“One who is thus transcendentally situated at once realizes the Supreme Brahman. He never laments nor desires to have anything; he is equally disposed to every living entity. In that state he attains pure devotional service unto Me.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 18.54)
न शोचति न काङ्क्षति
समः सर्वेषु भूतेषु
मद्-भक्तिं लभते पराम्
na śocati na kāṅkṣati
samaḥ sarveṣu bhūteṣu
mad-bhaktiṁ labhate parām
Friend1: Do you think that Krishna is sad?
Friend2: This is Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead?
Friend2: Why would He be?
Friend1: Because He is all-knowing. I was pondering this the other day. You and I don’t know everything.
Friend2: We could argue who is more deficient in that area.
Friend1: I’m sure you’ve come across this situation. You are happy about something. There is good news, reason to celebrate. In the midst of your joy, someone spoils the fun.
Friend2: As in the parents reminding you to study for an upcoming exam?
Friend1: Not even that. Just someone who brings up bad things:
“I don’t know why you guys are celebrating. There are people in the world suffering. Look at the mass starvation in foreign countries. Over here so many people get incarcerated unfairly, identified as suspects based only off their skin-color. Mass pollution ruining the environment. Cheating politicians looking only to line their pockets. The great struggle to maintain an existence. Yeah, I’d say that there is very little reason to be happy.”
Friend2: The classic Debbie Downer. They can’t stand to see others in a joyful mood, so they feel the need to ruin everyone’s fun.
Friend1: Exactly! The thing is, their perpetual misery is rooted in some sort of extended vision.
Friend2: What do you mean?
Friend1: They see things that others don’t. Well, not necessarily see, but remember. For others, it might be better to just forget. Why stay consciously aware of the tragedies occurring around the world?
Friend2: Better to stay in ignorance.
Friend1: That is why I was wondering if Shri Krishna is sad. How can He be happy knowing everything, being the all-pervading witness?
Friend2: Before you get that far, what about the people who are devoted to Him? Take Prahlada Maharaja, for example. His name refers to a person who is ever-joyful.
Friend1: And how could he be knowing that the father was such a horrible person? You are making my point, I guess. If I were in that situation, I would probably prefer to remain in ignorance. Being constantly reminded of the low character within the family would make me depressed.
Friend2: Alright, so do some analysis. Do you think Prahlada was foolish?
Friend1: No, not at all.
Friend2: Then? Explain how he could be joyful.
Friend1: Bhakti-yoga. Devotion to Shri Krishna. Always thinking of the all-attractive one. Something like taking your mind away from the surroundings.
Friend2: You are pretty close, but this isn’t something like burying your head in the sand. Closing your eyes to avoid witnessing the carnage. It is actually an extended vision. Prahlada and people like him are joyful precisely due to their intelligence. It is a linear relationship. The more realized you are, tattva-darshi, the happier you will be.
Friend1: That goes back to my original question. A seer would have to notice the bad, would they not?
Friend2: They don’t take the bad to be negative.
Friend1: How is that possible?
Friend2: Because the hand of the Divine is in everything. The sadness increases the happiness later on. If you watch a film and know that there is a positive ending, the in-between stuff won’t bother you as much.
Friend1: Okay, but how does that make you immune to tragedies in the human existence?
Friend2: Because they aren’t really tragedies. The individual, who is spirit soul, undergoes some temporary suffering in a destructible body. The experience is something like a dream. Self-realization is waking up. It is seeing everything properly. The devotees have a greater appreciation for the Supreme Lord through the amazing ability of the illusory energy of maya to fool otherwise intelligent beings. Hiranyakashipu reached the point of thinking he could rule over the world forever, using just brute force. A person can only be so foolish if there is a corresponding energy engaging them. Saintly people appreciate Krishna for being able to create such an energy. They are neither saddened nor pessimistic about the situation in the manifest world. They know who is coordinating everything behind the scenes.
Coordinating scenes behind,
So different outlook to find.
The saints of Krishna’s potency knowing,
The ignorance praise to maya showing.
That states tragic and sad,
In long run not so bad.
Of full drama just another scene,
Dispelled when waking from dream.