Living Under the Sky

Śrīla Bhakti Rakṣak Śrīdhar Dev-Goswāmī Mahārāj describes the fearless conviction of a surrendered soul.

Prema is the only property in this world. What can dispossess us of everything and fulfil all of our wants? What can compensate us and take the place of everything else? Only prema. Nothing else can give us perfect health. Only prema: love. Love is above everything. Love is only the wealth in this world.

The masses seek dharma [piety], artha [wealth], kāma [enjoyment], and mokṣa [liberation]. In the lowest sense, kāma, sense pleasure, is the wealth everyone is running after. Then artha, that which can make sense pleasure permanent and distributable to others. Then dharma, duty, distribution of pleasure to the public and the environment without remuneration. This is something like making a deposit of pleasure in the bank of nature which shall be regained in the afterlife. So dharma, artha, and kāma are all sense pleasure. Nothing else.

The fourth is mukti [liberation]. This means to know that worldly pleasure, worldly wealth, is not real wealth, and seek freedom from the world. But that is only fascination and progress in the wrong direction. We must try our utmost to get out of the play of the witch. We are playing in the hand of the witch of Māyā [illusion], and she fascinates us with these lower things: sense pleasure in different forms. We must get out. But get out for what? Only to commit suicide? To enter samādhi? No! There is a life worth living outside. That is in the adhokṣaja plane, and there I shall find my self in bright colour. I shall find my own individuality there in that plane. That is Vaikuṇṭha. Vaikuṇṭha means the infinite where there is no crookedness, calculation, or limitations. We are to live in eternity as a factor in eternity. I must be conscious of the environment as it exists eternally. It is inexhaustible and incalculable to me. Still, with an optimistic view, I must live within it. And I must rely upon whatever comes from that unknown quarter. I should not rely on things within my possession, within my fist, and instead rely upon whatever comes from that unknown world.

suhṛdaṁ sarva-bhūtānāṁ jñātvā māṁ śāntim ṛchchhati
(Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā: 5.29)
[“Know Me to be the well-wisher of all beings, and you will attain peace.”]

Waves come through the environment by the Lord’s will. They do not give you something low. They are waves of affection and love. They are not frustrating or treacherous waves. Vaikuṇṭha: the whole thing is conducive and healthy. We are to live under the sky, in the relativity of the infinite, without any design or expectation, accepting whatever comes.

karmaṇy evādhikāras te mā phaleṣu kadāchana
mā karma-phala-hetur bhūr mā te saṅgo ’stv akarmaṇi
(Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā: 2.47)
[“Your right is to your service, never to the results. Be motivated neither by the results of your service nor inclined to give up your service.”]

Live under the sky, not under a shed to protect you, and you will find that the sky, Vaikuṇṭha, is your protection. The infinite knows your existence fully, and He knows how to deal with you fully. He knows what your welfare is. You are well-represented there.

The highest stage in Vaikuṇṭha is Goloka, the domain of love divine. Everything is wonderful there, and something like limitations can be found there. The infinite appears in finite form, with a father, mother, sister, servant, consort, and so many things that are something like what is known yet hazy and unknown—infinite. In Goloka, the infinite can be experienced in the form of finite, and that has been recommended by Bhāgavatam to be the object of our highest aspiration.

kṛṣṇera yateka khelāsarvottama nara-līlā
nara-vapu tāhāra svarūpa
(Śrī Chaitanya-charitāmṛta: Madhya-līlā, 21)
[“The best of all of Kṛṣṇa’s Pastimes are His human-like Pastimes. His human-like form is His original form.”]

Mahāprabhu, Nityānanda Prabhu, Advaita Prabhu, and others came with this. They came and continue to come now and then to the world with these tidings that we have such a high prospect in our life. Coming, anyhow, into a human birth, if we do not try for that prospect for our own self, then we commit suicide. Our actions amount to nothing more.

We must try for that, try to acquire that wealth. However small, or of whatever character it may be, its object is connected with that highest plane given by Mahāprabhu Śrī Chaitanyadev, the Lord of love and the distribution of love.

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