Question: How can a just God create some souls eternally free, whereas others eternally damned (eternally, backward in time, since everyone agrees that all souls can be saved ultimately). How about reformulating this to “How can a just God approve of souls of unequal status?” I can personally live with that, but most people who come in contact with Krishna Consciousness need some kind of reasonable answers to such questions.
Answer: When did He approve of? Has God approved that they will remain in their conditioned state forever? Does He not make an effort to educate them and get them out of their unequal status?
This question arises because we want to fit God into our logical thinking instead of understanding Him as He is. We think that God must conform to my logic, otherwise He is not God.
My counter question will be: How can a just God approve of souls of unequal status – say gopis of various types, sakhas, servants, and shanta bhaktas in the spiritual abode? They are not all equal. How can a just God approve of the unequal status of different forms of Bhagavan, like Balarama, Kurma and Vamana etc?
Free Will and Choice in Bhakti
Question: Free will, as totally free, is a ridiculous idea. I also think total determinism is a ridiculous idea. What I have been considering is this: It would seem irrational if God’s or devotee’s mercy would fall on just about any soul, regardless the background or disposition. What is your thought on this?
Answer: Mercy is totally independent, yadrcchyaya. It is not irrational but trans-rational. Why should God conform to my rationality?
Question: As far as I have seen, and as far as I know, Indian thought is usually represented with a deterministic/fatalistic tilt. My question is whether this picture is justified. The Bhakti movement would seem to go against the strong form of fatalism, that birth determines one’s destiny.
Answer: Indian thought is not deterministic, although it may appear so or even some may present it that way out of ignorance. It is discussed very clearly by different scholars. One of the main arguments they give is that if it were deterministic then all the injunctions of sastra would become futile. But Indian thought takes past karma into account. That is what makes it appears deterministic.
Bhagavan’s Intrinsic Qualities
Question: I noticed that in Bhagavat Sandarbha, Jiva Gosvami often emphasizes the topic of Bhagavan’s qualities as being intrinsic to His nature. There are at least 3 to 4 anucchedas dedicated to this topic. May I ask you to explain why Sri Jiva puts so much attention to this issue?
Answer: This is to refute the Advaitavadis (Mayavadis), followers of Sankaracarya, who think that Bhagavan does not have intrinsic qualities but acquired them by the influence of maya. This view was very prominent at Jiva Gosvami’s time. Therefore, he wants to uproot this misconception because this is a blockage in execution of pure devotion. Jiva Gosvami is making his base for Bhakti Sandarbha.
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