The Invisible Hand of the Lord
Krishna, I know this material desire is not befitting me, but still I have the desire for a wife, so will You please make an arrangement for me to get a wife. I know quite well that the process of asking benedictions from You, asking You to give me something for my sense gratification is a nonsense proposal. I should only be asking to be engaged in Your service…
Kardama Muni was a devotee and a mystic yogi practicing yoga in his hermitage in the forest. Although he was a devotee and restraining from sex life, he had the desire for a wife. So he prayed to Krishna, “Krishna, I know this material desire is not befitting me, but still I have the desire for a wife, so will You please make an arrangement for me to get a wife. I know quite well that the process of asking benedictions from You, asking You to give me something for my sense gratification is a nonsense proposal. I should only be asking to be engaged in Your service. I should have no desire other than engaging in Your service but I can’t help it. I have this unsatisfied desire for a wife, so will You please fulfil my desire.”
The sage was living in a very humble condition. He was living in a hut in the forest near one of the holy rivers, so his living condition was very simple. It would be, generally speaking, difficult for a wife or a beautiful woman to come and live in that position. So he put his question to the Lord, “Please, You make some arrangement to give me a wife.”
Devahuti was the daughter of Svayambhuva Manu, a great King, and she was accustomed to living in a very opulent position. Svayambhuva Manu was looking for a suitable husband for his daughter Devahuti and by the arrangement of Krishna he could understand within himself that he should take his beautiful daughter to Kardama Muni who was meditating in the forest. So this was Krishna’s arrangement. Krishna is perfect. Krishna is in everybody’s heart. Krishna is fulfilling the desires of everyone, Krishna says: mattah smrtir jnanam apohanam ca. This means: “I am seated in everyone’s heart and I am giving everyone remembrance, knowledge and forgetfulness.”
Although we have some independence in this material world, our independence is limited. Our independence is we can desire independently, but to fulfil that desire Krishna has to sanction it, because Krishna is giving us remembrance, knowledge and forgetfulness. To fulfil any desire we need these things, we need knowledge, we need remembrance. So although we have a little independence, that independence is subject to Krishna sanctioning it. Because Krishna is in everybody’s heart and giving everybody knowledge, remembrance and forgetfulness, He can make special arrangements for His devotees. In this case we see Kardama Muni meditating in the forest and thinking, “Now my dear Lord, I would like to have a wife.” Simultaneously Krishna understood Kardama Muni’s desire so He immediately put the idea into the heart of another devotee, Svayambhuva Manu, that he should take his daughter to Kardama Muni because she was of marriageable age. This is the subtle interaction going on between the Lord and the Lord’s devotees. The devotees can see this but the materialists can’t see it. All the activities of a devotee are going on with the help of Krishna, and because Krishna is present in everybody’s heart, Krishna is making the arrangements so the devotees plans and desires are automatically fulfilled.
As Krishna is in everybody’s heart, He can inspire even a great demon to help a devotee, even the animals. There is one situation of a great devotee, Haridasa Thakura, a great devotee of Lord Caitanya. At one stage Haridasa Thakura was living in a mountain cave and he was chanting all the time, Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare / Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare, but he was sharing the cave with one very big poisonous snake. Haridasa Thakura had no worries because he was always chanting Hare Krishna, he had no fear of anything, so the snake never bothered him. But many of his disciples would come to visit him in that mountain cave and the big poisonous snake was very distressing to Haridasa Thakura’s disciples. So one day Haridasa Thakura decided that, “I should leave this cave because people want to come and speak to me, but they are afraid of the snake.” As soon as Haridasa Thakura decided this the snake could understand, Krishna is present within the heart of the snake also and mattah smrtir jñanam apohanam ca, He’s also giving the snake remembrance, knowledge and forgetfulness. So immediately the snake slithered out of it’s hole and left that place never to return.
These subtle transactions going on between the Lord and His devotees are very blissful for the devotees. It is an immediate confirmation that Krishna is God, of course a devotee knows all the time, he sees Krishna everywhere. But when he sees that, “Oh, Krishna has made a special arrangement to facilitate my devotional service.” This is a very relishable feeling, it’s a very reassuring feeling, of course we don’t need to be reassured. Sometimes people ask us, “Do you have faith in Krishna?” or “Do you really believe in Krishna?” But a devotee has gone beyond the stage of believing in Krishna or having faith in Krishna, he actually knows Krishna. He has a relationship with Krishna and all of his activities are going on in cooperation with Krishna.
Faith implies we believe in something, we have faith in something and in the future that faith will be manifest in something concrete. Faith is not something really concrete, faith is sublime, but Krishna consciousness is not faith in something sublime. Krishna consciousness is the process of engaging in pure, direct devotional service, directly engaging in the service of Krishna. It’s a two-way process, it’s not a one-way process. It’s not that I have to serve Krishna now and some time in the future I’ll get the result. The process is I serve Krishna now and Krishna also serves me… we don’t want Krishna to serve us, but Krishna responds. Krishna makes an arrangement to help in whatever I am trying to do to serve Him. He puts the desires in the hearts of the other living entities to help the devotees…
Devahuti was very chaste and she could understand Kardama Muni was a very qualified husband. Not that he was very beautiful, of course he was beautiful but his beauty wasn’t really manifest because he was meditating in the forest. He was sitting in the forest and he had nothing. Generally speaking a women is attracted by a man who has a lot of money and who has physical beauty, but Kardama Muni was not such a man. He was a great sage and very spiritually advanced, but materially he was poverty stricken. He was living in a simple hut in the forest. Devahuti was happy to leave her very opulent palatial life with Svayambhuva Manu and go to live in the forest in a hut with Kardama Muni and serve him as a menial servant.
This is the position of a chaste women. A chaste women wants a qualified husband who will look after her and she is happy to serve her husband in any situation, in any circumstance. Here we see Devahuti, who was used to very beautiful opulent arrangements, being served by many maidservants and eating very opulent foodstuffs, quite happy to go to the forest to live with her husband simply serving him. Even though through performing this service she lost all of her queenly beauty, still she was very happy in performing the service.
Kardama Muni promised he would have some children through Devahuti, this is the purpose of having a wife, so that one can get a son, otherwise if there are no children there’s no point. After some time of serving her husband she requested Kardama Muni, “Please you promised that at some time we would have physical union and in that way we would have some children. I humbly beg that you to make some arrangement so we can have a more comfortable situation which is suitable for the passionate desires to be manifest in your heart.”
This is also interesting, Kardama Muni’s hermitage in the forest was completely in the mode of goodness. In the material world there are three modes of material nature: goodness, passion and ignorance. The mode of goodness means it is conducive to spiritual life but this mode of goodness is not very conducive to passionate life for begetting children. It wasn’t that Devahuti wanted this passionate situation for herself, she knew the science of begetting a child. The situation for begetting a child is if the man is very strong, if the man is very much attracted by the beauty of his wife then he will discharge semen very strongly and there will be a male child, and if the women is more attracted to the man then her discharge will be greater than the man’s and a female child will be born. This is the science of begetting a child. It’s described in the scriptures. If a male child is wanted then there has to be an arrangement for exciting the man’s passions. So Devahuti wanted Kardama Muni to make an arrangement to provide a more suitable atmosphere for begetting children.
In response to his wife’s request Kardama Muni, by dint of his mystic yogic power, manifested a great palace which was flying in the sky. It was an aeroplane but it was huge. It contained large palatial buildings, big gardens and beautiful lakes and the whole arrangement was floating in the sky. When he saw it he was surprised himself, “How amazing is this! My mystic power is so great!”
When Devahuti saw this beautiful palace in the sky, it is described that the palace was made of first-class marble, the floors were ivory, there were beautiful jewels situated everywhere throwing a focus of light so there was no need of artificial lighting. When Devahuti saw it she was also amazed and as her bodily condition at this stage was not very good, she had become thin, she had lost most of her beauty because of serving Kardama Muni in such a humble way, so she was embarrassed, she couldn’t imagine living in such a beautiful palace in her present bodily condition. Kardama Muni could understand her feelings so he instructed her to take bath in the river which was flowing nearby. When she entered the river she saw in the river one thousand maidservants ready to serve her. These maidservants bathed her very nicely, they combed her hair, they gave her very beautiful clothes, beautiful jewellery. When Devahuti came out of the river she was a very beautifully decorated princess. Her beauty was restored to the beauty she had when she was originally accepted as Kardama Muni’s wife. The combination of a very beautiful wife and very beautiful surroundings was much more suitable for begetting children.
This is an example of Krishna making special arrangements for the devotees. Kardama Muni didn’t actually know how beautiful the palace would be, his mystic power surprised even himself. This is the nature of the devotees. As devotees we’re serving Krishna, but we really don’t know what the result of our service will be. Our business is simply to surrender to our spiritual master and follow his instructions and the result will be even greater than we could ever imagine, because Krishna makes the arrangements.
The devotee is not puffed-up and thinking he’s the controller, he understands that Krishna is the controller and he is simply the servant of Krishna. He wants to dovetail his service with the desires of Krishna. It is a very interesting and enjoyable process, this devotional service, because we simply serve Krishna and we see so many wonderful things are happening by the mercy of Krishna.
The subject matter of this verse is, “How is the separation of material nature and the spirit soul is possible?” In this world we accept the body and soul as one unit and they seem to be very connected. My body and soul are working together as one unit in the material concept of life but the actual position is I am not this body, I am the spirit soul. I am the person inside the body:
dehino ‘smin yatha dehe
kaumaram yauvanam jara
dhiras tatra na muhyati
“As the embodied soul continually passes, in this body, from boyhood to youth to old age, the soul similarly passes into another body at death. The self-realized soul is not bewildered by such a change.” (Bhagavad-gita 2.13)
This change of body is going on continually, our body is temporary and it’s always changing, so it doesn’t have any permanent existence, whereas the soul is eternally spiritual and is unchanging.
The body and soul, have totally different natures. It is the body which has covered us, the original spirit soul, in the material world, so we are now identifying with matter. Our disease is identifying with matter. Our disease is to think, “I am this body” and “everything connected with this body is mine.” When we think in this way we are in illusion. We are accepting things which are temporary as factual and we accept the bodily platform of happiness to be the actual source of pleasure. This is a type of blindness and the whole world we are seeing at the moment is totally, completely, one hundred percent submerged in this bodily concept of life.
People simply accept if they get a lot of money they will be happy or if they get a beautiful women they will be happy. They accept this although right before their eyes we are seeing proof it is not true. Everybody has seen other wealthy people and the problems they have, everybody’s had the experience of a beautiful women and the difficulties that are there, the problems that are there in a relationship with a women, but still they are thinking, “Somehow I can change it, somehow it will be alright, next time it will be OK.”
If one was a little thoughtful he could immediately see this material world is a suffering place. Many thoughtful people in the history of the world, whatever country they were in, have come to this conclusion, that this world is not a very nice place. But this age, Kali Yuga, is such that it’s difficult to find thoughtful people. Practically everybody is implicated in illicit sex life and they are taking some sort of intoxication. They might be posing themselves as some sort of spiritualist or some sort of religionist but in reality they are interested in having sex life or taking intoxication. So their actual goal is not philosophy or religion, their goal is sense gratification. It’s very difficult. In the past there were great philosophers who’s main purpose in life was to develop their mind, to try and understand things philosophically, even material scientists, there were scientists who’s main purpose in life was to make discoveries and advances in the scientific field. But now the age is such that everything is subordinate to the sex desire. This is a very fallen condition. It’s a very difficult time for practising spiritual life.
But we should understand that this sex pleasure is actually illusory, it’s a bewildering potency. It’s the potency with which maya or Durga, Durga means the superintendent of the fort, this material world is compared to a fort or a prison and Durga is the superintendent of the prison or fort and sex life is the shackles of the prison of the material world. So we are in this material world and we are shackled by sex life. While we are engaging in illicit sex life there is no possibility of spiritual life.
This is a very unattractive proposal to many people at this time. Illicit sex life is practically speaking worshipped in this age. It’s considered as some very glorious thing, some very wonderful thing, but actually it’s a very obnoxious thing, it’s a very horrible thing, and it’s not at all satisfying. There is a moment of pleasure only and everybody knows it. Everybody knows what sex life is, it’s simply the friction of the genitals, that’s all, and we are making such big, big, huge arrangements and imagining some wonderful love, a beautiful thing, but there is no beautiful thing, it’s simply the friction of the genitals. This whole material world is going on under the motivation of this friction of the genitals. It’s actually a terrible thing but we are bewildered by it, we are totally enamoured by it.
We should, at least theoretically understand that sex life is not where it’s at. This is not the purpose of life. The purpose of life is to re-establish our lost relationship with Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead and the easiest way to do this, or the only way to do it in this age, is by the chanting of the holy names of God. Caitanya Mahaprabhu has recommended: harer nama harer nama harer namaiva kevalam, kalau nasty eva nastya eva nastya eva gatir anyatha (Brhad-naradiya Purana 3.8.26):
“In this age of quarrel and hypocrisy, the only means of deliverance is the chanting of the Holy Names of the Lord. There is no other way. There is no other way. There is no other way.”
This process of chanting the Holy Names of God:
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare
is the only hope for us, the fallen souls of Kali Yuga. So we should take very seriously this process of Krishna consciousness and the chanting of the Hare Krishna maha mantra so we can come to the position of real knowledge. We have to understand the material concept of life is a state of delusion, a state of accepting things which are temporary as permanent. This condition is like a dreaming condition and the chanting of this Hare Krishna mantra is the process which awakens one from a dreaming condition. We have to wake up, we have to get out of the material concept of life and come again to the spiritual platform. In this spiritual state we will experience real pleasure, we’ll feel bliss, we’ll feel life, we’ll experience our natural, eternal relationship with Krishna. This is the real state of living, whereas material life is a sleeping condition, a state of death. So we humbly request everybody to take very seriously this Krishna consciousness movement and wake up and come back to the spiritual platform and make your life perfect. Thank you very much. Hare Krishna.
[A Srimad-Bhagavatam class given by Madhudvisa dasa in 1994]