I had a few more thoughts on Jobs passing so I’ll try to make a post out of it.
Why “wow”? What did Jobs see in the last seconds of his life to elicit a “wow”? We will never know for sure but one thing is clear – he wasn’t seeing the yamadutas. Or maybe he wasn’t seeing anything but simply reflected on the surge of loving feelings towards his family. On the other hand it’s said he looked past their shoulders so he could have seen something that wasn’t there for everyone else. Most likely, and actually the only explanation I see here, is that he was seeing vishnudutas who came to take care of him because his chanting of the Hare Krishna mantra didn’t go in vain.
What I like to think, though, is that his mind was blown away by their forms and their beauty. They look almost exactly like Vishnu Himself, Jobs wouldn’t be the first one to mix them up. We have plenty of pictures in our books to give us an impression of what they might look like and we have all the descriptions in the shastras to give us the clues but, to be honest, none of the depictions I’ve ever seen looked like “wow” to me. Nice, clean – yes, wow – no. If I were to imagine Krishna as He’s shown in our illustrations to Bhagavad Gita I wouldn’t go “wow”, his features are too Indian for me, not that there’s anything wrong with that, but they elicit petty material associations, they are not transcendental, there’s something off about them.
I shouldn’t be surprised, of course, none of our artists had actually seen Krishna of vishnudutas face to face to portray them exactly as they appear before our material senses. One could say they would never appear before our material senses but on some occasions they make themselves visible. A dying man doesn’t have developed spiritual senses yet he can still see them, for example. Without that first hand experience we can’t really draw Krishna as He is, we have to fall back on our interpretations of what a beautiful Indian god might look like.
Some come out better, some worse, some Deities look stunningly beautiful to me, some don’t, and different people have their own favorites. The only “real” standard of what Krishna looks like that I take on faith is the saying that among the original Krishna Deities of Vrindavana from Vajranabha’s time Govindaji has Krishna’s face, Gopinath resembles Krishna’s form from shoulders to waist and Madan Mohan looks like Krishna from navel down. I’ve seen the pictures, though, “resemble” is the only word I can agree on with my material vision. No “wow” from me.
Jobs, however, saw the “wow”, and coming from a design perfectionist as he was it is a kind of testament to the beauty of the vishnudutas. I don’t know what it is and I don’t know if Jobs was brought back to life he could have reproduced it but the way they appeared to him in person was definitely a “wow”.
I’m not sure we can draw them with the same effect if all we can rely on are the forms and shapes we have experienced in the material world. It’s the modes of material nature that restrict us here. If one carefully looks at common designs surrounding us in our everyday life we can easily trace them back to something we have seen before, something that is connected to certain emotions and certain experiences. To give you an example – soviet era military machinery looks nothing like iPads, they are inspired by a different culture and different design values. I’ve seen the pictures of the insides of decommissioned soviet submarines and it’s an entirely different world out there, with its own rules and its own attractive features but it’s just different, it was inspired by different gunas.
My point here is that unless we are inspired by vishuddha sattva all our design clues and solutions will be traceable to common material roots, they can’t be transcendental. That’s why I think no one so far has been able to adequately convey Krishna’s beauty through material sculpture and painting. It might not be even necessary for our advancement but that is a different point.
Anyway, Jobs got his wows, but did he deserve them? I haven’t finished reading his biography but I’ve seen enough to declare him a major a-hole. You don’t even need to read a book to know he was an a-hole. He rejected his first daughter, for example, he had an uncanny ability to insult and denigrate people, he knew their weak spots right away and he was happy to press on them until he got what he wanted. He was a greedy, vindictive, vain, self absorbed pompous ass. Why did he get the wows?
Remember Daniel Knoppke, his close friend in college that he went to India with, when they first met Jobs pissed of Knoppke’s girlfriend by discussing how much money would it take for her to sleep with another man. Steve Wozniac, his life-time friend they started the company together, Jobs cheated him our of the bonus on the very fist job they did together. Why did Jobs get the wows?
Shouldn’t people like this got to hell straight away? Okay, maybe not to hell but they deserve to be on receiving end of such callousness themselves. Maybe they should, but this is thinking in terms of cause and effect existing only in the material world, under the assumption that we are our bodies fully responsible for what we do.
From Krishna’s POV, however, it might all look very different. Yes, Jobs deserved a body of a genius prick and if he were to follow his karma he would probably be living life of cartoon characters from Dilbert but after chanting Krishna’s names he is not obliged to do that anymore. His next body could be occupied by any number of other living entities, Jobs has nothing to do with it anymore, Krishna would put him somewhere where he can go to the temple, dance and eat prasadam again. Actually I think this is wrong – his dying body didn’t deserve the next incarnation. the law of karma in relation to his body implies that it would be burned or eaten by worms, there’s no Stive Jobs 2.0 waiting somewhere for his old soul to jump in.
That’s all very well but my mind still screams that it’s unfair to the victims of his abuse. To that I can answer that people get abused according to their karma, not because such and such was such an a-hole. Wozniac wasn’t offended by being cheated, for example, he thought that a small matter like this was not important enough to get in the way of their friendship. He was cheated but he didn’t feel like he was shorthanded.
When I see “injustice” like that I want to restore the order in the universe but my perception of what order is is inadequate. There’s so much stuff, so much background information that I don’t know that I should simply not pay attention to thoughts like these. In Wozniac’s case there was no offense, for example, and on some level Job’s ruthless greed was exactly what their partnership needed to become successful so it was in Wozniac’s self-interest to let that one slide.
In cases like this I justify my desire to put the universe straight by appealing to some principles that shouldn’t be violated in the name of universal dharma but in fact it’s not the threat to dharma that gets me all worked up, it’s emotional reactions in my own head that deprive me of sleep. Oh, this guy said this and he is such a shameless liar and the whole universe deserves to know about this. I can’t go to sleep yet – someone’s wrong on the Internet.
Well, this is a wrong approach, I’m protecting my own bruised ego by appealing to religious principles, that’s all. I see the world from the position of my body that has got into its head that it’s in the position to judge what’s right and wrong. I’m not a judge, I’m not a journalist, I’m not an expert on anything, I just have Internet access, that’s all.
I hope Krishna doesn’t see it like that, too, I hope he only counts the times I called His Name and the rest goes straight past his counter, I hope He is not like Santa with his dreaded naughty list. Steve Jobs example inspires me here – nothing else matters but chanting and listening to Lord Krishna’s Name, His pastimes and His glories.
I can say amen to that.