“My Lord Govinda, because of separation from You, I consider even a moment a great millennium. Tears flow from My eyes like torrents of rain, and I see the entire world as void.” (Lord Chaitanya, Chaitanya Charitamrita, Antya 20.39)
Friend1: Let me ask you this. What is your view on fairness?
Friend2: Karma is inherently fair. We think that it’s unfair, but that’s due to a defect in memory.
Friend1: What do you mean?
Friend2: We can’t remember everything. It’s as simple as that. We can’t remember past lives. The soul exists in a continuum. Never was there a time that it did not exist, nor will there be a time in the future when it ceases to be. I’m paraphrasing Shri Krishna here, but you get the gist.
Friend1: I know that’s from the Bhagavad-gita, but which verse?
Friend2: The twelfth verse of the second chapter. For this discussion, the perpetual existence of the soul means that there is no such thing as a past, present and future. We say past lives, but that is only for organization purposes. Which time unit we choose for analysis does not matter so much in the end. We did something a while back, and eventually we reap the consequences. That is fairness.
Friend1: And we think something is unfair simply because we’ve forgotten our past deeds.
Friend2: Exactly. We also don’t know everyone else’s deeds. So all these things are happening at once, a collision of reactions, and we can’t understand.
Friend1: Okay, let me ask you this about fairness. I notice that in the bhakti-yoga tradition the teachers explain everything in terms of Krishna, or God, and devotion to Him.
Friend2: Yes, Lord Chaitanya even says that without Krishna’s association everything seems like a void to Him.
Friend1: That’s what I’m getting at. Do you think that is fair? Isn’t it a biased viewpoint on life?
Friend2: What would be the unbiased viewpoint?
Friend1: Well, the typical view wouldn’t inject Krishna into everything. If I’m talking about water, the neutral standpoint is to discuss the water’s properties, its use in quenching thirst, how to preserve it, how to keep it clean, etc. I’m not directly referencing a deity when I do that.
Friend2: That’s true, but then your understanding of water is not complete. The explanation in terms of Krishna is not to show favoritism; it is to make the explanation accurate. It is to complete the discussion.
Friend1: I see.
Friend2: And you’re also assuming that there can be such a thing as a neutral explanation.
Friend2: Yeah, whatever you want to call it, it doesn’t exist. Just read any news story. The bias is quite obvious if you’re willing to look for it. The choice of the story itself shows some favoritism on the part of the publisher. The lead stories are those which the content producers want you to see. There’s millions of things happening on a daily basis.
Friend1: Yeah, and they can’t write a story about everything.
Friend2: They can’t overly criticize the people they discuss, either. Otherwise they run the risk of losing access. If I want an interview with the President of the United States, it’s probably not a good idea to bash him all the time. The same goes for movie stars and athletes.
Friend1: I see.
Friend2: Plus, each person has their world view. They have an idea of what the aim of life is. They have a way of thinking, and that bleeds into their coverage. It is impossible to remove it.
Friend1: But don’t you think there’s too much emphasis on the bhakti path given in the works you study? Shouldn’t there be equal time for the other paths, the opposing viewpoints?
Friend2: Actually, works like the Bhagavad-gita, Shrimad Bhagavatam, Ramayana, and commentaries on them are the equal time. Even all those books don’t come close to leveling things. The majority of literature published pushes the view that sense gratification is the most important. “Use whatever you have around you to satisfy yourself. Though this never makes anyone happy, give it a shot anyway. What else is there?”
Friend1: So you’re saying that everyone is preaching a doctrine through the words they publish and speak?
Friend2: Of course. Every movie you watch started off as a screenplay. And the screenplay is nothing more than an idea in someone’s head. They’re not going to write a full story if they’re not passionate about the content. And how they think will reflect in their work. So every movie is pushing an agenda. So is every television newscast and newspaper column.
Friend1: But don’t works in the bhakti-yoga tradition cover these up? Why not discuss them as well?
Friend2: Actually, if you know Krishna, you will know everything about His energies. You will not only understand the other viewpoints but you’ll know why they come into being. The path of material sense gratification comes from ignorance of the identity of the individual. The path of renunciation is the negative response to sense gratification, a way to eliminate the bad taste. It too is rooted in illusion, as there is no concept of positive activities.
Friend1: Bhakti-yoga thus incorporates everything. It has renunciation and enjoyment, but all dovetailed with service to Krishna.
Friend2: Yes. There is no worry over equal time, fairness or objectivity. Being fair with someone means giving them the chance to make the most of their life. Being objective means giving someone the straight answer when they seek it.
Friend1: And so no one is being truly fair until they tell you about service to God?
Friend2: Right. Some philosophies might come closer to the real truth than others, but the only complete explanation is in the bhakti tradition. That’s why bhakti-yoga is the only eternal occupation, because at the very least one can use whatever is around them, objects and happenings, to further glorify the Supreme Lord, which brings them the happiness that previously eluded them.
Of other opinions not aware,
Discuss them to only be fair.
Single-mindedness in bhakti path,
But all others explained in fact.
Without Krishna explanation not true,
By others’ motives cheated to be you.
Adding God giving understanding real,
Path of misery then no longer to appeal.