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Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Attachment vs Love

HH Bhakti Vasudeva Swami:
"A bird hashed her eggs to produce a very beautiful replica of herself. In a few days, a hunter came by and the mother bird flew off to save her life. Then the the hunter picked the "baby" birds and put them in a cage with an opening to trap down the mother. The mother bird, being attached to "her" kids, came to check the safety of her kids after some time; without hesitation, she went into the cage, and its door was automatically shut. The hunter's mission was accomplished. What lesson(s) can we learn from this incident?"
Some of the replies are (no offense meant, just for education purpose):
"Selfishness (because the bird was attracted to her own images)"
"Natural behaviour in the material world"
"Bodily conception"
"Maya is very smart"
"I and Mine"
"Darwinian world (my own answer)"
My response: So, do the devotees think it was better for the mother to fly away, rather than stay with her images in captivity? Are images illusionary? Are we iconoclasts?
To die for her children would be an act of heroic love and surely the bird would attain heavenly planets.   
Interpretation: It seems like a Christian parable. That God created Adam and Eve in His own image. Then the devil came and bewildered them. God abandoned them, only to return later to die for their sins. I am sure the bird got resurrected and the chicks would certainly go to Heaven if they have faith that God entered the cage to die for their bewilderment. Otherwise, they rot in Hell with the hunter. Amen.
Any story can have multiple interpretations: Mayavadi, Christian, Vaishnava or Darwinian. What do you say? I feel most devotees have given a Mayavadi interpretation. Can you give a Vaishnava one? 
Vaishnava Interpretation: I think a Vaishnava interpretation would go like this: The bird is a soul, the chicks are its acquired karma and the hunter is Krishna. Krishna bestows mercy upon the soul by taking away its karma, but it is not ready to engage in devotional service, so it flies away to jnana (liberation). But soon it falls down from that platform being attracted to karma (sense gratification), since liberation without Krishna is incomplete and gets trapped in Maya (cage). Now, the only way for the soul is to recognise Krishna (sambandha), render service unto Him (abhidheya) and when it develops love for Him (prayojana), it is freed from the cage to enjoy in the pastimes of the transcendental hunter. What a story?     
Explanatory note: This is the best I could do. Firstly, logic depends on the skill of the logician. Secondly, some free hand is required in the interpretation of a story. I am two minds about going further with this. Nevertheless, for your sake, souls are trapped in the material world by Krishna (who else?). Why? The acharays have explained it from various angles. In short, some souls are alienated from Krishna, who manifests this material world as a pastime to deliver these misguided souls. These souls are eternally encaged in the material world.

Karma or jnana have direct meanings. In that sense, both can be used in bhakti, e.g., to serve Krishna (karma) or to know Krishna (jnana). But in a special sense, i.e., in absence of bhakti, karma means ordinary materialistic activities or a religion that asserts the material world, and jnana means a negation of the material activities or worship of an impersonal God. Jnanis are iconoclasts, i.e., they reject any attribution of name, form, etc. to God. Adi Shankaracharya, of course, played a balancing act by accepting two Gods, nirguna and saguna. Mainstream Islam totally rejects saguna. Kabir accepts the Islamic understanding of God and through him, many other Hindu gurus as well as Sikhs. They are pure jnanis. For them, liberation involves running away from the name, form, etc. of Krishna.

Krishna kills us again and again in this material world. In his interpretation of the verse BG 15.7, mamaivamso jiva-loke, Vedanta Desika says that Krishna has created death in this material world because He is a jealous lover and He does not want His created beings (souls) to have any permanent possession without Him. The hunter will kill the bird again and again.

There is no empty renunciation in Vaishnavism. Empty renunciation means renunciation without any connection to Krishna’s business. Shankaracharya, Ramanujacharya, Madhvacharya and Chaitanya Mahaprabhu did not renounce because they were unable to maintain their families. They renounced to expand the pastimes of Krishna. Indeed, they did not renounce anything at all because they possessed Krishna who is everything. So, what did they renounce?

That is all. I won’t wreck my head on this one any more.
Is it a happy ending?  No, not at all. The bird is released from jnana back into karma. She does not know that she has to surrender to the hunter who created the cage. You need to go there and preach. 

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