Qualities of a saintly person – 2

In Srimad Bhagavatam, Lord Krishna relates to His cousin Uddhava, a conversation between King Yadu and a brahmana avadhuta (one who is liberated). Here the brahmana explains to Maharaja Yadu what all he learnt from his 24 gurus.

(Please see this earlier post on the same conversation.) This is taken from here, here, and here.

The various phases of one’s material life, beginning with birth and culminating in death, are all properties of the body and do not affect the soul, just as the apparent waxing and waning of the moon does not affect the moon itself. Such changes are enforced by the imperceptible movements of time.

The flames of a fire appear and disappear at every moment, and yet this creation and destruction is not noticed by the ordinary observer. Similarly, the mighty waves of time flow constantly, like the powerful currents of a river, and imperceptibly cause the birth, growth and death of innumerable material bodies. And yet the soul, who is thus constantly forced to change his position, cannot perceive the actions of time.

Just as the sun evaporates large quantities of water by its potent rays and later returns the water to the earth in the form of rain, similarly, a saintly person accepts all types of material objects with his material senses, and at the appropriate time, when the proper person has approached him to request them, he returns such material objects. Thus, both in accepting and giving up the objects of the senses, he is not entangled.

A saintly sage is happy and pleasing in his external behavior, whereas internally he is most grave and thoughtful. Because his knowledge is immeasurable and unlimited he is never disturbed, and thus in all respects he is like the tranquil waters of the unfathomable and unsurpassable ocean.

During the rainy season the swollen rivers rush into the ocean, and during the dry summer the rivers, now shallow, severely reduce their supply of water; yet the ocean does not swell up during the rainy season, nor does it dry up in the hot summer. In the same way, a saintly devotee who has accepted the Supreme Personality of Godhead as the goal of his life sometimes will receive by providence great material opulence, and sometimes he will find himself materially destitute. However, such a devotee of the Lord does not rejoice in a flourishing condition, nor is he morose when poverty-stricken.

After many, many births and deaths one achieves the rare human form of life, which, although temporary, affords one the opportunity to attain the highest perfection. Thus a sober human being should quickly endeavor for the ultimate perfection of life as long as his body, which is always subject to death, has not fallen down and died. After all, sense gratification is available even in the most abominable species of life, whereas Krsna consciousness is possible only for a human being.

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