Rāma-tulasī dāsa: Regarding a devotee of Śrī Kṛṣṇa and a non-devotee, what happens to the soul after someone dies?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: If one is not a proper devotee, then according to his activities he will have to go to heaven or hell. According to his karma he may take birth anywhere, as a dog, donkey, monkey, or any other species.
Rāma-tulasīdāsa: Does this take place immediately, as soon as the soul leaves the body? Or, does it take some time?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: It depends on what the person has done.
Rāma-tulasī dāsa: My wife passed away on January 5th of this year. Where did she go?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: She was a devotee, and you and her children are devotees. She was always chanting the holy name, so she has taken birth in a rich devotee family. There she will easily obtain a guru again, and she will continue her bhajana.
Kṛṣṇa is more merciful than Nārāyaṇa, Viṣṇu, and other incarnations. There is no one more merciful than Kṛṣṇa. Even Lord Rāmacandra could not give as much honour to ladies as Kṛṣṇa did. Kṛṣṇa gave Himself to Śrīmatī Rādhikā and the gopīs.
Sixteen thousand princesses, the very beautiful daughters of kings, had been imprisoned in the jail of Narakāsura, and they always remembered Kṛṣṇa there. Kṛṣṇa came and killed Narakāsura, released the princesses, and then told them, “You can now go wherever you want – to your husbands, mothers, and fathers.” They replied, “We cannot go anywhere. We want to be the maidservants of Rukmiṇī and Satyabhāmā in Your palace. We will sweep there, and perform all other menial services.” Kṛṣṇa said, “No. I will accept you as My queens, just as I have accepted Rukmiṇī and Satyabhāmā.” He married all of them and took them to Dvārakā, and there He gave each of them a palace.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: [To a guest] Why aren’t you taking harināma? What lacking is there in you? Are you eating meat and fish?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: You must give this up, otherwise those animals will eat you. Māṁsa (māṁsa is the Hindi word for meat), meat.* At present you are happily eating meat. But when those animals eat you in the future, you will be in distress. So quickly, today, give up eating meat, fish, and so on. Don’t gamble, and don’t engage in any immoral or cheating activities.
Paramānanda dāsa: Śrīla Gurudeva, Mahārāja Parīkṣit said to the bull of religion, dharma, that the person who identifies the performer of a sinful act gets the same destination as the person who perpetrated the act.** What does this mean?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: It means that another person is not responsible for one’s sufferings. Although it was Kali who beat the legs of the bull, the bull did not tell Mahārāja Parīkṣit, “Kali had done this to me.” As an elevated devotee, he said, “I don’t know who has done this to me. It has been caused by my previous karma. He who controls the entire world – who ordains creation, maintenance, and destruction – has done this.”***
Paramānanda dāsa: Would the saintly King Parīkṣit feel some discomfort by punishing criminals? Is he unhappy to give this punishment?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Kali-yuga (the age of quarrel and hypocrisy) is a very high-class yuga (age). In Kali-yuga, if any pious or spiritual activities are performed by the mind alone, the fruits of those activities will be enjoyed by the performer. On the other hand, if one performs some sin – not by body, but by mind – that mental act will not produce a sinful reaction. [In previous ages, one would have to taste the fruits of a sinful act simply by thinking about doing some sin.] In Kali-yuga you can receive all perfection by harināma, chanting, and even nāma-ābhāsa produces good results.
Śrīpāda Nemi Mahārāja:
tat te ‘nukampāṁ su-samīkṣamāṇo
bhuñjāna evātma-kṛtaṁ vipākam
hṛd-vāg-vapurbhir vidadhan namas te
jīveta yo mukti-pade sa dāya-bhāk
[A person is entitled to the treasure of serving the lotus feet of Godhead, who redeems us of our worldly bondage, if he lives with his heart, speech and body submitted to Him and if, through his good vision, he truly sees the mercy of Godhead in the sufferings he brought about by his own deeds. There is no other way of being delivered from this world. Whatever Godhead does is for our good. We can be redeemed if we behold His mercy in every event and in every activity. But if we notice any defect in His work, or realise any cruelty therein, it is sure to result in evilness and difficulty.]
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: What is the meaning?
Śrīpāda Nemi Mahārāja: If some suffering comes to a devotee, that devotee thinks it is a result of his previous activities; Kṛṣṇa is now giving a very, very little token punishment for those activities.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Kṛṣṇa gives us suffering so that we will become detached from this world. That is His mercy.
Śrīpāda Nemi Mahārāja: Hṛd-vāg – He offers obeisances with his heart, with his words, and with his body. Jīveta yo mukti-pade sa dāya-bhāk – For one who lives in this way, the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa are his rightful inheritance. This cannot be taken away from him.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: If someone is abusing you, why should you not become angry?
Śrīpāda Nemi Mahārāja: I can think that this is the result of my previous karma. It is not that that person is doing something to me. Kṛṣṇa is doing something to me, and this person is simply the instrument or the carrier. I can’t oppose what is happening. If I try to oppose it, it will come to me from somewhere else, or from some other person.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Yes, always think like that.
If someone is tearing a piece of paper, should you become angry?
Śrīpāda Nemi Mahārāja: Tearing my paper? I don’t understand.
Śrīpāda Sādhu Mahārāja: You are like the paper.
Śrīpāda Mādhava Mahārāja: If someone is tearing an insignificant piece of paper, will you be angry, or not?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Will you be angry?
Śrīpāda Nemi Mahārāja: There is no need to be angry.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: The tearing of the paper is a useless thing. Similarly, we may see many things in this world which we may consider to be the cause of our anger, but they are all like dreams. After a dream is over, we say, “Oh, nothing happened.” So, we need not be angry. By considering things in this way, we will be able to do bhajana successfully.
Śrīpāda Padmanābha Mahārāja: In Badger last year, you were speaking from the Eleventh Canto of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. You were telling us about the Avantī brāhmaṇa. You explained how people used to come and urinate on his head, spit at him, and pass stool in his kamaṇḍalu (waterpot).
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Yes.
Śrīpāda Padmanābha Mahārāja: The Avantī brāhmaṇa was not disturbed by this, because he understood, “These circumstances have come from my own previous activities, so I must tolerate them.”
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Try to follow this understanding, then you will be happy and able to do bhajana of Kṛṣṇa. Be niṣkāma, free from material desires. Desire only love and affection for Kṛṣṇa, nothing else; then you will not be disturbed. Don’t disturb anyone, and don’t be disturbed by anyone.
Gokula dāsa: I suffer a lot from disease. Should I think, “Gurudeva is sending this so that I can give up my attachment to my body?” How should I understand this?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: It comes from your past activities, and also by the mercy of Kṛṣṇa.
Gokula dāsa: Karma?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Yes. In the first stage, it is only karma. When there is no more karma and no more anarthas, then it is fully the mercy of Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa wants to show the world the humility and tolerance of His devotees.
Veṇu-gopāla dāsa: When Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s foot was shot by the hunter’s arrow, did He pretend to leave His body, or did His life-air actually leave?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Yesterday I explained this very clearly.
Śrīpāda Padmanābha Mahārāja: Śrīla Gurudeva said last night that all the demigods came to the place where Kṛṣṇa was sitting. There, they praised Him and prayed to Him. At that time, right in front of them, he went to Goloka Vṛndāvana in His original body.
Veṇu-gopāla dāsa: Why did He need to be shot by the hunter?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: He did this to bewilder the atheists.
Śrīpāda Dāmodara Mahārāja: Was the hunter actually Bṛghu Muni?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Why Bṛghu? I have not heard this. You may have heard this, but it is not written anywhere in śāstra.
Kṛṣṇa has no karma. How can karma touch Him? Neither Draupadī nor Kṛṣṇa nor any high-class mahā-bhāgavata is subject to the laws of karma. They never experience the fruits of past activities.
Śrīpāda Padmanābha Mahārāja: In the case of Lord Nityānanda Prabhu, when He was hit on the head by Mādhāi, His head started bleeding. But His body is transcendental – sac-cid-ānanda.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: This was to bewilder others, to make them think that Nityānanda Prabhu is an ordinary human being, like them. These and similar pastimes are naravata-līlā. In this way one can say, “Oh! Although He was cut and blood oozed from His head, He excused his aggressors. We should follow His example.”
Yadunātha dāsa: We hear that our suffering is not caused by other living entities, but by our own karma. If someone is causing trouble to others, can he say, “I am not the cause of others’ suffering, so don’t blame me”?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: (To Śrīpāda Padmanābha Mahārāja:) You should answer.
Śrīpāda Padmanābha Mahārāja: I would say that if a person does not accept responsibility for his current actions, he is creating further karma.
It is true that difficulty given by a certain person is arranged by the previous karma of those who are the victims of that difficulty. For example, if someone becomes your child, and then as your child he causes you so much difficulty, it is your karma. But it is also his karma. If that child doesn’t accept responsibility for his actions, then he continues his own karma.
Śrīpāda Mādhava Mahārāja: Child is another thing. But suppose I am creating some chaos for you and I tell you, “It is your fault and due to your karma, so don’t blame me.” Is this correct or not?
Śrīpāda Padmanābha Mahārāja: It is true that everyone is coming together by their separate karma and causing each other difficulty. But I cannot say that I am not to blame if I hurt someone. Still I am to blame, because I have free will. I can choose to cause you difficulty or not.
Śrīpāda Mādhava Mahārāja: If I create chaos and beat you, I may say, “This is your karma.” But if I tell you this, I am creating my own new karma.
Yadunātha dāsa: That person is making new karma for himself.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Suppose a bull comes and hits a person with his horns. If that person beats him to take revenge, then that person is creating new karma for himself. The bull is not creating new karma for himself. Only humans can create karma. Bulls and other lower species can only taste the suffering of their previous karma.
Śrīpāda Mādhava Mahārāja: His main question is this: Suppose one human being is hitting another human being and says, “Don’t blame me, this is due to your karma that I am beating you.”
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: No, this is wrong. Although the person who is being beaten is suffering his previous karma, the person who is doing the beating is creating his own new karma. He cannot blame others. Only human beings can do karma – not animals or birds or other species lower than that of humans.
Vallabha-kānti dāsa: What happens if a person in Kṛṣṇa consciousness thinks, “I am doing this for the benefit of others in Kṛṣṇa consciousness,” but he is actually causing others distress. Can that also be considered karma?
Śrīpāda Mādhava Mahārāja: If an uttama-bhakta causes ‘distress’ for a kaniṣṭha-adhikārī, this is not karma; it is for the benefit of the kaniṣṭha-adhikārī.
Vallabha-kānti dāsa: What if the person causing distress isn’t in the uttama stage?
Śrīpāda Mādhava Mahārāja: In that case he is on the platform of karma. How can he tell if what he is doing is pleasing to Kṛṣṇa? How can he say for sure that what he is doing is for Kṛṣṇa?
Kamala-kānta dāsa (from Germany): Some people think, “I do so much service. I chant and follow the process of bhakti, but I am still suffering.”
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Such persons are not really devotees. A pure devotee cannot think like this.
Kamala-kānta dāsa: What about the madhyama (intermediate devotee) or the kaniṣṭha (neophyte)?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: A kaniṣṭha may think like this, but a pure Vaiṣṇava will not.
Kamala-kānta dāsa: I read in Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura’s commentary on the Tenth Canto of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam that there are three reasons why devotees suffer: (1) to maintain the confidentiality of devotional service; (2) to not uproot the opinions of atheists; and (3) to increase the hankering of the devotee. Is this correct?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: This is okay. Devotees who chant Kṛṣṇa’s name purely and practice pure devotion to Kṛṣṇa have no karma. Kṛṣṇa personally gives them this suffering; it is not the fruit of their karma. When suffering and problems come to such devotees, they consider that Kṛṣṇa wants them to be humble and tolerant. They think, “Oh, I am very wretched.” Such humility will come.
Śrīpāda Giri Mahārāja: Śrīla Gurudeva, devotees think that karma is not punishment; it is Kṛṣṇa’s mercy.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: In his humility, the devotee considers such situations as both karma and Kṛṣṇa’s mercy.
tat te ‘nukampāṁ su-samīkṣamāṇo
bhuñjāna evātma-kṛtaṁ vipākam
hṛd-vāg-vapurbhir vidadhan namas te
jīveta yo mukti-pade sa dāya-bhāk
My dear Lord, one who earnestly waits for You to bestow Your causeless mercy upon him, all the while patiently suffering the reactions of his past misdeeds and offering You respectful obeisances with his heart, words, and body, is surely eligible for liberation, for it has become his rightful claim.
Tolerating all sufferings, he thinks, “Kṛṣṇa has given me these miseries so that I will learn tolerance.” In the face of such circumstances, one who always offers obeisances to Kṛṣṇa by body, mind, and words is happy in this world and becomes an inheritor of bhakti.
Śrīpāda Mādhava Mahārāja: If some senior devotees are speaking with each other, and junior devotees, without any consideration, start speaking, is this good or not?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: This is not right.
Śrīpāda Mādhava Mahārāja: It is an offense?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: It is not an offense – it is ignorance. It simply means he was not raised in a good family and has not learned proper etiquette. He should wait.
Uttama-kṛṣṇa dāsa: Gurudeva, regarding the question of karma: If I beat somebody, does it mean that person previously beat me? For example, if he owed me ten dollars, now he is paying me back. Is it like this?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: No. We should tolerate this, as Śrīla Haridāsa Ṭhākura was tolerant. Prahlāda Mahārāja was given poison, put in a fire, and tortured in many other ways; but he never thought, “I will take revenge against my father.” This is not Vaiṣṇava etiquette.
Śrīpāda Padmanābha Mahārāja: What if that devotee is thinking, “Somebody is coming to kill me!”? But his body belongs to Gurudeva.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: You are not Prahlāda or Sītā devī. You should try to escape, to save your life.
Śrīpāda Dāmodara Mahārāja: Nityānanda Prabhu ran away when Jagāi and Mādhāi went to beat him. Śrīla Haridāsa Ṭhākura also ran away.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Mahā-bhāgavatas never run in fear.**** They know that Kṛṣṇa is present with them. They know that the Lord’s Sudarśana cakra (His disc weapon) will come and finish their aggressor.
Yadunātha dāsa: The Pāṇḍavas were insulted and they fought back. Does this mean that they are not mahā-bhāgavatas?
Śrīpāda Padmanābha Mahārāja: We read in Mahābhārata that the Pāṇḍavas were given so much trouble and insults by Duryodhana and the Kauravas. They tolerated this for many years, but in the end they fought. He is asking if this means they are not mahā-bhāgavatas.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: While sitting on his chariot at the beginning of the Mahābhārata War and seeing all his relatives on the opposing side, Arjuna told Kṛṣṇa, “I cannot kill them. Taking the occupation of begging is better than fighting for a kingdom and opulence. Why should I fight just for the sake of winning this kingdom? I should not fight.” Śrī Kṛṣṇa replied, “You should fight.”
Śrīpāda Mādhava Mahārāja: Kṛṣṇa told him, “You will be the instrumental cause.”
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: He inspired Arjuna to fight, but He never inspired Duryodhana. The Pāṇḍavas did not fight for themselves. They wanted only to fulfill the desire of Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Whatever we do, we should do to please Kṛṣṇa. There should be no other reason for any of our activities.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Chanting the holy name will help you millions of times more than wealth.
Ratna: More than wealth?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Neither your relatives, nor your sons nor daughters nor anyone else can help you in your old age or at the time of death. Only the holy name will help you. In my opinion, you should chant the holy name. If you cannot chant sixteen rounds, then you can gradually increase your chanting.
Ratna: I am very good at karma-yoga, but I am not good at practicing the devotional principles.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Karma-yoga cannot save you. Never, never. You will have to return to this world again and again.
Ratna: So, chanting is number one.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Karma: Reading, writing, eating, and all other activities should be favourable for kṛṣṇa-bhakti. If any activity is not favourable for our advancement in bhakti, we should not perform that activity. Do you understand? Activities which are not favourable for bhakti will make you suffer, whereas karma that is favourable for bhakti can help you.
I therefore request you to chant Hare Kṛṣṇa in a pure way.
Vrajanātha dāsa: Do you understand?
Vrajanātha dāsa: Let’s say you have a job and earn money, and you don’t worry about earning more money than you need to maintain your body. Then, you take the balance of your time to chant Kṛṣṇa’s name and associate with devotees. That work is favourable. On the other hand, if you work only for money and have no time for chanting or associating with devotees, then…
Ratna: I am also helping to edit your manuscripts.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Very good, this is bhakti.
Ratna: But I would also need to chant?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: All activities that are performed to please Kṛṣṇa are in the category of bhakti. You are editing to please the Supreme Lord, Kṛṣṇa, and that is bhakti. Whatever you do to please Kṛṣṇa is bhakti.
Vrajanātha dāsa: She said that whenever she received a chapter of your Gopī-gīta manuscript to edit, she could not sleep. She would read it again and again before trying to do the editing.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Very good.
Ratna: Do you think I should take initiation now, or wait until I feel I can really chant the rounds?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: There is no certainty when death will come. You should take initiation at once; no delay.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Now you will be able to edit more and more.
Mahā-vegavatī dāsī: Gurudeva, this is an individual question. I know the verse:
tat te ‘nukampāṁ su-samīkṣamāṇo
bhuñjāna evātma-kṛtaṁ vipākam
hṛd-vāg-vapurbhir vidadhan namas te
jīveta yo mukti-pade sa dāya-bhāk
My dear Lord, one who earnestly waits for You to bestow Your causeless mercy upon him, all the while patiently suffering the reactions of his past misdeeds and offering You respectful obeisances with his heart, words and body, is surely eligible for liberation, for it has become his rightful claim.
I must accept everything that is coming to me as my karma, due to my past misdeeds of so many lifetimes. But when that karma comes to the extent that it affects my ability to serve my Guru Mahārāja and Kṛṣṇa, the pain is so severe that I become angry.
For instance, I’ve had many head injuries as a devotee which I sustained in my service. I was beaten many times in the head. I have not been able to read a book since 1978. I have been beaten in the spine and am in severe pain. I was put into a motor wheelchair, which I cannot even read the instructions to use. The pain is so severe that I don’t sleep at night unless I take a very strong pill. The pain is so severe that I develop uncontrollable anger against Kṛṣṇa and call Him all kinds of names. This is very serious, because I came to my Guru Mahārāja’s lotus feet to develop love for Kṛṣṇa.
Because of not being able to do what I want to do in service, I have become angry. I feel very, very guilty that I am not able to practice Kṛṣṇa consciousness to the extent I was before. I was one of those very materially intelligent devotees, and I was physically very strong. If I had any pride, I was not aware of it.
I understand that this is my karma and it is for my purification, but at the same time, it is very, very difficult for me to bear the strength of this karma. I’m asking you to please help me.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: I have heard everything you said. You said that you believe in karma. In that regard it is also important for you to know the meaning of tat te ’nukampām. Karma applies to general people, yet we see that those who have accepted a pure, bonafide guru and chant the holy name also have some suffering.
Śrīla Haridāsa Ṭhākura was beaten in twenty-two market places, although he had no karma. Draupadī had no karma, but she was attempted to be made naked in public. Sītā-devī and Rāmacandra had no karma to cause them to have to be banished to the forest for fourteen years. Although Prahlāda Mahārāja committed no offenses and had no karma, his father gave him poison and tried to kill him by fire and so many other means. This was not Prahlāda’s karma, rather it was the mercy of Kṛṣṇa. Through His personal example and the examples of His personal associates, Śrī Kṛṣṇa wants to teach the world that in order to do bhajana one must be as tolerant as they are.
You may try to reconcile in this way. Understand that it is the mercy of Kṛṣṇa that someone has beaten you or that you have been put into any difficulty. Knowing this, you can return to Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Peacefully chant Kṛṣṇa’s name, read books…
* “You should hear the meaning of meat. The spelling of ‘meat’ in English is M-E-A-T. M-E, me. E-A-T, eat. ‘Those who eat meat will be eaten by those whom they eat.’ If you are taking fish, meat, eggs, and cows, those animals will become human beings and you will become she-goats, cows, eggs, and so on, and they will eat you. So, be careful” (Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja. Lecture in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, December 14, 2000).
“Now this question may be raised why are so many cows being killed in the slaughterhouse. The answer is that those who are killing cows, according to the decision of karma-kāṇḍa, these killers of cows will in their next life be cows, and the cows who are killed will become men and kill the killers. The word flesh is called māṁsa which means the animal in future will kill me and eat. This is called karma bandhanam, bound up by the laws of karma. If you kill some living being, he will kill you in the next life. According to Manu-saṁhitā, the Vedic law-book, a murderer is hanged and thereby released from sinful activities, so that in the next life he may not be killed. Life-for-life sentence is given to end the result of sinful activities in this life instead of waiting for the next life. Unfortunately, people at the present moment do not know what is the next life, what is this life, what is karma, how one becomes entangled, and how one becomes free” (Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Mahārāja. Letter to Alfred Ford, Los Angeles, July 16, 1974).
** “The king said: O you who are in the form of a bull, you know the truth of religion. You are speaking according to the principle that the destination intended for the perpetrator of irreligious acts is also intended for one who identifies the perpetrator. You are no other than the personality of religion” (Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 1.17.22).
*** “O greatest among human beings, it is very difficult to ascertain the particular miscreant who has caused our sufferings, because we are bewildered by all the different opinions of theoretical philosophers. Some of the philosophers, who deny all sorts of duality, declare that one’s own self is responsible for his personal happiness and distress. Others say that superhuman powers are responsible, while yet others say that activity is responsible, and the gross materialists maintain that nature is the ultimate cause. There are also some thinkers who believe that no one can ascertain the cause of distress by argumentation, nor know it by imagination, nor express it by words. O sage amongst kings, judge for yourself by thinking over all this with your own intelligence” (Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 1.17.18–20).
**** Nityānanda Prabhu and Śrīla Haridāsa Ṭhākura were not really afraid. It is stated in Śrīla Vṛndāvana dāsa Ṭhākura’s Śrī Caitanya-bhāgavata (Madhya-khaṇḍa, Chapter 13): “The two rogues were now chasing the two saints, and although they cried out, ‘Catch them! Catch them!’ they were still not near them. Nityānanda said, ‘My dear Vaiṣṇava, Haridāsa, we have gotten ourselves into a fine mess; we can call ourselves lucky if we come out of this alive!’ Ṭhākura Haridāsa replied, ‘O Lord, what is the use of talking? Acting on Your advice, we now face unnatural or violent death. On account of You, we have given instructions on the holy name of Kṛṣṇa to these two faithless drunkards and now we are earning our due reaction and punishment: Death!’ Speaking in this manner, Lord Nityānanda and Haridāsa continued to run, laughing gleefully while the two rogues chased after them hurling loud abuses.”
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