“Bhagavan means He who possesses these six opulences in full: all riches, all strength, all influence, all wisdom, all beauty, all renunciation.” (Vishnu Purana, 6.5.47)
वीर्यस्य यशसः श्रियः
षण्णां भग इतीङ्गना
vīryasya yaśasaḥ śriyaḥ
ṣaṇṇāṁ bhaga itīṅganā
The government has built a new park. Smack dab in the middle of a bustling urban area, this is much needed. Finally, some greenery to meet the needs of the eyes. Moods will hopefully perk up. Ponds, bridges you can walk on, sanctuaries for different wildlife, a designated trail, and even recreational areas.
Since there is a managing authority, there are new rules accompanying the opening of the park. The place will be open only during certain times each day. To use certain facilities, a permit will be required. Local residents get higher priority. There is time set aside for cleanup, maintenance, and the like.
If we think of the entire creation as operating under a similar model, there are certain rules to remember, as expressed by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.
1. The properties made by the Supreme Personality of Godhead can be utilized by all living entities
The entire creation is much more intricate, complex and vast than a place created by the parks and recreation department of the government. The proprietor is the original person. One Sanskrit word to describe Him is Bhagavan. This is more descriptive than the general Ishvara. God as Ishvara is the great controller, but this doesn’t really describe anything about Him. Ishvara says that He has potency, but what about identifying Him, connecting with Him, visiting Him, pleasing Him, and the like?
The word Bhagavan says that God is a person, purusha, who possesses different opulences, bhaga, simultaneously and to the fullest extent. Not a single one is missing. Whereas the engineering student graduating from the prestigious institution may not be as skilled in manual labor, the apparently contradictory nature of certain features is absent in Bhagavan.
He is responsible for this entire universe through His different energies and agents of managerial authority. Bhagavan simply glances over the unmanifest substance, pradhana, and suddenly distinctions out of the Brahman energy begin to appear.
There is a person assigned the task of using those elements to create the different universes and what will go in them. This is a distinct individual, a spirit soul, working with the material elements. The population consists of other individual spirit souls, who then temporarily reside in different forms crafted by the creator.
This amazing creation belongs to Bhagavan, and every living being has a right to use that property. Though the human species is the most intelligent, this does not give them the right to hoard. They may take more than they need from the local supermarket during a time of crisis, but this is not the intended or desired behavior.
2. Nobody can encroach upon the right of other living entities
Every living entity has a right to live. If this right gets violated, there are consequences, just as if someone enters the park illegally at a time when they are not allowed. The smarter human being may think that they are getting away with crimes, that no one will notice their violations, but every appropriate consequence manifests when the time is right.
अवश्यं लभते जन्तुः फलं पापस्य कर्मणः।
घोरं पर्यागते काले द्रुमाः पुष्पमिवार्तवम्।।
avaśyaṃ labhate jantuḥ phalaṃ pāpasya karmaṇaḥ।
ghoraṃ paryāgate kāle drumāḥ puṣpamivārtavam।।
“Just as a tree starts to blossom during the proper season, so the doer of sinful deeds inevitably reaps the horrible fruit of their actions at the appropriate time.” (Lord Rama speaking to Khara, Valmiki Ramayana, Aranya Kand, 29.8)
The lower species may not necessarily respect the right to life of others, but nature has allowed these species to survive in a certain way. For this reason, there is no concept of karma or sinful reaction for them. Only the human species is under this jurisdiction.
The most intelligent are the stewards, to watch over the less intelligent. Such understanding comes naturally to someone who is intimately connected with Bhagavan, which can occur through the yoga process. Bhakti-yoga is synonymous with sanatana-dharma, the eternal way of living for the living being. Through deep love and affection for the Supreme Lord, the living experience within the vast creation can be an enjoyable one for every living being involved.
By Brahma the creating work done,
But from Vishnu everything has come.
So each species carrying the right,
To enjoy nature, water and light.
What authority for me to interfere?
Better of my own hurdles to clear.
Of walking sanatana-dharma’s line,
And creating devotional state of mind.
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