“Suta Gosvami said: Thus Bhishmadeva merged himself in the Supersoul, Lord Shri Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, with his mind, speech, sight and actions, and thus he became silent, and his breathing stopped.” (Shrimad Bhagavatam, 1.9.43)
कृष्ण एवं भगवति
आत्मन्य् आत्मानम् आवेश्य
सो ऽन्तःश्वास उपारमत्
kṛṣṇa evaṁ bhagavati
ātmany ātmānam āveśya
so ‘ntaḥśvāsa upāramat
Friend1: You’re not supposed to bring up religion or politics.
Friend2: Where? When?
Friend1: At something like a formal gathering. Actually, any venue where either of those two topics is not the main focus.
Friend2: What is the reason?
Friend1: The passionate beliefs. The heated dialogue to ensue. Just study human history, as much as has been recorded. Great wars were waged over differences in religion. Politics can cause people to be violent towards one another.
“How dare you support such and such? Didn’t you see what that person did? I can’t believe you voted for them.”
Friend2: I must say, I completely agree. I try to steer clear of those discussions, just because so many politicians I have stood up for in the past ended up being disappointments. Moreover, every side has some truth to their arguments. That politician you hate the most – I bet they have done something that you would love.
Friend1: You mean in terms of policy?
Friend2: Yes. Conversely, that one you really like, I am sure there are things they did which you strongly disagree with.
Friend1: Oh, of course. Undoubtedly, within these discussions you will find gross ignorance. People who have no idea what they are talking about. They have their mistaken impressions based on media coverage. When you bring up certain legislation that passed, changes in policies, they are absolutely clueless. Instead, they know only the lies put forth by the opposition party.
Friend2: That is bound to happen. Who wants to spend their day following legislative procedures? Who wants to sit there and study the different political philosophies and break down the individual arguments?
Friend1: The question I have today relates to spiritual life. What happens to the person who is completely wrong in their beliefs? Say they mistakenly support a brutal dictator. They don’t know any better.
Friend2: I am not sure what you are asking. Many people have supported some of the greatest killers in history.
Friend1: Okay, so use that as an example. Are such people still eligible for liberation? Can they be rescued from the cycle of birth and death?
Friend2: Why wouldn’t they be? Shri Krishna makes no mention of political beliefs in Bhagavad-gita. One of the verses simplifies things greatly:
जन्म कर्म च मे दिव्यम्
एवं यो वेत्ति तत्त्वतः
त्यक्त्वा देहं पुनर् जन्म
नैति माम् एति सो ऽर्जुन
janma karma ca me divyam
evaṁ yo vetti tattvataḥ
tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma
naiti mām eti so ‘rjuna
“One who knows the transcendental nature of My appearance and activities does not, upon leaving the body, take his birth again in this material world, but attains My eternal abode, O Arjuna.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 4.9)
Friend1: So I only have to know how the birth and activities of Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, are divyam, or Divine?
Friend2: Yes. Another example you can take is Bhishmadeva. He aligned with Duryodhana, one of the worst criminal leaders in human history. That guy was the worst of the worst. Somehow, Bhishma ended up staying on that side. He even fought valiantly in the war against the Pandavas.
Friend1: Right, and Drona was on that side, too. That contributed to Arjuna’s reluctance to proceed with hostilities.
Friend2: Yet see how Bhishma’s life ended. Shrimad Bhagavatam says that he merged into the transcendental body of Narayana, who is non-different from Krishna. That is your answer, right there. The politics were wrong. He fought for the side of adharma, but such varieties in a material existence are not that big a deal when you are a pure devotee. Bhishma is one of the twelve mahajanas, in fact.
Friend1: Authorities on devotional service.
Friend2: It is about consciousness at the time of death. Not whether you know everything about some politician, political party, celebrity, or other person. Do you know Krishna? Do you know God? Are you attached to Him? Do you want to continue to serve Him? These are the important questions to answer.
Showing not in ignorance to live,
At death’s time answers to give.
Like Shri Krishna do you know?
And are you attached to Him so?
Bhishma with wrong party aligned,
But still liberation to find.
Since consciousness appropriately sided,
At Mukunda’s feet resided.