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Unity in Diversity

Śrīla Bhakti Rakṣak Śrīdhar Dev-Goswāmī Mahārāj discusses the beauty of competition and interdependence within the nature of existence.

Student: How can we have unity in diversity and still maintain a strong effort?

Śrīla Śrīdhar Mahārāj: Unity and diversity are present in the original system, anvayat itarataḥ: there is the direct and the indirect process. It is so in Vṛndāvan also, such party feelings. It cannot but be and not only is it non-objectionable, but it is necessary in an organic whole. Thesis, antithesis, synthesis: this is the very nature of the whole creation. We may think that an opposition party in the parliament will be doing some harm to the main party in terms of smooth operation, but in a generous way it is seen that that no, it is rather good because it makes the main party more careful; opposition draws more energy into the work. So, opposition is not supposed to be minimised to destruction; it helps to enhance the energy and carefulness observed by all.

Kīrtan is better than smaraṇ, meditation. Why? An opposition party is there, and we automatically have to collect more energy to convince the opposition. Although in smaraṇ, there are no external disturbances, the intensity with which we engage in it can be less. When we are engaged in kīrtan, necessarily we are forced to collect our energy to meet with adverse circumstances.

In the Age of Kali, an offensive against the offensive has been recommended. It is not that mere defence will help us in all circumstances. When we launch an offensive, we necessarily need to collect more power. So, opposition is there, and though sometimes we think that it is undesirable, from an impartial perspective, it is considered necessary and has a positive contribution: the negative has its necessary position to enhance the positive. This is the underlying principle we are to understand, and we are to think out how it is so. It is there, and how is it justified? We are to understand that within ourselves, to find such harmony within us.

There is Kṛṣṇa, and there is māyā. Even in Kṛṣṇa’s own harem, there are different parties: Rādhārāṇī’s party, Chandrāvalī’s party, and the middle party. This is necessary to enhance His līlā. Yogamāyā invents all these things. There is no fault there: such opposition is a necessary part of even the highest plane. In this way, we can understand unity in diversity.

Diversity, or opposition, has its position, a real position. Consider the branches of a tree. Every branch wants to draw more juice from the trunk. Still, they also help each other in many cases. So, unity in diversity is present in nature itself. We are to study how it is useful to us. There is competition in our organic body. The brain uses one-eighth of all the blood in the body. Such a small amount of mass wants so much food, and such an amount of blood is not shared with any other parts of the body. So, there is high and low, important and less important; they are there, and there is a fight between them to draw their own food from the general store. Still, they are friendly on the whole. We cannot go on with only a brain, neglecting our feet and other body parts. Everything has its place in the organic whole; every thing has its own allotted service and is a necessary part of the whole.

Without devotees, the Lord cannot go on. Without a son, a father is not conceivable. For there to be generous persons, there must be someone who needs to be shown generosity. Generosity requires for its own existence that there is someone upon whom pity should be taken. So, everything has a relative position: everything depends on another thing for its own existence.

‘patita-pāvana’ nāmera sākṣī dui bhāi
(Śrī Chaitanya-charitāmṛta: Ādi-līlā, 10.120)

There is a necessity for heinous demoniac persons like Jagāi and Mādhāi to enhance the magnanimous līlā of Mahāprabhu. Similarly, Judas is necessary to prove the generosity of Jesus.

Recently, some thought has come to my mind about Judas. When Jesus was passing along the road with the cross on his shoulders and on two sides there were throngs of men, Judas was amongst the mob. Jesus has his head bent down and the cross on his shoulders, but he suddenly looked up right at the face of Judas. We may not understand how he could understand that Judas was there because he was walking with his head bent down, but when he came up the point where Judas was standing along on the line, he suddenly cast his glance in the eyes of Judas in such a way that Judas became maddened and ran away. Judas had been bribed to betray Jesus, but after Jesus looked at him, he cast away the bribe money and prayed to be forgiven. He felt, “I am the most treacherous man. What have I done? I have performed the most heinous action.” Such a reaction came in the mind of Judas. So, what did Judas find in the glance of Christ? Something new has come to my mind about this; I don’t know whether others have commented on it in this way. It has come to me that Christ’s look towards Judas did not say to Judas, “You have played the part of a traitor against me, you have committed treachery.” It was not a look of that kind, not vindictive. Rather, Christ said through his glance, “Judas, it is not that you are exploiting me. Rather, I am using you to raise my banner; I am exploiting you and your name forever. So, I am indebted to you, my friend.” Judas found this sort of look in Christ’s eye, that Christ was so thankful. Judas felt, “I have done wrong against him, but he has cast his glance upon me to say that he is so thankful to me. How is this possible?” There is a style of martial arts from Japan called jujutsu in which someone who is running with great force to attack is defeated without opposition using their own strength against them. This case is something like that. Judas was madden to find that Jesus was thankful to him to the extreme. Judas could trace this in the eyes of Jesus: “Judas, I am exploiting you forever. You will stand to prove my case. You have been so highly utilised. I have exploited and stolen your fame forever, and thus I am greatly indebted to you, my friend. Please forgive me. Forgive me for this action.” Understanding Christ, Judas was maddened that Christ could be so loving, affectionate, and thankful to him, a traitor. Judas could not remain standing there. He ran away madly to perform penance for his act.

Source

Spoken 29 September 1982.

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