Monday, April 29, 2013

What Do Hare Krishnas Believe? Part 11: Free Will (1)

One of the most common questions that people have in regard to religion is, "If God is all-powerful and all-good, how come He didn't make this world perfect?"  This is a valid question.  Here's the Hare Krishna backstory on this world and why we view it as a generally miserable place, yet one that's functioning exactly the way it's supposed to.

1.   As I've stated before, because of our true identity as spirit souls who are part and parcel of God/Krsna, (a) we're as eternal as He is, and (b) He can't help but love us and want us to be happy.

2.  Thus, whatever situation is perfectly calculated to make us supremely happy is, in fact, our natural state; it always has been and always will be.  The experience of anything other than happiness constitutes a sickness from which we need curing; a bad dream from which we need to be awakened.  Happiness is our birthright, and no one else can ever take it away from us, no matter what they do to us.  An omnipotent God would of course arrange things in such a way that He could enjoy to the maximum, and as His integral parts, it's natural for us to share in His happiness.  When we're "plugged in" to that consciousness, then come what may, nothing can ever get us down.

3.  To facilitate this maximum enjoyment for the Lord and all His spiritual parts and parcels, the unlimited varieties of flawless spiritual worlds -- all free from birth, disease, old age and death, and from mundane inebrieties like lust, anger, greed, envy, etc. -- exist as eternal, indescribably beautiful playgrounds in which the Lord's irresistibly sweet and relishable pastimes unfold, sweeping us along in a never-ending current of bliss.  Each of us has an eternal home, family, and set of friends in one of these spiritual realms; we are under no obligation to leave, and most of us never do.

4.  However, since the various forms of enjoyment on the menu in the spiritual worlds are but different expressions of pure love shared between the Lord and ourselves, and since love by definition has to be a voluntary thing (programming a computer or robot with a to-do list of tasks you want done for you, and seeing that the machine faithfully carries out your orders, does not result in your feeling loved by that machine, at least not if you're in your right mind!!), so the Lord gives each of us perfect freedom to choose what we want.  The vast majority of souls are wise enough to remain fixed in their original constitutional positions as blissful servants of the Lord in various relationships.  But those of us who find ourselves entangled in this material world have become so because at some point while living in the spiritual world, we began to dwell on what it would be like to be Krsna (or whichever form of the Lord we were serving) -- to be the most popular, the cynosure of all eyes, the one whom everyone else loves, adores, worships, and solicits the happiness of.  Or we might have conceived the desire to become the selfish enjoyer of some specific type of pleasure rather than the supplier of that pleasure to the Lord.  Somehow or other -- to some extent or other, we permitted ourselves to become infected with the unhealthy desire to take His place, to enjoy His position, rather than remain in the subordinate / supportive position that's natural and healthy for us, that allows us to feel happy, fulfilled and successful. 

5.  After we chose to allow this unhealthy desire to grow within us, we were no longer a good fit in the spiritual world, since no one else there would be inclined to humor our sick desire by serving us instead of the Supreme Lord.  Thus, in order for our desire to have any chance of being fulfilled, there was no choice but for us to come here, to the material world, which is the place where we're free to try our best to convince others to adore and worship us.  In fact, since as mentioned above the Lord really wants us to be happy, He provides each of us with the best possible arrangement in the material world to start out with: the opportunity to play the part of Brahma, which is as Supreme-God-like a position as we jiva souls are capable of. 

6.  After our experience of playing Brahma, we would have the chance to come back home to the spiritual world and never leave again ("Lesson learned, I can't find happiness that way!  I know better now!"), or to continue our sojourn in the material world, if we still felt desire to imitate the Supreme Lord. 

To be continued...