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SB 1.2 - Knowledge and tapasya for the sake of Vāsudeva

There are 18 items in culturing knowledge. By such culture one becomes pride less, devoid of vanity, non violent, devoted to guru, and self controlled. And all culture of knowledge culminates in devotional service to Lord Vāsudeva. Culture of knowledge leading one to the transcendental plane of meeting Vāsudeva is real knowledge. Physical knowledge in its various branches is condemned as ajñāna, or ignorance. The aim of physical knowledge is sense gratification, which means prolonging material existence and suffering the threefold miseries. This is nescience. But the same physical knowledge leading to spiritual understanding helps one to end the miserable life of physical existence.

Tapasya means voluntary acceptance of bodily pains to achieve some higher end in life. Rāvaṇa, Hiraṇyakaśipu and modern day politicians undergo severe austerities to achieve sense gratification. But one should undergo austerities for the sake of knowing Vāsudeva. All other austerities are in the modes of passion and ignorance, which cannot end the miseries of life. Vasudeva and Devakī underwent penances to get Kṛṣṇa as their son. This is the real way of austerity.