Politically Correct Handbaskets


Nov 25, USA (SUN) — There’s a streetcar named desire, and there’s a chariot drawn by mules called “second guessing” and so there are various handbaskets and conveyances, which take one merrily down to Patalaloka, all the while thinking one is politically correct.

Srila Prabhupada told us of the story of the cobbler and the Brahmin and Narada Muni. Narada often went to see Lord Narayana and one day the Brahmin requested him to inquire from Lord Narayana when he, the Brahmin, would go back to godhead. A cobbler made the same request to Narada. So he went to Lord Narayana and asked Him when the two devotees would go back home. Lord Narayana said the Cobbler would promptly go back home, but the Brahmin had more lives to do. Narada was surprised and asked why. Lord Narayana instructed Narada to tell both cobbler and Brahmin that He, Lord Narayana, was threading an elephant through an eye of a needle, and see how they react. Narada did as told, and the Brahmin balked at the story, saying "bah, impossible." But the cobbler fell into ecstasy upon hearing the story, saying "my Lord can do anything."

The moral of the story teaches us a "central point" that Lord Krsna is always testing devotees by presenting contradictory situations, which seem materially impossible, and then He observes how they respond to those situations. He puts little glitches into the cosmic landscape, just to test our faith.

Cc Adi 16.81P - "The central point of all Vaisnava philosophy is to accept the inconceivable potency of Lord Visnu. What sometimes appears contradictory from a material viewpoint is understandable in connection with the Supreme Personality of Godhead because He can perform contradictory activities by dint of His inconceivable potencies. Modern scientists are puzzled."

Lord Krsna also sends His pure devotee to our world, and is very attentive to see how we treat His pure devotee. This is a big test. Similarly, His pure devotee, Srila Prabhupada, is often testing disciples. It is said that when the guru calls a rope a snake, then the disciple will beat the rope as if it were a snake. Then the guru calls it a rope, and the disciple sees it as a rope. If the guru again calls the rope a snake, then the disciple again acts if it were a snake. The guru sometimes gives illogical puzzles, to encourage the disciple to relinquish his false ego of material logic.

Once in Los Angeles, 2 disciples approached Srila Prabhupada in his room, with a challenging mood. They brought up some seemingly material contradictions in the Krsna book, saying these things were impossible. Srila Prabhupada told them [if memory serves] that they could leave, because they were without a guru as of that moment. This was a severe case of flunking the contradiction test. This is where pride and material logic can get a careless devotee in very deep trouble.

I have heard that Sri Madvacharya once said that Lord Krsna purposely puts little contradictions into the sastra, just to facilitate doubting souls who are looking for holes in the philosophy, to give a little fodder to bolster their atheist mentalities. The Bhagvad Gita states that Lord Krsna knows what desires are in the hearts of the jiva, and facilitates that desire. If someone wants to doubt Krsna, then Krsna will help him do that, will direct him within the heart to focus on contradictory glitches in sastra, so that he can fulfill his doubt, so he can justify material desires.

Bg 7.21 purport - "As the supreme father of all living entities, He does not interfere with their independence, but gives all facilities so that they can fulfill their material desires."

The submissive devotee knows that Lord Krishna can do anything inconceivable and thus he passes the test, while the puffed up Brahmin maintains false ego and pride, which supplies his material logic and thus fails the test.

The cobbler was in spiritual logic and the Brahmin was in material logic. Spiritual logic is essential for surrender to Krsna and Guru, being vital for submission to the will of Krsna and Guru. Jayananda prabhu is a perfect example of a devotee with spiritual logic, who was not bewildered when confronted with riddles in spiritual life. He passed Krsna's tests with flying colors, with an attitude like, "I will never understand Krsna or His pure devotee, and I'll never understand this material world, and if someone asks about some apparent contradiction in sastra, I just say I don't know, and go on with my service, knowing everything is the inconceivable energy of Krsna." This is the humble attitude of the devotee.

Cc Adi 17.304P - "Such a contradiction can be reconciled only in the Supreme Personality of Godhead because He has energy that is inconceivable (acintya), which can make possible that which is impossible to do (aghata-ghatana-patiyasi). Such contradictions are very difficult to understand unless a devotee strictly follows the Vaisnava philosophy under the direction of the Gosvamis."

In the Krishna book, Mother Devaki recites prayers to Lord Krishna, saying that He contains the whole universe in His abdomen, and still appears in her womb, which seems to be a mind-boggling paradox-

“My dear Lord, at the end of the annihilation of the cosmic manifestation, You put the whole universe within Your abdomen; still by Your unalloyed mercy You have appeared in my womb. I am surprised that You imitate the activities of ordinary human beings just to please Your devotee." KB

In this regard, Srila Bhaktivinode writes beautifully about the inconceivable nature of mutually contradictory qualities of Lord Krsna, in Sri Jaiva-dharma-

"In the material world mutually contradictory qualities do not exist together in the same place, for they would negate each other. It is the inconceivable nature of Lord Krsna's potency that in the spiritual world all mutually contradictory qualities exist happily together and the result is very beautiful and pleasing. In Lord Krsna the qualities of having a form and being formless, being all-pervading and having a form present in one place only, being active and inactive, being unborn and being the son of Nanda, being the all worshipable Supreme Lord and being a gopa boy, being all-knowing and having the limited knowledge possessed by a human being, having qualities and having no qualities, being beyond conception and being sweet like nectar, being limited and unlimited, being far away and being very near, being completely aloof and also being afraid of the gopi's jealous anger are simutaneously present. These and numberless mutually contradictory qualities happily stay together in Lord Krsna's transcendental form, in Sri Krsna's transcendental abode, and in Sri Krsna's transcendental pastimes. That these mutually contradictory qualities help Lord Krsna's pastimes, making them more beautiful and pleasing is beyond human conception. Therefore it is said that the Lord's potencies are inconceivable." JD

On the other hand, the man in material consciousness will say, "Yes, we can understand everything in this world with our science, and we will control everything, and we will disbelieve anything that does not mesh with our theories and our laws of physics." Although the old theories are always be replaced by new ones, still such arrogance persists.

Even a devotee, like the Brahmin in the story, can fall under the spell of thinking his material logic is so important, and will balk at the glitches which bend his mind, and thus cultivate doubts of Krsna's achintya energy, even have doubts about Krsna's pure devotee. There is great pride in material logic, and that is why Krsna puts us to the test sometimes, to curb our pride, to make us surrender to spiritual logic, and relinquish material logic and false ego. Material ego tells us, “Elephants are huge animals, eyes of needles are very small, so big huge animals through a little hole? Gimme a break!” But Krishna can turn matter into spirit, spirit into matter. He can make little holes suddenly huge, and huge animals suddenly small. To become fully surrendered we must take that "leap of faith" and surrender our puny glow-worm material logic unto the brilliant sun of Krsna and His pure devotee.

Cc Intro- "That which is beyond our power of conception is called acintya, inconceivable. It is useless to argue or speculate about what is inconceivable. If it is truly inconceivable, it is not subject to speculation or experimentation."

So this is all a word to the wise. Srila Prabhupada warned us to get out of this mess, not come back for another go-round, cause Kali-yuga is sliding down and down into the muck of a horrendous nightmare, as we see in every newspaper and newscast how the suffering of mankind is increasing. So we don’t want to prolong our stay by the mistake of thinking our logic is more than Krishna or His pure devotee. Sometimes in the name of being “politically correct” or conforming to “modern times,” new students, out of immaturity, may slip into material logic and second-guess Srila Prabhupada, and misunderstand his books. The definition of "second-guessing" means, "to criticize or correct after an outcome is known.” Sometimes new students will bring up apparent contradictions and expose their doubts on the Internet. Senior devotees should give guidance to these new students, so as to not exacerbate their chance of an extended stay in Kali-yuga.

There is a new acronym surfacing in the Vaisnava community, called "JAPA." This stands for "just accept Prabhupada's authority." The counter acronym may be called "JARA," which means, "just accept rascal authority." The rascal authority is the materially logical mind and pride. JARA will get you old age and life after life of suffering, and JAPA will get you an express ticket back to Vaikuntha.

The story of the cobbler and Brahmin is a simple story, yet profound, the understanding of which will be the difference of going to Vaikuntha or going down to Kumbipaka. To take birth in Kali-yuga again, bubba, is going to hell. So let us be highly motivated by the suffering of this horrible age, to not come back again, and take the words of Srila Prabhupada without question, knowing it to be the difference of boarding the swan carriers to Vaikuntha, or taking a handbasket ride down the road to perdition.


| The Sun | News | Editorials | Features | Sun Blogs | Classifieds | Events | Recipes | PodCasts |

| About | Submit an Article | Contact Us | Advertise | HareKrsna.com |

Copyright 2005, HareKrsna.com. All rights reserved.