California, USA — November 23rd, 2012
Yeah, sure, whatever
I stumbled across Juan Cole's modern translation of this verse from the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam (E.H. Whinfield, 1883 Edition) the other day
Prudes don't know Your grace
the way we do,
and strangers cannot know You
as Your close friends do.
You said, "If you commit a sin
I will consign you to hell!"
Yeah, sure— tell it to someone
who doesn't know the real You!
—Omar Khayyam's Rubaiyat (204)
and immediately thought of the story of Krishna's Headache — how the Gopis were prepared to go to hell for putting the dust from their feet on Krishna's head, after Narada Muni told them that it was the only 'medicine' that could alleviate Krishna's 'headache'...
Once, when Krishna was in Dvaraka, he told Narada Muni that He had been attacked with a severe headache, and the only cure was the feet-dust of His devotees. Narada went to so many devotees in Dvaraka, but no one came forward to give him any feet-dust. They said, "Oh, it is impossible! We can't do that: we can't go to hell." Frustrated, Narada returned to Krishna.
Krishna said, "Oh, I am suffering very severely now. Have you got any feet-dust?"
"No, sir, no one was prepared to give feet-dust." Narada was benumbed. Krishna told him, "You may try it in Vrindavan."
At once Narada intimated everything to the Gopis, and the Gopis immediately came with feet-dust. They said, "Krishna is suffering? He needs feet-dust? Please take our feet-dust and go immediately."
Narada was astounded. "What is the matter?" he thought, "No devotees would offer Krishna any dust from their feet, but these people are doing it." He told them, "Do you know what is the consequence of your actions?"
The Gopis replied: "Yes. Eternal hell. We don't care for that! If slight relief is there for our Lord, that is our only concern."
—Sri Guru and His Grace (Chapter 7)
This is not a charade; this is not a farce. This is not just melodramatic playacting or exaggerated posturing on the part of the Gopis: this is their sincere service-mood. Although the Gopis of Vraja are well aware of the dire scriptural ramifications for daring to put their feet-dust on Krishna's head, they genuinely do not care. Their first and only concern is for Krishna — and to hell with the consequences!
But, as Srila Guru Maharaj explains:
If you can take this sort of risk... you cannot be doomed. This sort of risk should be taken by the disciple... If he does so, he can never be doomed. The eye of the Lord is there. God is there. Guru is there. He cannot but be saved.
They cannot leave him in danger and relish thinking, "The person who is carrying out our orders is going to hell." Can they tolerate such a thing? Are our guardians living or are they dead?
Indeed, prudes (self-righteous, sanctimonious scholars who pore over the letter of the law) cannot know Krishna's grace the way His close friends (devotees who understand the spirit of all the scriptures) do. For Krishna's devotees, this assurance given at the conclusion of Bhagavad Gita — by Krishna Himself — is unambiguous:
"This I promise you: if you do everything solely for My enjoyment, you will enter the inner circle of My close, personal friends. And no matter what the scriptures say, if you serve Me exclusively, like the Gopis of Vraja, I will not allow you to go to hell, so don't be afraid."
—Bhagavad Gita (18:65-66)
So yeah, sure, whatever, Krishna — tell it to someone who doesn't know the real You!
Tags: Bhagavad Gita
Layout by iMonk — November 23rd, 2012.