By Bhakti Raksaka Sridhara Deva Goswami
With such a beautiful flower, so soft and good-looking as a rose, why should there be any thorns? Its roots draw nourishment from the earth, and that sap produces such a soft flower, such a beautiful thing. Why should that sap also produce so many thorns on the stem? But everywhere we find thesis, antithesis and then synthesis. There is assertion of a particular subject, then comes opposition, then higher harmony comes through a synthesis of these opposing positions. Then again that synthesis becomes the thesis and so antithesis comes and again both become harmonized. This is the nature of lila, or divine play.
Sometimes we may find that in order for a drama not to become monotonous some light-heartedness may be introduced to make the audience laugh. Just as a clown may be introduced in the midst of a drama to prevent any monotony, certain bewildering aspects of the lila may be necessary to give variety to Krishna’s pastimes. So we have to properly adjust many things when considering his divine play.
I was astonished to find in Srimad-Bhagavatam that when Krishna was about to enter Dvaraka after a long absence, a procession from the town came to receive Him. It is described in Srimad-Bhagavatam that included in the procession were dancing prostitutes. I thought, “What is this? In Dvaraka there are prostitutes?” I was shocked to find this. “How can Dvaraka accommodate prostitutes?” In heaven there are also prostitutes, but we must analyze what is at the basis of all this. Both good and bad exist, but badness is only found in the mundane realm. What is here must have its origin in the higher realm and this world is only a distorted reflection of that plane. Everything that is found here is also there first. From there its reflection has come here as the perverted manifestation. The main difference is that everything in that spiritual realm is full of serving attitude, but here it is all with enjoying attitude.
We cannot drag everything within our reason and arguments, but still we are to try to understand things according to our capacity, faith, and realization. Despite all this, sweetness is sweet and truth is truth. Truth, however strong it is, is truth. We are to accommodate this in our mind. We should not think that mundane purity is the standard by which to determine that which is transcendental. We are not to take the standard from here and apply it there. We are to understand service to be so pure.
Draupadi had five husbands, but if we take her name then we will be purified. It is not out of lust that she married so many husbands but rather out of circumstance, and at the bottom of her married life we find only sacrifice. We must remember that. We must study the foundation before making our evaluation of what we see above ground. Sacrifice can make anything pure. The degree of purity or impurity does not depend on form, but substance. We must draw our attention towards that. We must try to understand the substance, and not so much the form.