Intricacies of Kṛṣṇa–līlā

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Identity of asuras

Question: When the asuras take on a body in Kṛṣṇa’s līlā, is that body eternal, and if not how to understand that?  For example, Aghāsura or Pūtanā, who are his eternal associates, come as demons. Is this body their siddha svarūpa?

Answer: Kṛṣṇa has two kinds of līlās, prakat and aprakat. When He appears on earth, that is called prakat-līlā, and when He exists in His own abode without being visible to the people of this world, that is called aprakata-līlā. The asuras also exist in the aprakat-līlā, but there they remain inactive, like paintings or toys.  When He wants to perform His prakata- līlā, He activates them.  

Question: What is their consciousness?  Do they have another form or body or do they only have that asuric form?

Answer: No, they do not have any other form. Their form is as they appear in the prakat-līlā and in the aprakat-līlā they remain inactive in the same form. 

Question:   In aprakat-līlā, they are in some kind of sleep and when Kṛṣṇa wants them for his līlā, He activates them and they play their role.  What happens when He kills them, is their body destroyed?

 Answer:  When Bhagavān is enacting His līlā, there is a mixture of His associates and people from this world.  When He kills the asuras, those people who are mixed with His associates are separated and liberated.  There may be actual demons in the līlā, but because the demons of this world do not have the power to fight with Kṛṣṇa, they are merged into the demons who are His associates, because they are the only ones that have the power to fight with Kṛṣṇa.  The bodies of these material demons are then destroyed and the others remain as they are.

Question: When the demons from the material world are killed, what kind of liberation do they get?  

Answer: They get brahma sāyujya (impersonal liberation) or Bhagavat Sāyujya (entering into the body of Kṛṣṇa). Kṛṣṇa may also give them a higher type of mukti, for example to Pūtanā He gave the post of a mother. 

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Final Pastimes of the Yadu Dynasty

Question: I have a question about the pastime of the Yadus leaving the material world in  Prabhās Kṣetra. How did the women there die? Did they fight using the weapons or were they killed by the men?

Answer:  They were not killed.  Some of them committed sati and gave up their lives because of the death of their husbands.  Some others lived and were brought to Hastināpura by Arjuna. Some of them were kidnapped by robbers on the way to Hstināpura  Vajranābha was the great grandson of Kṛṣṇa who also survived and was installed as the King of Mathurā by Yudhiṣṭhira.

Question: Was Vajranābha the only one to survive?

Answer:  Obviously he was not the only one. What can one person do as a king?  There must have been other people who also survived.  The ladies were also present and there must have been children. It’s not that he was the only one to survive.  Amongst his dynasty, he was the only one, it doesn’t imply that the whole population died.

Question: Are all those survivors from this material world?

Answer: There was a mixture of people from material world and the eternal associates.  Then gradually later on the eternal associates disappeared, feeling separation from Kṛṣṇa.  It was done like a human līlā.

Question:  You mentioned that there were so many marriages in Dvārakā, among the Yadus and  that they were countless in number. How did these marriages take place?  Were they amongst each other, within the same family or were there other people from outside who were married into the Yadu dynasty?  Dvārakā was in the ocean and there seems to be no contact with the rest of the world.

Answer: Dvārakā is already present, it is a question of prakat (manifest) and aprakat (unmanifest), Dvārakā is still present now but it is aprakat.  The Lord’s abode has three types of existence:  prakat (manifest), aprakat (unmanifest) and bhauma (terrestrial).  The Vrinḍavan that you see now is Bhauma Vrinḍavan, within that there is also the aprakat Vrinḍavan, which only some great devotees can see in the same place.  When Kṛṣṇa appears, that aprakat becomes prakat here in the same place.  Then you will not see all this garbage that you see now.  The gopīs say that Vraja was here before Kṛṣṇa came, but now it has become manifest, and when He leaves it becomes unmanifest again.  Kṛṣṇa never leaves Vraja, he remains there always.  Then there is this Bhauma Vrinḍavan which is visible to our eyes.

Therefore, in the prakat līlā, there is a mixture of Lord’s abode and associates in the terrestrial Vrinḍavan and the earthly people.  Marriages can also happen between the eternal associates and the people of this world and this is one of the ways of entering into the eternal līlā.

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Entering into Kṛṣṇa’s eternal pastimes

Question: Could you describe in detail the different ways of entering into Kṛṣṇa’s eternal pastimes?

Answer: Kṛṣṇa performs pastimes like human beings, called nara-līlā. Therefore entering into His pastimes is like entering into a particular family in the human world. That can be either by birth or by marriage. We can be born into His līlā or one can be born outside His prakat abode and then enter into His abode through a marriage relation. The idea is that when one enters into His līlā, one should have that particular abhimāna or identity of being an associate of Kṛṣṇa. Therefore one either takes birth or marries and thus acquires this identity naturally as part of Kṛṣṇa. That means one has to be born on a planet where Kṛṣṇa is performing His pastimes. 

In case of Vaikuṇṭha, there is no taking birth, one enters that abode directly, as described in the story of Ajāmila or Dhruva. 

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Question: It seems that the pastime of Jarā shooting a deadly arrow at Kṛṣṇa strengthens the faith of an atheist. Similarly, Śankarācārya, although sent by Kṛṣṇa, taught Māyāvāda philosophy, which encourages people to turn away from the glories of Kṛṣṇa. How should we understand this? Why does Kṛṣṇa promote such pastimes and philosophies?

Answer: Kṛṣṇa is the support of everyone, both theists and atheists. Therefore, both parties find support in His līlā. Kṛṣṇa is not trying to confuse anyone.  The same rainwater nourishes the neem tree as well as the mango tree. Their fruits are different. That is not the fault of rainwater. Śankarācharya propagated Māyāvāda philosophy to refute Buddhism. Afterwards, Śrī Madhvācārya and Śrī Rāmānujācārya came to establish the true intent of the śāstras.

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