Manish Goel’s article “Vows, Woes and New Years” (January 2012) is simply superb. The so-called resolutions of the material world are simply washed away on January 2 of the same year.
I found all the articles of this issue very illuminating. This is the first time I read BTG, and I now subscribed to it. The illustrations on pages 12 and 13 are really great. This New Year my prayer is to become closer to the Lord and have lots of His devotees as friends. My heartfelt thanks and a big HARIBOL to your team! – Suba
Mutilating the Gita Cover?
The February issue BTG India has this cover picture of the Bhagavad-gita: Krishna-Arjuna cut up and pasted on a knife! Such mutilation is just not done! My grandparents taught me this at age 9! You have made a mistake here! – Ananta Prabhu Dasa
Our reply: We have used a part of a picture inserted in the image of a knife to convey the emotions behind targeting the Bhagavad-gita As It Is as extremist literature in Russia. We do understand and appreciate your sentiments in preserving the sanctity of sacred imagery.
Every Specie in Goloka?
Were all the 84 lakh species created at one time? What was the basis of each soul getting a different body in the material world? If they were given similar bodies as they had in the Goloka, then does it imply that there are 84 lakh species present in Goloka also? – Rajeev Sehgal
Our reply: As per Bhagavad-gita (13.20), material nature is beginningless. Thus, it is impractical for us to understand what Lord Krishna did at the beginning when some souls desired to enjoy independent of Him. However, we do know that Lord Krishna neither favours nor punishes but simply reciprocates, and rewards living entities exactly as per their mood (Gita 4.11).
Srila Prabhupada writes (Bhagavatam 9.24.58, purport), “Both the Lord and the living entity, being qualitatively spirit soul, have the tendency for peaceful enjoyment, but when the living entity wants to enjoy independently, without Krishna, he is put into the material world. . .” From this we may infer that all of us conditioned souls received our present bodies depending on the modes of nature we acquired. (Gita 13.22).
The Lord is so compassionate that He gives us the material world in which we can exercise our free will. In the material world we soon realize the futility of our endeavors to enjoy independently of Krishna and will want to return back to serve Him.
Regarding 84 lakh species in Goloka Vrindavana, one can understand that the variety in the limited material world is infinitesimally smaller than the variety present in the infinite spiritual world. Thus, one can safely expect an infinitely wider variety in the spiritual world-all perfectly suited to enhance the mood of service to the Supreme Lord.
Carnivores in Goloka?
If the material world is a perverted reflection of the spiritual world, does this mean that just like we see carnivores in the material world, there are carnivores in Goloka too? If yes, then this proves the existence of violence in Goloka Vrindavana since without hunting, a tiger will starve to death. If there are no tigers in the spiritual world then how can we call this material world as a perverted reflection of the spiritual world? Also, I have read that we get sac-cid-ananda bodies in Goloka, which means we exist there without blood, flesh, bones, etc. Does this mean that we exist there without consuming food? If we eat food then what happens to that food? – Vishant Naik
Our reply: We observe a great variety in the flora and fauna of this material world and yet there is a finite limit imposed on it by the very nature of the material world where everything has a beginning and an end. On the other hand, the spiritual world is infinite in every aspect. Our experience of personalities, objects and phenomena in the material world is unfailingly subject to a limitation of time and space. Due to our prolonged existence here, this experience is unknowingly transformed into a strong conditioning. Consequently, even when we envisage the spiritual world, it is difficult, nay impossible, to conceive of something that is really infinite in every aspect.
Tigers are definitely present in the spiritual world. However, they may not be carnivorous by nature there. When Lord Caitanya visited Vrindavana, some does (female deer) were attracted by His beautiful chanting. After these does, it was the turn of some tigers to get attracted to the Lord. Seeing these two species together without any expression of violence between them, Lord Caitanya remembered a verse from Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.13.60) that states, “Vrindavana is the transcendental abode of the Lord. There is no hunger, anger or thirst there. Though naturally inimical, human beings and fierce animals live together there in transcendental friendship.” These extraordinary activities taking place in Bhauma Vrindavana offer us a small peek into those in Goloka Vrindavana. Thus it is clear that even though the species of a tiger and a deer have inimical relationships in the material world, they do not harbor any malice towards each other in the spiritual world.
In the material world, one living being is the source of subsistence for other, stronger living beings. A tiger may hunt another deer for its own satisfaction. However, in the spiritual world since the bodies are sac-cid-ananda (full of knowledge, eternity and bliss), there would be no endeavor there for one’s personal satisfaction. Also, we can understand that the residents of the spiritual world do not suffer from hunger, anger and thirst. Thus, one can infer that the tigers there may not hunt for deer or other species that are its common food in the material world. From another perspective, the spiritual world is inhabited by perfected beings who possess the sole intention of giving pleasure to Lord Krishna. Thus the tigers there would be more interested in giving pleasure to the Lord than to themselves. This further indicates that the tigers may not hunt other species in the spiritual world unless there is some specific indication of such an activity giving pleasure to the Supreme Lord.
Not to speak of animals, as per the Sri Brhad-Bhagavatamrta (1.5.24), even the sub-animal species of trees and creepers in Vrindavana are pure devotees transcendental to the three modes of material nature.
Since everything is sac-cid-ananda in the spiritual world, nothing there is made of flesh, blood or bones etc. In the spiritual world, the consumer is sac-cid-ananda and also that which is consumed is sac-cid-ananda. Thus, if someone in Goloka Vrindavana eats food, the food is not destroyed and it retains its quality of being sac-cid-ananda. Alternatively, someone there may exist without consuming any food.
If this is difficult for us to understand, we should remember that we first need to get de-conditioned from our material conditionings to understand the spiritual world in a correct perspective.
Replies were written by Nanda Dulal Dasa.
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