Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Story 48 - Story of Raasa leela – 06

When the Lord vanished, gopikas became very sad. They wandered through forests and hills asking every tree and person on the way whether they saw Krishna. They then themselves took the bhava of Krishna and played the various plays that he had enacted starting from poothana vadha till Govardhana udhaaram. But still Krishna didn’t appear in front of them. They then sat on the shores of kalindi and sang a song above the glories of the Lord. Even then when Krishna didn’t appear in front of them, they became very sad and started crying aloud.

At that time, Krishna appeared in front of them with a smile on his face.


The ultimate reality of Lord is non-dual Consciousness. The duality that we currently perceive is just an illusion in the reality of Lord. It is ignorance which makes us forget our very nature of Lord (as everything is but a name and form in the Lord). Since ignorance is cause of all sorrow, the solution to this sorrow is knowledge as knowledge alone can remove ignorance.

This knowledge can be strengthened by the attitude of devotion. In bhakthi we can categorize bhakthi as para bhakthi and apara bhakthi. Para bhakthi is supreme devotion wherein a devotee merges unto the Lord (this is same as brahma atma aikya jnaana). Apara bhakthi is just a means to para bhakthi – this involves different activities like singing the names of the Lord, chanting the names of the Lord etc. As long as a person is in apara bhakthi he will not be able to rejoice in the eternal bliss of the Lord. In order to do that the devotee has to merge unto the Lord. This merging unto the Lord is possible only with the knowledge that everything is the Lord. Thus the main sadhana that a devotee does while practicing apara bhakthi is seeing the Lord everywhere and searching for the Lord everywhere. When we are searching for an entity with ardent desire, we will find our mind seeing everything as that entity. But in devotion this seeing of the mind is not unreal or an illusion because that is the real vision of the world as the ultimate reality of Lord.

Though we may see and perceive the entire world as the Lord, yet we cannot rejoice in the bliss of the Lord unless we totally merge unto the Lord. This merging means that we are no longer separate from the Lord and we therefore don’t forget the Lord even for a single moment. This doesn’t necessarily mean that devotees will not have a separate existence from the Lord but just that the devotee though at the empirical level might be seen as different from the Lord, there is no other thought in the mind of the devotee than the ultimate reality of Lord.

In order to merge unto the Lord we need the knowledge that the Lord alone is real. Along with this knowledge we need to completely open our hearts. Opening of our hearts is done when we seek something so much that we cannot live without it. The peak of this seeking is when we find ourselves completely insufficient to find the Lord.

In knowledge the seeker sees everything as his very Self of Brahman or Lord through his own effort whereas in devotion the devotee surrenders to the Lord as he finds himself incapable to cope up with the duality and separation from the Lord.

The gopikas did all activities of apara bhakthi in order to find the Lord who had vanished. Thus they sought the Lord everywhere – this signifies that we have to see the Lord everywhere. They then sang praises and glories of the Lord. But still the Lord didn’t appear in front of them. The moment they found themselves incapable of any finding – as if they have exhausted all their energy, they surrendered completely to the Lord thereby merging unto the Lord. This merging brought the Lord in front of them with a smile.

We might think that we can use all our powers and efforts to realize the Lord but unless we have the strong desire to realize (the thought that we cannot live even for a moment without the Lord) we will not be able to realize the Lord (this is same for people following knowledge as well).

Thus Bhagavatham through this short incident about the Lord vanishing and reappearing in front of the gopikas is telling us to have that strong desire that we cannot live even a moment without the Lord so that the Lord may reveal himself as our very nature of non-dual Consciousness.

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.

Many of us think that gopis were devoted and that devotion is very different from knowledge. Considering this many say that “I don’t want to learn the scriptures, bhakthi is easier for me” etc. All such views are out of utter ignorance. Devotion and knowledge are not different from one another. Ultimately a person ends up with one entity of the ultimate reality of Lord with the knowledge that “I am that Lord” or “that Lord is me alone”. It is considering this final knowledge of knowing ourselves to be Lord that Sankara and Upanishads proclaim knowledge to be the one and only way to realization.

Devotion is nothing but being dedicated to seeing the Lord everywhere, offering all actions unto the Lord remembering that the Lord is that reality who pervades the entire world and is the non-dual reality spoken as Brahman in the Upanishads. The minute we don’t know the Lord as non-dual reality of Consciousness, we are devoid of devotion. Such a devotion wherein we don’t even know the nature of Lord is termed as lower devotion by Narada himself in the Bhakthi Sutras. Such devotion without knowledge about the nature of the Lord will not help us in realizing our nature of Lord. It will only lead us to more and more sorrows through imperfection, unfulfilling and arguments against knowledge.

Whether we follow the path of learning the scriptures or offering all actions unto the Lord, it finally ends up in realizing that “I am the non-dual reality of Lord”. This is possible only if the person learning the scriptures knows the truth propounded in the scriptures is non-dual reality of Consciousness. In the case of a devotee offering all actions unto the Lord as well, there needs to be knowledge about the nature of such a Lord.

Thus it is wrong to say that I am suited for bhakthi and doesn’t need knowledge. We will see a single sloka of Gopi Gitam today in brief to understand that gopis were not just devoted but they also had knowledge about the nature of Lord.

Na khalu gopika nandano bhavaan
Akhila dehinaam antharaatma drik

You are not the son of Nanda but the indwelling Self of all beings.

The above sloka clearly shows us that the gopis knew the Lord to be all pervasive and the reality behind various living beings. The Self which resides and pulsates in each and every body as “I exist, I exist” is in reality the ultimate reality of Lord. It is this pure Self devoid of body-mind-intellect complex in the form of “My people, my body” etc. that is termed in the scriptures as antharaatma (inner Self). Thus it is very clear that the gopis prayed to the Lord not just with devotion but with the knowledge that the Lord is the non-dual reality of Consciousness and the substratum of the illusory world of names-forms.

Let us all while learning the raasa leela remember this important aspect which is generally not revealed in discourses and sapthaahams about the gopis knowing the real nature of the Lord. Remembering this aspect if we are devoted to the Lord by always contemplating on him we will also be able to get the presence of the Lord in front of us like the gopis achieved thereby rejoicing in eternal bliss (which is the ultimate goal of life).

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?