To be honest, my latest posts were all gloomy, doubting prospects of our reunion with Kṛṣṇa. I still stand by them and consider them factually correct, we just have to approach this problem from a different angle.
First, there’s always the possibility that whatever we did to cause our departure from the spiritual world is all forgotten and does not go on our permanent record there. This means our return won’t be saddled by the need for explanations and clarifications, we’ll just get back into the service and that will be the end of it.
Secondly, our CURRENT prospects of reuniting with Kṛṣṇa should indeed be non-existent – we are still conditioned, firmly in the grasp of the illusion. We do not see our original selves yet, only our false egos, and our false identity is unsuitable for pure devotional service. Fact is, no matter how hard I might look in the mirror I will always see only something totally worthless to Kṛṣṇa – my material body. Why should I be surprised that this honest self-assessment concludes that I have no prospects whatsoever? Let’s talk again when our hearts are pure and we see reflections of our original spiritual identities.
Then there’s service in the material world. There’s nothing wrong with it if we are not ready for anything better. There’s a LOT we can do here to make Kṛṣṇa happy, especially if we engage in saṅkīrtana. Don’t we have examples of ācāryas praying for a chance to be born as a fly in a house of a vaiṣṇava? I can’t find the exact quote at the moment, haven’t heard it in a long time, but there is definitely a school of humble thought that being born in the material world for a chance of even the most insignificant service is a glorious birth.
Even if we do deserve “better” conditions – whatever Kṛṣṇa and His agents want us to do should be taken with great enthusiasm and appreciation. Remember that famous story about devotees being asked to donate foot dust to relieve Kṛṣṇa’s headache? Everybody refused, His queens, Akrūra, everybody in Dvārāka. They argued that giving foot dust to their husband, master, and God Himself would be against the rules and they would go to hell. Only gopīs volunteered their foot dust without any hesitation. When Kṛṣṇa is in pain a pure devotee has no concerns about his personal sins and possibility of going to hell.
The story usually stops there but do you ever wonder what happened to the gopīs in the end? Did they really go to hell? Obviously not, Kṛṣṇa wouldn’t allow it, but this answer is incomplete. He wouldn’t allow going to hell, okay, but what if karmic reactions for helping Kṛṣṇa weren’t so severe, wouldn’t they manifest for the gopīs? What if they were asked to do jumping jacks for Kṛṣṇa’s pleasure? Wouldn’t their heart rate go up? Wouldn’t they be tired and sweaty? Yes? So karma still comes, right?
So, what if karma for giving Kṛṣṇa foot dust or some similar request leads devotees to be born in the material world, in the movement of Lord Caitanya? It is surely somewhere in between getting sweaty and going to hell, so why not? Aren’t these differences immaterial for pure devotees who are eternally liberated anyway?
I’m saying that our imminent return to the material world can be attributed not only to our impurities but to our sacrifices for Kṛṣṇa, too. Next time we are supposed to be born during Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes in one of the material universes – is it a reward or a punishment? Wrong question – pure hearted devotees do not see any difference and are not concerned with how each particular birth feels or how it is judged by our standards. It’s only us down here who want liberation and dream of pleasures of Vṛndāvana.
Apart from all the possibilities above, we are saved by Lord Caitanya. Whatever we had done to deserve our material existence becomes irrelevant when He extends us shelter of His lotus feet. We might have been imperfect servants back there but with Lord Caitanya we get a new spiritual birth. His mercy is unlimited, He holds no grudges, He brings everyone to Kṛṣṇa’s service.
So what if we are not qualified to serve in Vṛndāvana itself – serving lotus feet of Lord Caitanya is perfectly enough.
One could argue that we cannot enjoy any rasas but servitorship with Lord Caitanya but that is not entirely correct – by His mercy we can love Kṛṣṇa in ANY rasa through chanting of the Holy Names. When we with Him, we can do anything and everything for Kṛṣṇa, there are no limits.
One could say that we might not get Kṛṣṇa’s personal association but that is also not entirely correct – we get something even better – service in separation. Lord Caitanya Himself taught us that it is far superior and far more intense kind of love than enjoying Kṛṣṇa’s company. And it’s perfect for rejected rascals like us, too!
So what if we don’t deserve a place in Kṛṣṇa’s company for one reason or another? Under Lord Caitanya’s shelter we can still perfect our service and develop pure love for Kṛṣṇa, no matter how far we are removed from Him.
After all, all the above mentioned examples of devotional humility have been introduced to us by no one else but Lord Caitanya. Without Him we wouldn’t be able to appreciate them just as devotees of Dvārāka didn’t get the hint about foot dust.
In this sense Lord Caitanya’s mercy is multifaceted. He cleanses us from material contamination. He re-introduces us to Kṛṣṇa’s service and vouches for us. He gives us a place in His own entourage if we aren’t quite ready for Kṛṣṇa Himself. He teaches us value of love in separation and unparalleled sweetness of humility. He solves all our problems, all of them, real or imaginary, manifested or potential – His mercy is a perfect solution to everything. And He gives us pure love and devotion to Kṛṣṇa which is self-sufficient.
What more can we want? What have we got to worry about? What causes for pessimism we might have in our service? None whatsoever. Being picked up by Lord Caitanya is the best thing that can ever happen to conditioned souls like us.
For three days I’ve been painting gloomy scenarios and worrying about our return back to Kṛṣṇa, and those are legitimate concerns, but they are nothing when we have Lord Caitanya taking us under His wing. We are perfectly safe.
Pessimism about inadequacy of our own efforts dissipates under the light of Lord Caitanya’s mercy.
PS. I forgot about offenses in chanting the Holy Name – they do not count when we are doing it under Lord Caitanya’s supervision, so we are good there, too.