Found in Sanga, Sanga 1999.

The Sun Is Setting

August 15th, 1999 | No Comments

From a talk by Swami B. V. Tripurari given in San Francisco in July, 1996

Things are moving very harmoniously under God’s direction. We see beauty in the profundity of the movements of nature. The sun is setting and we get negative impetus, if we understand it properly. If we read the environment correctly, then we move in the direction of loving God, shaking hands, meeting, and embracing that controlling agency. And beyond the rising and the setting of the sun, beyond time, there is the bigger world where Krishna conducts his affairs. Sometimes he enters this world, the small world of our mind and our individual frame of reference to take us out of that. We should not, then, judge him in terms of origin and time and so forth, for we’ll do ourselves out of that which he came to offer.

When we speak of Krishna, we’re not speaking of some entity within time and space. Time and space, cell and sentence. When we get release from that, and go beyond the mind, we can touch the soul. When we exercise the soul, we can know what is love. Exercise the soul in relation to the perfect object of love, and we can experience love. Krishna’s lila is different from our karma. Karma is activity born of necessity owing to identification with the body. When the soul identifies with the body, necessity is born and we have to work. That is karma. And lila, Krishna’s pastimes, may look like karma, but it is a different thing entirely. It is movement based on what we are. When we enter lila, we’re moving because of what we are, not because of some artificial necessity born of misidentification. Anandamayo ‘bhyasat, the Absolute is joy. Raso vai sah; hi evam bhavanati bhavati rasam. And we can experience that joy.

Some seekers, like the mayavadis, they want to “be” joy. We don’t want to be joy, we want to experience joy. It is more profound. And when we meet joy personified, that is rasa. We will know joy then. We will realize love. And in that plane, it is said, once going there, one never returns. It is the place where there is no need for sunlight, moonlight, or electricity. But there is sun, and there is moon. There may even be electricity. But it is moving in a different way. It is moving based on the lila of Krishna. And when that sun sets, then the devas, they talk.

The sun is going down. Both the sun and Krishna are dear to the lotus flower. But Krishna is more dear, he’s more close. He’s more important, because he stays on earth, and the sun stays way high in the sky. They have a conversation like this, the devatas. Krishna is coming from the forest. All day long he’s herding his cows. So many cows Krishna has. When Krishna chants their names on his mala made of jewels, he calls them by their different colors, chanting the name of his cows on his mala. He gives joy to all his friends, and secretly, with the help of some of his friends who know him very confidentially, he meets with his girlfriends and Radha They are conducting their day like this in the Vrindavana forest along the banks of the Yamuna and at Radha-kunda. And as the sun starts to set, Krishna is playing, having so much fun. All the boys are getting hungry to come home. Tired, with all his friends, he is playing and playing and playing. Madhumangala has to grab him, “Let’s go and eat!” He is a very big eater, Krishna’s fat friend, Madhumangala. He has to drag him back.

And the sun is setting, and they are coming into the village from the forest, and Krishna is covered with the dust from the hooves of his calves and cows. And there he’s seen by mother Yasoda who’s walking out of the house, going back in, walking out, coming back in, looking. “Is he coming yet, is he coming yet?” Thinking, “What happened to him, why is he late? This could have happened, that could have happened. Yesterday I heard a story that some demon attacked him. They say he defeated him.” So she’s heard these different stories. Yasoda thinks, “Oh Krishna, he defeated those demons because he’s eating Radharani’s cooking. That’s why. Because she was given a blessing by Durvasa, that whatever she cooked would be like life giving nectar.”

Yasoda insisted, even after the so-called marriage of Radha, “This girl will cook for my son.” And the mother-in-law tried to resist, “She is married, why should she go to Yasodamayi’s and cook for that black snake Krishna, poisoning all the young girls of the village, why should she go?” Then others came, like Paurnamasi, “Oh, if you don’t let her go, ruin will come to your family. So many problems will come.” Paurnamasi was a lady of wisdom in the village. The mother-in-law became a little nervous. “All right, let her go, but you go with her, Kundalata, this one, that gopi, you go with her, and make sure that she’s just cooking and that’s all.” So mother Yasoda is thinking, “Krishna defeats those demons, but that’s because he eats Radharani’s cooking. For that reason it is possible.”

God can do wonderful things because of his sakti. If he had no sakti, what could he do? The mayavadis say God has no sakti, so they say he does nothing. Whatever you see is illusion, all movement is illusion, get out of illusion and be quiet forever. Go to sleep. Still forever. They reason that if you move, you must be unfulfilled. If you desire, you must be lacking. Therefore, fullness means no desire, and no movement. All movement, all desire, is an indication of being unfulfilled. Pretty good reasoning, but what does Mahaprabhu say? What does the Bhagavata say? They suggest a much nicer idea.

No, the Absolute is moving, and when you have union with the Absolute, you will be moving also. And not out of necessity born of material identification, wherein we feel a lack. But out of the fullness of that experience, moving out of celebration of one’s completeness. This is Krishna-lila. And that is going on because, we say, God has sakti. Parasya-saktir vivadhaiva sruyate. He has innumerable saktis, and Radha is the svayam-sakti, original sakti, the primal sakti. Because Krishna has sakti, his sakti is one and different from him at the same time. Potent and potency, energetic and energy, two and one. Tat tvam asi the mayavadis are fond of saying. You are that. But Mahaprabhu explained it, “You are his.” Tat tasya te, one can also say “his,” you are his.

In Alankara Kaustuba of Kavi Karnapura, Krishna makes a statement through the pen of Kavi Karnapura: “Those people who say they love me, they don’t know anything about love. Those who say, ‘Krishna, I love you,’ they know nothing about love.” Because in love there’s no “I” or “you,” no more consideration of that. It is a union, a union of love. It is a dynamic union. The two become entwined as one in love. When Radha and Krishna become fully merged in love, Sriman Mahaprabhu is the dynamic expression of that love. It’s not one canceling out the other like an electrical short, becoming something quiet. No, it is a big light, so much light. That is Krishna-lila. It is the movement of the Absolute in celebration of his fullness. It is dancing and music and so on, full of sound.

The mayavadis say you cannot speak about the Absolute. Iksater na sabdat, “You cannot speak about the Absolute, you cannot say anything about it.” Of course, they’re always talking about what the Absolute is not. So they are also talking about it in an indirect way. But we say, iksater na asabdat, “You cannot say enough about the Absolute.” Not that you cannot say anything, but you can never say enough.

What is the conclusion of Srimad-Bhagavatam? Kaivalyaikam prayojanam. In the Twelfth Canto it is mentioned in the concluding section, “This book is about kaivalya.” The prayojana, the fruit, the goal of this book, is kaivalya. Kaivalya is a favorite word of the mayavadis, it means oneness. It is right there in the Bhagavatam. This book is about oneness between jiva and Brahman, and the fruit of its study is kaivalya, the Bhagavatam says. How will we understand that? By understanding kaivalya to be love. This is oneness. Oneness in love. Oneness between jiva and Brahman in love. That is the message of Srimad-Bhagavatam. Not a static oneness, where one cancels out the other, where there was God and jiva, then there’s no jiva and there’s no God. Not like that. Because God has sakti—and Radha is the primal sakti—he has lila.The affairs of Radha and Krishna are conducted by hladini-sakti, not by maya-sakti. It is a most happy affair.

And Madhumangala is bringing Krishna in. And mother Yasoda is pacing at home, looking in the window, looking down, looking in the window. “When is he coming, when is he coming?” And then from a distance, Nanda Maharaja sees Krishna coming. He catches a glimpse and runs to greet him. The sun is setting, and there are demigods there also. They are witnessing this, and they are talking. They are comparing the sun to Krishna. They say, “The sun, it is giving light, but only in the day time. But Krishna is giving light day and night.”

He who is a real devotee, he will be in touch with Krishna day and night, twenty four hours a day. We chant sixteen rounds every day, but Mahaprabhu has given a message, kirtaniya sada harih. He said, “Read the environment properly.” When he saw a tree, he thought, “I should be tolerant, like that tree. Why am I not?” He saw the grass, the grass spoke to him. “Why aren’t you humble like us? When people step on us, we just bend over, no complaint.” Yet when someone even looks at us the wrong way in traffic, people will shoot them. Why are you looking at me like that? Boom! America.

We call ourselves devotees, but how many trees have we seen today, and how many times have we thought, “It’s speaking to me—be tolerant.” How many times have we walked on the grass today? And did it ever enter our mind in the last week, month, or year, when we walk on the grass, “I should be humble.” We are not awake to what the world is saying to us. Mahaprabhu was. He was reading the environment like this. He said, when you become like this, tolerant like a tree, humble like a blade of grass, asking no honor for yourself, giving all honor to others, kirtaniya sada hari, then, no more just sixteen rounds a day. There’s no difference between day and night. This is maya.

“Maya” means “to count,” “to measure,” and it also means “that which is not.” Maya means you cannot measure reality. But we try to. We try to measure it, to bring it in the fist of our intellect, understand it, put it in our pocket, pull it out when it’s convenient to increase our prestige. You have to give up all these things and move in a different way and enter into kirtaniya sada harih. This verse from Siksastakam, this is nistha bhakti. Everything positive comes from there. That is the third verse of Siksastakam, then four, five, six, seven, eight. All these positive developments come from there, ruci, asakti, bhava, and prema. These are all found in Mahaprabhu’s Siksastakam. In eight verses, he’s given the whole thing, from beginning to end, all by chanting the holy name of Krishna.

So Krishna is coming, the sun in setting, and the demigods are making comparisons: “The sun, that is very nice, but it only gives light in the daytime. Then it sets. But Krishna gives light day and night.” When the sun of Krishna has dawned in a person’s heart, day and night will be bright, illumined, never any darkness. From darkness come to light, from temporary to eternal, from suffering to nectar, mortality to immortality. And Krishna-nama is the way to get there. When the sun of Krishna, in the form of his name, dawns in our heart, then we will think, “What is the beauty of the ordinary sun? Why does it set? Out of embarrassment. That’s why.” It is brightening the day, but into whose life Krishna has come, the sun is embarrassed. “What light am I? Like a firefly only, to one who has Krishna in his heart.” So the demigods are thinking like this. The sun is setting out of embarrassment, because the real sun, the son of Nanda, the son of Yasoda, is giving light to all of Vrindavana, and to the whole world, overflowing.

He is appearing. We should give attention to him. We should think like this when we chant japa. It is brighter than the sun, more illuminating, more nourishing. As the sun gives life, nourishes, Krishna-nama will nourish us, it will enchant us. We will fall in love, brahmanti ca. We’ll be nourished, sustained, and we’ll fall in love. The demigods are speaking like this. The sun is setting out of embarrassment, and Krishna comes from the forest. And then, because the sun is setting, prema pradipa, the lamp of love, fueled by the heart of love. The Gopis are looking with their eyes as if offering arotika, and Rohini, she goes and gets a lamp. This is actually the origin of arotika. It means a-ratri, “ending of night.” “Ratri” means night, so aratri means “end of night.” The arati ceremony that we perform, it comes from Krishna-lila. Rohini is performing this.

Krishna is coming from the forest, the sun is setting, although he is the sun and the life and the light. He is God. Rohini is thinking, better put a light on him, so he can see and so we can see him. She gets the lamp, she lights the light. Arotika traditionally means lamp. Other things have been added over time. But it means the lamp. You go to arotika in so many temples, they just offer the lamp. When the lamp is finished, arati is finished. We may offer other things, incense and fan and so forth, but arati means festival of lights. Aratri means taking out the darkness. She’s offering that arotika, fueled by her heart, by the prema in her heart.

Rohini is offering the arotika, and Krishna is coming and sitting on the lap of Nanda Maharaja. Then they take him into the house and clean him up. It’s evening they go out and milk the cows, and Radharani will come to a nearby lake, nearby pond, and climb the watchtowers to get a glimpse of him with his friends milking the cows. In this way, the sun is setting. We should understand it both ways. First, as negative impetus. “It is killing me. It is killing my material life. So why don’t I just give it up, and then I will understand. I will understand and go beyond time, and enter the lila of Radha and Krishna.”

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