If you love Krishna, you can love everybody. If you do not love Krishna, you cannot love anybody.- His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Founder-Achayya of International Society for Krishna Cosnciousness (ISKCON)
The news of recent suicide by the Bollywood star, Sushant Singh Rajput has once again raised the issue of the diabolical existence of the devil named favouritism that had been hiding agelong under the carpet of the prowess of a group of influential people in the film industry who being themselves influenced by selfish motives exercise their authority to decide who should pass through fame’s gateway and who like a garbage should be thrown away. Not just in film industry, but the disease of favouritism has pervaded all sectors, starting from politics to religion and the innocent guys possessing genuine talents, being helplessly trampled under the formidable strides of this devil, choose death as a permanent release from the painful burden of depression and hopelessness.
Protests are marching forth to defy this devil of favouritism but before its force and might, they are like insignificant twigs and the devil seems to be just unstoppable and invincible. At such a critical juncture, super- intelligent people take shelter in ancient Vedic scriptures like Bhagavad Gita and Srimad Bhagavatam and seek their guidance as the wisdom they provide is not for a particular time, place or situation but has stood the test of time and has proved to be the ultimate solution of all kinds of problems, how mighty they may seem. They may be mighty but the Supreme Lord is omnipotent. The Vedas means the word of God and there is no difference between the Supreme Lord and His words and instructions. Both are equally potent or rather omnipotent and it is the Supreme Lord’s instruction that can ultimately lead the devil of favouritism to its destruction. Let’s see how-
Knowing the root of the problem
According to Srimad Bhagavatam which is the foremost of all vedic scriptures, the breeding ground of this disease of favouritism is excessive attachment to ‘dehapatya kalatradishu’ (Srimad Bhagavatam 2.1.4). Four things are here- deha means body, apatya means children, kalatra means wife and adishu means everything in relation to them. We are now under the grip of Maya that has cast has a spell on us. Maya in sanskrit means illusion and the greatest form of illusion that has wholly enveloped our consciousness is the consideration we are beings made of blood, flesh and bones. But the light of Vedic wisdom dispels the darkness of this ignorance and teaches us ‘aham bramha sami’ or we are in reality spirit souls and this body is like a garment. The Bhagavad Gita (2.22) says in this regard-
vasamsi jirnani yatha vihaya
navani grhnati naro 'parani
tatha sarirani vihaya jirnany
anyani samyati navani dehi
(As a person puts on new garments, giving up old ones, similarly, the soul accepts new material bodies, giving up the old and useless ones).
So the first rung of the ladder of illusion where we step is the rung of misconception that ‘I am this body’. Once, we do that, we step on further rungs which are the bodily relations we build based on this fundamental misconception and begin to consider ‘My son’, ‘My wife’ and ‘My relatives’, not realizing that they are simply spirit souls dressed in different bodies. Influence of this material consciousness of ‘I’ and ‘Mine’ is the mother of the devil of favouritism. This mother-son relationship between this material consciousness and favoritism is very strong. To win the battle against favouritism, we should first kill its mother i.e. we should embrace the knowledge of the Vedas and try our best to transcend this bodily consciousness and put our foot on the threshold of spiritual consciousness.
Developing equal vision
Spiritual consciousness doesn’t just end in knowing that I’m not this body but spirit soul but it actually means transcending illusory, temporary bodily relations and understanding the real and eternal relation that we, spirit souls have with the Supreme Soul. In Bhagavad Gita (15.7), Krishna says-
(The living entities in this conditioned world are My eternal, fragmental parts).
We as spirit souls are eternal, inseparable parts of Krishna who resides in our heart as the Supreme Soul. In the heart resides the individual soul or jivatma (which knows only the affairs of the particular body in which it resides) and the Supreme Soul or the Paramatma (who knows the affairs of all bodies as He resides in everyone’s heart and thus He is the superknower). Krishna introduces Himself as Paramatma or the Supreme Soul when He says in Bhagavad Gita (13.3) -
ksetra-jnam capi mam viddhi
yat taj jnanam matam mama
(O scion of Bharata, you should understand that I am also the KNOWER IN ALL BODIES, and to understand this body and its owner is called knowledge. That is My opinion).
So a truly learned person imbued with proper spiritual consciousness will never make many discrimination based on the illusory belief that ‘he is my son’, ‘she is my wife’ etc. and give undue advantages to them. Disregarding the bodily identity, he sees everybody’s heart as a most auspicious place where he/she as a spirit soul is living in constant association with Krishna, the Supreme Soul. Knowing this, he casts away all bodily differences and gains this firm conviction that everybody is ultimately related to Krishna spiritually and everybody ultimately belongs to Him as His inseparable part and parcel. He begins to consider himself as well as every living being as a part of Krishna’s family where Krishna is the Supreme head and all are His loving children, so intimately related to Him for eternity. And then only, the perimeter of his consideration of ‘own men’ which so long included his wife, children and relatives begins to increase and include everybody, enclosing every living being within four sides of equal vision, respect, friendship and love. Such a person is called sage. A sage is not one with big beards and matted locks. Krishna reveals the true identity of a sage in Bhagavad Gita (5.18)-
brahmane gavi hastini
suni caiva sva-pake ca
(The humble sage, by virtue of true knowledge, sees with EQUAL VISION a learned and gentle brahmana, a cow, an elephant, a dog and a dog-eater [outcaste]).
Such humble sages imbued with spiritual consciousness or more appropriately, Krishna Consciousness, are true warriors in the battle against the devil named favouritism.
Bhakti yoga- the final nail in the coffin of favouritism
So we have already spoken about how to kill bodily consciousness or material consciousness which is the mother of favouritism. Then we have discussed about how to develop equal vision which is like deadliest blow on the mighty legs of favouritism and has left it tottering. And now comes the time of its complete annihilation through the adoption of the process of Bhakti-yoga. We have understood that the individual soul is intimately connected to Krishna, the Supreme Soul and there is an eternal loving relationship between the individual soul and Supreme Soul which is lying dormant. Bhakti-yoga is the process of reviving that loving relationship.
True love means submitting to the likes of the beloved and never be the cause of disappointment for the beloved. So loving Krishna means moulding one’s life in accordance with Krishna likes. In Bhagavd Gita (16.1-3), Krishna reveals the twenty-six qualities which He prefers to see in His lover and Bhakti-yoga means developing these qualities to give pleasure to Krishna. Among those twenty-six qualities, one quality, worth-mentioning in the context of this article is ‘adroho’ or free from envy. The practice of giving immoderate advantages to the members of one’s own family or one’s favourites while on the other hand, being envious of one and grounding down his/her spirit who possesses real talent but is not in the list of one’s favourites, is a form of extended selfishness. But while trying to please Krishna, we become determined to dispose of those qualities which displease Him and one such quality that displeases Him most is envy. In the process of loving Krishna, we will see that we are gradually coming out from the narrow domain of our selfishness and becoming equally disposed to everyone. Thus, by loving Krishna, we gradually develop all saintly qualities and are actually contributing to the building of a peaceful society where peace and justice reign. The Vedic aphorism rightly says, ‘yasmin tushte jagat tushtam’ or when Krishna is pleased, the whole world is pleased. Thus, we can see that the best weapon for killing favourtism is the divine process of becoming Krishna’s favourite.
In the end, it can be well concluded that Krishna Consciousness is the only way out from the cavernous mouth of favouritism and the study of our Vedic scriptures, especially Bhagavad Gita and Srimad Bhagavatam must be made compulsory in every alma mater if we are actually craving for living in a peaceful world filled with saintly personalities or devotees of Krishna so that the children and the youth can become storehouses of all good qualities and lead this world to hope and justice in future. The divine wisdom of Gita and other Vedic scriptures must spread like wildfire in which all evils will be scorched out of existence. Protests and draconian laws will be ineffective unless the mindset of the people is changed and that mindset can only be changed by giving this mind to Krishna and always remembering Him. Once the mind chooses Krishna as its favourite, then it will have no room for any desires that dissatisfies Krishna. Let us all heartily embrace the path of Bhakti-yoga and take our foremost step in making the devilish favouritism bite the dust by putting our firmest conviction in these words of Srimad Bhagavatam (5.18.12)-
yasyasti bhaktir bhagavaty akinchana
sarvair gunais tatra samasate surah
harav abhaktasya kuto mahad-guna
manorathenasati dhavato bahih
One who has UNFLINCHING DEVOTION unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead has ALL THE GODLY QUALITIES, and contrarily one who is not a devotee of the Lord is hovering in the darkness of mental speculation and thus is engaged in material impermanence.