Rain, rain, everywhere, yet not a drop to be found anywhere.
Ok, I am not talking about rain and water scarcity, I am talking about Love.
Everyone in this world has a deep yearning for love. Some define life, as journey in search of love where as other think it, as the most over rated emotion. Some tries to trivialise it like Ambrose Bierce when he says, “Love is an insanity curable by marriage“, and some look up to it with veneration like Kurt Vonnegut when he says, ” purpose of human life, no matter who is controlling it, is to love whoever is around to be loved.” Some are madly after it and some tries to brush it aside but everybody seems to be deeply affected by Love.
We find plenty of evidence for that. Every other Film, whether it’s from Hollywood or Bollywood has a love story or stories built in it. Even a downright action films have love story interwoven in their scripts, that’s why many a times we see films with tag line like “a violent love story”
Even if some reject the notion of love, as being the cause of our existence, yet no one can reject the fact that it is the basic requirement for our very survival in this world.
Like everyone, I was born in this world, in a most vulnerable state, totally dependent upon parents for survival, but I was looked after very meticulously by my parents. I received love in abundance and that too unconditionally without making any effort on my part. I felt protected, pampered. My parents were the center of universe for me. Whenever I was hurt I would rush to them for solace.
Then I don’t know when and how it happened? My friends became more important to me, playing with them confiding with them, sharing with them, the enjoyment, sorrows, adventures of this journey called “life” became the most fulfilling and cherished past time for me.
Though I still love my parents and they still had fond affection for me but they now no longer were the center of universe for me.
Then suddenly, as my parents’ terms it, I experienced a change again, a girl became the center of my affection. I was even accused of neglecting my parents, friends and other relatives. My Dadi(grandmother) used to tell me that one does not care for white haired female snake, when he finds a black haired female snake for himself.
Then children came in my life, and giving them the best of everything became goal of my life. I used every drop of my life energy to provide them with all the comforts and their giggles, smiles and lisping gave me the most joyful moments of my life. To please them and my wife, I toiled so hard in this uncertain world, that I forgot to notice that old age and diseases became my permanent companions. Now I could relate with my old parents but felt too tired and habituated to do anything.
Reflecting on my past I found that though I forged so many relationships and made sincere effort to receive love and to give love, my yearning for love still remains unfulfilled. Still I felt like searching for it.
Looking around I noticed the same discontentment, dissatisfaction, chaos, frustration almost everywhere. Found people indulging in boozes, sex, entertainment, sports, adventure, traveling to distant places all over the globe, reading useless books, politics, social service etc. to escape from this state. Then I realized that the search is universal.
Coincidentally I came across a poem by a Vaishnava Bengali Saint, Sri Bhakti Vinod Thakur, which read like this: –
bhuliyā tomāre, saḿsāre āsiyā,
peye nānā-vidha byathā
tomāra caraṇe, āsiyāchi āmi,
bolibo duḥkhera kathā
jananī jaṭhare, chilāma jakhona,
eka-bāra prabhu! dekhā diyā more,
vañcile e dīna dāse
takhona bhāvinu, janama pāiyā,
koribo bhajana tava
janama hoilo, paḍi’ māyā-jāle,
nā hoilo jñāna-lava
ādarera chele, sva-janera kole,
hāsiyā kāṭānu kāla
janaka jananī-snehete bhuliyā,
saḿsāra lāgilo bhālo
krame dina dina, bālaka hoiyā,
āra kichu dine, jnāna upajilo,
pāṭha poḍi ahar-ahaḥ
vidyāra gaurave, bhrami’ deśe deśe,
dhana uparjana kori
sva-jana pālana, kori eka-mane,
bhulinu tomāre, hari!
bārdhakye ekhona, bhakativinoda,
kāṇdiyā kātara ati
nā bhajiyā tore, dina bṛthā gelo,
ekhona ki habe gati?
1) I forsook You, O Lord, and came to this world of pain and sorrow. Now I submit my tale of woe at Your lotus feet.
2) While still in the unbearable fetters of my mother’s womb, I saw You before me You revealed Yourself but briefly and then abandoned this poor servant of Yours.
3) At that moment I swore to worship You after taking birth; but birth came, and with it the network of worldly illusion which robbed me of all good sense.
4) As a fondled son in the lap of relatives, I passed my time smiling and laughing. My parents’ affection helped me to forget the pangs of birth, and I thought the world was very nice.
5) Day by day I grew and soon began playing with other boys. Shortly my powers of understanding emerged. I read and studied my lessons incessantly.
6) Travelling from place to place, proud of my education, I grew wealthy and maintained my family with undivided attention. O Lord Hari, I forgot You!
7) Now in old age, Bhaktivinoda is sad. He weeps. I failed to worship You, O Lord, and instead passed my life in vain. What will be my fate now?
It looked as if the genius Saint know me very well and was telling the story of my life, but such was my conditioning that I failed to realize that, how could I overcome this feeling discontentment by pleasing the Supreme Lord Sri Krishna.
To me he was like an energy source, a distant entity, orchestrating this complex chains of events in theater of the world, to bring about sanity in other wise an insane world.
I was only accustomed to direct my feeling of love towards myself or towards those whom I considered mine alone. Myself for me constitute only my body, my mind, my intelligence alone and I was very proud of “MYSELF”
A Vaishnava Bhakta in the same parampara of Sri Bhakti Vinod Thakur, had once, during a traffic jam, forced me to buy the “Shrimad Bhagavad Gita” by Sri Bhakti Vedanta Swami Prabhupada. Inspired by the above poem and forced leisure of corona lockdown, I started reading Bhagavad Gita, and was surprised to know that Sri Krishna is not a mythological character but actually the supreme personality of godhead, who is basically understood by people in 3 different conceptions.
1) Impersonal Brahman who is situated in every atom and also in space between two atoms.
2) Localized Paramatma who is situated in the heart of every living entities
3) The supreme personality of godhead, Sri Krishna himself, the absolute truth on whom every other things rests. Sri Krishna in Bhagavad Gita is declaring,
“mamaivānśho jīva-loke jīva-bhūtaḥ sanātanaḥ
manaḥ-ṣhaṣhṭhānīndriyāṇi prakṛiti-sthāni karṣhati”
BG 15.7: The embodied souls in this material world are My eternal fragmental parts. But bound by material nature, they are struggling with the six senses including the mind.
In another place he declares, “It should be understood that all species of life, O son of Kunti, are made possible by birth in this material nature, and that I am the seed-giving father.”
Chapter 14: TEXT 4
sarva-yonisu kaunteya,murtayah sambhavanti yah.
tasam brahma mahad yonir, aham bija-pradah pita.
Now I have some inkling why my attempts to experience love have not yielded full satisfaction.
All this while I was wasting my life. I was misdirecting my love towards myself thinking myself to be this body, mind, intelligence or ego alone, or towards those, whom this “I” think as “mine”. As I misidentified myself with this body, which is perishable anyway and tried to form relationships based on this false identity, my efforts to love and be loved were never truly satisfying and were always changing and ultimately ended up in frustration. Krishna in Shrimad Bhagavad Gita, tell us that he is beyond this conception of material body, mind, intelligence and ego (Janma karma ca me divyam). He is transcendental and so are we, being his infinitesimal fragmental part.
Explaining further our inability to love Srila Prabhupad in his book, Krishna consciousness- a matchless gift says, “At present we are under the sway of a different consciousness. One person is thinking that he is Indian, another is thinking that he is American, and someone else is thinking, “I am this,” or “I am that.” In this way we create so many artificial identities, but our actual identity should be, “I am Krishna’s.” When we think in this way, we are thinking in Krishna’s consciousness. Only in this way can universal love among all living entities be established. Krishna is related to everyone as eternal father, and consequently when we establish a Krishna conscious relationship, we become related to everyone. When one marries, he automatically establishes a relationship with the spouse’s family. Similarly, if we re-establish our original relationship with Krishna, we will establish our true relationship with everyone else. That is the ground for real universal love. Universal love is artificial and cannot endure unless we establish our relationship with the center. One is American if he is born in America, and thus other Americans become members of his family, but if he is born elsewhere, he has no relationship with Americans. On the mundane platform all relationships are relative. Our relationship with Krishna, however, is eternal and not subject to time and circumstance. When we re-establish our relationship with Krishna, the questions of universal brotherhood, justice, peace and prosperity will be answered. There is no possibility of realizing these higher ideals without Krishna. If the central point is missing, how can there be brotherhood and peace?”
It was not that, until now I was not aware about all the benediction that he continues to shower upon me, or I was thank less, or unaware about his greatness but I don’t know that, He is a person, like us and we are his fragmental parts. Like a loving father he is showering love upon us unconditionally and incessantly waiting all the while for us to reciprocate his feelings.
But then I thought, “he is so Great, everything in this world is owned by him”, how can we reciprocate with him? But he assures, “If one offers Me with love and devotion a leaf, a flower, a fruit or water, I will accept it.”
He is pleading us, he is begging us, “just give me a leaf, little water but with love”
Such is the depth of his love towards us.
And he is waiting, waiting.
One may say, OK, He is ready to reciprocate with the lords, but how to develop that love that’s the prerequisite for such reciprocation? Srila Prabhupad by giving so many scriptural reference, informs that Krishna himself came here in this material world, some 550 years back, in the form of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to teach us method of attaining the Universal Love (Love of Krishna) by the method of congregational chanting of Krishna’s transcendental names. He taught this by his personal example. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is the most merciful incarnation of Sri Krishna and therefore called as “Mahavadanya”. He distributed highest perfection of live “Love of Supreme personality of Godhead”, without caring for the eligibility of the persons. He along with his intimate associate Nityanand Prabhu, particularly favors the most fallen and sinful persons like Jagai and Madhai, and grants them love of Krishna, on one condition that they will not take to sinful life again.
O most munificent incarnation! We offer our respectful obeisance’s unto You. You are Krishna Himself appearing as Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. You have assumed the golden colour of Srimati Rädhäräni, and You are widely distributing pure love of Krishna.
namo mahä-vadänyäya krsna-prema-pradäya te
krsnaya krsna-caitanya-nämne gaura-tvise namah
By engaging our tongue in the service of the lord, by chanting his names, tasting only what is first offered with love to him and by avoiding 4 types of sinful activities (illicit sex, gambling, meat eating, intoxication), we can hope to learn to love Krishna and every living entity in its truest sense.