No Fear In Harmony: Love means sacrifice to such a high degree that it can embrace everything

Krishna-Balaram-Fighting

The only origin of fear is lack of harmony. Fear is born through disappointment resulting from lack of harmony. If that does not exist then there is no place for fear.

‘Undesirability’ is represented in Sanskrit as ‘apprehension’ or ‘fear’, and is regarded as something secondary to the Absolute. But how does it reach and become transformed into perfection? If we can introduce many interests into one common interest then there is harmony – no fear, and all is perfect.

At present we are suffering from the mania of separate interest. Only because we have deviated from our common Master, our common Guardian, we have come to suffer the disease of apprehension. If one Master is common to all then no apprehension can arise, we will feel true unity amongst ourselves. If we fall on the ground, then with the help of the same ground we can again stand.

So forgetfulness of our Guardian is the cause of all the disastrous situations in which we find ourselves. The only way to get out of that disaster is to be reinstated in the idea of common Guardianship, and that is to be effected by the true sadhus (saintly persons) who have not deviated from God consciousness. With their help we have to appeal to the all-controlling agency. Then we can be reinstated in that echelon where we have our Master under whose Holy Feet we are to take shelter. If we can accept this, harmony will again be installed in our lives. So we are always to be conscious of our Guardian, the highest harmoniser – and that is true God consciousness.

The Flavour of Nectar

Little Krishna with Yashoda and Devak
Little Krishna with Yashoda and Devak

Krishna’s two mothers Yasoda and Devaki do not have an open relationship with each other. Krishna’s foster mother Yasoda is always afraid that Devaki and her Husband Vasudeva may come to claim Krishna as their child. How can it be that this happens? Similarly the members of Radharani’s camp consider Chandravali’s camp to be an anti-party to the main group of servitors. But the indirect section is always a necessary part of the Lord’s Pastimes. Chandravail has more intellect, whereas Radharani has more sentiment. Similarly in all rasas (devotional Mellows) there is harmony and also discord. Some opposition enhances the play of dedication.

In sakhya-rasa (the mood for serving the Lord as a friend), at the time when Krishna began His play with His friends the cowherd boys there were usually two parties. One group sided with Krishna and the other with His brother Balaram. The cowherd boys were divided into two sections to represent opposite sides and they began to playfully fight. Then the punishment, for whichever party would be defeated, was that each was to carry a boy from the winning party on their shoulders. In this way a service-punishment was given. Balaram was very strong, while in the opposing party Sridama is also very strong. In fact Sridama came into Krsihna’s party because Krishna is not as strong as Balaram. In this way their playing began. When the two parties fought, Balaram generally wouldn’t accept that He was defeated. Tather His nature was that He would become enraged.

Sometimes a demon would enter one of the parties by taking the form of cowherd boy. In this manner Pralambasura and Baumasura miced with the play of the cowherd boys seeking and opportunity to take a boy on their shoulders and abduct him. One day Pralambasura carried Balaram into the depths of the jungle, but when Balaram came to understand that He was being carried by a demon impostor He struck him with a great blow to the head. In this way the higher conception of truth runs – in order to not only remove all difficulties (personified as demons), but to positively fill up the whole heart with sweet nectar. And the sweetest nectar is personified in Krishna.

On another occasion Krishna was considering the case of another miscreant, Sisupala, and how he could be removed. For this purpose He convened a meeting between Himself, Balaram and Uddhava. But Balaram opposed everything Krishna said. Whenever Krishna wanted a policy to be adopted Balaram would object, “What is this policy? Just leave it to Me, I shall kill him outright! What need is there of all these politics? – I don’t understand.” All the while Uddhava, who by nature is not partial to violence, tried to pacify Balaram. The example of enhancement of the beauty of the Lord’s Pastimes by discord and opposition is represented very cleverly in this story, in an ornamental way.

Masuladhara, a name of Balaram meaning “the wielder of the club- like weapon,” gives us a hint that he doesn’t delight in the finer mental level of intellect and politics. He likes to solve everything with the strike of His club. So in Balaram we find less intelligence but stronger force. Still the greatest, most subtle opposing forces can only be harmonised by Krishna. ‘Harmon’ means to control opposite forces. Lord Ramachandra expressed, “While His own brother Laksmana instead stressed the opposite angle of vision saying, “The brother is the worst type of enemy because when he emerges from the mother’s womb the elder brother can no longer suck her breast, indeed the elder brother is not only deprived of his mother’s milk but is also dispossessed of his mother’s lap, as the new brother captures that as well.” So opposite conception have to be accommodated.

West Meets East

Disciple: We are all trying to be devotees but sometimes we see that there is some differentiation made between the Western and Indian devotees.

Srila Guru Maharaj: You have so many differences such as your hair, eyes, etc.!

Disciple: These are material differences.

Srila Guru Maharaj: But these are all drawn from the spiritual, they cannot demand any originality of their own. There are so many things to be understood. It is found that in the presence of Krishna at Puskaratirtha the whole of the Yadu dynasties, including such a host of great personalities, were annihilated before His eyes, but these dynasties fought in order to reveal the deeper realities of the plane of the soul. Whatever He wills is truth proper. Can you understand this? Krishna was a sightseer! He simply watches. How can you adjust to that? Can you understand that fighting is life?

All the Pandavas including Arjuna were submissive to King Yudhisthira but still they sometimes revolted against him. Peace – like in the deep slumber of brahma-nirvana – that is wanting in vitality; it is not true lasting peace. And the Absolute Truth is not impersonal but a Person.

Disciple: My desire is to see Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s unity, to see full harmony.

Srila Guru Maharaj: Harmony presupposes independent thinking, but in consonance with the common plane. When a mother cooks food, one child may say, “This is bitter”, another may say, “This is salty”, and the other “This is sour”.” So where there are many varieties there must be the question of life. Variety shows that life is present. In diversity there is polarity within unity, otherwise simple “unity” means jumbling everything together – a dead unity.

Vishnu does not represent just on feature but infinite features which accommodate infinite possibilities. Krishna is akhila rasamrta-murti (the emporium of all nectarean mellows). Different groups of His servitors have so many diverse elements. Even Radharani and Chandravali compete with each other. They each head separate camps which fight in competition to satisfy Him. We have to understand how all this is possible. Mildly, with humility, we have to try to follow.

In the parliament there is an opposition party but it is there to enhance the work of the main party. In this way the direct and the indirect combine in order to make the government complete. And if that principle is applied everywhere it is not difficult to understand the nature of difference. We are not to try to create another world but to understand what already exists. Why is it so? What is the underlying meaning behind it? What are the differences between Krishna and Balaram? Balaram sometimes side with Duryodhana and Krishna sides with the Pandavas, yet Krishna and Balaram are almost one and the same. So how are we to understand that? What is your answer? Do you think it is all bogus?

Disciple: I can simply say I came to the Gaudiya Math for Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s gift of Love.

Srila Guru Maharaj: Yes, this is true. And love means that there is classification amongst brothers. Rupa Goswami gave the explanation: “aher iva gatih premnah svabhava-kutila bhavet.” That is, just as a serpent moves in a crooked way so similarly is the nature of Love’s progress. The nature of affection is not straightforward because it has to accommodate everything in it. Everything possible in existence is accommodated in love. Love means sacrifice to such a high degree that it can embrace everything. The movement of love is generally crooked and, for the satisfaction of Krishna, it has been designed in this way by the Lord’s Divine Power Yogamaya in order to prevent any staleness or sterility from entering the Pastimes. So try to adjust to this. Don’t be eager to create another world.

His Sweet Play

krishna-gopis-1
Krishna and gopis

To do away with opposition, greater harmony is necessary. And in the higher type of harmony opposition even enhances the beauty of the harmony and helps it. When harmony is successful then it is found to be the necessity of beauty. Krishna represents beauty and His harmonising capacity supersedes everything. There is nothing He cannot harmonise and all enemies become friends in that harmony. In so many ways this is to be accommodated. The Lord is the centre of highest harmony. He is sweetness, He is our Master and He is the Divine Love of us all.

Chandravali is in opposition to Radharani yet by Yogamaya the competition is producing more satisfaction for Krishna. Everything is for Him. Through akhila-rasamrta murti all possible types of ecastsy are harmonised, nothing is neglected. Justification of all existence is found there. Diversity and unity that is all to satisfy His purpose. Radharani Herself said, “The other gopis (cowherd ladies) do not know, I have no objection if they come forward to serve Krishna for My only concern is for Krishna’s satisfaction – My concentration is always there, but the standard of their service isn’t so exclusive as to give full satisfaction to Him properly. That is my objection. They rush forward to serve Krishna but they do no know how to fully satisfy Him, otherwise I would allow them to. “In this way Radharani’s statement justified Her feeling. This statement of Radharani, where She does not consider Her devotion to be commonplace in the company of those exclusive servitors competing for Krishna’s affection – that is Her special beauty.

Her degree and intensity of endeavour to satisfy Krishna is above all others. Krishna represents the whole play, He is the centre and the source of everyone’s love. But certain servitors like Lalita and Vishakha are directly serving Radharani; while there are also those in Chandravali’s camp who are serving her in opposition to Radharani. That anti-party group is essential, just as the opposition party is necessary in a democratic parliament.

What is the purpose of this world? That is known only to Him. The first verse of Bhagavatam states, He alone is fully aware of the purpose of His activity. He is the Absolute Autocrat, He doesn’t have to explain Himself to anyone. Everything is for Him. Also, in some way He is for us.

sadhavo hridayam mahyam
sadhunam hridayam tv aham
mad-anyat te na jananti
naham tebhyo manag api

Srimad Bhagavatam 9.4.68

“I do not know anyone but My devotees. All the saints are my sweetheart, and I am also their sweetheart. They do not know anyone but Me and I also don’t care to know anyone but them.”

He is for the devotees and the devotees are for Him. That is the Substance and the Potency, the Enjoyer and enjoyed, the Positive and negative, the Served and the servitor – both combined make the Whole. The Subject and the object. No subject can exist without an object. Subject means the thinking thinker, and there must be something to be thought otherwise the subject cannot exist. There must be some thinker and then recognition of a particular thing.

Disciple: Radharani sends Her different associates to canvass on Her behalf. Does Chandravali also have her associates canvassing for Her?

Srila Guru Maharaj: Yes, there is a clash between Radharani’s followers like Lalita and Vishakha and the followers of Chandravali such as Saibya and Padma. Bhaktivinod Thakur has written, “As the attendant of Radharani’s camp, I do not like to see that area in Vrindavan where the camp of Chandravali is, because Padma’s interest is always to take Krishna from Radharani’s special place to Chandravali’s camp and if Krishna goes there then our place will become dark.” But still opposition is necessary in the development of different levels of service just as hunger or fasting is necessary for relishing food. It is all designed only to intensify the standard of service.

And what degree of attraction and service to Radharani do we find in Lalita devi? If a drop of perspiration is found on the feet of Radha or Govinda (Krishna) she prays for one hundred thousand bodies to busily remove that perspiration. This sort of intense devotion is the unit of measurement to guage love for one’s beloved. This is the inner feeling. Waves of such nature come from within one who comes in connection with that Vrindavan proper.

In Goloka Vrindavan, the abode of Sri Krishna, there are so many parties. The Pastimes there appear to be similar to the competition that goes on here in this world, but the difference is all in the degree of sacrifice the devotee has for their Lord. The life of a devotee is a life of endless sacrifice.

The Gopis of Vrindavan are perfectly self-forgetful of their own interest and well-being; they are cent percent devoted not only in the present but also in the eternal future. There they live in the land of mercy, beauty, charm and affection; the plane of Absolute surrender. And that is the highest plane of our life. Nothing less than wholesale surrender is required there. As Krishna states, “If you give yourself wholesale to Me then I will give Myself wholesale to you.”

Krishna lifting Govardhan
Krishna lifting Govardhan

Srila Rupa Goswami has given us an example of the gradation of service: When Krishna is at the summit of Govardhana hill and he sees Balaram and His sakhya friends playing in the pasturing ground below, He also sees Yasoda with all her helpers busily preparing His meal – all the dasya servitors are seen to be engaged in some arrangement under the direction of Yasoda. Chandravali, with her group, is approaching a particular meeting place; while His beloved Srimati Radharani is coming with Her friends to an appointed place to be united with Krishna. All the different groups represented together around Govardhan are assembling there – santa, dasya, sakhya, vatsalya, and madhura – all are in His sight. He is overseeing everything. So very many affectionate servitors are all vying for His attention. But His eyes are always drawn to Srimati Radharani and Her group.

Even Lakshmi devi – the Goddess of Fortune and wife of Lord Vishnu – wanted to participate in the rasa lila of those simple cowherd girls of Vrindavan, the Gopis, but She could not enter. For that market – that place of the rasa-lila pastime is so very exclusive. Although She has all the wealth and grandeur of Lord Sri Vishnu in Vaikuntha still, unsatisfied, she is running to join in that great dance in which Krishna is at the centre. No capitalist can enter that market and open a shop there for He has the full monopoly. There is only one commodity in the market and that commodity is Krishna consciousness.

The earth itself is feeling the charming union with Krishna by the divine tough of His Feet. The birds, insects, His friends – everything in the environment – is singing in His sweet play. Only unconditional exclusive Divine Love can enter there. So much so, the attraction of Krishna has captured the hearts of everyone there wholesale. God’s grace is of such charming, intense nature that there is no way out but to serve the sweetness – not by fear or by hope, nor by the sense of duty, but all are helplessly attracted to sweet Krishna. Living harmony reigns there in its most natural and intense form. The servants of that quarter feel they cannot live without that service. That is their food.

Srimati Radharani prays, “You have captured My heart fully. Every atom of My body wants only You but the circumstances are so cruel that we are parted. So I will jump into that deep well, taking My life. I pray You will come and take My position and I will take Yours. Oh Krishna, Oh Sri Nandanandan. Then You will realise what hopelessness I am going through and will understand My trouble.”

In that self-same mood Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said, “My friends save Me by showing Me Krishna. Otherwise I can’t maintain My existence! What I once saw, touching My heart like lightning then withdrawing, show Me once again for I cannot tolerate the separation. How many times can one die in a second to earn that fortune, to get a moment’s perception of Krishna? I am ready to die millions of times. My heart bursts without having a second view of that wonderful thing! I had a little experience previously, but beauty and sweetness can be so cruel! If I don’t get that vision I shall die.”