for Dandavats.com on Feb. 4, 2011
Is this a ghost story? It could be if we consider how many of us are nitya-baddha wandering spirits searching for a permanently settled situation. But now we have human occupancy we still like to be scared and awed by graveyard tales. Since the word human sounds better than subtle body, this could be described as a subtle human saga with a divine twist.
How many famous people have read Bhagavad-Gita, or have endorsed and appreciated our ISKCON, but have now passed on to who knows where? Though their remains lie underground covered by fancy tombstones, their souls probably have new human tenancy. Think of the famous names that had enlightening words to say about Bhagavad-Gita, which are printed in Srila Prabhupada’s books. Not all of them were godly men.
Think also of someone like Nelson Mandela who recently made headlines with his ailing health. How he had endorsed ISKCON by attending some of our large functions, some of which were filmed for posterity. These favorable incidents will no doubt be used in the future to tell people how a great man joined with us in chanting Hare Krishna and dancing. But sooner or later he too will receive a hero’s burial.
The question is, would all these cited material greats benefit spiritually, if now or in the future some people turned to Krishna consciousness or read Bhagavad-Gita As It Is, due to being inspired by their words and endorsements? In other words, would their possible influence to make people favorable to Krishna consciousness be an act of preaching from beyond their burial places, or even beyond their next human bodily occupancies?
If their previous pre-grave bodily times are preaching into the future as acts of Bhakti yoga, then it is obviously unknown to them. Because it is unknown then it must have ajnata-sukrti connections. That is unintentional performance of Bhakti yoga by kirtanam, and other actions.
The usual spooky stories of legends from beyond the grave are, in this case, possibly testing the potential and power of Bhakti yoga to act in a similar way. It shouldn’t be too difficult to comprehend. Our Sriman George Harrison encouraged many people to become devotees of Lord Krishna while living, and will continue to do the same into the future after his passing. Because he received a vaisnava farewell ceremony, we could say that he continues to inspire from
beyond the ashes.
Then what of our exalted acaryas who are entombed within samadhis? They not only inspire and preach from beyond the samadhi, but continue to have a presence. And that presence can manifest anywhere or in any sincere devotional heart. How so? Because there are no limitations for liberated souls, and Sri Bhakti Devi also does not allow her Bhakti yoga influence to be confined to small thinking.
Sometimes our institutional rational can cause us to think that Krishna consciousness only happens within our borders of influence. This somehow does not fit in with the notion of eternality. Anything that is eternal, and this includes Bhakti yoga, also has no limitation. And we as mortal humans who are tormented by past, present and future can somehow grasp the elixir of eternality. Once this happens the thinking power expands beyond graves and ashes.
Then there will be little doubting of the power of bhakti to be performed from wherever She wishes to be, at any time or place, or even from a previous life. Can she preach through non-devotee materially great people? Of course she can… even if they are dead and gone? Why not! If one were to read the Gita Mahatmya there are many stories of individuals who obtained infinite benefits in the most unlikely places and from beyond the grave or ashes, thanks to the wonderful power of Sri Bhagavad-Gita.
For many people it is difficult to imagine a book like Bhagavad-Gita As It Is to be the words of God, or Lord Krishna. Not just words, but if any part of Krishna’s transcendental body can do the bidding of any other part, then it is He Himself manifest through the medium of paper, e-books, computer screens and the rest.
If we ourselves feel purified and inspired by the words of Bhagavad-Gita As It Is, whichever way we came to this fortunate deed, thanks to Srila Prabhupada, then why should we doubt the ability of materially great people to inspire others in the future to also read the same eternal message that belongs neither to the past, present or future, but for all time.