Understanding rasa-lila 8 – Appreciating Krishna’s mystifying reciprocation
[Bhagavatam class at ISKCON, Denver, USA]
Transcribed by: Sadananda Prabhu
Understanding rasa-lila 8 – Appreciating Krishna’s mystifying reciprocation
Today we come to the conclusion of our discussion on the Rasa-lila. It is a very exalted subject, and I will quickly review what I discussed in the last eight sessions, before I come to the conclusion. The first session was about how the supreme ashraya becomes ashrita; that Krishna, in order to perform his lila, voluntarily comes under the control of Yoga Maya, although he is above everyone and everything. So, “God doesn’t delight in his majesty but longs for intimacy.” and this is the extraordinary revelation about God’s personal nature in the tenth canto of the Srimad Bhagavatam. In the second session I talked about how Krishna asked the gopis when he calls them by his flute sound, “Why have you come here?” The mood there is, that Krishna is ensuring that for the sake of following para-dharma or the supreme religion or the religion to devotion to him, the apara dharma or our worldly duties are not casually neglected or trivialized. Then I talked about how the yagnik brahman patnis go back, but the gopis don’t go back; and that is also their exalted devotion. Then, in the next session I talked about how the gopis approach Krishna and are ready to give up everything for him, but Krishna gives them up.
In the Radhaasthami class I talked about how Radharani’s name is concealed as well as revealed. So, the Bhagavatam is telling what it is not telling. The Bhagavatam is spoken in such a way that neither Sukhadev Goswami or Parikshit Maharaj will get distracted from what the essential purpose is. If Parikshit Maharaja hears about his father’s death, he may get distracted. So, the description of the Kurukshatra war is not revealed. Also, if Sukhadev Goswami speaks too much about Radharani, he will get distracted out of ecstasy. So, that is also avoided by mentioning Radharani’s name indirectly by him. We had four sessions on the Gopi-geeta which we went verse by verse, discussion how the gopis were giving various reasonings and were begging Krishna to come back; and then Krishna returns. When he returns, at that time the gopis are delighted. They take Krishna’s hand in their hands and seat Krishna in the center of a circle putting their own chaddar below him like an improvised seat. Then they take his foot and put it on their laps and they are messaging him. The sight of Krishna coming back is so extraordinary for them that they are not sure whether it is real or not. They want to touch Krishna so that they can make sure that this is really Krishna there.
There are left wing and right wing gopis. There are some gopis who accommodate Krishna with whatever he does. The difference between Radharani and Chandarvali is said to be the difference between submission and demand. That Radharani can get upset with Krishna, and when she gets upset, then Krishna goes after her saying, “Please forgive me.” But Chandrawali never gets upset with Krishna no matter what Krishna does. Rupa Goswami gives the example that if there are two female elephants and one male elephant, one female elephant is pursuing the male elephant, and the male elephant is pursuing the other female elephant. This is how Krishna is pursuing Radharani, but Chandrawali is pursuing Krishna. Whatever Krishna wants Chandrawali does to satisfy him. She cannot even think of doing anything that will displease Krishna, whereas Radharani is serving Krishna in her own way by her Mana or by her being upset. That’s why Rupa Goswami says, if you compare the characters of the gopis in Vrindavan with the queens in Dwaraka – he says that it is not Rukmini devi but Satyabhava who is the expansion of Radharani. Rukmini is the expansion of Chandrawali because she has the submissive mood, whereas Satyabhava has the demanding mood. Both of these are different way by which Krishna is served. Rupa Goswami gives the example that the affection of Chardrawali is like opulent food cooked in ghee. Her affection is also not in Aiswarya bhava. Aiswarya bhava is present in Vaikuntha and Dwaraka, but Vrindavana is the abode of Madhurya. So, nevertheless, her love is also in the mood of conjugal affection. Actually, Srila Bhakti Siddhantha Saraswati Thakur used the word amorous love. Srila Prabhupada didn’t use the word “amorous”; he used the word “conjugal”. Now both are right, but both contains slightly different ideas. Conjugal is based on an adjective which refers to relationship within marriage. Amorous refers to a male-female romantic attraction with a slightly erotic overtone to it. So, if we consider from the perspective of the pastime, the gopis are not marrying to Krishna. Some people who are into technicalities may say that the translation of conjugal is not appropriate because the gopi’s relationship with Krishna is not conjugal as they are not married to Krishna. However, Prabhupada is clear to stay focused on philosophical truths. Within the lila of Krishna, generally the gopis are not considered to be married to Krishna although Gopal Campu does describe a pastime in which Krishna and the gopis do get married. This is a detailed pastime. And there are various other explanations. Brahma Vaivarta Purana also describes one pastime where the gopis and Krishna get married, but the point is, in terms of the normal operational pastimes in Vrindavan as are revealed in scriptures, Krishna and the gopis are not married to each other. Prabhupada uses the word conjugal love to highlight the point that although in lila Krishna and the gopis may not be married, but in tatwa, Krishna is the Lord of all living beings, thoug in philosophy he is the Lord of all living beings. So, he is the Lord even of the gopis. So, both Candrawali and Radharani are in the Madhurya Rasa. But Rupa Goswami says that Candrawali’s relationship is like food cooked in ghee and Radharani’s relationship with Krishna is like food cooked in honey. Now we cannot cook food in honey, but he says that if all food were cooked in honey, it will have an overwhelming flavor of sweetness to it, and food cooked in ghee will have an overwhelming sense of grandeur, opulence and of wealth to it. Now both are tasty in their own way, but the way in which they are tasty is slightly different. No gopi is mentioned by their names in the rasa panchadhyaya. The gopis are addressed in a generic way as gopya-ucuhu, but this mood is described. Some gopis are very welcoming to Krishna, but some gopis are just glaring at Krishna with their eye as if saying, “How could have gone away?” One gopi was biting her tooth, and her eyes appeared as if she would burn Krishna with her eyes, and then such a gopi speaks to Krishna some questions which Krishna is answering over here. She asks, “Krishna, there are some people who reciprocate with others when others are reciprocating with them – she describes three categories of people. If everybody is relating with say Z. One kind of relationship is: If Z shows love to me, I will show love to Z. Second is, B shows love to Z irrespective of whether Z reciprocates or not. C is the one who doesn’t show love to anyone irrespective of whether they show any love or not – Can you explain these three kinds of people who have relationships and who among them is the best?” Now, Krishna replies, if somebody reciprocates love only when the other shows love or affection, then that is selfishness. That is simply a business-like transaction. Prahlad Maharaj says, if somebody worships the Lord for getting something from him, then that is a business-like relationship. Those who offer their love irrespective of whether others offer love or not are benevolent and are saintly. Third are the atmaram or spiritually satisfied who are especially on the monistic path or jnana marga and who have given up all relationships entirely. Prahlad Maharaj says, such people wander in seclusion in the forest not wanting to form any relationship with anyone because they know that relationships can entangle. The question of the gopis is, if there are these three categories, O Krishna, which category do you belong to? Their implication is, Krishna, we have done so much for you. We left everything to come to you, and yet you abandoned us and have gone away. How could you have done to this to us O Krishna?” When the gopis speak like this, Krishna responses is documented in several verses which go on till the end of this chapter. Krishna says, Actually, when I disappeared from you, it was not because I didn’t reciprocate with you. I reciprocated with you in the best possible way.
There are many parallels between the first canto and the tenth canto of the Srimad Bhagavatam. If we consider the pastimes of Krishna, they are described most in the tenth canto. The whole ninety chapters of tenth canto are for the pastimes of Krishna. Apart from the tenth canto, Krishna makes his appearance the most in terms of the pastimes being described in the first canto. In the eleventh canto also Krishna is there, but he is the speaker of the Uddhava Gita. Within the Uddhava Gita there is no dramatic action like Krishna displaying his universal form to Uddhava, like he did with Arjuna. In that sense the eleventh canto is not that action filled with Krishna’s pastimes. It is more of Krishna’s instructions, and there is of course some description of Krishna’s final fratricidal fight with the Dwarakavasis through which Krishna departed from the world and took his associates back. The point I am making is, there are parallels between the first and the tenth canto. One parallel is that both of them have pastimes of Krishna. Apart of the first and the tenth canto the pastimes of Krishna are described in the third canto; in one and two chapters where Vidura and Uddhava meet. Vidura asks for the wellbeing of the Dwarakavasis and Uddhava remembers the various pastimes of Krishna. So, the first and the tenth canto have that parallel. But another significant parallel which is relevant for the context over here is Krishna’s appearing, disappearing and reappearing. What he does to the gopi’s, he also does to Narada. Then in the fourth, fifth and the sixth chapters of the first canto, Jiva Goswami explained in the Sat-sandharva’s. In his first Sandhava he explains that these are the foundation of the Bhagavatam. One and a half chapter roughly describes the philosophy of Bhakti Yoga – how Bhakti Yoga purifies, and after that the next one and half chapter describes the story of Narada; how he was telling Vyasa, “How I came to Krishna consciousness?” there Narada says how he took up the process of Bhakti Yoga. So, those two themes are essentially the broad themes of the Bhagavatam – philosophically understanding the glories of Bhagavan and Bhakti, and through pastimes appreciating the glory of Bhagavan, Bhakti and Bhaktas. This is what the whole Bhagavatam comprises; these two things: tattva and lila of Bhakti. Whatever else is given is meant to serve this purpose. There Narada Muni tells his story of how he came to Krishna bhakti. His story mirrors in what is described in the 10th canto. That Narada was a boy, and he loses his mother, and he becomes a total orphan. But because of the blessings of great devotees from whom he had heard, and then he served them, he gets renunciation and determination to cultivate devotion. Then he goes Northwards, and he sits down in meditation and beholds the beautiful form of the Lord, and he is delighted to see that form. It is described that every single one his senses becomes enlivened on beholding that form of the Lord, but then suddenly that form disappeared. He just tries to concentrate in despair to get to see that form, but he can’t see. He gets up in agitation, looks around and realizes that that form was in his vision, and then again, he sits and tries to meditate. In despair he just can’t live after having such a relishable darshan. At that time, he hears a voice. The voice says, “Because you are still impure in heart and incomplete in service, I regret that you will not be able to see me in this lifetime. But if you continue practicing bhakti, you will eventually see me.” And then the voice says, “I have given you this darshan and this experience so that your desire for me will increase. The desire for me will purify you of all other desires.” This brings us to a very significant point of bhakti yoga. This is very similar to how Krishna has disappeared from the gopis and he tells them, “When I disappeared from you, it was to intensify your longing for me.” The example that was given in this verse is, there are two kinds of people. Somebody is born poor and they stay poor throughout their life, whereas somebody is born wealthy and they stay wealthy throughout their life. If somebody is born poor and stays poor, though over a period they may have a longing for wealth, but they get used to the poverty and they just learn to live with it. However, somebody who is wealthy often take their wealth for granted. Though they can’t live without their wealth, but they take it for granted. So, the emotion is not triggered much for either people. If people who are lifelong poor see some wealth, they think, “Ok, it would be nice to have it, but I don’t think I am going to get it.” Then they settle for the life they have. But people who are wealthy don’t have much emotions associated with it because wealth has always been with them. But somebody who is poor becomes wealthy by some arrangement, and then he loses the wealth, then their emotions get much more agitated. They think, “How could I have lost my wealth? I have to get it back someway or the other.” So, that getting the wealth and losing the wealth makes sure that their emotions gets triggered much more with respect to the wealth. Another example contemporarily would be, say there is a cricket or a soccer match – some matches are one-sided. If a team is losing and they have no chance of winning, then they resign themselves to the loss. But if a team is dominating and they just habitually win, then they may also celebrate, but the celebration wound not be that effusive when they win the match. But on the other hand, suppose a team in on the path of losing, and suddenly one of the players start playing outstandingly well, and from the brink of defeat the team comes to the verge of victory, and just when they are on the verge of victory somehow those players who have brought the team to victory, either they get out or something happens, and again they seem to be hurling towards defeat. That time the emotion would get triggered much more. Similarly, it is said here that Krishna gives the darshan to the gopis and to Narada so that the longing for him is triggered. That longing is what enables us to move onwards towards him, and then when we lose him, we already experience something so much higher that we can’t live without it anymore. So, Krishna’s coming, appearing and disappearing is part of his plan to intensify our longing for him. This way what is told to Narada – what happens to him as a seeker which eventually makes him to a seer, also happens in the highest abode of Vrindavan where the gopis see Krishna and Krishna disappears from them. This applies to us also. The key theme I will focus on this class is, “Bhakti Yoga just doesn’t purify us of desires, but it purifies us by desires.” To purify us of desires means that the desire go away from us; but when we say bhakti yoga purifies us by desires, it means that desire is the tool by which Bhakti yoga purifies us. Say for example, there is a broom made of wooden sticks with which we are cleaning the house. And if that house is also dirty with many wooden small twigs, brambles, branches and particles fallen out over there, what we are cleaning the house now of is those wooden twigs and branches. But the broom with which we are cleaning the house is also made of the same material. So, although both are of the same material, they in a very different situation. The sticks, twigs and the brambles and all that are there are dirt. They make things disorderly. So, they need to be cleaned out. But the tool for cleaning is made of the same substance as the object that is to be cleaned; but the purpose is different. The broom is made of the same material, but when that broom is used properly it purges off all the dirt. Similarly, with respect to Bhakti yoga also there are many mundane desires and impure desires in our heart associated with lust, anger, greed, envy, pride and illusion, and we want to break free of these desires. This path of bhakti uses our desires to purify us of the bad desires. That means that when our desire for Krishna fills our heart, that desire itself drives out all the other desire from our heart. So, desires are not like physical objects that can be picked up and thrown out. They are subtle, and so we can’t drive out desires from our consciousness; but we can crowd them out. That means that if we feel our consciousness with something else, then the desires go out. So, the blessing of the spiritual master to the disciple comes not so much in the form of detachment from matter as it comes in the form of attachment to Krishna. Attachment to Krishna is expressed through the desire to serve Krishna. We could see Prabhupada’s example. There were Prabhupada’s other godbrothers who were more scholarly than him, and there were some of his other god-brothers who had lived as lifelong renunciates. Prabhupada had to work at his business throughout his life. So, he didn’t have the kind of time to study the Sanskrit language systematically, as it is the ideal as per tradition, that one needs to study for twelve years exclusively to understand the Sanskrit language. But Prabhupada didn’t have that kind of time. He had just the working knowledge of Sanskrit, and he was a great scholar in his own way. The point which I am making is that even people who might have been more life-long renunciates than him and people who might have been more scholarly than him, they didn’t spread Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s mission across the world. When we talk about great devotees, we are not to compare or judge. We understand that they are all arranged by the Lord’s plan to serve in different ways. Gaura Kishore Babaji was a great devotee but he didn’t preach practically to anyone because the Lord inspired him to be basically a bhajanandi. So, we are not judging in any way, but we are trying to observe so that we can learn some lessons for ourselves. This is an important difference. Whenever we see any character in scripture, we say, “Ok, from this action we can learn this.” So, we don’t judge the character per see, but rather we focus on what we can learn from that character. So, what differentiated Prabhupada from most of his godbrothers was not scriptural learning or renunciation. What differentiated him was his burning desire to share Krishna’s message with the world. His intense determination to fulfill Lord Caitanya’s prophecy and his fearless resolve to carry out the instruction of his spiritual master are positive desires. So, it is desire that empowered Srila Prabhupada to travel across the world and share Krishna Bhakti, and it is interesting that Prabhupada was Abhaya when he met Bhaktisiddhantha Saraswati Thakur for the first time, then he became Abhaya Charan on initiation. Abhay was not the only person who was given the instruction by Bhaktisiddhantha Saraswati Thakur to travel to the West and spread Krishna consciousness. This is an instruction that he gave to many of his disciples, and in fact, when many of his disciples went from India to America, at that time their whole mission to the West was funded by the Gaudia Math. That means whatever were their expenses during their stay in America, and arranging programs there – everything was provided by Bhaktisiddhantha Saraswati Thakur. So, he gave his instruction to many of his disciples, and he personally facilitated some of his disciples to go to the West, and they were in their own small way successful. But when Prabhupada went he didn’t have any facility. So, what is the legacy?
In one conversation with Tamal Krishna Maharaj Srila Prabhupada said, “I have inherited the legacy of my spiritual master.” Now if you consider, normally in spiritual institutions the legacy is determined in terms of property, wealth, followers and institutional positions. But if we consider, Prabhupada didn’t get any of these from his spiritual master. He did not get any property and wealth, any kind of material resources, any institutional position, any human resources or any followers. So, what was the legacy that Prabhupada got from his spiritual master? That legacy was actually the desire to glorify Krishna, the desire to serve Krishna and the desire to spread Krishna’s glories all over the world. That desire is what is Krishna’s greatest gift to us – the desire for him.
I will make two more points and then we can have some discussion on this.
Often, even in Krishna Bhakti, we associate the desire with the desirable, and if we don’t get the desirable, we think that our endeavor is a failure. Say for example, if we try to preach, try to distribute books or we try to do any particular service to Krishna, there is a desirable result that we want. And when we don’t get the desirable result, we think that our service is in vein. If we go out to distribute books and nobody takes any book or when we speak about Krishna and not many people are interested, then we feel, “What is the use of our service?” but here bhakti helps us understand that the desirable result of Bhakti is the desire for Bhakti. The most desirable result of Bhakti is not the external result that we want. That is important, but the most desirable result of bhakti is the desire for bhakti, because at the end of our lives if we consider how many books we distributed, how many became devotees through us, how many temples somebody opened or if somebody became a spiritual master how many disciples they made; all these are noteworthy from the perspective of propagating Krishna bhakti in this world, and that is not to be minimized, but they are not what is going to determine our destination in the next life. Of course, these things can attract the Vaisvana’s and Krishna’s mercy, and then by their mercy what will happen? By their mercy we will get the desire for Krishna, and our remembrance of Krishna will arise in our hearts, and by that we will be elevated to an auspicious destination either in this world or in the next world, or in this existence or beyond this to the spiritual world. But the point is, if we get too attached to the external results and we start evaluating our bhakti in terms of our external results itself, then we may end up having a double-failure instead of a single failure. A single-failure is, say we do a particular service and the external result of the service doesn’t manifest, or we do some preaching but people don’t seem to become devotees. After that if we become disheartened by that, and because of that we lose our desire to glorify Krishna, then that is the double failure. The external failure was that the desirable result or the external didn’t come up, but the more consequential internal result was that the desire itself got weakened. Now of course, from a practical perspective we do have to analyze whether this is the most effective way we can serve Krishna. Prabhupada also analyzed and strategized.
When Prabhupada was in India, Bhaktisiddhantha Saraswati Thakur had given the instruction to his disciples, “If you go to a program and no one comes, then speak to the walls.” He had given that instructions, but that was not a license for no strategic planning. It is not that lifelong we keep going to a place where nobody comes and we keep speaking to the wall. Prabhupada observed and found that somehow the Indians were not interested at that time. So, he chose to go to America. So, Prabhupada also had a strategic plan. It was not that the external desirable result is unimportant. Because we are serving in the material world and we want to fulfill the mission of the spiritual master in this world, we definitely need to consider how best we can serve here. That means how best our service can be most effective, what can we do by which we can reach Krishna and how we can take Krishna into the hearts of people most effectively. That kind of thinking is fine and is actually essential as a part of Bhakti. But when we let our desire for Krishna itself become dependent on the external result, then we end up with a double failure. So, sometimes when we don’t get a desired result, that is the time when we are forced to introspect and go deeper into Bhakti. In general, in any sports there is a winner and a loser. Usually after the match the winner is happier, but the loser is wiser. Sometimes the exhilaration of winning blinds one from actually learning, because we may think, “Oh I did everything right. Maybe I did something wrong also, but somehow things worked out right.” So, if we win, the joy overpowers us so much that we don’t learn much from it. But when one loses, that is the time when one goes deeper and thinks, “What did I do wrong? Maybe I should have not done like this.” When one introspects, one learns. So, in sports the winner is often happier, but the loses is often wiser. Similarly, for us in Bhakti, when we practice bhakti and get the desired result that we want, we are like winners. At that time, we often get so caught and drunk by the external success that we start thinking, “This external success itself is the proof of my advanced devotion.” and we don’t do much to actually advance devotionally. Now it is not that external and internal success can’t go together. Sometimes it so happens that some devotees so joyfully are situated in bhakti, that the joy of their heart radiates out to others. So, they are internally successful because they are joyfully situated in the remembrance of Krishna, and then they share that and they inspire others to remember Krishna. This two can go together also, but the important thing is that failure in service is not failure in devotion. Failure in service means getting the external result of the service. That is not the failure in devotion. If through that failure in service our desire for Krishna still remains or it becomes stronger, then we are actually growing in Bhakti. This is what we all can apply at our level – that we all want desire for Krishna. How does the desire for Krishna come? Primarily it comes by associating with Krishna. It comes broadly by three ways.
Associating with Krishna means, hearing about Krishna, speaking about Krishna, beholding Krishna, singing about Krishna and bringing our consciousness in contact with Krishna. That itself can give us the desire for Krishna.
In the Bhagavad-gita Krishna says, Krishna says, if you can’t naturally, spontaneously and constantly fix you mind constantly on me, then endeavor to fix it on me by the practice of sadhana bhakti, and by this your desire for me will emerge. Secondly, it comes by the association of devotees. When we associate with those who have a desire for Krishna, then that desire transmits into our heart. Just by seeing somebody, relishing the Bhagavatam, Krishna kirtan, Krishna katha or Deity worship and by associating with those who love it we can get desire for Krishna. Bu one may say, “What is so special in it, what makes this person so enthusiastic, I want to find out.” And that triggers our desire for Krishna. Of course, these two have an external and an internal aspect to it. Srila Prabhuapada writes, nasta prayesu abhadresu – even if you regularly come in contact with Krishna by hearing or speaking about him, he will get attracted to him and all his anarthas will go away. “Prayeshu” means most of it; not all of it. All of it happens by Krishna’s mercy. Say, we are trying to clean the house which is not just a house but a huge mansion, and for us to clean it ourselves is going to be quite difficult because it will require a huge amount of effort. But if we keep cleaning – if there is a huge courtyard out of the house and there are a lot of mess in it, and we are trying to clean it, but if at that time suddenly a powerful wind comes, and that wind comes from an area which is barren, then no further dirt comes in because of that, but that wind sweeps away all the dirt from there. So, our endeavor is important. We have to keep sweeping and cleaning out the dirt, but if a powerful gust of wind comes that can sweep out all the dirt much faster than what we can, then it a great mercy. So, that powerful gust of wind is like Krishna’s mercy. Our cleaning is like our mechanical efforts to practice Krishna bhakti; not mechanical in the sense of not having consciousness in it. Mechanical means, our doing it as a discipline on a daily basis.
I started by talking about detachment from matter and attachment to Krishna. Both of them are important, but attachment to Krishna is more important. So, just by the steady practice of bhakti some detachment to matter and some attachment to Krishna will come. But when Krishna’s mercy comes, at that time the detachment from matter becomes much stronger, and the attachment to him also becomes much stronger. The gopis were completely absorbed in the remembrance of Krishna, searching for him everyone, begging for him to come back. And then when he came back, they were savoring his presence with all their consciousness and attention. So, like that, when Krishna’s mercy manifests, then it is hugely different experience in devotion. But even if Krishna has not appeared for the gopis, still by their calling out to Krishna they are absorbed in Krishna. Similarly, for us, even if we don’t get any special spiritual experiences during the practices of our bhakti, if we just keep practicing bhakti, that also connects us with Krishna. So, the reciprocation of Krishna can happen in various ways – it can be by some experience of great sublime joy, maybe we get some dreams of Krishna or darshan of Krishna. Those are extraordinary, but even if those don’t happen, but if by the practice of our bhakti, the desire for Krishna is increasing. Then actually we are growing in devotion because Krishna is reciprocating with us in a way that is meant to increase our desire for Krishna. So, if we keep our vision clear – the purpose of bhakti is to intensify our desire for Krishna, and how will that happen? Whatever has happened in my life, let me see how this can help me to intensify my desire for Krishna. And if we have that attitude, then we will move forwards steadily through thick and thin. It is said, “When we are down to nothing, Krishna is up to something.” That means Krishna has a plan. Why all those things are happening in our life we may not be able to know, but Krishna is up to something, he has some plan by which he will ensure that we will grow spiritually through it, and we will we have our eternal asset which is the intensified devotion for him. The circumstantial difficulties that are there will be there for some time, it will trouble us, it will come and it will go. So, rather than letting the external difficulties and the failure of getting a result or the external obstacle in moving towards a result, letting us get discouraged, we can see how we can stay focused in connecting with Krishna, and then we will find that the obstacle in our service will become redefined as pathways for our devotion. The obstacles in our service will become the intensifiers of our devotion. Service is what we externally do and devotion is something that we internally cultivate. So, if we are focused on connecting with Krishna, then the obstacles in the service will become the intensifiers of the devotion, and thus we will march on towards Krishna.
So, here it is said that Krishna reciprocated with the gopis the way he reciprocated with Narad; and the same way he reciprocates in our lives also, by sometimes giving us taste and sometimes withholding that taste. Our getting taste in bhakti or our getting success in bhakti is like Krishna appearing. Not getting taste is like Krishna disappearing. But then again Krishna will appear, and through it all if our devotion in being intensified; then we are being successful.
I will summarize
I spoke today about what we discussed in the previous eight classes, and then in this session I focused on how the tenth canto and the first canto mirror each other. Both have a significant portion of Krishna’s pastimes, and both have feature of Krishna appearing, disappearing and reappearing. So, the most desirable result of bhakti is the desire for bhakti. Krishna acts in such a way in our life that our emotions get intensified to connect with him. So, if a person is poor and he gets wealthy and loses, then their emotion associated with wealth is much more than if they are always poor or always wealthy. If in a match a team is about to lose, and then comes back to win it, and then is about to lose it again, the emotions in the match are much more than if a team is straight losing or straight winning. For us also, if we understand that the desire for Krishna is the desirable result of Krishna bhakti, then we can see that we can be progressive in Krishna bhakti in all situations.
Prabhupada’s greatest qualification for spreading Krishna consciousness all over the world was not his erudition or his renunciation, but his intense desire and determination. That was the legacy that he got from his spiritual master and to glorify Krishna constantly, and that is the legacy that we also can constantly get – the desire to glorify Krishna. How can we get that desire? The desires can’t be driven out, but they can be crowded out. Bhakti yoga doesn’t just purify us of desires, but it purifies us by desires. It is like when we are clearing out wooden rubbish by using a wooden broom. So, we can get the desire for Krishna by coming in contact with Krishna and by focusing our consciousness on him, and as well as by associating with devotees who have desire for Krishna and who have desired specific service. Then we can get the desire for that service from him, and lastly by Krishna’s mercy. Our cleaning the courtyard or whatever can do something, but if a strong wind comes, that can clean much faster. Similarly, Krishna’s mercy is like a strong wind which will both decrease our material attachments and increase our spiritual attachments. But even if that doesn’t come, and even if we don’t have any intense spiritual experience in our practice of bhakti, just by steadily connecting with him we are progressing. We want to external results for Krishna’s sake. So, we strategize, check and analyze how best we can get those results, but we don’t equate those results with our internal success in bhakti. Just as in sports, the winners maybe happier, but the losers are often the wiser. Similarly, sometimes the external success may elate us so much that we may not contemplate so much on our inner devotion and its growth, but when external success eludes us, that’s when we contemplate more deeply. So, when because of external obstacles and tribulations we don’t get the external success in our life, then we can take heart by remembering that still we can intensify the desire for Krishna, and whatever is happening is a part of Krishna’s inconceivable plan to intensify our desire for him. When we are down to nothing, Krishna is upto something.
Thank you very much.
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