Shri Datta Swami

Posted on: 30 Sep 2019

     

Venu Gita

Author’s Preface

O Learned and Devoted Servants of God! God Krishna used to play the flute in Bṛndāvanam and everyone thinks that He only played some musical tunes without any meaning. But it is not so. What He played on the flute were songs containing spiritual knowledge like that in the Bhagavad Gītā. That spiritual knowledge was well-understood by the sages who were reborn as the Gopikās. The Gopikās sang nineteen songs for God Krishna expressing their unimaginable love for Him. But the songs sung by Lord Krishna are not known. Some of them are being revealed here by God Datta.

– Shri Datta Swami

 

Chapter 1

ऋषय एव ताः पूर्व बन्धने
गुरुरहं हि वो दत्तनाम मे
श्रुतमुदीरितं जीर्यते चिरम्
किमपि तत्र च क्लेशकारकम्॥१॥

ṛṣaya eva tāḥ pūrva bandhane
gururahaṃ hi vo dattanāma me
śrutamudīritaṃ jīryate ciram
kimapi tatra ca kleśakārakam1

These Gopikās were sages in their previous births and I, who is named Datta, happened to be their Preacher and Guide. They had listened to My preaching with utmost care. But it takes a long time to assimilate spiritual knowledge. Sometimes, some concept, just like some food item, does not get digested at all and it causes pain.

नर समांशकैः मत्सरो विषम्
सुलभधीसुधा युग्ममब्धिजम्
ईश्वरी दया निर्जितार्गले
विदित भक्तिभिः प्राप्यतेऽमृतम्॥२॥

nara samāṃśakaiḥ matsaro viṣam
sulabhadhīsudhā yugmamabdhijam
īśvarī dayā nirjitārgale
vidita bhaktibhiḥ prāpyate'mṛtam2

The undigested problematic concept is the concept of the contemporary Human Incarnation. In this concept, the similarities between human beings and the Human Incarnation like birth, hunger, thirst, sleep, illness, death etc., create ego-based jealousy among devotees. This ego-based jealousy is like poison. The easy approachability of God in the form of the Human Incarnation is the divine nectar. Both poison and the divine nectar are simultaneously produced from the churned sea. When the threat posed by the poison was removed by God, the angels could drink the divine nectar. Similarly, when the devotion is based on analytical spiritual knowledge (God), the sages could drink all the concepts of spiritual knowledge since the problem of indigestion of the specific concept was solved. Just as God Śiva had solved the problem of the poison by drinking it, the logical analysis given by God Krishna solved the problem in the spiritual knowledge. The identification of the problem itself is the solution since it makes us careful enough to avoid the problem.

समतयोपधेः साहिती मता
ऋगपि तेजसामत्र पार्थिवम्
समविकर्षणादत्र तत्र च
स्खलति वैदिकी सर्वनाशवाक्॥३॥

samatayopadheḥ sāhitī matā
ṛgapi tejasāmatra pārthivam
samavikarṣaṇādatra tatra ca
skhalati vaidikī sarvanāśavāk3

A good connection between God and souls is possible only when the media (bodies) of both God and souls have common properties. Based on this concept, Energetic Incarnations mix easily with energetic beings in the upper worlds, while Human Incarnations mix easily with human beings in this world. This is the advantage. The disadvantage of the common medium is that there is repulsion between the common media. Due to this repulsion, the human being misses the Human Incarnation here. The same soul, after death, enters into an energetic body and goes to the upper world, where it misses the Energetic Incarnation. The Veda says that this is the greatest loss for any soul (Mahatī vinaṣṭiḥ). The Veda also says that one naturally develops a dislike towards anything or anyone present before one’s eyes (Pratyakṣa dviṣaḥ).

धनसुतप्रियेष्वेषणात्रयं
मयि परीक्षते चोरजारता
प्रसुवमागता नो वनं गताः
चरमलोकगा एव ताः पराः॥४॥

dhanasutapriyeṣveṣaṇātrayaṃ
mayi parīkṣate corajāratā
prasuvamāgatā no vanaṃ gatāḥ
caramalokagā eva tāḥ parāḥ4

The three strongest worldly bonds, which are called eṣaṇās, are the bond with money or wealth, the bond with one’s children and the bond with one’s life-partner. If a soul can cross these three bonds, the soul has crossed all worldly bonds. For My sake, when the soul drops all these three worldly bonds, the soul has established a single bond with Me alone. My theft of the butter of the Gopikās and My romantic dance with them, were My tests to check whether they had dropped all their bonds for My sake. Butter was their hard-earned wealth. After selling some of the butter in Mathura city, the remaining butter was saved by them for feeding their children. Hence, My stealing of their butter tested the Gopikās’ bonds with their wealth as well as with their children. My dancing with them on the banks of the Yamunā at midnight, was a test of their bonds with their life-partners. Therefore, My stealing of their butter and dancing with them tested all the three strongest bonds (eṣaṇās) of the Gopikās. Most of those who complained to My mother about My stealing of their butter, could not come for My dance either and those Gopikās (sages) were total failures in all the three tests. Those who did not complain to My mother and also came for the dance with Me, passed all the three tests and reached the highest world, Goloka, created by Me especially for them.

न खलु मे स्पृहा ह्याप्तकामतः
न पुनरागतं नैकदा कृतम्
न रमते भिषक् स्त्रीप्रसूतिकृत्
सकलबन्धनात् मुक्तिरीक्ष्यताम्॥५॥

na khalu me spṛhā hyāptakāmataḥ
na punarāgataṃ naikadā kṛtam
na ramate bhiṣak strīprasūtikṛt
sakalabandhanāt muktirīkṣyatām5

The Veda says that God has no desire since the fulfillment of all desires is already in His hands (Āptakāmasya kā spṛhā?). Therefore, when the testing of the sages, who were reborn as the Gopikās in Bṛndāvanam was completed, I never returned to Bṛndāvanam again. I also did not repeat such tests elsewhere at any other time in My life since such sages who were to be tested, did not exist anywhere else. I was not attached to any of the romance internally. I only acted in a romantic manner externally, for the sake of the test. A male doctor doing the duty of delivering the baby of a pregnant lady is fully focused only on the delivery of the baby. He does not have any romantic feelings in his mind. The most important essence of this entire episode is that one should see that salvation means the total liberation from all worldly bonds due to the single-pointed attraction to God.

 

प्रसुवमागताः ता वनं कुधीः
धनकृते त्यजेदेकमेव सा
भगवदर्पिते सर्वबन्धने
निरयवह्निगाः भक्तिनिन्दकाः॥६॥

prasuvamāgatāḥ tā vanaṃ kudhīḥ
dhanakṛte tyajedekameva sā
bhagavadarpite sarvabandhane
nirayavahnigāḥ bhaktinindakāḥ6

Some Gopikās came to My mother to complain about Me regarding My theft of their butter. They could not vote for Me against their bonds with their wealth and issues (children). Yet some of them came to Bṛndāvanam in the night to dance with Me! This was due to their fascination for beauty and illegitimate sex. This cannot be treated as the dropping of the three strongest worldly bonds and hence, they too are considered to be failures in the tests. Some ignorant people criticized the Gopikās without noting their total natural sacrifice of all worldly bonds for the sake of God. Such people will fall in the liquid fire of a horrible hell.

 

नृपति कन्यकाः ताः सहस्रशः
परिणयागताः नैवमर्पिताः
बलमहा पदं जारलक्षणम्
तदुपमा गुणे व्यत्ययोऽस्य नो॥७॥

nṛpati kanyakāḥ tāḥ sahasraśaḥ
pariṇayāgatāḥ naivamarpitāḥ
balamahāpadaṃ jāralakṣaṇaṃ
tadupamā guṇe vyatyayo'sya no7

Latter on, several thousands of daughters of kings also loved Me. They were prepared to sacrifice their lives for My sake, but I did not test them because they were not sages to be tested before granting salvation. I married all of them duly. Sage Nārada compared the bond of the Gopikās with Me to the bond between two illegitimate lovers. Illegitimate bonds are very very strong since the lovers can leave their legitimate partners and families for the sake of their illegitimate bond. The comparison made by Nārada is only in the aspect of the strength of the bond and not in the nature of the bond. All illegitimate bonds are not divine bonds. Only the illegitimate bond of the Gopikās was divine since it was a bond with Me (God). The bond becomes divine only when one of the lovers is the Human Incarnation of God. All other illegitimate bonds, are not divine since both lovers are mere souls.

 

गिरिधरः पुरो लोकसङ्ग्रहेऽ
-प्यकलि रावणो नाप्यगीतवाक्
मम तपस्स्थिराः ता महर्षयो
स भगवानहम् सर्वमुज्झितम्॥८॥

giridharaḥ puro lokasaṅgrahe'
-pyakali rāvaṇo nāpyagītavāk
mama tapassthirāḥ tā maharṣayo
sa bhagavānaham sarvamujjhitam8

Before conducting these tests, I lifted the huge Govardhana hill on the tip of tender little finger proving My divinity. With this, the majority of souls who try to imitate God can be filtered out since none of them can prove their divinity in this manner. This is the first filtration. After this filtration, the demon Rāvaṇa still remains since he had lifted the much bigger Mount Kailasa, with his hands. But Rāvaṇa can be filtered out in the second stage because Krishna preached excellent spiritual knowledge (prajñānam), in the form of the Gita, while Rāvaṇa could not preach such knowledge. After these two filtrations, only God will be left. The identity mark of God is not only the miraculous power, but also the excellent spiritual knowledge. The following three conditions apply only in the case of the Gopikās and Me: (1) The Gopikās were sages for millions of births in the past and had been in constant penance for Me. (2) I alone am God. (3) The Gopikās’ sacrifice of their worldly bonds was not only total but also natural due to their love for Me.

 

पितृसुतानुजे प्रेयसी वृता
न हि मदीप्त्सितं पूर्वजन्मनि
नरकभीरपि त्यज्यते यतः
सृष्ट एव तत् लोक उत्तमः॥९॥

pitṛsutānuje preyasī vṛtā
na hi madīptsitaṃ pūrvajanmani
narakabhīrapi tyajyate yataḥ
sṛṣṭa eva tat loka uttamaḥ9

God can be worshipped considering Him to be any specific relation as per the liking of the devotee. He can be worshipped as Father, Son, Brother, Husband, Lover and so on. God has no specific preference for any particular bond. All the bonds are one and the same for God. Draupadī worshipped God as a sister loving her Brother. For the sake of this sister, Draupadī, God Krishna even sacrificed the lives of His entire family including Himself. He played a major role in the war by participating in it from the side of the Pāṇḍavas, to defeat the evil Kauravas and bring justice to Draupadī. Pained by the death of all her evil Kaurava sons, Gāndhārī cursed Krishna that He and His entire dynasty would be destroyed. Krishna accepted the curse for the sake of His sister, Draupadī, which was a total sacrifice. He did not make such a sacrifice even for the sake of His own wives! Draupadī had earlier, unhesitatingly torn a piece from her new sari to bandage the bleeding finger of Krishna, while His wives ran in different directions to fetch a piece of cloth for the same! Hence, the weight of love in any bond is important and not the specific type of bond chosen by the devotee. The weight of sugar in molded sugar candy decides the price to be paid and not the shape of the sugar candy, which might be a swan or a donkey! The sages had selected the bond of a lover with God in the previous birth when they had wished to embrace God Rāma by turning into women. This bond was their selection and not My selection. In fact, even in their birth as the Gopikās, I had warned them to go back, threatening them that they will fall into hell if they danced with Me. They were prepared to sacrifice their lives for Me and were even prepared to go to hell for the sake of My love. For this highest stage of devotion, I created the highest fifteenth new world, called Goloka for them.

 

पदराजोऽहरत् मौलिवेदनाम्
तदहमस्मि तत् पादयोरधः
शतगुणं फलं भक्तकर्मणः
तदपि तर्पितं मे न मानसम्॥१०॥

padarājo'harat maulivedanām
tadahamasmi tat pādayoradhaḥ
śataguṇaṃ phalaṃ bhaktakarmaṇaḥ
tadapi tarpitaṃ me na mānasam10

Once, I acted as if I was suffering from a headache and said that the dust from the feet of My devotee is its only medicine. All devotees, including My wives, refused to give it, fearing that they would have to go to hell if the dust from their feet were applied on their Lord’s head. But the Gopikās willingly gave it, so that I may be relieved of My headache. They were prepared to go to hell for the sake of My happiness. I applied the dust of their feet on My head and said that I am relieved of the pain. Applying that dust on My head was an indication of the future. I created the Goloka for the Gopikās above My world, so that the dust of their feet would continue to fall on My head constantly. God does a hundred times more in return for whatever is done by the devotee for God. Even after doing so much, My mind is not still satisfied and I still feel indebted to them.

 

न भगवत्बलादत्र राजवत्
तरणि रश्मिवत् लोकसङ्ग्रहे
सकल बन्धन त्याग एकसत्
चरमलोककृत् निन्दकाः क्षताः॥११॥

na bhagavatbalādatra rājavat
taraṇi raśmivat lokasaṅgrahe
sakala bandhana tyāga ekasat
caramalokakṛt nindakāḥ kṣatāḥ11

The case of Krishna’s actions with the Gopikās cannot be justified simply by saying that Krishna being God, He can do anything owing to His special unimaginable power. Of course, that statement is sufficient to prevent imitation by others since they do not possess that special power. It is like saying that a king can do anything he wishes, due to his special power, while no citizen should imitate the king’s behavior because they lack that special power. This statement explains only one side, which is how the king is able to do what other citizens cannot. But it does not clarify the other side, which is, whether the king’s actions are sinful or not. Sage Vyāsa said that just like a powerful ray of the sun entering into the dirty sewage water does not become dirty, God too does not become impure by sinful actions.

In the context of My actions with the Gopikās, the most important essential point is the natural dropping off of all the worldly bonds of the Gopikās, due to single powerful bond of love for God. They had overcome the three strongest bonds and all other bonds—whether legitimate or illegitimate. Their attraction towards God was so powerful that they dropped all their bonds and it was immaterial even if the bonds they dropped were legitimate. Such extreme climax-love for God made God create a new world for them, above all the worlds. Without understanding this single bond of devotion of the Gopikas, if ignorant people criticize them, they will be punished in hell.

[King Parīkṣit asked sage Śuka how could Krishna dance with the Gopikās, who were already married (Paradārābhimarśanam—Shrimad Bhāgavatam). Sage Śuka replied to him with Vyāsa’s explanation of God remaining unpolluted by any worldly action, like the sun-ray not getting dirty even after entering sewage water. The Gita also says that the devotee having the most powerful attraction towards God, naturally drops all worldly bonds, including legitimate bonds (Sarvadharmān parityajya...). The attempt to justify My actions with the Gopikās on the basis of My unimaginable power is silent on the issue of whether or not the actions were sinful. Vyāsa’s attempt to justify the actions using the example of the sun’s ray that remains unpolluted suggests that since God and His power are unimaginable, worldly actions cannot pollute Him. But it also does not provide the complete justification. It does not actually analyze whether the actions were sinful or not, especially from the side of the Gopikās. Both the justifications are only intended to prevent the imitation of such actions by others. The explanation of God Datta alone brings out the most important point, which is the natural dropping off of all worldly bonds due to the single bond with God (Eka bhaktiḥ viśiṣyate—Gita). In the case of the Gopikās, there was no violation of any legitimate bond for the sake of an illegitimate bond. Their bond was with God and not with any human being. Also, there was no force involved in dropping the worldly bonds. The worldly bonds dropped off naturally, as a consequence of their climax-devotion to God. Since they gave up their worldly bonds without any force and only for the sake of their bond with God, there is no question of sin. From My side too, it has earlier been explained how the actions of theft and dacing with the married Gopikās were tests of God to test the devotion of the devotees and that it was not done due to any greed or desire. God is ever-fulfilled and totally untouched by desire. So, there is no question of any sin from the side of God. This explanation of God Datta gives the complete justification. Unlike the other two justifications, it focusses on giving a complete logical explanation of why there was no sin involved in the actions, instead of merely trying to prevent the imitation of My actions by others.

In summary, there are three points to remember that prove that there was no sin on either side in My actions with Gopikās: (1) God is untouched by sin due to His unimaginable power, (2) The devotees’ powerful attraction to God leads to the natural dropping of all their legitimate and illegitimate worldly bonds and (3) The actions of theft and dancing with the married Gopikās were tests of their devotion, which is measured by their ability to overcome their three strongest worldly bonds (eṣaṇās) for the sake of God.

These three points not only prevent the imitation of such actions by others but also completely prove that there was no sin involved in them.]

 

स शिशुपालको दारचौर्यकृत्
निहत एव तं हन्मि रावणम्
बलवदा हृताः पीडिताः कथम्
समपदा बुधाः! ताभिरुच्यताम्?॥१२॥

sa śiśupālako dāracauryakṛt
nihata eva taṃ hanmi rāvaṇam
balavadā hṛtāḥ pīḍitāḥ katham
samapadā budhāḥ! tābhirucyatām?12

I killed Śiśupāla, who stole the wife of king Babhru and forced her to become his wife. Even in his previous birth as Rāvaṇa, I killed him because he forced Sita to become his wife. The case of these ladies who were forcibly captured is totally different from the case of the married Gopikās, who loved Me alone. There was no force from Me on the Gopikās. To the contrary, I forced the Gopikās to return to their life-partners since their dacing with Me would be an injustice to their life-partners for which they would fall into a horrible hell. O scholars! Tell Me! How can you compare the case of Gopikās with the above-mentioned two ladies who were forced?

सकलशक्तिमान् भूरिपावनः
न हि समः श्रुतेरन्य संयतः
व्यभिचरेन्न तत् मानवो नृपः
रविकरो जडो नोपमा विभोः॥१३॥

sakalaśaktimān bhūripāvanaḥ
na hi samaḥ śruteranya saṃyataḥ
vyabhicarenna tat mānavo nṛpaḥ
ravikaro jaḍo nopamā vibhoḥ13

The point about the special position of God, as proposed by sage Vyāsa, is the most important. God is omnipotent and most sacred. No soul can be equal to Him. Even if the other points that the devotee was a sage in the previous births and that the sacrifice of the devotee was total become common, the above point about God is confined to God alone. This means that even though the devoted soul and the devotion of the soul can be duplicated, God cannot be duplicated. He is only one and no one else like Him can exist. The ray of the sun is inert and a king is also a soul. None of them can actually be compared to God. There is no simile to describe the omnipotent God using items in the world. There is nothing or nobody that can ever be equal to God.

उपधिमाश्रितं मानुषं हि तत्
परमसत् ततो जीवनामकम्
सममसत् तथा नान्यदस्ति यत्
कथमिदं परे युज्यते मतम्॥१४॥

upadhimāśritaṃ mānuṣaṃ hi tat
paramasat tato jīvanāmakam
samamasat tathā nānyadasti yat
kathamidaṃ pare yujyate matam14

The absolute unimaginable God or Parabrahman, is the ultimate reality and He merges with a selected human being to become a Human Incarnation. Everything other than the absolute God, including all souls, is only relatively true with reference to Him. Any soul other than the Human Incarnation can never attain this status of absolute God because every soul is a part of creation, which is only the relative reality. Even though the medium (body) of the Human Incarnation is the relative truth, there is no difference between the Human Incarnation and the absolute God, in an effective sense, due to the merging of the absolute God with that medium. Hence, God always remains unique and no ordinary soul can stand as an alternative for the Human Incarnation, who is effectively absolute God. It is totally impossible for any soul other than the Human Incarnation to attain the state of absolute reality and omnipotence over creation. Then how can you justify the imitation of Krishna’s behavior with the Gopikās by any other soul? Krishna was the Human Incarnation of the absolute God (Parabrahman) and hence, He directly said that everything other than Him is non-existent (Mattaḥ parataraṃ...—Gita).

 

सुरतनाथ इत्युक्त शब्दतः
न वयसोऽल्पता योग रूढितः
अनृत भाषणात् सत्यमुत्तरम्
सदिह मारणं प्राणरक्षणे॥१५॥

suratanātha ityukta śabdataḥ
na vayaso'lpatā yoga rūḍhitaḥ
anṛta bhāṣaṇāt satyamuttaram
sadiha māraṇaṃ prāṇarakṣaṇe15

The Gopikās addressed Me as the master of sex (Suratanātha—Gopīgīta, Bhāgavatam). The use of the word ‘surata’ for sex is a yogarūdha usage. There are three types of usages (1) Yoga or a yaugika usage means that the word is used to indicate something that agrees with the root meaning of the word. (2) Rūḍhi means convention. It means that a certain word is fixed to indicate some item, just by convention, even though its root meaning does not suggest that item. (3) A yogarūḍha usage implies that the word indicates a certain item that is not only in agreement with its root meaning (yoga) but that the word is also fixed to mean that item by convention (ruḍhi). This is case of the word surata. The root meaning (yoga) of surata is ‘well interested’. But by convention (rūḍhi), the word is fixed to mean ābhyantara ratam, which means the internal act of sex or copulation, in which the couple has the climax of interest or enjoyment. Surata does not imply mere external sexual acts (Bāhya ratam). The idea of sexual relations between Me and the married Gopikās is uncomfortable for scholars and commentrators. For an ordinary soul, such illegitimate relations are certainly sinful. So, to save Me from the sin of such internal sexual acts, some scholars have claimed that, at the time of those incidents, My age was just twelve years, which is too young for such acts. In other words, they claim that the word surata refers to only external sexual acts, thereby reducing the sin in the acts. Actually, there is no need to defend Me with such interpretations. It has already been explained very clearly that in the case of God-in-human-form, there is no question of sin; be it the case of My theft or the romantic dance. The claim of the scholars that I was too young at the time of those incidents is also not very meaningful since God is omniscient and omnipotent. He can do anything in any age, if it is necessary for the testing of the ability of devotees to overcome their worldly bonds. Of course, if there is no requirement of testing the devotees, God does not violate justice and commit any sin because He is completely self-contented. He is beyond desire and does not seek to attain anything. He has already attained everything (Nānavāptamavāptavyam—Gita).

There is no need to tell a lie to protect oneself when there is also a chance to protect oneself by telling the truth. If you have killed somebody in self-defence, you need not tell a lie that you have not killed anybody. You always have the option of protecting yourself even by telling truth, which is that you were forced to kill the person in order to save your own life since the person was trying to kill you. Only when there is no such option to prove their innocence, do people tell lies to protect themselves. I have the option of defending Myself on the basis of the above explanation of testing the worldly bonds of the devotees. So, there is no need to tell a lie that I was not involved in the act of internal sex with the Gopikās due to a very young age.

[Śrīdhara, the commentator on the Bhāgavatam has said that God Krishna enjoyed romance with the Gopikās without the internal sexual act (Retaḥ skhalanaṃ vinā). But such a claim is not necessary in view of the above explanation.]

 

प्रथमबन्धन त्यागनिष्ठुराः
सुफलपातवत् सहजमोचनम्
अविदिता इदं त्यागिनो वृथा
परविदारकाः पापदण्डिताः॥१६॥

prathamabandhana tyāganiṣṭhurāḥ
suphalapātavat sahajamocanam
aviditā idaṃ tyāgino vṛthā
paravidārakāḥ pāpadaṇḍitāḥ16

One should never sacrifice one’s worldly bonds if the sacrifice requires even a trace of force or effort, at any time. The worldly bonds should naturally drop away due to one’s most powerful attraction to God. The worldly bond should drop by itself naturally, just like a ripened fruit from a tree (Urvārukamiva bandhanāt—Veda). It should not have to be forcibly cut and dropped. Without knowing this essential secret of sacrifice, devotees sacrifice their worldly bonds by force, thinking that such sacrifice is a prerequisite for attaining the love for God. But alas, the sacrifice of worldly bonds will not generate any love for God. The reverse is actually true that the love for God will result in the natural dropping (sacrifice) of one’s worldly bonds. If a devotee sacrifices worldly bonds in order to develop devotion to God, the devotee is ignorant and is committing a sin by rejecting the worldly bonds. It causes suffering to the devotee’s family members and the devotee will be punished for the sin. Instead, the devotee should sacrifice worldly bonds only for short periods. One can leave the family for some time in the day initially and use that time to read or hear about God. This regular sacrifice of worldly bonds for short periods helps in developing attraction to God. This is only a limited sacrifice of worldly bonds and not a total sacrifice or permanently leaving the family.

 

न परपीडनं ताभ्य एव हि
किमुत साधकात् नैव पाप्म तत्
सहज मोचनं भक्तिमानदम्
परनरे तु तत् नो समन्वितम्॥१७॥

na parapīḍanaṃ tābhya eva hi
kimuta sādhakāt naiva pāpma tat
sahaja mocanaṃ bhaktimānadam
paranare tu tat no samanvitam17

In the case of the sages reborn as the Gopikās, their worldly bonds had naturally dropped off due to their most powerful attraction to God. Yet, the Gopikās tried their level-best to keep their love as the topmost secret, so that their family members would not be pained. On their way out of their houses, the Gopikās would bolt the doors loosely, so that Krishna could easily enter their houses to steal butter. They made it appear as if they were not giving butter to Krishna but that He alone was stealing the butter. That way, they could avoid the anger of their mothers-in-law towards them. Also, as they went to Mathura city to sell the butter, they would offer a portion of the butter to Krishna on the way. To explain why they got a lower amount for selling their butter, they would tell their mothers-in-law that they could only sell their butter for a low price. Thus, they made sure that their in-laws were not unhappy due to their devotion to Krishna. Similarly, they came to Bṛndāvanam to dance with Krishna at midnight when their husbands and in-laws were fast asleep. They also returned to their homes before dawn while their family members were still asleep. The deeds of the Gopikās were not counted as sins since they were doing it due to their devotion to God and not due to their love for another soul. When the Gopikās, who had attained salvation, did not hurt their families, why should any other person hurt his or her family? The important factor is the attraction to God that causes the worldy bonds to naturally drop away and not the forcible liberation from worldly bonds. Salvation certainly means the liberation from worldly bonds provided that liberation is the natural consequence of one’s attraction to God. Only in that case does the liberation from worldly bonds, stand as an indirect measure of one’s devotion to God. The same liberation from the legitimate worldly bonds becomes a sin if it is caused by the illegitimate attraction towards another ordinary human being. That ordinary soul cannot take the place of God in testing another soul because the ordinary soul does not have internal detachment that the Human Incarnation has. If one leaves his wife for the sake of a prostitute, it is sin. But if one leaves his wife for the sake of God, it is not sin.

[Even as per the ethical scripture, giving pain to somebody has been said to be the highest injustice (Ahiṃsā paramo dharmaḥ). Conversely, not hurting others, is the highest justice. Telling a lie to protect this highest justice is not injustice at all. Telling a lie becomes injustice if it pains someone. Moreover, in the case of the Gopikās, the lie told by them was also not a sin by itself because they told the lie to hide the divine program of God testing the total liberation of the devotees from all their worldly bonds. In an ordinary context, if telling a lie is a sin by itself, telling the truth that will pain another person becomes a double sin. For example, a married man’s love for a prostitute is a sin by itself. Telling a lie to his wife to hide his love for the prostitute, is also a sin. But by revealing his love for the prostitute to his wife, he is committing a double sin of hurting her additionally. When one loves God, it is not at all a sin by itself. Telling lies to keep one’s love for God secret is also not a sin. It is actually desirable to keep one’s devotion to God secret since it avoids the family members from being hurt. Of course, if the family members are pained due to the devotee’s love for God, it is not a sin for the devotee. But even if we wrongly assume that it is a sin, by keeping the divine love secret, we avoid even that assumed sin of hurting one’s family. Hence, there is not even a trace of sin in such secrecy from any angle and at any stage (Atmānaṃ rahasi sthitaḥ..., Rahasyamhyetaduttamam...—Gita).]

 

कपिलबोधित त्रिस्थितिक्रमात्
भक्तिरन्तिमा नान्तरा स्थिरा
ज्ञानानयोगजा मत्कथाश्रुतेः
न हि जपात् पुरः पक्वदर्शनात्॥१८॥

kapilabodhita tristhitikramāt
bhaktirantimā nāntarā sthirā
jñānānayogajā matkathāśruteḥ
na hi japāt puraḥ pakvadarśanāt18

Of course, in the initial stage, a slight sacrifice of the worldly bonds for limited time periods is essential. That time should be dedicated to listening to stories that describe the personality of God. This is called śraddhā or attention, which involves some effort. After some time, upon the clarification of some simple doubts, rati or interest in the subject-matter of God is developed. Finally, upon clarification of all doubts in depth, bhakti or devotion to God results. These three stages are mentioned by God Kapila while preaching spiritual knowledge to His mother, as mentioned in the Bhāgavatam (Śraddhā ratirbhaktiḥ...). Listening to the stories of Krishna regarding His theft and dance is the first stage. Learning that God Krishna is not affected by these two sins due to His special powers, is the second stage. The third stage is learning that the Gopikās were reborn sages and that God Krishna did these two apparent sins only to test the detachment from worldly bonds, which they had developed due to their attraction to God. Also, Krishna was totally free from both greed and lust. In this third stage, one develops devotion, which is constant and continuous.

Spiritual knowledge or jñāna yoga alone can clarify deep doubts and it alone converts the attention to devotion. Spontaneously repeating the name of God with the climax of devotion, without the desire for any fruit from God, is seen only in the case of fully-ripened devotees like Rādhā, Hanumān etc. For a beginner, the repetition of God’s name is very boring. So, listening to stories describing the divine personality of God is the best way as told by Nārada in his Bhakti Sūtra. Nārada does not mention the repetition of God’s name at all. The sages used to read the purāṇās, which contain stories about the divine personality of God. They would discuss spiritual knowledge in depth to get all their doubts clarified. After continuing this for a long period of time, spanning several births, they became climax-devotees of God.

[Some say that the continuous repetition of God’s name, which is known as nāmasaṅkīrtanam, is the best spiritual practice in this Kali age. But it is also said that kīrtanam is the best way (Kalau Keśava kīrtanāt). Kīrtanam is praising or glorifying God by knowing His divine personality through His stories, followed by the learning of spiritual knowledge which clarifies doubts (Kathayantaśca...—Gita).]

 

भगवदाप्तिकृत् तत्त्वमीक्ष्यताम्
अफलचिन्तया किं प्रयोजनम्?
न हि विवादवान् व्यक्तिमावहेत्
विदितसत्यधीः लाभवानसौ॥१९॥

bhagavadāptikṛt tattvamīkṣyatām
aphalacintayā kiṃ prayojanam?
na hi vivādavān vyaktimāvahet
viditasatyadhīḥ lābhavānasau19

Anybody can criticize any other person in this creation. You can even criticize God who is beyond this creation. But you must know what real criticism is. Before criticizing the other person, you must first understand the person’s thoughts and position, as clearly as possible. You must even seek the clarification of your doubts regarding the other person’s position. After doing this, if you are not still satisfied, you can condemn the opponent’s concepts without attacking the opponent personally. If the opponent’s wrong concept has been criticized in a perfectly logical manner, the opponent should not take the criticism personally. Your concepts are not your property registered in your name. So, the criticism of those concepts should not be misunderstood to be an attempt to take away your registered property from you! If your concept is defeated, you must thank the opponent for pointing out your mistaken concept and for replacing it with the correct concept. It is the defeated side that always benefits by learning the truth, whereas the winning side does not benefit in any way since the true concept was already known to the winner. The God of any religion should never be criticized by the followers of any other religion. They must realize that in doing so, they are criticizing the God of their own religion because the same God exists in all religions. Only the external cultures and languages vary.

[Jesus advised His disciples to hate the sin and not the sinner. This should also be applied in the context of criticism. Wrong concepts alone should be criticized, not the person carrying those concepts. The person facing the criticism too, should feel that it is only the criticism of his concept and not his personal criticism.]

Venu Gita Gopikas Gopikaas