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How it Becomes Yajna


Question: Why is it that we see that although Jay and Vijay wanted to return to their original position as soon as possible, it took them a long period to be able to do so?

Answer: Could it not have been faster? Well, the lilas have to play themselves out.

It is not like when the son of Srivasa Thakur dies and Lord Caitanya revives him, the child says, “Parents? These are not my parents. I’ve had so many parents. So, thank you for letting me go back to Godhead. Bye!” It is not like that.

There has to be a lot of trouble first. And it gets back to the question of theodicy - the eternal question: How is it that there is evil if God is all good? And that is a question that I don’t think we are going to have thoroughly answered this evening; since philosophers, including both western and Indian, have been wrestling with this question for centuries and millennia.

The Vedanta-sutra says it is karma. But when you try to work it backwards, what is the starting point of that karma? Vedanta-sutra says basically there is no beginning. But there is an end! And that’s the good news! There is an end.

This story of Jay and Vijay is also interesting because it’s a part of the ongoing question: Do we fall from Vaikuntha or not? Well, yes and no, because Jay and Vijay are at the gate, and you can say, well they are not all the way in! So, they are not really there!

However, they are not situated in the material world, nor are they in impersonal Brahman - they are beyond the six gates of Vaikuntha – their situation is quite elevated. Nonetheless, they are not complete, so what is it? It is ambiguous.

It is kaka tala nyaya. You know about kaka tala nyaya? It is the logic of the crow and the tal fruit. Some sages are sitting near a tree of tal fruits. Anyone knows what a tal fruit is? (The cowherd boys wanted to have this fruit from Talavan forest, so it must be good).

A crow was sitting on a tree branch, and then it flew away. As it flew, the fruit fell. The sages are seeing this and one says, “You see? Cause and effect! Crow caused the fruit to fall.” Another says, “No, no, you got it all wrong. The tal fruit fell and that made the crow fly away.” And the third one goes, “No. You also got it wrong. It was simultaneous. Perfectly simultaneous.” Thus, in this way, they argued and argued, and forgot to eat the tal fruit. That is called kaka-tal-nyaya (kaka - crow, tal - tal fruit, nyaya – logic).

Therefore, the next time somebody raises this question, “Did we or did we not fall from the Vaikuntha, you just say – kaka-tal-nyaya.” As that is how Srila Prabhupada answered. One devotee specifically wrote to Srila Prabhupada on this question and in his reply, Prabhupada wrote a long letter explaining this story. So, it is bonafide. Hare Krishna!

–From a lecture dated January 15, 2017 by His Holiness Krishna Kshetra Swami in Juhu, Bombay – India.


How it Becomes Yajna

Question: You mentioned engaging intelligence by questioning the mind. Many times, I ask: Do I really need this? But I don’t get a clear answer from my mind. Why is there so much vagueness in deciding whether I really need something?

Answer: The fact that you are asking yourself this question is already half the battle won. You are halfway there. And the answer is: keep asking yourself. As you keep asking yourself more and more, the answer will become clearer. The answer becomes clear as we understand more and more our completeness, by which we gain confidence.

We are in this mood of acquisition, of acquiring, it may be material things, it may be surrounding ourselves with friends, wealth, it may be reputation, whatever it is. We are gathering these things as crutches. We think we need this support in order to be whoever we think we are. Implied in the question: “Do I need this?” is actually the question: “Do I understand who I actually am?” How much am I assuming about who I am? How much of who I think I am is just my imagination of who I am?

So, keep asking yourself. And then more and more you will find, “Yes, I can stand on my own two feet,” so as to say, “I don’t need these crutches.” And then you will gradually see how whatever you may feel is important is also important for service. Thus, it becomes purified. But we still always have to be careful with that.

Srila Rupa Goswami gives us this principle: yukta vairagya. One way to translate yukta is appropriate. Appropriate renunciation. It is not just, as Prabhupada says, we walk by a bank and say, “I renounce this bank!” That doesn’t mean anything. What does appropriate renunciation mean? We make use of whatever the Lord gives us, recognizing: “The Lord has given me this facility, this capacity, this power, these material goods. Let me now use it in the Lord’s service!”

And this how it becomes a sacrifice - how it becomes yajña.

–From a lecture dated January 15, 2017 by His Holiness Krishna Kshetra Swami in Juhu, Bombay – India.