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Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

How Krishna saves devotees

Although Sri Krishna is equal and fair to all, He especially blesses, elevates, and delivers those who follow the laws of dharma, and those who worship Him in devotion. But Krishna is so supremely compassionate that He even helps those who act whimsically and selfishly (adharmically), hurt others, and live without any regard for the laws and rules of shastra. 

With fifteen different terms the shastras describe the merciful qualities of Bhagavan Sri Krishna by which He save the jivas trapped in the material world. They include the following:

sarva-bhuta-suhrt: Krishna is the friend of all beings.

parama-udara: Krishna is unlimitedly broad minded and munificent toward all.

sulabha: Krishna is easy to attain if anyone just tries.

gambhira: The depth of Krishna’s mercy is unfathomable.

saumya: Since Krishna is simple and gentle, all can easily approach Him irrespective of their social, mental or physical position.

saulabhya: Although Krishna is infinite Godhead, He becomes intimate with an infinitesimal jiva.

ashrita para tantra: Krishna gives up His independence to be bound by His bhaktas, and live under their shelter in His murti form depending on their seva and maintenance.

mardava: Due the softness of His sweetheart, Krishna cannot bear being separated His beloved parts and parcels, the jivatmas.

vatsalya: Sri Krishna is especially known as “bhakta-vatsala” because Krishna exhibits the greatest amount of “motherly affection” toward His devotee, and the non-devotees in His form as Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

sthairya: Krishna and His representatives act relentlessly to save the deluded ones despite their hopeless attachment to maya.

karunya: Radha mixes Her compassionate heart with Krishna’s to inspire Krishna to save us, gives us bhakti and deliver us to His lotus feet.

madhurya: With His irresistible sweetness, charm, beauty and love Krishna attracts the minds and hearts of the jivas, and fills them with anand, ultimate bliss and satisfaction.

audarya: Waterfalls of generosity continually cascade from Krishna’s loving heart to repeatedly shower the jivas with boundless grace.

arjava: Krishna is absolutely straight forward and freely gives grace to all without restriction.

sauharda: As a friend to all living entities, Krishna’s heart is melting with desires to help everyone become free suffering.

The Karma Free

Shastra describe the jivan-mukta as an enlightened soul who is liberated but still embodied. Although free from all sanchit and kriyman karmas, the enlightened one still experiences the karma that has already begun to fructify called prarabdha-karma. The jivanmukta yogi or devotee does not return to samsar after death.

Why does the liberated one continue to live if all karmas i.e sanchit and kriyaman are destroyed? The liberated soul stays in a particular material body because of the force of the already activated prarabdha karmas related to that physical body.

Consider this analogy. If you turn off the electric fan, it will keep moving even though no electricity is connected to it. Likewise, even though the pure, liberated devotee is not producing any more karma, and all one’s latent residual karmas i.e. sanchit and kriyam are destroyed, the karma already activated for this life i.e. prarabdha has to run its course.

For example, one devotee, due to performing intense bhakti bhajan and receiving the full krpa of Guru and Bhagavan, may become a jivan-mukta, a liberated, karma-free pure devotee, when one is sixty-years old. But still that devotee may live thirty more years, and during that time undergo various physical ailments and diseases due to the already in motion force of the present prarabdha karma. But that liberated one will not feel any suffering due to the purity of mind and heart. 

Jivanmukta bhaktas ki jai! Karma free life ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Eager to know more about karma? Please read our articles from serie “Bhakti, Karma and Falldown” part one, part two, part three, part four.

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

Three Karmas

Sruti describes three forms of karma; sanchit, kriyaman and prarabdha i.e. the stored collection, present experience good or bad, and new actions.

Sanchit karma is the complete collection of the results (punya:papa karma-phal) of all our actions done in past lives lying latent in our chitta to fructify in future births.

Kriyaman (syn. aagami) means the punya:papa karma being done in ignorance in the present life which will be added to the existing collection of sanchita karma stored our chitta. Kriyaman actions are under our control and must be performed with the utmost awareness and transcendental wisdom. Krishna explains the science of karma-free living in Gita chapters 4-6.

Each one of us is the architect of our own destiny. No matter how trivial it may seem, every act we do will produce an effect. For devotees, all actions are performed simply for the satisfaction of Guru and Krishna without motivation or attachment. Thus even mundane actions like eating and sleeping become seva leading to liberation because they are performed without desire for results. Thus no further karma is produced.

Prarabdha (syn. arabdha) is acting on us right now! When the chitta is transferred from one body to another at death, it brings all one’s residual karma with it. Only some of it will give its fruit in that birth. Once the next life begins, the portion of karma relevant to this birth is called the prarabdha-karma.

It’s a portion of our punya papa karma from the stockpile of sanchita which is now fructifying and giving us good or bad results. It manifests our present body, desires, mentality, feelings and actions. Prarabdha karma is beyond our control and producing our present conditions which we must bear with patience. It is like a flowering tree from the seeds of prior planting.

Kriyaman is compared to grains growing in a field. Sanchit is grains stored in the house. And prarabdha is rotis in the belly being digested and exhausted in some time.

The Upanisads, Gita and Gaudiya granthas say that the jivas and karma are beginning less i.e., without a beginning and without a prior non-existence. Therefore, questions such as how did my karma begin, what caused my first birth, how can people have different fortunes unless there was preceding karma; and how can we have karma without a previous birth are all meaningless because the jiva and karma are beginning less. It’s all the divine arrangement of Bhagavan Sri Krishna as He wants it. There is no other cause or explanation.

Suffering and Bad Karma

Besides being three poisons in the mind that block spiritual advancement, Gita says lust, anger and greed are three gates to HELL. The source of all three is delusion (moha), thinking that the body/mind complex is me, and that I am special, unique and different from every other living entity.

The grand illusion of I and Mine causes rebirth and bondage in samsar. Until we attain spiritual knowledge and understand our true eternal identity as spiritual parts of Sri Krishna meant to submit to, love and serve Him, we will remain bound in maya forever.

Let’s examine these terrible ghosts that harass all of us, lust anger and greed.

LUST means amorous passions and selfish desires which engage us in all kinds of reactionary material activities. Lifetimes of misery can pass paying the debt of desire.

ANGER is the psychological and emotional reaction arising from unfulfilled desires, frustrated attempts to do something, or the unfilled expectations one has of others. Anger causes one to hurt others whom one blames for their own shortcomings or failures. This in turn creates bad karma which produces pain now and more in the future. A moment of anger can create millenniums of misery.

GREED means being attached to your money and not giving charity (dana-dharm). If Krishna gives one more than required, that wealth should be distributed to the needy. The sages say that the attachment to money which binds one in samsara can be renounced by acts of charity, vitta -ishanam –danair (Srimad Bhagavatam 10.84.38).

Sri Krishna directs us to give charity to the right person for the right cause. Failing to do so brings many miseries now and in the future, vittam –tv –atirthi –krtam –duhkha -duhkhi (Srimad Bhagavatam11.11.19). The miser will be poverty-stricken in the next life. Thus, giving charity is a very important aspect of human life especially for householders.

Besides the suffering caused by lust, anger and greed, shastra describes three factors in suffering: the person suffering, the degree of suffering, and the agent or cause of suffering i.e. a person (self or others), thing or condition.

When we clearly realize our true identity as eternal, blissful spiritual beings, and understand the laws of action/reaction (karma), then the agent of suffering becomes incidental and secondary. We no longer become angry or resentful toward the person or thing that we take be causing our suffering because they are merely agents of our own karma. When one acquires divine wisdom, one gets the vision to see enemies as friends, and radiates love and compassion toward those who hurt, abused or offended one.

Through wisdom, humility, tolerance, devotion, and surrender to Krishna one will use suffering to transform, transcend and transport oneself to the spiritual platform of inner peace and contentment reached by experiencing Krishna’s love and compassion within one’s heart.

Freedom from karma

Every thought we think, act we do or experience we have is recorded and stored in the chitta in the form of samskaras. This is the cause of strange dreams of things never experienced in this life. They arise from samskaras i.e. the mental imprints, memories, subconscious impressions formed by the experiences of our prior births now stored in the chitta of the jiva.

Thus, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s first instruction is to clean the chitta by Sri Harinam Sankirtan, ceto –darpanam –marjan (Shikshasatak 1). The endless cycle of repeated birth and death, samsar, is caused by ahankara, the false notion of our actual eternal identity. Due to ignorance, one identifies with the material body mind complex thinking oneself to be the doer, controller and enjoyer and thus stays stuck in samsar.

However, if we identify ourselves only as eternal servants of Krishna, and act only for His pleasure in bhakti, then by Krishna’s grace all our karmas are destroyed, samsar ends, and we go to the spiritual sky, Goloka Vrndavana. Brahmaji says, karmani -nirdhahati -kintu -ca -bhakti –bhajan, “Bhakti bhajan destroys karmas.” (Brahma-samhita 5.54)

Sri Krishna bhakti bhajan ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe! Karma Free life ki jai!