Question: Bhava and rasa are given by guru and when one accepts a guru, one is not aware of these things. So even though in rasa-shastra one always reads that one should perform seva and follow the inhabitants of Vraja according to one’s choice, there is not really so much choice of free will involved. Is that correct?
Answer: Yes, there is no choice that is why grace is called causeless. Otherwise you could choose grace. But it is not necessarily true that one is not aware about bhava/rasa when one accepts guru. I am not sure if rasa-sastra says that one should follow the inhabitants of vraja according to one’s choice. If it says so then the words “one’s choice” would means bhava that has been chosen for one, not that one randomly choses it.
Rasalila and separation
Question: I have a question regarding the Rasalila. In the Bhagavatam it is explained that when Krishna disappeared from the gopis sight, the latter started complaining and even started chastising Him not only as Krishna but also citing the pastimes of Vamana with Maharaja Bali, Ramachandra with Shurpanakha,etc. when the Lord acted as if he was partial. My question is that if the gopis don’t know the real identity of Krishna, how could they recall these pastimes? Also being ekanti bhaktas, shouldn’t they only remember the form of the Lord as the son of Nanda only?
Also Krishna is being addressed as the antaryami paramatma and many similar verses by the gopis which seems to convey that the gopis have the knowledge that Krishna is the Supreme Lord in many verses of Srimad Bhagavatam (10.31). Why is this so?
Answer: To understand this behavior of the gopis, you have to keep two things in mind.
Just to give you an example: Mrs. A is the mother of the Prime Minister of her country. She knows it well, but treats the PM only as her son. Thus she relates to him in madhurya bhava, while aisvarya remains as an undercurrent. But suppose the son dies in an accident. Then in separation she may wail, remembering her son as the PM of her country.
Following One’s Personal Nature
Question: In Bhagavad Gita class Krsna says, “All created beings follow their nature.” I was wondering, how important is it to follow one’s nature from the bhakti point of view? If bhakti is anukulyena krsnanusilanam, then as long as one performs his activities in relation to Krsna, it seems that the question of whether he/she acts in harmony with one’s own nature becomes a secondary issue. But maybe I’m wrong?
Should a bhakta put effort to find an activity which best suits his/ her nature, or rather should he simply concentrate on the process of bhakti (sravanam, kirtanam, etc.) and not be worried about anything else (e.g. whether he/ she is in the right shoes or not)?
Answer: There is no fixed answer to your question. The answer will vary from person to person. If the devotee is fully surrendered then he/she does not worry about the nature.
He will do well whatever he is asked to do. If he is not good at it, he will learn it. But such devotees are rare. So alternatively it is better is to perform devotional activity that matches one’s nature.
Pure devotion is executed under the guidance of one’s guru. Thus one should take instructions from one’s guru.
Question: I understand. Do liberated living entities also have some inherent propensities (according to which they perform devotional service in Vaikuntha)? If there is a variety of ways for doing bhakti in the spiritual domain, I assume that devotees may choose how to engage in devotional activity. Then it naturally follows that these choices must be based on something.
Answer: Just as in the material world we have our material nature, in the spiritual world we have a spiritual nature. So everyone is different. Here kama is the mover and shaker. In the spiritual world it is prema. Just as kama has variety, so also has prema.
Question: In his commentary to SB 11.5.32 Jiva Gosvami speaks about the special feature of this mahayuga. Normally, it is Krishna (black) who is the yuga-avatara for a Kali-yuga. But in the current age it is Gaura (akrishna) and Krishna for the Dvapara-yuga. Could you please tell where the specialty of the 28th mahayuga in this manvantara is mentioned in shastra (Puranas or other sources)?
Answer: In the 81st chapter of first part of Vishnu-dharmottara Purana, in a dialog between sage Markandeya and King Vajra, the great grandson of Krishna, there is discussion about the time cycle. Markandeya explains about a kalpa, a day of Brahma. He says that mostly the days of Brahma are similar. Then Vajra says that he would like to hear about the differences in these kalpas (1.81.23). Markandeya replies that in the seventh Manvantara, 24th Tretayuga, Sri Rama appeared. Then he says that in the present kalpa is different than others. He says he spoke this to Yudhisthira. From this I assume that he also spoke about Krishna being a specialty. I cannot think of any other reference at present, although I remember reading it somewhere.
The ego likes to praise itself and criticize others. This is the big pleasure of the ego. The ego hates being criticized. A healthy way of dealing with criticism is to see if there is any truth in it? But you have to be detached from your ego for this. Take the comment as if it is true, and then use it to improve yourself. The doctor gives injection to get rid of the disease. It may hurt, but it can help you.
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