The Time of my Life: a Sense of Urgency
Question: You described that kama can be fulfilled, at least temporarily. So generally, the tendency is that even if everything is temporary, I can work harder to be satisfied temporarily for eternity. That is how it goes. No need to come out of that temporary situation. It feels like I can make that temporary situation into permanent by increasing my capacity. How to come out of such kind of mentality?
Answer: If I understand right, you are saying that the logic of conditional life is – let me satisfy, and then again satisfy, and then again satisfy. The presupposition is that it will lead to permanent satisfaction. Right?
That is why we need to hear from the sastra - we hear of how this is not going to work. It is as simple as that. Then we may think – okay, this is not going to work, so what will work?
We are all after satisfaction, we all want happiness - it is our natural response. If we see that banging our head against the brick wall only brings more and more pain, then at some point one will stop and think, “Is there some other way of acting instead of trying to bang on a wall which is breaking my head? Maybe I can go through the door!” That is natural.
Sastra helps us recognize that the temporary satisfaction which may be derived again, again and again, is not going to give us anything permanent. Instead, it increases the fuel on the fire of kama - lust, which further increases the dissatisfaction. To understand that, sastra is there, sadhus are there, guru is there: sādhu-śāstra-guru-vākya hridoye koriyā aikya. The message of the sadhus, the sastra, and the guru become singular – aikya, a clear understanding in the heart. And when we start to see that, then – ādau śraddhā tataḥ sādhu-saṇgaḥ [Cc. Madhya 23.14-15], the process to prema unfolds.
So, it is very much about being introspective. We tend to be a little complacent. Do you know this word, complacent? Sort of self-satisfied, “I am okay, you are okay.” We need to cultivate a strong sense of urgency that the clock is moving. The time in our life is reducing at a completely steady rate. Yesterday I went out chanting japa, to the beach where the airplanes fly directly overhead into the airport. It was early in the morning, there wasn’t light yet. I could see sometimes three airplanes in a line, at a distance, coming in off the ocean. They came closer and closer, and then at one point, quite suddenly I could hear them - then in just a few seconds, they landed.
It occurred to me: our life is something like that. We may or may not see that the end of our life is coming. It is silent and so we are thinking – I must have many more years to my life. This brings a sense of complacency. But that airplane is coming steadily - it is about to land because it is flying at maybe 250 km per hour or even at 500 km or more, when higher. It’s quite fast. But it doesn’t look like that because it is way distant. Rather, it may seem like it is crawling along. Therefore, we feel: life is okay, I am okay, you are okay. But that plane is coming in at a fast speed. And at one point suddenly you will hear it, “Zzzzssssss…”
What is the sound in this analogy? It is the body breaking down and the doctors saying, “Sorry, we can't do anything more for you!”
So, even as we speak, the urgency is there.
—from a lecture of Krishna Kshetra Swami in Juhu on January 15, 2017
Three Personalities in One
The pastimes of Sri Caitanya Mahāprabhu display the various wonderful moods of devotees as they worship the Lord. In the Gaura-gaṇoddeśa-dīpikā, Kavi-karṇapūra lists the names of the devotees of Caitanya Mahāprabhu and what their identities were, when they appeared in Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes.
For example, Gadādhara Paṇḍita, who was very dear to Caitanya Mahāprabhu and who was filled with love for Him, was not just one person, but was actually three personalities in one. Two of these personalities were Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī (the personification of pure love for Kṛṣṇa and the queen of Vṛndāvana) and Lalitā-gopī (who always follows Rādhārāṇī and is therefore known as Anurādhā). When Rādhārāṇī appeared as Gadādhara Paṇḍita, Lalitā followed Her, entering Gadādhara’s body. This is described in the following statement from Caitanya-candrodaya-nāṭaka:
Gadādhara, the best of the brāhmaṇas, is the incarnation of both Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī and Lalitā-gopī. These two are the transcendental potencies of the Lord, and since the Lord is in one sense not different from His potencies, it may be said that He is present wherever His potencies go. For this reason it may be said that Lord Hari is also present in the body of Gadādhara Paṇḍita. Gadādhara is incarnation of three persons: Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, Lalitā- gopī, and Lord Hari.
—From “Paravidya-mala, Higher Knowledge Series: Volume One” by H.H. Krishna Kshetra Swami, 2021