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October 12, 1999   VNN4923  Comment on this storyAbout the AuthorOther Stories by this Author

Lila, Oneness And The Will Of God


BY SWAMI B.V. TRIPURARI

EDITORIAL, Oct 12 (VNN) — (From Sanga sadhusanga@swami.org) "That some devotees are 'dearer' requires others to be less so. However, those who are 'less dear' are at the same time indirectly the dearmost becasue they make it possible for the dearmost to be so."

Q u e s t i o n: Is it possible for jivas to evolve through the various stages of love and eventually end up in the highest platform of service to Srimati Radharani?

Swami B.V. Tripurari: Evolution is there in prema through the stages of sneha, pranaya, mana, raga, anuraga, bhava and mahabhava relative to ones dominant emotion (sthayi bhava). Subala's love reaches to bhava (this bhava is different than the general conception of bhava that preceeds prema) manjari bhava reaches up to mahabhava.

Q u e s t i o n: My question has to do with the eternal position of the jiva. If each of us has an eternal spiritual relationship that is fixed, why is the Gaudiya conception almost exclusively concerned with Madhura rasa? If each jiva has a particlar relationship that they think is the highest, what about all of those who have a different eternal relationship from Madhura rasa?

Swami B.V. Tripurari: According to Bhaktivinoda Thakura, the jiva's love for Krishna is dormant in the soul. However, it cannot be activated without the connection with Sri Guru. Other Gaudiya Vaisnavas differ on this point.

They say that the svarupa of the jiva is not dormant. They say that it is planted in the jiva in a seed form at the time of initiation.

I think that under scrutiny they are saying the same thing, although it sounds otherwise at first. At any rate, we follow Bhaktivinoda Thakura as represented by Bhaktisiddhnata Saraswati. In this lineage we are taught that the svarupa is dormant and it awakens through association. 'Madhurya rati' is stressed because this is the farthest reach of spritual attainment that Mahaprabhu came to give. It is the essence of Vrindavana, where all the other rasas participate in facilitating madhurya directly or indirectly.

If we preach the glory of Radha Govinda's union, in due course we will find our own place in realtion to it. In our group most devotees awaken attraction to either manjari bhava, or the love of Subala, Krishna's bosom buddy, who assists him in his conjugal affairs as well as cowherding.

Q u e s t i o n: One can say that qualitatively we are the same as God, but quantitatively we are different. That seems quite logical at first glance, but what does 'quantity' mean on that plane? Is that not merely quality again?

A n s w e r: Under scrutiny we are quantitatively and qualitatively different from God. However, becasue we are a particle of one of his saktis, we are simultaneously one with him. His saktis have their ground in him with no independent existence.

Q u e s t i o n: You write that in one sense Yasoda is superior to Devaki and Nanda is superior to Vasudeva, in another sense Devaki is another name of Yasoda and Vasudeva another name of Nanda. This raises the question of 'acintya bedhabedha tattva,' We hear a lot about the 'difference' part of 'bedhabedha,' but what does the 'oneness' part mean?

A n s w e r: Oneness means that there is only one - Krishna - and the difference is his saktis. They are one with him because they have no independent existence. Because they bring about variety there is difference within the oneness of ultimate reality.

Within the lila this difference is essential. That some devotees are 'dearer' requires others to be less so. However, those who are 'less dear' are at the same time indirectly the dearmost becasue they make it possible for the dearmost to be so. Thus there is oneness in absolute love.

Lila means the will of God. We are not to agrue with that. This is oneness.

When we agree to be slaves of the Absolute, he expresses himself through us for his pleasure. This in turn is out of the highest prospect in pursuit of joy.

Send your questions or comments to Q&A http://www.swami.org, or email sadhusanga@swami.org.

[Reprinted with permission from Sanga 10/9/99 http://www.swami.org]


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