Brihaspati in Vedanga Jyotish
Brihaspati is the son of Angira Muni who to this day chants the holy names of the Lord along the banks of mother Ganga. According to the Rig Veda, Shri Brihaspati is very handsome. The color of Shri Brihaspati’s aura is yellow, and his dress is also bright yellow. He sits upon a lotus flower and upon his head rests a golden crown, beautiful ornaments circle his neck. Shri Brihaspati travels on a golden rath driven by eight speedy yellow-colored horses. According to Rig Veda, the weapon of Shri Brihaspati is a golden stick or danda. The priest of the demigods has three wives: Shubha, Tara and Mamata.
Brihaspati is the lord of Dhanush rashi or Sagittarius and Meena rashi or Pisces. According to the system called vimshottari dasha, which divides a native’s life into planetary periods, the Guru dasha or period of Jupiter lasts for sixteen years. His influence becomes mature at the age of sixteen. His element is ether. Brihaspati represents dharma or religion, philosophy, knowledge, issues relating to offspring and the balance of past karma. His concern is education, teaching and the dispensation of knowledge. The season associated with him is deep winter (shishir) and his direction is north-east.
In the horoscopes of devotees of Shri Krishna, Brihaspati–the best of beneficial personalities–is located in positions signifying dharma. There are three gunas of material nature: tamas, rajas and sattva. There are four goals of material life: dharma, artha, kama and moksha. Dharma is read through three of the twelve houses in the zodiac, the 1st, 5th and 9th. Artha is read through three houses: the 2nd, 6th and 10th. Karma is seen through three houses: the 3rd, 7th and 11th. Moksha is read through three houses: the 4th, 8th and 12th. Every first house in these groups is ruled by tama; every second by raja and every third by sattva. In this way the 9th house is dharma in sattva guna. The 12th is moksha in sattva guna. Both 9th and 12th houses are ruled by Brihaspati or Jupiter. Those houses are held dear to the devotees and if Jupiter is positioned there it is considered superexcellent, but if Jupiter aspects these houses that also amplifies the path of devotion.
Nonetheless, in the charts of an overwhelming number of devotees, we find that the 9th house of religion is prominently associated with Jupiter. One explanation is that the natural 9th house, Sagittarius, has only one planet prominently associated with it, and that is Jupiter. As the natural 12th, Pisces, has the involvement of three planets, thus making this house more complex. Here in Pisces: Jupiter is in his own sign, Venus (remember, the enemy of Jupiter) is in exaltation and Mercury is in debility. The 9th is called variously the house of good fortune, which implies working for a better future. It is also the house of travel. Hence in the charts of devotees we find that Jupiter here makes active preachers, book distributors, those who are active in festivals and street sankirtan. It is the house of the parivrajacharya, the spiritual preceptor who offers his compassion to the suffering world. In contrast to the 9th, the 12th house rules loss, solitude, isolation and liberation. Here planets are “other-worldly”, and they do not function well in a practical sense, in other words, they are in one sense “lost”. Until we are in the material world there cannot be a total liberation and in this sense the 12th house is also a house of illusion. From a spiritual point of view, the ultimate “loss” is going back to Godhead.
The three houses of dharma in a devotee chart give different kinds of spiritual understanding, the 1st is the domain of sat, the 5th is the domain of chit and the 9th is the domain of ananda. But no matter in which of these houses Jupiter is located, he always gives his aspect to the other houses of dharma. Remember that Lord Shiva blessed Brihaspati, and one of his blessings was to give him vision over every house located in the 5th and 9th positions from his own. We find that Jupiter is strategically positioned in those houses in the charts of those devotees whose main objective in Krishna consciousness is realization of sat-chit-ananda vigraha.
The other prominent position of Jupiter may be 7th house, in which case the devotee usually comes to Krishna consciousness by the association of another person. Since from his 7th house position, Jupiter also gives a 1st house aspect, here he is also considered well-placed. Jupiter in the 10th house has a strong influence of artha, so this position may also be prominent in the chart of devotee who may seek some remuneration for their devotion in this world. Jupiter in the 8th house, or moksha in rajas-guna, is prominent in the charts of devotees who hanker after mystic powers. The 6th house position of Brihaspati may show a person who is excellent servant, but is lacking the philosophical position, and so on. All other positions, except the 9th house aspect, will strongly depend on the sign where Jupiter is located for their results.
In many charts of prominent acharyas in the Brahma-Madhva-Gaudiya sampradaya, we find Jupiter aspects the 9th house from strategic signs. The strategic positions include Sagittarius, Pisces, which are ruled by Jupiter, or Leo and Aries, which are the other houses of dharma. For example, in the chart of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Jupiter is found in the 5th house in Sagittarius (the natural 9th sign) and aspects the 9th. He is none other than the Supreme Personality of Godhead Who came to disseminate the knowledge of bhakti. Therefore the position of Jupiter in His chart is significant. In the known charts of the later Gaudiya acharyas, Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakur and Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati, Jupiter is also positioned in the 1st and 3rd house respectively casting aspect to the 9th house. Shrila Prabhupada has been accepted by many leading astrologers as having Jupiter in the 9th house as well. In the charts of an overwhelming number of the ISKCON devotees, Jupiter is positioned in or aspects the 9th house. Thus the disciplic succession continues.
Jupiter is called the greater benefic. He gives profuse blessings to the devotees. But there are certain generations who have Jupiter’s blessings. If we could have estimated the charts of every person on Earth in regard to his or her position of Jupiter, we might have been more effective in preaching to individuals who already have inclination to worship God. We were surprised that 90% of Russian and Polish devotees who visit Woodstock have this position of Jupiter. Krishna Consciousness has been spreading in Russia and Eastern Europe lately in a very nice way. Let Brihaspati, the lord of devotion and celestial priest, bless us. For an astrologer, a strong Jupiter is an indication of Krishna Consciousness, and a weak Jupiter may indicate the lack of it. He, who in the array of sages is the only one who has the ability to influence our fate as one of the grahas, is worshipped along with Lord Shri Krishna “just as the planets are worshipped as satellites of the Sun”. In the Krishna Book (vol. 2, ch. 31) it is stated:
“Lord Krishna was accompanied by the great sages Narada, Vamandeva, Atri, Vyasadeva, Parashurama, Asita, Aruni, Brihsapati, Kanva, Maitreya, Cyavana and others. Lord Krishna and the sages were passing through many villages and towns, and everywhere the citizens would receive them with great respect and offer them articles in worship.”
SHUKRACHARYA IN THE HOROSCOPES OF DEVOTEES
Shukracharya is a great devotee of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He is great soul although he is often disregarded simply because he is the guru of the asuras. Shukracharya is not a simple character; his exalted qualities are hidden. Often he acts in a twisted manner because it is not easy to direct his demonic disciples towards the path of devotion. Still on so many occasions—as verified by shastra—Shukracharya has been very successful with his tactics.
Let us look at the story of Vamanadeva. When Bali Maharaja usurped the kingdom of Lord Indra the demigods required help. Thus Vamanadeva appeared as Lord Indra’s brother seeking justice for the demigods. When the Supreme Lord in the form of a dwarf brahmana appeared in front of Bali Maharaja, the king had no idea about the identity of Lord Vamanadeva. That information came from Shukracharya. The guru told his disciple, “This dwarf is directly the imperishable Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Vishnu...” Yet, in order to play along with the other asuras and to demonstrate some concern for their rights, Shukracharya also added, “...After giving everything to Vishnu you will have no means of livelihood.” There have been many misunderstandings about this particular episode of the epic Shri Vamandeva avatara-lila. Apparently Bali Maharaja disregarded the warning of his guru in such a way that he became a mahajana and a great devotee of the Supreme Lord. Scant regard is given to the fact that the credit should go to Shukracharya for informing Bali Maharaja about the true identity of the Personality of Godhead.
Few recognize Shukracharya for his exceptional devotion. He is accepted as the deity of the feminine planet Venus. Natural law gives credit to the male and not to the subtle female energy. According to the flawless and perfect order of the Universe as ordained by the Supreme Person, the female is considered part of the male foundation. Nonetheless Shuracharya is very much a male and is not a female as wrongly portrayed by western astrology. Venus, like all other planets in Vedic astrology, is a demigod and not a demi-goddess. Some of the characteristics of Shukracharya are well known and others are more obscure. But as followers of the Gaudiya Vaishnava sampradaya headed by Brahma, we side with the opinions of the demigods.
Shukracharya was born as son of Brighu muni. He is described as beautiful to behold with his curly black hair. He has a slender physique and rides a camel. In his hands he holds beads, a stick and a lotus. He dresses in a neat white dhoti. One of his daughters is Devayani. Devayani is famous for being cursed by Kacha, the son of Brihaspati. Kacha became a student of Shukracharya to learn the art of mrityu-sanjivani or reviving the dead, a science well known to the guru of the demons. As Shrila Prabhupada explains in the Bhaktivedanta Purport to SB 9.18.22 Devayani fell in love with the handsome Kacha and desired to marry him, but Kacha refused because she was the daughter of his teacher. She retaliated by cursing him that when he needed to employ the art of mrityu-sanjivani, it would be ineffective. Kahca retaliated by cursing the beautiful lady that she would never marry a brahmana. As a result of Kacha’s curse, the daughter of Shukracharya eventually married the great King Yayati.
Shukra means white liquid. Another tinge of meaning assigned to the name of Shukracharya is “bright” or ”shiny”. By connotation, shukra is equated with semen, the most refined substance in one’s body. Shukra is identified as well with soma rasa, or the drink of immortality. It is no wonder that Shukracharya has the ability to revive those among the dead if their bodies are intact.
In Vedic astrology, the malefic seven-year period (mahadasha) of Ketu is followed by the benefic twenty-year period of Shukra. The intense Ketu mahadasha can leave one torn between life and death or spirit and matter. Therefore who would not welcome the reviving touch of the planetary period of Venus? Sometimes the only individuals to whom one who is undergoing Ketu dasha can relate to are those who are running the Venus planetary period. That is not at all surprising because Venus--the brahmana Shukracharrya—is very merciful to all suffering and misdirected souls.
In Bhagavad Gita (10.37) Shri Krishna describes Shri Shukracharya as one of His representatives. It is not by chance that he is honored in the same verse as the great sage Vyasadeva, “...muninam apy aham vyasah kavinam ushana kavih.” In this verse Krishna confirms, “Among great thinkers I am Ushana (Shukra)”. In the purport to the same verse, Shrila Prabhupada is likewise generous in his glorification of Shukracharya, “...Ushana was the spiritual master of the demons; he was extremely intelligent, far-seeing, political and spiritual in every way...”
Often in astrology, Jupiter or Brihaspati is called the “greater benefic” because his portfolio rules such assets as religion, philosophy, banking, progeny and education. Shukracharya is referred to as the “lesser benefic” because his benefits range from dining, luxuries and various pleasures of sense gratification to the arts. But, as we have seen in the Bhagavad Gita, the opinion of Shri Krishna is that both the Deva Guru (Jupiter) and Asura Guru (Venus) represent Him.
Soma, the demi-god of the Moon, is another feminine planet. Soma is equated with the left eye of the Universal form of Shri Krishna. Like Venus, the Moon also rules liquids since water is the most fertile of all elements. The Moon also does not get credict from gross materialists for infusing all living entities with their individual characteristics. The movements of the Moon are likewise mysterious as are the movements of the bright Venus. In Shrimad Bhagavatam (5.22.12) Venus is described as always moving in proximity to the Sun. Shukracharya is never seen in opposition to the Sun—despite the fact that he is considered as one of the Sun’s enemies for technical reasons in astrology. Shukra, with his captivating brightness, is the first celestial body to appear upon the horizon while setting in the evening. Or he is the last luminary before sunrise.
The same verse from the Fifth Canto further describes Venus as being ever beneficial for all universal activities. One may wonder why it is that in Parashari Jyotish, Venus becomes exalted in the house of Jupiter. Brihaspati stands in staunch opposition to the policies of Shukracharya. But it is his challenge to the guru of the auras to fight or debate over the rights of this universe that makes Shukracharya stand out in his true light. Venus, being imbued with feminine passivity, has that sort of character that has to be provoked from outside forces in order to display his real spirit. Shukracharya’s only true equal is Brihaspati. On the battlefield he is often seen fighting with Brihaspati. In order to help the asuras convert to the right path of dharma, Shukracharya hides his true nature and secretly enjoys the rebukes of Brihaspati. In his heart the guru of the asuras holds a conviction that equals the guru of the demigods: they both worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Once Venus used his powers to revive the slain army of the demon Andhaka. For this act he was swallowed by Lord Shiva. Shukracharya was not able to free himself for one hundred celestial years. During this time he meditated upon Lord Vishnu’s universal form in the belly of the angry Lord Shiva. But when Shukra managed to emerge, even Shiva was amazed. The greatest of the demigods blessed Shukracharya with powers that no other jiva in this universe can equal. Venus can revitalize the universe or an individual because of these splendid blessings. But his position as the asura guru is always tricky and difficut to understand.
Many great devotees have debilitated Venus in their charts pointing to their renounced spirit. This is so in the case of Shrila Prabhupada whose debilitated Venus, though powerfully neecha-bhanga, indicates a temperament far above any attraction to sense gratification. Still other worshipers of Lord Shri Krishna have Venus exalted in their horoscopes, pointing to their desire to employ all beautiful things in life in the service of the Supreme Lord. We can find Venus in all different positions in the chart of devotees. It is Jupiter whose position in the horoscope of a devotee describes the extent of devotional influence (by emphasizing the houses of dharma), while the position of Venus further refines the chart.
Where is Venus in your chart? The following brief descriptions of the positions of Venus are for each rising sign. Each also describes from various angles the multi-faceted character of Shukracharya.
Aries rising, Venus in:
1st house: Enjoys all pleasures, 2nd house: Creates his wealth, 3rd house: Tactful in all dealings, 4th house: Rich with happiness, 5th house: The sorrowful talent, 6th house: The thrifty loner, 7th house: Bound to beautiful relations, 8th house: Wandering pleasure picker, 9th house: Pristine dignity, 10th house: Landlord of worldly prestige, 11th house: Beautiful surroundings, 12th house: Floating in foreign waters.
Taurus rising, Venus in:
1st house: Wrestling strength, 2nd house: Intelligence for gain, 3rd house: Perpetual motion, 4th house: Ordinary bits from everything, 5th house: Misunderstood, 6th house: Power of the wind, 7th house: Tricky & handsome, 8th house: Carried by others, 9th house: Shaped by good karma, 10th house: Idealistic persuasion, 11th house: Thirst for wealth, 12th house: Mystical loner.
Gemini rising, Venus in:
1st house: Efficient communicator, 2nd house: Attachment to children, 3rd house: A nervous string, 4th house: Pretending to be happy, 5th house: Inquisitive artist, 6th house: Difficult to grasp, 7th house: Never a loser, never a winner, 8th house: Single-minded depth, 9th house: Scientific mind, 10th house: Progress for society, 11th house: Intelligent collector, 12th house: Must accept losses.
Cancer rising, Venus in:
1st house: Beautiful, 2nd house: Poor aristocrat, 3rd house: Lazy priest, 4th house: Loved by everyone, 5th house: Sweet wisdom, 6th house: Cool intelligence, 7th house: Elated pleasures of the world, 8th house: Very old, 9th house: Sheltered by God, 10th house: Deserving happiness, 11th house: Fixed in sweetness, 12th house: Pleasure of being lost.
Leo rising, Venus in:
1st house: Elegant ambition, 2nd house: An orphan, 3rd house: Business tactician, 4th house: Beautiful enterprises, 5th house: The skill of being right, 6th house: Avoiding the trap, 7th house: Tandem trust, 8th house: World traveler, 9th house: Prosperity and prayers, 10th house: All-opulent, 11th house: Knowhow advantage, 12th house: Survival through giving.
Virgo rising, Venus in:
1st house: Harvesting the field, 2nd house: Rich philosophy, 3rd house: Excited belief in God, 4th house: Right in the eyes of others, 5th house: A sense for dharma, 6th house: Clever politics, 7th house: Exquisite possessions, 8th house: Headstrong and careless, 9th house: God given wealth, 10th house: Auspicious business, 11th house: Striking, 12th house: Friend of the outcasts.
Libra rising, Venus in:
1st house: Journey of self discovery, 2nd house: Adhere to the tested, 3rd house: Noticeable endeavor, 4th house: A king of his fortress, 5th house: Deeply spiritual principles, 6th house: Hero of the day, 7th house: Self centered diplomacy, 8th house: Creative penetration, 9th house: Comfortable miss, 10th house: Proud nobility, 11th house: Almost on top, 12th house: The sufferer.
Scorpio rising, Venus in:
1st house: Beautiful work, 2nd house: Enjoyable expenses, 3rd house: Family Pleasures, 4th house: Self-made home, 5th house: Cutting corners, 6th house: Expelled from home, 7th house: Embracing life, 8th house: Walking on the edge, 9th house: Living by what is given, 10th house: Setting the target, 11th house: Worldly expressions, 12th house: Secret pleasures.
Sagittarius rising, Venus in:
1st house: Desire to be first, 2nd house: Wealthy, 3rd house: Acceleration force, 4th house: Home cooked, Fifth house: Monetary friendship, 6th house: Storage for the rainy days, 7th house: Fixed on the spouse, 8th house: A coin flip, 9th house: Uncomfortable in one’s own skin, 10th house: Mixing results, 11th house: Advantages, 12th house: Nothing left.
Capricorn rising, Venus in:
1st house: Respected and respectful, 2nd house: Knowledge of the world, 3rd house: Liked no matter what, 4th house: The grand proprietor, 5th house: Artful politician, 6th house: Fight on technicalities, 7th house: Elegant relations, 8th house: Dividing tactics, 9th house: The ways of the idle, 10th house: Judge of society, 11th house: Grasping the value, 12th house: “There is no use”.
Aquarius rising, Venus in:
1st house: All around happiness, 2nd house: Virtuous, 3rd house: True power, 4th house: Blessings, 5th house: Artful, 6th house: Against the norm, 7th house: Strange, 8th house: Lakshmi, 9th house: Religious, 10th house: Royal, 11th house: Worship for results, 12th house: Homeless.
Pisces rising, Venus in:
1st house: Clever courage, 2nd house: Helped hand, 3rd house: Proud fist, 4th house: Self-starter, 5th house: Reversing age, 6th house: Accumulating energy, 7th house: Pleasure is bitter, 8th house: Mystic powers, 9th house: Accumulated merits, 10th house: Bringing back the old ways, 11th house: Reliable strength, 12th house: Restless.
LUST VERSUS LOVE
HOW SHRI KRISHNA CALLS US BACK
By enacting His intimate pastimes, Shri Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, evokes deep primeval emotions in the hearts of the sleeping souls. Generally, when the Lord displays His pastimes in the material world the mood is one of separation. This mood of vipralambha—separation—is repeated in various degrees whenever the Supreme Lord descends into the material world for the salvation of the conditioned souls.
This mood of separation is very important for the conditioned living entities who are dwelling in this material world. Not only they have forgotten their eternal identities as Shri Krishna’s servants but they have fallen into the mode of unrealistic feelings. All their sentiments are masked by the false pursuance of temporary happiness. The Supreme Lord comes to shake the rusty and crude feelings of the conditioned living entities whose hearts have become like stones. He knows exactly how to call the ones that are ready to come back to Him by playing the deepest sentiment of disconnection. This mode of separation is the surest attracting factor that propels the living entity to realize that he needs to reunite with the Supreme Lord as His eternal loving servant. The Supreme Lord plays the lila of separation although in fact He is never separated from the living entity. He is all-cognizant at all times and at the same time He is in everyone’s heart. He tells Arjuna in Bhagavad Gita 18.61:
hrid-deshe 'rjuna tishthati
The Supreme Lord is situated in everyone's heart, O Arjuna, and is directing the wanderings of all living entities, who are seated as on a machine, made of the material energy.
Yet, even though the Lord dwells in our hearts, still with the help of His potencies He enacts pastimes involving the mood of separation in order to attract the living entities back into His loving service. The Lord teaches the conditioned living entities by His own example showing them how they have been separated from Him and what the method is to get back with Him.
It is worth noting how in the different Yugas the Lord acts according to the Age he appears into and yet He conveys the unchanged mood of separation. For example, Lord Vishnu appeared on Earth as Lord Ramachandra with the main mission to kill Ravana. This was the external lila that He played although the internal pastime was aimed at attracting His devotees. This is confirmed in Bhagavad Gita 4.8:
paritranaya sadhunam vinasaya ca duskritam
dharma-samsthapanarthaya sambhavami yuge yuge
To deliver the pious and to annihilate the miscreants, as well as to reestablish the principles of religion, I Myself appear, millennium after millennium.
In His form as Lord Ramachandra the Supreme Lord and His eternal consort Sita Devi underwent numerous tests and tribulations. Lord Ramachandra lived most of His life in separation from His spouse. Both Sita Devi and Lord Rama had to go into the forest due to the wish of Kaikeyi; the youngest wife of king Dasharath and Lord Rama’s father. While in the forest, Sita Devi was kidnapped by Ravan and remained in separation for one year after which she was rescued by her Lord Ramachandra. Sita Devi and Lord Ramachandra returned to Their kingdom of Ayodya and ruled the monarchy happily. But one day Lord Ram overheard a rumor that was not favorable to His reputation. An ordinary citizen was rebuking his own wife for coming home late. According to him it was not right for Lord Ramachandra to take back Sita Devi when She had lived in the home of another for an entire year. So to defend the reputation of not only Himself but also His beloved Sita Lord Ramachandra was forced to banish His wife once again to the forests. He was the ideal king and had to teach the kshatriya code of righteousness even at the cost of His own pain of separation. Sita Devi, as none-different from Him, accepted Her fate.
There are those who feel that what Lord Ramachandra did to Mother Sita was unjust. But they do not take into account that She did not abandon Shri Ramachandra in Her thoughts even for a second. She did not revolt against His decision. We have to take into account that the moral code is presented differently throughout the ages. For example, when Satya Yuga was on Earth it was ruled by the demigods, in Treta Yuga the main rulers on Earth were the rishis, In Dwapara Yuga the Earth was ruled by kings in human form and in Kali Yuga the Earth is ruled by the demons. All these different classes of living entities have different moral code.
In Kali Yuga everyone is a shudra or lower than a shudra. Such a society is equal to the societies of the animal kingdom. The morality of the animals is basically centered on reproduction. Animals do not have the facility to develop God consciousness. Yet, we see that in Treta Yuga when Lord Ramachandra appeared on Earth even the monkeys had a good understanding of dharma. The king of Kishkinda, the varnara Sugriva, had a more profound understanding of the structure of the universe than any modern scientist has today. According to Shrila Prabhupada, the modern men in Kali Yuga are actually lower than the animals:
At the present moment all human society is laboring under the bodily conception; therefore in the shastras people in this age are referred to as dvipada-pashu, two-legged animals. No one can be happy in a civilization conducted by such animals. Bhaktivedanta Purport to SB 5.10.10
If there were leaders strongly devoted like Sugriva and Hanuman then the world will actually be a blissful place in which to live. Despite their lack of qualification, some people in Kali Yuga often have the audacity to judge Lord Ramachandra for abandoning mother Sita to the forest. This is because the short-lived population of this Age has no idea of the moral code of other Yugas, times when righteousness and an honorable name were of topmost importance. During the previous Yugas when a person gave his word he was bound by his promise. But the sentimental attitude of Kali Yuga has brought about only so-called good things in name only. We see that good judgment is lacking in this age. Criminals receive only the mildest form of punishment only to be recycled into society, while the rich are not accountable for their crimes. Such a course of action is neither beneficial for either the criminal or their victims as it plunges society into further suffering.
But Lord Ramachandra as the ideal king in Treta Yuga showed a different attitude. When the Lord heard that the son of one brahmana in his kingdom had died He immediately wanted to know the cause of this untimely death. He was informed by his ministers that a shudra was practicing austerities for which he should be killed. In previous yugas, a shudra was the servant of all higher classes. A shudra’s advancement depended on how well he executed his duty. In Kali Yuga every shudra can take up the practice of self realization, but that was not possible in previous Yugas. Those were different times. Therefore Lord Rama found the shudra and killed him for his transgression of duty. To our modern standards this would be considered an atrocity. “Why,” we ask, “should the poor shudra be put to death when all he wanted was self-realization?” We are amazed that the Supreme Lord followed the code of the particular Yuga into which He appeared yet at the same time promoted the mood of separation for His devotees. In Treta Yuga the Supreme Lord could not have played His flute and enjoyed with many gopis if He was to be accepted by the world. And yet, within guidelines of that Yuga, He distributed love of Godhead. Ultimately, the Yugas are created by Him. In the different Yugas human population shares diverse mentalities, and the Supreme Lord comes in the different times to attract all of them. In Treta Yuga Lord Ramachandra lived a life of such deep love intertwined with the mood of separation that even today His devotees cry as they listen to His pastimes in the Ramayana.
In Dwapara Yuga the Lord came in His original form of Shri Krishna and again His deepest feelings of attraction were expressed in the mood of separation. He enacted His lila with His dearest devotees. The gopis were constantly experiencing the mood of vipralambha. They felt separation from Shri Krishna when He was in their presence and then they continued to live in that mood after Shri Krishna left Vrindavan. He never left Vrindavan since His original form always remains there. But He was visible only in the mood of separation for the length of His lila on Earth.
And finally in Kali Yuga Lord Shi Chaitanya Mahaprabhu came in the form of His devotee plunged in the mood of separation. He chanted loudly His Own Names calling the conditioned living entities back to Him. As life is short in Kali Yuga, the method of deliverance is also short and easy. The chanting of the Holy Names of Shri Krishna is the beneficial method of deliverance even for the lowest of the low. The mercy of the Supreme Lord in this age is inconceivably limitless.
This mood of separation manifested in the Lord’s different lilas is like a mirror for our own condition. We have been living long enough separated from the Lord. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Who is Shri Krishna in the Form of His Own devotee, shed tears of separation for the Lord of Vrindavana. He is also exhibiting the same mood through His most intimate associates. By His example we learn of our own need to cry to become reinstated into the devotional service of Shri Krishna by understanding the message of His pastimes. The Supreme Lord Shri Krishna is subtle in attracting the living entities back to Him. He does not want to force anyone to love Him. Love is voluntary. Yet He leaves us many suggestions by His own example: how we can return back to Him if we so desire.
THE SECRET OF LOVE
What is the best way to relate to other people? What is the secret to success? How can we make others do whatever we wish them to do? This may sound like advertising for some success book, the kind which never really answer our question but only promote the sales of its author. But in this exposé we are going to give it all out to the reader. Those who know the secret of love can be successful preachers. They can have successful relationships with one another and can know the pleasure of being liked.
The secret was revealed by Shukadeva Goswami to Maharaja Parikshit. The answer was given in response to a question presented by the king in regards to why the mothers of the cowherd boys and the cows developed more affection to the expansions of Shri Krishna rather than to their own sons and calves. This incident happened after Lord Brahma kidnapped the boys and the calves of Vrindavana. Lord Brahma wished to test the mystic powers of Shri Krishna Who appeared as ordinary coward boy. To counteract the kidnapping and to hide the fact that the boys and the calves were missing, Shri Krishna substituted them with His own expansions. Shrila Prabhupada writes,
“Shukadeva Goswami told Maharaja Parikshit that every living entity is actually most attached to his own self. Outward paraphernalia such as home, family, friends, country, society, wealth, opulence, reputation, etc., are all only secondary in pleasing the living entity. They please the entity only because they bring pleasure to the self. For this reason, one is self-centered and is attached to his own body and identity more than he is to relatives like his wife, children, and friends. If there is some immediate danger to one's own person, he first of all takes care of himself, and then the others. That is natural. That means—more than anything else—each person loves his own self.
The next important object of affection, after his own self, is his material body. A person who has no information of the spirit soul is very much attached to his material body. So much so that even in old age he wants to preserve the body in so many artificial ways. He thinks that his old and broken body can be saved. Everyone is working hard day and night just to give pleasure to his own self, under either the bodily or spiritual concept of life. We are attached to material possessions because they give pleasure to the senses or to the body. Attachment to the body is there only because the "I," the spirit soul, is within the body. Similarly, when one is further advanced, he knows that the spirit soul is pleasing because it is part and parcel of Lord Shri Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Ultimately, it is Krishna who is pleasing and all-attractive. He is the Supersoul of everyone and everything. And in order to give us this information, Krishna descends and tells us that the all-attractive center is He Himself. Without being an expansion of Krishna, nothing can be attractive.” (From of the Fourteenth Chapter of Krishna - The Supreme Personality of Godhead, “Prayers Offered by Lord Brahma to Lord Krishna.”)
The conclusion of the above excellent explanation by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Shrila Prabhupada is simple. Everyone likes himself or herself the most. This is a quality that is reflected from Shri Krishna. Knowing this fact we can easily focus on the other person and be able to make him likable. This secret can be used also in preaching. If respectable devotees boldly declare that materialistic civilization is keeping the living entities away from their true identity and their connection with the Source of all, Shri Krishna, each person they approach (because each one loves himself) will start questioning his own existence. Shrila Prabhupada could express his thoughts either positively or negatively because he was impeccable. If someone is called “a rascal” by a respectable gentleman, he feels embarrassed and tries to correct his faults. Devotees should use and apply the secret of self love both regarding themselves as well others. There is another nice quote from the Krishna book that shows how the secret of love is applied.
“Upon hearing the anxious plea of the gopis, the Supreme Personality of Godhead began to smile, and being very kind to the gopis, the Lord, although self-sufficient, began to embrace them and kiss them as they desired. When Krishna, smiling, looked at the faces of the gopis, the beauty of their faces became a hundred times enhanced. When He was enjoying them in their midst, He appeared just like the full moon surrounded by millions of shining stars. Thus the Supreme Personality of Godhead, surrounded by hundreds of gopis and decorated with a flower garland of many colors, began to wander within the Vrindavana forest, sometimes singing to Himself and sometimes singing with the gopis.” (From the Twenty-ninth Chapter of Krishna - The Supreme Personality of Godhead, “The Rasa Dance: Introduction.”)
In this quote it is explained how the gopis were reflecting the image and personality of Shri Krishna and He was reflecting their personality back. When someone is able to reflect the personality of another person and give that reflection back to him, then that is called love. The highest form of love between the gopis and Shri Krishna also utilizes the great secret rule that everyone loves himself or herself the most. But in the highest love both parties know perfectly well how to reflect one another. See this:
“It may be asked herein how Krishna seated Himself beside so many gopis and yet sat alone. There is a significant word in this verse: ishvara. As it is stated in the Bhagavad-gita, ishvarah sarva-bhutanam. Ishvara refers to the Supreme Lord as the Supersoul seated in everyone's heart. Krishna also manifested this potency of expansion as Paramatma in this gathering with the gopis. Krishna was sitting by the side of each gopi, unseen by the others. Krishna was so kind to the gopis that instead of sitting in their hearts to be appreciated in yogic meditation, He seated Himself by their sides.” (From the Thirty-first Chapter of Krishna - The Supreme Personality of Godhead, “Songs by the Gopis.")
We love Shri Krishna most of all because we are His infinitesimal expansions. Our love for Him is natural. By loving Him we also love ourselves because we are part and parcels of Him and to some degree His qualities are reflected in us. This is different from the mayavadi philosophers who wish to “become God.” We can never become the whole; we can never become Shri Krishna. By loving Him we have the chance to see our true identity because He reflects back to us our individual qualities. Shri Krishna is the only One who can do that because He is all pervading and through Him we can see ourselves in myriad of different ways, from all angles and learn to really like what we see. Spiritual life is selfishness, except that this selfishness is correctly applied. This has been confirmed by Shrila Prabhupada in a philosophical discussion with Hayagriva das. The exact words of Srila Prabhupada are: “Real selfishness is to know the relationship with God.”
We should desire to submerge ourselves in the experience of true love or Krishna consciousness. Real love is the mutual reflection of two individuals. The intensity of this back and forth reflectivity can become so strong that both Shri Krishna and His servants can loose themselves in the incident. This was the experience of the gopis and Shri Krishna in the Rasa Dance:
Rasa Dance Pencil: Abhaya Mudra Dasi
“Both the gopis and Krishna forgot their real identity, playing in the water, enjoying each others' company and relieving the fatigue of rasa dancing....” (From the Thirty-second Chapter of Krishna - The Supreme Personality of Godhead, "Description of the Rasa Dance.”)
The secret of love is simple. And when we become Krishna conscious, then others we meet will also become Krishna conscious.
SEX AND SPIRITUALITY
The Origin of Sexual Experience
Sex is so common yet so mysterious. What is the origin of sex? Some claim that it can be called a yoga process. Can it be so? Some so-called “tantrics” even claim that through sex they can practice yoga. If sex is yoga, then why is it restricted and its restraint included as one of the regulative principles in Vaishnava tradition? Freeing ourselves forever from the fundamental concepts centering around sex which only serves to perpetuate material existence can mean venturing into dangerous waters. The wise learn more by listening than by experience. Sometimes a persons new to devotional service ask whether the practice of sexuality is acceptable as long as it is limited to the married partner and it is not an illicit affair. For many it seems as though this point is not easily understood.
Sexual behavior and the mentality associated with sex have existed since the creation of this material world. In fact, the desire for sexual enjoyment is the very cause for material embodiment. Therefore it is natural that when someone wants to be liberated from material existence that they also desire freedom from sexual bondage. Abstinence from sex is seen as a spiritual act. Nonetheless, the desire to renounce it does not throw any light upon the nature of sex or its origin. Renouncing something without understanding it can lead to a relapse of the same activity. Sex is one of the most difficult things to renounce because it holds the seeds of material existence.
Although the act of sex is short-lived, the entire universe moves along under the facility for reproduction created by sexual relations. While the attraction leading to sexual act pulls together two different genders, the act of sex itself does not have a gender. The experience of sex is beyond gender and for this reason some have mistaken that it can be practiced by individuals belonging to the same gender.
That sex act that furthers the universal law of reproduction is never fruitless. Lord Shiva, also called Shambu in Brahma Samhita, is in charge of the universal genetics. His teja never goes in vain, a fact that is mentioned in Shrimad-Bhagavatam in relation to the incident between Shri Mohini Murti and Lord Shiva:
“Just as a maddened bull elephant follows a female elephant who is able to conceive pregnancy, Lord Shiva followed the beautiful woman and discharged semen, even though his discharge of semen never goes in vain. O King, wheresoever on the surface of the globe fell the semen of the great personality of Lord Shiva, mines of gold and silver later appeared. Following Mohini, Lord Shiva went everywhere—near the shores of the rivers and lakes, near the mountains, near the forests, near the gardens, and wherever there lived great sages. O Maharaja Parikshit, best of kings, when Lord Shiva had fully discharged semen, he could see how he himself had been victimized by the illusion created by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Thus he restrained himself from any further maya.” (SB 8.2.32-35)
The example of this story additionally illustrates that sex unifies the experiences of both males and females alike. The attraction to sex is performed by the illusion of gender but the act itself is genderless. This is one of the mysteries of sex.
It is stated in Bhagavad Gita (10.8) that a Vaishnava knows everything about this material world as well as about the spiritual world. As consequence, his conclusion is to become engaged only in devotional service rendered to the Supreme Personality of Godhead Shri Krishna. Still, for some people, it is inconceivable how a celibate monk would know all about sex without practicing it? It is only through the statements of the Vedas that the wise can become knowledgeable about the different facets of the Absolute Truth.
In many popular religions like Christianity and Islam discussions about sex and its nature have long been considered taboo. In most religious practices the topic is suppressed and avoided. This fact is especially true to someone who takes vows in hope of spiritual enlightenment. In some parts of their world Muslim women are completely covered by a dress called hijab. This act shows a direct and physical denial of sexuality. Among some Catholic Christians there is more subtle and emotional denial than mere physical negation which is expressed through self torment. Adherents feel that the more the faithful suffers, the greater chance of redemption. Catholic monks and nuns are cloistered separately. But in their attempt to present all their emotions to God, Christians often end up only satisfying those who are hungry for sense gratification. Signs of self-denial of worldly feelings are considered ample testimony for spiritual achievement by an uneducated public. Some Buddhist sects consider the denial of spiritual identity—including gender—as the key for self-enlightenment. The state of nirvana (without body) is looked upon as the supreme achievement. In those forms of Buddhism the sadhaka not only denies the material and emotional gender but also any recognition of spiritual identification.
In Krishna consciousness if an aspiring devotee of Shri Krishna shows any of these propensities for denial of identity he or she would not be considered very advanced. Denial is the philosophy of the mayavadis. Life’s imperfections that popular religions attempt to overcome by the means of suppression do not make one elevated according to the Vaishnava philosophy. Then, what would be the difference which the philosophy of Krishna Consciousness offers on the sensitive subject of sexual experience? And what does sex has to do with spiritual enlightenment after all? Is it worth distracting our attention towards a topic like sex that has proven itself time and again to be a destructive one?
Today sex is deliberately encouraged in society, and in this way an endless continuation through material existence is promoted. Many from the creative segment of society like artists, film maker, etc. claim that sex can be used as means for achieving spiritual realization, a tamasic view that agrees with modern day so-called tantrics. Such gross misconceptions appear especially valid to those who do not understand the sublime reality of the Absolute Truth. For them sexual experience is like catching the moment which gives them a false sense of unity with time.
We have heard deluded statements like, “Living in the present moment is the perfect state of mind.” There are many self-appointed so-called gurus who teach techniques of achieving this unity with time through breathing and relaxation techniques. Nonetheless, catching the present moment has been an elusive goal for the ordinary living entity. The only proven way for temporarily catching the present moment in the material world has been through one simple technique – sex. This proves that the conditioned living entity is searching after Shri Krishna Who normally reveals His nature in the material world in the form of the irrevocable time factor. Thus, everyone in the conditioned world runs after the unity with time through sex, an experience proven to last only a fraction of a moment. All conditioned living entities who want to enjoy without the consent of Shri Krishna would try to catch the present moment through sexual experience over and again. Thus sex drives the material world and supports the three divisions of the time factor. A nice example of all-encompassing nature of sexual experience is found in Shrimad-Bhagavatam in relation to the story of Kardama Muni and Devahuti. There a nice description of how sexual relations affect the flow of time is given:
“After coming back to his hermitage, he divided himself into nine personalities just to give pleasure to Devahuti, the daughter of Manu, who was eager for sex life. In that way he enjoyed with her for many, many years, which passed just like a moment.” (SB 3.23.44)
It seems that sexual experience has the potency to expand, divide and compress time. And in order to understand how sexual experience is the cause for the fractured experience of past, present and future and the fundament of the material world we turn again to the purports of His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada. In the following quotes the material world is described as brahmajyoti covered by maya.
“Everything that exists is situated in that brahmajyoti, but when the jyoti is covered by illusion (maya) or sense gratification, it is called material.” Bg 4.24, Purport.
“The brahmajyoti is spread unlimitedly, and the material world is but a covered portion of an insignificant part of the same brahmajyoti. This covering is temporary, and therefore it is a sort of illusion.” SB 1.9.44, Purport.
“Part of this all-pervasive brahmajyoti, which is compared to the sun rays, is covered by the darkness of the mahat-tattva, and this insignificant part is known as the material world.” SB 2.4.14, Purport.
Why is this fact important in our investigation regarding the origin of sex? Because brahmajyoti represents the eternal time factor or sat feature of the Absolute Truth. The impersonal feature of the Absolute Truth offers an experience of constant unity with time for the souls who have obtained this level of realization. For the devotees of the personal feature of the Absolute Truth this state of impersonal realization is unpalatable. Merging personal individuality with the impersonal brahmajyoti could only be compared to a state of constant sexual experience. The reason is because while merged with the impersonal Brahman the living entity has caught the moment and stays constantly in the sate of sat realization of eternal time. In the state of impersonal sat the living entity has become one with the time factor without realizing that time is a feature of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
In the impersonal brahmajyoti the living entity gets hypnotized by the experience of eternal climax. Althoug very pleasurable, this level of realization of the Absolute Truth is not at all advanced. It is difficult to think in this all-consuming state of brahmajyoti. But if the living entity had the ability to objectively consider his situation then he would have had arrived at the conclusion that being caught in eternal pleasure without the ability to share it is futile. The moment a living entity who is caught up in the experience of brahmajyoti has a glimpse into his own intelligence, at that very moment he falls down from the sat state back into material existence. In the earthly experience of false pleasures, this relapse into material suffering happens far more often and much faster: after a few seconds of illusory bliss the jiva finds himself back in the realities of the mortal world. In this world, guilt and blame are the usual feelings associated with sexual experience. The conditioned living entity is after the sexless pleasure rather than the shared experience with a partner who is similarly conditioned. And if some agreements between two conditioned living entities are achieved in the ways of sexual experience they call that harmony love. Nonetheless, even for those that share some mutual agreement the elusive nature of sexual experience will stay beyond their limited understanding of love.
In order to understand the mystery of sex we have to focus our attention on the Origin of all that is, namely, Shri Krishna. The feelings of so-called pleasure that stream from the state of sexual experience is coming from His impersonal feature or the impersonal Brahman. Brahmajyoti is the effulgence or the transcendental sex appeal coming from Shri Krishna. Brahmajyoti is the attraction which compels a true devotee to come and offer service to the Supreme Lord Shri Krishna. But whoever tries to enjoy the light streaming from the transcendental body of the Supreme Lord without the Lord will be burned by illusory misconceptions about the nature of the soul and the nature of the Supreme Lord Shri Krishna. Brahmajyoti is reflected in our embodied experience though sex. Brahmajyoti is the veil which covers the real personality and face of the Supreme Lord Shri Krishna. For this reason a sincere devotee prays for the removal of this veil in order to see the Supreme Lord face to face, as seen in mantra fifteen of Shri Ishopanishad:
hiranmayena patrena satyasyapihitam mukham
tat tvam pushann apavrinu satya-dharmaya drishtaye
“O my Lord, sustainer of all that lives, Your real face is covered by Your dazzling effulgence. Kindly remove that covering and exhibit Yourself to Your pure devotee.”
Krishna Consciousness is the only real solution for getting rid of sexual bondage and the misconceptions associated with it. Only through Krishna Consciousness we can realize the origin of sexual experience and move beyond it. But as tiny living entities we are stuck in this material existence. The only way out is prayer. We can constantly talk to the indwelling guide Lord Paramatma Who is our companion in this material world. Constantly chanting Hare Krishna mahamantra and associating with the Lord of the heart and His devotees is our guarantee that one day Shri Krishna will grant us the opportunity of His personal association. Then we will know Him beyond the passing “bliss” of the impersonal sexual experience.
Projections of Sexual Experience
As noted, blame, guilt and shame are the usual feelings following the sex. Playing with Shri Krishna’s energy without recognizing His personal existence naturally brings about suffering. It is a fact, that if one lives in the material world, he or she inevitably becomes entrenched in some form of sexual experience. Artificial denial of sex and just showing the negative emotions associated with it have little effect on suppressing its powerful nature. Often social norms try to define sex and they spread like disease into the religious organizations as well. The norms are meant to evoke the feelings of guilt and blame as artificial means of control. But the unstoppable sexual experience leaves practically everyone unable to follow their vows. Society undergoes constant changes due to sex desire, the consequences of which are social unrest in the form of gender, rank, class and politics. This is the history of the world. Societies at different times form their own unique cultural values based on their interpretations of emotions associated with sexual experience.
Since the impersonal nature of sex is the perverted reflection of the Absolute reality so-called spiritualist or impersonalists focus with great zeal on the negative emotions associated with sex experience. They surpass in their negation of sexual experience even the moralistic circles of society. The goal of the impersonalists is to achieve eternal sexual experience by denying its gross material existence. In this way, the mayavadis are great hypocrites. Learning from them will not bring permanent benefit because their main focus is the seizure of sexual enjoyment for eternity.
One who is merged with the impersonal brahmajyoti will not blame for a long time anyone for his failures within material existence. Nonetheless, the guilt associated with impersonalism remains in a seedling form with the living entity even in the brahmajyoti. Until one has a desire to associate with Shri Krishna as an Individual he will suffer the consequences associated with the exploitation of the pleasure potency of the Supreme Lord. The individual who wants eternal pleasure without the Lord must sacrifice his own individuality.
Reality beyond Sexual Experience
No one can break the surge of sexual climax. The wise know this fact and keep away from the temptations. In the material world the jivas must endeavor for the opportunity to experience sexual pleasure. And in this way the conditioned living entities are actually on a higher platform than the souls trapped in the impersonal brahmajyoti. In the material world the living entities are allowed time for reflection between sexual experiences. In such moments the lucky souls are given the opportunity to meet a genuine spiritual master and understand that Shri Krishna is a person.
On the contrary, life in brahmajyoti is different. The difficulty of breaking off from the existence in the light of Brahman can only be compared to the futility of stopping the climax of sexual experience. Getting out of brahmajyoti is close to impossible. In this way the souls in the material world are luckier because they have the opportunity to realize the personal feature of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Brahmajyoti or the transcendental sex appeal of Shri Krishna is reflected in the material world through Shiva. He is the greatest devotee of the Supreme Lord. Such is the power of Shiva, the linga of Shri Krishna. One of the services that Shiva offers to Shri Krishna is guarding the transcendental abode of Vrindavan. Although Shiva is not allowed to enter the most intimate rasa dance he does not allow anyone who is not an exalted devotee to enter the transcendental abode of Shri Krishna. This service of Shiva is very similar to the function of entrapment performed by Brahmajyoti. The light emanating from the transcendental body of Shri Krishna is meant to trap the lesser transcendentalists like the mayavadis.
Those who have the audacity to think that Shrimati Radharani and Shri Krishna engage in sexual experience are still spellbound by the perverted reflection of reality, called impersonalism. It is worth noting that in the relationship between Shri Krishna and His devotees there is only love. That sublime love is beyond the impersonal sexual experience. The concept of love is foreign to the conditioned living entity whose modus operandi is self-satisfaction.
What is the mode of a true devotee? Srila Prabhupada states (SB 6.1.63 – lecture, Vrndavana, August 30, 1975) that if someone is a pure devotee of Shri Krishna he or she has already surpassed sex desire. Thus the pure devotee has found attraction greater than sex. A great example in this regards is Haridas Thakur, the namacharya of this age. His example teaches us how to practically overcome the temptations of illusion simply by chanting the holy names of Shri Krishna.
Overcoming the Sex Addiction of Impersonalism
Within the body which has the sexual identification either as a man or a woman sits the individual soul. The soul has individuality which is beyond the yoke dictated by the body. Discovering our eternal individuality is initiated by the performance of devotional service here in the material world. Devotional service is based upon strong philosophical grounds. Mere practice of renunciation is insufficient to grant realization about the nature of the soul. Devotional service starts with practicing individualistic approach to everything around us as Shri Krishna is all pervading and can be seen in all ingredients of the world. The bodies are like microcosms. If we study ourselves—our bodies, minds and souls—we can understand the nature of Shri Krishna and His material and spiritual worlds. In Bhagavad Gita the five components that can give us Absolute knowledge (even if we study only one of them) are given by Shri Krishna Himself. They are the Absolute, the living entity, the material nature, time and karma. Any one of these separate subject learned from all angles with the help of shastra and guru can bring one to the state of enlightenment about the nature of the Supreme Lord Shri Krishna. Still, moving beyond impersonalism is the most difficult task in this world. Impersonalism is the state of being in this world and for this reason it is so difficult to surmount. Practicing personalism can start here in the material world. It is done by accepting that we are servants of Shri Krishna. And rendering respect, personal attention and service to the servants of Shri Krishna is more important than obtaining fame and riches.
A man and a woman can live peacefully together only through mutual compatibility, a technique which is well presented through jyotish shastra. Marital harmony is the only key for breaking through unconcealed sexual demand. Despite the uniqueness of each living entity, each is one of us compatible with Shri Krishna. The prakriti living entity has an established relationship the Purusha Supreme Lord since time immemorial. The omnipresence of Supersoul is a confirmation of this fact. Despite the forgetfulness of the jiva regarding his original position, Shri Krishna is always situated in everyone’s heart.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead is not an ordinary living entity. He is compatible with every single living entity. An indefinite number of individual souls have unique relationships with the Supreme Lord. Every single living entity, according to his taste and mood, has an individual association with Shri Krishna. For the restoration of his individual relationship with the Supreme Lord, the jiva needs to go beyond the brahmajyoti which is the border between mere sexual experience and genuine love. And despite the fact that brahmajyoti is the effulgence coming from the body of Shri Krishna, it has to be crossed by the sincere devotee of the Supreme Lord because the transcendental light keeps the Individuality of Shri Krishna concealed behind the curtain of pleasure. The ones who desire to restore their relationship with the Supreme Lord have to go even beyond the identification that the living entity is the prakriti and Shri Krishna is the Purush. In love the formality of prakriti / Purush relationship may be broken. In the reality of love sometimes the living entity accepts a position of superiority to Shri Krishna. And sometimes the Supreme Lords keeps His superior position intact.
But how long would be before we can realize our relationship with Shri Krishna in the material world? This world has but one real use. It is a training ground for spiritual progress. Talking in practical terms, we cannot expect to enact our relationship with Shri Krishna here and now without His Personal presence. Paramatma is always here but we should not forget that He is only a partial expansion of the Supreme Lord. We have to be patient for the mercy of the Supreme Lord. One example of such patience is Lord Nityananda Himself. He did not reveal His real identity (although He is non-different from Lord Balarama) before the advent of Lord Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu:
According to Sri Caitanya Bhagavata by Srila Vrindavana Das Thakura, when Lord Nityananda heard that Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was revealing His true identity as the Supreme Personality of Godhead—along with His sankirtana pastimes—He immediately came to Navadvipa-Mayapur Dhama. He waited at the house of Shri Nandana Acarya’s house for His younger brother, Gaurasundara, to find Him.
Our training ground for spiritual perfection in this world should consist of actions aimed at satisfying the spiritual master and Shri Krishna in ways that further the distribution of Krishna Consciousness in the material world. But before we can be truly successful in this mission we have to seriously observe our positions as individuals and as group.
In modern society, divorce has gained very high marks. Compatibility between couples is the key for establishing varnashram. Still, even in marriage we need to adhere to our regulative principles. Brahmacharya is an elevated position. And many devotees end up practicing it only as outward show. When these symptoms are becoming prominent a devotee has to go back and learn the basics of Vaishnava philosophy that can sustain him on an elevated position. We have to understand that the level of our spirituality is not abstract but is it is reflected in the very surroundings we live in. We must act on the platform of being personal with each other though in the mood of service. This is a personal inter-relationship that is beyond mundane, physical or sexual attraction. If we bahave as though our spirituality is a bare theory and do not live up to our moral obligations to Shri Guru and Shri Krishna then we can easily fall before the vision of the public at large and appear as absurd in their eyes. If humanity perceives that there is nothing to learn from the devotees of Shri Krishna then we have failed in our mission, and as a consequence restoring our lost personal relationship with Shri Krishna will remain of question. It is our job to prove that what we preach is non-different from the way we live because transcendental loving service is not theoretical. We have achieved this rare human form of life after many millions of births and the real purpose of this life is Krishna consciousnes. We need to practice devotional service here and now with the limited ingredients provided to us by karma and pray fervently for the mercy of the Supreme Lord.
What will happen if someone tries to eliminate the brahmajoti factor in his life. It will not work. The Lord is sat chit ananda vighara. Brahmajoti cannot be separated from the Personality of Godhead. It represents the sex appeal emanating from the transcendental body of the Supreme Lord. Yet, Shri Krishna is not merely an Entity defined by His gender and neither are His servants, the living entities. In transcendental love, gender is merely the attracting factor. Shri Krishna is the Purusha and the living entity is the prakriti. However, as the highest love model between Shrimati Radharani and Shri Krishna dictates, They never entirely dwell on the fact that One is the Boy and the Other is the Girl. Their personalities surpass all other supportive factors in Their relationship. That is the very reason why Shri Krishna is most attracted to Srimati Radharani and not to any other girl.
Although, brahmajoti is part of the Supreme Person Shri Krishna it is unhealthy to dwell on this platform and a pure devote gives the disciple everything to move beyond it. It is stated in Shrimad Bhagavatam (2.6.20) that the spiritual world consists of ¾ the Lord’s energy. The material world is only ¼ of the entire existence of the Supreme Lord. It is just like the body of a person is just ¼ from the entire living entity; the other ¾ designate his activities, feelings and thoughts. The brahmajoti platform would never fully justify the existence of the Supreme Lord and His servants because it is incomplete just as it is incomplete to accept only one’s body as representation of an entire person.
Dwelling on the brahmajoti platform is insecure. Our future is doomed if we do not develop personalism in our relationships. One of the opulences of the Supreme Lord Shri Krishna—which elevates Him above even His expansion of unlimited opulence, Lord Narayana—is that He is always surrounded by His devotees. And if we want to realize the Supreme Personality of Godhead then we also have to be surrounded by His devotees. We have to value their association the way we value the association of Shri Krishna. The Supreme Lord can be found where His devotees are present... With this humble attempt to distinguish between sex and love, brahmajoti and the spiritual realm, we pay obeisances to all devotees of Shri Krishna from the bottom of our hearts.
Can sex be a yoga process? The answer is an explicit “no.” For the many reasons described above, following the regulative principle of no illicit sex is a great facility for developing of personal relationships between devotees. The center of this personalism is our love for Shri Krishna—not sex—as everywhere else in the material world.
CROSSING THE BORDER OF IMPERSONALISM
Iron Lust into Golden Love
Where does the border lie between impersonalism and personalism? Who is the guardian of that border and who permits crossing the border from the impersonal to the personal understanding of the Supreme Abssolute Truth? He is the bona fide spiritual master who drags us from the darkness of ignorance, as exemplified by the mayavadi’s illusiory concept of a senseless Godhead, towards an understanding of Krishna and His devotees through devotional service.
The meanings of personalism and impersonalism may seem clear when the subject is discussed in theory, but in practice these two understandings of eterna existence seem to intertwine and confound the inexperienced spiritual practitioner. The answer lies in how we approcath the Supreme Absolute Truth. While espousing the cause of a personal Godhead, neophytes are often seen to behave in a way that reveals longstanding impersonal roots. To understand the highest concept of personalism, let us see how Shrila Prabhupada describes the relationship of Krishna’s foremost devotees, the gopis of Vrindavana, to the Supreme Lord. And then let us consider how these compare with the relationships between materialistic women and men. Understanding this comparison is essential for realizing the difference between the ultimate reality of personalism and the utterly materialistic falsehood of impersonalism.
Shrila Prabhupada says in his Purport to Shrimad Bhagavatam 7.1.31,
“Chaitanya Charitamrita compares the desires of the spiritual and material world to gold and iron. Both gold and iron are metal, but there is a vast difference in their value. The lusty desires of the gopis for Krishna are compared to gold, and material lusty desires are compared to iron.”
In the relationship between the gopis and Shri Krishna, we find all the expressions that are commonly used even by materialistic men and women. To eyes that are polluted by material desires, the bond between the gopis and Shri Krishna appears to reflect the dealings that are conducted by the conditioned living entities. The visayi or sense gratifier, whose eyes are like peacock feathers, sees no difference in the sharing each others’ thoughts, their embracing and dancing together. But as we can see from the above example the quality of these activities—though they appear identical to the body-conscious—are as different as iron from gold.
We live in the Iron Age when the most popular metal is iron. Iron is a good conductor of electricity and attracts a magnet. But its durability is weakened and eroded by water. Gold, unlike iron, does not react to magnetism and it does not become eroded in water. And gold is even a better conductor of electricity. Gold lasts for a very long time. In Satya Yuga when all living entitles were paramhamsas this was the most used metal in the world. Gold is also the favorite metal of the demigods who are also pious living enmities.
Upon examining the qualities of gold and iron we find that durability and beauty are the most important differences between the two metals. Gold, unlike iron, is prized for how it can be shaped, its malleability. The most beautiful jewelery is fashioned from gold. The connection between a materialistic man and woman is compared to iron because that bond is based around the senses of a dead and impersonal material body. In such materialistic relationships there is little room for flexibility, for durability or for beauty because the essential element of personalism, the identiy of the eternal spiritual particle, is lacking.
As succintly described by Shrila Prabhupada in the above verse, the highest level of personal relationships between Shri Krishna and His devotees is seen by the devotion of the gopis of Vrindavana. It is a fact that for any relationship to achieve the most refined element of personal exchange, that relationship must be centered upon the lotus feet of Shri Krishna. Personalism can only exist in relation to Shri Krishna. In other words, the iron of material passions becomes transformed into gold when reposed in the service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
The Bhaktivedanta Purport to Shri Chaitanya Charitamrita (Madhya.8.187) instructs:
“We should always remember that Krishna's sense gratification is never to be compared to the sense gratification of the material world. As we have already explained, Krishna's sense gratification is just like gold. The perverted reflection of that sense gratification found in the material world is just like iron. The purport is that Krishna is not impersonal. He has all the desires that are manifest in the perverted reflection within this material world. However, the qualities are different—one is spiritual and the other is material. Just as there is a difference between life and death, there is a difference between spiritual sense gratification and material sense gratification.”
Most devotees are aware of the three levels of spiritual realization as will be explained hereunder. Personalism exists mainly on the Bhagavan realization of the Supreme Lord. The level of Paramatma realization is a mix of a personal and impersonal relationship. The Supreme Lord as Paramatma guides the soul as a teacher. The living entity can either have a respectful relationship with the indwelling Guru when he knows about His existence or he can be totally unaware of the Supersoul as it is the case of nearly all conditioned living entities. Pure impersonalism is seen at the level of Brahman realization and it is for that reason it is called impersonal Brahman. The brhamajyoti is non-different from the Supreme Personality of Godhead because it represents the all pervading light emanating from His body. Nonetheless, the Brahman platform does not permit the living entity to see the face of the Supreme Lord. This is due to distance or gap created in the relationship between the Supreme Lord and the individual jiva soul. The living entity who acts on the impersonal level is not close enough to the Lord to be able to interact with Him. How the distance in the relationship between the living entity and the Supreme Lord creates different realities of interaction is given by Shrila Prabhupada in Bhagavad Gita As It Is (2.22, purport):
“‘The Absolute Truth is realized in three phases of understanding by the knower of the Absolute Truth, and all of them are identical. Such phases of the Absolute Truth are expressed as Brahman, Paramātmā, and Bhagavan.’ (SB. 1.2.11) These three divine aspects can be explained by the example of the sun, which also has three different aspects, namely the sunshine, the sun's surface and the sun planet itself. One who studies the sunshine only is the preliminary student. One who understands the sun's surface is further advanced. And one who can enter into the sun planet is the highest. Ordinary students who are satisfied by simply understanding the sunshine-its universal pervasiveness and the glaring effulgence of its impersonal nature-may be compared to those who can realize only the Brahman feature of the Absolute Truth. The student who has advanced still further can know the sun disc, which is compared to knowledge of the Paramātmā feature of the Absolute Truth. And the student who can enter into the heart of the sun planet is compared to those who realize the personal features of the Supreme Absolute Truth. Therefore, the bhaktas, or the transcendentalists who have realized the Bhagavan feature of the Absolute Truth, are the topmost transcendentalists, although all students who are engaged in the study of the Absolute Truth are engaged in the same subject matter. The sunshine, the sun disc and the inner affairs of the sun planet cannot be separated from one another, and yet the students of the three different phases are not in the same category.”
Furthermore, in his Bhaktivedanta Purport to Gita 4.24, His Divine Grace explains how the material world is compared to covered brahmajyoti:
“Brahman means spiritual. The Lord is spiritual, and the rays of His transcendental body are called brahmajyoti, His spiritual effulgence. Everything that exists is situated in that brahmajyoti, but when the jyoti is covered by illusion (Maya) or sense gratification, it is called material. This material veil can be removed at once by Krishna consciousness...”
The difference between brahmajyoti and the material world is that in the material world the living entity is permitted to act upon his desires. And he can do so in such a way there is a chance for him to understand the higher levels of personal relationships a living entity ultimately can share with the Supreme Personality of Godhead Shri Krishna. The material world exists in order to offer the conditioned living entities a chance to revive their dormant relationship with the Supreme Lord. This world is the penitentiary of Maya Devi and—as every jail—it is a place for the purification and repentance of the prisoners. There is a chance for redemption from the material world, yet the only person who gives the liberation from the prison is the owner of the prison as described in the Bhaktivedanta Purport to Shrimad Bhagavatam 1.2.23:
“The prison house of the material world is created by Brahma under instruction of the Personality of Godhead, and at the conclusion of a kalpa the whole thing is destroyed by Shiva. But as far as maintenance of the prison house is concerned, it is done by Vishnu, as much as the state prison house is maintained by the state. Anyone, therefore, who wishes to get out of this prison house of material existence, which is full of miseries like repetition of birth, death, disease and old age, must please Lord Vishnu for such liberation.”
Whether concerning the material and spiritual worlds the topmost authority is Shri Krishna. In order to re-establish the personal relationship between Him and the living entities, He descends into the material world. Then by hearing about His pastimes from the lotus lips of His authorized representative, the pure devotee, the living entity himself becomes purified. As he unveils his eternal personal relationship with the Lord by the blessings of the bona fide spiritual master, he becomes qualified to go back to home, back to Godhead.
In the material world the activities of the living entities are limited in the same way the activities of the inmates are limited inside a prison house. Anyone who enters the limits of a prison house can understand that it is governed by an arrangement of hard and fast rules. In the same way, the relationship between a man and a woman in the material world is also limited, much like in a prison. Their relationship functions in the jurisdictions of the impersonal brahmajoti and such relations express impersonalism to the core. The relationships between the conditioned living entities are mutually dictated by their self-centered desires. At the center of all material desire is sex. The fleeting moment of so-called pleasure experienced in sex is a reflection of spiritual pleasure in just the same way that this material world is a reflection of the spiritual world. Again, the main characteristic of the material world is that it is a covered brahmajyoti and for this reason it is also impersonal. Yet, the material world, being a covered brahman, is also in a certain ‘‘covered” way spiritual since the brahmajyoti emanates from the ever-blissful body of the Supreme Lord. Any pleasure found in the material world carries the same characteristics of covered or perverted reflections of personalism. This is one of the first points explained by Shrila Prabhupada in outlining his vast Shrimad Bhagavatam project, for in his purport to 1.1.1 we find:
“Shrila Vishwanath Chakravarti Thakura specifically deals with the original and pure sex psychology (adi-rasa), devoid of all mundane inebriety. The whole material creation is moving under the principle of sex life. In modern civilization, sex life is the focal point for all activities. Wherever one turns his face, he sees sex life predominant. Therefore, sex life is not unreal. Its reality is experienced in the spiritual world. The material sex life is but a perverted reflection of the original fact. The original fact is in the Absolute Truth, and thus the Absolute Truth cannot be impersonal. It is not possible to be impersonal and contain pure sex life. Consequently, the impersonalist philosophers have given indirect impetus to the abominable mundane sex life because they have overstressed the impersonality of the ultimate truth. Consequently, man without information of the actual spiritual form of sex has accepted perverted material sex life as the all in all. There is a distinction between sex life in the diseased material condition and spiritual sex life.”
Thus, even in the material world the highest pleasure is sex, although it exists here only in a perverted form. And it is always the highest pleasures that a living entity is attracted to although the ultimate pleasures of the spiritual world become the lowest. Krishna explains this to Arjuna with His famous banyan tree example. The highest point of a tree is the lowest point in its reflection as explained by Shrila Prabhupada in his Introduction to Bhagavad Gita As It Is:
“The Supreme Lord said: There is a banyan tree which has its roots upward and its branches down, and the Vedic hymns are its leaves. One who knows this tree is the knower of the Vedas." (BG 15.1) Here the material world is described as a tree whose roots are upwards and branches are below. We have experience of a tree whose roots are upward: if one stands on the bank of a river or any reservoir of water, he can see that the trees reflected in the water are upside down. The branches go downward and the roots upward. Similarly, this material world is a reflection of the spiritual world. The material world is but a shadow of reality. In the shadow there is no reality or substantiality, but from the shadow we can understand that there is substance and reality.”
But in order to regain one’s original personal identity, a living entity has to renounce his self-centered sex desire. In other words, this means that the individual soul must renounce impersonalism and in this way renounce forever the prison house of the material world. This material world is only good for renunciation. This is its purpose. For many devotional aspirants the thorny issue of sex life presents a double standard. Due to conditioning many believe that sex is natural and necessary, and that it cannot be renounced. Herein lies the point of confusion between impersonalism and personalism.
All that is related to Shri Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead is personal. When devotees associate with other devotees, the eternal connection with Shri Krishna is also activated, or rather re-activiated. Shared personal relationships between Shri Krishna’s devotees is always beneficial because it is the training ground for re-newing our personal relationship with Shri Krishna. In Bhagavad Gita (18.68) Shri Krishna tells Arjuna that He derives such pleasure from those who preach His message that such preachers will find their way back to home back to Godhead:
ya idam paramam guhyam mad-bhaktesv abhidhasyati
bhaktim mayi param kritva mam evaisyaty asamsayah
“For one who explains the supreme secret to the devotees, devotional service is guaranteed, and at the end he will come back to Me.”
For Devotees, Shared Love is Love for Shri Krishna
Although all love should be directed to Shri Krishna still devotees must remain in the company of one another. This is the verdict of all shastras as verified by Shri Krishnadas Kaviraja Goswami himself (CC Madhya 22.54):
sadhu-sangha sadhu-sangha sarva shastra koy
lava matra sadhu-sangha sarva-siddhi hoy
“The verdict of all revealed scriptures is that by even a moment's association with a pure devotee, one can attain all success.”
When devotees associate their Krishna-centered devotional sentiments are shared amongst themselves. The Lord’s servants perfect the art of loving devotional service to Shri Krishna through relating to one another. It is not that in the spiritual world devotees will disappear and will one day only relate to Shri Krishna. The company of the Lord’s devotees is one of the opulences of the Shri Krishna. As Shrila Prabhupada says, “We have to seek the association of such devotees. For this reason we have begun the International Society for Krishna Consciousness.”
The awakened living entity is always receiving knowledge while the position of the Supreme Lord is to be all-knowledgeable. Thus we can never avoid other devotees, nor can we avoid the training we receive from them as agents of the Supreme Lord. Because the devotees continue to associate with each other in the spiritual world the qualities of gold—or personalism—also exist in the relationship between two pure devotees. For those who are not sufficiently purified, the neophytes, there can get be a sort of iron and gold mixture in relationships. This can be quite unpleasant because iron and gold simply do not mix. In the Bhaktivedanta Purport to BG 3.37 Shrila Prabhupada states:
“When a living entity comes in contact with the material creation, his eternal love for Krishna is transformed into lust, in association with the mode of passion. Or, in other words, the sense of love of God becomes transformed into lust, as milk in contact with sour tamarind is transformed into yogurt. Then again, when lust is unsatisfied, it turns into wrath; wrath is transformed into illusion, and illusion continues the material existence. Therefore, lust is the greatest enemy of the living entity, and it is lust only which induces the pure living entity to remain entangled in the material world. Wrath is the manifestation of the mode of ignorance; these modes exhibit themselves as wrath and other corollaries. If, therefore, the modes of passion, instead of being degraded into the modes of ignorance, are elevated to the modes of goodness by the prescribed method of living and acting, then one can be saved from the degradation of wrath by spiritual attachment.”
So should devotees renounce sex or not? Since the entire world is under its spell as long as one has material body he will find it difficult to renounce sex. Therefore the secret lies in the art of transformation. Shrila Prabhupada often gives the example that iron can be transformed into gold through the agency of a touchstone. In the same way, through association with a pure devotee, material desires become transformed into personal relationships with the Lord and his devotees.
In this way a sadhu’s transcendental affection for the Lord and His devotees may appear as iron to the worldly even though the quality of his relationships are gold. But there is danger in the opposite scenario also. A man may pretend to be on the purified level to exploit innocent living entities for sex. In other words, while pretending to be gold his qualities are actually iron-like. In a letter of 4 January 1973 to his disciple Madhukara das, Shrila Prabhupada warned of the consequences of such convenient relationships:
“Householder life means wife, children, home, these things are understood by everyone, why our devotees have taken it as something different? They simply have some sex desire, get themselves married, and when the matter does not fulfill their expectations, immediately there is separation—these things are just like material activities, prostitution. The wife is left without husband, and sometimes there is child to be raised, in so many ways the proposition that you, and some others also, are making becomes distasteful.
“We cannot expect that our temples will become places of shelter for so many widows and rejected wives, that will be a great burden and we shall become the laughingstock in the society. There will be unwanted progeny also. And there will be illicit sex life; that we are seeing already. And being the weaker sex, women require to have a husband who is strong in Krishna consciousness so that they may take advantage and make progress by sticking tightly to his feet. If their husband goes away from them, what will they do? So many instances are already there in our Society, so many frustrated girls and boys.
“So I have introduced this marriage system in your Western countries because there is custom of freely intermingling male and female. Therefore marriage required just to engage the boys and girls in devotional service, never mind distinction of living status. But our marriage system is little different than in your country, we do not sanction the policy of quick divorce. We are supposed to take husband or wife as eternal companion or assistant in Krishna consciousness service, and there is promise never to separate.”
Such results as Shrila Prabhupada outlined above are produced when there is immaturity in discriminating personalism from impersonalism. A gold quality relationship can never occur between an advanced devotee and a materialist. Such relationships can be compared to a fool’s gold. The pyrite or false gold stone ignites illusions for wealth into the hearts of the inexperienced gold diggers, especially those who are looking for easy spiritual advancement. Again, the quality of golden relationships can only occur in the company of advanced souls and in the service of the source of all purity, the Supreme Lord Shri Krishna. Pure golden relationships are very rare in this world and are practically inaccessible for the souls that are still struggling with material contamination.
For the sake of maintaining the sincere relationships amongst devotees, and to facilitate their advancement into relationships of genuine gold, householders must renounce illicit sex. By limiting sex desire one can keep his mind focused. When the mind can choose only the Supreme Lord in all of his activities one can move beyond the impersonal nature of sex desire and transform it into love. The difference between sex and love is that the first one is impersonal while the second one is personal. One is iron the other one is gold. For example devotees eat like everyone else, but only Krishna prasadam. There is no such necessity to renounce eating.
Transformation begins within the heart and is reflected into one’s surroundings. The transformation can further be extended in ones family between a husband and a wife. It is said that Shrila Gaura Kishora das Babaji advised one man to accept his wife as a guru and thus advance in his relationship with Shri Krishna. He himself called his wife “Matajee as the mother is supposed to be the guru of her children. Babaji Maharaja spoke thus to a newly married man:
“A Vaishnava wife is extremely rare and difficult to find in this world. If one has the good fortune of having one, he should see it as a benediction from Krishna. The wife worships the husband as her lord and master. Similarly, the husband should worship the wife because she is Krishna dasi, a servant of Krishna. In this way, the husband can protect his devotional enthusiasm not by considering his wife to be his maidservant, but she is always the maidservant of Krishna.”
This advice is essential. When one can curb his false ego and accept his fellow devotee as a guru then he may advance to the level of a golden relationship. How can someone accept his wife as a guru? Essentially, anyone who gives us Shri Krishna is our guru. In the spiritual world sometimes we can see that a son or a daughter is the guru of their parents. The cowherd boys who play with Shri Krishna connect their parents with the Supreme Lord because the boys have a closer relationship with Shri Krishna. The parents are always superior to their children but in relation to Shri Krishna they have to accept their boys or girls as the link. Even considering that a husband is superior to his wife, he can still accept her as a guru or as a link to Shri Krishna if she is Krishna conscious. This instruction also applies to all women, although in general a devotee wife does not have a problem accepting her husband as guru. Shrila Prabhupada explains,
“Well, if he is bad, how can he become a guru? [Laughter.] How can iron become gold? Actually, a guru cannot be bad, for if someone is bad, he cannot be a guru. You cannot say ‘bad guru.’ That is a contradiction. What you have to do is simply try to understand what a genuine guru is. The definition of a genuine guru is that he is simply talking about God—that’s all. If he’s talking about some other nonsense, then he is not a guru. A guru cannot be bad. There is no question of a bad guru, any more than a red guru or a white guru. Guru means ‘genuine guru.’ All we have to know is that the genuine guru is simply talking about God and trying to get people to become God’s devotees. If he does this, he is genuine.” (The Science of Self Realization: SSR 2: Choosing a Spiritual Master: What Is a Guru?)
When two devotees in a family accept each other as gurus or links to Shri Krishna then they can further progress and share a golden quality relationship between each other because Shri Krishna is always in their company. Thus, they have successfully transformed mundane desires into love.
Warning: The transformation of iron to gold is a simple process but also a rare one. Iron can be transformed into gold but pure gold can never become iron. So someone who wishes to become gold has to understand that the process is irrevocable. In a lecture on Bhagavad Gita delivered on 13 February 1969 Shrila Prabhupada summed up this process:
“So how you can do that? The same example: You have to keep the iron constantly with the fire. You have to keep yourself constantly in Krishna consciousness. Then even your this body, material body, is spiritualized.”
HOMOSEXUALITY AND THE NEW AGE
Homosexuality has become so prominent in the second half of the 20th century that is has been propagated as a lifestyle of choice. But it wasn’t always like this. Before the technological revolution, homosexuality was referred to in the most derogatory of terms. Openly proclaiming oneself to having had intimate relations with a same sex individuals was considered shameful. Because society was oriented around the family unit, the number of homosexuals was kept to a minimum. In ancient India, and even up till the turn of the 21st century, homosexuals were considered outcastes. The existence of the third gender was not denied but was only tolerated outside the strict principles of a varnashram-structured society.
To this day, homosexuals often face social denial and hardships, yet such is the harsh verdict of karma upon same sex acts. But what lies at the root of this controversial mentality? Let us try to examine this ongoing social dilemma from a spiritual prospective. Generally homosexuals today claim the excuse of having been born as that way. Is this statement an undisputed truth?
Prakriti and Purush
From a spiritual perspective all living entities are prakriti, or expansions of the pleasure potency of the Supreme Lord Shri Krishna. He is the only One Supreme Male and Supreme Enjoyer of all energies. Meanwhile, the deluded living entity thinks that the act of descent into the material world gives the entity a carte blanche to claim the position of supreme enjoyer. Shrila Prabhupada explains in Bhagavad Gita As It Is, (Intro):
The living entity is explained as the superior prakrti. Prakrti is always under control, whether inferior or superior. Prakrti is female, and she is controlled by the Lord just as the activities of a wife are controlled by the husband. Prakrti is always subordinate, predominated by the Lord, who is the predominator. The living entities and material nature are both predominated, controlled by the Supreme Lord. According to the Gita, the living entities, although parts and parcels of the Supreme Lord, are to be considered prakrti. This is clearly mentioned in the Seventh Chapter, fifth verse of Bhagavad-gita:
apareyam itas tv anyam prakritim viddhi me param
jiva-bhutam maha-baho yayedam dharyate jagat
“Besides this inferior nature, O mighty-armed Arjuna, there is a superior energy of Mine, which are all living entities who are struggling with material nature and are sustaining the universe.”
Therefore, the attempt of any living entity to try to enjoy another living entities equals spiritual homosexuality. This activity is initiated from the beginning of the soul’s fall into material existence. The jiva who has denied the supremacy of the Supreme Lord faces only one possible option: sharing temporary “enjoyment” with other conditioned living entities who are also prakriti energy of the Supreme Lord. The entity’s deluded concept of “enjoyment” in the material world is perpetrated infinitely due to ignoring the Supreme Male Shri Krishna. The material world is therefore defined as a madhouse wherein frustrated conditioned souls are forced to mingle forever with other conditioned souls in an attitude of mutual exploitation. It is a place of prakriti exploiting prakriti.
The Impersonal Calamity
The root cause of this mentality is an impersonal understanding of the Supreme Personality of Godhead Shri Krishna. The brahmajyoti or brilliant bodily effulgence of the Supreme Lord is covered by illusion and results in the creation of the material world. Shrila Prabhupada explains in the Bhaktivedanta Purport to Bhagavad Gita As It Is 4.24:
“Brahman means spiritual. The Lord is spiritual, and the rays of His transcendental body are called brahmajyoti, His spiritual effulgence. Everything that exists is situated in that brahmajyoti, but when the jyoti is covered by illusion (maya) or sense gratification, it is called material. This material veil can be removed at once by Krishna consciousness; thus the offering for the sake of Krishna consciousness, the consuming agent of such an offering or contribution; the process of consumption, the contributor, and the result are-all combined together-Brahman, or the Absolute Truth. The Absolute Truth covered by maya is called matter.”
When awakened through bhakti-yoga, the eternal spiritual relationship between the living entity and the Supreme Lord Shri Krishna bears no trace of impersonalism. As Shri Krishna tells Arjuna in the Gita (15.1)
“The Blessed Lord said: There is a banyan tree which has its roots upward and its branches down and whose leaves are the Vedic hymns. One who knows this tree is the knower of the Vedas.”
The spiritual world is compared to an infinite banyan tree whose reflection is the material world. That which is the highest point in the spiritual world is the lowest in this material reflection. The principles found in the spiritual world are mirrored in its reflection, although the three-dimensional feeling of spiritual reality is not present in the material world, which is insipid by comparison. Thus, the basic principle of the spiritual world regarding personal relationships is transferred into the reflective material world in the form of reproductive law which requires the association of different genders for the reproduction of another conditioned entity into that species.
Although such conditioned living entities may not be aware of it, even reflective nature is under the control of the Supreme Lord. He has designed the material world as a facility which gives a chance to the deluded jivas for a safe trip back to their original position in the spiritual world. For some of these living entities, unlimited lifetimes are required before they realize the futility of this impersonal existence.
Reproduction of Physical Bodies
Generally, the living beings in the material world are very dull. Therefore, Shri Krishna is not willing to directly participate in the activities conducted in the material world. He has made arrangements whereby reproductive law is automatically executed. By this process a living entity can receive new bodies over and over again until the spiritual goal of life is realized, which is only understandable in the human form of life by the mercy of the spiritual master. In this way, Shri Krishna had inspired Lord Brahma to design the bodies of the first male and female individuals. These bodies were just like machines that can reproduce new bodies without interference and we can witness this miracle of reproduction throughout the duration of the material universe. Since the reproductive law is a reflection of the spiritual principle of personalism, the individuals (both male and female) need to engage in a personal relationship in order to reproduce. The missing part in this reflective arrangement is the living entity’s satisfying relationship of the Supreme Lord Shri Krishna.
Although spiritual satisfaction is missing in the relationship between individuals embedded in their material male and female bodies, their union (as sanctioned by the Supreme Lord) is in accordance with the grand plan of this material world. By their union a new body is produced and this act ideally gives a chance for another conditioned soul on the great march towards liberation. Unfortunately in this material world there is nothing but misunderstanding in the relationship between embodied males and females because their physical identities are not genuine. They are imposters of the original Male and Female, Shri Radha and Shri Krishna.
Despite the variegated misunderstandings caused by the bodily conception of life, when an embodied male and female have the desire to deal with each other in a straightforward manner, they may come to a point of understanding. This arrangement is achieved by matching the couple according to Jyotish Shasta. Through harmoniously matching the elements of the horoscope they will have a far greater chance of surviving each others differences. And if they keep Shri Krishna in the center of their lives they can experience a real personal relationship.
A Perverted Reflection
Can homosexuality match the high standard arranged by natural law when it is not conducted in accordance with the grand purpose of Shri Krishna for the material creation? Homosexuality is based on sexual relations that offer no opportunity for giving another living entity a chance to take birth and thereby move towards liberation. Homosexuality is a reflection of an imaginative principle whereby two entities both pretending to be purushas attempt to exploit one another with the aim of intimate enjoyment. Since a same sex arrangement is not directly found in Krishna leela, for this reason homosexuality has no adequate reflection in the material world. It is a perverted reflection of a perverted reflection.
Sometimes we find that Shri Krishna assumes an identity of a girl in the intimate pastimes involving His dearmost consort Srimati Radharani. Sometimes Srimati Radhika becomes angry towards Shri Krishna and She does not want to meet Him. At other times Their meetings are interrupted by elders. Then Shri Krishna dresses as a girl in order to enjoy the company of Srimati Radharani unchecked. The identity of a girl is assumed by the Supreme Personality of Godhead in lila only in cases of emergency. Shri Krishna may play a role--although He may not identify with it--for the sake of rasa or humor. An assumed identity in the pastimes of Shri Krishna only serves to expand the freedom of ecstatic enjoyment between the Divine Couple.
In the reflective reality living entities who desire more freedom in their sexual relations assume the identity of the opposite sex. This is a copycat act mimicking the most intimate prototypic pastimes of Shri Krishna. But there is a vast difference between the Supreme Lord and the conditioned living entities that identify with their assumed identities. As a consequence, each jivas trapped within this material world becomes deeply confused and imbedded within maha maya.
A truly spiritualized person, even in the material world, does not seek to expand unchecked sexual enjoyment. Rather, he seeks to quit all material engagement and entanglement in the soul’s great march back to home back to Godhead. If he finds himself swept into violating the laws of nature impelled by the impressions his previous activities have imprinted upon his psyche, he should understand that acts such as homosexuality are non-different from the fundamental cause of material existence. It has been noted that homosexual perversions finds their roots in the desire of the living entity to enjoy the perverted reflection of spiritual reality. Those who would be tempted should consider what is at stake, whether it is worth eking out an existence any longer here in the material world for the sake of unattainable pleasures.
Illicit Sex Leads to Social Destruction
Unfortunately, issues related to homosexuality are never simple. Nowadays homosexuality is not only practiced between two men, but due to the pressures of media and unnatural urban living women are also turning to prakriti-on-prakriti forms of “pleasure.” A great contradiction is found when two individuals in female bodies try to intimately enjoy each other. This contradiction is especially exaggerated when the two individuals claim to be devotees of Shri Krishna. It is the basest hypocrisy when two living entities who acknowledge that they are both prakriti pretend to enjoy like two purushas regardless of the gender of their bodies.
Homosexuality is proven to be a form of impersonalism even from a material point of view. There are men who do not want to support a woman yet desire to indulge in unchecked sexual activities. Such men sometimes look to other men. For such men, cities like San Francisco have bath houses where homosexuals can meet and—without even bothering to look at each others’ face or speak with one another—they engage in abominable activities never to meet again. Homosexuality is deeply impersonal and is born from the passion of low-grade asuras. This is described in Shrimad Bhagavatam 3.20.29:
“The body given up by Brahma took the form of the evening twilight, when the day and night meet, a time which kindles passion. The asuras, who are passionate by nature, dominated as they are by the element of rajas, took it for a damsel, whose lotus feet resounded with the tinkling of anklets, whose eyes were wide with intoxication and whose hips were covered by fine cloth, over which shone a girdle.”
It is rule that when a man abandons a woman to enjoy with other men, then society is destroyed for all practical purposes. Out of frustration caused by dealing with a society in which homosexuality is condoned—one wherein men become callous—women react by becoming lesbians. In the days before homosexuality was widely accepted, a proper man controlled his sexual urges in a natural way simply by keeping association with his wife. A chaste woman who is satisfied in her relationship has an inclination to have sex only once a month after her menstrual cycle. This desire naturally leads to pregnancy.
Men who refuse to be regulated in this way go astray of their families by indulging in unrestricted sex with prostitutes. Overindulgence in sex causes severe physical weakness and ultimately leads to impotency and homosexuality. Women are always the followers of men and their reaction to the perverted behavior of men is that they also become lesbians. That society today welcomes openly same sex relations is a sure sign that modern civilization is becoming more and more impersonal and mechanized. Real human warmth is far afield. The shallow dealings between people in the pubs and theaters where they gather are seen in their superficial conversation. Nowhere is an inquiry into the Absolute Truth allowed.
Those who claim they have been born as homosexuals or lesbians usually carry some deep hurt from their previous lives. Having been treated impersonally, they now deny identification with their present material identities as some sort of a protective measure. They may even mistake that such an outlook is more spiritual because they live as individuals who function differently from their bodily situation. But the grand illusion is that our assumed identities are connected to sex, and sex is the root cause for material existence. The cure for homosexuality is personalism. When someone joins the Hare Krishna movement he or she does so to ultimately achieve liberation from the material disease of impersonalism.
Curing Sexual Addiction
Of course, sex can also be utilized in devotional service as everything else in this world as explained Shri Krishna in Bhagavad Gita As It Is 7.11:
“I am sex life which is not contrary to religious principles, O Lord of the Bharatas (Arjuna)”.
If someone desires to quit completely the temporary material identity, he must bid farewell to sex attachment. Sex which is aimed at satisfaction of ones senses is the greatest obstacle on the path of devotional service. Using this natural phenomenon of sex impulse in the service of Shri Krishna is the only way to purify this abominable tendency of the conditioned living entity towards deluded so-called enjoyment. If sex cannot be utilized according to Shri Krishna’s instruction then it is best to be given up completely.
A member of ISKCON who maintains a homosexual identity faces greater challenges in his or her devotional life. A homosexual cannot use his sexual urge in the service of Shri Krishna while wishing to maintain a perverse desire for the sense enjoyment. The outcome is frustration. Such homosexuals often will have no clue as to how to solve the dilemma in their lives. Some of them go back into the material whirlpool seeking release through fulfillment of illicit desires only to find themselves even more frustrated. To make matters worse, many devotees are harsh on homosexuals. Insensitivity is not a solution but rather it is a failure in practically applying the all-compassionate process of Krishna consciousness. In other instances some homosexuals have become prominent leaders in this Krishna Conscious society and have brought havoc upon the lives of many straight individuals. Although homosexuality calls for a deeper self-examination than other forms of material disease, the solution is simple and is essentially identical to the treatment that is recommended for anyone else. After all, everyone has fallen under the impersonal disease here in the material world. The solution to all material problems is found in accepting the Back to Godhead treatment. This medicine of Krishna Consciousness is simple and entails chanting 16 malas of the mahamantra daily, and observing four regulative principles (No meat, fish, eggs; no illicit sex; no gambling and no intoxication). Nonetheless, even by material standards, homosexuality is not a normal condition and the cure should be administered with greater care. A homosexual devotee is especially recommended to ardently chant and pray to Shri Krishna for deliverance from the deep ignorance of the bewildering, impersonal reflection of this material world rather than trying to adjust his perverse desires and adapt them to the Society. When a sincere devotee worships the forms of Shri Shri Radha-Krishna his attraction for material relations diminishes and the taste for spiritual personalism increases.
Liberation from Perversions
Frustration with one’s material body should be aimed at quitting it altogether rather than trying to adapt to another bodily conception of life. The material body is just like a blister which demands scratching. This propensity for scratching, satisfying the sexual urge, is seen in all activities of the conditioned living entities because all bodies ultimately have sexual identities. Some frustrated individuals have attempted to surgically remove or alter their sex organs in so-called “sex change operations” and in this way rid themselves of the material disease. Such attempts are useless and doomed to failure because we are surrounded by sex at every turn. This attempt is like trying to cure impersonalism with voidism. The attempt of some devotees to avoid sex confrontation by adopting a different bodily identity for protection is also as futile as mayavada philosophy. The material world is like a great pornographic web site and the sex urge can only be satisfied by pregnancy. Although pregnancy is ultimately very painful, if sex is not used for conceiving children it is better to abandon it.
The right way to indulge in sex life is simple. When women are satisfied once a month men also feel fulfilled. But any sex which does not lead to pregnancy is compared to masturbation. A person who masturbates is never satisfied and eventually his urges for sense indulgence kills him. Nobody can put down a fire by tossing gasoline upon the flames. Homosexuality is compared to masturbation. Contrary to this when two opposite forces unite in sex, a temporary though relatively final satisfaction is experienced. In this way the mind of the conditioned living entity is kept under control. But even so, the satisfaction found in getting pregnant can be compared to a drop of water in contrast of the ocean of satisfaction found in developing our personal relationship with Shri Krishna through Krishna consciousness.
Enjoyment or Emancipation?
Shrila Prabhupada says that the body of a woman is meant for enjoyment and infatuation but the body of a man is meant for liberation. Women may experience great satisfaction in their bodies but in a world wherein material identity becomes obsolete either through the natural life cycle or through voluntary renunciation they find their own challenges. They also have to transform their false identities and they find similar challenges as do homosexual devotees. Internally, devotee women identify with men because they have taken the same path of self realization as their male counterparts. But their external situation is often very different from the way they see themselves. On the outside they are often mistreated under the disguise of protection when in fact nobody wants to deal with them as women anymore because of their decision to forego their material identity.
Immature devotees come to the conclusion that when women are trying to be more spiritual they should not be regarded as women at all. This is another form of impersonalism which seeks to deny the present karmic condition of a devotee. If someone is living in the material world he or she, even if a pure devotee, will need to have a trace of karma in order to stay here. The right way to react to another devotee’s karma is to understand his or her needs with compassion. Educating oneself in the inner workings of material conditioning will definitely help. Devotees should read the books of Srila Prabhupada with a strong desire to understand how we have become confined within this material world and how we may obtain liberation through unending devotional service. In the context of Krishna Conscious philosophy let us now briefly examine the historical devolution that lead to the prominence of homosexuality today.
Industrial Revolution and Sexual Perversions
At the beginning of the industrial revolution people were worried that their families might be destroyed by the machines. For example, the initiators of the first railway between Stockton to Darlington in England were met with much opposition in their attempt to convince land owners of the practicality of trains. Especially farmers who could foresee unwanted train tracks running through their property stood in fierce opposition. They feared the danger trains posed to their animals, the loss of prime low lands, and the damage to their crops by soot and smoke. With traditional wisdom of the times, people considered that if the horses are put out of work, the women will have to seek engagement beyond their homes which would necessarily destroy their family units. Today in retrospect we can see that the common sense assessment of those simple folks was correct. The destruction of families forced men and women to wander in search of jobs unnourished by the association of their loved ones. Unrestricted sex became common and gradually accepted as the norm while those who opposed sexual infidelity were labeled as old-fashioned or outmoded. As a result of this “freedom,” many turned into sexual addicts, eventually becoming impotent. Others fell into homosexuality or other forms of sexual perversion. Today homosexuality is a social trend. Gay people are often married in the churches or city halls like other couples. They adopt children and raise them as their own. Their claim that they domicile together for the sake of paying reduced taxes is a ruse to hide the fact that they have fallen into the schemes of the lord of sin, Kali. In Kali Yuga traditional society is being undermined and gradually destroyed through homosexuality. People are strengthened when they are united by family values, but in Kali Yuga people hardly know any of their relatives beyond their immediate family. Thus they are easily manipulated and weakened by corrupt governments whose interest lies in exploiting every single individual through the help of their mouthpieces in the controlled media.
For devotees, the final authority on the subject regarding homosexuality comes from Shrila Prabhupada:
“That is not enjoyment. Just like sex indulgence. If you indulge in more than necessary, then you will be impotent. Nature will stop. You know impotency? That will be there. Impotency. This homosex is also another sign of impotency. They do not feel sex impulse to woman. They feel sex impulse in man. That means he is impotent. It is impotency.”
Arrival – Chicago, July 3, 1975
“Now this progeny is bother. It is sense enjoyment, homosex. Progeny, they don't want. They're not interested. Only sense gratification. This is another sign of impotency. When after enjoying so many women, they become impotent, then they artificially create another sex impulse in homosex. This is the psychology.”
Arrival – Chicago, July 3, 1975
“There is no limit of sense gratification. The sense gratification, homosex, they are supporting. Just see. Just see. At least, in animal society there is no homosex. They have created homosex, and that is being passed by the priest, the religious heads.”
Room Conversation – August 25, 1971, London
“Watchtower, it has criticized…one priest has allowed the marriage between man to man, homosex. So these things are going on. They take it purely for prostitution. That's all. So therefore people are thinking, ‘What is the use of keeping a regular prostitution at a cost of heavy expenditure? Better not to have this.’”
Talk with Bob Cohen – February 27-29, 1972, Mayapur
“The animals also do not support homosex. They never have sex life between male to male. They are less than animal. People are becoming less than animal. This is all due to godlessness.”
Conversation with the GBC – May 25, 1972, Los Angeles
“Nowadays, of course, they are thinking like that, that man should remain independent, and they'll have homosex, and the woman also independent and they will make some... This is most immoral...”
Morning Walk – December 10, 1975, Vrndavana
“I am very sorry that you have taken to homosex. It will not help you advance in your attempt for spiritual life. In fact, it will only hamper your advancement. I do not know why you have taken to such abominable activities. What can I say? Anyway, try to render whatever service you can to Krishna. Even though you are in a very degraded condition Krishna, being pleased with your service attitude, can pick you up from your fallen state. You should stop this homosex immediately. It is illicit sex, otherwise, your chances of advancing in spiritual life are nil.”
Letter to: Lalitananda – Hawaii 26 May, 1975
BECOMING FREE OF SEX DESIRE
… Through Transcending Bodily Identification
Though observing austerities connected with the vow of celibacy is the best way of trying to overcome sex desire, without proper spiritual understanding harsh practices alone do not free the fettered soul from identification with the gross material body. There is a higher form of freedom from sex desire that has nothing to do with merely limiting sensual appetite. This higher taste is developed through an understanding of the eternal nature and function of the soul.
Krishna is Unlimited
The unborn and undying living entity has the peculiar feature of partial equality—at least in quality, though not quantity—with the unlimited Supreme Lord Who in His original form is Shri Krishna. And even though Krishna is the supreme male and He is the husband and maintainer of all living beings still—by His own sweet will alone—His gender is not limited. When the need arose for Him to manifest in a female form, the Lord appeared as Mohini Murti in order to bewilder the demons and snatch the nectar of immortality from their hands. And in that way, the Supreme Purusha demonstrated that He is also the supreme beauty. In that lovely form the Lord severed the head of the demon Rahu with His Sudarshan Chakra and thereby established a new universal plan whereby Rahu eclipses the Sun and the Moon and thus inflicts terror into the hearts of all conditioned living entities. In this way the Lord forces the inhabitants of this universe to self-inquire, “Is suffering necessary this world?” Reading the description of the Supreme Lord as Mohini (from SB 8.9.18), one may become astonished that this is actually the Supreme Purusha in His form as the most attractive woman: “Her attractive nose and cheeks and Her ears, adorned with golden earrings, made Her face very beautiful. As She moved, Her sari’s border on Her breasts moved slightly aside. When the demigods and demons saw these beautiful features of Mohini-murti, who was glancing at them and slightly smiling, they were all completely enchanted.”
Painting by Anjana das
In still yet another pastime described by the Gaudiya poets Shri Chandan and Jnana das, the Supreme Lord Shri Krishna in His Vrindavana-lila dressed as a girl in order to easily approach the distraught Shrimati Radharani. For Her part Radharani—as the eternal counterpart of Shri Krishna and the personification of His female energy—also appears in a male form. In the pastimes of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Shrimati Radharani Herself appeared as Shri Gadadhara Pandit. Although, the Supreme Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu exhibited the mood of Shrimati Radharani, She was also personally present in a male personality in order to participate in the sankirtan movement. Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu appeared under a grand full Moon that had just emerged from an eclipse. In this way His sankirtan movement has suddenly arrived bright and effulgent to launch a very visible resurgence in the eternal dharma and the yagna for the yuga. Shri Gadadhar Pandit, however, appeared on the amavashya day, when the Moon is invisible, and thus his role in the sankirtan movement remains mostly hidden.
The Soul is Beyond Material Gender
Since the individual soul is part and parcel of Shri Krishna, the soul also has ability to adopt male or female bodies. This can easily be understood by several examples found in the shastras—or even from the everyday life. In Shrimad Bhagavatam (SB 4.28) we learn that King Puranjana became reborn as a woman due to attachment for his wife. As described in Mahabharata, Amba was re-born as the warrior Shikhandi due to her mind dwelling on Bhishma. She wanted to take revenge upon him since he had refused to marry her due to his lifelong vow of brahmacharya.
While describing the dynasty of Manu, Shukadeva Goswami tells Maharaja Parikshit, (SB 9.1.25-6) “There in the north, at the bottom of Mount Meru, is a forest known as Sukumara where Lord Shiva always enjoys with Uma. Sudyumna entered that forest. O King Parilshit, as soon as Sudyumna, who was expert in subduing enemies, entered the forest, he saw himself transformed into a female and his horse transformed into a mare.” It seems that at the yagna for obtaining a son, Sage Vashishta had become distracted by Vaivaswata Manu’s wife who wanted a son. As a result, a daughter named Ila was born to him who was transformed into the hero Sudyumna by the ascetic power of Vashishta Muni. However, when Sudyumna entered the forest at the foot of Mount Meru wherein Lord Shiva sports with Parvati, he and his horse were transformed into females. Shrila Prabhupada notes in the chapter summary that “Shukadeva Goswami described how Sudyumna, being transformed into a woman, accepted Budha, the son of the moon, as her husband and had a son named Pururava.”
Even today there are many who feel that they were either a male or a female in their past lives, some of whom wish to return to what they used to be. Through some scientific inventions of hormonal treatment, modern medical science easily converts a woman into a man or a man into a woman. For example, the pole-vaulting champion Yvonne Buschbaum from Germany transformed herself into a man and is now called Balian Buschbaum. Then there is the case of Barry Kenneth Cossey, who through “gender re-assignment” actually became a woman. H/she went on to become a “James Bond girl” and celebrated cover model before he was subject to a sensational exposé by a British tabloid. Some have even undergone this transformation at an early age. One such case is that of a German boy who now has become the teen female singing sensation Kim Petras. Recently the sex change by jailed whistleblower US Army Private Bradley (now Chelsea) Manning has captured much public attention. Although such transformations prove that the nature of the soul is neither material male nor material female, hormonal sex changes are very dangerous and such procedures should never be undertaken by the wise.
Demonic gender re-assignment without the natural sanction of the laws of karma requires constant artificial maintenance of the preferred sexual category. It will also certainly lead to any number of health and psychological complications. Consider that such artificially altered women or men are sexually non-reproductive; they can never give birth to or cause the birth of another human being. Thus, such alterations are unhealthy and dangerous because the loss of the ability to procreate is a symptom of physical malady. Although these artificial gender changes should be regarded as works of Kali, they remain viable examples of the genderless nature of the soul.
In Easy Journey to Other Planets (1960 Delhi edition), His Divine Grace Shrila Prabhupada notes, “The mind is a nucleus of the material body. The gradual evolutionary process of the material body depends more or less on the psychological changes of the mind. The change of bodily construction of a worm into a butterfly and in the modern advancement of medical science to convert a man’s body into a woman’s or vice versa … all these depend more or less on the psychological change of the mind.”
Even amongst devotees of Krishna, service is rendered through the facilities provided by the material body. One who regards himself or herself as having the qualities of both the male and the female may find social integration difficult. The more a devotee advances in devotional service the more the energies of male and female blend. The two main nadis of the kundalini, namely ida and pingala, unite in the highest chakra called sahasrara and a liberated soul at the time of death exits the body from there. Because of their apparent “genderless-ness,” advanced devotees of Shri Krishna who have transcended sexual urges are not generally found in social situations wherein socially-accepted gender roles are exaggerated. At times advanced devotees seem to behave like children or even as mad persons, perhaps because such behavior is considered genderless.
Overcoming Bodily Limitations
Spiritually-evolved bhaktas are recognized by their symptoms. There are transcendentalists who are very long-lived still dwelling upon Earth. Counted amongst these chiranjivas are Sages Nara and Narayana, Shrila Vyasadeva, Hanumanji and even Ashvattama the son of Dronacharya. Shriman Nanda Kumar das Prabhu, once a personal servant of His Divine Grace Shrila Prabhupada, has given the following testimony which he witnessed firsthand: “At the Kumbha Mela in 1971 a few enthusiastic devotees were preaching heavily to some sadhus about how they should give up what they were doing and surrender to Shrila Prabhupada. His Divine Grace heard about it and called them in. He kindly thanked them for their faith in him and in this process, but he told them the purpose for coming to the Kumbha Mela was to have the association of saintly personalities. He then He said, ‘You should be very respectful toward everyone you meet. There are people here who are thousands of years old and you can't tell who they are.’”
An inherited vice common to all materialistic males appears to be their desire to lord it over the material nature—which includes dominating females. And there is an inherited vice in the nature of women as well. They are jealous of one another and it is due to this flaw in their character they do not allow other women to become recognized or important. In Bhagavad-gita (Bg 10.34) Shri Krishna states: kirtih shirr vak cha narinam smritir medha dhrith kshamah. In this way Krishna identifies the qualities of women that represent Him, “Among women I am fame, fortune, speech, memory, intelligence, faithfulness and patience.”