How are the feelings of victory and adventure Krishna’s opulences, especially when people get those feelings in illicit activities such as gambling?
Transcription by- Keshav Gopal Das & Ambuj Gupta
Question: How are the feelings of victory and adventure Krishna’s opulences, especially when people get those feelings in illicit activities such as gambling?
Answer: Krishna describes in tenth chapter of the Bhagavad Gita where He is talking about His opulence’s that He is victory and He is adventure. This is interesting because often we tend to think of material life and spiritual life is radically opposite and we think of material life has been characterized by things like adventure and victory. Somebody say goes on a mountain climbing expedition or someone plays a exciting sport, there is some adventure and there is some victory in that. Krishna is saying that these feelings which we experience are in general due to _______. What is it mean actually? Just as Krishna’s opulence’s are manifested in things they are also manifested in subtle things. Emotions are subtle things. If we consider the various emotions that we may go through, certain emotions are more attractive than others, for example boredom or loneliness or dejection, these are common emotions but they are not outstanding. They are not especially attractive. Towards the end of this chapter Krishna will give a general principle that all opulent beautiful and glorious things are spark of my splendor. They reflect Krishna’s opulence and this applies not just in the realm of gross things but also in subtle things. So that means most intense, the most outstanding, the most attractive emotions also manifest Krishna’s opulence in the world of emotions.
Now what does this mean? Does this mean that Krishna is intrinsically connected with anything that makes us feel a sense of adventure or sense of victory. Not necessarily, because we see that, if we look at other opulence’s of this list, we see Krishna says that among the aquatic I am shark. Also He says, I am the king of the animals, the Lion. Now is Krishna connected with the lion or the shark? Certainly it is nothing specifically define about these animals compared to other animals. Then in and of themselves these may refer to certain things but here the context is, the question of Arjuna, which is, how can I remember you in material things.
keṣu keṣu ca bhāveṣu cintyo ’si bhagavan mayā
That is the starting question of Arjuna in tenth chapter before Krishna begins to describe His vibhuti. So we have to look at what follows in that context. Just as if we go to a zoo, where there are several animals and if we see a majestic lion, normally that animal would attract the attention of people naturally because of his eyes, because of his power, because of his capacity to control and cause fear in others. Lion is likely to attract more attention than others.
Here Krishna is talking primarily in two terms when He talks about His opulences. Firstly look at the things that attract our attention because of some distinctive material attributes and then learn to connect perception of those things with Krishna by seeing them as manifestations of Krishna. Lion’s power and elegance and ferocity, these come from Krishna. So if we are with hundred people and among them someone is feeling elated because of victory and some is feeling animated with sense of adventure. Naturally those emotions would stand out among people who are otherwise bored or stoic or sleeping or having some other less noteworthy emotions at that time. In the world of emotions these attract our attention more than others and in that sense they are manifestation of Krishna’s opulence.
It’s possible that someone may get a sense of adventure or victory in doing things which are non devotional or even anti devotional. Suppose somebody lives in a conservative society and then that person violates the rules of sexual morality and somehow feels some daredevilness, some sense of adventure, excitement in doing that and when a person acts to have affair or something like that and then get some pleasure, get sense of victory, “I did it”. Now this is actually anti devotional. How can we say that this is manifestation of Krishna’s mercy or there is an opulence of Krishna? We need to understand here the context.
Prabhupada gave example that even if a drunkard who is attached to the taste of liquor, the drunkard thinks that oh, this taste of liquor is Krishna and there by remembers Krishna while drinking that liquor. Though the drinking of the liquor is anti devotional but the remembrance of Krishna will trigger a gradual chain reaction, off course by which that person will eventually become a devotee. The emphasis is not on drinking liquor or endorsement of drinking liquor, but the emphasis is that if on one can’t give it up, one has to do it then he remember Krishna while doing it.
Examples like this are meant to demonstrate the inclusiveness of Krishna consciousness, the universality of the availability of Krishna consciousness. Whatever situation we are in, whatever we are attracted by we can get connected with Krishna if we just have the desire to, Krishna will give us the intelligence. Even activity like drinking wine can be connected with Krishna, although it is not intrinsically connected or even intrinsically anti devotional. When there is a remembrance of Krishna it will eventually lead into purification and then there will be connection which is purer but that whole process of purification will begin with some connection and Prabhupada’s emphasis is on that connection.
Same way the feeling of adventure and success may come to different people from different things but what Krishna is referring to here is that when people get excited, become joyful, when say India wins the world cup and some player hit a match winning six to lead India to the world championship, that time one may feel elated with ecstasy. Now whatever rushing of emotions a person went through while eventually winning and even before that going through a sense of adventure, that is simply a wanting feeling for many people. Most people lead safer life and therefore there is no emotional adventure in their lives. Whatever gives a sense of emotional adventure that is a manifestation of Krishna and a person who is very excited even addicted to that sense of adventure and victory even that is coming from the non-devotional or anti devotional activity, one can recognize that source of this feeling is Krishna and rather than getting caught up in the specific activities which give those feelings for a short while. One can use the remembrance of Krishna at that time to start the process of connection with Krishna. As one become more and more connected with Krishna, then gradually one will get the things of adventure and victory in the service of Krishna.
Are the feeling of adventure and success in any endeavor Krishna’s opulence’s? Yes, but not all opulence’s are divine in the sense that they do not take us towards divinity. Now prostitutes’ good looks are also an opulence of Krishna but they are asurya vibhuti. They are not divya vibhuti. So by getting attracted to them we will not attracted to Krishna but if somehow something anti devotional also give rise to some stirring of emotions within us we can recognize that those emotions are coming from Krishna and this particular object or even this particular activity which is giving rise to such emotions within me, this actually is spark of Krishna’s opulence. If spark can stir so much emotional excitement then how much will the whole trigger? If I want my life to be more and more exciting, fulfilling, rather than pursuing to do the same activity again and again, let me turn towards Krishna and develop a relationship with Him. Then they will attract me towards Krishna rather than keeping me away from Him.
By seeing even the emotions as manifestations of Krishna in the sense of they being outstanding in the realm of emotions and using that to remember Krishna and then deepening our connection with Krishna through a systematic process of sadhna will enable us to experience those emotions more. We will enable us to experience Krishna’s opulence’s in relationship with Krishna and thereby go closer to Him and attain advance devotion, pure devotion eventually. Thank you.