Found in Sanga, Sanga 1999.

We are working under the force of our karma. The seeds we have sown, we are reaping the fruits, and we are working accordingly. Karma means we are working out of necessity born of material identification. When we identify with matter, for example, this body, that gives birth to a necessity. What is that necessity? I have to struggle to live, because this body won’t endure. When I identify with it, when I see it as myself, necessity is born, and I have to labor. You have to eat to live, you have to work, and we are threatened with nonexistence, in terms of bodily identification, at very moment. We are haunted by misidentification with matter and we have to struggle hard on account of that. And in the course of our labor, we’re sowing seeds, and the fruits will come later, and we’ll be bound up life after life under the influence of this karma. So we will think, “Let me be free from karma and that forced movement. I will be peaceful. I will rest.” If we stop the mind and get off, so to speak, like the Buddhists tell us, stop the mind and be peaceful, stop thinking that you are, then you won’t have a problem. This is the Buddhist advocacy. Four noble truths. The first noble truth is dukha. Jiva Gosvami agrees. The world is about suffering. The second noble truth, trsna, and we agree. It means thirst, desire born of material identification.That is a problem. That is keeping me in the experience of dukha, of misery. What is the third truth? Nirvana. Because Buddhism says, ultimately, that consciousness is empty, it doesn’t exist, but Jiva Gosvami says, to qualify that, brahma-nirvana. Because Vedanta says there is consciousness, and you are that, a unit of that, Jiva Goswami says brahma-nirvana, and beyond. And the fourth noble truth of the Buddha is the eightfold path: right action, right living, and so forth. Jiva Gosvami would say, the fourth noble truth is the path of entering into brahma-nirvana, which is the bhakti path, the school of devotion. What is the difference between bhakti and the Buddhist ideal? The difference, in regard to the third and fourth truth, is how we arrive at brahma-nirvana.

Jiva Goswami is saying that ultimate reality is not merely the cessation of material suffering. It’s not just stopping the wheel of samsara, and going “Ahh,” and calling that joy. Relief, “Ahh.” If someone is chasing you down the street, and to get away from them you run into a room and close the door and say “Ahh, what a relief.” But after a while of sitting in that room, you’ll get bored. Can you sit in that room alone, forever? We want to do something. So, how can we do something that is not born out of necessity from material identification, but born out of what we are? This is the idea of lila. Karma means we are working out of a necessity born of material identification and it is a struggle. And lila means we are acting because of what we are. And what we are is a unit of joy. And when a unit of joy meets joy personified, that is the idea of lila and of Radha-Krishna.

You have seen that picture of Krishna playing the flute, dancing with the gopis, and with Radha, with cows. It’s very beautiful, even in its artistic depiction. But if you understand the canvas on which this is drawn, the philosophy, you can enter there. You can live there. It is a very extraordinary idea of Brahman, of the Absolute. It is a world of joy, of form that is not material. Usually we think that spirit must be formless, because our experience of form is that it is very limiting. But we should consider this point. What is this body? What is this material form? It is produced by consciousness. When consciousness is centered on matter, it produces so many material forms. When consciousness is centered fully on itself, what does it become? It manifest a form that is of a different nature, that is not matter, but is the nature of consciousness, a nature beyond time and space, beyond mind, beyond sense perception, and beyond our own self.

First, know oneself, Jiva Gosvami says. We’re not matter, we’re not the physical dimension, or the psychic dimension of our experience. First, know yourself, then—forget yourself. Because love is about forgetting yourself. Love begins with sacrificing, and ends with forgetting. That is the idea of Krishna-lila. It’s a dimension of consciousness where we forget about our self in love. Because giving is not about getting. If we think about getting while giving, we are not giving. When we think only of giving, we get. When we forget about our self and make our purpose one with the purpose of the Absolute, we will get like we never could imagine before. Our sustenance, our maintenance, and nourishment. Ramanti means joy like love, like boy loves girl, girl loves boy, this kind of love. This will retire all reasoning. Am I right? If a young boy falls in love with a young girl, the more you reason why it’s bad, the more that love is inflamed. The more you try to check it, the more you’ll increase it. Jiva Gosvami says, we want this kind of love for God. Like the love of a young girl for a young boy. This is most consuming. Passionate love for God. That is his doctrine. And in Tattva-sandharba, he’s given the metaphysical, philosophical basis for that conceptual orientation. If you can catch this, then the subsequent way in which you move, in which you act, will produce the fruit of love of God.

So, I don’t want to talk too long, although you all seem to be interested in this, and attentive. It’s a very big subject, and I don’t claim to be able to speak about it in such a way that will bring you entirely within it. But I hope you will be interested enough to buy our book, or for that matter, just to pursue these ideas in whatever tradition you find comfortable. But love is the goal, and a love that is enduring. Find a tradition that actually advocates that. Take your yardstick of objectivity and go and measure and see, what is the sadhya, what is the goal, and sadhana, what is the means of going there. The goal should be love. Absolute love. Which means that, from whatever side you look at it, it is love. Material love is not like that. If I love one, then I can’t necessarily love another. If I love communism, I hate capitalism. We should want absolute love. This should be our goal. Find a tradition that advocates this. Then, investigate the means, and see how far you can take it. What Jiva Gosvami has given is very, very deep.

We love God in reverence, in awe. After all, he’s God. We’ll bow, and with a stillness about our self, we’ll come before the altar with reverence and awe. So the kind of expressions that go on in material love life, like slapping our partner on the back, or pinching his cheeks or embracing, kissing, and so on, we’ll think, that doesn’t have a place before God. But Jiva Gosvami says, I want to take you deeper. Deeper, to more intimacy within Brahman, the Absolute, where you can pinch God’s cheeks, where you can kiss God and God will kiss you. This is a remarkable idea and it is a very intimate idea. So Jiva Gosvami says, let us not know God as Sir God, Lord God, let us know him in a very intimate way. Let’s come so close to God that the fact that the Absolute is God is only secondary. Let us, with such earnestness, with such devotion, become so intimately connected with the Absolute that the plane in which we experience him will look like it is finite and relative.

Krishna looks like some blue-skinned common fellow, and Radha, with golden complexion, like a beautiful young girl. Jiva Gosvami is saying, you have to understand this for what it is. Come so close to God, so intimate with God that the fact that the Absolute is God is merely secondary. Because in this world, love knows no reason, so if you have this kind of love for God, knowledge will be secondary. The knowledge that Krishna is God, for example, would get in the way of intimacy. So retire that. This is a very wonderful idea, a very charming idea. This is what Jiva Gosvami is about. Try to find a tradition that talks about love, and then see the means that’s advocated for going there. How far it will take you? Know what love is. You have some experience of the reflection of love. The only problem is, the reflection doesn’t endure. To find enduring love means to find love in relation to the Absolute.

And how far do you want to go? Find a tradition that speaks everything about love and how you can have that kind of freedom with the Absolute. Surrender, selflessness, affords the highest degree of intimacy in dealings. So much so, that Krishna will be conquered by that love. In the Bhagavad-gita Krishna drove the chariot of Arjuna. And Arjuna said to him, “Go over here,” like, “Taxi, rikshaw, come!” He’s talking to Krishna like this. And Krishna’s supposed to be Brahman, the Absolute personified. Arjuna is saying, “Turn this way, turn left, turn right.” This tiny soul, one of us, having this kind of liberty with the Absolute. And God is finding pleasure in that. Do you understand? Being God may not be so enjoyable. Loving God—that is enjoyable. And when God sees the soul has such love for him, he likes that. God likes that very much. This is a very wonderful idea, a very charming idea. This is what Jiva Gosvami is talking about in Tattva-sandarbha.

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