Krishna's Mercy

Hare Krishna

Seeing Something Different

Posted by krishnasmercy on November 26, 2014

[pic of Rama's lotus feet]“O Rama, those eyes which do not fill to the brim with tears upon hearing the great glories of Yours should be filled and rubbed with fistfuls of dust.” (Dohavali, 45)

rahaiṃ na jala bhari puri rāma sujasa suni rāvaro |
tina ā’kina meṃ dhūri bhari bhari mū।thī meliye ||

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Imagine this situation. You’re sitting down to a meal with a friend. These meetings are frequent; you have them to maintain steady contact. This time isn’t any different. As usual, you exchange stories. Your friend speaks first, and you listen attentively. Then they mention something about their grandfather. At the mere sound of the word, your mind goes elsewhere. You think of your own grandfather, who recently departed. He was so dear to you. You wish you had more time to spend with him. You wish you could have told him how much he meant to you.

Suddenly tears start streaming from your face. Meanwhile, you’ve totally shut out your friend. They stop their story and ask why you are crying. They were speaking for a few minutes, actually, but you had no idea what they were saying. Your mind was elsewhere. You tuned them out. You can take this experience and use it to try to understand how the mind of the devotee works. Since they are always thinking of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, they are not distracted by the outside world.

jñāna-vijñāna-tṛptātmā

kūṭa-stho vijitendriyaḥ

yukta ity ucyate yogī

sama-loṣṭrāśma-kāñcanaḥ
“A person is said to be established in self-realization and is called a yogi [or mystic] when he is fully satisfied by virtue of acquired knowledge and realization. Such a person is situated in transcendence and is self-controlled. He sees everything – whether it be pebbles, stones or gold – as the same.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 6.8)

What sorts of distractions are there? The obvious one is the call to take up any path in life besides devotional service.

“Why are you chanting all the time? Why are you living so renounced? Don’t you want to enjoy life? Here’s an offer for you. Come with me tonight to hang out at my house. We’ll have a good time. I’ll pay for everything. Abandon your vow to chant the holy names just for one night.”

[japa beads]The person who is fixed in transcendence will not even get angry at such cajoling. This is because in their mind is always playing the pastimes of the Supreme Lord, who is indeed a person. He is the best person, so He is the ideal one to remember. By remembering Him, one can block out so many negative things. Insults will no longer matter. The satisfaction of the stomach isn’t so important anymore, either.

Though such a person is seeing something special, it is not with their eyes. Their eyes view everything on the outside as equal. They don’t make distinctions between man and woman. They don’t go up to one animal and hug it and then take a knife to a different animal. They see the Supersoul within each creature. This Supersoul is God’s expansion kindly residing within everyone. There is the Supersoul [God], the individual soul [the person in the body], and the maya in between. The person always seeing God on the inside is no longer hindered by maya.

The obvious question then is how one reaches such a position. The above referenced verse from the Dohavali gives a clue. Here Goswami Tulsidas says that someone who doesn’t shed tears of ecstasy and love at the sound of Rama’s glories should have their eyes filled with dirt and then rubbed. Besides being somewhat humorous in its exaggeration, this instruction reveals the proper way to connect with God.

Though eyes are mentioned here, the corresponding action is hearing. Tulsidas does not say that the eyes should have to see God. Simply hearing of Rama’s tremendous glory, sujasa, should bring tears to the eyes. This is because the glory is so great. It is wonderful to remember. Hearing it brings it to memory again. And constant hearing means it always stays in the mind, creating the condition of the equal vision where the individual is unaffected by the outside world.

The author practiced what he preached. He heard of Rama’s glory all the time. He wrote them down, categorized them, and created a mechanism for them to be heard on a regular basis by the entire population of the world. Another personality follows this instruction as well: Shri Hanuman. He saw God as Rama. He met Rama personally. Yet he does not insist on seeing Rama all the time. He does not demand that Rama, a beautiful incarnation of the Lord, appear before him whenever he wants.

[Hanuman reading Ramayana]Instead, Hanuman always hears about Rama. He does this by reading the Ramayana. He shows that the ancient Vedic texts have the purpose of creating the internal vision of the Supreme Lord. This vision cures all ailments, as it keeps one protected from the temporary distractions that constantly arise. This vision is the pinnacle of achievement, and it comes to anyone who hears on a regular basis.

In Closing:

Friend’s story going on and on,

But your mind something else to dwell upon.

 

Tears even streaming from your face,

Forgetting totally the time and the place.

 

By this situation of devotee somewhat described,

In ecstasy when chanting japa rounds prescribed.

 

The vision of God hearing to create inside,

Then equally seeing all on the outside.

 

Rama’s glory preferred for Tulsidas to hear,

From that sound Hanuman’s Lord always is near.

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Talking About When I Was Your Age

Posted by krishnasmercy on November 25, 2014

[Krishna's lotus feet]“After many births and deaths, he who is actually in knowledge surrenders unto Me, knowing Me to be the cause of all causes and all that is. Such a great soul is very rare.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 7.19)

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bahūnāṁ janmanām ante

jñānavān māṁ prapadyate

vāsudevaḥ sarvam iti

sa mahātmā su-durlabhaḥ

Friend1: I’ve come to a realization.

Friend2: What’s that?

Friend1: Not everyone’s experience through life is the same.

Friend2: You’re realizing this now?

Friend1: [laughing] You know what I mean.

Friend2: I’m not sure.

Friend1: I tend to compare others to myself, especially if they are younger. For example, when I was a teenager, I was terrified of having to drive. I thought that I would never get my license because I was too afraid. So I waited until I was 18 before I started.

Friend2: And you could have gotten it sooner?

Friend1: Yeah, about a year before that. When I see kids today learning to drive at 15 and a half sometimes, I wonder how they are able to do it. I can only go from my own experience, in which I was very afraid.

Friend2: Yeah, a lot of kids are fearless. Especially when you’re younger, you think you can conquer the world, that nothing is going to harm you.

Friend1: I tend to do the same projection for almost everything. If I studied all the time while in school, I can’t relate to those who don’t. I always did my homework on time; I never left anything until the last minute. I see others who procrastinate constantly, and I can’t relate.

Friend2: Their attitude is totally different.

Friend1: And then think about those who don’t go to college. They work straight out of high school. Or maybe they go on an extended road trip. I don’t know what that’s like. I knew that I had to go to college after graduating high school. There was no other choice. I couldn’t imagine what I would have done otherwise.

Friend2: The old “when I was your age” speech probably applies here. That makes it difficult to relate to others.

Friend1: So I’ve realized practically that the experience through life is not the same. Some might become more intelligent than me at an earlier age. In some cases, it might take them longer to realize the same thing.

Friend2: I hope you know that you’re making an interesting point about how spiritual life is perceived.

Friend1: I don’t. Please explain.

Friend2: Think about it. A person decides that they’re done hankering after material rewards. They don’t want to accumulate more than the next guy. They know that finding a significant other and settling down is not the pinnacle achievement in life. They take to renunciation as a means of increasing their spiritual awareness. They give up meat eating, gambling, intoxication and illicit sex. On Friday nights, instead of heading out to the local pub they’re gathering with like-minded people and congregationally chanting the maha-mantra: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.

[sankirtana]Friend1: I think I see what you’re saying. Who is going to relate to that if they’ve never done it?

Friend2: Right, because that is not a phase of life for most people. The outsider won’t look at the sincere seeker on the bhakti path and think, “Oh okay, that’s what I went through at that age. It’s good that they’ve found this.”

Friend1: They’re going to think the opposite, in fact. “What in the world are they doing? At their age, I was partying all the time, enjoying life. I wasn’t escaping from the world. I wasn’t forcing myself into poverty and hoping that some sacred chant was going to fix everything.”

Friend2: Bhakti-yoga, or devotional service, is the meaning to life, but if someone has never tasted that sweet fruit, how will they be able to relate? At any age, if a person is still miserable swinging on the pendulum of hankering and lamenting, how can they possibly understand the unmotivated and uninterrupted love the devotee offers towards their beloved Shri Krishna, the all-attractive Supreme Lord?

Friend1: Didn’t Shri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu take sannyasa at the age of twenty-four? I bet you no one during that time could relate to Him.

Friend2: Who ever takes to the renounced order of life anymore? That institution is mostly filled with cheaters who use the garb as a way to eat without having to work. Full renunciation is the last stage in life, so not surprisingly a person is usually quite old when they enter it. For such a young person to give up everything was quite impressive. No one could dare say a word to Him, since no one could possibly relate. That made His message all the more powerful. There was gravitas behind His words.

[Lord Chaitanya]Friend1: Hmm, I just had another realization.

Friend2: What’s that?

Friend1: Though someone like me can’t relate to the young sannyasi like Chaitanya Mahaprabhu or Ramanujacharya, they can relate to me.

Friend2: Oh, most definitely.

Friend1: Though the person practicing bhakti-yoga might be way younger than me, they know all about hankering and lamenting. They are familiar with chasing after a reward, getting it, and then remaining unsatisfied. Though they have a different experience through life, they are able to relate with anyone.

Friend2: Makes you appreciate them all the more, doesn’t it? So fortunate are we to have them in this world. Blessed are the works which describe their life and teachings, which live on forever and which relate to people of any time period.

In Closing:

Same thing happened to me too,

Stage of life also I went through.

 

Uniform all experiences are not,

Other perspectives some have got.

 

Shows that difficult to know from outside,

Bhakti-yoga, pure love for God at heart’s inside.

 

The bhakta with all to relate despite age,

Armed with eyes of shastra and wisdom of sage.

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What Do You Really Have

Posted by krishnasmercy on November 24, 2014

[Damodara]“By such childhood pastimes as this He is drowning the inhabitants of Gokula in pools of ecstasy, and is revealing to those devotees who are absorbed in knowledge of His supreme majesty and opulence that He is only conquered by devotees whose pure love is imbued with intimacy and is free from all conceptions of awe and reverence. With great love I again offer my obeisances to Lord Damodara hundreds and hundreds of times.” (Shri Damodarashtaka, 3)

itīdṛk sva-līlābhir ānanda-kuṇḍe
sva-ghoṣaḿ nimajjantam ākhyāpayantam
tadīyeṣita-jñeṣu bhaktair jitatvaḿ
punaḥ prematas taḿ śatāvṛtti vande

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Go to school. Study. Do well on your exams. Get into a better school after that. Dedicate so much of your life for attaining a goal. Go into large amounts of debt, but as long as you make it to the end then it is all worth it. But what do you really gain? What is it that you’re living for? What do you really have, if you’re lacking the love that mother Yashoda offered to her darling child Krishna?

Let’s review some of the things that we can have. A brand new car. A talk show host will give this away to their guests as a kind gesture. Young men will keep pictures of their favorite car on their phones and computers, hoping for the day when they can afford to buy it. But what is the car really? Once you have it, what have you gained? What is there to be enjoyed?

We can make the reward more generic. Wealth. If you have a lot of money, you will be happy, no? You will be able to live without worry. No more wondering if you’ll be able to pay the bills. No more fearing that you’ll starve to death due to lack of funds. But then the animals already eat. They already have shelter. Their defense is not perfect, by any means. We can acknowledge that. The animal can’t defend itself from every attacker, especially if the human being comes at it with a rifle. Yet the human being isn’t entirely safe either. No amount of money can prevent death. The best security scheme in the world doesn’t prevent accidents.

Another reward is renunciation. Forget all the stuff that’s caused you so much pain in your life. No more women to give you grief on a daily basis, telling you how you are the worst person in the world. No more men to treat you poorly and break your heart. No more things; just the simple life. Living in this world of void, what is there to do? There must be some activity to occupy the time. Living means having time. Without doing something, that time is not well spent; the life goes to waste.

If we take a step back and look at it from the higher point of view, all of these rewards manipulate the system in a sense. Getting a lot of things is exploitation of the resources that already exist. Renunciation is trying to win at the same game, but taking a different approach. There is another reward as well: mystic perfection. Again, the ability earned is a way to take advantage of that which is already there.

There is another option. It involves appreciating the person who created everything. It is offering love to Him without motivation and without interruption. The person who loves Him this way wants nothing to do with winning at the game of life. They want nothing to do with exploiting resources for their personal gain or running away from things that cause them pain. They just want to love God; they want to have Him.

Devotion is the only way to have Him. And having Him means having everything. Whatever thing you want, you’ll get. That is what the Supreme Lord does for His devotees. They only want Him to be with them, so it is immediately granted. A factual event from ancient history nicely symbolizes how this works.

[Krishna with mother Yashoda]In Vrindavana some five thousand years ago, mother Yashoda bound her child Krishna to a mortar. This was punishment for having broken a pot of yogurt. She wasn’t going to beat Him. She didn’t tie the rope very tightly, either. Simply she wanted Him to stay put for a while. Krishna allowed this to happen. He is the origin of everything. As the wealthiest person in the world, He owns every single expensive object. Since He is completely satisfied in Himself, He does not need anyone else to make Him happy. As Yogeshvara, He is the supreme mystic, capable of doing the most amazing things.

Yashoda had pure devotion to Krishna. This is what pleases God the most. Knowledge and renunciation are means to that end, but they don’t guarantee the destination. You can be very knowledgeable about the material nature and you can be completely unattached to the constant changes that life throws, but this does not mean you will be devoted to God. You have a better chance at it for sure, but devotion is never dependent on anything.

Yashoda’s devotion brought her Krishna. This is the only reward worth seeking. He is the king of all kings, and He presides over the entire creation without effort. Though being so opulent, He still descends to the village of Gokula and plays in mother Yashoda’s courtyard. By catching Krishna, she has the whole world.  He can be caught by anyone who has pure devotion, which is shown in the constant chanting of the holy names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.

In Closing:

Mystic ability, opulence pronounced,

Or other side completely renounced.

 

In material life what to be gained?

Chewing the chewed, everything the same.

 

Better if origin of all by your side,

Then real peace over you to preside.

 

Happiness like that in Yashoda found,

By whose affection Damodara is bound.

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Catching God

Posted by krishnasmercy on November 23, 2014

[Damodara with Yashoda]“By such childhood pastimes as this He is drowning the inhabitants of Gokula in pools of ecstasy, and is revealing to those devotees who are absorbed in knowledge of His supreme majesty and opulence that He is only conquered by devotees whose pure love is imbued with intimacy and is free from all conceptions of awe and reverence. With great love I again offer my obeisances to Lord Damodara hundreds and hundreds of times.” (Shri Damodarashtaka, 3)

itīdṛk sva-līlābhir ānanda-kuṇḍe
sva-ghoṣaḿ nimajjantam ākhyāpayantam
tadīyeṣita-jñeṣu bhaktair jitatvaḿ
punaḥ prematas taḿ śatāvṛtti vande

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Take your house. You know how big it is. You know how many rooms there are. You know what furniture fills each room. You have a general idea of how big the house is in comparison with others. Now take the neighboring home. If you’re not sure which direction to go, take all of them. Go left, go right, go forward and go backward. Now you have several homes.

Extend that vision to the entire community. Now multiply that community by a very large number. Soon you have the whole nation. Then you get several nations, up to the point that you have the whole world. Then you get all the planets, including the sun.

[the earth]This vision exists. It’s hard to comprehend, for sure, but it is factual. This entirety, this vision of the maximum, is one way to understand greatness. To the person who doesn’t believe in a higher power, a supreme deity, they can at least acknowledge the presence of the whole.

Now imagine trying to capture this whole. It would seem a little silly, no? We can’t even wrap our arms around our house, so how are we going to take control of the entire universe? Sure, we can use cranes, pulleys and other mechanisms for moving and securing large objects, but to do that for the whole world is impossible.

In the Vedas, we learn that this universal form, the virata-rupa, is only one aspect to God. He is nirguna, which means “without material qualities.” He has arms, legs, hands, and a face. We can see Him if we wish, but we have no way of comprehending the nature of those qualities. His form can be small or it can be very large. The virata-rupa is the largest thing we can imagine, and yet He can expand to something much larger than this. He is smaller than the smallest as well.

So now imagine trying to capture God. The nirguna Supreme Lord is impossible to comprehend, so how are we going to even find Him? When He is apparently saguna, that is with a form that we can see in front of our eyes, it seems a little easier, but even then it isn’t very easy. Yet mother Yashoda did it one time. That person who is larger than the largest got bound to a mortar by a rope.

[Mother Yashoda]What was her secret? For starters, she was not interested in knowing His greatness. Not that she didn’t believe in God. Not that she foolishly thought she could create every outcome through her effort alone. She just didn’t feel the need to test. She did not need convincing that there is a person who is responsible for the cosmic manifestation, which has so many intricacies that work in harmony for predictability and sustainability.

What is wrong with trying to understand God scientifically? What is wrong with testing His greatness? These things are helpful in understanding Him, but they won’t work in catching Him. The less intelligent might ask what purpose is served by catching Him. The question itself reveals ignorance of the true nature of the Supreme Lord.

By definition, God is all-bliss. This refers to every aspect of His personal self. We work so hard to try to find peace. Peace is necessary for happiness. Yet if God is all-bliss, wouldn’t we be peaceful all the time if we had Him with us? This is the reason for trying to catch Him. If one tries to bind Him for the purpose of fulfilling their desires for money, strength, fame, prestige, honor, or longevity, they will always fail in their attempts.

Mother Yashoda bound her young child with ropes of affection. Indeed, the physical ropes weren’t sufficient. The first one she tried didn’t work. It ended up being too short, by the length of two fingers. No problem. She just got another rope; two of them now joined together. But alas, still short by the same length. Taking more ropes just led to the same result. Her friends started to tease her. She could dress her child just fine. She could tie a belt around His waist, but all of a sudden tying Him to a mortar as punishment was impossible.

Finally, it was Krishna Himself who gave the sanction. He was the one being punished. He knew the love Yashoda felt. He knew why she was trying to tie Him. He gives sanction to all results, including the rewards offered by the many demigods of the Vedic tradition. Not a blade of grass moves without His approval, so certainly He could not be bound unless He agreed to it.

[Damodara with mother Yashoda]Yashoda caught God in person after He broke a pot of yogurt in a tantrum. That darling child of hers would eventually grow up and leave home, but He still remains with her always. It is said that Krishna never leaves Vrindavana. When He goes elsewhere, He simply expands. In a similar manner, the devotees who love Krishna so much keep Him bound in their hearts, where He happily stays and listens joyfully to their constant glorification of Him. If they ever feel that the naughty Krishna, the origin of the universe, is slipping away, they recite the holy names to bring Him back: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.

In Closing:

Whenever feeling loneliness attack,

Chanting holy names to bring Him back.

 

In their hearts Damodara is found,

By pure affection He’s bound.

 

Like what in Gokula first occurred,

When by broken pot mother disturbed.

 

Punishment failing, ropes short by fingers two,

Krishna then agreed because mother’s love He knew.

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Conquering The Unconquerable

Posted by krishnasmercy on November 22, 2014

[Damodara with Yashoda]“By such childhood pastimes as this He is drowning the inhabitants of Gokula in pools of ecstasy, and is revealing to those devotees who are absorbed in knowledge of His supreme majesty and opulence that He is only conquered by devotees whose pure love is imbued with intimacy and is free from all conceptions of awe and reverence. With great love I again offer my obeisances to Lord Damodara hundreds and hundreds of times.” (Shri Damodarashtaka, 3)

itīdṛk sva-līlābhir ānanda-kuṇḍe
sva-ghoṣaḿ nimajjantam ākhyāpayantam
tadīyeṣita-jñeṣu bhaktair jitatvaḿ
punaḥ prematas taḿ śatāvṛtti vande

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Know that Vedic literature provides many names to match the concept of “God.” This is because of fact and also to help those who are not God understand Him better. One of the names is Ajita. This means “unconquerable.” It is not so difficult to understand. If you are the Supreme Being, then surely no one can defeat you. If someone can, then it means that they are superior to you; hence negating the title. The Damodarashtaka says that Ajita is actually conquered by something, an apparent contradiction which teaches so much.

What force do we already know to be undefeated? What is something that we see every day that bewilders us? What takes place that we have zero control over, which we can’t prevent no matter how hard we try? In Sanskrit it is known as kala. Translated to mean “time,” a synonym is “death.” The scientists can today be working very hard to prolong life. This is surely a challenge to the undefeated death. Everyone from the past has died. We know this because they are not with us presently. By logical deduction, we understand that everyone living today will eventually have to die also.

But until that happens, we won’t believe it for sure. If only we can get rid of all diseases, then death will have a difficult time conquering us, no? If only we can find safe situations all the time; then death through accidents won’t happen. Though this is foolish thinking, if we accept the idea then it still doesn’t address the issue of time. Even if death is absent, there is still the changing body. Old age takes place, nonetheless. We can’t get back the body we had as a child. This means that time has already defeated us.

śrī-bhagavān uvāca

kālo ‘smi loka-kṣaya-kṛt pravṛddho

lokān samāhartum iha pravṛttaḥ

ṛte ‘pi tvāṁ na bhaviṣyanti sarve

ye ‘vasthitāḥ pratyanīkeṣu yodhāḥ

“The Blessed Lord said: Time I am, destroyer of the worlds, and I have come to engage all people. With the exception of you [the Pandavas], all the soldiers here on both sides will be slain.” (Bhagavad-gita, 11.32)

[Damodara]In the Bhagavad-gita, the Supreme Being, known as Krishna, says that He is time. Time is one way to understand Him. The person who insists that God doesn’t exist still understands Him. They know Him as death, or time. They readily acknowledge the influence of time, so this means that to some degree everyone believes in God.

He is known as Krishna because He is all-attractive. Since He is time, He can break its influence. Though He is always with His transcendental form of bliss and knowledge, He can seemingly subvert the influence of time and take on the form of a child. This would be like going backwards for us, whereas for God it doesn’t make a difference. He can change the time continuum and even stop it.

That undefeated person was once bound to a mortar by a loving mother. At the time, He was in a childhood form that was also very beautiful. It had just broken a pot of yogurt in anger. The mother chased after Him, who was her son. By tying Him to a mortar by the belly, the young child earned a new name: Damodara.

The Damodarashtaka celebrates that incident, and in one of the verses it says that God is conquered by bhakti. How can the unconquerable be conquered? The answer is that love and devotion win His favor. By His favor He voluntarily loses. Think of it like the father giving in to the child out of love. Think of it like the head of state reversing an order of punishment made by the courts.

[Damodara with mother Yashoda]Conquering through bhakti is very important because then even time loses its influence. The highest spiritual land is known as Goloka. There the same Krishna always plays with those who have conquered Him. He goes here and there, and the great enemy known as time has no influence. It does not create old age. It does not bring upon disease. It does not cause depression. Instead, everything remains fresh and new, just like the Damodarashtaka, which sings of the glories of the sweet mother of Vrindavana, who conquers the unconquerable with her pure love.

In Closing:

To clear up confusions any,

In Vedas names for God many.

 

Among them Ajita is one,

Means that conquered by none.

 

But in Gokula by Yashoda tied,

Caught though to run away He tried.

 

Means voluntarily by love defeated,

To this truth by Damodara treated.

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Importance Of The Lila

Posted by krishnasmercy on November 21, 2014

[Damodara]“By such childhood pastimes as this He is drowning the inhabitants of Gokula in pools of ecstasy, and is revealing to those devotees who are absorbed in knowledge of His supreme majesty and opulence that He is only conquered by devotees whose pure love is imbued with intimacy and is free from all conceptions of awe and reverence. With great love I again offer my obeisances to Lord Damodara hundreds and hundreds of times.” (Shri Damodarashtaka, 3)

itīdṛk sva-līlābhir ānanda-kuṇḍe
sva-ghoṣaḿ nimajjantam ākhyāpayantam
tadīyeṣita-jñeṣu bhaktair jitatvaḿ
punaḥ prematas taḿ śatāvṛtti vande

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Question: Why should there be attention on Krishna’s lila? You don’t have this concept in other religions. Other faiths speak of an Almighty. They insist on surrender to Him. That is not new, but in this Vedic tradition I hear so much about God doing this and God doing that. He comes here, goes there, and displays His opulence everywhere. Wouldn’t it be better if you focused on more generic things? Wouldn’t it be easier to understand the less defined God?

There should be morality. We hear this from those who are worried about the direction society is heading. They think that without guardrails, everything will fall apart. They don’t necessarily explain the purpose of morals. It’s a gut feeling, an instinct that tells them. They’re not sure over the justification for having delineations between right and wrong, but they think they should be there nonetheless.

But a quick study of the matter reveals the answer. Think of any project where a goal is set. Take losing weight for example. You decide that you’re going to undergo some type of austerity. You will only eat twice a day. You will drink lots of water. You will avoid foods that are not good for you. You will avoid eating to the point of making your stomach completely full. Instead, you will leave some room for digestion. You will drink some water with each meal too. Maybe you will exercise a little also.

[exercise]These are all rules. They are guidelines. By themselves they would seem kind of silly. The outsider would wonder as to the purpose to them. From the goal, however, we understand the purpose. You follow the guidelines in order to reach the desired end, which will ideally make you happier. If you are fit and healthy, you will feel better than you do now.

The same applies to all rules and regulations. Morality is for increasing happiness; it has no other purpose. It is not to limit fun. It is not a way for the miserable to ensure that no one is happier than they are. It is not a way to maintain faith in old traditions that people follow blindly.

The activities described of the Supreme Personality of Godhead are meant to bring happiness. The word in Sanskrit is ananda, which means bliss. His activities, which He displays whenever He so chooses, drown the connected in an ocean of bliss. The Damodarashtaka provides this very description, and it is indeed true.

The generic God cannot do this. At most, one can appreciate Him. If you don’t know what God looks like, where He lives, what He likes, what He doesn’t like, how lovely His features are, and why you should be devoted to Him, under the best circumstances the most you can do is appreciate His opulence. He has created this and every other land. He makes a material nature that operates like clockwork. There is so much intelligence to it that the human being can spend lifetimes studying it. They can rely on this nature. They understand it so well that they sometimes foolishly think they can alter it.

With the generic God you can appreciate Him indirectly, such as through loving your friends and family. You are so thankful to have them in your life. If you’re a little intelligent, you realize that other people have friends and family too. So they also appreciate what their loved ones do for them. Through this knowledge your range of appreciation expands. You can continue appreciating in this way until you reach the complete whole, which is the virata-rupa.

You’ll only swim in an ocean of transcendental bliss when you know God’s lila, though. This is why in Vedic literature so much attention gets devoted to the pastimes of the Supreme Lord. Indeed, you can swim in this ocean of bliss without even knowing that God is God. You don’t need to understand the cycle of birth and death, the difference between matter and spirit, the temporary nature of things, or even the goal of life. Simply by witnessing these sublime activities, you’ll reach a happiness never before experienced.

Unfortunately, in your ignorance you might think that your life is not meant to be spent entirely in this ocean. You’ll think that perhaps you’re weird for appreciating how the Supreme Lord runs in the courtyard of mother Yashoda. You may not want to let others know that you cry tears of appreciation when you hear how God allowed Himself to be bound to the mortar as punishment for having broken mother Yashoda’s pot of yogurt. You’ll worry that you’re supposed to think of things other than the sweet child’s lovely face when confronted by His adoring mother.

[Damodara]Therefore the more generic knowledge is included as well. Morality and virtue exist to help convince you that Krishna’s own pastimes, sva-lila, is meant to be your home. He is so kind that He doesn’t always display the same form. Sometimes He is returning home to the loving inhabitants of Ayodhya. They celebrate in such a way that a new holiday is born: Diwali. Sometimes He delivers knowledge on a battlefield and gives birth to the most famous book: the Bhagavad-gita. The lila is endless, and it all belongs to the same personality. And it all has the same purpose: to drown the witnesses in an ocean of bliss, such as with the residents of Gokula, who saw God in His sweet form of Damodara.

In Closing:

When of generic God to hear,

Towards awe and reverence to steer.

 

Not just to punish the mentality,

For happiness exists morality.

 

From appreciation go beyond,

The sva-lila ponder upon.

 

Then in an ocean of bliss you’ll swim,

Damodara with Yashoda, always thinking of Him.

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Talking About Senior To All By Birth

Posted by krishnasmercy on November 20, 2014

[Arjuna and Krishna]“Arjuna said: The sun-god Vivasvan is senior by birth to You. How am I to understand that in the beginning You instructed this science to him?” (Bhagavad-gita, 4.4)

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arjuna uvāca

aparaṁ bhavato janma

paraṁ janma vivasvataḥ

katham etad vijānīyāṁ

tvam ādau proktavān iti

Friend1: Do you really think there is a God?

Friend2: Are you serious?

Friend1: No, no, I understand what you’re all about. I’ve read all the books, too. I know your philosophical conclusions. I must say, the knowledge I’ve found in works like the Bhagavad-gita and Shrimad Bhagavatam is unparalleled. I never thought religion could be so intellectual. Not only does this philosophy challenge my ability to comprehend, but it teaches me to think in ways I never considered before.

[reading]Friend2: So why are you asking me if there is a God or not?

Friend1: You don’t have any doubts? Not even a little?

Friend2: Maybe in the beginning, but certainly not now. After chanting the holy names for so long, I’ve developed a little faith. I’m by no means a liberated soul, but I have confidence in the existence of the Divine. I feel His presence in the name itself. Don’t you feel it too?

Friend1: By saying Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare, certainly I feel something different. It’s a feeling of comfort, of security. It’s pleasure and enthusiasm mixed into that as well. It’s ecstasy really, especially if I’m not distracted by the mind while chanting.

Friend2: Right. So that is your proof. Why do you still harbor doubts?

Friend1: Well, I just know that if other people hear things like “Krishna lifting a giant hill with His pinky finger,” they’re going to think it’s mythology. And a blue God? They’ll say that it’s a legend. And in the worst case, they’ll tell me that I have no evidence for God’s existence. Science has proved God to be a myth, they’ll tell me.

[Krishna with flute]Friend2: First off, what has science proved? There is no empirical evidence showing that chemicals are God. They can’t reproduce something simple like a sun, so why should we believe what they say about the origin of the creation? If chemicals made everything randomly, why not put some chemicals together in a laboratory and make a sun? I don’t need a big one, either. Just a tiny one will do. Make sure that it stays in place for eternity, that it never requires maintenance, and that it gives off heat and light without interruption.

Friend1: I see what you mean.

Friend2: And surely the brain of the scientist is superior to randomness? If you randomly put the parts together, you won’t get a smartphone. If you have the intelligent engineer, however, the same parts come together to make a very powerful device. So the intelligent scientist should be able to create on a much grander scale than the nature that supposedly operates on randomness.

Friend1: Okay, but how do you prove that Krishna is God? Or anyone for that matter – how can we believe their claims? People want to see God; then they’ll believe in Him.

Friend2: I agree with your claim. People do seem eager to see God. But have you ever considered what it would be like if the Supreme Lord manifested before someone today and revealed His identity?

Friend1: Not sure where you’re going with this.

Friend2: Well, let’s assume for this argument that all the people involved acknowledge the existence of a God. They simply want to see Him to make sure, to remove any doubt.

Friend1: Okay.

Friend2: So say that God comes before me, where I am playing the part of someone who needs to see to believe. He shows up and tells me that He is God.

Friend1: Right, so you will ask Him to prove it.

Friend2: Exactly. So maybe God will do something amazing. Maybe He’ll lift a mountain. Perhaps He will read my mind. Maybe He will hold His breath for a very long time.

Friend1: Yeah, those things are pretty amazing. He’ll do some miracles. But I think that wouldn’t prove it. Am I wrong? I mean some mystic yogis can do some pretty amazing things right now, and we know that they are not God.

Friend2: I like the way you’re thinking here. So there is more to God than just doing amazing things. One thing we would have to agree on is that God is ageless. He never takes birth and He never dies.

Friend1: Absolutely. And from meeting Him we already know that He exists. The key is to see whether or not He dies.

Friend2: Yes. This is a very important point. So let’s say that I go up to God and challenge Him to prove that He never dies. Can He do it?

Friend1: Sure. If He’s God, then He’ll never die.

Friend2: But don’t you see the problem?

Friend1: What?

Friend2: If I have to die myself, how the heck am I going to know if God stays around after me? If I can’t live forever, how can I ever tell if someone else does?

Friend1: Oh man, that is so true. I never thought about that before!

Friend2: This means that you can never prove God’s existence by seeing. We are all destined to die, so we can never perceive everything there is to perceive.

Friend1: Wow. So what do we do then?

[Lord Krishna]Friend2: This was addressed in the Bhagavad-gita. Shri Krishna told Arjuna that He spoke the ancient science of self-realization to the sun-god at the beginning of the creation. Arjuna was perplexed by this since he thought that Krishna was his contemporary. He asked how Krishna could have spoken to the sun-god back then, since the sun-god was apparently senior to Him by birth.

Friend1: Yeah, especially if Arjuna wasn’t around then, how would he trust that Krishna was telling the truth?

Friend2: So then the Lord told Arjuna that both of them had appeared many times on the earth previously. The difference was that Krishna could remember those appearances, but Arjuna could not. Hence God has perfect memory. We don’t, so we will never be Him.

Friend1: And even if we lived for a long time, we couldn’t remember everything from the past. So if we saw God, it would be very easy to forget Him later on.

Friend2: Right. So that’s why in the Vedic tradition there is not much stress placed on seeing. Hearing is more important. You can hear God from the words of the Bhagavad-gita, which live on to this day. More importantly, you can hear Him in the sound of His name. You’re going to put faith in somebody regardless; might as well make it someone who provides timeless wisdom and gives protection which no one else can offer.

In Closing:

How a God there can be?

Insist on in person to see.

 

But thinking this way before,

Consider how endless He’ll endure.

 

When death somewhere else myself to send,

How to prove that He lives til the end.

 

Put faith in words and intellect use,

The wise sound prefer to choose.

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It Was Magic I Know

Posted by krishnasmercy on November 19, 2014

[Damodara]“[Seeing the whipping stick in His mother’s hand,] He is crying and rubbing His eyes again and again with His two lotus hands. His eyes are filled with fear, and the necklace of pearls around His neck, which is marked with three lines like a conchshell, is shaking because of His quick breathing due to crying. To this Supreme Lord, Shri Damodara, whose belly is bound not with ropes but with His mother’s pure love, I offer my humble obeisances.” (Shri Damodarashtaka, 2)

rudantaḿ muhur netra-yugmaḿ mṛjantam
karāmbhoja-yugmena sātańka-netram
muhuḥ śvāsa-kampa-trirekhāńka-kaṇṭha
sthita-graivaḿ dāmodaraḿ bhakti-baddham

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Some five thousand years ago, Gokula was a somewhat dangerous place. Though the wise consider it the ideal destination, in reviewing some of the events that took place there on the surface it looks like the place invited only trouble. The odd thing was that the person in the center of every dangerous situation seemed to survive unscathed. He really shouldn’t have, considering that He was a small child, a helpless infant. The danger was created by different nefarious characters, attackers with ill motives. They came to catch the young child and harm Him, and they failed. Yet the darling mother of that child, who wasn’t nearly as deceptive or equipped with special powers, was able to catch Him from behind one time and tie Him to a mortar.

Was it magic? Some would say “yes.” First there was a problem with the rope. The mother tried to bind her naughty child several times. Each time the rope came up short by the length of two fingers. Then one more time she tried. Finally she was successful. It was as if the boy gave His sanction for being tied to the mortar. He had broken a pot of yogurt in anger, so He knew that punishment was due. He showed all the signs of fear – rapid breathing, tears streaming from His eyes, running away quickly.

yadāsīt tad api nyūnaṁ

tenānyad api sandadhe

tad api dvy-aṅgulaṁ nyūnaṁ

yad yad ādatta bandhanam

“This new rope also was short by a measurement of two fingers, and when another rope was joined to it, it was still two fingers too short. As many ropes as she joined, all of them failed; their shortness could not be overcome.” (Shrimad Bhagavatam, 10.9.16)

[Mother Yashoda tying Krishna]The same boy who could survive attacks from an evil whirlwind, a witch who put poison on her breasts used to kill children while nursing, and a demon hiding in a baby’s cart now was tied to a mortar by an innocent mother. She was not known to run very fast, yet she was able to catch Him. She had not a vengeful streak in her. None of the people in Gokula did. They were all pure of heart, which is one reason this child delighted in living there.

This was no ordinary child. For centuries upon centuries yogis have been trying to catch Him. They’ve left home to live in remote caves. They’ve meditated for years, with no distractions, following the proper procedures as outlined in the Bhagavad-gita.

samaṁ kāya-śiro-grīvaṁ

dhārayann acalaṁ sthiraḥ

samprekṣya nāsikāgraṁ svaṁ

diśaś cānavalokayan

praśāntātmā vigata-bhīr

brahmacāri-vrate sthitaḥ

manaḥ saṁyamya mac-citto

yukta āsīta mat-paraḥ

“One should hold one’s body, neck and head erect in a straight line and stare steadily at the tip of the nose. Thus with an unagitated, subdued mind, devoid of fear, completely free from sex life, one should meditate upon Me within the heart and make Me the ultimate goal of life.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 6.13-14)

[Meditating on God within the heart]Still, these meditators have met with little success. The fruitive workers have been searching for Him through enjoyment in a temporary land. The mental speculators have tried to find Him through philosophy and study of the nature around them. Yet of all these people, it was a simple mother in a farm community who not only caught Him but kept Him bound to a mortar, earning Him the name Damodara.

What was her secret? Was it really magic? Was it a miracle? Her desire was different. Rather than look for things for herself, she thought only of the child’s benefit. Rather than seek rewards to be enjoyed in the afterlife, she would intentionally harm her own fortunes if it meant that her child was made happy as a result. Rather than retreat to the desolate caves, she stayed amongst the people and always thought highly of her beloved son. Rather than speculate on the truth, in simply knowing that her son was great she was completely satisfied.

That son is known by many names and through many ways. The less intelligent in the human species know Him as the all-devouring death. They deny His presence everywhere else in life, but when quitting the body they must submit to Him. The slightly more intelligent understand that He is the highest force around, that He can make anything happen. The more intelligent worship Him in fear, understanding that He has attributes and that with those spiritual qualities He can do anything, including punish.

The most intelligent worship Him with love. This is axiomatic. Love for Him means real intelligence. It means finding the true mission to life, in any form. In the Vedic tradition He is known as Krishna, which means “all-attractive.” Yet He does so many things, comes to so many places, and interacts with so many people that He gets so many more names. Damodara is specific to this incident with the queen of Vraja, mother Yashoda. She plays the role of God’s foster-mother. She does not think that her son is God. This is a unique qualification. Her love is so pure that not even Krishna can stop it. He is helpless in her hands, so He immediately grants her wish to offer punishment to Him. He instigates that punishment, and the world benefits as a result.

[Damodara with mother Yashoda]Some would say this is magic, but in bhakti anything is possible. It is due to the reciprocal affection of God Himself. He can put the devotee in any position He likes. He can make the impossible possible through His will. That is seen to this day in the transformation of those who regularly chant the holy names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. Coming from a variety of backgrounds, speaking different languages, and living in different nations, these souls come together and meet life’s mission by practicing bhakti purely, knowing only love for God and the spiritual master day and night.

In Closing:

So many demons to Gokula came,

In different forms, with motive the same.

 

Yashoda’s darling child to assail,

Yet each one of them miserably to fail.

 

So much ability but efforts meeting end tragic,

Yashoda bound Him, her effort to eyes magic?

 

Devotion to Damodara works always this way,

Anything possible when Supreme Lord gives His say.

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What You Are Missing

Posted by krishnasmercy on November 18, 2014

[Damodara]“[Seeing the whipping stick in His mother’s hand,] He is crying and rubbing His eyes again and again with His two lotus hands. His eyes are filled with fear, and the necklace of pearls around His neck, which is marked with three lines like a conchshell, is shaking because of His quick breathing due to crying. To this Supreme Lord, Shri Damodara, whose belly is bound not with ropes but with His mother’s pure love, I offer my humble obeisances.” (Shri Damodarashtaka, 2)

rudantaḿ muhur netra-yugmaḿ mṛjantam
karāmbhoja-yugmena sātańka-netram
muhuḥ śvāsa-kampa-trirekhāńka-kaṇṭha
sthita-graivaḿ dāmodaraḿ bhakti-baddham

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Question: “I hear that the living entities descended to this earth out of their own will. They were with God previously, but then they wanted a change. Their wish was granted, and now they struggle through the cycle of birth and death. But what is really to be gained from having God’s association? If I’m going to be reborn after I die, why should I worry? Why is that a bad thing? What am I missing really?”

If asked to describe what God means in a simple term, which would you pick? The Almighty? Surely He must be greater than everyone else. The unborn? Everything has a birth date, though in actuality the spirit soul never takes birth or dies. Still, there are various births of the soul in the material world and they relate to the temporary bodies accepted. God is the same as His body, and that body is never born. The wealthiest? Yes, God has more money than anyone else. He is also the most beautiful and the strongest. Of all the terms we could think of, likely the one that means “one whose belly is bound by a rope” wouldn’t cross our mind. Yet not only is this term accurate, understanding it gives a hint into what we’re missing.

What is bad with our current situation? Take whatever it is that you like. You must enjoy some activity. There must be some person’s association which you prefer. Now know that whatever it is you like will eventually leave you. This isn’t meant to frighten. It isn’t meant to make one think. It’s simply a statement of fact. The truth arises at the time of birth. Whenever you get something, you should know that one day you will be without it.

In this way life is a sort of torture. You enter a new world, find objects and people, form attachments, and then everything gets snatched away from you. This occurs in cycles within one lifetime, and then everything gets repeated in a subsequent life. Life after life, birth after birth, and death after death the same thing happens. The names and circumstances may change, but the result is always the same.

śrī-prahrāda uvāca

matir na kṛṣṇe parataḥ svato vā

mitho ’bhipadyeta gṛha-vratānām

adānta-gobhir viśatāṁ tamisraṁ

punaḥ punaś carvita-carvaṇānām

“Prahlada Maharaja replied: Because of their uncontrolled senses, persons too addicted to materialistic life make progress toward hellish conditions and repeatedly chew that which has already been chewed. Their inclinations toward Krishna are never aroused, either by the instructions of others, by their own efforts, or by a combination of both.” (Shrimad Bhagavatam, 7.5.30)

[Prahlada Maharaja]Just by knowing the cycle of birth and death, we see what God’s association is not meant for. Money will leave us, so why should we ask God for it? Our life will eventually move on to another situation, so what is the benefit to desperately seeking good health? Strength lasts for as long as the body, sometimes not even that long due to old age.

The benefit of being with God is the association itself. One way to understand that association is to think of the name Damodara. One time in the sacred land of Vrindavana a small child broke a pot of yogurt in anger. The pot was important. His mother was churning the yogurt inside it to make butter. It was hard work. Though she dutifully fulfilled her role as a traditional wife, she was anything but idle. She was a working woman; she worked at home the entire day.

Her son broke the pot on purpose. Knowing that He had done something bad, He ran away in fear. The mother caught Him, however. When she did, she tied Him to a mortar as punishment. The boy cried tears of fear, and He looked lovely the whole time. Since He was tied by the belly, He earned the name Damodara.

[Lord Krishna]That Damodara is the same Almighty. He is the only unborn one. He is invincible and unconquerable. He is without a beginning and without an end. He is all-attractive, so the best name to describe Him is Krishna. When you are with Krishna, you get interactions such as this in Vrindavana. He steals your butter and makes you chase after Him. He cries to show that He respects your authority. He eats your butter to show that your work is satisfying to Him. He looks beautiful in a variety of scenes, creating a collage of memories for your mind.

The soul mired in the cycle of birth and death caused by material desires misses out on these interactions. They miss out on offering love without motivation and without interruption. They miss out on appreciating the person who is most worthy of appreciation. They miss out on singing the glories of the one person whose glories are endless. They miss seeing true love in action, offered by the queen of Vraja, Yashoda. They miss out on swimming in the ocean of transcendental ecstasy that is devotional service.

[Damodara with Krishna]With material desires you can get pretty much whatever you want. If you’re having trouble, worship one of Krishna’s administrators, who are gods in their own right. But one thing you won’t get is pure love. You won’t get the gift that is most worth having. And yet it can all change in an instant, in one second. It can change today; no need for tomorrow. No need to wait for the afterlife, since the present life brings the opportunity to love the sweet child of Yashoda, who allows the devotees to bind Him with their ropes of affection. That Damodara is accessible to anyone who chants the holy names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.

In Closing:

When affection not towards origin of all,

To the material world to unfortunately fall.

 

That which already chewed again chew,

In cycle of birth pursuit for happiness renew.

 

To this punishment there is more,

Missing out on Damodara to adore.

 

A name for God, though not one to expect,

With bhakti today with Him connect.

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Tied With Devotion

Posted by krishnasmercy on November 17, 2014

[Damodara]“[Seeing the whipping stick in His mother’s hand,] He is crying and rubbing His eyes again and again with His two lotus hands. His eyes are filled with fear, and the necklace of pearls around His neck, which is marked with three lines like a conchshell, is shaking because of His quick breathing due to crying. To this Supreme Lord, Shri Damodara, whose belly is bound not with ropes but with His mother’s pure love, I offer my humble obeisances.” (Shri Damodarashtaka, 2)

rudantaḿ muhur netra-yugmaḿ mṛjantam
karāmbhoja-yugmena sātańka-netram
muhuḥ śvāsa-kampa-trirekhāńka-kaṇṭha
sthita-graivaḿ dāmodaraḿ bhakti-baddham

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The word “guna” in Sanskrit means rope. It has other meanings as well, which are similar. In the usual context, it means a quality. When referencing the Supreme Personality of Godhead, it refers to His glories, i.e. only His good qualities. There are only good qualities in the Supreme, but for all others there is duality. Hence the qualities assumed by the individual spirit soul can become binding, sort of like a rope. Interestingly, when practicing bhakti-yoga purely, the situation turns around. It is God who gets bound up, and since He is all powerful it means that He does this voluntarily.

[cows]How can a quality be binding? Think of accepting the body of an animal. Pick your animal of choice. In whichever one you choose, intelligence is limited. You have the instinct that comes with birth. Very soon after emerging from the mother the calf knows how and where to eat. It does not need to be directed where to go; on its own it finds the udders for getting milk. The same goes for the human being even; no one tells us that we need to crawl or walk. This shows that there is some higher intelligence, which the Bhagavad-gita says comes from God.

sarvasya cāhaṁ hṛdi sanniviṣṭo

mattaḥ smṛtir jñānam apohanaṁ ca

vedaiś ca sarvair aham eva vedyo

vedānta-kṛd veda-vid eva cāham

“I am seated in everyone’s heart, and from Me come remembrance, knowledge and forgetfulness. By all the Vedas am I to be known; indeed I am the compiler of Vedanta, and I am the knower of the Vedas.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 15.15)

[Lord Krishna]In the animal birth, despite the best learned behavior, there is still no ability to talk, solve math equations, or think about the extended future. There is no questioning of why there is an existence and why there has to be birth and death. The qualities are what prevent this. The animating force, the spirit soul, is the same as in the human species. We can take this on faith and also through some observation. The infant human being is not very wise, yet the same individual as an adult can do amazing things. The identity of the person does not change, so it is the qualities that make the difference. In the human species the qualities can develop to the point that the intelligence belonging to the soul gets covered up the least, whereas in the animal species the covering remains composed mostly of ignorance.

The gunas come in three varieties – goodness, passion and ignorance. In goodness, the individual can see the presence of spirit within all creatures. They are sober in thought. They know that there is more to life than just eating, sleeping, mating and defending. From the lowest quality of ignorance in the animals to the highest quality of goodness in the very wise human beings, the rope-effect is there. The gunas bind the individual to the cycle of birth and death.

It is only bhakti which grants release. Bhakti is known as pure goodness, or shudda-sattva. It is above the three gunas of a material existence. It should make sense that bhakti breaks the bounds of the material qualities. This is because the gunas only arrive when there is no bhakti. When you don’t have devotion to God, you get residence in a land of dualities. You can get whatever you want. If you can’t seem to do it through your own effort, you can ask a higher authority, all the way up to Lord Shiva. They are compelled to grant their worshipers whatever they want.

Yet the rewards will remain binding. Great strength, tremendous wealth, excellent beauty, and good scholarship will all vanish eventually. They must, in fact, since only God has these things in the greatest abundance. Only God never loses these things, either. As long as bhakti is lacking, the ropes of the material qualities will continue to bind the otherwise intelligent living entity.

Bhakti is so powerful that not only does it remove the binding effect of the material qualities, it can bind the Supreme Lord Himself. The factual example, which is symbolic at the same time, is the event that gave birth to the name Damodara. The Supreme Lord, who is a person with transcendental qualities, appears on earth every now and then, whenever He so chooses. Vrindavana is His favorite place, and Yashoda’s son is His favorite role to play. There are many reasons for this, with the primary being that the residents of Vrindavana do not want anything from Him. They simply want to love Him, and Yashoda offers that love in the mood of parental affection.

What would a parent be if they never punished their child? God is well-behaved, so when He does something naughty it is with full intelligence. He once broke a pot of yogurt in anger, which made Yashoda chase after Him. The darling Krishna, who had a necklace of pearls around His neck, scampered away in fear. But Yashoda caught Him, and as punishment she decided to bind Him to a mortar. The name Damodara means one who is bound by the belly. This name for God is celebrated in the Damodarashtaka.

[Damodara with Krishna]That work of eight verses says that Krishna was bound by ropes of bhakti, or devotion. That devotion belonged to His mother, and the incident shows that Krishna is controlled by that devotion. He follows whatever the devotees want, for inherent in their desires is His association. This means that one who always chants the holy names has no reason to fear the binding ropes of the material qualities. Whether in a high position or a very low one, whether completely covered by ignorance or not very much so, through devotion the release from the shackles of birth and death is guaranteed.

In Closing:

To this world sometimes to make His way,

Yashoda’s son His favorite role to play.

 

As God always in behavior perfectional,

Means His breaking of yogurt pot intentional.

 

So that after Him Yashoda to chase,

Damodara on purpose to lose the race.

 

With ropes of devotion then tied,

And some tears of fear He also cried.

 

Of situation’s reversal to us reminding,

In bhakti gunas no more to be binding.

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