expresses her sincere desire for spiritualenlightenment. In response, Lord Kapila delineates "the path of thetranscendentalists, who are interested in self-realization." Conciselysummarizing the actual process of self-realization, Kapila definesconsciousness in both the conditioned and liberated states. He describesthe psychology of pure consciousness, delineates the symptoms andcharacteristics of a sadhu, holy person, and stresses the importance ofsadhu-sanga, association with those who are saintly. Kapiladeva thenexplains that liberation is merely a stage preliminary to the attainmentof bhakti and that one who attains bhakti automatically achievesliberation. One who engages in bhakti, devotional yoga, automaticallytranscends material desires and ultimately crosses beyond birth anddeath.According to later descriptions in Srimad-Bhagavatam, Devahutiultimately attains full enlightenment in transcendental knowledge byhearing and understanding the sublime philosophical teachings of hergreat son.--The PublishersChapter OneThe Purpose of Lord Kapila's AdventTEXT 1saunaka uvacakapilas tattva-sankhyatabhagavan atma-mayayajatah svayam ajah saksad

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