Does Krishna compassionately pull impersonalists from Brahman to Bhagavan?
Transcription by- Keshav Gopal Das & Ambuj Gupta
Question:Does Krishna out of His compassion of impersonalists pull them from their impersonal conception of perfection to personal perfection? As this indicated in the 18.54 of the Bhagavad Gita where Krishna says mad-bhaktiḿ labhateparām
Answer: Krishna is always compassionate but His compassion never comprises an intrusion in our free will. So He allows us to seek and gain what we strive for. Off course you need to strive for strongly enough and we have to deserve it but He doesn’t impose anything on us.
Is Krishna compassionate to impersonalists?
Yes. He is compassionate in many ways. First of all, the very fact that they become detached from material existence is itself a sign of His compassion. Beyond that, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu tells Sanatan Goswami that the very fact that you have become detached from such opulence indicates the super soul activities are very grave and He has been merciful to you. Beyond that the fact that they have been able to not only become detached from material things but also attached to spiritual reality, even with impersonal manifestation of spiritual reality, that also is a mercy of Krishna. Without His mercy even impersonal perfection cannot be attained.
Now from the point of view of the ecstasy of personal relationship with Krishna, impersonal realization or impersonal perfection may seem so terrible that some devotees in their ecstasy may even compare to narkas (hell) kaivalyam narkayate, as Prabhodanand Sarasvati says. That is true but a same time it is still an exalted attainment. Great-great sages and yogis strive some life time after life time for attaining it. So just because the exalted devotees in their ecstasy of devotion feel impersonal liberation to be terrible because it does not allow them to serve Krishna, we should not minimize liberation. It is also very exalted attainment. If it had not been so exalted why would devotees compare it and say that we don’t want this. There is so many prayers where say Vitrasur prays, my dear Lord I do not want Swarga, I do not want brahma’s abode,and I don’t want liberation also. All I want is your devotion. That means he is recognizing and acknowledging that these are considered to be glorious attainments but as compared to devotion to you, these attainments, these are things which I don’t want.
Normally we would not say that oh! I don’t want to be a beggar on the street because we consider this so trivial. So we should not think of impersonal liberation like that. It is something glorious. If an impersonalist attains impersonal liberation that is also glorious attainment and that attainment has come by Krishna’s mercy in reciprocation of the impersonalist’s intense desire to attain that liberation. Does Krishna take impersonalists from impersonalism to personal reality? Yes off course. We see that happens to Shukdev Goswami, it happens to the Kumaras. In fact the whole Bhagavatam is in one sense talks about advaitic impersonalism also. The advaitic conceptioin of the absolute truth but then it reveals Krishna. So in that way the Bhagavatam attracts us from impersonal to personal topmost spiritual reality. Does this specific verse 18.54
refer to the Krishna’s mercy by which one can attain go from impersonal to personal. Krishna doesn’t mention any process over here by which that can happen. Off course we know that bhakti sanjayate, bhakti comes from devotees and when devotees share Krishna with others, they share the bhakti that is in their heart with others. That’s how others also get bhakti and then devotees are not giving their own mercy, they are giving Krishna’s mercy. So ultimately anyone who gets devotion, even impersonalist who get devotion they are getting it by Krishna’s mercy. When the Bhagavad Gita twelfth chapter say that
In 12.3 and 12.4 Krishna says that the impersonalists also attain Me. The acharyas explain that this does not necessarily have to refer to Krishna in the personal form. They can even attain Krishna in the impersonal form. That’s what they desire, that’s what they get. But Krishna describes in the eighteenth chapter that even those impersonalists can attain personal perfection if they are open to that desire. If they are open to further elevation then they can attain it. If they are close thinking that this is the ultimate perfection then Krishna will not intrude on their free will and impose something which they do not want. If they open certainly Krishna will manifest the higher level of mercy and elevate them to the highest spiritual perfection of personal relationship with Him. Thank you. Hare Krishna