Krsna and Balaram with gojis

Joy Between Bhagavan and Bhakta, Siddha-deha

Question: This morning while doing my daily pūjā, I had the following realization: When I devote myself to the bhakti of Bhagavān, I experience some devotional joy (which is sometimes intense and sometimes less in intensity, based on my devotion and His kṛpa upon me). As Bhagavān is connected to His bhaktas (in the material world) through bhakti only, He, in reciprocation, must feel a similar intensity of joy that I feel. I conclude this on the basis of Gītā 4.11—ये यथा मां प्रपद्यन्ते तांस्तथैव भजाम्यहम् | मम वर्त्मानुवर्तन्ते मनुष्या: पार्थ सर्वश: || Also, in the Bṛhad Bhāgavatāmṛta, Gopa-kumāra had a longing for Kṛṣṇa and Kṛṣṇa had a similar longing to meet him.

As all jīvas are part of Bhagavān as His taṭasthā-śakti in this material world, is the devotional joy experienced by the jīvas then duplicated in Bhagavan? If such is the case, then His joy must be twofold!

I read your previous articles on the Sandarbhas, wherein you mentioned that Bhagavān does not experience the suffering of the jīvas. But He is an equal partner in devotional acts performed by His bhaktas, so He must experience the joy arising from bhakti. 

Suppose that we express this reciprocation between the devotee and Bhagavān as a formula: If X equals the joy experienced by the bhakta, and Y equals the joy experienced by Bhagavān in reciprocation, then the ultimate joy experienced by Bhagavān is X + Y. Does such a principle exist or is it somewhat different?

Answer: My question to you is: Can you really quantify an emotion? Secondly, the X that the devotee feels is coming from Bhagavān because it is Bhagavān who is the source of His bhakti. When X reaches back to Bhagavān, it can be anything. There is no such mathematical formula as you conceive.

Question: No, an emotion can never be quantified. But I understand that emotional experiences can be compared based on their intensity and longevity. I cited the mathematical formula only to convey my idea, although mathematics does not play a role in bhakti.

I now understand that the source of the joy which the devotee experiences is Bhagavān Himself. Bhagavān is the Superset or Source, while the bhakta, being a part of Him, always remains as a subset (sorry for using mathematical terms.)

Can we then say that the bhakti performed by a jīva unfolds more happiness in Bhagavān than what the jīva experiences from the act? Am I somewhat correct?

Answer: Yes, you are SOMEWHAT correct. Bhakti is a relation between Bhagavān and the bhakta. But it is a transcendental relation, and it involves subjectivity. So certainly, Bhagavān as well as the bhakta both relish the relation, but who relishes how much is difficult to pinpoint. In Caitanya Caritāmṛta, the author writes that the pleasure that the gopīs feel by looking at Kṛṣṇa is 10000 times more than what Kṛsna feels by looking at them. This may seem contradictory to our logic but it is true. Again, the number 10000 is not to be taken literally. It is just to give us an idea of the relish of the gopīs. Therefore, Kṛṣṇa Himself said that He cannot fathom the amount of love that the gopīs have for Him (SB 10.32. 22)

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Question: Our siddha-deha is eternal, but it is unmanifested now. When we receive it, it manifests. Since the siddha-deha is eternal, isn’t it already fixed which bhāva and body we will have to serve Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa?

Answer: No. You receive your siddha-deha according to your sādhana. So, it is not fixed. You obtain it in accordance with your sādhana when you become qualified. Being eternal does not necessitate it to be fixed. Eternal things can be granted just as non-eternal things can be granted.  

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 Question: Are the replacement cowherd boys in brahma-vimohana-līlā all vilāsa forms of Kṛṣṇa?

Answer: Yes.

Question: Is Subhadrā the daughter of Rohinī and Vāsudeva after the death of Kaṁsa?

Answer: She is the daughter of Vasudeva and Devakī. See SB 9.24.55.