Found in Sanga, Sanga 1999.

Where Time Meets Eternity

December 10th, 1999 | No Comments

Q. We are told that Lord Nityananda was hit with a clay pot and that he bled from his forehead. We also know that when Lord Caitanya took sannyasa the barber cut his hair. These appear to be “physical” in nature. We also know that the spiritual master, Tulasi Maharani, etc. have a physical form and that is why pure devotees are not cremated and we worship Krishna by chanting on Tulasi beads, etc. How is it that that which on the surface seems material is really spiritual in nature?

A. The blood appearing from Nityananda Prabhu’s head is the product of Yogamaya, as is the pregnancy of Yasoda, etc. Yogamaya is the stage master appearing “on location” when the nara (human-like) lila is staged in human society.

Tulasi is a manifestation of Vrndadevi, the forest gopi. She appears in this form in Vaikuntha and on earth as well. Her appearance in the material world is like that of the Deity, more so Salagrama or Govardhana-sila. Although all of these appear to have material qualities, being subject to transformation, at the same time they have the power to transform our hearts. Just as the Bhagavad-gita appears in matter as a perishable book, yet for one who studies it carefully and embraces its conclusion, the Gita is imperishable. So all of these are examples of that point where time and eternity meet. At this juncture, that which is eternal appears temporal, yet they afford those immersed in the ephemeral a life eternal.

The guru who is a sadhana-siddha, who has perfected himself via sadhana, or spiritual practice, (the majority of gurus in our line) has spiritualized his or her practitioner’s body (sadhaka deha) over time. In proportion to the extent which the mind and senses are engaged in Krishna’s service, they take on a spiritual color of their own.

Be sure, the line between matter and spirit is very thin, “sarvam khalv idam brahma.”

Q. Presumably everyone on the battlefield saw Krishna but most didn’t really “see” him. Is this seeing based on feeling or is there a difference in the physical sense?

A. Yes, everyone saw Krishna relative to their own heart or feeling. Most saw him as four-handed, while Arjuna saw him as two-handed. Otherwise Arjuna could never have addressed him in friendly disrespect, “He Krishna, he Yadava, he Sakha,” as he recalled doing when experiencing the Visvarupa-darsana.

In Mathura, Krishna was seen variously by attendees of the wrestling match. All saw him relative to their hearts or level of God consciousness. This is the general principle, as stated by Catur-mukha Brahma in Srimad-Bhagavatam, “yad-yad-dhiya ta urugaya vibhavayanti tat-tad-vapu pranayase sad-anugrahaya” (SB 3.9.11).

Otherwise anyone who sees Krishna during his manifest lila is not an ordinary person.

Q. In “Art of Sadhana” Bhakti Promode Puri Maharaja explains the difference between lust and love by quoting Caitanya-caritamrta, “Lust is to be understood as a desire for one’s own sensual pleasure. In contrast, the superior mood of the gopis is a desire to satisfy Krishna’s senses. The gopis have not a pinch of desire for their own sensual pleasure and only engage in intimate relations with Krishna to give him happiness.” Later, when describing devotees in Vrindavana, Puri Maharaja states, “Each of these persons worships Krishna according to his or her particular desire.” I am a little confused on this and I would like your help in understanding this better.

A. As we empty our hearts of selfish desire in the context of culturing the desire to serve him, Krishna comes and sits on the throne of our heart. At this time our mature serving nature takes the shape of friendly love, or conjugal love, and so on. This desire to serve Krishna corresponds with how Krishna would like to accept service from us, how Krishna would like to express himself in lila through the surrendered instrument of our soul tasting anew his own svarupa-sakti now manifest in our heart. We become one with Krishna in desire, surrendering our will to him and replacing it with his will. This is abheda (identity).

Simultaneously, we ourselves exist as an ontological reality, and from our side this experience is as if our heart’s desire is being fulfilled, and we are being all that we can be, doing what we want. This the is the bheda (difference) side of the acintya-bhedabheda-tattva equation. In Vraja lila there is no selfish desire at all, not even spiritual selfishness like that found in other dimensions of the Vaikuntha expanse.

Q. When I was given Hari-nama initiation, I recall being told that my spiritual name was my real, eternal name. Of course, a new name via sannyasa initiation may be accepted, but otherwise I always felt my transcendental name would stay with this atma forever. If our Vaisnava name is not eternal, then how do we distinguish each other in the spiritual world? Is our spiritual name then just a way to enhance our meditation on Krishna in this life?

A. The name given at the time of initiation is dasa/dasi, be it Krishna dasa, Rama dasi, Vamana dasa, etc. These are all names given to the sadhaka deha (practitioner’s body). Their purpose is to remind us that the basis of our spiritual life is culturing the disposition of service (dasa/dasi) to Krishna. Should we perfect ourselves in this life, the name of our sadhaka-deha takes on greater significance. The perfected sadhaka-deha is spiritual. For this reason it is placed in samadhi, a tomb representing the sadhaka’s entrance into samadhi (trance) and spiritual perfection. The name of this sadhaka-deha has the power to take us beyond time and more. Therefore we chant the names of Rupa and Sanatana Goswamis and other such siddhas.

However, other than the sadhaka-deha, we all have a siddha-deha (perfected spiritual body). Generally, this is different from the sadhaka-deha (Dhruva Maharaja being an exception for the purpose of emphasizing the spiritual potential of the sadhaka-deha). The siddha-deha has a name of its own. Rupa Goswami, for example is known also as Rupa Manjari in his siddha-deha.

Your siddha-deha will be revealed in advanced stages of practice (ruci/asakti). At that time you will know the name, service, residence, etc. of your siddha-deha, and your practice will be focused on culturing a specific service that takes the shape of one of the primary loving sentiments, santa, dasya, sakhya, vatsalya or madhurya. Your hearing and chanting will become focused on those lilas that help to promote your particular serving identity. As Gopa Kumara of Sanatana Prabhu’s Brhad-bhagavatamrta realized himself to be a gopa named Sarupa, you will also realize your eternal spiritual identity and corresponding spiritual name.

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