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Out of sight out of mind?

Friday, 11 August 2006 / Published in Articles, Hridayananda das Goswami / 4,100 views

Answer by HH Hridayananda das Goswami

Q. Perhaps I may ask one question: we know Vaisnavas are oceans of mercy and compassion for the suffering jivas, so how can a devotee really be happy in the spiritual world knowing that there are countless living entities suffering horrendously in the stress planets? Spiritual amnesia, out of sight out of mind?

A. That is a thought provoking question. A pure devotee is one who knows that Krishna is everything. Although many pure devotees often are affected by Yoga Maya in seeing Krishna as their lover, friend, etc., ultimately there is an understanding among pure devotees that Krishna is the supreme controller and is doing everything. So the knowledge that Krishna is doing everything possible for the jivas who ultimately must exercise their own free will to go back to Godhead allows them to remain in the spiritual world. Otherwise, the spiritual world would be empty and everyone would be out doing missionary work. Of course we know that some devotees prefer to accompany Krishna in His missionary activities.

There is another point. Ultimately the essence of pure devotion is the pure desire to please Krishna. Krishna Himself makes perfect arrangements to save the fallen souls and assigns a sufficient number of devotees to preach. As I said, since everything depends upon the free will of the conditioned souls, there is, in a sense, a finite amount that can be done for them. Therefore those pure devotees whom Krishna wants to preach feel inspired to preach and will be happy in no other service. Those pure devotees whom Krishna wants to be with Him in the spiritual world can only find happiness in that service since that is Krishna’s pleasure. Krishna’s pleasure in retaining pure devotees in the spiritual world is never a selfish desire and never limits, impedes or reduces the practical preaching that goes on in the material world.

Hoping you are well
With best wishes,
Hridayananda das Goswami

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3 Responses to “Out of sight out of mind?”

  1. shiva says :

    Nicely put Maharaja. There is also another reason why they would not be disturbed, at least those devotees in Goloka that is. In Goloka in Krishna’s nitya lila the jiva souls are not aware that Krishna is God. They are not educated in Krishna consciousness. To them Krishna is one of them, sometimes there is the thought that Krishna may be an avatar of some sort, but Krishna uses his yogamaya potency to cause that thought to be forgotten.

    Vaikuntha and Goloka are different. In Vaikuntha everyone relates with Lord Narayana in knowledge of the majesty and power of the Lord. In Goloka that is absent.

    From Srila Prabhupada 1975 lecture

    In the spiritual world there is no such distinction. The officer and the cleaner, they are of the same importance. That is even Krsna, with Krsna. That is spiritual world. In Vrndavana the cowherds boys, they are playing with Krsna on equal terms. They do not know Krsna is God. They simply know how to love Krsna, that’s all. There is no need of thinking that “Krsna is greater than the other cowherds boy. They are living entities.” There is no such sense. Krsna wants that. That is Goloka Vrndavana worship. Simply the center is Krsna, and all the inhabitants of Vrndavana, they love Krsna, and they do not know anything except Krsna. This is Vrndavana life. Everyone knows that “Krsna is my very intimate friend.” Somebody knows, “Krsna is my son,” somebody knows that “Krsna is my master,” and somebody is thinking, “Krsna is my lover.” But center is Krsna. The cows, the calves, the friends, the gops, and the cowherds boy, Krsna’s father, Nanda Maharaja, Krsna’s mother, Yasomati, and . . . Everyone’s center is Krsna, “How Krsna will be happy?” This is Vrndavana life.

    Srimad Bhagavatam 10.7.10

    na te sraddadhire gopa
    bala-bhasitam ity uta
    aprameyam balam tasya
    balakasya na te viduh

    The assembled gopis and gopas, unaware that Krsna is always unlimited, could not believe that baby Krsna had such inconceivable power. They could not believe the statements of the children, and therefore they neglected these statements as being childish talk.

    Srimad Bhagavatam 10.45.1

    sri-suka uvaca
    pitarav upalabdharthau
    viditva purushottamah
    ma bhud iti nijam mayam
    tatana jana-mohinim

    Sukadeva Gosvami said: Understanding that His parents were becoming aware of His transcendental opulences, the Supreme Personality of Godhead thought that this should not be allowed to happen. Thus He expanded His Yogamaya, which bewilders His devotees.

    Purport Srimad Bhagavatam 7.10.48

    …the Supreme Personality of Godhead in His original form as Krsna was always living with the Pandavas. Although the Pandavas, because of the influence of Krsna’s yogamaya, could not think of their fortunate position [i.e having God as their friend], every saintly person, including the great sage Narada, could understand it, and therefore they constantly visited Maharaja Yudhisthira.

    Srimad Bhagavatam 2.7.30

    grhnita yad yad upabandham amusya mata
    sulbam sutasya na tu tat tad amusya mati
    yaj jrmbhato ‘sya vadane bhuvanani gopi
    samviksya sankita-manah pratibodhitasit

    When the cowherd woman [Krsna’s foster mother, Yasoda] was trying to tie the hands of her son with ropes, she found the rope to be always insufficient in length, and when she finally gave up, Lord Krsna, by and by, opened His mouth, wherein the mother found all the universes situated. Seeing this, she was doubtful in her mind, but she was convinced in a different manner of the mystic nature of her son.

    PURPORT

    One day Lord Krsna as the naughty child disturbed His mother Yasoda, and she began to tie up the child with ropes just to punish Him. But no matter how much rope she used, she found it always insufficient. Thus she became fatigued, but in the meantime the Lord opened His mouth, and the affectionate mother saw within the mouth of her son all the universes situated together. The mother was astonished, but out of her deep affection for Krsna she thought that the Almighty Godhead Narayana had kindly looked after her son just to protect Him from all the continuous calamities happening to Him. Because of her deep affection for Krsna, she could never think that her very son was Narayana, the Personality of Godhead Himself. That is the action of yogamaya, the internal potency of the Supreme Lord, which acts to perfect all the pastimes of the Lord with His different types of devotees. Who could play such wonders without being God?

    Srimad Bhagavatam 1.11.39

    tam menire ‘bala mudhah
    strainam canuvratam rahah
    apramana-vido bhartur
    isvaram matayo yatha

    The simple and delicate women truly thought that Lord Sri Krsna, their beloved husband, followed them and was dominated by them. They were unaware of the extent of the glories of their husband, as the atheists are unaware of Him as the supreme controller.

    PURPORT

    Even the transcendental wives of Lord Sri Krsna did not know completely the unfathomable glories of the Lord. This ignorance is not mundane because there is some action of the internal potency of the Lord in the exchange of feelings between Him and His eternal associates. The Lord exchanges transcendental relations in five ways, as proprietor, master, friend, son and lover, and in each of these pastimes He plays fully by the potency of yogamaya, the internal potency. He plays exactly like an equal friend with the cowherd boys or even with friends like Arjuna. He plays exactly like a son in the presence of Yasodamata, He plays exactly like a lover in the presence of the cowherd damsels, and He plays exactly like a husband in the presence of the queens of Dvaraka. Such devotees of the Lord never think of the Lord as the Supreme, but think of Him exactly as a common friend, a pet son, or a lover or husband very much dear to heart and soul.

    Another point to keep in the mind is that the pure devotee certainly has compassion for the suffering of the conditioned souls, but it is also understood that Krishna is making sure that everyone is getting what they need to be freed from their conditioned state. There will never be a time where a conditioned soul is lacking help due to devotees being engaged in Krishna lila. In fact Krishna needs no help from anyone to save the conditioned souls. When Lord Brahma stole away the cowhered boys from Krishna’s association, Krishna simply expanded himself into replicas of those same cowherd boys. Lord Brahma came to see how Krishna was reacting to the absence of the gopas, he was astonished to see them with Krishna as if nothing had changed. The pure souls may come down occasionally to engage in the sankirtan lila, but that is another type of ecstacy for them. They do not actually need to do the work to save the conditioned souls. Krishna is doing the work of maintaining every living entity and the entire cosmic manifestation in the material world as well as the spiritual world, he certainly is not lacking in the ability to take care of the conditioned souls on their progress back to godhead. Gaura Lila and Krishna Lila are two aspects of the highest realm of ecstacy. In Gaura Lila the ecstacy is found in the knowledge of Sri Krishna as Swayam Bhagavan, and in the distribution of Krishna bhakti in the association of the Sankirtan movement. In Krishna lila the ecstacy is in taking part in Sri Krishna’s pastimes while remaining unaware of the extent of Sri Krishna’s glories as the Lord.

    From the Navadvipa-dhama Mahatmya of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura

    Lord Nityananda Prabhu said, “Oh, my dear Jiva Goswami, I will explain the glories of Sri Navadvipa dhama and related subjects to you, but the most confidential subject matters you must keep to yourself and not tell others. These subject matters are not to be broadcast to the people in general during the period when the pastimes of the Lord are being performed in this world. After the Lord’s pastimes in this world are no longer visible to the people in general, then all of the secrets about the Lord, His pastimes, and His sacred abodes may be revealed.

    Of all of the sacred abodes of the Lord, this abode of Sri Navadvipa dhama is situated on the topmost level of spiritual existence. Its existence lies far beyond the Viraja River separating the material worlds from the spiritual sky, and also far beyond the impersonal Brahman effulgence which is emanating from the spiritual planets known as Vaikunthalokas. After crossing beyond the self-effulgent Vaikuntha planets of the spiritual sky, one comes to the highest region of the spiritual sky to the spiritual planet called Krishnaloka. Within Krishnaloka the highest of all places is known as Sri Gokula and is also called Svetadvip, Sri Goloka, and Vrndavana. In this topmost spiritual planet, there are two distinct mellows of loving reciprocation between Krishna and His devotees, namely madhurya- bhava, or loving exchanges in the mood of conjugal loving affairs. and audarya-bhava, the loving ecstasy manifested by Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu with His associates. The transcendental mellow of audarya exists fully within the transcendental mellow of madhurya or conjugal loving affairs, and the mellow of madhurya loving exchanges is contained fully within audarya, the mellow of unlimited transcendental mercy and compassion (exhibited in Sri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s freely distributing the priceless gem of pure love of Krishna to the fallen conditioned souls). Nevertheless, that part of Krishnaloka, the supreme planet in the spiritual sky, where madhurya conjugal loving affairs are most prominent is known as Vrindavana by the fully realized and highly fortunate devotees of Lord Sri Krishna. On the other hand, that eternal abode where the Lord of unlimited mercy and compassion, in distributing pure love for Godhead, is most prominent is glorified by all the Vedic literatures as Navadvipa dhama, which is also ever-existing in the Krishnaloka spiritual abode.

    The spiritual abodes of Sri Vrindavana dhama and Sri Navadvipa dhama are non-different, being on the same absolute platform. Only when considering the flavors of relishing different transcendental mellows, amorous pastimes, and magnanimous pastimes, are the characteristics of these two supreme abodes seen differently. Otherwise they are one.

  2. gmittal says :

    Q. Perhaps I may ask one question: we know Vaisnavas are oceans of mercy and compassion for the suffering jivas, so how can a devotee really be happy in the spiritual world knowing that there are countless living entities suffering horrendously in the stress planets? Spiritual amnesia, out of sight out of mind?

    A similar question that can be asked is that why Krishna let us suffer in this world. Why Krishna’s heart does not melt when He sees others suffering.

    Suffering is result of our false identification with body. Sometimes, it is compared to dream. So, there is no substantiality to it. Also, soul is spiritual and is unaffected by material domain. So from the perspective of soul, there is no suffering just as there is no death for soul.

    This questions arises because currently we cannot go beyond material domain. To truly understand the answer for this question, we need to understand and realize the spiritual domain. I hope this helps.

  3. Nitai dasa says :

    In the spiritual world, we only have eyes and thoughts for Krsna and it is not possible to even concieve of a material world. So where is the question of feeling compassion when we have no idea of what is going on in this material world.

    If we had even the slightest feelings or idea of something other that Krsna, we would not be in the spiritual world – we will be in a material universe acting out our karma, whether it is feeling compassion through the mode of goodness and passion or being ignorant.

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