Sonhood Of God
“Love’s power is unthinkable. Although it is impossible, the infinite is defeated by the finite. What is that unthinkable position? It can only be attained through love. And how adorable and precious and valuable that love is! To acquire a drop of that divine love, no sacrifice is sufficient. So we are encouraged to ‘die to live’.”
We are worshippers not of the fatherhood of Godhead, but of the sonhood of Godhead. We don’t worship Him as the creator or as the controller, out on the circumference, but in the conception of sonhood, He is in the center. He is not on the circumference, but in the center. That is the conception of Śrīmad Bhagavatam: sonhood, and then consorthood, a more heavenly expression is found there. He is in the center and His extensions emanate from Him. So in our conception of the absolute, His father is controlling Him, His mother is abusing Him, and He is seen to fall at the feet of His beloved.
This can be understood by considering that we are worshipers not of the fatherhood of Godhead, but of the sonhood of Godhead. We don’t worship Him as the creator or as the controller, out on the circumference, but in the conception of sonhood, He is in the center. He is not on the circumference, but in the center. It is not that from one side He is furnishing everything, creating everything in the background. No; He is in the center. That is the conception of Śrīmad Bhāgavatam: sonhood, and then consorthood, a more heavenly expression, is found there. He is there in the center, and His extensions emanate from Him. So in our conception of the absolute, His father is controlling Him, His mother is abusing Him and punishing Him, and He is also seen to fall at the feet of His beloved. What to speak of guru, even Godhead Himself may appear to become bewildered about His absolute postion.
And why? Love divine. Prema. So how highly precious a thing divine love must be. After liberation, beyond calculative devotion, in the highest plane of the whole creation, eternal love reigns supreme. And that divine love emanates from Him just as rays of light emanate from the sun.
So He is at the center and His extension is on all sides. Baladeva on one hand supplies the energy of existence, maintaining everything in the background, and the ecstatic side is controlled by His potency Śrīmatī Rādhārāni, who can make the Absolute Independent a ball in the play of Her hand.
It is inconceivable, it is incalculable, but this is the very nature of divinity. The Lord says, ahaṁ bhakta-parādhīno… “Yes, I have freely accepted subjugation to My devotees. I have no independence of My own. The way My devotees treat Me is so wonderful that it makes Me subservient to them.” Divine Love is so charming that it is considered to be the ultimate goal of life, and Śrī Chaitanya Mahāprabhu personally came along with Nityānanda Prabhu to broadcast that news to the world.
Ocean Of Love
We may have a taste of that divine life only in that plane of nectar. That we may live in the waves of that ocean of love is the highest objective of our lives.
In that divine realm our individual personalities can be maintained. It is not necessary that if we dive deep into the plane of consciousness, we must lose our own personality, our own individuality. It is not necessary at all. And yet the nature of divine love is that you are still living, but you are living on his behalf, wholesale converted into his service. It is wonderful thing: you can keep your personality for the interest of Kṛṣṇa. But you must have no selfish motive, no conception of separate interest. Merging there is not physical, mortal merging, not merging of the losing variety, but the kind of merging spoken of in Śrīmad Bhāgavatam (11.29.34):
niveditātmā vichikīrṣito me
mayātma-bhūyāya cha kalpate vai
“One who is subjected to birth and death attains immortality when he gives up all material activities, dedicates his life to the execution of My order, and acts according to My directions. In this way, he becomes fit to enjoy the spiritual bliss derived from exchanging loving mellows with Me.”
And in Bhāgavad-gītā (18.55) Kṛṣṇa says:
bhaktyā mām abhijānāti
yāvān yaś chāsmi tattvataḥ
tato māṁ tattvato jñātvā
“Only through love and devotion can I be understood as I am. Thereafter, fully understanding Me, you can merge into My entourage.”
This “merging” is explained by Kṛṣṇa: “They enter into Me to become a person in My family. Among the circles of My friends, he enters: viśate tad anantaram. He becomes as if My own. That means that without losing your personality you can be fully My own.” To enter into the Lord’s family is a living merging, not a physical or dead merging int Brahman, spirit. That is the result of prema, divine love.
That ideal is above the general conception of merging into the oneness of Brahman, where one loses oneself in the ocean of consciousness as if in a sound sleep. We are not interested in that. Rather, through Kṛṣṇa consciousness, we become lost swimming in the ocean of sweetness. This has been accepted by Śrī Chaitanya Mahāprabhu.
Victory Of Devotion
Once, Rādhārāni left the rasa-līlā when She saw that all the gopīs were being dealt with almost equally by Kṛṣṇa. Equal treatment towards one and all did not satisfy Her. So She decided to display a composition of singing and dancing to please Kṛṣṇa in a most wonderful transcendental way. Rādhārāni showed Her skill in various ways, and then at the last moment, She suddenly disappeared. And as Kṛṣṇa was engaged in that combined singing and dancing, He suddenly found that Rādhārāni was absent. So He left everyone to search for Rādhārāni. He met Her on the way, and after walking for some time, Rādhārāṇī told Him, “I can’t move, I can’t walk anymore. If You would like to go on, You will have to carry Me. I cannot go further.” And suddenly, Kṛṣṇa disappeared.
A disciple of Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Saraswatī Ṭhākur once asked him why Kṛṣṇa had disappeared in such a way. But our Guru Mahārāj was very disturbed to hear such a question. In this līlā, Kṛṣṇa is apparently showing some disregard for Rādhārāni. So our Guru Mahārāj, by his very nature, could not even tolerate such a question. He had so much partiality towards Rādhārāni that he was not disposed to hear anything against Her. And so, in a rather excited mood he answered, “Do you find any devotion here? What bhakti do you find here that you have asked me this question?” The question was rejected. He could not tolerate even an enquiry regarding that Pastime.
When this news came to me, I tried to find what Bhakti Vinod Ṭhākur had written in his own words about this verse of Śrīmad Bhāgavatam in his own translation, Bhagavatārka-Marīchi-Mālā. Bhakti Vinod Ṭhākur has harmonized the difficulties in the verse. He explains that Kṛṣṇa was thinking, “I would like to see what will be the mentality of separation in Her.” Only to appreciate the depth of the separation She felt from Him did Kṛṣṇa disappear. Then of course Kṛṣṇa returned after some time.
But our Guru Mahārāj could not even tolerate the idea. “Where is devotion to be found here?” But Bhakti Vinod Ṭhākur interpreted this pastime to mean that Kṛṣṇa was driven to see what kind of happiness in separation Śrīmatī Rādhārāni would experience. He took this as an example of how the absolute becomes subservient to His devotee. And so we find that the negative, Śrīmati Rādhārāṇī, is so powerful that the positive, Kṛṣṇa, becomes powerless near Her. It is as if the positive loses its separate existence. This is the victory of devotion.
Devotion is represented in the negative side, drawing from the positive. There is the juice in a fruit and the one who extracts the juice from the fruit. The highest devotion is found where the extraction is in its most intensified condition – there is the victory of the devotees: where the absolute accepts defeat before his servitors. This reveals the real presence of devotion, dedication, surrender.
Lord Of Love
Surrender is so powerful that it can even capture the absolute. We are aspiring for that kind of potency. And whoever possesses that – they are all in all, they are our masters. For our highest interest, we must look towards the direction in which that power is intensified. We shall try to look wherever we find surrender in a thick, condensed stage. Our aim should be directed towards that. We are beggars of that. We are not beggars for anything which can be found in this mundane world: na dhanaṁ na janaṁ na sundariṁ… not wealth, followers or the enjoyment of women, but eliminating everything else, our aim should be directed towards one thing – that most intensified condition of divine service to the Lord of Love.
We should try to convert everything in such a way that it can go to that unknown quarter beyond the jurisdiction of our sense experience or mental acquisition, like a rocket sent towards deep space. Śrīmad Bhāgavatam, which draws the essence from all of the revealed scriptures, says that divine love is the most desirable and original thing. We must not allow ourselves to run here and there searching for base fulfillment. We must forcibly concentrate our attention on divine love. Divine love is the highest thing for us, it is the highest in creation, the highest in eternity.
And to take our stand in the negative position is the strategy of remaining in the relativity of the highest quarter of service to Kṛṣṇa. Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Śaraswati Ṭhākur once composed a verse expressing the proper attitude. Pūjāla rāgapaṭha gaurava bāṅge mattala sādhujana viṣaya raṅge. “The path of divine love is worhipable to us and should be held overhead as our highest aspiration.”
He ordered that a cottage be built for him in Govardhan and said, “I shall live there. I am not fit to live in Rādhā-kuṇḍa. So I shall live in a lower position, but my gurus – Gaurakiśora dāsa Bābaji, Bhakti Vinod Ṭhākur, and others – are fit to serve there. So I shall go and serve them there in Rādhā-kuṇḍa, and then return to a little lower position, in Govardhan. There I shall stay.” That is the proper tactic to maintain a subjective position in the subjective world.
Otherwise, if we think that we are in the highest quarter, that higher reality will vanish from us. Only from a little lower position shall we view that higher plane with respect. But whenever we think that we have attained that higher position, that we are there – we are nowhere. That is the nature of the higher world. So we must maintain a respectable distance. If we try to look directly, we lose, but if we try to look at that plane through a screen or from a hidden place, then we may see. It is most peculiar. If we want to come in direct contact with things of a higher order, then they vanish from our experience. If you can’t come in direct connection with something, you may find out about it by espionage – it is something like espionage. If you try to know it directly, it is impossible. Only from behind a screen can we have a glimpse.
In that way we can experience the highest ontological truth. As if by chance ontological truth comes to us, He accepts us suddenly, and we can find Him. He is absolute, He is an autocrat, He is independent; whenever He comes by His own whim to give His connection to us, we can have it. It is never within my clutches. He is not an object to come directly within my control. He is always above.
By this system we can come to the highest realization. In the highest order of līlā of Rādhā-Govinda, Kṛṣṇa asks Rādhārāṇī to do something, and She refuses, saying, “No, I won’t do that.” And yet this has been accepted as the highest mood of the negative side. To deny Kṛṣṇa whatever He may want is called bhāma-bhāva and Rādhārāṇī is full of that nature. But that enhances the eagerness, the earnestness of Kṛṣṇa. The whole system is a crooked one. And yet this is the way recommended for the poorest to come in contact with the highest. It is a wonderful device. The direct transaction, the clear face-to-face transaction, is absent there. Everything is like stealing. Everything there is a stealthy performance. In the highest area, in the area of autocracy, it is wholly black-marketeering. And for that reason it is known as aprākṛta – just similar to the lowest conception of things. In our present living condition, we can’t tolerate autocracy. It is considered the lowest thing. But autocracy is there in the highest world. So it is known as aprākṛta, the highest quarter of the transcendental world which can harmonize everything.
The beauty of that plane is that even what is considered to be of the lowest type here is all harmonized there. The harmonious strength is so great there that what is undesirable, nasty, and bad here is harmonized in such a way that it gets the highest position there. Kṛṣṇa’s peculiar position is such that the lowest has been proven to be the highest by His magical touch. Because He is there, no blot is a blot; it is pure. Kṛṣṇa consciousness is the touch of Kṛṣṇa, the beauty of the highest order. Just as the touchstone will not only convert silver into gold, but it will also transform even iron, lead or any lower thing into gold, the touchstone of Kṛṣṇa is so powerful that the lowest type of everything within our conception receives the highest position by His magical touch.
Raghunātha Dāsa Goswāmi says that if you are unable to accept this as truth, then you will be thrown down into Vaikuntha: “Go live there, where general law rules, where there are fair dealings. Go down to the land of fair dealings, simple dealings, where you can calculate and go on living very nicely.”
A Cowherd Boy
But the higher world of Vṛndāvana is a most diplomatic position. Even Mahādeva and Brahmā are both bewildered in understanding it. Baffled by Kṛṣṇa, Brahmā surrendered to Him and confessed, “How could I know that the highest truth was a cowherd boy with a rod under His armpit and a morsel of food in His hand, searching for His friends?” Brahmā said: “I have some intimacy with my father Nārāyana; whenever any difficulty appears, I approach Him to get some instruction and then act accordingly. But I have never come in connection with any supreme power like this. A cowherd boy taking His food in one hand and a rod in the other, going off in search of His friends – He is the highest? It is inconceivable. But now I see that You are far above my father Nārāyana. Vaikuntha is a fair and lawful field we know. But we have never experienced such Pastimes of tactful and obscure diplomacy. That this sort of thing is going on in the highest quarter, we should not be blamed for being unaware of that. It is wonderful and hidden, obscure. And yet there is a plane where so much wealth and sweetness are unknown to us.” Thomas Gray once wrote:
“Full many a gem of purest ray serene
The dark unfathomed caves of ocean bear;
Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,
And waste its sweetness on the desert air.”
– Elegy in a Country Churchyard
How peculiar it is to find that the master of everything is a thief. Everything is in His possession, and yet He comes as a thief. Everyone belongs to Him, but He plays the part of a debauchee. Kṛṣṇa’s Pastimes are all wonderful. Everything belongs to Him, yet He behaves like a thief, like one of us. That is a peculiar plane and a peculiar type of pastime.
There, all are equal, and some may even be superior. The father and mother of the absolute may be chastising Him, and the Lord may be weeping. Here is bhakti. Where is bhakti? What is the symptom of pure devotion? Where the highest authority is submissive to the servant – that is devotion. Bhakta-parādhīnaḥ: The highest has been forcibly taken down to serve the devotee. Devotion has such a peculiar position and power. Kṣetra-hari prema bhajana: The last acquisition of devotion is that which can control the Supreme Lord and forcibly take Him to the devotee as a friendly servant. The master surrenders to the servant.
The infinite is at the disposal of the finite. Can we conceive of this? Not only that, but it is done stealthily in various diplomatic ways. So in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, the finite achieves the supreme-most unthinkable position, when the infinite comes to serve him. Such a glorious and unthinkable position appears impossible. Yet this impossibility can be effected by devotion, rāga, love. Love’s power is unthinkable. Although it is impossible, the infinite is defeated by the finite. What is that unthinkable position? It can only be attained through love.
And how adorable and precious and valuable love is! To acquire a drop of that divine love, no sacrifice is sufficient. So we are encouraged to “die to live” And in that sense, wholesale death is adorable. To achieve such divine love is the impossible of the impossible, but Mahāprabhu came to give us that. How magnanimous He is! He Himself took the position of a canvasser begging from door to door, “Enlist your name. I have come to recruit everyone for that highest quarter where the infinite will be a slave to the finite. Take a drop of that valuable thing.” It is the impossible of the impossible, the inconceivable of the inconceivable.
So give up your wild-goose-chasing habit and collect and concentrate all your might to progress in this line, to try to go to the temple of love divine.
In Śrīmad Bhāgavatam (10.47.61), Uddhava says:
āsām aho charaṇa-reṇu-juṣām ahaṁ syāṁ
vṛndāvane kim api gulma-latauṣadhīnām
yā dustyajaṁ svajanam ārya-patham cha hitvā
bhejur mukunda-padavīṁ śrutibhir vimṛgyām
“The gopīs of Vṛndāvana gave up their husbands, children, and families who are very difficult to renounce, and sacrificed even their religious principles to take shelter of the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa, which are sought after even by the Vedas themselves. O! Grant me the fortune to take birth as a blade of grass in Vṛndāvana, so that I may take the dust of the lotus feet of those great souls upon my head.”
Risk enhances the mood of love. It is a necessary part of the highest form of love: to risk so-called worldly achievement. The quest of divine love must be undertaken even at the risk of so much so-called purity of this world. That commands the highest postion. Still, it should be very carefully taken. It should follow the line of humility shown by Newton, who was considered by scientists of his day to know everything. He said, “I know nothing.” That is the way of proper realization: As much as one is in the midst of genuine purity, so much he thinks that “I am impure.” That is the nature of infinite measurement. Because the charm is so infinite, it cannot but be estimated in that way.
The more they achieve, the more they thirst, the more earnestness is found within them. This is the characteristic of realization of the infinite. As much as one progresses, so much he thinks himself helpless in going further for measurement. No part of the infinite comes into the plane of measurement.
mukam karoti vāchālaṁ
panghum langhāyate girīm
yat kṛpā tam ahaṁ vande
śrī gurun dīna-tāranam
We cannot understand the infinite; we don’t find ourselves qualified to give any expression about that, so we become dumb, thinking, “What shall I say?” But He makes us speak, He makes us open our mouths. Otherwise the reader, the knower, becomes dumb.
A bona fide searching person is struck dumb with Kṛṣṇa’s ways. He cannot give any expression to that. But the power from on high comes down to make him give some statement. In that way, the truth from that part comes here. He begins to speak, to give vent to his feelings, being pressed by the higher plane, that higher entity. He has no power of his own to walk, but the Lord’s wonderful power can help him cross mountains. This is the nature of the grace of the almighty, of the absolute: by His power, everything can move and live. Yato vā imāni bhūtāni jāyante, yena jātāni jīvanti, yat prayanty abhisaṁviśanti: “He is the cause of production, sustenance, and again withdrawal. Evolution, dissolution, and sustenance in the middle. He is the prime, universal cause.”
We are quarreling in a foreign land for fictitious gain. But Kṛṣṇa is engaged in a loving search for His long lost servants. He wants to save them and take them all home. Only by the grace of that absolute is it possible. A wave is coming from there to take us home, to where everything finally enters. Everything which is created disappears into the subtle existence at the wholesale dissolution of this world. But again with a new evolution they come out. And some enter into the permanent līlā and do not come back into this world of exploitation and renunciation.
Search for Kṛṣṇa
We must inquire after Kṛṣṇa. But first we should inquire, “Who am I? Where am I? In which way shall I move to approach the higher domain?” We are always inquiring, but for what type of thing? Now we should open our hearts wide and inquire about Him. This is our dire necessity. We can’t avoid it. And what that inquiry contains, we can’t predict the level of thought. Brahman, Paramātmā, Bhagavān. Bhagavān inquiry is the highest: the search for Śrī Kṛṣṇa, Reality the Beautiful.
It is a natural necessity within us, for our own interest; we can’t avoid it. A sane man who does not want to deceive himself can’t avoid the search for Śrī Kṛṣṇa. The most general thing in our nature is to inquire after happiness. This is the general question of all animated beings. The search for Śrī Kṛṣṇa means searching for rasa, the highest form of ecstasy.
If we examine ourselves, we will read and cry: “What have I done? What is my necessity? And how am I passing my days? I must repent, cry. I have passed my days uselessly, I am a traitor to my own self, I am committing suicide. My real complaint is against myself and my so-called friends. We have nothing to do here.” So, read and cry; do or die! Progress in the right way, or you are inviting your death. The general tenor of life, of all existence, in the most scientific way, will be this: Search for Śrī Kṛṣṇa, Reality the Beautiful. that is the highest goal not only of humanity, but for all creation. And all problems are harmonized and solved by that.
No complaints against this attempt can be normal. Deviation from this general instruction, the general call, is all false, unnecessary, and injurious. This is the truth, the necessity of everyone, wherever there is life. The most grand, extensive, and friendly call to all, to the whole of the world – the only friendly call – is this: “March towards Kṛṣṇa!” It is the only call. All others should be silenced. All other topics should be silenced, should be stopped, and only if this call remains, the real welfare of the world remains. So, the Upanisads say: Yasmin vijñate sarvam idam vijñātam bhavatī yasmin prāpte sarvam idam prāptam bhavatī. “Inquire into that upon knowing which, nothing further remains to be known. Try to achieve that upon gaining which, nothing further remains to be gained.”
A comprehensive call is going out, and this is really nonsectarianism. Apparently it is thought to be sectarian by the abnormal thinkers. But to every normal thinking person, it is the most general universal thing that can be dealt with.
At present, we are quarreling in a foreign land for fictitious gain. But a sweet wave is coming from above to save us and take us all home. Only by the grace of the Lord’s loving search for His lost servants is it at all possible. And all that is expected from us is to join the search for Śrī Kṛṣṇa and march towards the divine domain. Let us join the universal march towards the divine domain, save ourselves, and go back home, back to Godhead.