Sanatana Goswami asks questions to Lord Chaitanya
The great sage Sanatana Goswami once served the Nawab of Bengal during the Muslim rule of India, about 540 years ago. He put forth three fundamental questions to the Supreme Lord, Sriman Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the great devotee-incarnation of Lord Sri Krishna.
1) First question: “Who Am I?
2) Second question: “On what grounds are we suffering the three types of fires.“ They are Adidaivik (आदिदैविक), Adibhautik (आदिभौतिक), and Adhyatmik (आध्यात्मिक).
Adidaivik is suffering caused due to natural disasters. Adibhautik is misery caused by other living entities. Adhyatmik is suffering caused to us by our own body and mind.
3) The third question was from a devotee’s perspective: “By what means can we become blessed?”
What we call “Me or mine” does not refer to the body, mind, intellect, subtle body or the causal body. This assumption is born due to ignorance. That “me” is the supernal divine principle which is called jeev (जीव). This definition is in line with the Bhakti principles. The jeev is intensely alive which also enlivens the device in which it lives, namely the body.
Going by this argument even the body becomes alive, owing to the power of the jeev. This jeev represents the marginal potency of Bhagawan.
3 Energies of Bhagawan
There are three aspects of Bhagawan-
1) Chit Shakti (चित्शक्ति)- Chit Shakti refers to the direct knowledge aspect of the Supreme Being. The Jeev can never be a part of that magnanimous Knowledge aspect.
2) Maya Shakti (मायाशक्ति)- Maya Shakti refers to the material or inert aspect of the Supreme Being.
3) Jeev Shakti (जीशक्ति)- Jeev Shakti can never belong to inertness. It is a special, yet separated part and parcel of the Lord’s potency. The term “separated” indicates that the jeev, (living entity) has turned its back to the Supreme Lord since time immemorial. The Jeev has turned its attention outwards. He looks at Maya Shakti, in direction opposite to where the Lord exists.
The direction opposite to Bhagawan is the arena of Maya alone. Because of this situation, Maya gains control over the living entity. It is this control of Maya that forces the Jeev to revolve in the cycle of 8.4 million life species.
How does Maya delude the Jeeva?
The living entity expects Ananda (आनंद) out of other living entities. Sadly, the living entity has no idea about the source of that happiness. This is the irony. One fails to realize that Ananda and Bhagawan mean the same thing. If one has not realized Bhagawan, how can one dream of any joy.
Even a drop of joy becomes unattainable when one has turned his back towards Bhagawan.
Foolishness of a Jeeva
The living entities try to cheat, manipulate and dupe each other in pursuit of all-evasive happiness. This is the height of the Jeev’s fool-hardiness. The living entity gets hurt and punished ten times a day. One might hear someone say “The world is selfish and ungrateful.” Yet the person saying this never learns his lesson.
He foolishly continues to chase joy in a place just as the dog tries to chase its own tail. The intellect becomes so blunt that he feels happy committing the same mistake several times a day. Even if there is a sage who points the right direction towards bliss; how many pay heed to his words? If some people attend to this sage, it is only to promote themselves and make a living out of it. This is the irony.
The role of Maya
People may blame Maya Devi for ill-treating and ruling over the jeev. What one fails to understand is that Maya Devi is our Supreme well-wisher. She is there to teach us many lessons. All because, we have turned our backs to the Lord and found Her interesting. The more we go to Her, the more she teaches us severe lessons. Her beatings are extremely harsh.
Finally, the realization shall sink deeply within us that we have been heading in a totally wrong direction. It may take this lifetime or some other to realize that our conception about happiness was just an illusion.
We, The living entities are minute particles of the Lord, who have forgotten our Source. We are a particle of the knowledge aspect of the Lord. Since, our knowledge is directed towards Maya we have separated from Him. The Lord is known as “Vibhu Chit” (विभुचित Supreme Knowledge) while, the living entity is called “Anu chit” (अणुचित carriers of incomplete knowledge about matter).
Chaitanya Mahaprabhu answers Santana Goswami
1) To the first question “Who am I?”, Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu answered thus-
-The living entity is the separated part and parcel of the Lord. He is the eternal servant of the Lord.
– A living entity is Atomic while the Lord is Magnanimous.
-The living entity is ageless and so is the Lord. However, the living entity cannot do anything on its own. It is the one who is ruled by the Lord.
-The living entity enjoys or suffers the fruit of Karma while the Lord is the witness to this without participating in the Karmic play.
2) To the second question- “On what grounds are we suffering?” the Lord answered thus-
We suffer because we do not know our true Nature. We do not know where our happiness lies. Since, out of ignorance we pursue Maya neglecting the Lord, we get belabored by Her viciously. Due to this folly we are in a state of continuous punishment from Her. She continues to maul us by making us bitterly suffer. She only releases her clutches when we turn our back towards Her one day and face the Lord.
3) To the third question “How can I be blessed?”- the Lord said-
When a person accepts the Lord as his own and turns to Him for protection, he shall be relieved from the suffering of the material world. Such a devotee accepts the Lord’s form, qualities, pastimes and glories in his heart.
Does Karma work for devotees?
Prarabdha Karma ( प्रारब्ध कर्म Karma-at the stage of fruition) shall still remain. However, Aprarabdha (अप्रारब्ध कर्म Future Karma) and Sanchita Karma (संचित कर्म Pending Karma of previous lifetimes) shall burn to ashes. However when one becomes a pure devotee he shall be relieved of all suffering.
One can be blessed by accepting the eternal service of the Lord through thought, word and deed. One becomes blessed when one realizes that there is an eternal domain of the Supreme Lord. The abode is beyond the domain of the light of Brahman. Pure devotees reside in the eternal land of bliss serving the Lord eternally. One attains a spiritual body and mind through which Pure consciousness operates. This shall be a blessed state to be in.
It is a domain and not a state of conscious existence called liberation that Advaitins talk about. The spiritual land of Ayodhya and Goloka Vrindavana are domains that shall deliver blessedness to the pure devotee. The pure devotee shall be relieved from the material world once and for all.
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