Hare Krishna! Jai Lord Chaitanya Prabhu! May all of the devotees reading this find peace and bliss in their journey. I am your humble servant.
Please forgive me for not being very clear on a certain subject. I have only been practicing Krishna Consciousness for a little over a month. I have not finished reading the Bhagavad-Gita As it Is, but I came across a few verses in chapter twelve, particularly verse 5, in which Prahupada explains in his translation that any material used to represent the Lord is not actually material. This raises a question for me. As a painter, and as one who is currently working on a painting of RadhaKrishna, is it believed in this tradition that Krishna is working through me? Is krishna always working through me when I am engaged in any act of devotional service? That skill I express through artistic creativity, is that Krishna?
This brings me to another question: what is the difference between imagination and Krishna speaking to me? If I tell the wrong people that I see Krishna when I close my eyes and am in japa meditation, they might claim "it's just my imagination." I think the point I'm trying to get to is, Is it really Krishna or just my imagination. When my so-called imagination is at work, is that Krishna at work, channeling through me?
I hope my dear devotees do not find this topic difficult to follow.
I am grateful for your time.
It is important to read the works of the six goswamis in this regard. Initially all such things are the work of Mahamaya or sometimes Yogmaya which delude a sincere sadhaka. Its good that you are getting these experiences but dont get carried away by it. The process of attainment of Love of God is very scientific and there is no scope of illusion or speculation. I can recommend a book called "Follow Rupa-Raghunatha" which is available at select ISKCON centers
Hare Krsna Melissa Mataji,
After reading your post, what I can understand is that you can see Krsna in your imagination because you are trying to paint Radha Krsna. If you cannot imagine what they look like, how will you bring it out in paint? Thats why there is an image in your mind, which you will try to replicate in your paint.
Once your painting is complete, it would be a good idea to show it to a senior devotee in your local ISKCON temple, so taht he can verify it from shastric point of view. This will reinforce your faith. The initial devotees of Srila Prabhupada would run all their paintings past SP so that what they paint is as per shastra. Since you have still not read all the relevant scriptures which give description of their lordships, what to speak of mastering them, it would be better to show someone.
Regarding how to distinguish whether the supersoul within is directing us or whether we are imagining things, it will take some time, but you will be able to figure it out, mostly after the event. It happens a lot of times, we are kind of driven to a particular option. Only after the event, when we realise taht what we thought and acted as if possessed is the right thing to have done and it solved a lot of matters, then we will realise that it was the supersoul guiding us from within. Once it happens with you a couple of times, you will be able to discern yourself.
One of the names of Krsna is Chaliya - trickster - meaning He enjoys tricking His devotees. Like how we like to play with the emotions of our beloved, that same way the lord wants to play with our emotions to see how strong is our resolve or desire and sometimes gives us something or fulfills some desire only after a lot of struggle or pining for it. There is so much rasa in that also. He will take us through all the emotions as and when we surrender to Him. The journey is as beautiful as the destination.
To Krishna Dasi mataji,
Dandvats. Its so nice you have so many stories of pure devotees. It is always a pleasure to read.
I have also heard of one elderly couple in Jaipur. The lady has one laddu gopal and she takes care like her child. She covers her Lala with shawls, sweaters in winters and keeps on increasing and decreasing the number of woolens as per the time of day. Actually, her Lala is so warm to touch, it is difficult to believe He is in metal (ashtadhaatu) form.
Please continue to shower nectar of devotees on us.
It is very good you are realizing the power of surrender. Krsna Himself says in Bhagavad Gita that as a person surrenders unto Him, He rewards them accordingly.
If we are holding something back while surrendering then surrender is not complete.
Complete surrender like you said is only possible through the causeless mercy of Krsna.
This happens when we realize our helplessness, then, there is no false ego.
As a result it gets reinforced.
So we remain as we are.
If however one is a good listener then he or she can discern anything.
Imagination is a function of the mind. The mind is subtle, the intelligence even more so and false ego is still more subtle.
These three and the five gross elements are the separated energy of Krsna.
Now to answer the second part of your question which is relevant to everyone. Is it Krsna or your imagination?
Most people are lost in a constant internal dialogue. Which is one part of the mind speaking to another part.
All religions aim at one thing only: how to break the constant dialogue within. Unless words fall in the silence within you it is very difficult to be a good listenter.
Whether we call it Yoga or meditation or repetition of mantra, the aim is to break the constant internal flow of words.
For those who have mastered the art of listening there is nothing more to know.
Thank you Zola! Your response and time is much appreciated. However, I am still unclear on the subject. So in simplicity, is the imagination the false ego?
Krsna can work through you to the extent you allow Krsna to work through you!
The impediment or the obstacle is the false ego of the conditioned soul. It has been explained on your way to the twelfth chapter.
As for imagination, it is there in the beginning and when we read more about Krsna from Bhagavad Gita and Srimad Bhagavatam, imagination, is substituted by reality which can manifest in your paintings.
I am too uneducated to guide you into anything, but could not stop writing a few lines after I read your post.
You are so lucky my dear Krishna devotee that you are able to paint RadhaKrishna. I never got that oppurtunity...
The Lord is so merciful that he is showering his mercy on us. If you are able to see /feel krishna ji when you are into his devotion, it is only by the grace of the Supreme Lord. Some people think they are doing this sadhana, that sadhana. But the ultimate truth is that we are able to do sadhana only by the will of the Lord and only because he wants and permits us to do. It is not we who are surrendering to the Lord, but it is Krishna ji who chooses which one of us will be able to surrender to Him. And I must say, you are one of the lucky ones.
Krishna ji is very merciful to his devotees, he will not be hurt (for some reason) if we are able to do less devotional service, but He does not like it when we doubt his mercy. " Is it really Krishna or just my imagination." - That is Him, Him and Him. and you are able to see Him because he wants you to.
What matters to the Lord is your sentiments towards Him and not on how long you have been into devotion, how many rounds you chant or how much have you read about Him. The love you have for Him is the most important thing.
" Is it really Krishna or just my imagination." - On this I will just narrate a small true story of a devotee -an uneducated old lady from a village of India.
This devotee had a child Krishna's idol at home - she used to take care of the little Krishna like her own child - do all sorts of sewa like waking Him, food offering, bathing, singing, making Him sleep etc. The lady was growing old, she was losing her physical strength. So her daughter-in-law started taking of the responsibilities of the Sewa - one day by mistake - little Krishnas idol fell from her hand. She picked up and told her old and sick mother in law that by mistake Krishna fell from her hand.
The poor old lady went into a panic and got very worried that Krishna must have been hurt. The family members all gathered around her and assured her that her Krishna is fine. They showed her that all his body parts were fine and ok. but the lady was inconsoleable. She said what if there is some internal injury. The family members knew that after all its an idol and he will not be hurt.
But who can convince the old uneducated devotee, who was crying "my child is hurt and i have no one who can call a doctor."
She could not stop weeping and tears kept on rolling frm her eyes "please someone call a doctor, only if a doctor says that my child is fine, then only i will know that my child is fine." She stopped eating and drinking - urged her sons to bring a doctor. The family members knew its her imagination - as many will know. They tried to convince their mother but who could talk logic with an old stubborn woman.
Everyone was fed up with her imagination.
The whole day passed....finally her son went to doctor and requested him to come to her home and check a patient. The doctor asked about the patient - the son replied - an idol. The educated doctor asked him not to waste his time and leave. The son requested the doctor to take all the money he wants and come to his home and convince his mother that the idol of Krishna is fine. The doctor refused to attend such a drama.
The son went to the second doctor, same experience. Then to the third one - same experience. He kept on going from one hospital to the other for the sake of his mother.
Lastly, he came across a kind doctor who was convinced to come with him and say the old lady that "her child is fine".
The doctor met the lady who was still crying desparately for Krishnas welfare. The poor lady with tears rolling down her cheeks said "oh doctor ji, u have come? thank god, please come and check my LALA (kid), he is hurt, i know he must be hurt, please check and assure me whether he is fine"
The doctor was a kind man. He took the idol of Krishna and checked his pulse and said "yes mother, your Lala is fine."
The lady was surprised, "aree, you are a doctor, but i am not a fool, please do not try to fool me, where have u checked him?, why dont u take out the instrument which you put in ur ear and you check by putting it on the chest of your patients. you check my LALA with that, then only I will knowm he is alright"
The doctor said that mother I swear your LALA is fine.
But who could convince her.
The doctor was a matured man, he thought if doing that convinces and soothes the lady, there is no harm in doing so. He smilingly said 'ok mother , I wll check your LALA'
He took out his stethoscope and put it in his ears and took LALA in his palm and put the gadget on his chest assuringly and smilingly.
The doctor trembled as if electric current ran through his body. He decided to check again and put the gadget on LALAs chest again, this time he froze for a while as he heard a loud heart beat by his machine. He could feel the current and went on panic. He checked again - the pulse was very loud and clear. The stethoscope fell from his hands and he out of fear put LALA back into the hands of the old lady.
Kept whispering "Your child is fine, your child is fine" and that moment he ran to the railway station and took a ticket to Vrindavan and spent the rest of his life there at the feet of Lord Krishna.
Sweet Krishna Dasi! There are not enough words even in the romantic language to express my gratitude to you. Your story gave me chills, smiles and tears. Overall, you helped me to make sense of most of it. Your precious time that was used to guide me is so very appreciated. I will share your story about the elder devotee and her LALA again and again. I can truly relate since so many people, including myself, have accused me of putting too much energy into certain material objects such as dolls.
:) If you have a facebook account, you can have a glimpse of our Ladoo Gopal jis (Krishna ji) pictures in the below link.