Yesterday, while studying Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta’s article (p32), there was one very important point – the absolute need to get a pass from Lord’s Divine Realm, which is a fully conscious spiritual entity empowered to either reject or accept our overtures for service. I said I was surprised that she is given such freedom but there’s a lot more to it.
For example, I declared that she knows our intentions as well as Kṛṣṇa Himself and so cannot be cheated. Is this really true? I don’t actually know, it’s something I deduced myself. She is not the one residing in our hearts, smelling the stink of every material desire, like Paramātmā does. Yogamāyā is not the same person as Lord’s illusory potency ruling this world. Mahāmāyā might be related to her in some way and she, of course, knows when we fail to her charms, but how does communication between Mahāmāyā and Yogamāyā works? I seriously doubt that Yogamāyā keeps tabs on what is going on with untold numbers of conditioned souls in all the material universes. She is too busy attending to Kṛṣṇa’s needs and providing those in her charge with all necessities of devotional service in the spiritual world.
Speculating a bit further – she probably notices our existence only when we knock on Kṛṣṇa’s door. If we are not trying to serve the Lord we don’t even register on her radar, so she doesn’t automatically know what really goes on in our hearts. It doesn’t mean, however, that she can’t spot hypocrisy a mile away. She might not know all the details, background, and history behind our evil intentions but she should be able to see them at once.
Can she make mistakes? Can she be fooled? Maybe these are wrong questions to ask. Maybe a better question would be – can she trust us and take risks on our future behavior? Well, “future” is not the right word here form her POV but we see our service to the Lord as being in the future, ie we aren’t engaged now but will be engaged when we leave this material world. Can Yogamāyā let us through only to regret her decision later?
I think this is entirely possible – we managed to fall into the material world, haven’t we? We broke her trust once, we can certainly do it again. We have exactly this kind of independence, after all.
So what happens is that we get inspired by the words of our ācāryas and stories from our books and we try very hard to develop bhakti in our present conditioned state. We pour all our hearts and souls into service, not really worrying that our hearts and souls are still only material designations. We try to serve our best according to our present conditioning, as men or women of certain age, abilities and dispositions. At some point we think that we are doing great in those roles and, objectively speaking, we might indeed be doing great. We might follow all the rules, remember Kṛṣṇa 24/7, perform extraordinary service and keep our noses clean. We might save thousands and thousands of souls and so be perfect instruments in Lord’s service.
This kind of entitles us to recognition of our endeavors, blessings are already there, mercy is ours for the taking, we do our best, we really please guru and Kṛṣṇa, we get noticed. I don’t see why these factors can’t influence Yogamāyā’s decision to let us through, maybe not into the gardens of Vṛndāvana but at least bless us with the taste for bhakti.
Problem is, all those glorious things were performed by Mahāmāyā, not by ourselves. She is the one who arranges and moves material elements like our bodies and minds so that they please Kṛṣṇa. We don’t do anything, we are here just to observe. We occupy these glorious bodies for a short period of time and, generally, they should perfectly fit with our desires but Mahāmāyā cannot vouch for our hearts, we always have a chance to fall off the wagon. While in the material world it is always a possibility no matter how advanced we might appear externally.
What can Yogamāyā do about this? Our service in the material world cannot go unnoticed, yet there’s always the danger of letting insincere souls into the spiritual realm where they are bound to screw up. Denying us premature entry is, therefore, in our best interest. And yet her heart is not made of stone, seeing our service must melt it and so some sort of reciprocation is in order.
Personally, if I were in her place, I would just avoid dealing with conditioned souls altogether. Too much risk for very little gain. We only have to wait until the end of our lifetimes to get our next assignment, most likely in the material world during Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes, or, perhaps some other positions to satisfy our remaining desires and prepare and purify us for engaging in Kṛṣṇa’s service. Could be heavenly planets, could be Vaikuṇṭhas. In any case, it’s a short wait, it seems long only to us and only because we don’t have enough patience, which is itself a sign of us not being ready.
Okay, what can I do about this? I’m not going to get on Yogamāyā’s radar any time soon, certainly not for my service. Even Mahāmāyā has probably given up on me, I don’t see myself as designated for any kind of greatness. What are my prospects here? Apparently none whatsoever. All I can do is to build up patience and wait it out but that doesn’t sound very encouraging.
Practically no one gets to enter the spiritual realm while still in his material body. Devotees who were able to do so were truly exceptional, we can also suspect some of being able but not talking about it, but for the mass of hoi polloi like me it’s not a viable option.
Still, theoretically the possibility is wide open, as I hope to demonstrate from Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta’s article tomorrow. Where there’s a will there’s also the way, not that I’m that eager to enter Vṛndāvana pastimes. Like a North African Arab I just hope to land somewhere on Italian shore and hope that no-visa regime in Europe would eventually allow me to find a place somewhere there. Or I might spent inordinate amount of time filling out visa applications at the spiritual consulate because it’s the closest one can get to the spiritual territory down here – it’s just behind the door with words “Stuff Only”.
And, like an Arab, I don’t really know why I want to go there. For money? After spending so much time in close proximity and trying to imbue spiritual values I wouldn’t admit it even to myself. When the crunch time comes, however, money might beat values, or my inherent Arab nature might clash with them.
Should I be given a visa? Can Yogamāyā trust me? Will I overstay and become an illegal immigrant? No matter what I say, deep in my own heart I’m not even sure myself. Everything can happen.
That’s why building patience is safer but it also has its downsides – what if, while agreeing to wait as long as necessary, we fall back into the illusion? There’s a risk in sitting down here, too.
Perhaps Kṛṣna needs a third energy, Visamāyā, whose service would be dealing with aspiring candidates. Perhaps she can arrange taking us on the tour of the facilities but keep us sandboxed so that we don’t break anything, especially our nascent devotion. We won’t get to service Kṛṣṇa ourselves but we can see how others do it. An interesting proposal, huh?
When I sat down to type this I had no idea it would go so far, it’s probably time to stop.