Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Transcendental Escapism

Krishna's activities“Hearing is an opportunity to associate with the Lord; to hear His activities is to evolve to the transcendental nature — simply by hearing. The conditioned soul has a natural aptitude to hear something about other conditioned souls in the form of fiction, drama and novel. That inclination to hear something about others may be utilized in hearing the pastimes of the Lord.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Krishna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vol 1, Ch 7)

If a famous personality releases an autobiography, or even if another writer decides to publish a biography about them, there is some interest garnered. If someone was successful at turning around a company, at bringing it back from the brink of disaster, not only is it nice to relive the story of their triumph, but it is also interesting to find out what makes them tick, what their philosophy on life is, and how their life lessons can be replicated by others. His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada says that there is a natural aptitude for hearing about others, and so if that hearing is applied towards the pastimes of the Supreme Lord Krishna, a transcendental awakening can occur.

Think about it for a second. Krishna created this and every other universe. If you are not too keen on accepting a version of God you think the Hindus created, you can still contemplate on the abstract concept. There is certainly an original controller. You can’t think beyond time and space. Try to contemplate the beginning of time and you will run out of time before you can reach it. Keep moving until you find the end of space and you will never stop.

These aspects of life are unexplainable, indicating that you are fallible. Other living entities similarly can’t explain the same phenomena, so they are just as fallible as you. They emerged from the womb to start life and they will quit their body to end life. In the meantime they may become more successful than you or find worse off conditions, but they can’t control things like the weather. We have no ability to create a sun. We just know a limited amount about how to use its energy for our benefit. We operate around the law of gravity, but never did we create it. If we didn’t create it, we can’t eliminate it.

Someone had to make these things. The seasons appear on schedule, the sun rises and sets at predictable times, and the planets follow a set pattern of revolution. Through all the chaotic randomness there is order, which is an indication of intelligence. The computer operates off of the inputted instructions of the end-user because there is intelligence. The machine itself has no thinking ability, but the programmer who engineered it does. Thus for randomness to be absent, there must be a force that is more intelligent.

In this way we can understand that there is a God. In the Vedas He is described to us through thousands of names, with Krishna being one of them. Krishna has the complexion of an indranila-mani, or a sapphire. What a wonderful color to have on a body. Just as you can’t take your eyes off of the beautiful sapphire, once you see Krishna’s body your eyes will swim in the vision, as if it were an inviting ocean. Krishna wears a peacock feather in His hair and plays a flute that He holds in His hands. Every aspect to Him is attractive, and so the name Krishna befits Him.

These features come with activities, which are nicely described in the Vedic scriptures. Krishna teaches when necessary, but at the heart of His activities is enjoyment. Not an angry God sent to punish the sinners, nor a strict teacher looking to test the devotion of His children, Krishna simply plays with those who love Him. Like the innocence from childhood, where we set foot outside to see if our friends wanted to play with us, for Krishna every day has this fun, even in adulthood. The enjoyment is enhanced with friendly company, with no one friendlier than the gopis of Vrindavana, cowherd women who adore Krishna throughout every moment of the day.

Radha and Krishna with the gopisIt is only the false perception that the enjoyment is off-limits to us. We see others playing outside and we may not want to interrupt their game, but we don’t know for sure if they’d be unhappy with our inclusion. With Krishna there is no need for such worry, as He will create many versions of Vrindavana, His personal home, for our enjoyment. The cover charge is devotion, a desire to play. If that payment can’t be made, a shadow copy of that enjoyment is available in a temporary land.

The generated version isn’t so great, so we’re left to rely upon the activity of others to satisfy our tendency for enjoyment through escape. Watching movies, television shows, and plays is a great way to step away from your daily mindset, to sit back without any pressure and watch others as they live. Thankfully, Krishna has given us so many of His own such incidents to contemplate upon, and since the actions are of the divine nature, they have a more lasting effect on the hearer. Consciousness is what we’re trying to change, and when it is pointed to the divine, it becomes our best friend.

“And whoever, at the time of death, quits his body, remembering Me alone, at once attains My nature. Of this there is no doubt.”  (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 8.5)

In Vedic philosophy the motto is, “you become what you think”. At the time of death, whatever state of being you remember, that state you will attain without fail in the next life. The thoughts at any given moment are difficult to predict, so if we focus on something for a while beforehand, we’ll increase the likelihood of remembering going forward. If the hearing propensity is directed towards Krishna’s play, the heroic acts of His incarnations like Lord Rama, or His words of wisdom found in texts like the Bhagavad-gita, then certainly there will be remembrance of God on a regular basis. And the more regular that remembrance is, the greater the chances that desire will change to the point that entry into the eternal pastimes of the Lord will be granted, indicating a successful conclusion to life.

In Closing:

For away from present life to steer,

The activities of others you’ll hear.

 

Interesting is the famous personality,

Then worth reading is their biography.

 

To Krishna take this same propensity,

Hear His names and pastimes relentlessly.

 

To Lord’s realm of Vrindavana escape,

In this way divine consciousness shape.

 

In life you become whatever you think,

So sweetness of Krishna’s play let your ears drink.

www.krishnasmercy.org