Thursday, January 03, 2008

Story 48 - Story of Raasa leela – 05

Understanding the pure love and ananya bhaava of the gopikas, Krishna continued playing raasa leela with them.


Here we find the result of pure love of gopikas wherein they didn’t want to leave the world and hence weren’t deluded by the things or people of the world.

In order to get something valuable we will have to get rid of all other distractions and luring for worldly objects. If this is the case with worldly objects, what to speak about the Self which is beyond words & thoughts? Thus in the spiritual path, this is more than true that a person has to get rid of all delusions and always stick to the goal whether he might feel that he isn’t progressing at all.

If a person always sticks to the goal whatever happens, he will then attain the state of immortality and bliss. It is this state that the gopikas attained through raasa leela with the Lord. If they had left the Lord by heeding to his words of going back to their parents, husbands etc. they wouldn’t have rejoiced in bliss. It is bliss that we all are seeking in one or the other form in the world. But we forget that the objects of the Lord are temporary and ever-changing. That which is changing is subject to birth and death. That which dies cannot give us eternal bliss as the object itself is temporary. But amidst the changing world, there needs to be a changeless substratum even as the ever changing variable has a constant as its substratum at any point of time. This changeless substratum is the ultimate reality of Lord of the nature of Consciousness. It is based on changeless Consciousness or the real “I” that all other things in the world change. The ultimate reality is that everything that is present in the illusory world is but an illusion of names and forms in Consciousness.

If we want to rejoice bliss (which is the ultimate goal of all beings in the world), then we need to seek the ultimate reality of Lord. In order to realize one’s own nature of Lord, we have to continuously seek the Lord though we might encounter obstacles. We can categorize obstacles as those which are very easy to conquer and which are very tough to conquer. The tough obstacles are those to which we are too attached. Attachment makes it tough to conquer these obstacles. These include one’s kith and kin which might have one’s Guru as well as part of it.

We should remember that even the Guru might try to persuade us to enter into worldly activities thereby taking us away from the ultimate reality of Lord in order to test our earnest desire for liberation. During those times, whatever happens we shouldn’t stray from our path towards the goal of Lord. Even if our own Guru says we shouldn’t forget the ultimate reality of Lord. This has been illustrated through experience by Mahabali wherein he didn’t heed the words of his Guru Shukracharya but stuck to the path thereby giving him the position of always having the Lord ready to do service for him.

Even though the Lord suggested the gopikas to leave him and go their kith-kin yet they didn’t succumb to his words. They still stuck to the Lord saying that they will not be able to live without the Lord. This attitude thereby made the Lord give them bliss as they had conquered all desires and obstacles. Sri Ramakrishna used to give a very beautiful analogy as to when a person will realize the Lord. One of his devotees once asked him the question. Without answering the question, Sri Ramakrishna immersed him into water not allowing him to come out of the water. The devotee gasping for breath and thereby shouting aloud as much as he can. Finally Sri Ramakrishna gave up his hold thereby allowing the devotee to come out of the water and get some breath. Then Sri Ramakrishna said to the devotee “when you have the earnest and strong desire to attain the Lord even like the desire you had to get one breath of air when you were submerged in water, then you will realize the Lord”. It is this strong desire and love that gopikas demonstrated here. This desire alone can take us through all obstacles, delusions and distractions. Vedanta terms this strong desire for liberation as mumukshutva.

This strong desire for liberation alone will take us through various steps in the spiritual path and until the ultimate reality of Lord is realized as one’s own nature of Consciousness.

When the Lord was playing raasa leela with the gopis, each of the gopis thought that the Lord loved them alone more than anybody else. Seeing ego springing up in the gopis the Lord decided to destroy the ego. He thereby vanished from in front of the gopis.


Though a seeker might progress in the spiritual path he might encounter the toughest obstacle to conquer which is the EGO of “I” and “Mine”. Ramana Maharshi beautifully thus says that Ego is the toughest to conquer as it will pose itself as a friend to ourself. As we generally believe our friends and seldom doubt them, we fall a prey to the delusions of the Ego. It is also for this reason that Sankara says in Upadesa Sahasri that a person who doesn’t have the sense of I and MINE becomes a knower of the Self that very moment.

The Lord proclaims thus in the 18th chapter of Gita:

Yasya na ahamkritho bhaavo buddhir yasya na lipyathe
Hatvaapi sa imaan lokaan naayam hanthi na hanyathe

He who doesn’t have the sense of Ego and whose intellect doesn’t stick to objects of the world, though he might kill the entire world yet he doesn’t kill and isn’t killed by anybody else.

Once a seeker surrenders to the Guru, it is the Guru’s responsibility to ensure that the Ego of the seeker is completely vanquished. But this is possible only when there is total surrender from the seeker. There are many people who complain after coming to AMMA that AMMA doesn’t get rid of their Ego. AMMA says that a Guru would want his disciple to know and be aware when the Ego is vanquished. This is compared to a doctor performing an operation on the patient without any anesthesia. But this is possible only if we completely surrender to the Guru.

We find the Sadguru of Krishna here helping the gopis to destroy their Ego the moment he sights it. Though the gopis had completely surrendered to the Lord and were so devoted to the Lord seeing the Lord in all activities yet Ego overpowered them. This goes on to show that a seeker should always be aware of the thoughts in his mind and keep the Ego in check. If the gopis themselves fell a prey to Ego then what to speak about seekers like us who aren’t so devoted to the ultimate reality of Lord?

We don’t need to worry that we aren’t as devoted like the gopis and thereby will not realize the Lord in this birth. We just need to know that the Ego has to be kept in check and surrender completely to the Lord. A devotee doesn’t need to even try to conquer his Ego – he just needs to completely surrender to the Lord and the Lord takes care of the Ego when it rises.

We will see in the next day as to how the activity of vanishing from the gopis helps in elimination of Ego.

Let us all try to surrender completely to the Lord and be totally devoted to the Lord so that when the Ego rises in us the Lord takes care of eliminating the Ego and making us ever immersed in bliss of the Lord.

Story 48 - Story of Raasa leela – 04

Shuka continued the story:

Anyway gopikas went to Krishna at all times. The Lord told them – “O Dear ones! Welcome to you. Why is it that you all have come here now? Has anything befallen Gokula? The time is night when dangerous creatures will be lurking around. It is not right for girls to walk around at this time. Therefore go back to your homes immediately. Fathers, husbands and relatives will be now worrying in not finding you there. You have already seen the beauty of Yamuna shore earlier. Therefore go back to your homes soon.


Bhagavatham is here trying to show two important points to be remembered by a seeker in the spiritual path.

The first point is that we should never ever forget the ultimate reality of Lord even if it costs us our parents or relatives to become enemies. We find the mention of great jnaanis in the puranas who have achieved realization through giving the Lord higher priority that anything in the world. We find Vibhishana setting aside his brother Ravana for the sake of standing for the reality of Lord (this story symbolically drives the point that we should set aside our brother if he poses an obstacle for our spiritual path – when it comes to choosing between our brother and the Lord, we should choose the Lord alone). We find Prahlaada setting aside his father Hiranyakashipu for remembering the ultimate reality of Lord. Finally we find Mahabali setting aside his own Guru of Shukracharya for the sake of the ultimate reality of Lord. Thus the puranas clearly drive the point that even if we have to set aside our Guru for the sake of the Lord, we shouldn’t hesitate even a single moment for the same (this is very important in current day as we find many Self-proclaimed Gurus – moreover there are many disciples of various missions like Ramakrishna Mission, Chinmaya Mission where they hold on to their Guru instead of the truth).

The second point that Bhagavatham is making through Krishna is that the spiritual path will always be full of testing for the sadhaka. The Lord himself will test whether the sadhaka is able to stand up the obstacles in the path boldly without straying or backing up from the path. This is necessary because a person who has taken lot of strain and effort to achieve something alone will be able to relish the joy. If we give a person 100 bucks, he will not be able to gain joy out of it like a person who does hard-work to earn the same money. More and more sorrows and obstacles also help the seeker to remain focused and his eyes affixed on the goal. Krishna is here thereby testing the gopikas by telling them to go back. He is trying to persuade them to withdraw from the spiritual path by speaking about their relatives, friends etc. These are few of the people who are pivotal in making us fall from the spiritual path and divert our attention from the ultimate reality of Lord. Thus the Lord is testing the gopikas devotion and faith as to whether they are falling down or not. We find Yama trying to delude Nachiketas by mentioning a lot of worldly possessions in the Katha Upanishad. It is only the seeker whose eyes are fixed upon the goal and who will take nothing less than the goal – he will not fall down upon being given worldly possessions. This is not just the case with Hindu philosophies but this is the same for any path which has a goal. We even find Jesus being tempted by the devil while contemplating on the Lord at the peak of the mountain. Even for passing an exam, we may be tempted by tv, movies, music etc. It is only that person who has the goal of passing the exam strong who will not fall a prey to diversions but ensure that the goal is achieved.

We will find in the next day as to how a sadhaka should respond and react to the temptations through the gopikas answer to Krishna’s words.

Let us all try to have strong devotion so that we will not be tempted and diverted from the spiritual path whatever may happen in the world.

Hearing the words of the Lord, gopikas became perturbed and were lost into thinking. Shedding tears from their eyes, they requested thus to Krishna – “O Krishna! You are Ishwara for us. We cannot do any household activity by setting you aside. You are the most liked dress of embodied people. Therefore please never get rid of us. If you leave us then we will have to get burnt in the fire of separation and thereby attain you”.


Bhagavatham is here showing as to how a real devotee will react to the testing he faces from the ultimate reality of Lord. This can be summarized into just one statement – the devotee never gets his focus from the ultimate reality of Lord. As we discussed yesterday a real devotee of the Lord will never get away from the Lord whatever be the situation or surrounding. Even if the worst thing befalls a devotee, he will just offer it to the Lord taking solace from the Lord but never getting away from the Lord.

This is what we find here the gopis doing. They would rather die and merge unto the Lord than being separated from the Lord. AMMA gives a beautiful story about one of the gopis. Once news spread that Krishna was in the Yamuna shores playing flute. All the gopis started running towards Krishna. One of them was preparing food – she left it and ran towards Krishna. Another was cleaning the house – she ran towards Krishna with the broom stick. Another was serving her husband – she ran towards Krishna leaving her husband in the middle. Yet another gopi was taking a bath. She came out in a towel and ran towards Krishna not even being bothered to cover herself properly. There was something sad about one of the gopi. She ran towards Krishna but her husband stood between her and the door. He wouldn’t let her go. The gopi tried her best but couldn’t get beyond her husband. Crying because of the thought of separation from Krishna, the gopi gave up her life contemplating on Krishna. Giving up life remembering Krishna is merging unto Krishna. The gopi would rather give up her life and merge unto Krishna than remaining separated from him knowing that he was very near to her (yet she cannot meet him).

Some people might think here that gopis were merely devoted and didn’t have any knowledge at all. It is to negate such notions that Bhagavatham here is giving the reply of the gopis to Krishna. We find in their words the knowledge that everything is but the Lord alone – we also find the essence of how to live while doing worldly actions – the gopis did all their actions as an offering to the Lord with remembrance of the Lord, therefore here they reply by telling that they cannot do any activity setting him aside. This is what all sadhakas have to follow in their life – whatever be the activity that we are doing, we should remember the Lord while doing the action. This right attitude of remembering the Lord while doing any action makes the action a pooja which purifies our mind and helps in realization through knowledge.

A person who follows this attitude while doing any action and renounces anything & everything that poses an obstacle to the spiritual path is a real devotee of the Lord. Such a devotee will be ever immersed in the Lord thereby liberated from ocean of samsaara characterized by sorrows and sufferings.

We will see as to how the Lord responds back to such a devotee’s plea of not having to face separation in the next day.

Let us all try to be real devotees of the Lord like the gopis so that we may be ever protected by the Lord and will rejoice in the bliss by merging unto the Lord (that bliss which is the goal of human life itself).

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