The Sun is Setting

Krishna, Balaram tend the cowsFrom a talk by Swami B. V. Tripurari given in San Francisco in July, 1996

Things are moving very harmoniously under God’s direction. We see beauty in the profundity of the movements of nature. The sun is setting and we get negative impetus, if we understand it properly. If we read the environment correctly, then we move in the direction of loving God.  We embrace that controlling agency. However, even beyond the rising and the setting of the sun and beyond time, there is the bigger world where Krishna conducts his affairs. Sometimes he enters this temporal world, the small world of our mind and our individual frame of reference to take us out of it. Therefore we should not judge him in terms of our ideas of origin and time and so forth, for then we will undo that which he came to offer.

When we speak of Krishna, we’re not speaking of some entity within time and space. When we get released from that misconception and go beyond the mind, we can touch the soul. When we exercise the logic of the soul, then we can know what love is. If we exercise the soul in relation to the perfect object of love, we can experience love. Krishna’s lila is different from our karma. Karma is activity which is born of necessity due to identification with the body. When the soul identifies with the body, necessity is born and we have to work. That is karma. And lila, Krishna’s pastimes, which may even look like karma are entirely different. Lila is movement based on what we actually are. When we enter lila, we’re moving because of what we are, not out of some artificial necessity born from our misidentification.

Some seekers, like the Advaitins, they want to be joy. We don’t want to be joy, we want to experience joy. Experience is more profound. When we finally meet Krishna, joy personified, that is rasa. Then we will know real joy. We will realize love. When we exist on that plane, it is said, once going there, one never returns. It is the place where there is no need for sunlight, moonlight, or electricity. Yet there is sun, and there is moon. There may even be electricity however it is moving in a different way. It is moving based on the lila of Krishna.

The sun is going down. Both the sun and Krishna are dear to the lotus flower but Krishna is dearer because he is closer to it. He’s more important because he stays on Earth. The sun however stays high in the sky. The devatas speak like this. Krishna is coming from the forest. All day long he’s herding his cows. Krishna has so many cows. Krishna chants their names on his mala made of jewels and he calls them by their different colors. He gives joy to all his friends, and secretly, with the help of some of his most confidential friends, he meets with his girlfriends and Radha. This is how they are conducting their day in the Vrindavana forest along the banks of the Yamuna and at Radha-kunda. As the sun starts to set, Krishna is playing and having so much fun. All the boys are getting hungry and tired. They want to go home. Yet Krishna and his friends continue to play on and on. Madhumangala has to grab him and say, “Let’s go and eat!” Krishna’s fat friend, Madhumangala is a very big eater. He has to drag Krishna back home.

The sun is setting as they are coming into the village from the forest.  Krishna is covered with the dust from the hooves of his calves and cows. He is seen by Mother Yasoda who has been walking out of the house, then going back in, then walking out, pacing and looking. She is anticipating, “Is he coming yet, is he coming yet? What happened to him, why is he late?” She is concerned that so many bad things could have happened. She recalls, “Yesterday I heard a story that some demon attacked him. They say my son defeated him.” Yasoda has heard these different stories. She thinks, “Oh Krishna has defeated those demons because he’s eating Radharani’s cooking. That’s why. Because she was given a blessing by Durvasa that whatever she cooks will be like life giving nectar.”

Yasoda insisted even after the so-called marriage of Radha, that Radha cook for her son. Radha’s mother-in-law tried to resist by asserting, “Radha is married, and why should she go to Yasodamayi’s and cook for that black snake Krishna, who is poisoning all the young girls of the village. Why should she go?” Others however came to Yasoda’s defense. Paurnamasi, the wise woman in the village explained, “If you don’t let her go, ruin will come to your family. So many problems will come”. The mother-in-law became a little nervous and agreed, “All right, let her go, but you go with her, Kundalata, with this gopi and that gopi. You go with her, and make sure that she’s just cooking and that’s all.” As a result, Yasoda believes that Krishna defeats demons because he eats Radharani’s cooking and that could be the only possible reason.

God can do wonderful things because of his sakti. If he had no sakti, what could he do? The Advaitins say God has no sakti, therefore he does nothing and whatever we see is illusion. They claim that all movement is illusion and one should get out of illusion and be silent forever. They reason that if one moves, they must be unfulfilled and if one has desire then one must be lacking. Therefore they espouse that fullness means no desire and no movement. Any movement and any desire is an indication of being unfulfilled. Such reasoning has merit yet what does Mahaprabhu say? What does the Bhagavata say? They suggest a much more attractive idea.

The Absolute is moving, and when you have union with the Absolute, you will be moving also. Yet not out of necessity or a lacking born out of material identification, but out of the fullness of that experience. There one moves out of celebration of one’s completeness. This is Krishna-lila, which is going on because we say that God has sakti. Parasya-saktir vivadhaiva sruyate. He has innumerable saktis, and Radha is the svayam-sakti, the primal sakti. Because Krishna has sakti, his sakti is one and different from him. The potent and potency, the energetic and energy, the two are one. Tat tvam asi,  the Advaitins are fond of quoting this. “You are that”. But Mahaprabhu has explained it as, “You are his.”

In the Alankara Kaustubha, Krishna makes a statement through the pen of Kavi Karnapura, “Those people who say they love me, they don’t know anything about love. Those who say, ‘Krishna, I love you,’ they know nothing about love.” This statement implies when love is genuine there is no consideration of “I” or “you”. It is a dynamic union. Two become one when entwined in love. When Radha and Krishna become fully merged in love, Sriman Mahaprabhu is the dynamic expression of that love. One does not cancel out the other like an electrical short, becoming silent. In love there is so much light. That bright light is Krishna-lila. It is the movement of the Absolute in celebration of his fullness. It is dancing and music and is full of sound.

The Advaitins say you cannot speak about the Absolute, Iksater na sabdat, “You cannot speak about the Absolute, you cannot say anything about it.” However, they’re still always talking about the Absolute, just in an indirect way. They speak about what he is not. But the Gaudiyas say, iksater na asabdat, “You cannot say enough about the Absolute.”

What is the conclusion of Srimad Bhagavatam? Kaivalyaikam prayojanam. In the Twelfth Canto it is mentioned in the concluding section, “This book is about kaivalya.” The prayojana, the goal of this book, is kaivalya. Kaivalya is a favorite word of the Advaitins, it means oneness. The Srimad Bhagavatam states that it is about oneness between the jiva and Brahman. The result of its study is kaivalya. How do we understand that? By understanding kaivalya to be love, oneness in love between the jiva and Brahman.

Krishna is coming and the sun in setting. The demigods are making comparisons. They say, “The sun is very nice, but it only gives light in the daytime. Then it sets. But Krishna gives light in the day and the night.” When the sun of Krishna has dawned in a person’s heart, the day and night will be illumined. It will never be dark again. From darkness we come to light, from temporary to eternal, suffering to nectar, and mortality to immortality. And Krishna-nama is the way to get there. Krishna is appearing in his name. We should give him our attention. We should think like this when we chant japa. Krishna-nama is brighter than the sun. It is more illuminating and more nourishing. Just as the sun gives life and nourishes, Krishna-nama will nourish us. It will enchant us. We will fall in love, brahmanti ca. We will be nourished, sustained, and we will fall in love.

Krishna is coming from the forest and the sun is setting, although he is the sun and the life and the light. He is God yet Rohini is thinking that she better put a light on him, so he can see and so they can see him. Rohini goes and gets a lamp. The Gopis are looking as if offering arotika with their eyes. This is actually the origin of arotika. It means a-ratri, “ending of night.” Ratri means night, so aratri means the end of night. The arati ceremony performed in temples, originates in Krishna-lila.  Rohini is offering this arotika, fueled by the prema in her heart.

Rohini is offering the arotika, and Krishna is coming and sitting on the lap of Nanda Maharaja. After, they take Krishna into the house and clean him up. It is evening and they go and milk the cows. Radharani will go to a nearby lake and climb the watchtower to get a glimpse of him with his friends. In this way, the sun is setting in Krishna-lila. We should also understand the sun is setting on our lives. We should understand in both ways yet first as negative impetus thinking, “It is killing me. It is killing my material life. Why don’t I just give it up, and then I will understand. I will understand and go beyond time, and enter the lila of Radha and Krishna.”


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