The Private Life of God
A friend of mine who used to be a famous book distributor told me one of his stories about someone he met. He offered the person a book, and the person said,
"I don't need it".
"Because in my religion we know about the personal life of God!"
"O really? What is that?"
"God sent his son to earth to deliver the people of the earth, and he died for their sins."
"That is interesting, though I still think you would find this book useful and uplifting."
"Why is that?"
"In this book the private life of God is described--in his private world of devotion and love, we read about his confidential life with his parents, friends, and secret lovers--that is even secret in his world."
A great person with an important position like a judge, leader or in the past a king, has a public life and persona, and a private life. People come to a king or leader and speak flattery, but they are motivated with a desire to get some boon or favor. The official relationships full of respect and veneration are superficial and not really valued in the heart of the leader.
One's heart is all important, and we are ruled by our heart and feelings. We may know many things, yet we want to do what we feel. Everyone has a desire to have loving personal dealings with others. As we are a small sample of God, or Krishna, we can understand something about him by studying our self. The king may be called, "your Majesty", the judge, "your Honor" or "your Worship, yet they all think most dearly of their own family and loved ones. It is said that Krishna is more attracted by the "village talk" in Vrindavana (his eternal home) then the hymns of the Vedas.
Krishna's official position of "God" is represented by Vishnu who is the Lord of the Universe, worshiped with reverential prayers in great awe, opulence and pomp. Or we could say that the material world is God’s office while the spiritual world—especially Krishna’s abode is his private home. We could call Krishna, "God beyond God", or God when he takes off his crown and wants to relax with his family, friends, and intimate lovers.
Krishna is God fallen in love, forgetful even of his own Godhood, who is ruled by, even subservient to those who love him. He becomes off balance and is bewildered by the love of Radha (his female divine counter whole) and he may faint in her absence in intense separation. We may wonder, and indeed even religionists do (as when the British Christians thought Krishna merely some immoral man), how this could be the all-perfect all-knowing God. Krishna is a mystery for those with no love or devotion to him--and sometimes even for his devotees.
Prabhupada often tells us that Krishna is a puzzle for the common man---that is if they are even interested.
So Krishna consciousness is the science of knowing Krishna. As the song tells us, "Getting to know you, is getting to love you." By learning about Krishna from those who love him or want to love him, with some faith and without antagonistic envy, our hearts will gradually become purified so we can understand something of the unlimited glories of the Supreme Person.
We begin honoring and worshiping in reverence through the rules of bhakti, called "vidhi bhakti" but with the goal of spontaneous love, attraction and service (raganuga bhakti). This spontaneous love for Krishna was what Lord Chaitanya came to teach and showed by his example. He was mad after God, in the ecstasy of Krishna's greatest devotee, Shri Radha who showed the power of love in separation. We follow in the footsteps of Lord Chaitanya's followers, allowing us to know the unknowable. If the Supreme Lord is pleased, he can reveal himself to us out of love and affection. Everything of this world has no attraction to him, but our love and affection gets his attention.
Without love Krishna will always be an unknown mystery, as he covers himself with his yogamaya, There is a saying that I won't believe if I don't see it, but we say you won't see it if you don't believe it. God is everywhere but we don't believe it:
"Deluded by the three modes [goodness, passion and ignorance], the whole world does not know Me, who am above the modes and inexhaustible./This divine energy of Mine, consisting of the three modes of material nature, is difficult to overcome. But those who have surrendered unto Me can easily cross beyond it." [Bhagavad Gita 7.13-14]
"Unintelligent men, who do not know Me perfectly, think that I, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna, was impersonal before and have now assumed this personality. Due to their small knowledge, they do not know My higher nature, which is imperishable and supreme./I am never manifest to the foolish and unintelligent. For them I am covered by My internal potency, and therefore they do not know that I am unborn and infallible." [Bhagavad Gita 7.24-25]
"Fools deride Me when I descend in the human form. They do not know My transcendental nature as the Supreme Lord of all that be." [Bhagavad Gita 9.11]
When Krishna comes to earth he accomplishes many purposes. His external purpose to reestablish religious principles, and to vanquish the demoniac. However, his internal purpose (much more dear to his heart) is to mitigate the suffering of his devotees who feel separation from him. For people in general, Krishna wants to share the activities of the spiritual world to attract us to him and his confidential devotees. Our acharyas or realized teachers have taught us that by coming to earth he also gives the opportunity of his mother Yashoda to experience his so-called birth and growing up, and to taste the sweetness of his lila on earth, which affords even less awe and thus more pleasure then his original world in Goloka. This is very confidential.
There are many conceptions of God. Most concern his dealings with the material world as Creator, Maintainer, Destroyer, or in his feature of Lord of the world--unknowable, unapproachable, inconceivable etc. Some religions teach that you can't even say the name of God, or that if you saw him you would die! They are ideas of God in relationship to us in our conditioned state living in the material world, which is his external energies. They are considered "secondary" names of God.
There are also primary names of God which describe him in relationship to his private life of love with his intimate devotees. For example, Yasoda-nandana (son of Yashoda), or Gopi-janaballavah (lover of the gopis), Govinda and so on are some of his primary names. Krishna is considered the original of all such primary, confidential names and means all-attractive, or irresistible.
Although we tell people they can chant or praise any name of God that they know and believe in, personally, devotees of Krishna are concerned with his primary names. Why? Lord Chaitanya has taught us that his primary names are full of his shakti or the potency of devotion to Krishna. Although God has unlimited names the names we use bring us to that manifestation of God.
Therefore as we become convinced about our relationship and attraction to Krishna we become intensely interested in those names of God which indicate the most intimate, accessible and loving aspects of God. Krishna consciousness means to become conscious of Krishna by the rule of love and affection. Our love rules us, so devotees want to be ruled by their love of Krishna.In a sense love of Krishna is superior to Krishna because it attracts him and reveals him as he is in his secret heart.
We will end with a few prayers from the First Canto of Shirmad Bhagavatam by Queen Kunti:
"Let me therefore offer my respectful obeisances unto the Lord, who has become the son of Vasudeva, the pleasure of Devaki, the boy of Nanda and the other cowherd men of Vrindavana, and the enlivener of the cows and the senses."
"My respectful obeisances are unto You, O Lord, whose abdomen is marked with a depression like a lotus flower, who are always decorated with garlands of lotus flowers, whose glance is as cool as the lotus and whose feet are engraved with lotuses." [Shrimad Bhagavatam 1.8.21-22]
"O Lord of Madhu, as the Ganges forever flows to the sea without hindrance, let my attraction be constantly drawn unto You without being diverted to anyone else." [Shrimad Bhagavatam 1.8.42]