The Holy Grails Of Krishna Conscious Thought
Kesava Krsna Dasa: From where do the jivas come before descending into this multi-dimensional world of imitation gods? Who is Srila Prabhupada? What is his svarupa? These highly intriguing questions are induced by an inbred curiosity befitting man’s ongoing quest to grapple with the inexplicable. Having not yet reached spiritual perfection – svarupa-siddhi – devotees too sometimes channel lively intellectual energies into affirming what could otherwise be, acintya – inconceivable.
“Being beyond the range of limited sense perception, You are the eternally irreproachable factor covered by the curtain of deluding energy. You are invisible to the foolish observer, exactly as an actor dressed as a player is not recognised.” (SB 1.8.19)
Devotees are not foolish, but sometimes our impatience makes us dissatisfied that so many things remain inconceivable to us, and we assume the role of an acintya-vadi to attempt to give finality, or biased probability on disputed abstruse issues. In spite of numerous perspectives and sastric evidences pointing one way or another, we still boldly take up the challenge to present the indisputable truth. I am reminded of a captivating movie I watched as a child called the ‘Wizard of Oz.’ A scarecrow without a brain was asked for directions to Oz, and he pointed his fingers in opposite directions and said, “This way…or that.”
Falling short of Bhava and beyond, it is likely that certain attempted conclusions will be reached on the balance of probability, a favoured tool of logicians and reductionists. We may introspectively observe certain behavioural traits in Srila Prabhupada that appear to parallel an associate of the Lord with certain leanings, then we conclude he may be of a certain eternal disposition, without examining the entirety of his life. We may observe that the balance of scriptural evidence and biased perspectives favour a certain direction, and then we conclude that we jivas originate probably from a certain place. If our analysis is compelling enough, did we arrive at the conclusion through enlightened brain power alone, or was it inspired from Krishna within the heart?
However scintillating these variations of thoughts are, would we be wasting out valuable time researching these matters? If so, does this make us intellectually deficient in certain areas of knowledge? Is this an insidious form of intellectual deprivation typical of enforced religious dogma?
We must consider that even the many enlightened sources of information pointing one way or another, are often based upon the manoeuvrability of preaching the truth in tandem with time and circumstance, hence the differences in perspective and approach. It will take skill to amalgamate these variables into a comprehensive theory suitable for our understanding, yet the problem is, and will persist, these will remain as theoretical concepts. They are, and should remain as interesting points of conversation, knowing well that the grace of Sri Guru and Sri Hari-Nama Prabhu will reveal the answers to us accordingly.
Let us suppose we did hit the grail-pot and finally announced that Srila Prabhupada is this in the spiritual world, and that we jivas come from there, would this make a staggering mind jolting, soul shattering difference to our spiritual lives? Not likely. We already know there are a number of options and possibilities available and the answer could be one of them. But still, unless we practice devotional service from our heart of hearts, these interesting revelations will remain as theory. How so? We all know that Krishna is God, yet have we met Him in our hearts’ vision to fully realise this? We know that chanting Hare Krishna will take us from sraddha to prema, yet are we so attentive as to be fortunate recipients of revelations of truth from Sri Nama Prabhu Himself? If not, then our convictions of these truths remain theoretical on the jnana level. The same applies to the grail-pot.
“I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord, who is Syamasundara, Krishna Himself, with inconceivable innumerable attributes, whom the pure devotees see in their heart of hearts with the eye of devotion tinged with the salve of love.” (Brahma Samhita 38)
Even if a sadhu knows these secrets, will he happily broadcast this information to the world? Not likely. In fact he knows that such knowledge could promote egotistical trends, inflame certain prejudices, or fire the sentiments of prakrta-sahajiyas. What is known to an enlightened soul can be a catalyst for ongoing dispute and disharmony among the unenlightened. For this reason the solid truths are kept within the heart of responsible sadhus who may sparingly reveal what they know, to qualified followers. Besides, sometimes such confidential information should not be revealed to anyone at all, or risk slowing the growth of ones Bhakti creeper.
We have to admit our finite limitations. We can hardly grasp the multi-dimensional structure of this cosmos, let alone fathom transcendental matter. If we are ever told it is better to chant Hare Krishna, or engage in some nice service rather than indulge in acintya-vadism, this blatantly obvious good instruction may sound a trite too simplistic for lively minds. To wrack our brains to discover why bigger, heavier nuts like brazils and macadamia always rest on top of our prasadam snack, while the smaller, lighter nuts fall to the bottom, defying gravity, is certainly an interesting observation, and can be measured with Krishna in mind, but the infinite requires a purified heart. Have we ever heard the expression, “wracking the heart?”
To see through the eyes of sastra is to see through the heart. A cleansed heart views things in a different swathe of scenery embedded in reality. What issues from a pure heart is often unintelligible, and the need for making truth understandable will vary from time to time. What Srila Prabhupada has accomplished in adapting the same for the western psyche is a remarkable deed. Yet for some, intellectual curiosity finds his simplicity of purpose too restrictive. This is impatience. So by and large we hinge our search for truth in favour of his instructions, for he had us in mind when teaching Krishna consciousness. Even so, there is much incredibly interesting subject matter to ponder from his writings. We need the comfort zone of sraddha – sincere faith – to properly find, and accept his answers.
There is something called ‘self-evident’ truth. In the case of a pure devotee, all actions and words are acts of truth. What he says and does really happens, from the plane of transcendence. Spurred on by the apparent need for intellectual stimulation, an unsure observer of his will still harbour untold questions as to why he did this, or said that. These little gaps in faith can alone prevent access to higher profound knowledge we hanker for. Our faith has to be complete, not partial. To be weaned away from the comfort of strong faith means to arrive at theoretical concepts only. The phenomenon of transmission of knowledge from spiritual master to disciple via the transparency of presence can be a difficult concept to accept.
If a pure devotee is a travelling place of pilgrimage, whose heart rests within Krishna’s heart, and whose thoughts dwell on Krishna’s pastimes, then what he offers to us is of inestimable value. To receive from him the holy name is the simplest and most effective means to get the answers we want in life. Our intellectual needs can best be served if we amass all that we know, and would like to know, all the probabilities and logical deductions, into a concentrated form of focus on the unlimited syllables of the maha-mantra. “If you are indeed interested in logic and argument, kindly apply it to the mercy of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. If you do so, you will find it to be strikingly wonderful.” (CC Adi 8.15)
With such wonder beckoning for us, if we do the blissfully obvious and chant Hare Krishna, our lives – and vision – will be sublime. ”Simply by chanting the holy names of Krishna one can obtain freedom from material existence. Indeed, simply by chanting the Hare Krishna mantra one will be able to see the lotus feet of the Lord.” (CC Adi 7.73)
Your servant, Kesava Krsna Dasa.
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