The Mystery of All Mysteries
by Srila Bhakti Raksaka Sridhara Maharaja
In his Krsna-karnamrta (verse 107), Bilvamangal Thakur states, “Bhaktis tvayi sthiratara bhagavan yadi syad” – My Lord, if my dedication, my veneration to You is permanent – it is in a settled stage, daivena nah phalati divvya-kisora-murtih – and if it reaches to such a height that we can find divya-kisora-murtih – if we can reach so far to find out the eternal pastimes of the Divine Couple; if we can reach to this extent – then we will find muktih svayam mukalitanjali sevate ‘sman’ – Oh, the facility of liberation – emancipation – with folded palms will come to serve us in any way we like.
As well, dharmartha-kama-gatayah sramaya-pratiksah, dharma, the results of being dutiful – artha, the art of money-making – kama, the objects of sense perception – they are all ready and waiting outside for whenever a call comes from us to run to our front excited, “How can I serve you, my master, my Lord.”
That will be our position. Dharma, artha, kama will wait outside and whenever we will call them, they will present themselves, “What do you want me to do?” And mukti, liberation will always be moving around us with folded palms doing service of different types if, in our fortuitous position, we can rise up to such a height as to find that Divine Couple engaged in happy pastimes.”
Bilvamangala Thakura showed in his life, a peculiar example. How, from the house of a prostitute, he went straight to Vrndavan and got the grace of the Supreme Entity. How, in his life he was so much engrossed – almost swallowed up wholly – as a sensualist of the lowest type and yet, from that position in a single life, he could raise himself to the highest stage of realization of Reality the Beautiful.
Mahaprabhu took two books from South India; one was Brahma-samhita and the other Krsna-karnamrta. Krsna-karnamrta is about the pastimes of Vrndavana and Sri Brahma-Samhita shows the ontological basis of the Absolute – how the Lord of Vrndavana is the highest conception of Reality.
Krsna-lila is not a matter of history; in history events occur. They happen once and cannot reoccur at any time. History is a phenomenon in which what went on in the past never comes again. There is an expression that, “History repeats itself,” but that is in the similar nature of the event, not in the actual fact. History repeats its nature, but what is gone – is gone. But in Krsna-lila in the eternal world, it is not so. It may present the same thing every time – at every second. So, it is called nitya-lila, eternal pastimes – crossing the limitation and jurisdiction, of history. In history, what is past is dead. But in the pastimes of the Lord, they are always present, nitya – eternal.
He can show Himself in His eternal forms simultaneously. So, in His past, present and future, all events are simultaneously occurring. When He enters the arena of Kamsa, different groups are seeing Him in different ways. What is seen by one section of people is seen in a different way by another section, according to their own nature. Even the blind can see Him if He wills.
If He wills to show Himself to anyone – even the blind – they can see Him clearly, because the eyes of flesh are not necessary to see Him. By His will power alone, He can reveal Himself to any person. That was the case with Dhrtarastra in the Kuru-sabha. Dhrtarastra said, “For the time being, my Lord, restore my eyesight so that I can see Your wonderful form which others are seeing and praising. You can do anything, so for the time being, remove my blindness.”
“It is not necessary to remove your blindness, Dhrtarastra! I say, ‘You see Me,’ and your will see Me.” And by His order, Dhrtarastra saw! His order, His wish is everything. His simple will is everything – the cause of all existence. The Kurus wanted to see Draupadi naked, but Draupadi’s appeal reached Him and He sanctioned unlimited cloth – that cloth became infinite – of infinite character. As much clothing as they removed, so much cloth yet remained. It is the will, the vicara, which is everything. Such great potency of such high quality is in the Prime Cause. We are accustomed to think, “This is good; this is bad” and “This is possible; this is impossible.” But these rules do not apply in this case – in His case. All of our experience will fail to occupy even a negligible, miniscule part of His Kingdom.
He is wonderful. In the example of Vamanavatara it is told of His “Wonderful Stride” – adbutkrama. With one stride He covered the whole earth and with the next, He captured the whole of Heaven. He then needed a place to put His third step, but where? He is adbutkrama. He, of wonderful stride – all His steps are wonderful. He is wonder personified – the source of all wonder to our tiny brain.
He is here. He is also everywhere with His full representation. He is everywhere and yet He is nowhere! Everything is in Him and nothing is in Him!
Krsna says to Arjuna, “Try to understand My peculiar position.” He is the Mystery of all mysteries. Even our own soul is astonishing to our worldly experience.
ascaryavat pasyati kascid enam –
ascaryavad vadati tathaiva canyah
ascaryavac caiman anyah srnoti
srutvapy enam veda na caiva kascit
“We do not even know the extraordinary nature of our own self. It is of a very high order.” But our attention is focused toward so many mortal things. We have been introduced to, and captured by, the meanest aspects of this world. This is the consequence of the mood of enjoyment.
We want to enjoy, we want to exploit – a good exploiter is a king to us. But exploitation in itself is degrading very mean and low. It takes us to the lowest position and makes us victims of a great reaction. Exploitation and enjoyment – we are in the midst of them and we do not know anything, cannot think of anything but enjoyment. We want to understand anything and everything in terms of enjoyment. We are in such a filthy degraded position: only, “Enjoyment, enjoyment” – that is exploitation. But to exploit is the meanest type of nature. It is hateful and we must get out of the clutches of that ghost of exploitation.
There is another ghost – renunciation, idleness. But the noble things is dedication – a dedicated life. There are two ghosts – one of renunciation; and the other of exploitation. We have to get out of that nightmare, that mania which is based on our tendency to measure things to be good or bad. In exploitation there is division into regular and irregular, or dharma and adharma.
And then there is renunciation. So many great stalwarts of that conception recommend a complete cessation of the dynamic life. A dead stop; but that should not be the prospect of any conscious man. A dead stop to life – is that any goal of life for the saner section?
A life of nobility, a life of dedication – not ordinary dedication for the environment, but to the Highest Good, the highest form of life. In the lower stage dedication is calculated; in the higher stage spontaneous, automatic, dynamically uncalculating instantaneous flow! Real joy is there. Joy resides there in quality and quantity; in every way, real life is there. Life is there and here it is casting the worst shadow a perverted reflection. Yet we are told uddhared atmanatmanam the key is in our own hand. The freedom by which we can associate with anything good or bad and reap the accorded result is in our hand. How is it so? We are parched for freedom and yet the key is in our hand?
Ultimately, we are told that the key is in our own hand. No one else is to be blamed for our present condition, but there is always the possibility of noble help being extended to us, and we must accept that. Our past actions also influence us a great deal – whether they were good, bad or of the eternal aspiration – sukrti. But ultimately, the possibility of free action is not taken away from us at any stage – even if we are reduced to the level of taking birth as a tree! There also, the freedom is within. It is hard to think that a tree has got independence – free will – but it is there, in a suppressed state.
Freedom is within us also. We may try as far as possible to understand how it is so. Because our freedom is covered by so many conditions, we may think that we are not free – that we are forced by circumstances – it may seem so. Still, we are free for our selection of any path – good or bad. Our existence is very small and so, our freedom is also small and meager. But it is there. Though almost negligible, still, it is – it exists.
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