Bhoga and Tyaga

[Govardhana Shila]“As the director of different kinds of clouds, Indra called for the samvartaka. This cloud is invited when there is a need to devastate the whole cosmic manifestation. The samvartaka was ordered by Indra to go over Vrindavana and inundate the whole area with an extensive flood. Demonically, Indra thought himself to be the all-powerful supreme personality.” (Krishna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vol 1, Ch 25)

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“One of the many teachings within bhakti-yoga that I find interesting is this identification of the constant toggling between enjoyment and renunciation. The Sanskrit words are bhoga and tyaga. The first side is quite easy to find examples of. It does not take much effort.

“We seek sense enjoyment beginning from birth. The toddler learning to speak approaches the parents and requests different items for their satisfaction. Chocolate. Bananas. Strawberries. Sometimes they may even say ‘pizza,’ to the delight of the father, as this matches his preference in eating.

[cheese pizza]Tyaga is a more intelligent decision, it seems. Swearing off of things. Understanding that too much enjoyment is not wise. Stay up the entire night playing video games and you will be tired the next morning. Eat that extra slice of pizza and physical discomfort is sure to follow.

“The comparison I particularly like is to the pendulum. We swing from one end to the other. Bhoga today, tyaga tomorrow. Eating well for a month, and then acquiring a gym membership the next (provided the government allows such establishments to open).

“While this comparison to the pendulum is accurate, isn’t it also a system of torture? Why would someone want to repeat the experience, which is really no different than the waves washing over the shore and then retreating?”

The constant toggling between enjoyment and renunciation is surely torture, but only for the person who identifies it as such. The illusion of maya fools me into thinking that in either side I will find true and lasting happiness.

If only my family had a bigger house. If only I get that promotion. If only we could move to that city with the superior climate. If only my party wins the next election. Then everything will be fine. No more worries.

On the side of tyaga, if only I could remove that car and its blaring alarm from the close vicinity. If only this virus finally goes away. If only I watched less television. If only I cleaned out the basement and had less possessions.

From the incident of the first Govardhana Puja, we see that even if we reach the height of bhoga that a material existence has to offer, it might not be enough. That would be ascending to the post of king of heaven. Not just reaching svarga-loka, but being the top person in that amazing realm.

You have wish-fulfilling trees and cows. You have the intoxicating soma-rasa. You have an extended stay, full of every comfort imaginable. And yet one time Indra was so lacking in satisfaction that he became enraged over what some people down on earth were doing.

They were in a village community called Vrindavana. They were simple people who had a great affection for the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vishnu. They were unaware that the Krishna before them, the small child of Nanda and Yashoda, was an avatara of Vishnu, within their midst as a reward for that affection and love.

Despite living within the extreme of bhoga, Indra could not tolerate the people of Vrindavana skipping worship in his honor. Despite a track record of loyalty, this single act of negligence warranted a lethal strike as retaliation. At least this was Indra’s thinking.

At Krishna’s direction, the people had chosen worshiping the nearby Govardhana Hill, instead. They brought the most amazing food preparations as offerings, in great variety and abundance. This would normally be considered bhoga, but since it was for the pleasure of Krishna, there were no negative consequences.

[Govardhana Shila]The subsequent rain of devastating proportions could be considered an unwelcome result, but the effect was mitigated. Shri Krishna held up the just worshiped hill and used it as an umbrella. While a person may be tortured while swinging on the pendulum of enjoyment and renunciation, they find true happiness and satisfaction at Krishna’s lotus feet. He protects such a person from all dangers and calamities, and rewards them properly with His eternal association.

In Closing:

Wanting now but later not a thing,
On pendulum of bhoga and tyaga to swing.

Torture only when knowing,
Otherwise in ignorance going.

Where even if heaven to find,
Thoughts of revenge in mind.

Because eye on earth keeping,
Not transcendental benefit reaping.



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  1. Reblogged this on oshriradhekrishnabole and commented:
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    oshriRadhkrishnaBole ❤️🔥
    Hare Ram Hare Ram Ram Ram Hare Hare
    Hare Krishna Hare krishna krishna krishna Hare Hare

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