Author: Datta Swami
Sages are greater than Angels and Angels are greater than human beings. Arjuna stands for the human beings. Hanuman stands for the Angels. Gopikas stand for the sages. The test for Arjuna is in the level of human beings. The test for Hanuman is in the level of Angels. The test for Gopikas is in the level of sages. These three tests can be compared to quarterly, half yearly and final examinations, if the entire spiritual effort is compared to one year academic course.
The faith of human beings in the service of the human incarnation can stand firm, if the human incarnation is without selfishness and helps to protect the justice in the welfare of the society. Krishna proposed the war to destroy the evil Kauravas to protect the justified Pandavas. By this, the justice will be established in the society. There is no selfishness of Krishna in this war since He gets no benefit from the victory of Pandavas. These two points are made clear by Him in the Gita. The lack selfishness (Naanavaaptam Avaaptavyam…) and the establishment of justice in the society (Dharmasamsthapanarthaya…) are made clear and therefore, Arjuna participated in the service of Krishna by fighting the war. Arjuna is the best human being since he also clarified the lack of his selfishness by withdrawing himself from the war in the beginning. The normal human beings participate in the service of Lord only if their selfish ends are achieved.
The faith of Angels in the service of the human incarnation like Hanuman, Lakshmana etc., was of higher level. Rama used Hanuman in achieving His personal work to attain His wife. Thus, selfishness is present in the service of Rama. But, there is no injustice in the service to Rama since His wife was stolen by Ravana and to get back His wife is justified. Hence, the Angels are prepared to serve the Lord if the service is justified even though it is with selfishness of the Lord. In fact, Rama told Ravana that He will go back if His wife is returned. In such proposal, the establishment of justice in the society is violated since if Ravana is not killed, there will be harm to the society. Even though the social justice is sacrificed, at least there is personal justice in the proposal since Rama will get back His wife. This proposal shows selfishness of the Lord but there is no injustice in sacrificing the social justice for the sake of personal justice.
The faith of sages in the service of the human incarnation is the top most level. Krishna has lot of butter in His house and He is the richest in the village. But, He stole butter from other houses and others are poorer than Him. He ate the butter for His personal strength of His own body. This is highest selfishness. In the case of Rama, at least He is worried to protect His wife, who is other than Himself. The selfishness of Krishna is greater than the selfishness of Rama. Moreover, the highest selfishness of Krishna is blended with highest injustice since the butter of poor people is stolen by the boy of rich king of that village. Similarly, Krishna enjoyed with girls and married women in Rasakeli. This enjoyment is also highly personal and is blended with highest injustice since such loose character is the greatest sin. In these two aspects, the service to Krishna is with highest selfishness of Krishna and highest injustice. In such test, even the Angels will fail, who always oppose the sin and not to speak of the human beings. Arjuna mocked at Krishna about these two aspects in the context of protection of Gaya from Krishna. Dharma Raja refused to tell the lie since it was injustice even though Krishna requested him to tell the lie. Hanuman never mocked like that but did not worship Krishna due to these two aspects and worshipped Rama only, who was the past human incarnation. Gopikas were sages in the previous birth. In such final test, all the Gopikas did not succeed. Several Gopikas protested at the stealing of butter and complained to Yashoda. The Rasakeli was done with high secrecy since it was performed in the midnight while the entire village was in deep sleep. Only a few Gopikas succeeded in this final test. They liked and encouraged the stealing of butter. They participated in the Rasakeli with full willingness. In fact, Krishna tested them again in this aspect by saying that they should go back to their houses since it is greatest sin leading to hell. Gopikas told Him that they will die by jumping in to the river if they were refused. They did not care even the hell before the fortune obtained in pleasing the Lord.
Arjuna was given the fruit of ever lasting association of the Lord as Nara with Narayana. Hanuman was given equal status since Hanuman was made creator, ruler and destroyer of this creation. The few selected Gopikas were given the highest fruit since they were kept above the head of the Lord. The service to the Lord in the contemporary human form is only a test of the devotees according to their level. Actually, the Lord has no selfishness and does not require any pleasure from outside since there is nothing to achieve from outside as said in scripture (Aptakamasya…). The top most devotee gives top most importance to the Lord even beyond the concept of justice. The aim of following the justice is only to please Lord and justice is not greater than Lord. Lord is the protector of justice. Krishna conducted this test only in the case of Gopikas, who were sages and such test was not repeated in any case in the future life of Krishna. Service is a practical sacrifice and that alone brings the grace of Lord in reality. Knowledge and devotion are only helping agents to achieve such practical state of action. Therefore, the action (Karma Yoga) was mainly stressed in the Gita. When the Lord is born as a human being in this world, the Angels and sages also accompany Him to show the path to the humanity through their success in the tests according to their levels. The human devotees also follow the Lord and stand in their level. All these tests in various levels are for the sake of the entire humanity only.