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The Private Life of God


Radha and Krishna

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".
"Why not?"
"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]

Krishna and Balarama

Combined comments from old site

Sun, 01/04/2009 - 00:55 — Namacarya das
Love without knowing Him ?

"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:"

Karnamrita Prabhu, thank you again for a wonderful writing.
As I am under modes of material nature, gross and dullheaded, I wander how I can love Krsna without see Him, hear Him, touch Him. During life happens that I like/love (partially) somebody even without knowing him/her but I sense some attribute that is attracting. Now, because I'm conditioned, I can not really sense/feel/know/EXPERIENCE some of beautiful qualities of Lord Krsna. Or, let's say like this. I can hear about Krsna theoretically, but without realization. It means, it is just letters on the paper. It may seem nice, divine, even inspirational to some point. However, without realization and experience it is like licking the (outside part of the) bottle of the honey. There is no taste. Ahh. Then how can I fall in love with Him? How long can believing without >satisfying< realization go on?
One answer is to engage more seriously, determinedly, enthusiastically, sincerely in the process. But again, how can somebody engage oneself more in the process if there is no realization?

Hm, not sure if my wording is clear enough. Sorry, if it is. And if you think it is not, it is just your compassion over me.
Thank you for time and attention.

Hare Krsna.

Namacarya das


Sun, 01/04/2009 - 05:21 — Karnamrita.das
"Seeing" by hearing

Fascinating topic Namji! Thanks for your inquiries.

There are many questions like this. Put into math it might look like A + B = C. We want C, and we are told all we need is A and B, though we don't think we have them. So we have a dilmema. We may think we can only get A and B if we have C. We want C first, but to get it we need A and B. Frustration. Fortunately there is a spiritual type of math to save us. Krishna plays by the rules of love which are beyond the math of the world, and---and it is a HUGE AND--he is helping us to come to him. Otherwise we could never end our embodiment.

There are many ways to speak about this topic, and unfortunately for you or our other readers I am not very good a being concise, which is considered true eloquence. From one perspective Shrila Prabhupada paraphrases his guru telling us, "Don't try to see God, but act in such a way that he sees you."
Next question?

Fortunately there is more to help us.

Another perspective is Prabhupada often taught us that we will hear Krishna before we will see him. He often discrediting our limited power of seeing. We can't see so many material things, so what to speak of the soul, God, or Krishna? If we want to see even a materially great person, we have to have connections, know someone who knows him or her. For everything worthy of attaining there are qualifications required and a way to obtain those qualifications.

The goal of Bhakti is Krishna Prema love, yet love is the qualification to "see" Krishna. So we are back to our math problem.

"I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord, who is Syamasundara, Krsna Himself with inconceivable innumerable attributes, whom the pure devotees see in their heart of hearts with the eye of devotion tinged with the salve of love."
Brahma Samhita 5.38

I call you attention to the 11th chapter of the Gita. Even to see Krishna Universal form Arjuna had to be given divine eyes [11.8], then after showing Arjuna this form Arjuna was frightened and bewildered and prayed to see Krishna's original form. Krishna told him:

"The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: My dear Arjuna, this form of Mine you are now seeing is very difficult to behold. Even the demigods are ever seeking the opportunity to see this form, which is so dear. The form you are seeing with your transcendental eyes cannot be understood simply by studying the Vedas, nor by undergoing serious penances, nor by charity, nor by worship. It is not by these means that one can see Me as I am. My dear Arjuna, only by undivided devotional service can I be understood as I am, standing before you, and can thus be seen directly. Only in this way can you enter into the mysteries of My understanding." [BG 11.52-54]

There are ways to "see" Krishna. We can see him in his Deity form, in the scriptures, indirectly in his Universal Form, and in his devotees. In the Padma Purana we learn:

"O Narada, I am not in Vaikuntha nor am I in the hearts of the yogis. I remain where My devotees glorify My name, form, qualities and transcendental pastimes."

For most of us the presence of Krishna can be found in the heart of his devotees, especially our guru and those who may inspire us.

Again we can see the cause in its effect at least in theory. We can see Krishna indirectly through his energy. There are many verses in the Gita and the Bhagavatam to this effect.

In the Gita Krishna tells Arjuna and thus everyone that the taste in water, the light of the sun and moon (which are his eyes as well), om, sound in either, our ability, strength, intelligence, memory, the fire of digestion, the pure smell of the earth, heat of the fire, our very life etc. He is everything, but he calls our attention to what for us our prominent features of our life that we depend on. Prabhupada was so generous and broad---he said we could think of any sound as representing Krishna, or for the drunk, he could think of Krishna as the taste wine!

So read these verses and remember Krishna as you interact with your life, others and the world.
Wherever we look we see the energy of Krishna, and we an remember him, and give thanks to the facilities he provides us.

You wouldn't be a devotee without SOME faith and experience of Krishna. We hear Krishna's lila and are charmed and attracted. What is not Krishna or his energy? That is the point, and our "job" as devotees is to put Krishna back in everything. He is there of course, but we have forgotten him. Now we are practicing remembering him. Prabhupada said that a pure devotee and an ordinary person may both see a tree, but a pure devotees sees it is Krishna's tree, and not for his material enjoyment. Keep on chantin and praying. Krishna is our everything!

So those are a few ideas.

Your friend in Krishna,


Sat, 01/03/2009 - 10:53 — Go-Seva
Loving Krsna

Although I don't profess to know about Krsna, I tend to believe that much as a pure devotee has a soft-heart toward Krsna, Krsna's heart is much, much softer. That is to say that just as we regular souls are part and parcels of Him and have only a fraction of His greatness in so many facets, the same hold true with the quality of soft-heartedness. Take mother Yashoda, for instance, with her intense motherly-love for Him in His Damodara form. I think being very soft-hearted is built-in to women, because when one is a mother, this means serving with love and without limits. Or Radhika, His greatest lover of all, who loved Him more than anyone and He loved more than anyone. So at that point when Yashoda wanted to keep Him tied up, she was overflowing with love for Him and He was mirroring this and reflecting it back unlimited-fold.

Since He reciprocates this love, and no one is equal to Him, wouldn't that mean no love is equal to His love? That it is beyond our mortal comprehension?

In recent months, I had befriended someone who believed in Krsna but didn't have the faith to continue (or so it seemed to me.) I concluded that this person just didn't love Krsna. And in this conclusion, it dawned on me that it may not be possible for someone who has ever truly loved anyone or had anyone love them in this material world to really fall in love with Krsna. As you have said above, "Without love, Krsna will be an unknown mystery..." This seems right, as I described above.

Your thoughts on these concepts would be appreciated, as I am always eager to learn from you, as well as learn to love Krsna more and more each day.....

your servant,


Sat, 01/03/2009 - 12:27 — Karnamrita.das
Radha' s love bewilders Krishna

Although from one angle Krishna knows everything, yet he also makes his life interesting by covering his own knowledge. One thing Krishna never is, is bored, he knows how to love and have fun. Thus it is said that Krishna was shocked at the selflessness and intensity of Radha's love, and came as Lord Chaitanya to taste that love.

Although we say we are devotees of Krishna and chant the Hare Krishna mantra, there can't be any approaching Krishna in this age without the mercy of Krishna's most merciful incarnations Lord Chaitanya and Lord Nityananda. We could say that they are more important to us, or more loving to us then Krishna and Balarama (who expand into Gaura Nitai)

So Krishna is the greatest lover of infinite proportions---he loves the countless living entities and also his intimate associates in the spiritual realm. Yet Radha's love we could say is greater, since it attracts him. And then Lord Chaitanya is the combined form of Radha and Krishna and comes to the material world to save us, so to us, he loves us even more!!

The person who saves us is most dear to us. We appreciate their love as most important. So our guru who represents the most merciful sublime love of Lord Chaitanya and Nitai, we feel loves us the most. Yet on the absolute these persons and their love are really one. Radha and Krishna are one, so philosophically we can't really say one loves more than the other. Here is another application of inconceivably, simultaneously one and different perspective. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's metaphysic saves the day again.

Krishna is everywhere and includes everything in the broadest sense. He is the source, the fountainhead, and resourvoir of love. His love is supreme, and so we do around and around.

I don't know if it is possible to not have any experience of love in the human condition. Maybe people in their brokenness and misery speak like that. Most people have at least loved or felt loved by say a pet, but sometimes--say when a person is abused--their feelings of love are so eclipsed by their pain that they really feel they have no experience of love.

The scriptures don't tell us that first we have to experience material love to be able to know what spiritual love is like. Objectively it may help. Because I have loved and been loved I think I have a better understanding of love, but again love of Krishna is dormant in everyone's heart. Even if people are forgetful of love in this life, the memory is there in their subconsciousness from other lives, and is ultimately in their soul and will come out through pure chanting of Krishna's name.

Some people due their bad karma have issues with people in any group. They carry a karmic disposition to have conflict with others and feel disrespected easily. We attract what we are or what we expect. It is said that people treat us how we expect them to treat us---though it may be unconscious. Devotees come from all types of background and are imperfect, yet there are also many pure and exalted souls.

If we can't find a group of devotee we can associate with and feel supported by, then we are truly unfortunate. We have to pray for the mercy of Krishna to help us. However, in such a case we will likely see only the faults of devotees and criticize them thus causing our spiritual ruin. We shouldn't be blind to possible abuses by neophyte devotees, but we also shouldn't conclude that devotees are aimless parasites or whatever people may think of us. As with most things we have to be balanced, while appreciating the rarity and specialness of those who are trying to love and serve Krishna. We have to become like the bee always looking and finding nectar, and not like the fly who only finds the sores.

Your friend in Krishna,



Sat, 01/03/2009 - 13:11 — Go-Seva
Bees and flies in love

In prior posts, we have loosely discussed that each devotee has their own circle of like-minded devotees. And finding out about each devotee is like walking on the moon, going over craters and crags and fissures. I find this metaphor interesting, especially because no one is perfect and everyone has their own quirks.

That being said, the person I had this experience with was someone I reached out to here at Connect for an chat-type relationship offline, someone I thought needed a friend and some support. As it turned out, this person ended the relationship quite abruptly, telling me that they didn't have the faith that I did and that people like me were, for lack of a better term, out of touch (or maybe fanatical?) I told this person that they should just let their feelings flow, that if you have a little attraction for Krsna that deep down, there is probably much more to experience and learn from if they just let happen.

Even after the chat relationship ended, I sent an email trying to offer support, which met with no response at all and even removal of me from their buddylist here on Connect! That to me was very drastic and was a little hurtful to me, being the soft-hearted and compassionate person that I am. I cannot understand why someone would be so disrespectful of my feelings and supportive demeanor, when all I want is to talk to them about Krsna and His glories! This is when I reasoned that maybe this person, having admittedly lived in abusive home relationship, had never felt real love and so was unable to find their way to love Krsna.

Anyway, if loving Krsna is a fault, I am guilty as charged. I am also eager to get to know as many devotees as I possibly can, as I am hungry for that association, but apparently I am too overbearing for some in my fanatic addiction to Krsna, and as of late, Lord Caitanya. I still am trying to wrap my mind around that puzzle: why wouldn't Krsna totally feel the love Radha had for Him since He is all-knowing?

The whole subject of loving Krsna and how to deal with others in that loving relationship is a broad one, I guess, and something that I will be learning about for years to come...


your servant,


Sun, 01/04/2009 - 01:11 — Karnamrita.das

I know who you are referring to and my comments in my last post were about this person. I was also speaking to them until they broke it off, so don't take it personally---though we can all strive to improve our dealings with others. It is true that in the beginning we are often not very diplomatic in our new found exuberance--we have the "new devotee syndrome". It seems to be a necessary stage to give us enthusiasm and it fuels our practice. Anyway, live and learn. This person is sincere and intelligent though their karma makes it hard not to have conflicts with others. Some people we can't help even to save our self, which by the way is all we can really do.

In dealing with others we endeavor to have empathy through understanding, though we are not always able to communicate that. In all cases we should pray for the highest good of others, and that Krishna's will may be done. That is always the safest prayer, without attachment to outcome. "Father knows best!" should have been a show about Krishna instead of a 60's Dad. Anyway seeing God as Father is only a beginning concept, as the tendency is to ask for boons from the Father. We are cultivating the idea of servant--das or dasi--as that is all about giving. Give to live!

The material world is the plane of exploitation, the spiritual world the plane of giving and love. Love means sacrifice, sacrifice means giving of our self without expecting reward. One popular Buddhist teacher says we should become peace, so we could say that devotees should become love, in the sense of loving Krishna. In that sense we would agree with the Christian saying that God is love---but what kind of love? Worldly "love" is only a reflection of pure, selfless love. That is our nature.

We--the soul--are said to be composed of eternity, knowledge and bliss. I would analyze that part of bliss must be love, since that is what motivates the soul and Krishna and brings happiness or bliss. So becoming love, means awakening our pure nature of loving Krishna--who includes everything and everyone. Now we "love" our body and those things which give the body pleasure, so when we know we are spirit who is just a part of Krishna then we can love our real self, the soul, and our source who we are one and different from.

The "incompleteness" or "existential crisis" of Krishna is his design or lila. Krishna is "rasaraja" or the connoisseur of love, the supreme taster of rasa or mellows of love, so he makes many arrangements for this. Shri Chaitanya is an eternal fact, just as is Shri Krishna, yet there appears to be a cause, though there is no beginning. There is the logic of our mind, and the logic of love. Krishna lives by the "logic" of love--he lives for loves sake. Don't humans want to? In the effect can be found the cause! They are one, yet different. Wrap your mind around this!! Or better yet your heart!

Your friend in Krishna,