Without Cause There Is No Effect

[Krishna's lotus feet]“The whole cosmic order is under Me. By My will it is manifested again and again, and by My will it is annihilated at the end.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 9.8)

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प्रकृतिं स्वामवष्टभ्य विसृजामि पुन: पुन: ।
भूतग्राममिमं कृत्स्नमवशं प्रकृतेर्वशात् ॥

prakṛtiṁ svām avaṣṭabhya
visṛjāmi punaḥ punaḥ
bhūta-grāmam imaṁ kṛtsnam
avaśaṁ prakṛter vaśāt

Devotees of Shri Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, worship Him as the cause of all causes, sarva-karana-karanam. From this one stipulation, from a single point of philosophical understanding, a person has sufficient justification for worship today, tomorrow, and into the eternal future.

We already acknowledge the effect. It is visible. It is all around us. It makes a lasting impact. It has endurance. In the morning, we see the bright sunshine lighting up the bedroom. This signals the time of reset. The dark night is over. A new hour has arrived. The past is gone.

[morning sun]The sun has endurance because it will be there throughout the day. It will rise again tomorrow. The sun was there a year ago. It was in the sky one hundred years ago. We know this based on documented accounts and descriptions.

We accept the information on faith. That is the beginning to the knowledge-gathering process. We access the information from authority figures. People we trust. People who have a track record of telling the truth. People who are not looking to deceive us.

After accepting the information, we process it. We run it against a test of common sense. We assess whether the concept is believable. In the case of the sun, we can validate the steadiness based on our own experience. We cannot recall a single day when the sun did not make in impact, when it did not make its presence known.

We can take advantage of so many other effects. The tree in the yard producing a sufficient yield of apples on an annual basis. The supply of water provided from the sky. The help of other living entities, working in self-interest but ultimately leading to a collective benefit known as a functioning economy.

For each of these effects, there is a cause. Only a foolish person would think otherwise. The room I am staying in at the moment was built by someone. The cause of the construction of the home is the work put in by another living entity.

If we take this concept and run with it, if we trace a route of causes stacked upon one another, we eventually reach a point where one source is the cause of everything. Even that concept is limited, since time is infinite in both directions. There is always a beginning to a beginning and an end to an end.

Worship of Shri Krishna in this case is rooted in intelligence. Even if a person has their dogmatic insistence leading to a different conclusion, in worshiping or showing allegiance to a supposedly different force, the concept still applies.

That is to say, bhakti-yoga is worship of the cause of all causes. Every person can acknowledge that there is an ultimate cause for the many effects that we see. This is because no effect is possible without an original instigation of work.

अदृष्टगुणदोषाणामध्रुवाणां तु कर्मणाम्
नान्तरेण क्रियां तेषां फलमिष्टं प्रवर्तते

adṛṣṭaguṇadoṣāṇāmadhruvāṇāṃ tu karmaṇām
nāntareṇa kriyāṃ teṣāṃ phalamiṣṭaṃ pravartate

“Unseen and indefinite are the good and bad reactions of fruitive work. And without taking action, the desired fruits of such work cannot manifest.” (Lakshmana speaking to Lord Rama, Valmiki Ramayana, Aranya Kand, 66.17)

Within the Vedic tradition, the understanding does not have to end there. We can access further information about the cause. We learn that He is a person and not an impersonal force. The impersonal is but one way to view Him; sort of like noticing the sunshine but not the sun.

From Bhagavad-gita we learn that the original cause does the work of the universe. He is ultimately in charge. Without His potency, without His glancing over the material substance, without His intervention, no transformation would take place. There would be no effect.

[Krishna's lotus feet]In this way, I have justification for worshiping Shri Krishna day after day. For as many effects that I see, for as many outcomes that I rely upon, for as many institutions of nature that I can predict, I can link back to the original source, who is all-attractive and the source of all pleasure.

In Closing:

From many generations to be,
This current situation to see.

How to honor that dedication?
Across entire aggregation.

The original cause I’ll find,
As highest authority assigned.

And worshiping in steady vow,
Who made yesterday, tomorrow, and now.

Categories: bhagavan

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