Eternal Orbit

Srila Prabhupada’s morning Caitanya-caritamrta class on January 1st heralded a new year, and in it he readjusted my entire concept of time. He explained, “Just after twenty-four hours, the time will again be 12 o’clock. Similarly, this is true with Krsna’s lila. Exactly after so many millions of years, His lila will again be seen on this planet.”

I already knew that Krsna had appeared on Earth five thousand years ago, but now, in his usual charming Indian accent and grammar, Prabhupada explained, “Krsna is born at the prison house of Kamsa—to Vasudeva, His father, and Devaki, His mother. Immediately , as soon as the child is born, in the next universe, there is birth. It is the very same thing. Just like now it is a quarter to eight. Then, immediately after that, you’ll find that in some other
place it will be a quarter to eight. A quarter to eight you cannot change. Somewhere it must be a quarter to eight. This is called nitya-lila.”

Prabhupada recited the verses, first in Bengali and then in English, and what had been locked up in the treasure chest of India’s ancient culture was now coming to the garbage-strewn streets of the Lower East Side. How unlikely, and how undeniable at the same time. Though not equipped to respond properly in my intelligence or heart, I was overwhelmed by even a drop of the magnitude of what Prabhupada was revealing.

“How nicely Caitanya Mahaprabhu has described this,” Prabhupada continued. “Krsna-lila is always going on like that. We observe Krsna’s birth, Janmastami. But that Janmastami is going on every moment as Krsna’s nityalila.”

Prabhupada then explained that Krsna remained on earth for 125 years, and, “within these 125 years, all the pastimes that Krsna displayed during His presence—all those are going on in each and every universe.”

He then asked us, “You just divide that 125 years into seconds or less than seconds. What it is? Of course, I do not know. But if you divide in that way, you can begin to calculate how many universes are there. How many seconds are there in one hour?”

After a bit of calculation and different devotees calling out different numbers, Gargamuni finally called out, “3,600.”

“3,600 seconds in one hour,” Prabhupada said with a laugh. “Then how many seconds are in 24 hours? Just see.”

Someone requested a pencil and paper to do the calculations, but Prabhupada laughed, “No, no. Just imagine that 3,600 seconds are in one hour. In one day we have got 24 hours. 3,600x24 is the number of seconds in one day. Then multiply that by 30. That means one month. Then multiply it by 12. Then it comes to one year. Krsna stayed for 125 years, so you can calculate accordingly. At least you can imagine how many universes Krsna remained in at one time.”

My mind was already boggled, and then I overheard Hayagriva whisper to the person next to him, “A few minutes ago Swamiji said less than seconds. That means there are really even more universes that Krsna goes to. Swamiji was just making it easy for us to calculate—because at least we know about seconds.”

“God’s creation is wonderful,” Prabhupada concluded. “Everything is unlimited. He’s unlimited, His creation is unlimited, His pastimes are unlimited, His forms are unlimited, His incarnations are unlimited— everything. Just see. Even on your own body. Can you count how many hairs are on your body and head? They are unlim ited. I claim, ‘This is my body,’ but I do not know how many hairs are there. If you ask Krsna, however, He’ll tell you.”

Addressing Hayagriva by his former name, Prabhupada said, “Especially Howard cannot say how many hairs are there.” We all laughed because Hayagriva had a full beard and long, thick hair. Chuckling, Prabhupada repeated, “Who can say? Howard cannot say.”

We again laughed with Prabhupada, and, feeling exhilarated with a sense of freedom just by being able to think in these broad ways, I graded this class as my favorite one so far.

I had already experienced an inexplicable happiness despite my newness in Krsna consciousness, and without any apparent qualification on my part—just from hearing the great news about Krsna’s greatness. That evening at my parent’s house a doubt came to me regarding the logic of Krsna’s unlimited powers, but the next morning, as if Prabhupada had read my mind, and perhaps the minds of others in the room, he dispelled my confusion. He said, “As far as the forms of Krsna are concerned, they’re also unlimited. There is a system of logic called sakha-candra logic. What is that? The moon at night is far, far away, but a person points out that we can see the moon through the branches of the tree. There is a location, and through that location one can see the moon. Similarly, although no human being can describe krsna's lila and Krsna’s forms, still, as far as possible we can do it. Lord Caitanya explains, this sakha-candra logic. Although this branch of the tree is far away from the moon, we can still see the moon by viewing it through the branches.”

Srila Prabhupada concluded that whether we understood what he had said or not, if we would just hear submissively, we would eventually understand everything about Krsna—because Krsna would reveal Himself to us. It doesn't matter what our material qualifications or disqualifications are.

I was a nineteen years old teenager, I had just given up meat, fish and eggs three months earlier, I still looked just like a Lower Eastside hippy, and I was constantly besieged, plagued, and beaten by what Prabhupada and the predecessor teachers of Krsna consciousness called the six whips—lust, anger, greed, pride, illusion, and envy. However, I was determined to continue hearing.

Later that evening, I again took the train to my parent’s house in the relatively rural Bronx. In Manhattan and the Lower East Side I practically only saw buildings or grocery stores, but my parents’ neighborhood was full of private houses—and all the streets were lined with trees. The moon was up and I saw it as though it were coming through the leafless branches. It was shimmering, and its shooting rays sometimes overlapped the branches, as though it was
really within the tree, behind some branches and in front of others. I
wondered whether nature did these things deliberately, just to help us understand Krsna.

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Copyright 2001-2002 Jadurani/Syamarani dasi.
All Rights Reserved.