Shri Datta Swami

Posted on: 21 Feb 2022


Swami answers questions by Smt. Priyanka on Madhura Bhakti of Gopikas.

1. Can we say that Lord Krishna said what He had to say with the intention to encourage Gopikas to achieve their life’s purpose?

[Smt. Priyanka asked: Padanamaskaram Swami, Swami, You have revealed that Gopikas internally knew (when the time came for total surrender) that Lord Krishna was willing to suffer for their sins as an expression of His unimaginable love towards them for their love towards Him. But, the Gopikas refused because they obviously did not want their Krishna to suffer on their behalf. Lord Krishna said that He would suffer more if they refused, and the Gopikas had to finally agree.

In this situation, if they had gone back after hearing what Lord Krishna had to say, then they would not be able to finish the purpose of their life, which is complete surrender to God. No matter what the efforts are from the devotees' side, one cannot cross anything without God by their side. So, can we say that Lord Krishna also said what He had to say with the intention of encouraging or helping them to achieve their life’s purpose?]

Swami Replied: - It is a test for the Gopikas to see whether their ultimate aim is to please God or make Him suffer more. This is the final point from the side of the Gopikas. In view of this point, the topic is closed and there are no further hypothetical questions in this line.

2. Would it be correct for the Gopikas to go back so that God does not have to suffer for their sins?

[Another thought comes here. If the Gopikas thought that it would be better to go back, even at the cost of not surrendering to God, so that God does not have to suffer for their sins, would that still be correct? It is like deliberately failing the test of God so that God wouldn’t have to undergo their sins. What if they still did not agree, thinking that even if they fail, it is fine because this wouldn’t affect their love towards Krishna. They would always love Him, no matter what. At least their Krishna need not undergo anything on their behalf. Is it wrong to think in this manner? Swami, please forgive me for saying anything wrong. Will look forward to Your clarification.]

Swami Replied: - As told above by Me, the final goal of any true devotee is only to please God without thinking about any other point. All other doubts do not stand before this point, just like clouds unable to stand against a forcible stream of air. All these doubts are only mathematical curves.

3. Is there any difference between the statements “God is my ultimate goal” vs “God’s pleasure is my ultimate goal”?

[Swami, is there a difference between the statements, “God is my ultimate goal” vs. “God’s pleasure is my ultimate goal”? There is a lingering conflicting thought about this, for which I am seeking clarification.

A) God is my ultimate goal: When a devotee feels that God is their ultimate goal, does it only focus on their desire and effort to reach God? Does the purpose of this statement and feeling end at this point only? Is it considered that the focus is still on the personal bliss of the soul, which is experienced by being in God’s presence, whether on Earth or on any other divine loka? On one hand, the feeling maybe that one cannot imagine their life without God. On the other hand, there is nothing more blissful than being in God's presence. Does this also come under selfish desire? For e.g., sages wanted to embrace Rama by becoming females. They realized that God is the only Purusha. They were born as Gopikas in their next births and some of them succeeded in proving their love for Krishna. Their path was not easy. They faced opposition and troubles, yet they happily underwent everything to reach God, their ultimate goal. They sacrificed everything including their lives by jumping into the fire at the end. But, in this process, they also experienced God's love and continue to do so in Goloka. They have experienced bliss on Earth and are experiencing bliss in Goloka also. They reached their ultimate goal, God Krishna. But, since they were willing to undergo any number of troubles and pains for Krishna's sake, is it also considered that His pleasure was also their ultimate goal?

B) God's pleasure is my ultimate goal: When a devotee feels that God’s pleasure is their ultimate goal, it focuses only on God’s desire and not his/her personal desire. This can mean even sacrificing the personal interest to experience the bliss of being around Him and serving Him personally. That may give bliss to a devotee, but maybe God will be more pleased if that devotee does something else instead. For His pleasure, one should be willing to be away forever even though it brings emotional pain of being physically away from God. That could mean being wherever He wishes us to be and doing whatever He wishes us to do, and accepting anything that comes our way as His wish. For e.g., the gatekeepers and great devotees of Lord Vishnu, Jaya and Vijaya were willing to go against God Himself for 3 births if it brings entertainment to God. Their personal interest was to come back to God in fewer births but they were also willing to play negative roles to provide entertainment to God. Do they fall under this category of devotees, where God's pleasure is more important to them than any personal desire or both because their personal interest was to reach God as soon as possible?

Ultimately, is the highest form of love, that where there is no desire to experience God's love also and to make God's pleasure only as his goal? Does Lord Hanuman belong to this category, who made Lord Rama's work only as His own pleasure? There was no place for any personal desire to take precedence over the work of Lord Rama. Is it that one has to reach the ultimate goal first and then only that soul is capable of thinking purely about God's pleasure? Or can both happen parallelly? Are the Gopikas an example of both happening parallelly? At Your divine lotus feet, Priyanka]

Swami Replied: - The contradiction raised by you is between two points: 1) Gods’ pleasure as the ultimate goal and 2) love of the devotee towards God as the ultimate aim. Even though you tried to show contradiction between these two points, there is one important point that removes any type of contradiction between these two points. Such point is that the love of the devotee towards God also makes God to be pleased with the devotee and the pleasure of God is also the essence of the love of the devotee towards God. If you understand this underlying point, there will be no contradiction at all and there will always be mutual complementarity only. The final result of this important point is that both God and devotee will be pleased towards each other.

4. Was Nivrutti created at the time when sages realized that the one and only real Purusha is God?

[Smt. Priyanka asked: Padanamaskaram Swami, You said that Nivrutti was discovered by devotees only and dragged to its climax (Maha Nivrutti) when sages were born as Gopikas to attain God. Was Nivrutti created at the time when sages realized that the one and only real Purusha is God and wanted to become females to embrace Lord Rama? When they had the desire to let go of the weakest bond also to attain God, is that when Nivrutti was technically "discovered"? Sages in previous yugas were strictly following Dharma as well as doing severe penance for God. Is that penance or discussions about God between sages not considered Nivrutti? At Your divine lotus feet, Priyanka]

Swami Replied: - You have shown the present characteristics of a modern research scholar, who is always worried about the birth place and birth time of Shankara and not about the theory of Shankara. How does it matter whether something happened in 1959 or in 1960? The concept here is that God will never project His own importance to attract devotees towards Him aspiring their penance and love towards Him. If such aspiration is done by God, God will be a tremendous present-day politician. The ultimate goal of God was only the smooth administration and peaceful running of the world and God never worried about His fame and His personality’s projection in the minds of devotees. The path of Nivrutti originated from the minds of the devotees and this is the fundamental basis of any love affair that is seen even in Pravrutti. The boy shall not try to make the girl attracted towards him or the girl also will not try to make the boy attracted towards her. Such trails are very cheap and below the dignity of love. The love towards the other side shall generate in one’s heart naturally and it shall be developed by the same heart.

5. Are lustful intentions for another’s spouse considered a light sin only?

[Smt. Priyanka asked: Padanamaskaram Swami, You had said that wrong/bad intention resulting in action alone gives the practical punishment. Mere intention is a light sin, for which god Yamadharmaraaja in hell will give a strict oral warning. Swami, I want to apply this concept to an example in pravrutti and nivrutti to understand this further.

A) In pravrutti: If we take an example of a married person having lustful intentions for another person other than their spouse (without corresponding action), is it considered a light sin only, because it stops with having intentions alone? Is it considered as indirectly cheating your spouse, which comes under one of the greatest sins? Even though the bond between husband and wife is definitely the weakest with an option to divorce unlike other bonds, a formal legitimacy/illegitimacy in a relationship is generally attached only to this bond. We see married people having non-biological relations like non-legal brother, sister, father, etc. and society generally does not have any problems with it. Whereas, the same society and even God looks down upon people who cheat on their spouses. So, how are illegitimate lustful intentions without corresponding action judged by God? Married people may have lustful feelings towards good-looking actors and actresses while watching movies also. Is it considered a light sin only?]

Swami Replied: - Intention not resulting in practical action is severely warned by God in hell. But the intention will always have a general tendency to result in practical action provided the action is within the limits of self-effort. The intention leading to the action alone is  complete sin, which generates practical punishment. Though intention itself is not dangerous to harm society, the intention will always have a general tendency to transform into action if the self-effort is able to succeed in such action.

6. Will the lustful intentions of the Gopikas towards Krishna be considered as a light sin?

[B) In nivrutti: If we apply this same concept to the love Gopikas had for Lord Krishna, as married women, they had lustful intentions for Krishna. It has been well-established from previous discourses already that it was not plain lust but pure love between them, where their lust was just a practical expression of their pure love towards Lord Krishna. When the Gopikas approached Lord Krishna to completely surrender to Him (action), they were advised to go back after being threatened of the sin they would be committing as married women having an illegitimate relation with Krishna. But, when they had lustful intentions (before they acted upon it), was that also considered sinful by Lord Krishna as a light sin? When a married woman thinks of God as father, mother, brother, etc., there is no problem of any sort, even from society. Only when a married woman thinks of God as a lover/ husband, there is scope for lustful intentions as a natural by-product of the chosen relationship towards God. So is this intention (without action) towards God considered as light sin? Were the gopikas warned by Lord Krishna during the theoretical expression of their sweet devotion (through mind and words) that even having lustful intentions towards Krishna was sinful as married women? At Your divine lotus feet, Priyanka]

Swami Replied: - The point about sages to love Krishna as darling is an incident that happened with the sages and I personally never asked them to behave like that. I also never taught them to behave in that manner. The sages were very intelligent and were authors of ethical scriptures before whom I am just a lilliput. You are bombarding Me for their action! Since these sages were highly matured and are considered to be the first-grade souls of the creation of God and since they loved God as darling, I have the responsibility to give a logical explanation for such action. Had they been low-grade souls, I would have neglected this topic. Since they are sages considered to be the burning fires of spiritual knowledge, who have burnt their lust in the fire of their penance and since even the most beautiful heavenly dancers failed to disturb their penance, I have to deal with this topic. Moreover, the other side is God, Who finally obliged to them. Thus I have tremendous double responsibility to answer this problem in most logical and convincing way. As a Hindu, don’t you also have this responsibility? How can you argue with Me like an opponent? Do you think that Krishna and Gopikas are only My relatives?

Coming seriously to this topic, why have the scriptures defined salvation as the liberation from worldly bonds? Did I define it like that? Even there, why did the scriptures say that the three strongest worldly bonds are money, issues and life-partner? Instead of life-partner, the scriptures should have mentioned father/ mother/ brother/ sister/ father-in-law/ mother-in-law etc.! Did I choose the life-partner as the third strongest worldly bond? The scriptures have chosen these three worldly bonds as strongest (Eṣaṇās) because in practical experience, it is a true realization that these three are the strongest worldly bonds. Today, see anybody in the world. He/she is always attached very strongly to money, issues and life-partner only. This is the perfect truth in the world. Hence, the scriptures have selected these three worldly bonds. The liberation from these worldly bonds is also not cruelly mentioned as an inevitable step to be achieved. If your love to God is very very strong, all the other bonds shall spontaneously dropout. If you have tasted the divine nectar, all the worldly drinks are spontaneously dropped out. In such a natural and spontaneous worldly phenomenon, what is there to argue and fight for justice? Hence, every point in this topic is perfectly justified and logically correct as per the sharp analysis. There is nothing odd anywhere in this topic provided you stand on the truth without any prejudice and bias and without any blind fascination. As a co-Hindu, you have every responsibility to support Me by adding some more encouraging points.

The sages are topmost souls in the creation, who are worshipped even by the angels and happen to be authors of various ethical and spiritual scriptures. They have studied both pravrutti and nivrutti and finally, bent towards nivrutti. Nobody forced them to leave Pravrutti and enter Nivrutti. They have entered Nivrutti based on their own sharp logical analysis. If you are happy with your spouse, issues and other worldly bonds, the sages are not pressing you to come out of Pravrutti and enter Nivrutti. Everybody has a fundamental right of freedom of thinking and subsequent action. You want the fruit of Nivrutti, but you want to continue in Pravrutti! You want to stay in your house closing all the doors and windows. At the same time, you want to enjoy the warm sunlight of sun existing outside your house! How are both possible at the same time for a single soul? Salvation means liberation from all the worldly bonds, which are parents, brothers, sisters, spouse, issues, all the other relatives and money. Without liberating from the bond with the spouse, how can we say that it is total salvation? In total salvation, no worldly bond is exceptional. There is no force to leave Pravrutti and to follow Nivrutti. Pravrutti is mandatory whereas Nivrutti is optional. Devotees desiring for the eternal fruit are bending towards Nivrutti and such bending is by their full willingness only.