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This is the third of a three-part series in which I cover sexuality. In the first part, I discussed the nature of perverted sexuality whose hallmark is shame. In the second part, I discussed various types of sexuality found in the Vedic texts, leading to a perfectional stage whose mark is shyness, rather than shame. In this third part, I will discuss how sexual acts in Vedic texts are mischaracterized by sexual perverts to lampoon the Vedic system and what the correct understanding is. These should ideally be read serially.

The Mechanism of Shame and Attack

Overview of the Ideology of Shame

When George Bush invaded Iraq in 2003, he wanted Iraqi oil. But he said that Iraq was building weapons of mass destruction, that Saddam Hussein was a dictator oppressing his people, and that the US was going to bring democracy and freedom to Iraq. When Europe colonized the world, it wanted the world’s resources. But it said that the colonies were barbarians being civilized by European science and religion. When Mahmud Gazni invaded the Somnath Temple, he wanted gold and jewelry in the temple. But he claimed that by destroying idols and killing idol worshippers he was performing his sacred duty.

Shame is a mechanism in which good things with others make a person feel bad. He tries to take the good things for himself. He also tries to shame those who presently possess the good things, calling them backward, uncivilized, unchaste, uncultured, undemocratic, unworthy, primitive, irreligious, and so on.

The material world is created due to the feeling of shame in a soul in relation to God. It results in the jealousy of God. Each jealous person wants to become God, but he tries to prove his Godliness by taking God-given resources and then shaming God. This is called biting the hand that feeds you. Or, digging a hole in the plate in which you are eating. The same thing is loved and hated alternately under shame.

While almost everyone in this world is suffering from shame, there are varying degrees of it. When the shame is less, a person tries to get out of the material world, which is called liberation. When the shame is more, a person tries to prove his superiority through hard work to get material success. When the shame is great, then a person tries to prove his superiority by finding flaws in the superior. The Vedic system is actually so perfect that people who follow it remain self-satisfied. One just needs to practice to know how perfect it is. Those who attack the Vedic system envy its perfection, sophistication, and depth.

This understanding is very important because the inferior person suffering from shame will never accept the superiority of a superior person unless, of course, he becomes that person. A rational explanation will not solve the problem of shame. In fact, the rational explanation will increase the shame because it proves that the attacks were false, that there is a superior understanding that refutes it, and thus the inferior person is even worse to have projected his flaws onto the superior person. Therefore, the best strategy is to ignore the inferior person and let him wallow in his shame. But this strategy doesn’t work for innocent people who are unable to respond to the attacks of the person suffering from shame.

Therefore, responses to these attacks are not meant for the attacker. We know that giving a rational response will worsen his shame and increase his attacks. They are meant for the innocent people who thus far could not respond to such attacks and were suspecting that they might even be true.

Why Shaming Focuses on Sexuality

Numerous ashamed sectarian and exclusivist groups are continuously on the prowl hunting for material in the Vedic texts using which the Vedic tradition can be shamed. However, it must be noted that:

  • They have no understanding of the Vedic process of creation and dissolution and how the soul is injected into the material world and how that soul is subsequently liberated from it.
  • They have no grasp of the different notions of space, time, causality, and motion although any viable comprehensive conception of reality is necessary to understand all other things.
  • They have no questions on the Vedic theory of atomism and logical derivation although it is impossible to explain anything in this world without some idea of atomism and logic.
  • They have no argument against the Vedic conceptions of body, mind, the unconscious, and the soul although everyone has first-person and direct experience of all these realities.
  • They have no quarrel with the Vedic theory of language, the precise system of grammar, how complex meaning is created from atomic meaning, and how language describes reality.
  • They have no squabble with the beautiful system of poetry and recitation, and the most versatile system of music and dance in the world aligned to time, place, and occasion.
  • They have nothing to say about the Vedic system of medicine, architecture, and astrology which are popular even today and have antecedents going back to before they were born.
  • They have no dispute with Vedic cosmology, realms beyond the current one, infinite universes in material creation, and the numerous realms of transcendence found in Vedic texts.
  • They have no counter to reincarnation, or the capacity to explain why different people are born different, in different societies, or with good or bad destinies, called the problem of evil.
  • They have no inquiries about the different types of yoga, mystic powers acquired by some of these, or an understanding of how material contamination is removed by such practices.
  • They have no debate with how the Vedic system sees the cosmos as a body and a body as a cosmos and this system is then used to organize a society just like a cosmos and a body.

One of the few things that opponents of the Vedic tradition obsess with in the Vedic texts is stories about sex. There are hundreds of other things in the Vedic texts. But those who focus on sex, excluding other topics, tell us a lot about themselves. They want all the “immoral” things in life that they criticize. But their inability to get sexual fulfillment drives them toward shaming those who are sexually fulfilled. Everybody has heard about the sour grapes mindset. Critics of the Vedic tradition suffer from it.

Therefore, once we understand the dynamics of shame, we must further understand the dynamics of shame that focuses on a particular area of shame. Those shaming the supposed “caste system”, which is actually rooted in the meritocracy of qualities and activities, are ashamed of their lower status in society based on their bad qualities and activities. Those shaming the supposed “polytheism”, which is actually the substitution of millions of inadequate laws and formulas with adequate persons, are ashamed of how inadequate their simple worldview is that it has to be separated from the scientific knowledge of reality. Those accusing the Vedic system of shameful sexual acts are ashamed of their sexual perversion which manifests in their simultaneous love and hate for sex. All criticisms of perfection are rooted in shame. But different criticisms are motivated by a different kind of shame within a person. The most vitriolic area of a person’s attack on perfection indicates the area of his greatest personal shame.

The post focuses on attacks based on sexual shame. Most people who try to shame others for their sexuality are secretly addicted to sex. They try to fulfill their unfulfilled sexual fantasies in an imaginary pornographic world because they cannot fulfill them in the real world. They fantasize about a heaven where porn will become a reality. But they also attack the descriptions of sex in heavenly places as immorality. They cannot make up their mind about whether heaven should fulfill their sexual fantasies or not.

The Creation of Misinterpretations

Since time immemorial, it has been said that we should not read the Vedic texts on our own. We should rather study them under the guidance of an Acharya who can tell us what everything means. This includes the understanding of sex. What is sex? Why does it exist? What does it signify? Why is celibacy prescribed? How different kinds of species are created with different types of sexuality? And so on.

People with underdeveloped brains cannot inquire into such fundamental questions. They don’t have a philosophical bent of mind. They cannot ponder deep and broad questions. They can just read about sex. The problem is that sex and philosophy are part of the same book. Philosophy precedes sex. But the underdeveloped brain skips the philosophy and jumps to sex. This stupidity was rare previously.

However, it has become very prominent at present beginning with colonial academics who started writing translations of Vedic texts with little more idea about the Vedic system than the knowledge of Sanskrit. Under Protestant theology, each man is a priest, unlike Catholics where only some men were priests. Protestants were coming from the legacy of bad Catholic priests reserving the interpretation of religious texts. When everyone became a priest under Protestant theology, they received equal rights and freedoms to interpret any religious scripture in their chosen manner. The problems of Catholic priests that led to the Protestant movement did not exist in the Vedic system. But the Protestants had already become priests. They assumed the same role while studying Vedic texts. They avoided the study of Vedic texts under Acharyas due to their assumed priesthood and freedom to freely interpret the scripture according to their whims. They encouraged everyone to stop going to the Acharyas.

Their primary motivation was denigrating the Vedic system and greater misrepresentation was a virtue rather than a vice. Bigger misrepresentations were more useful for shaming the Vedic civilization. There was absolutely no incentive for trying to get to the truth about what the text was saying. Incentives were attached to how much a translation or interpretation was useful in waging a culture war on others.

Over time, these insincere academic translations and interpretations became the norm and replaced the Vedic traditional system of education under the tutelage of an Acharya. Modern-day academics are not trying to find the truth because there is no reward for the truth. The reward is attached to the ability to wage a culture war. The more problems, incongruities, or flaws they can highlight, the better it serves their career because the study of other cultures in the West is funded by the need to wage war on them.

Foolish Indians emulate their foreign counterparts because they are paid on par with their Western counterparts if they can produce translations and interpretations that aid the war effort. One might object to the interpretations of foreigners as insincere. But what would you do if it was produced by an Indian? Western interests have habitually subverted the Vedic tradition by using Indians as useful idiots working against their own civilization. Therefore, when the whole society is involved in that same endeavor, then we cannot blame only one person for it. We have to rely on the Acharya system.

Hidden Causes of Cultural Shame

Any system of knowledge should give us a method to verify its claims. This verification method is called epistemology. But most religions don’t have any epistemology. Even those cultures that have created supposedly scientific methods of knowledge keep changing their claims. If they had an epistemology, they would not have to do that. But their epistemology is trial and error. Success is defined not as truth but as whatever gets you more wealth and power. Their scriptures are known to have been doctored hundreds of times by vested political interests. They abhor any culture that asserts any truth. Not making any truth claim is their definition of humility. If you say “it may be this or it may be that” then you will be called humble. But if you say that “this is true and that is false” then you will be called arrogant.

The definition of humility and arrogance in the Vedic system is different. The definition of humility says: If you seek the truth, and are humble enough to approach an Acharya, then he can tell you the truth backed by solid argument and evidence which you can then confirm through practice. But if you are arrogant to assume that you can find the truth by trial and error, then then we don’t really care. It is your life. Waste it as you please. You can shame your misinterpretation. It doesn’t affect the truth.

This worsens the shame in the ashamed and they attack even more vitriolically. They disregard all evidence-driven technical, philosophical, or scientific topics that cannot be easily misinterpreted. They exaggerate the importance of sociological, theological, or ritualistic aspects and criticize it based on their system of knowledge which has no epistemology. By separating scientific topics from religious topics, a cheater simplifies his task of misinterpretation. He supplies all those lies that advance his academic, religious, or political career.

Most people don’t know that academics is ruled by the duality of shame and prestige. Getting your paper published is a matter of prestige. But if a paper overturns a previous paper’s claims, then the new paper would be cited henceforth and the previous paper would be quickly forgotten. That is shaming for the authors of the old paper. In most cases, the previous authors have entered the academic hall of fame to wield power over new authors. They and their friends have vested interests in defending their power. If they allow ideas that overturn their work, they will have to yield their power to others. Hence, they defend their claims vigorously with all the institutional power vested in them. Since most people know nothing about the politics of academics, they take their claims or publications too seriously. They don’t realize that it is just a bunch of people trying to advance and protect their academic careers by doing what is in their best interest. It has very little to do with the truth. Money corrupts everything.

The Vedic Acharya system relied on charitable donations. The Brahmanas were supported by all capable members of society. Nobody was using Brahmanas to wage war on other societies. They wanted their children to grow up enlightened not brainwashed. The Acharya system preserved the truth honestly. Since that integrity has been lost at present, therefore, we are compelled to write such articles.

While it won’t change the funding for culture wars, it might help innocent people ignorant about such topics. Thus, this post is structured as a series of stories that people are commonly known to attack. I doubt if I can make an exhaustive list. But I have to begin somewhere. That is what I will do here. I might add more stories to the list if and when the need arises, to elongate this article gradually over time.

The Supposed Indiscretions of Brahma

The Narration of Brahma and Vāk

Brahma is said to have been attracted to his daughters at one time or another. There are two well-known instances of Brahma lusting for his daughters named Vāk and Shatarupa. They pertain to different Kalpa.

In different Kalpa, the same types of sons and daughters are produced from Brahma’s body, with partial aspects of his will and power, and they carry on with further creations, similar to the children of other demigods produced through a sexual union. We have noted three kinds of relationships between Puruṣa and Śakti—father-daughter, teacher-disciple, and husband-wife. We can further clarify that the husband-wife relation is with Māyā, the teacher-disciple relation is with Śakti, and the father-daughter relation is with Prakṛti. Māyā, Śakti, and Prakṛti are the internal, marginal, and external energies, respectively.

A conjugal relation, as we have noted, is the result of a sense of inadequacy in each person. The Puruṣa doesn’t have this sense of inadequacy because Śakti was His part, so He can do everything that the Śakti can do although they have separated only for enjoyment. After their separation, the Śakti instigates the Puruṣa into enjoyment. Even in the case of the Shiva-Śakti conjugal relation, the Śakti initiates it. The male initiates a conjugal relation only if he is covered by a sense of inadequacy, as we have discussed.

Brahma’s attraction toward Vāk and Shatarupa is unwanted because his daughters have been created from his body so Brahma can do everything that his daughters can. Specifically, Vāk is the power of flowery, artistic, poetic, and alluring speech. This power exists in Brahma, along with many others. Likewise, Shatarupa is the feminine power to take on many personas like an actor, and play them beautifully. This power also exists in Brahma, along with many others. Brahma’s attraction to his daughters is the attraction of a passionate man to beautiful speech and versatile acting. Since these capacities exist in Brahma, therefore, there is no reason for inadequacy.

For Brahma to lust for his daughters means that he thinks that he doesn’t have what his daughters do, which is false. A daughter wants to bring glory to her father by exhibiting her great qualities. A daughter is more ashamed of bringing a bad name to her father than a son. If the father approves of the daughter, then she doesn’t need everyone’s approval. This is the meaning of paternal affection. It is not a sexual relationship.

Factually, the situation would be unproblematic if Brahma’s daughters initiated a sexual relationship with Brahma because that is the norm for all Puruṣa-Śakti relationships. This is also clearly noted in the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam.

SB 3.12.28: O Vidura, we have heard that Brahmā had a daughter named Vāk who was born from his body and who attracted his mind toward sex, although she was not sexually inclined towards him.

When a sexual relationship is initiated by a woman, there is no problem. The problem exists only when a man initiates a sexual relationship, unwanted by the woman. This is noted through the words akāmāṁ cakame sa-kāma iti naḥ śrutam in this verse. It means: “Lust for a woman who is not lusting for you hasn’t been heard”. We can imagine the level of sexual purity at which this issue is being discussed.

The reason is that a woman may perceive a man either as a teacher or a father instead of a husband. In that case, it is inappropriate for a man to initiate a sexual relationship. The sexual relationship depends on a woman’s perception, not a man’s attraction to her. The man can, of course, refuse a woman’s advances. A sexual relationship can be summarized as follows—”a woman proposes and a man disposes”.

Modern society has inverted this principle by expecting a man to chase a woman. The inversion leads to the problems of the MeToo movement, where women accuse men of making unwanted advances. The fact is that women endorsed and encouraged this process of men chasing women because it felt good. But now they want to be approached only if they want it. That is the correct principle. The woman has the upper hand in proposing and the man has the upper hand in accepting or rejecting. But it also means that women must not expect men to woo them. If they want a man, they can woo him. This is succinctly summarized by saying that “lust for a woman who is not lusting for you hasn’t been heard.

Therefore, when Brahma approaches his daughters for a sexual relationship, he is in the wrong. But Brahma is not God. He is an ordinary soul who has ascended to a powerful position by dint of his austerities. A liberated soul doesn’t even want to become Brahma. He doesn’t need the trappings of power to feel good. Brahma and his children are not free of these trappings. Under such a trapping, there is a sense of personal inadequacy. Hence, even as this act is reprehensible, it is always possible. Fortunately, Brahma is stopped from this act by other sons and Brahma gives up this lust. These sons are also produced from Brahma which means that he had that wisdom to begin with. And yet, he forgets it occasionally.

SB 3.12.29: Thus, finding their father so deluded in an act of immorality, the sages headed by Marīci, all sons of Brahmā, spoke as follows with great respect.

SB 3.12.30: O father, this performance in which you are endeavoring to complicate yourself was never attempted by any other Brahmā, nor by anyone else, nor by you in previous Kalpa, nor will anyone dare to attempt it in the future. You are the supreme being in the universe, so how is it that you want to have sex with your daughter and cannot control your desire?

SB 3.12.33: The father of all Prajāpatis, Brahmā, thus seeing all his Prajāpati sons speaking in that way, became very much ashamed and at once gave up the body he had accepted. Later that body appeared in all directions as the dangerous fog in darkness.

Those who perceive sexual perversion in this should consider the following: “[this] was never attempted by any other Brahmā, nor by anyone else, nor by you in previous Kalpa”. Many notable points: (a) a Brahma is a temporary role of administering the universe that changes with every cycle of universal creation and dissolution, (b) such an act wasn’t done by any previous Brahma, (c) within each Kalpa (a day of Brahma) a new set of children are created, and (d) the present Brahma did not do this in the previous Kalpa. This incident is rare, is condemned, Brahma accepts his mistakes, and he abandons the body that had such a desire. We can imagine changing our clothes or taking a bath. Brahma changes his body itself.

God does not change His body. Hence, there is no distinction between God and His body. That distinction arises if the body changes and the previous bodies become irretrievable. We can think of our childhood. We cannot get it back during youth or old age. We are not the child, youthful, or old body because we cannot get it back. That is not the case with God. All His bodies are eternally available to Him. When Brahma gives up his body to take another, with no intent of going back, he proves that he is not God. He despises his act and gives up his body, precisely like a criminal disposes of his clothes after a crime.

The Narration of Brahma and Shatarupa

The important thing to remember is that Māyā is unconquerable. Kṛṣṇa says the following regarding Māyā. BG 7.14: This divine energy of Mine, consisting of the three modes of material nature, is difficult to overcome. But those who have surrendered unto Me can easily cross beyond it. There are stories in the Vedic texts where even advanced souls like Nārada are temporarily influenced by Māyā, and under its influence, curse Lord Viṣṇu to take birth as a human and feel separation from His wife, which then leads to the advent of Lord Rāmachandra. A momentary forgetfulness of Kṛṣṇa can bring Māyā on a person. Hence, Brahma’s fault is not so much that he lusted for his daughter. It is that he forgot his spiritual nature, and came under the control of a material identity, where he felt attraction to his daughter.

We neither endorse such acts, nor hide them, nor exaggerate them. They are not exaggerated because they are rare. They are not endorsed because they are condemned. They are not hidden to warn us that even a momentary forgetfulness of our true spiritual nature can trap us in an unwanted action.

In the Shatarupa incident, Brahma is cursed by Lord Shiva to never be worshipped. We can find temples of lower demigods such as Surya, Shani, or Indra. But we cannot find a temple for Brahma. Therefore, Brahma is not God. He is a demigod. There is someone superior to him who curses him and stops his worship. He is certainly the parent of junior demigods. But they are known to occasionally indulge in heinous acts. The difference is simply that these demigods have far shorter lifespans than Brahma. Hence, their deeds are less consequential than those of Brahma. Brahma’s act ends his worship because the crimes of a person in a higher position are punished more severely than that in a lower position.

The Narration of Brahma and Satī

A similar story of Brahma’s sexual propensities is narrated by Brahma himself in Shiva Purāṇa. This incident surrounds the marriage of Shiva and Sati. Brahma is the main priest in this activity and he is performing the marriage yajñá. As Shiva and Sati circumambulate the fire, Brahma’s eyes fall on Sati’s beautiful feet and he is gripped by lust. To see her face, he starts putting wet wood pieces in the fire to create smoke so that in that confusion he will get a chance to look at Sati’s face unnoticed. Here are some relevant quotes from his own narration that can help us understand this issue in detail:

I approached the Goddess (Satī) and performed in detail all the sacrificial rites as laid down in the Gṛhyasūtras. Then at my bidding in the capacity of the main priest, Śivā and Satī duly and with great delight performed the circumambulation of the sacred fire. Then a surprisingly strange event occurred there. Dear one, listen to it. I shall tell you. Śiva’s power of illusion is inscrutable. The whole universe, the mobile or immobile, is deluded by it, Devas and Asuras. Formerly I wished to delude Śiva by deceitful means. But now Śiva Himself has deluded me by means of His divine sports. If a man wishes evil of others, he himself becomes the victim of the same. There is no doubt about it. Realizing this, no man shall wish evil of anyone else.

O sage, while going round the fire, the feet of Satī protruded out of the cloth that covered them. I looked at them. My mind being afflicted by love I stared at the limbs of Satī. O excellent brahmin, I was deluded by Śiva’s Māyā. The more I stared at the beautiful limbs of Satī eagerly the more I became thrilled like a love-afflicted man. Staring thus at the chaste daughter of Dakṣa and being afflicted by the cupid, O sage, I craved to see her face. Since she was bashful in the presence of Śiva, I could not see her face. She did not show her face on account of shyness. Then I began to consider proper means whereby I could see the face. Afflicted much by the cupid, I pitched upon the means of producing air full of smoke.

I put many wet twigs into the fire. Only very little ghee did I pour into the fire. Much smoke arose out of the fire from the wet twigs, so much so that darkness enveloped the whole altar ground. Then lord Śiva, the supreme God, indulged in many sports, covered his eyes (apparently) afflicted by smoke. Then, O sage, afflicted by the cupid and delighted in the heart of hearts, I lifted her veil and stared into the face of Satī. I looked at the face of Satī many a time. I was helpless in curbing the onset of a sensuous orgasm. Four drops of my semen virile got displaced and fell on the ground like drops of dew as a result of staring into her face. O sage, then I was stunned into silence. I was surprised. I became suspicious. I covered up the semen drops lest anyone should see them.

The situation here is worse than with Vāk or Shatarupa because Satī is the daughter of Dakṣa who is one of the Prajapati, the son of Brahma, so Satī is the granddaughter of Brahma. If lusting for daughters was bad, then lusting for a granddaughter is worse. But we have to also note that Brahma is the narrator of this story and he notes the role that Māyā plays in this delusion, that Shiva is the controller of Māyā, and that he came under the control of Māyā. He neither blames Shiva nor does he justify his actions.

Brahma’s Flaws Are Not Everyone’s

People who criticize Brahma for such acts are correct. But those who lampoon the entire Vedic system for Brahma’s action are wrong. We don’t condemn a tradition for one person’s actions. We rather accept that almost everyone in the material world is conditioned by the effect of Māyā. As long as they repent of their mistakes, correct those mistakes, and try not to repeat them, occasional indiscretions are forgiven without endorsement. Then why should the Vedic tradition be condemned for Brahma’s faults?

Most people equating the actions of one man to that of the entire tradition often come from Abrahamic faiths because they don’t have a distinction between God and demigods (Iśvara and Devata). They don’t know that demigods are souls who rise to powerful positions by dint of their austerities. They enjoy that role for some time and then return to the cycle of birth and death. Therefore, they are not God.

A cook produces a meal but he doesn’t produce grain. A farmer produces grains but he does not produce land. Similarly, there is a hierarchy of creators in the Vedic tradition in which Shiva-Śakti are primary creators, Brahma is a secondary creator because he creates Prajapati, who are the tertiary creators of other living entities. The process of creation was also hierarchical in pagan religions but Abrahamic faiths abrogated that hierarchy and replaced it with one God who creates the earth and heaven and all species in it and takes many days to do so. In the end, He gets tired and has to rest for a day. If God is getting tired of doing things Himself, then why not delegate that job to secondary or tertiary creators?

The answer is that there was previously a hierarchy of creators in pagan religions. Monotheistic religions replaced that hierarchical process of creation with the same God creating on successive days. The result is that any mistake by a lower-level creator god must be attributed to God because He is the sole creator. But the Vedic system is not suffering from this inept thinking. Brahma’s faults are not Shiva’s faults.

Brahma is a creator of primordial life in the universe, but not a creator of the universe. He is also the embodiment of rajo-guna, the mode of passion, that makes him prone to such acts. But Brahma willingly takes such a role. He hasn’t been coerced into that role because there are many living entities vying for that position. If one Brahma goes, another Brahma will come, which occurs with every iteration of the universe. Those ignorant about subtleties project the flaws of demigods onto God, either because they never studied the Vedic texts or because they aim to misrepresent easily discernable facts.

The Supposed Indiscretions of Shiva

Lord Shiva’s Attraction to Mohini

The Bhāgavata Purāṇa tells the story of how Shiva was captivated by Viṣṇu’s Mohini form. The story is narrated in the 8th canto of Śrīmad Bhāgavatam, but I will excerpt only a few relevant passages here.

SB 8.12.1-2: The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Hari, in the form of a woman, captivated the demons and enabled the demigods to drink the nectar. After hearing of these pastimes, Lord Śiva, who is carried by a bull, went to the place where Madhusūdana, the Lord, resides. Accompanied by his wife, Umā, and surrounded by his companions, the ghosts, Lord Śiva went there to see the Lord’s form as a woman.

SB 8.12.3: The Supreme Personality of Godhead welcomed Lord Śiva and Umā with great respect, and after being seated comfortably, Lord Śiva duly worshiped the Lord and smilingly spoke as follows.

SB 8.12.4: Lord Mahādeva said: O chief demigod among the demigods, O all-pervading Lord, master of the universe, by Your energy You are transformed into the creation. You are the root and efficient cause of everything. You are not material. Indeed, You are the Supersoul or supreme living force of everything. Therefore, You are Parameśvara, the supreme controller of all controllers.

SB 8.12.12: My Lord, I have seen all kinds of incarnations You have exhibited by Your transcendental qualities, and now that You have appeared as a beautiful young woman, I wish to see that form of Your Lordship.

SB 8.12.13: My Lord, we have come here desiring to see that form of Your Lordship which You showed to the demons to captivate them completely and in this way enable the demigods to drink nectar. I am very eager to see that form.

SB 8.12.14: Śukadeva Gosvāmī said: When Lord Viṣṇu was thus requested by Lord Śiva, who carries a trident in his hand, He smiled with gravity and replied to Lord Śiva as follows.

SB 8.12.15: The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: When the demons took away the jug of nectar, I assumed the form of a beautiful woman to bewilder them by directly cheating them and thus to act in the interest of the demigods.

SB 8.12.18: Thereafter, in a nice forest nearby, full of trees with reddish-pink leaves and varieties of flowers, Lord Śiva saw a beautiful woman playing with a ball. Her hips were covered with a shining sari and ornamented with a belt.

SB 8.12.22: While Lord Śiva observed the beautiful woman playing with the ball, She sometimes glanced at him and slightly smiled in bashfulness. As he looked at the beautiful woman and She watched him, he forgot both himself and Umā, his most beautiful wife, as well as his associates nearby.

SB 8.12.24: Thus, Lord Śiva saw the woman, every part of whose body was beautifully formed, and the beautiful woman also looked at him. Therefore, thinking that She was attracted to him, Lord Śiva became very much attracted to Her.

SB 8.12.28: After following Her with great speed, Lord Śiva caught Her by the braid of Her hair and dragged Her near him. Although She was unwilling, he embraced Her with his arms.

SB 8.12.29-30: Being embraced by Lord Śiva like a female elephant embraced by a male, the woman, whose hair was scattered, swirled like a snake. O King, this woman, who had large, high hips, was a woman of yoga-māyā presented by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. She released Herself somehow or other from the fond embrace of Lord Śiva’s arms and ran away.

SB 8.12.32: Just as a maddened bull elephant follows a female elephant who is able to conceive a pregnancy, Lord Śiva followed the beautiful woman and discharges semen, even though his discharge of semen never goes in vain.

SB 8.12.32: O Mahārāja Parīkṣit, best of kings, when Lord Śiva had fully discharged semen, he could see how he himself had been victimized by the illusion created by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Thus, he restrained himself from any further māyā.

SB 8.12.36: Thus, Lord Śiva could understand his position and that of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who has unlimited potencies. Having reached this understanding, he was not at all surprised by the wonderful way Lord Viṣṇu had acted upon him.

SB 8.12.37: Seeing Lord Śiva unagitated and unashamed, Lord Viṣṇu [Madhusūdana] was very pleased. Thus, He resumed His original form and spoke as follows.

SB 8.12.38: The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: O best of the demigods, although you have been amply harassed because of My potency in assuming the form of a woman, you are established in your position. Therefore, may all good fortune be upon you.

There are several important things that we can easily discern from the above narration:

  • Just as Shiva is superior to Brahma, similarly, Viṣṇu is superior to Shiva. Both Shiva and Viṣṇu have their Śakti. But Lord Shiva can delude Brahma by His Śakti and Viṣṇu can delude Shiva by His Śakti. All forms are not equal or equivalent. There is a clear hierarchy among these personas. Those who understand this hierarchy are not bewildered by it. The bewildered don’t know the hierarchy. They attribute the deeds of one person to the entire system due to ignorance.
  • Shiva acknowledges this delusion: “he could see how he himself had been victimized by the illusion created by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Thus, he restrained himself from any further māyā”. However, despite this illusion, he remains “unagitated and unashamed”. Finally, “he was not at all surprised by the wonderful way Lord Viṣṇu had acted upon him.” Shiva who has been deluded is not ashamed. He is very clear about the supremacy of Lord Viṣṇu.
  • This delusion is created by Viṣṇu for Shiva, upon request, after the Mohini pastime was over. Shiva hears about this incarnation of Viṣṇu and goes—with His wife—to see this form. Just as there is no shame in Shiva about His delusion, likewise, there is no envy of His Śakti regarding Mohini. Everyone knows that this is a delusion form manifested by Viṣṇu for the demons. They just want to see how attractive this form was that it could delude all the demons collectively.
  • Shiva approaches Mohini after Mohini has glanced at Him bashfully. Shiva interprets this bashful glance as Mohini’s interest in Him “although She was unwilling”. After being grabbed by Shiva, Mohini “swirled like a snake” and “released Herself somehow or other from the fond embrace of Lord Śiva’s arms and ran away.” The situation is just like Brahma lusting for his daughter although she was not interested in him. In this case, even a bashful smile is not to be taken as acceptance. The principle of the female initiating romantic contact with the male is again upheld.

Basic Principles of Sexual Attraction

Before we move further, we have to note the following from the Shiva Purāṇa. Viṣṇu says to Shiva:

You are fair-complexioned and Satī has the blue lustre of the glossy collyrium. I on the other hand am blue in hue and Lakṣmī is fair-complexioned. You two shine in juxtaposition with us two.

We have to discuss the mystery of fair and dark complexions. Kṛṣṇa’s color is blue, so is Viṣṇu’s. Shiva is the inversion of Viṣṇu, as we have discussed previously, which makes Him fair-complexioned. Thereby, the colors of their Śakti are also inverted. Thus, Lakṣmī is fair and Satī is dark. They are pairs of opposites. We have also discussed how couples are opposites of each other which results in their attraction. Kṛṣṇa’s color is blue whereas Radha’s color is fair-complexioned. Therefore, she is often called Gourangi. When Viṣṇu takes the form of Mohini, however, He assumes a fair complexion, as if He were Lakṣmī.

But the question is: If Shiva wasn’t romantically attracted to Lakṣmī then why is He attracted to Mohini? The answer is that Lakṣmī doesn’t have the lustful nature as Mohini. This lustful nature is not preferred by Viṣṇu, which is why the form of Mohini is called a delusion. It is not eternally manifest. And yet, that nature exists in Viṣṇu. When Viṣṇu manifests that form, He disappears to become Mohini because these two forms are mutually exclusive. All incarnated forms are in every form of Viṣṇu, but they are not always manifest. Among these forms, some forms of Viṣṇu are preferred over others by Viṣṇu Himself.

Just as a hungry man develops an intense craving for food, while the satiated man does not, Shiva develops an attraction to Mohini because He has donned the inverted persona of Viṣṇu. We have discussed this inversion earlier, and it is reaffirmed by the inversion of their colors above. Shiva is attracted to Mohini because of this inversion. However, despite donning the Mohini persona, Viṣṇu is not actually Mohini, which is why when Shiva grabs Her, She swirls like a snake and releases Herself from the embrace.

This situation can be easily understood by thinking about a beggar being attracted to a man dressed as a wealthy and beautiful woman. The attraction of the beggar is understandable. But the attraction in the man dressed as a woman doesn’t exist. The one-sided attraction is just a delusion. Factually, most beggars don’t look at wealthy beautiful women because it shames them. But Shiva has no shame. This is a virtue, not a vice. Shame is created by a feeling of inadequacy, but Shiva has no inadequacy. And yet, He pretends to be a beggar. Therefore, there is attraction, and yet, there is no shame of a beggar.

Narrations Pertaining to the Phallus

We have extensively discussed how the material world is produced by the sexual union of Shiva (who is the will) and Śakti (who is the power). There is so much more to Shiva and Śakti than a phallus and cervix. But all those things are not visible in the material world because this world is specifically the byproduct of their sexual union. The Shiva Linga is a deity that personifies the penetration of a cervix by a phallus.

The Shiva Linga is the essence of the material creation process. Those who want success in material creativity worship the Shiva Linga. Unmarried women worship the Shiva Linga to obtain a good husband. Draupadi worshipped Shiva to get a husband who was wise, strong, romantic, beautiful, and virile. Shiva could not find any man who had all the five qualities. Therefore, she got five men as her husbands.

All those who have unfulfilled material desires are advised to worship different demigods. Each demigod can deliver a different type of fulfillment. For instance, Kamadeva can deliver sexual fulfillment. But as one focuses on the worship of one demigod, other demigods are neglected. Therefore, the result of the worship of one demigod is obtained but the results of the worship of other demigods are not obtained. For instance, while worshipping Kamadeva, one may neglect the worship of Kubera. Such a person will get sexual fulfillment but remain unfulfilled in wealth. It is very hard to get all kinds of material fulfillment at once. Hence, those who desire all kinds of material fulfillment at once, without compromising other areas, worship Shiva and Śakti together. They can deliver what all demigods deliver collectively.

Hence, Shiva is called Devādi Deva Mahādeva, or “the supreme devata, the origin of all devatas”. He is still not Iśvara, or Viṣṇu, who can deliver liberation from material desire. We can illustrate this with an example. The jailor in jail can give a person many types of comforts while living in jail, but he cannot free the person from jail. The judge in a court can free a person from the jail. Therefore, the judge is superior to the jailor. But some people want to get out of jail while others want comfort in jail. The jail is the material world and is called Durg or fortress. It has been produced by the Śakti called Durga. The jailor can facilitate a comfortable life in jail. A judge in a court can free a person from jail.

All fulfillment, however, comes out of our previous good karma, which is like money in our bank account. If we draw money from our bank account, then there will be less money in the bank account. Most people spend most of their life working to earn money. Then they go for a week-long vacation where they spend most of what they had earned and saved previously. By spending their savings, they won’t get to enjoy it later. But people like working hard, earning and saving, then spending it in a burst.

Therefore, even when Shiva gives many kinds of fulfillment at once, it always comes out of our bank balance of good karma. The difference is that for a short duration, a person can feel like a king or queen, enjoying all kinds of luxuries and pleasures, although that enjoyment is coming out of their bank balance. This kind of pleasure is deceptive because it compromises long-term comforts for short-term splurging. If a person doesn’t have a lot of good karma, then spending the little they have on just one thing can deprive them of other things. The example of Draupadi can again be cited. While she got five different husbands, her life was riddled with problems of 12-year exile, 1 year incognito, and her five children being killed. That is because she had some good karma, but not a lot of it. By concentrating her spending in one area of her life, she deprived herself of practically all other areas of fulfillment. That is just like a man can buy an expensive house but then run out of money to pay for food and clothing.

Thereby, in a sense the worship of Shiva is better than those of demigods because He can deliver much more than other demigods. Likewise, this worship is worse than those of demigods because it delivers a short burst of enormous pleasure but then deprives the person of long-term happiness. The situation can be compared to the short burst of pleasure during sexual intercourse followed by a life-long burden of raising children, providing for the household, and toiling day and night for their well-being. Household life is therefore criticized all over Vedic texts as a miserable existence in the pursuit of little pleasure.

The Story of Shiva Waving His Phallus

The worship of Shiva delivers temporary pleasure at the cost of long-term well-being. The worship of Viṣṇu delivers eternal happiness. Therefore, in rare cases, Shiva dissuades people from His worship by telling them about the dangers of His worship, especially if He finds the worshippers sufficiently capable of accepting His wisdom. One such incident of material fulfillment appears in the Shiva Purāṇa.

O brahmins, the story of a different Kalpa was heard from Vyāsa by me. O excellent sages, I shall narrate the same. Please listen. What happened formerly among the brahmins in the Dāruvana forest may kindly be heard. I shall narrate the same in the manner I have heard. There is an excellent forest Dāruvana. There were many excellent sages there, great devotees of Śiva who were always engrossed in meditation on Śiva. O great sages, they performed the worship of Śiva incessantly thrice a day. They eulogized Śiva with different devotional hymns. Once the leading brahmin devotees of Śiva engrossed in the meditation of Śiva went into the forest for bringing sacrificial twigs. In the meantime, Śiva himself assuming a very hideous form came there in order to test their devotion. He was very brilliant but stark naked. He had smeared ashes all over his body as the sole ornament.

Standing there and holding his penis he began to show all sorts of vicious tricks. It was with a mind to do something pleasing to the forest-dwellers that Śiva, favorite of the devotees, came to the forest at his will. The wives of the sages were extremely frightened at this sight. The other women excited and surprised approached the lord. Some embraced him. Others held his hands. The women were engrossed in struggling with one another.

Meanwhile, the great sages came there. On seeing him engaged in perverse activities they were pained and infuriated. The sages, deluded by Śiva’s Māyā and plunged in grief, began to say—“Who is this? Who is this?” When the naked sage did not reply, the great sages told that terrible Puruṣa. “You are acting pervertedly. This violates the Vedic path. Hence let your penis fall on the ground.” When they said thus, the penis of that Avadhūta, who was Śiva of wonderful form, fell down instantly.

Those interested in the full story can read about how the phallus was restored to Shiva by following a process given by Brahma. I will focus on its understanding. Shiva’s phallus is the creative aspect of will. But the will is not just the creator. There is also the will to see the big picture that constitutes the rest of His form. Shiva waves His phallus to show that He can fulfill our desires by delivering what we want. But He also shows how the long-term big picture is bad because the rest of His body is covered with ashes. This is the nature of sexuality too. A person can get pleasure in one area and sacrifice all other areas.

There are numerous kinds of delusional pleasures at present. A gambler goes to a casino in the hope that he will get much more money. Sometimes, he wins but mostly he loses. That victory is all the money he deserves to get based on his past deeds. But when he gets it, he spends it all quickly thinking that he will get many more such victories in the future. Eventually, he gets into debt and loses everything in his life.

People invest in the stock market thinking that they will make a lot of money. Sometimes, they do. The money they earn is all the money they deserve based on their past deeds. But once they get it, they spend it all quickly thinking that they will earn more money in the future. The wiser investors tell people repeatedly: Live a frugal life. Do not splurge. Minimize your spending. Invest most of the gains in safe areas. You can play a little with the rest. Work hard for the long run. Don’t expect quick victories. But how many people listen to that advice? Almost nobody. They splurge and then lose all their wealth.

People are borrowing money from banks and spending it. They think they will earn in the future, and repay the debt, but they cannot delay their gratification. They borrow, get into debt, their future earning never comes, and they spend their whole life repaying interest on loans. Similarly, people sleep around with many partners thinking that they can take as much pleasure as possible. They lose their faithful partners, get depressed, get kicked out of their regular jobs, get into debt, and slowly drift toward death. So many people are using dangerous drugs to get short-term pleasure. They do get a lot of pleasure. Then their mental health declines, they spend all their wealth on drugs, get into debt, lose their partners, get kicked out of their jobs, and eventually end up as homeless beggars and criminals living on the streets.

Therefore, the worship of Shiva is called tamasic. It means doing what should not be done and not doing what should be done. The worship of Viṣṇu is called sattvic. It means doing what should be done and not doing what should not be done. Viṣṇu worship does not deliver material pleasure. It liberates a person from material desire. The last line of the Shiva Tāndava Stotra states: vimohanam hi dehinam su shankar asya chintanam, which means “certainly the meditation of the beautiful Shankar is the delusion of the embodied”. That delusion is—life is short, we can enjoy it fully, and after death, there is no return.

The above story talks about Shiva going to the women in the forest to test them. The test is this—you can get short-term pleasure by sacrificing long-term happiness. The short-term happiness is delivered by the phallus and the long-term unhappiness is the rest of the ghastly form of Shiva. He is showing both—waving His phallus and showing His body covered with ash. It means that if the women want, they can have sexual intercourse with Him, and then will have to live the rest of their lives like a beggar. It needs an intelligent person to see both. But those who only see one of these are not intelligent.

There are other stories along the same lines in Vedic texts that talk about Shiva being beaten when He displays such a form. He is very pleased by that beating. In one place He says: “Why beat a madman?” He accepts that He is acting like a madman. He is not angry that He is being beaten because He knows that He is acting like a madman.

Those who only see the waving of the phallus neither understand what Shiva is doing nor how this act is His kindness rather than sexual perversion. Their starting point in the study should have been to understand how material creation is a delusion created from self-abnegation. The sexual activity of Shiva would then be known as pleasurable self-destruction. Who doesn’t know about pleasurable self-destruction? But the problem is that most readers don’t study basic things and progress into advanced things.

The Supposed Indiscretions of Viṣṇu

Impropriety Accusations Against Rāma

Lord Rāma asked Lakshman to take Sītā to Maharishi Valmiki’s Ashram after he discovered that some people of Ayodhya were accusing Him of sexual infidelity by having accepted Sītā after Her abduction. This is despite the fact that He had asked Sītā for an Agni Parīkśā (test by fire) after killing Rāvana. People still accuse Lord Rāma of not trusting His wife. Or that He was more attached to His social prestige than His wife. Or that He suspected Her chastity and demanded proof against it. This modern tendency to question Lord Rāma’s actions assumes a separation between a ruler’s private and public lives.

But is this separation accepted by citizens today? Why then are the sex scandals of politicians so popular that they grab headlines for many months after the fact? Why are people so interested in the private lives of politicians, such as whether a politician’s spouse is present or absent on a given occasion? Why is a politician expected to publicly apologize to their spouse and children after a sex scandal? Can’t they just apologize in private and let the who affair be finished? Why are they required to display remorse publicly? Why are tabloids constantly feeding on the trouble in a politician’s marriage to produce juicy news? Can a politician in any major Western country win elections without being married or without their spouse standing by their side? Would the opposing politician not shred them to pieces on grounds of “family values” whether or not they are known to have exhibited those cherished family values? If people weren’t interested in a politician’s private life earlier, then why are they so interested now?

The reality is that there is no separation between a ruler’s public and private lives. Their private lives affect their public life and their public life affects their private life. During modern-day elections, people dig out photographs of misdeeds done years if not decades ago to tarnish their present reputation. They quote previous statements and demand to know if their ideologies have now changed. The fact is that no aspect of a person’s life is truly separable from the other aspects. An artist’s philosophy affects their art and their art affects their philosophy. A person’s childhood affects their adult art and philosophy.

However, there is a Western reductionist tendency to compartmentalize things into separate boxes. Science is separate from religion, the mind is separate from the body, the left brain is separate from the right brain, the profession is separate from marriage, public life is separate from private life, and so on. None of it is true, by the way. It is an intellectual construct for the intellectually weak to stop worrying about complexity. Just put a box around something and pretend that everything outside the box doesn’t matter while we are looking inside the box. Despite how ridiculous this idea is, it remains very popular.

Then we have to look at things from Sītā’s perspective, not just Rāma’s. If She discovered that people were questioning her morality or casting aspersions on Her character, would She have just dismissed it as irrelevant? Or would She have been affected by those aspersions? What would the outcome be then? Would there not be a necessity to go out in public and respond to such questions in detail? Would that solve the problem or would it simply invite more and more questions about one’s private life?

The hypocrisy of this line of questioning becomes evident if we note the fact that the same people who opine that marriage is a private affair consider it their business to poke their nose into everyone else’s private affairs. The issue can be settled by asking one question: Is marriage a private or a public affair? If it is a public affair, then Lord Rāma did the right thing. If it is a private affair, then nobody has any business poking their nose into it. Of course, the hypocrites who question Lord Rāma’s morality want their marriage to be a private affair and they want Lord Rāma’s marriage to be a public affair. They don’t want anyone to question their private affairs. But they want to question everyone’s private affairs.

This is typical of modern women. They gossip about everyone’s private life. But if someone else gossips about their private life, then they are offended by the intrusion. Hence, this issue is not a serious one because women just like to gossip about other people’s personal affairs. It is probably because they have nothing worthier to do with their capricious life or they desire vulgar and titillating entertainment.

Impropriety Accusations Against Kṛṣṇa

Kṛṣṇa is often accused of sexual immorality, although, as we have earlier discussed, there is no sex in the spiritual world. The accusers of immorality now are men, rather than women. In some religions, men are supposed to ascend to heaven and enjoy sex with dozens of women. But they remain envious of how God can dance with thousands of women. They should ask themselves: Are we so worthy to be desired by so many women? What are, in fact, our stupendous qualities that many women will want to be with us? But they don’t ask such questions. They think that God gives them many women for eternity, against the woman’s wish. Sex slavery continues in heaven where men have a choice but women do not.

The God who gives men many women, however, remains asexual in these religions. Men enjoying with many women is not a problem. But God enjoying with many women is a problem. This is the carryover of unresolved discrepancies in religions being applied to religions that never had such discrepancies.

Kṛṣṇa has so many wonderful qualities that women love Him. In fact, women love the fact that so many women are attracted to their man. This is why we rarely see women questioning Kṛṣṇa’s morality. All the questions come from men because they want all these women but they are unable to get them.

Kṛṣṇa doesn’t force anyone to come to Him. In fact, He becomes intimate with the rarest of rare. He says in Bhagavad-Gita: Out of thousands, one endeavors for perfection. Out of thousands endeavoring, one becomes perfect. Out of thousands who are perfect, hardly one knows Me. The bar is so high that most people cannot even hope to see Kṛṣṇa, then what to speak of dancing with Him. Those girls that are dancing with Kṛṣṇa are the rarest of the rare. Their love is so pure that Kṛṣṇa is attracted by that love.

Therefore, anyone envious of Kṛṣṇa should try to develop good qualities. The name Kṛṣṇa means all-attractive. Attraction is not due to force. It is because of His great qualities. He has so many wonderful qualities that everyone is attracted to Him. Those who want similar adoration should also develop good qualities like Kṛṣṇa. Let them become expert musicians, artists, philosophers, dancers, poets, creators, managers, and so on, and they might get a few attractive women. Then they will realize how hard it is to attract other people and hold their attraction. Then they will know the pressure of expectations on them and why they cannot meet those expectations for any inordinate length of time, let alone eternity.

There is a false idea of God in most people, namely, that He controls everything by His power. They don’t know that the power by which He controls is the feminine attracted to Him. Why should a powerful feminine be attracted to a masculine unless He has something that attracts the feminine? Kṛṣṇa doesn’t control anyone by force. He controls everyone by virtue of the fact that those with power do whatever Kṛṣṇa wants. Will controls power not through force but because power is attracted to that will.

The power is attracted to that will because the will is beautiful. Kṛṣṇa desires everyone’s happiness. What better use of power than to benefit everyone? Therefore, those who feel envious that Kṛṣṇa has many women should understand that all these women are personifications of power looking for the greatest purpose. They are attracted to Kṛṣṇa because He is the greatest purpose. If the envious can become a great purpose, then they will attract power proportional to the greatness of their purpose.

It takes a lot to get power. But it takes nothing to get a purpose. When power is attracted to purpose, then it is very easy to get power—just become the greatest purpose and you will have all the power. In this way, there is no reason for envy. People are envious because they are not worthy of power. If they get power, they misuse it to hurt others. Then, power leaves them. If they knew how to use power for the greatest purpose of benefitting everyone, then power will come to serve them automatically.

Kṛṣṇa dancing with the Gopis is the dance of will and power. The power bends to will and the will bends to power. The will says—only this should be done. The power says—only this could be done. The will bends to power if something cannot be done. The power bends to will if something should be done. When will is great, then infinite powers serve it. Then, there is no limitation on the will or on the power. No power is left unused. No will is left unfulfilled. But each power is used for a different purpose. This is the dance of will and power. It cannot be understood easily. But it is not incomprehensible either.

Impropriety Accusations Against Mohini

Some people talk about how God is biased toward His devotees and against non-devotees. He is not equal to everyone. God, according to them, should be omnibenevolent and equal to everyone. After all, everyone is His child, so how can the parent be biased toward one child. We can ask them a question: If one child starts beating another child, is the parent going to watch that beating silently? Or will he or she intervene, figure out who is wrong, support the correct child and punish the wrong child to improve them? The punished child is not hated by the parent. A bitter medicine is given to cure an illness.

Kṛṣṇa says in the Bhagavad-Gita: As they surrender to Me, I reciprocate accordingly. Everyone follows the path toward Me. Kṛṣṇa accepts that even demons are on the path to Him, just like demigods. However, all paths are not the shortest, sweetest, or the easiest. There are also longer, harder, and more painful paths to Kṛṣṇa. However, Kṛṣṇa did not choose that path for anyone. He gives the shortest, sweetest, and easiest path to Him. But many people reject that path and choose harder, more painful, and longer paths. One who chooses the longer, harder, painful path toward Kṛṣṇa is rewarded according to his choice. Kṛṣṇa knows that even those following the longer, harder, and more painful path are coming to Him eventually. Therefore, He has no hatred for anyone. However, we cannot choose a path and not bear its responsibility.

The charges of bias are also carryovers from Abrahamic faiths that condemn a person to eternal hell while rewarding the faithful to eternal heaven. This is not Vedic teaching. In the Vedic teaching, everyone gets to live with their own kind of people. Birds of a feather flock together. Kṛṣṇa has a beautiful nature. If we want to live with Kṛṣṇa, then we have to be of His nature. But if we have another nature, then we will live with others of the same nature. Sometimes, people of one nature attack people of another nature. At that juncture, Kṛṣṇa incarnates to discipline them according to their nature.

Kṛṣṇa has allotted demons and demigods their separate places to live with their own kind. The demigods don’t want the places of the demons, but the demons want the places of the demigods. The demigods have ascended to heavenly places by dint of their qualities and activities. Why should demons get to use that place without such qualities and activities? The mark of a demon is that he demands what he does not deserve. He cannot accept the fact that he is unqualified for something. He fights to get it coercively. When such a cheating desire arises in a person, then Kṛṣṇa cheats them based on their weakness.

During the churning of the ocean, demons wanted heavenly planets. They were lusting for heavenly women and they wanted nectar so that they can enjoy themselves with those women. This is why Kṛṣṇa appeared as Mohini to cheat them. Every cheater can be cheated by fulfilling his deepest desires. For example, many people rise to powerful managerial or political positions lusting for flattery. They are then surrounded by sycophants who offer them false praise and get from them whatever they want. They fulfill the ego of the person in the powerful managerial or political position and abuse his weakness by flattery. But the moment the person loses his position of power, they abandon him as if he never existed. Their flattery was not the truth. It was meant to deceive the person in just the way he wanted to be deceived. Thus, Mohini appeared in an alluring womanly form because the demons wanted alluring women. She gave them sidelong glances to make them think that She was interested in them to cheat them.

When God is the source of everything, then He is the source of cheating as well. In fact, He is a bigger cheater than any other cheater. He can cheat so expertly as to deceive the biggest of cheaters because He knows every cheater’s weakness. He simply exploits those weaknesses to cheat the cheaters. But He is not unjust. He delivers everything according to what a person truly deserves. When someone wants to take what they don’t deserve, then He appears to cheat them. As in the case of the churning of the ocean, He makes the cheaters slog day and night and then takes away the nectar from them. There is a simple lesson here—if you try to cheat your way out of life, then you will simply slog for nothing.

Fundamental Principles of Self-Lust

We have earlier discussed how Puruṣa and Śakti separate for enjoyment. I can cook for myself but it is not much fun. There is greater fun if someone cooks for me, or I cook for someone. This is the basic foundation of the will-power separation to become masculine and feminine genders. By separating them, the attraction between them grows, because they are mutually defined and yet separated. The power fulfills the purpose and the power is fulfilled with it is used for the greatest purpose.

This principle is called svakāma or self-lust. It exists when Puruṣa and Śakti are separated. It disappears when the two are merged into one person. The principle is described in Dāmodarāṣṭakam succinctly:

kuverātmajau baddha-mūrtyaiva yadvat
tvayā mocitau bhakti-bhājau kṛtau ca
tathā prema-bhaktim svakām me prayaccha
na mokṣe graho me ‘sti dāmodareha

O Damodara, just as you freed the two sons of Kuvera—Nalakuvara and Manigriva—from their bondage and then gave them the opportunity of Your bhakti, similarly, give me the loving devotion of Your self-lust because I have concluded that I will not take liberation from You.

There is a bargaining negotiation between Kṛṣṇa and His devotees. Kṛṣṇa offers liberation but the devotees refuse it. They want something better. Liberation means freedom from the cycle of birth and death. Bhakti means love of the Lord even with the repeating cycle of birth and death. The misery of the world pales in comparison to the happiness derived from the loving devotion of the Lord. Liberation is a cheaper solution. Bhakti is a more expensive solution. The devotees want that expensive solution.

In the impersonal Brahman liberation, the Puruṣa and Śakti merge and each person lives for themselves. In loving devotion, Kṛṣṇa becomes the Puruṣa and each soul becomes His Śakti. The Śakti wants to be used by the Puruṣa in the way He wants. The pleasure of the Śakti is in being used by the Puruṣa. The Puruṣa isn’t incomplete without the Śakti. But if the Śakti wants Him, then the Puruṣa enjoys it.

This is svakāma or self-lust. The Śakti is a part of Puruṣa. But the Śakti doesn’t want to merge with Puruṣa. She wants to be used by the Puruṣa. By the separation of will and power, an attraction between them is created. The power is attracted to will and the will is attracted to power. This attraction is the love, lust, affection, desire, and magnetism between them. They have become polar opposites to be attracted to each other. Everything the Puruṣa does conforms to the desire in Śakti. Everything that the Śakti does conforms to the desire in Puruṣa. They are separate personas but one person because there is no conflict, contradiction, confusion, or competition between them. If there is any competition between them at all, it is only to fulfill each other more than the other. This is their devotion to each other.

Anyone who perceives mischief in this process doesn’t know the philosophy of will and power. That is, of course, the norm rather than the exception at present because people don’t have a developed brain to understand philosophy but they have vigorous senses to satisfy their sexual urges. Because their senses are hungry for sex, they are continuously looking for sex everywhere. They cannot stay still for the time required to understand the philosophy. They immediately jump to the parts dealing with sexuality.

This sexuality has also been suppressed in modern society due to Abrahamic religions that arose from shame, taught that shame, and then justified violent methods to overcome that shame. An ashamed person foists his shame on others by accusing others of shameful flaws that he knows exist in him. This is how he tries to defame and shame others because by lowering others he feels superior to them. He would not make that attempt if he was self-satisfied. He is doing it because he is frustrated with himself. He knows that he is incapable of getting that fulfillment. Hence, he attacks whatever he covets.

All the problems of Abrahamic faiths arise from a single flawed claim that the soul is separate from God. The next problem is that God is good and the soul is evil. Then the next problem is that man-evil is better than woman-evil. Then the next problem is that one person in one Abrahamic religious sect is eviler than another person in another Abrahamic religious sect. Then the next problem is that one person in one Abrahamic faith is eviler than another person in another Abrahamic faith. Then the next problem is that all persons in non-Abrahamic faiths are eviler than all other persons in Abrahamic faiths. In this way, all Abrahamic faiths are fully engrossed in thinking about evil, condemning evil, fighting with each other trying to prove that the other is evil, and never preoccupied with trying to become God-like good. Their hearts and minds are preoccupied with shame and hatred, rather than fulfillment and affection. They have infected the whole world with their shameful and hateful ideology of shaming and hating.

The Vedic tradition instead talks about love, affection, devotion, and service to each other, and ultimately the Supreme Person, Kṛṣṇa. Sex is not a bad thing in this worldview. It is between two people and as long as they are comfortable with each other, it is a private affair. Those who don’t like it, can refrain from sex, perform austerities, practice celibacy, and ultimately become self-absorbed.

The problem is that people who want a lot of love, but cannot get it, attack those who are getting a lot of love. They don’t understand that those who get a lot of love are qualified for that love. Everyone can become qualified for that love from another person and then they won’t have to be jealous of others. But when shame enters a person’s heart deeply, he is so ashamed of himself that he cannot even bring himself to endeavor for what he wants. He fears failure. He demands compassion. He attacks others.

There is no response to endless attacks. They are simply a mark of a person’s shame and hence should be disregarded. The response to such attacks is needed only for the innocent who can understand the philosophy of love and endeavor to make themselves qualified for that love. Leave the rest alone.