1. Thinking of Krishna at the Time of Death
Q: Is going to Goloka (Krishna’s transcendental abode) really as simple and mechanical as visualizing Krishna and all other material representations of him… or is my understanding incomplete? Because if this is the case, it seems like a rather easily manipulatable system. About as manipulatable as anything else in the material world. Please explain this to me.
A: It appears mechanical to you because you think that it is easy to think of Krishna at the time of death. It is difficult to think of Krishna while living what to speak of an abnormal situation like death. Can you think of Krishna at your will? Do you have control over your thoughts? Do you know what thoughts you will have next second? Lie down and close your nostrils and mouth so that you cannot breath and feel suffocated and see if you can think of Krishna at that time. Or poke a needle in your hand and try to think of Krishna. Death is a much more problematic situation. You are being kicked out of your house called body in which you have lived so long and are very much attached to it. You surely do not enjoy this moment. In the same verse of GIta where Krishna talks of thinking about Him at the time death, He has used the phrase sada tad-bhava-bhavitah (the mind is controlled by previous remembrance). People forget about this part. It means only those who can think of Krishna always while living will be able to think of Him while dying. You have to get this bhava or the mood of devotion and that is not mechanical at all.
2. Sac-cid-ananda of the Jiva
Q: When it is said that the jiva is sat-cit-ananda [eternity, knowledge and bliss], I understand that this is not the sat-cit-ananda of Krishna’s svarupa shakti. So what is meant by that in relation to the jiva?
A: When it is said that jiva is sac-cid-ananda it means that it is not acit or inert like mater and it is not miserable. This is done mainly to distinguish the jiva from the mind, which some philosophers take it to be.
Q: Did Kamsa attain sayujya [oneness with the Lord or merging into his body] (SB 7.1.31) as in the tika of Visvanath or sarupya [same form as the Lord] (SB 10.44.39) as said within the sloka?
A: Both are mentioned, as you have stated. I would say that he first got sayujya and then sarupya, as is evident from the instance of Sisupala. Sometimes it happens that an asura [demon] who is killed by Krsna enters into His body (Bhagavat Saujya) but later he is taken out and given a sarupya mukti.
4. Radharani’s coronation
Q: I don’t want to disturb Your bhajana with my questions unnecessary but I would like to know something more about Sri Jiva Gosvami’s writting style. In Madhava Mahotsava He shows aisvarya aspect of Srimati Radhika. I am interested to know what is reason for it? Is Srimati’s coronation real or is it just play, as Her mana (pride, sulking) is a means to increase Krsna’s desire?
A: There is a philosophical reason behind it. Madhurya (sweetness) is founded on aisvarya and thus it is sometimes needed to depict it. This is also to remind us so that we do not mistake their pastimes to be ordinary love affairs. Because they are so similar, so there is good possibility to mistake them due to our past samskaras (subtle impressions) buried in our heart.
Q: Bhakti doesn’t come by tapasya (austerities), but because of Grace and through association. It is yadrcchaya (out of God’s own volition). However, according to Mahabharata, the bhakti to the Supreme Lord arises in the heart of an individual as a result of penances performed in the thousands of the previous birth. What is the reason for giving a different explanation of bhakti?
A: Sometimes some statements are made which appeal to people, but have a hidden meaning. Sanskrit is language with many meanings.
6. God’s Vehicles
Q: Every God has a vahana (vehicle) – Vishnu has Garuda, Brahma the Marala swan, Shiva the bull Nandi, Kamadeva has a parrot, Ganesh a mouse, but Krishna, Ram and Mahaprabhu do not have a vehicle. Is there a significance in this? Perhaps this shows their humanity?
A: Rama has Hanuman, and Krishna has Garuda. But because their lila is a human lila they do not use them unless to show their aishvarya (majestic) side, like when Krishna went to fight with Bhaumasura and then to heaven to return the ear-rings. So you are right “this shows their humanity”.
We are under the influence of time and karma. By using time in remembering Krishna and by working to please Him we can transcend both because He is beyond both.
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