“While taking charge of the calves, sometimes the two brothers played on Their flutes. And sometimes They played with amalaki fruits and bael fruits, just like small children play with balls. Sometimes They danced and made tinkling sounds with Their ankle bells. Sometimes They made Themselves into bulls and cows by covering Themselves with blankets. Thus Krishna and Balarama played.” (Krishna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vol 1, Ch 11)
Friend1: Do you believe in life in Vrindavana?
Friend2: What do you mean by “believe”? Do I think that I will get there in this lifetime? I wish. One can only dream, but at the same time I’ll keep working.
Friend1: No, you are a saint, everyone knows that [smiling]. I’m asking if you think that Vrindavana really exists.
Friend2: Why wouldn’t I? You think I’m chanting “Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare” just to pass the time?
Friend1: Doesn’t it seem a little too good to you? It has similarities to the fifty virgins awaiting you in heaven and the promise of a utopian paradise, does it not?
Friend2: Oh, I see what you’re saying. So since it describes a pristine land where cows, birds, butterflies, bees, rivers, hills and trees all work in perfect harmony, it must be a fantasy land.
Friend1: Yeah. Don’t get me wrong, I love thinking about it. It would be great if we could go somewhere where there is a leader whom everyone adores. I would love to hear the music that Krishna plays on His flute. I would love to see Him go to the top of a hill and get all the wayward cows to calm down and come to Him. I would love to see how He and Radha are so happy when meeting each other.
Friend2: You don’t realize it, but the way you’re describing it proves that it is real. You can’t make up such a wonderful land.
Friend1: But couldn’t you? Hmm, I think I see what you’re getting at. Yet it all seems too convenient, no? You follow bhakti-yoga, give up material desire, always serve the guru, keep the association of saints – then suddenly you’re no longer in the cycle of birth and death. You’re Krishna conscious, so you get Krishna in the next life. And please don’t quote the 66th verse of the 18th chapter of the Bhagavad-gita for me. I’m very familiar with it.
Friend2: Are you? It sounds like you aren’t.
sarva-dharmān parityajyamām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vrajaahaṁ tvāṁ sarva-pāpebhyomokṣayiṣyāmi mā śucaḥ
“Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reaction. Do not fear.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 18.66)
Friend1: Yes, thank you. Let me put the question to you another way. Are you familiar with the people who play fantasy role playing games?
Friend2: Like on the computer? The nerdy types?
Friend1: Well, maybe those types, but it doesn’t have to be a video game exactly. I think they do it online. They go all out. They create a different universe, with its own calendar. The seasons are different, the creatures are different, everything is different. It looks like an ordinary society, but someone creates everything in their head. They are obviously trying to escape this world and go into one where the perceived problems are eliminated.
Friend2: Oh, I see. So you’re asking if Vyasadeva, the compiler of most of Vedic literature, dreamt up Vrindavana in his head? Did the brothers Rupa Gosvami and Sanatana Gosvami pick random places in the area known as Vrindavana on this earth and say that Krishna did this here and did that there?
Friend1: I know what you’re trying to do. I understand that there is a lot more to go off of for understanding Vrindavana. I know that there is a preponderance of evidence from the highest authority sources to use in justifying the existence of the afterlife known as the spiritual home of Shri Krishna. I also understand that these authority sources are of impeccable character. They were truly renounced; they never exploited the material nature for their own gain. They lived so renounced that if someone were to see them today they would feel sorry for them. They would probably put them in television commercials eliciting money to support some cause. I get that.
Friend2: Then why still the doubts? I don’t know how you could compare some fantasy world created online with Goloka Vrindavana?
Friend1: How are you so sure, though?
Friend2: Is not everyone within this world living a fantasy? Do you think the majority of the people act as if they know they are going to die some day? Do you think people understand that no amount of money will make them happy? This can’t be the case, because I see the widespread dismay upon the loss of a living entity. That loss is guaranteed to happen. That guarantee comes as soon as there is birth. I see the widespread indulgence in intoxication, which is a means of trying to forget. What are they trying to forget? That they’ve been fooling themselves their whole life? The intoxication itself is a fantasy, for from previous experience one knows that they will not be better off from it.
Friend1: Those are some good points.
Friend2: I like how you mentioned the “virgins in heaven” thing before. The promised life in Krishna’s land bears no similarity to what we see on a regular basis. That supposed utopian paradise is a place where service takes place. You get to enjoy by serving. You are not the master there. Krishna is. This means that the promise is different. If there were anything else available in Vrindavana, it would mean that it is no different from our present land. Even in the highest planet in the material world, where the enjoyments are endless, there must come an end.
Friend1: Sort of like living in the mansion with a lot of money here. You’ve got everything at your disposal, and yet you’re still not happy.
Friend2: So you take up causes. You try to end poverty. You try to end suffering. These pursuits are ridiculous; I hope you know that. It’s like trying to end “down” and “last.”
Friend1: [laughing] What do you mean?
Friend2: Poverty is relative. It is the opposite end of wealthy in terms of income. So by trying to eliminate poverty, you’re trying to remove something that is relative to something else. The objective is absurd. It’s like playing a game and making sure there are no losers. As long as there is independence in action, you will have people who succeed and people who don’t. The only way to eliminate low is to eliminate high as well. The only way to eliminate both is to stop all action. Make everyone a slave to the state. Of course even then there is relativity, as the people in charge will be higher than all the subjects, who are supposedly equal.
Friend1: That’s true.
Friend2: Though Vrindavana is beyond our comprehension, you can see glimpses of it in the present life. You don’t have to wait until after you are dead. Try devotional service right now. Only the fortunate will make an attempt. This is because only in bhakti-yoga are you truly trying to make someone else happy. Since He is the root of the entire creation, making Him happy makes everything else better. Serving Him is the only way to continue being happy, for it is in the nature of the soul to serve. It would make sense, then, that the reward for that continuous service would be residence in a land where that service would flourish. This is not a fantasy; it is not make believe. It is true, and through the spiritual science anyone can see how it is so.
Vrindavana too good to be true,
Of its existence doubtful are you.
No similarity to the material land,
Not like fifty virgins understand.
To serve Supreme Lord desire only,
Daily opportunity, ways a plenty.
Follow bhakti and glimpses now see,
How living for Krishna, of personal desires free.