On Maharaja Yadu and the need for strong body and sensual power

To supplement this quote “The soldiers in this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement must always possess physical strength, enthusiasm and sensual power” (SB 8.2.30p) related to Gajendra lila.

Maharaja Yadu, the founder of Yadava dynasty in which Krishna himself appeared, gives us a valuable lesson in this regard. His father, Yayati, “triggered” his wife once and got cursed to become old for that. He begged for mercy and was allowed to exchange his invalidity for someone else’s youth and thus have his wife back. First he approached Yadu but was flatly refused and on this basis Yadu’s behavior can be classified as adharma – refusing his own father, but it’s not as simple as that.

Yadu refused an adharmic order of his secondary father but carried out the desire of the Lord, who is the primary father. Why adharmic order? That’s actually interesting.

I, and I assume many others, thought that Yayati exchanging invalidity for youth meant that Yayati’s old body became young, but a couple of commentators on Bhagavatam take it to mean that “Yayati the soul” entered the body of a young person – it was a body swap, not a change of one body. So, when Yadu considered this offer, he saw it as his young body having sex with the body of his own mother! EWWW! Never mind it was his father’s soul inside – it’s still clearly adharmic, especially if we consider that body comes with thoughts and desires and so with the ability to feel sexual arousal in contact with certain other bodies/ideas. Since we can’t actually see the soul, it was son having sex with his mother and there is no other way to perceive it externally.

Back to Yadu, his main reasoning was that invalidity is a big obstacle in performance of one’s bhajana and therefore it should be rejected. One could say that pure devotion is transcendental but that’s not how Yadu saw himself. He knew that for his bhajana – for his sadhana, really, he needed a young body capable of expressing and purifying his desires and that an old body was of no use to him.

He didn’t want to be a hypocrite and pretend that he was so advanced and free from desires. He didn’t care that his reputation might take a hit the way early ISKCON devotees were ashamed of getting married, especially if they had already taken sannyasa.

Come to think of it, this kind of sannyasa is a social obligation and it dictates how one should behave according to expectations and desires of others. Yadu, on the other hand, thought – to hell with others, my first obligation is to the Lord and if the Lord wants me to purify my materialistic proclivities then so be it. This desire of the Lord is more important than anything else and I don’t care if it makes me appear weak or disobedient or anything. If the Lord wants me to appear fallen then so be it, too. I’m not going to ignore the Lord and listen to my friends and family instead.

In this way Yadu took an unconventional and unexpected path to perfection, but because it was Lord’s desire and he accepted it the Lord eventually appeared in Yadu’s dynasty and – not a little thing – manifested His full sweetness while doing so. This sweetness is impossible in the dynasties of those who live strictly by the rules – He tried as Lord Ramacandra of the Surya dynasty and maryada-purusottama – the perfectly behaved human being, but it just didn’t work.

This is related to the nature of sweetness – it comes from being very close and forgiving. It appears when absolutely everything is accepted and so there is a complete unity between two persons. Completeness of this unity is not in thinking and desiring exactly the same but in eagerly embracing any and all different desires as one’s own. In simple words – whatever you do, I will not judge you for that and I will back you up all the way, we are in this together. It’s the foundation of unconditional surrender – devotees surrender to the Lord and the Lord surrenders to the desires of His devotees.

This sweetness – madhurya – permeates every other rasa in Vraja, they are all just variations of it. In this world, however, it exists only as a brief period of infatuation at the beginning of a relationship but today people are raised to ignore it and overpower it and behave in a self-interested way instead – because no one can be trusted and one might make serious mistakes affecting the rest of his life and because it saves one from heartbreaks and disappointments and so on. Therefore I don’t want to make any comparisons between madhurya and whatever is available in this world.

My point is that Yadu felt the need to deal with his material desires and the Lord fully supported him every step of the way – you want a wife? Get married, have children, rule the kingdom – get it out of your system so that these unfulfilled desires don’t bother you in your old age. This sounds like pravritti marga, which is not generally welcome in our sampradaya, but neither the Lord nor His devotees are conditioned by these considerations. Whatever works – in their relationship – is perfect and should not be judged or intruded upon. They are happy together and that’s all that matters. If we have some other ideas how they should interact we should keep them to ourselves.

There is a lot to say about Moon dynasty in this regard – the story of Moon god’s adultery plays a prominent part in how it developed. One could say it’s all built on illicit relationship, it’s an integral part of what makes it “Moon” as opposed to “Sun”. Sun is the manifestation of sat-shakti of the Lord, the shakti or righteousness and propriety while Moon is the manifestation of ananda – of whatever feels right. Therefore real ananda – madhurya – is impossible in the realm of sat and sat is impossible in the realm of ananda – think parakiya rasa as an example. Krishna just does not want to be married to Radha because it dampens their actual relationship, it takes the edge out of it – it must be illicit to be enjoyed fully.

Elsewhere this dichotomy manifests as right-hand and left-hand paths in Vedic society. We traditionally follow the right-hand path, especially in our behavioral norms, but our goal is totally left-hand, where Srimati Radharani stands. But we can’t get there without right-hand mercy of Lord Nityananda so both must be there. It’s hard to navigate these waters and even harder to describe a straight and narrow path towards our goal. I suspect it doesn’t even exist and there must be a point where a devotee says “good-bye my morning bath” as in that famous verse. If one is unable to make this step he will never enter the realm of rasa, we have been warned about that, too.