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Among the devotees, there is a common belief, God is the supreme and nothing is equal to Him or higher than Him. Lord Krishna says so in BG 7.7 "There is no truth superior to Me."

However if you analyze deeply, you will find a few contradictions in the above statements. See the below cases:

1. Yashoda mayi caught hold of Krishna and tied Him. Can you imagine, the Supreme God whom many powerful demons also failed to harm, getting bound? Or take another example, Arjuna managed to make Lord Krishna His charioteer. Just imagine the PM or President of any country becoming driver of a person! This is just not possible. But the Supreme Lord becomes the driver of His best friend. Lord Vishnu says to Durvasha muni "I am completely under the control of My devotees. Indeed, I am not at all independent." [SB 9.4.63]. So from these examples we come to know the true devotees of God are in way more powerful the Lord Himself though none of these devotees actually want to rule the Lord.

There are 4 stages of devotions (in ascending order):

i) Servant of Master

ii) Slave of Master

iii) Puppet in the hand of the Master

iv) Puppet becomes the Master and Master becomes the puppet

Take the case of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu who was none other than Krishna Himself. The hidden reason for His arrival was to know the taste of pure devotion which was known to Srimati Radharani but not to Krishna also.

So we should slowly try to elevate ourselves to the last stage where the Lord would become inferior to us.

2. Lord Rama needed a bridge to cross the ocean. But Hanuman crosses the same just by chanting Lord Rama's name. How was it possible? Once Lord Rama was angry with Humanun and wanted to punish him. Then Narada advised Hanumana to chant Lord Rama's name. Then when Lord Rama shot arrows at Hanuman, Rama's arrows were totally futile against Hanuman. The reason is simple: Lord's name is greater than the Lord Himself.

So we should take the shelter of the Holy name of the Lord which can protect us from all the dangers in the world.

Many times, the monists say we should become one with God. But through pure devotion, we can in fact become greater than God though even in the highest devotional stage also our serving attitude won't go.

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Hare Krsna
God is always the Supreme even if He empowers His devotee with greater power than He Himself exhibits.

Hare Krsna Prabhuji,

PAMHO.

God is supreme. He makes His devotee supreme, that is His wish, His greatness. That doesnt mean devotee should aim to become greater than God.

Its like a child wanting to become taller than the father. The father lifts the child and artificially raises him above his head. Does that mean that the child is taller than the father (at that moment). It is as simple and childish as that.

To answer your analysis regarding Yashoda maiya tying Krsna to the grinding mortar, the lord has made HIs devotee greater than Himself. He agreed to be bound, He was fearful, when fear comes from Him, that is the reason we celebrate the Damodar pastime for a month. Have you ever seen commemorating the day Putana, or Aghasura, or Bakasua, or even Kaliya, Trinavarta, even Kamsa were delivered? No na. Then what is special about this pastime - the special thing is - Krsna was bound by the love of His devotee, nothing else could bind Him. There are much deeper analysis of this pastime, which various acharyas have mentioned in their commentaries, which I am not mentioning here. 

In the Durvasa Muni - Ambarish Maharaj pastime, the lord has brought out the serious consequence of vaishnav aparadha. If one has committed a sin against a vaishnava, then one has to necessarily go to that vaishnava and beg forgiveness. Wouldnt it be much easier for all of us to go to Krsna and ask for forgiveness for all the vaishnava aparadhs we commit. "No need to say sorry, Krsna understands my circumstances and of course, I have asked for forgiveness from Krsna, so I can continue to be hostile/ cold towards that devotee." This facility is not there. One has to bite dust, become humble, beg for forgiveness, else give up Krsna. That is how serious this aparadha is. THis is brought out in this pastime. 

I would like to redo the stages you have mentioned as under:

1) Puppet of maya, having very good opinion of oneself, thinking himself lord and master of all he surveys, yet slave of every single desire that arises in the heart, wants to fulfill each one of them, enjoy to the fullest, blame everyone else all the time for the things that go wrong, or are not in order.

2) Slight awakening of consciousness - understands that there is more to life than eating, sleeping, mating and defending. Starts with basic faith, starts chanting - the 9 stages of devotion begin...

Such a person, the more he progresses, the less good opinion he has about himself, the more he realises the greatness of the  lord, the more he wants to spend time doing devotional service. 

I will discuss the rest later, the post is becoming too long.

Haribol,

Your servant,

Radha Rasamayi DD

Hare Krsna,

Npw coming to Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. The lord came in the form of His devotee to show what an ideal devotee is, to establish Harinaam as the way out of this material world, to taste what Radharani got by living in separation from the lord for so many years (more than 100), yet not giving up the lord even once, the intensity of separation increased, did not decrease over the years. The lord was curious to taste what nectar she got in the fire of separation. When a devotee cries for the lord in separation, is when he attains love of God. Yugayitam nimeshena... when we feel that only we can call ourselves devotees of the lord. Nayana Jamuna jhare anivaara, tomara virahe Giridhari... how many of us have shed tears in separation of Krsna, and how many times? How can we call ourselves devotees? There are so many shades/ layers to this prabhu, you will understand if you are in the association of devotees. 

Lord Ram crossing ocean by building setu, while Hanuman could cross the ocean in one leap. Lord Ram is maryada purushottam, not once He breached the maryada of playing the role of a human being. He was in the role of a human being, can any human being cross the ocean in one leap? Suppose He did cross the ocean in one leap and got back Sita on "return flight", then wont people say, He is God, He can do anything - what is so great about it. For that matter, howcome Ram didnt know where SIta was, or that it was Marica, not a golden deer? These are pastimes, enacted for a purpose. We have to understand the purpose, not belittle God for playing a role. 

So we should take the shelter of the Holy name of the Lord which can protect us from all the dangers in the world. Your net conclusion is correct. The reasoning I am giving as per my limited knowledge. 

Please ask if there are further doubts or you have any comments.

Haribol,

Your servant,

Radha Rasamayi DD

Hare Krishna,

Regarding the points you mentioned about the love in separation, I totally agree. Had it not been the mercy of Guru and Gauranga, we could have never appreciated this love form. However we are too far away from this stage. But once we attain such level which the exalted devotees showed, then Lord will be rating us also higher though that should NOT be our mood. I totally agree with you that we should not aim for ruling the Lord. That is why I also had mentioned in my post " though none of these devotees actually want to rule the Lord".

Coming to Maryada Purushottama, Lord Ramachandra. There were occasions where He did display His majestic power forgetting the maryada. For example, Sugriva wanted to witness Lord Rama's might to gain the confidence on Him for killing Vali. Lord Rama then touched the mountain like skeleton of Dundhuvi with just His toe and gave a push which flew the skeleton away to 10 yojanas. Isn't it displaying the supreme might? Then before constructing the bridge across the ocean, Lord Rama prayed Samudra deva for 3 days to appear before Him but the latter didn't come. Then Lord Rama became furious and raised His eye brows. That anger started boiling the whole ocean and all the creatures in the ocean got scared. Also note the bow of Lord Siva, which was too have for hundreds of combined people to lift, was easily lifted by Lord Rama alone. Not just that He even broke that. So we should never think that Lord Rama didn't display His majesty at all.The main reason for going to the war with a big army of monkeys, was to provide the monkeys the chance to serve Him. Else He alone was sufficient to wipe whole Lanka out as He is the Supreme God Himself.

Do you agree with this?

But yes, unlike Lord Krishna, Lord Rama didn't display His majestic powers that often. That is why Lord Krishna is known as Leela Purushottama.

Hari bol.

Hare Krsna Prabhuji,

PAMHO.

Regarding Ram Leela, I would like to give you a perspective of some of the pastimes mentioned by you.

Lord Ram could break the Shiv dhanush, the bow of Lord Shiva, at the time of the swayamvar, whereas all the present kings could not. One of the lessons in this is - all the kings tried to lift the divya dhanush (celestial bow) with their might, thats why they were unsuccessful, whereas Lord Ram lifted the bow with his humility. He first bowed down to the bow, prayed to Lord Shiva and then only attempted to lift it. This condition was put by King Janaka because Sita devi could lift the bow, so her husband has to be deserving man, so he also should be able to lift the bow. This pastime demonstrates also that Sita was not ordinary, so her devotee father understood, and put that condition. Fathers should understand their daughter's need and give her to a person she deserves, or would like as husband, rather than imposing his will on the daughter. As you know, in ancient times, (even now it is there), girls were not allowed to freely mix with boys and choose their prospective husband. It was the father's responsibility. The duty of a father to find a suitable boy for girl was exemplified by King Janaka in this pastime and that humility can break barriers that might and pride cannot, is exemplified by Lord Ram. Again, another aspect of Maryada Purushottam in this pastime. The breaking of the bow was to break the pride of Parasuram, as you may know.

Regarding praying to Sea God to help in building the bridge, that is also a mundane act - if He was trying to show He is God, what was the need to pray. Did He not know what benediction Nal and Neel had? There are some versions of the scripture which state that He raised His bow on the sea in anger, when the water became turbulent and Sea God appeared, praying to the lord. This again shows - bhaya binu hoye na priti - there is no love without fear. This pastime indicates that for some people, one has to instill fear to make them follow the rules laid down in the scriptures. This is the initial stage, when one follows rules out of fear, then as a duty and finally out of love. At every stage, the lord is glorifying His devotee. Here, Nal and Neel became glorified for all times to come, by this pastime. Do we even know the names of all the monkeys in the army, but we know and remember the names of Nal & Neel. 

Regarding Sugriva, there are a lot of pastimes. Lord Ram displayed His human part by making Sugriva wear a garland at the time of fight, so as to distinguish between Sugriva and Bali. It is mentioned in scriptures that after Sugriva got back his kingdom and wife, he forgot his promise and disappeared for some months. He had to be reminded of his promise. Lord waited patiently, another quality of Maryada Purushottam. 

Haribol,

Your servant,

Radha Rasamayi DD

Hare Krishna mataji,

PAMHO.

I have a few justification regarding the below  points:

1. Lord Rama paid His obeisance to Siva's bow. That is because that bow is not an ordinary one. It was Lord Shiva's bow who is a very dignified person. Even Lord Krishna washed the feet of Narada when the latter came to meet the former in Dwarika even though Narada is a servant of Krishna. Such acts are should be performed by all that is why  Lord Rama and Lord Krishna set the examples even though Their pastimes were contrasting.

2. Lord Rama prayed to Samudra deva despite being the God. Yes this act was His maryada purushottama act. But His act of boiling the sea water just by raising His eye brows can't be done by any ordinary person. Through this act, He showed the proof to all that He is not an ordinary man. He has got tremendous potentials beyond common man.

3. Regarding Rama giving Sugriva a garland to distinguish from Vali, this can be viewed from another angle. Here Lord conveyed the message "Be My friend, then I myself will pay respect to you by offering My garland". But Lord Rama kicking the mountain like skeletons of Dunduvi sevelal yojanas away definitely doesn't come under the act of Maryada purushottam.

In fact all the incarnations of Lord gave the proofs through which we can identify They are God, not ordinary beings. All the incarnations sent out the messages that "Without seeing the proofs, don't act anyone God". Srila Prabhupada always demanded proofs from the self proclaimed Gods citing the above incidents displayed by different incarnations of Lord Vishnu.

YS Ratnadeep.

Sri guru, gauranga jayati

Actually there is no contradiction, u have taken everything in literal sense.
The bg7.7 literally means krsna is the absolute autocrat, no one is superior to him. Even in CC it is said "ekale ishvara krsna ara saba brtya" - krsna alone is supreme lord and ALL others are His servants. This idea of his supremacy has been philosophically established in many writings of our acharyas.never can a jiva be equated to or raised above the position of Godhead in ontological or constitutional sense - it will be like a ray of sun acquiring the magnitude of the sun itself,or even greater than the sun.such a claim is illogical. The finite can never situate himself on a position higher than an infinite entity. It is not even possible for the finite to come in contact with the infinite autocrat on his own, then wat to speak of making Him inferior to us, of controlling him,or dictating Him . This is the position of Godhead and it is explained lucidly in the gita. The visva rupa, his opulences, his all pervasiveness, his unlimitedness, etc.. but he doesn't speak about his personal life there.

In the bhagavata we get a picture into it. We see him there not as a very bossy master but that he is sweet. He is with many others , all his servants playing different roles in different relationship with him for his pleasure.

Now as I said the finite jiva can't catch the infinite on his whims or strength.{brahma sanhita says - panth as tu koti sata vatsara sampragamyo .... 'even with the speed of mind ,given millions of years, the best of sages can't reach the tip of his toe'} such is the caliber of His person. Yet the Lord is not interested in displaying His majesty and omnipotence so much so that He remains inaccessible to us.
Therefore, because He loves us, and we are a part of His family, wants us also to join him in his playfully pastimes. So he comes to this world to make himself accessible to us as incarnation and deities.
Fr example:- if a kid wants to touch the head of an elephant, it is not possible even if the kid grows up. Only wen the elephant out of his own will sits down, the kid can touch it's head.

Same way only wen He is pleased with us, he will give us his access, he will appoint us in his service wherever he sees us fit. So we should not be proud to claim that I have the right to deal with the Lord as his superior. I can control him, he has become my puppet.
No ! Even when the elephant has sat down ,and the kid is able to play with it, the elephant has not become inferior to the child,or that the child has become greater than the elephant, it is still as powerful and capable as ever..

Now if all this is true then what about the verse SB 9.4.63?
Similar to bg 7.7 there is another verse SB1.1.1 which says He is" fully Independent(svarat)" now does there is contradictory statements in this verses, one says he is not Independent, other says he is fully Independent. Similar things u will also find in isopanisad, tad ejati, tad naijati , tad dure,tad va antike... - He walks , nd also doesn't walk, he is near as well as far away...

Now is this a contradiction? NO ! It is a paradox. Contradiction means opposite statements that don't make sense. Paradox means opposite seeming statements that makes sense at a deeper level.

Now the words, "control, independence, power" that u have used is different from what is understood and interpreted by our experience of these terms in this objective world.

They have a different nature and characteristics in the subjective realm. Here , control can be indicative of bossing tendency, exploiting, showing our power, dominating, using someone etc.. it doesn't give a sweet feeling. Same goes to being non Independent or being powerless wrt someone. It is of a lower character.

But the control, dependency and powerlessness of krsna as depicted in that verse and the example u hav given can be understood lik this..,
If a honeybee finds a very fragrant and attractive flower, it sits in it and drinks the nectar from it, it becomes intoxicated, mad, it's loses control of itself, howering hither and thither.
Even if someone drinks, he also loses control of himself, the drinks is so nice that the drunkard will become like a powerless man, not even walking steadily.the intoxicating effect of the liquor captures and controls the drunkard. He is not Independent or free, as the effect of the liquor or nectar has overtaken him.
Here I have used the words control, powerless, devoid of freedom etc,, now the liquor or the nectar is not actively and dynamically controlling the drinker, it is passive. The drink doesn't desire to control him, nor dominate him or capture him. But the very essence or the content of the drink is so nice that such an effect as losing control etc takes place.

Same way the devotees don't become superior to krsna in any way as to control him. But the very nature of krsna prema in the heart of the devotee is so relishable that krsna becomes maddened by it, he gives himself to that devotee because of that selfless love. So he becomes controlled by premi bhaktas in this sense. This krsna prema is personified in radharani. We by her grace get particles of that love in our heart which makes krsna intrested in us. Therefore the stage of prema is called as krsna akarsini. Nothing can attract Him other than this.

So the devotees who are even in vatsalya rasa etc are playing the role of superiors to krsna , but there is no calculation, or thought in them that I am superior to god or krsna. In that position they are still servant performing different service in a different intensity. Krsna is supreme lord no matter what, yet in order to relish pastimes, he has to forget his godhood. So by his pastime potency he arranges to make himself and his associate to be non cognizant of his godhood and thus he deals with them as an ordinary human being. This is called maduratva sweetness, when the infinite absolute truth comes so close to the finite entity that it appears as though He is one of them, this is human like pastime. So it is sweet.

When a person is very rich, beautiful, powerful and majestic, it is difficult to have close dealings with him. As a servant one can tend his needs from a good distance, but due to superiority and inferiority complex he can't serve more intimately with master. But a friend of such a person can serve him more intimately, they can feel free to express themselves as there is equality and confidence in friendship. But evn more is a parental relationship, where one can fully depend on parents , one can disclose more confidential issues eg, like any deficiency or issues with the internal parts of the body and other private matters. In this way it goes, more intimacy , more service that can deeply satisfy krsnAs heart. Thus the lovers of krsna are topmost, their love for him is so selfless that it can fully satisfy krsna. Krsna becomes pleased when his friends defeat him in play battles, he likes being chased and punished by elderly gopi as he steels in their homes, he enjoys the accusations and teasing of the gopis. Some times he decorates their anklets, sometimes he wipes the sweat in their faces as they get tired. In this way He enjoys doing all this, but this is the madness of prema not the control that u have conceived of in those examples. And we should understand that only this prema can control Him, because it comes from radharani. And that too not fully, only radharani has full love and control over krsna, she is also nondifferent from him. Krsna left all the gopis when he saw that they felt proud that krsna has become controlled by my love. He abandoned all the gopis just for one- radha.

Therefore we must never have this kind of attitude of control towards krsna. It is unfavorable for devotion. We should want that he will use me for anything he wants. Dedication.
Once wen saraswati thakur was having darshan of deities, a disciple said the doors are so narrow that v can't properly see the deity. Thakur replied ,we don't want to enjoy seeing krsna, making Him object of my vision. Rather we want to be objects of His vision, His enjoyment.we want to engage in such way that krsna wants to see us. This should be the proper attitude of a servant.


So far I have shared what I hav heard from my superiors , if my words are harsh, do forgive me.

Hare krsna,

Devotional service of a person who does not expect anything in return consider to be pure and its most pleasing for Lord, but those who desire something in return are no better then traders. 

Impersonal Brahman is not different from the supreme Lord, therefore one should not be offensive  to those on impersonal path, because becoming the offender  of the same Absolute Truth, God. :

.

SB 4.9.16 — My dear Lord, in Your impersonal manifestation of Brahman there are always two opposing elements — knowledge and ignorance. Your multi-energies are continually manifest, but the impersonal Brahman, which is undivided, original, changeless, unlimited and blissful, is the cause of the material manifestation. Because You are the same impersonal Brahman, I offer my respectful obeisances unto You.

.

 

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