“O son of Pritha, there is no work prescribed for Me within all the three planetary systems. Nor am I in want of anything, nor have I need to obtain anything—and yet I am engaged in work.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 3.22)
न मे पार्थास्ति कर्तव्यं
त्रिषु लोकेषु किञ्चन
वर्त एव च कर्मणि
na me pārthāsti kartavyaṁ
triṣu lokeṣu kiñcana
varta eva ca karmaṇi
The first word references cows. It is the planet where the transcendental senses are taken care of by the one named Gopala. The cows are under His care, and they grant any desires in a matter of moments. The second word refers to a forest area. In that place the goddess of devotion is prominent.
It is not a surprise that the Supreme Personality of Godhead chooses to stay there. He is already antaryami, or the all-pervading witness. He expands His influence everywhere through the feature of Supersoul. He can hear prayers simultaneously offered in thousands of places. His system of karma never makes a mistake; every result delivered is inherently fair, though the timing may not be expected or properly understood.
Though He is everywhere, the full feature of Bhagavan in the spiritual world has unique characteristics. Aspects commonly associated with a Supreme Controller are absent, although His status as the Almighty is not diminished in the slightest.
A young child asks a prominent religious leader to explain not only the beginning, but prior to that. As if understanding the infinite nature of time, they are genuinely curious:
“Can you tell me what God was doing before He created the world? I appreciate everything He has done for us, but I would like to know more about His nature.”
The Vedas, which represent the original works of knowledge and lack a specific date of inception, explain that God is the origin of both the material and spiritual worlds.
अहं सर्वस्य प्रभवो
मत्तः सर्वं प्रवर्तते
इति मत्वा भजन्ते मां
ahaṁ sarvasya prabhavo
mattaḥ sarvaṁ pravartate
iti matvā bhajante māṁ
“I am the source of all spiritual and material worlds. Everything emanates from Me. The wise who know this perfectly engage in My devotional service and worship Me with all their hearts.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 10.8)
It is the most important responsibility on His shoulders, and yet God accomplishes the task quite easily. The visual is of the opulently adorned, four-handed Vishnu lying down in rest. Upon exhaling the universes manifest. Upon inhaling everything returns into Him, and the time in between is the period of manifestation.
2. Strict attention to dharma
While effortlessly creating and destroying, Vishnu sometimes descends to the mortal world. He does so out of His own desire, but also to help those who are suffering. If the saintly class is getting harassed, if their dedication to godly life gets interfered with, the Supreme Lord takes an interest.
यदा यदा हि धर्मस्य
ग्लानिर् भवति भारत
तदात्मानं सृजाम्य् अहम्
yadā yadā hi dharmasya
glānir bhavati bhārata
tadātmānaṁ sṛjāmy aham
It makes sense that during those descents, known as avataras, Bhagavan primarily focuses on dharma. This is often translated as religion, but only because the true concept is difficult to understand. Dharma is the way of living, the essential characteristic for the eternal spirit soul.
Certain policies and procedures help to return that characteristic way of living; hence dharma can be understood as something like religion. Dharma also determines right and wrong, piety and sin, and so forth. As an example, Vishnu’s avatara of Shri Rama upholds dharma in the face of intense opposition from fiendish characters like Ravana and his family of man-eating ogres.
3. Punishing the sinners
A self-professed “God-fearing” person is focused in this area. They follow pious behavior as a way to avoid consequences to the other side. They do not want to suffer in hell. Neither do they wish to raise the ire of the man upstairs, who happens to be the most powerful. If He gets angry, who knows what He is capable of doing?
Shri Krishna in Goloka Vrindavana is not concerned with any of these roles. His system of karma automatically deals with “bad” people and behavior. Though in actuality, with material life there really is no good and bad. The distinction is something like high and low or winter and summer. Piety carries ascension to the heavenly planets and sin leads to hellish conditions, but either situation is only temporary.
The nava-yauvanam jewel of the Vaikuntha realm has nothing to do. There are no pressing responsibilities, and He does not have to maintain a watchful eye on dharma. After all, He embodies good qualities and behavior. Following dharma in the highest stage leads to His association, which subsequently never has to be released.
What was God doing before He created the world? There is an answer:
“What He always does. Enjoy. He is with His eternal associates, the liberated souls. That is our original home, as well. It is a place to which we can return both physically and in spirit through devotional activities like chanting the holy names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.”
Krishna with nothing to do,
No pressing responsibilities too.
Like creating universe entire,
Or here when trouble to transpire.
On the sinners a watchful eye,
Who harassing saints no reason why.
Many other systems already controlled,
In Goloka only enjoyment to unfold.
Categories: the three