Some afterthoughts, or rather afterfacts, complementing a couple of recent entries here.
First on pain – apparently in Bhakti Sandarbha Srila Jiva Goswami says that Krishna doesn’t know what it’s like to be under the spell of the material energy and, consequently, doesn’t know what our sufferings feel like. To solve this problem He feels material sufferings through His devotees. I have no idea how it works and I don’t know where to find an English translation of Bhakti Sandarbha to check.
I heard this in a record of a seminar on Sandarbhas by HG Gopiparanadhana Prabhu, he jokingly suggested that next time we feel pain we should think of it as doing research for Krishna. I’ll keep that in mind.
Secondly, on the myth of idyllic life in the times of Lord Chaitanya – in Chaitanya Charitamrita, at the end of the second chapter of Madhya Lila, Srila Krishnadas Kaviraja specifically mentions criticism of his work and explains how he choose to deal with disapproval. He doesn’t mention any names but clearly there were people less than satisfied with him.
We are so lucky that it doesn’t enter our minds to criticize Chaitanya Charitamrita. I wonder what obstacles people who found faults with it put in the way of their devotional service. I’m sure they weren’t completely rejected by the Lord but still. Anyway, my point was that politics exist everywhere and at all times. We might think that grass was greener on the other side of 1600 but in other ways we are luckier than some neophyte devotees of those days.
And finally, not a sequence to anything in particular, but I found this verse from Brahma Samhita (5.59) rather telling:
The highest devotion is attained by slow degrees by the method of constant endeavor for self-realization with the help of scriptural evidence, theistic conduct and perseverance in practice.
Somehow I lost faith the “slow” process, I settled on performing sadhana bhakti just as a stopgap measure until Lord Chaitanya bestows His mercy on my soul, or until I die in a favorable circumstances and return back to Godhead. Basically, I don’t have much faith in external show of service, it’s good, it’s better than doing nothing, but it is not really a service, just imitation. Not a service in a sense that it’s diluted with selfish, materialistic desires that are inherent in our conditional lives.
Here Krishna says, however, that this slow, gradual, step by step process is a genuine method to attain highest devotion, so it’s not in vain. Obviously Krishna didn’t mention extraordinary, once in a day of Brahma mercy of Lord Chaitanya but still, Krishna is the boss, when He says something it must work.
Considering the gap between ever increasing and boundless Krishna prema and my present condition I think I’m dealing with the mathematics of infinite numbers here. How many tiny steps one needs to reach the infinity?
As many as it takes, apparently, so I better get on with it.