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na yoga-vīryeṇa manīṣayā vā
naivārtha-dharmaiḥ parataḥ svato vā
kṛtaṁ vihantuṁ tanu-bhṛd vibhūyāt
In the Bṛhad-āraṇyaka Upaniṣad (3.8.9), Yājñavalkya says to Gārgī, the daughter of Garga Muni, etasya vā akṣarasya praśāsane gargi sūryā-candramasau vidhṛtau tiṣṭhataḥ: “My dear Gārgī, everything is under the control of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Even the sun, the moon and other controllers and demigods like Lord Brahmā and King Indra are all under His control.” An ordinary human being or animal who has accepted a material body cannot go beyond the jurisdiction of the Supreme Personality of Godhead’s control. A material body includes senses. However, the sense activities of so-called scientists who try to be free from God’s law or the laws of nature are useless. This is also confirmed in Bhagavad-gītā (7.14). Mama māyā duratyayā: it is impossible to surpass the control of material nature, for the Supreme Personality of Godhead is working behind it. Sometimes we are proud of our austerities, penances and mystic yogic powers, but it is clearly stated herein that one cannot surpass the laws and directions of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, either by dint of mystic power, a scientific education, or austerities and penances. It is impossible.
The word manīṣayā (“by intelligence”) is of special significance. Priyavrata might argue that Lord Brahmā was requesting him to accept family life and the responsibility for ruling a kingdom although Nārada Muni had advised him not to enter household life and be entangled in material affairs. Whom to accept would be a puzzle for Priyavrata because both Lord Brahmā and Nārada Muni are authorities. Under the circumstances, the use of the word manīṣayā is very appropriate, for it indicates that since both Nārada Muni and Lord Brahmā are authorized to give instruction, Priyavrata should neglect neither of them but should use his intelligence to follow the advice of both. To solve such dilemmas, Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī has given a very clear conception of intelligence. He says:
yuktaṁ vairāgyam ucyate
Viṣayān, material affairs, should be accepted without attachment, and everything should be dovetailed with the service of the Lord. That is real intelligence (manīṣā). Becoming a family man or king in the material world is not harmful if one accepts everything for Kṛṣṇa’s service. That necessitates clear intelligence. Māyāvādī philosophers say, brahma satyaṁ jagan mithyā: this material world is false, and only the Absolute Truth is real. However, an intelligent devotee in the line of Lord Brahmā and the great sage Nārada — or, in other words, in the Brahma-sampradāya — does not consider this world false. That which is created by the Supreme Personality of Godhead cannot be false, but using it for enjoyment is. Everything is meant to be enjoyed by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, as confirmed in Bhagavad-gītā (5.29). Bhoktāraṁ yajña-tapasāṁ sarva-loka-maheśvaram: the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the supreme proprietor and enjoyer, and therefore everything should be dovetailed for His enjoyment and service. Regardless of one’s circumstances, favorable or unfavorable, one should use everything to serve the Supreme Lord. That is the perfect way to use one’s intelligence.