Janma karma ca me DIVYAM…

A few thoughts on the nature of this “divyam”.

In Shanti Parva 326.42-43 Krishna, talking to Narada about His nature, says that even though Narada can see Him it doesn’t mean that Krishna assumes a form. In fact, Krishna can dissolve it at any moment. What Narada sees as Krishna’s form has been created by Krishna’s own illusion and is unrelated to the elements of creation. He is not connected to the creation (sarva-bhuta-gunair-yuktam-NA).

Here we have to remind ourselves that all other forms we see in this world belong to the world and are controlled by the world. We have DNA of our parents, language of our mothers, education of our countries, moral values of our communities and so on. We do not own any of these, rather we are owned by them and they make our behavior very predictable. My next sentence will be in English, for example – I can’t help it, because that’s what the readers expect and I’m obliged to fulfill this expectation. Plus my keyboard is set to English, too, and so I couldn’t type in Swahili even if I wanted to.

What I mean to say is that we declare ownership over a small part of the universal body – on this planet, in this country, in this community, in this city, in this house, on top of this chair, and we claim that it’s “ME”, but the behavior of this “me” is controlled by the superior entities in the hierarchy, and this “me” also aims to fulfill desires of other “mes” in this world.

Or think of it in the language of elements – 98% of this “me” is made of water, which is drinking water available where I live. Some of it form the tap, some of it from the bottles. I breath air of where I live, too, and eat food that grows nearby. Even imported stuff comes from this planet and we don’t get Soma from the Moon in our supermarkets.

All these creations – names, bodies, places, countries, planets – they are products of maya or of material nature. Krishna’s form is not like that – He creates it by His own illusory potency, and this form is independent of creations of Maya and doesn’t have to work according to Maya’s laws.

It also means that it has to work according to its own laws – Krishna’s senses follow Krishna’s mind just like ours do, and Krishna’s body depends on Krishna’s prana, just like our body does. It’s up to Krishna whether to “descend” into this world or not, and how far down He would choose to come. This is related more to Lord Caitanya, however, because it’s Lord Caitanya who controls our ISKCON movement. He might decide to appear in person and become visible to the eyes of His selected devotees, or He might decide to descend only to the level of mind (and tell us what to do), or only to the level of intelligence (and tell us what’s right and what’s wrong), or to the level of sense perceptions (and manifest ecstatic emotions). Or He could decide to stay in our hearts and let us do the rest ourselves. Under His gentle supervision, of course.

Avatara means “cross down” – cross down from one level of “reality” to the next below, making it “more real” with each successive step, until the descending personality becomes a sense object perceptible by our senses – that’s our level of reality – “bhu”.

What is common to all these levels of Lord Caitanya’s descend is that they are not controlled by events of this world, their behavior and appearance cannot be dictated, though they can reciprocate with our material minds, senses, bodies etc. When we see Him it’s an exchange between His form and our eyes, for example.

Restoration of the only painting of Lord Caitanya by a contemporary artist (color enhanced by BBT and cropped by me)

This understanding naturally leads to us creating a litmus BS test – whenever someone speaks about KC and we can see how his ideas follow progressions and developments based on and dictated by the norms of this world we can be sure it’s not Lord Caitanya speaking. It might look attractive and persuasive, it may be very rational and very compelling, but Lord Caitanya’s presence is fundamentally different and follows a fundamentally different logic and rationality. You know it when you see it, as they famously said about “adult content”.

There are people who are better than us in one, two, three, or even in every aspect we can think of, but we can still sense if they are people “of this world”. Lord Caitanya isn’t, and that was also the impression left by Srila Prabhupada on many many others. “Not of this world”. Throughout history people noticed this feature in many many saints and sadhu’s, too.

So, if someone presents Krishna Consciousness we should expect nothing less as “not of this world” as well, and we should not settle for anything less either.

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