Posted on August 24, 2013
[Srila Prabhupada instructs Achyutananda Das about Vedanta-sutra]
"The first sutra reads athato brahma jijnasa. Athata means 'now,' jijnasa means to inquire. 'Now we shall inquire into the Absolute Truth, Brahman.' So what does this now mean? Now that you have studied the Vedas; now that you have performed your duties as a brahmacari; now that you are serious in acquiring this knowledge; now that you have understood that impersonal and personal are in harmonious relationship; now that you have understood the eternal constitutional position of the spirit soul; now that you are fortunate to have had a good birth after passing through unlimited lifetimes as human, as animal, as plant, as demigod; now that you have come to this human form of life."
He pointed to me.
"Just like your father gave you the Gita when you were young. So you are not an ordinary person."
He closed his eyes and continued.
"Now that you have come into contact with a bona fide spiritual master; now that you are not hankering for material piety, wealth, sense gratification, or birth in the higher planets; now that you have set aside all other inquiries, you can inquire into Brahman."
He paused to say, "Just see how one word - now - can have so much meaning."
The world stood still, and so did I.
He continued: "Now we go to the next sutra: janmadyasya yatah. Janma means creation, source, and cause. Adi means -- it is the Sanskrit way of saying all the rest, etcetera. And adi means the original, the first. Krsna is the cause of all causes and all the rest. So, you can just imagine all the Vaikuntha planets, all the living entities, all the material energies, all the expansions of Vishnu. Pantheism says God does not create the universe; He becomes the universe. And we say that is all right, but it is incomplete, He becomes the universe and remains full in the balance in His own realm. He does not abandon His creations but accompanies them as the Purusha Avatars: Maha-Vishnu, Garbodakashayi Vishnu, and Kshirodakashayi Vishnu, or Paramatma. He is the source of all conscious beings in the spiritual worlds and the material worlds, from Brahma down to the insect.
From Blazing Sadhus, by Achyutananda Das