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Back to Godhead

Q. Krishna says in Bhagavad Gita that one who attains His spiritual abode there is no chance of returning.  If we all were originally with Him then how did we come here? Is there any chance of going there permanently?

A. Although originally all living entities were in the eternal spiritual world,they have a tendency to fall down because they are minute in nature and have free will. Lord Krishna does not interfere with anyone’s free will.If He does, then it is not free will. We should call it as forced will. By exercising our free will to be separate from the Lord ,we have fallen in this temporary material world.However being the eternal well-wisher of all living entities, Supreme Lord accompanies all living entities by expanding Himself as Supersoul in the hearts of all.

And in this way He constantly guides and calls everyone back to His eternal abode. He does not like to see His children suffering. Whenever someone has a minute desire to understand Him, He sends either His bonafide representative or His instructions as in the form of Bhagavad-gita to give us proper direction. If someone follows the words of Bhagavad-gita or His bonafide representative, he/she shall be able to achieve the perfection of life.Lord Krishna promises in Bhagavad-gita that when living entity once goes back home, back to Godhead, there is no question of falling down again.

Eternal mission of Lord Krishna

Q. As declared in Bhagavad-gita, the Lord appears in the mortal world to execute His much-needed mission of killing the miscreants and giving protection to the faithful. In spite of that mission, Lord Krishna tolerated the insult to Draupadi by the Kurus and the injustices perpetrated against the Pandavas, as well as insults to Himself. The question may be raised, “Why did He tolerate such injustices and insults in His presence? Why did He not chastise the Kurus immediately?”

A. Srila Prabhupada says in the purport of Srimad Bhagavatam 3.1.43
When Draupadi was insulted in the assembly by the Kurus by their attempt to see her naked in the presence of all, the Lord protected Draupadi by supplying an unlimited length of clothing. But He did not chastise the insulting party immediately.

This silence of the Lord did not mean, however, that He excused the offenses of the Kurus. There were many other kings on earth who had become very proud of three kinds of possessions wealth, education and followers and they were constantly agitating the earth by movements of military strength. The Lord was just waiting to get them together on the Battlefield of Kurushetra and kill them all at one time, just to make a short-cut in His killing mission.

Godless kings or heads of state, when puffed up by advancement of material wealth, education and increase of population, always make a show of military strength and give trouble to the innocent. When Lord Krishna was personally present, there were many such kings all over the world  and He thus arranged for the Battle of Kurushetra.

In His manifestation of vishva-rupa, the Lord expressed His mission of killing as follows: “I have willingly descended on the earth in My capacity of inexorable Time in order to decrease the unwanted population. I shall finish all those who have assembled here except you, the Pandavas. This killing does not wait for you to take part in it. It is already arranged: all will be killed by Me. If you want to become famous as the hero of the battlefield and thus enjoy the booty of war, then, O Savyasaci, just become the immediate cause of this killing and thus take the credit. I have already killed all the great warriors Bhishma, Drona, Jayadratha, Karna and many other great generals. Do not worry. Fight the battle and be famous as a great hero.” (Bg. 11.32-34)
The Lord always wants to see His devotee as the hero of some episode which He Himself performs. He wanted to see His devotee and friend Arjuna as the hero of the Battle of Kurushetra and thus He waited for all the miscreants of the world to assemble. That and nothing else, is the explanation of His waiting.

Krishna leaves Radharani and Gopis

Q. Why did Krishna leave Radharani and gopis and go to Mathura, when they  loved Him so much ? Is this act of Krishna not unfaithful ? If He had to do that why did He in the first place love Radharani and gopis?

A. Krishna’s leaving Vrindavana and all of His beloved associates there was not an act of unfaithfulness; rather it has very deep spiritual import.

The Supreme Personality of Godhead accomplishes many purposes through one action. The external reason for Krishna’s leaving Vrindavan was to attend to other affairs such as killing the demons and establishing religious principles (as He had promised Mother Earth prior to His appearance  and which He did in the battle of Kurukshetra) as well as to reciprocate with His other devotees in Mathura and Hastinapura.

However, the internal reason was His desire to reciprocate with the unparalleled love of the residents of Vrindavan. Krishna actually never leaves His devotees and  Vrindavan. It only appears to be so. When Krishna left Vrindavan to go to Mathura, He entered into the hearts and into the minds of all the devotees in Vrindavan and in this way Krishna never left them even for a moment.

Srila Prabhupada writes in the Krishna book ch.46,
“When Krishna was starting for Mathura on the chariot driven by Akrura and the gopis were blocking the way, Krishna assured them that He was coming back just after finishing His business in Mathura. He told them not to be overwhelmed and in this way pacified them. But when He failed to come back with Nanda Maharaja, it appeared that He either cheated them or could not keep His promise. Expert devotees, however, have decided that Krishna was neither a cheater nor a breaker of promises. Krishna, in His original identity, returned with Nanda Maharaja and stayed with the gopis and mother Yashoda in His bhava expansion. Krishna and Balarama remained in Mathura not in Their original forms but in Their expansions as Vasudeva and Sankarsana. The real Krishna and Balarama were in Vrindavan in Their bhava manifestation, whereas in Mathura They appeared in the prabhava and vaibhava expansions. This is the expert opinion of advanced devotees of Krishna. Externally, however, They were absent from Vrindavan.”

Krishna explains this in His message through Uddhava (Krishna book, Ch.47),
“My dear gopis, in order to increase your superexcellent love for Me, I have purposely separated Myself from you. I have done this so that you may be in constant meditation on Me.”

This constant meditation on Krishna by the gopis is confirmed in the Bhagavad-gita to be the topmost yoga. Krishna knew very well the psychology of women. When a woman’s beloved is away, she thinks of him more in meditation than when he is present before her. Krishna wanted to teach through the behavior of the gopis that one who is constantly in trance like the gopis surely attains His lotus feet.

Krishna reminded the gopis that at the time of the rasa dance those gopis who could not join Him for the rasa-lila gave up their bodies simply by thinking of Him. Absorption in Krishna consciousness by feeling separation is thus the quickest method for attainment of the lotus feet of Krishna. By the personal statement of Krishna, the gopis were convinced about the strength of feelings of separation. They were actually experiencing the supernatural method of Krishna worship and were much relieved by understanding that Krishna was not away from them but always with them.

It is stated by Vishvanatha Chakravarti Thakur that Krishna saved the cowherd boys from the blazing forest fire within a second, while their eyes were closed. Similarly, Uddhava advised the gopis that they could be saved from the fire of separation by closing their eyes and meditating on the activities of Krishna from the very beginning of their association with Him. From the outside, the gopis could visualize all the pastimes of Krishna by hearing the descriptions of Uddhava  and from within they could remember those pastimes. From the instructions of Uddhava, the gopis could understand that Krishna was not separate from them. As they were constantly thinking of Krishna, Krishna was also thinking of them constantly at Mathura.

Lord Caitanya taught people in general the method of vipralambha-seva, which is the method of rendering service unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead in the feeling of separation.

The six Gosvamis also taught worship of Krishna in the feeling of the gopis in separation. Shrinivasacharya said that the Gosvamis were always absorbed in the ocean of transcendental feelings in the mood of the gopis. When they lived in Vrindavana they were searching for Krishna, crying, Where are You, Krishna? O gopis, where are You? Where are You, Shrimati Radharani? They never said, We have now seen Radha and Krishna, and therefore our mission is fulfilled. Their mission remained always unfulfilled; they never met Radha and Krishna.

This method of loving and serving in the mood of separation is the highest form of absorption in Krishna and the highest source of spiritual ecstasy – and this fact is very difficult to understand from the material point of view. Krishna Himself was constantly absorbed in this mood of love in separation from Radharani while in Dvaraka and Mathura.

Also when Krishna had disappeared from the rasa lila and gopis were very much feeling separation of Him. When He returned they asked Him what kind of lover you are?
In answer, Krishna said that He, as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is self-satisfied. He does not require anyone’s love, but at the same time He said that He is not ungrateful.

Srila Prabhupada writes in Krishna book, Ch. 32
My dear friends,Krishna continued, you might be aggrieved by My words and acts, but you must know that sometimes I do not reciprocate My devotees dealings with Me. My devotees are very much attached to Me, but sometimes I do not reciprocate their feelings properly in order to increase their love for Me more and more. If I can very easily be approached by them, they might think, Krishna is so easily available.So sometimes I do not respond. If a person has no money but after some time accumulates some wealth and then loses it, he will think of the lost property twenty-four hours a day. Similarly, in order to increase the love of My devotees, sometimes I appear to be lost to them, and instead of forgetting Me, they feel their loving sentiments for Me increase. My dear friends, do not think for a moment that I have been dealing with you as I do with ordinary devotees. I know what you are. You have forsaken all kinds of social and religious obligations; you have given up all connection with your parents. Without caring for social convention and religious obligations, you have come to Me and loved Me, and I am so much obliged to you that I cannot treat you as ordinary devotees. Do not think that I was away from you. I was near to you. I was simply seeing how much you were anxious for Me in My absence. So please do not try to find fault with Me. Because you consider Me so dear to you, kindly excuse Me if I have done anything wrong. I cannot repay your continuous love for Me, even throughout the lifetimes of the demigods in the heavenly planets. It is impossible to repay you or show enough gratitude for your love; therefore please be satisfied by your own pious activities. You have displayed exemplary attraction for Me, overcoming the greatest difficulties arising from family connections. Please be satisfied with your highly exemplary character, for it is not possible for Me to repay My debt to you.

Time, place & circumstances

Q. If Lord Buddha & Jesus Christ were yuga avataras of Krishna Himself then why did’t they preach like Chaitanya Mahaprabhu ?

A. Lord Jesus declared Himself as the son of God and Vedas accept Lord Buddha as the incarnation of God. Lord Buddha & Jesus Christ are not Yuga avataras. They are Shaktyavesha avataras and preached according to the time place and circumstance.

There is a definite relationship between the level of instruction that can be given and the audience. For example, if Lord Jesus Christ said “Thou shalt not kill”, or “Thou shalt do no murder” to the people, it does not reflect very good social structure of the audience. Jesus Christ could not teach elevated philosophy to fishermen. More emphasis was given on moral principles and the message was appropriately adapted. Lord Buddha took up the cause of the poor animals who were being slaughtered unhesitatingly on the plea of Vedic yajna and therefore Lord Buddha was compelled to disregard the principles of Vedic sacrifice just to establish the principles of nonviolence.

But Chaitanya Mahaprabhu being svayam Bhagavan and the Yugaavatar most mercifully gave the topmost thing from the spiritual world the chanting of Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.. He gave this dharma or this duty for this age of Kali, this age of argument and quarrel. And this knowledge, although it may appear to have been hidden for thousands of years, is actually revealed by Lord Chaitanya.