Is Krishna unfair to us?

Question: Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī writes in his Paramātma Sandarbha (44):

tad evam ananta eva jīvākhya taṭasthaḥ śaktayaḥ.
tatra tāsāṁ varga dvayaṁ. eko vargaḥ anādita eva bhagavad unmukhaḥ anyas tu anādita eva bhagavat parāṅmukhaḥ svabhāvataḥ tadīya jñāna bhāvāt tadīya jñānābhāvāc ca

“There are innumerable spirit souls and they are the marginal potency of God. There are two classes of them: one class is favorable to God from beginningless time, and the other class is turned away from God from beginningless time. The first class is naturally full of knowledge and the other is without knowledge.”

This seems to me so unfair. This statement makes Kṛṣṇa out to be especially merciful to some jivas, and less so to others. That would contradict Kṛṣṇa’s teaching in the Gītā, where He says He is equal to all.

Answer: This does not contradict Kṛṣṇa’s teachings. Such a doubt arises by not understanding the word anādi, beginningless. Kṛṣṇa is not creating some jīvas as nitya-baddha and others as nitya- mukta. If that were the case, they would not be anādi. Just as Kṛṣṇa Himself has no beginning, His energies also have no beginning. His taṭasthā, or intermediary, potency also has no beginning. 
This taṭasthā-śakti has two divisions, which are also beginningless. This is what Jīva Gosvāmī is saying in the above statement. Anything which is beginningless is also causeless. It therefore does not contradict Kṛṣṇa’s statement. He is equal to both of them. It would contradict His statement if He would have personally put some jīvas under the influence of māyā and spared the others. Not understanding this fact, you are wrongly construing it is Kṛṣṇa who has put some jīvas in ignorance and others in knowledge. As I said above, such misconception arises because of the limitation of our material mind, which always thinks in cause and effect relations. It is inconceivable for the mind to think of something as beginningless. Therefore, although you are quoting Jīva Gosvāmī, you are giving your own meaning to it and hence the confusion arises.

It should also be noted that in this context, nitya-baddha doesn’t mean that the jīva is eternally condemned to be “baddha“, in a fallen state. It refers to being in that position since beginningless time.

By practicing sādhana-bhakti, the jīva becomes imbued with the svarūpa-śakti, as a combination of its hlādinī and saṁvit aspects, descending into the heart of the jīva. Attaining svarūpa-siddhi, the jīva becomes immersed in the endless ocean of unlimited bliss full of prema-bhakti.

If we fail to accept the fact that we are nitya-baddhas and if we waste our time trying to find out how something happened which never happened at all, we may lose the opportunity to engage all our precious time in attaining the highest goal of life.

It is as if we are lost in an ocean and above our heads we can see a helicopter, throwing us a life preserver, but we are still completely immersed in and totally occupied by finding out how the hell we ended up in this ocean. 

We are in this ocean. We need to get out.

7 thoughts on “Is Krishna unfair to us?”

  1. Babaji,
    Thank you very much for the clear answer. I especially liked the conclusion:
    “It is as if we are lost in an ocean and above our heads we can see a helicopter, throwing us a life preserver, but we are still completely immersed in and totally occupied by finding out how the hell we ended up in this ocean.”

    I am wondering if this concept can be generally applied to statements in the Shastra that talk about seemingly ordinary or hard to understand stuff that relates to the material world.

    I am of the opinion that all knowledge is useful, but some knowledge is more useful than others (as you point out). In that spirit, can one claim that taxing one’s brain for understanding the lists of dynasties of kings in Bhagavatam, Vedic cosmology in 5th Canto, nuts and bolts of varnashrama dharma, esoteric details of Sankhya philosophy, etc is probably not useful because all those are not really relevant for cultivating bhakti, so we can ignore that and rather read chapters that directly speak about bhakti/Shri Krishna?

    To clarify my general sentiment is :
    “Shastra says that Sun is closer to the Moon, why should I care, how does it change my life, why should I break my head trying to understand the Sisumara planetary system (though it should be preserved for posterity and for those who may find it useful), rather focus my energy on understanding Sandarbhas, Chapters related to Shri Krishna, Bhagavad Gita, CC etc.”

    1. Our life is limited and we have many duties to perform. We must be very judicious how we use our time in Bhakti.
      Those who have time and scholarly interest can investigate topics such Sisumara. For a devotee, in general, it is good enough if he/she can study the parts that are directly related to Bhakti.

    2. Pranam:
      “For a devotee, in general, it is good enough if he/she can study the parts that are directly related to Bhakti.”

      I was in the understanding that, per gaudiyas , everything within SB is directly related to bhakti without any portions within it for omissions like those of a seedless , skinless mango which is ready to be drunk.
      If SB has certain parts which are not directly related to bhakti , then the praise given to 1.1.3 seems like arthavada making the complete text lose its glory for its uniqueness.
      vamsanucarita is the story of all kings whose activities are purifying for listener and speaker than that of Krishna’s since this text is about bhAgavata(devotees) than bhagavAn directly. Lack of interest to hear the big list of dynasties , names etc can not be a symptom of bhakti but lack of sraddha, in my understanding. Please correct me if i am wrong.
      Infact SB claims topmost attention from readers, for its distinct speaker, listener and time of discussion(just before death). To state paramahamsa suka who does not stay in a place for a long time and parama bhagavata parikshit who is about to leave the body sat for a longer time together and listened to kula gotra of his lineage which are not directly bhakti would be construed as time not put in best of use.
      Sisumara is form of worship of vAsudeva. Ideally just like description of kara carana of krishna or rama is purifying and blissful to devotees, his other forms are equally transcendental.

      I can personally say I can connect to human like activities of rama and krishna easily and it is enjoyable to read those portions than that of sisumara and other forms and hence lack of interest while reading them..

      Please kindly clarify.

    3. Verse 1.1.3 says rasika bhuvi bhavuka. Not everybody is a rasika. So it is not arthavada, but one has to be rasika and bhavuka to taste the rasa.
      As for the direct and indirect descriptions, SB itself makes a mention of it in verse 2.10.2 – varnayanti mahatmanah shrutena arthena ca anjasa.

  2. Thanks Babaji for a nice topic and a very befitting conclusion at the end.
    Could you please clarify the word tatastha as used in this shloka. Does it mean borderline/ a beach/ a riverbed or something else.

    1. It means that jiva can be either under the influence of bahiranga sakti or antaranga sakti.

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