Why do we have minute independence?

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Why? Why did Krishna make spiritual life so challenging? Why do we have this minute independence, misusing which we have fallen into the ocean of material miseries? Why were we not directly taken to Golok Vrindavan where we could serve Krishna and be situated in our constitutional position?

These questions often occur to those who are on the path of Bhakti and are eager to make progress but are tormented by the strong modes of material nature which are very difficult to overcome. Indeed these questions are worthy of consideration for Sri Krishna is the most merciful Lord, then why did he create this material world and allow us to have the minute independence because of which we have fallen into this miserable condition. Some say that Sri Krishna manifests the material worlds because he wants to perform the pastime of creation and experience certain rasas such as the mellow of chivalry and separation which cannot be experienced in the spiritual realm as the transcendental abode of the Lord is completely free from all sorts of worries, problems and lamentations. Although this is correct, it seems that Sri Krishna is simply putting us through so much trouble for the sake of having pastimes. Even though a true devotee is willing to go through eternal distress if that gives even a moments pleasure to Shyamsundar, this answer is still not satisfactory.

The perfect answer to this question is given by Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur in his Jaiva Dharma, in which he says, “Independence is a precious jewel, in the absence of which inert objects are insignificant and worthless. If the jiva had not received independence, he would also have become as insignificant and worthless as the material objects. The jiva is an atomic, spiritual entity, so he must certainly have all the qualities of spiritual objects. The only difference is that Bhagawan, who is the complete spiritual object, possesses all these qualities in full, whereas the jiva only has them to a very minute degree. Independence is a distinctive quality of the spiritual object, and an object’s inherent quality cannot be separated from the object itself. Consequently, the jiva also has this quality of independence, but only to a very minute degree, because he is atomic. It is only because of this independence that the jiva is the supreme object in the material world. The independent jiva is a beloved servant of Krishna, and thus Krishna is kind and compassionate towards him. Seeing the misfortune of the jiva, as he misuses his independence and becomes attached to maya, He chases after him, weeping and weeping, and appears in the material world to deliver him. Sri Krishna, the ocean of compassion, His heart melting with mercy for the jivas, manifests His pastimes in the material world, thinking that His appearance will enable the jiva to see His nectarean pastimes. However, the jiva does not understand the truth about Kåñëa’s pastimes, even after being showered by so much mercy, so Krishna then descends in Sri Navadwip in the form of Sri Sachinandan Gaurahari. He personally describes the supreme process of chanting His name, form, qualities, and pastimes, and personally instructs and inspires the jivas to take to this path by practicing it Himself.”

From this most wonderful explanation of Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur we can understand how it is actually our own misfortune that we chose to come to this material world, forgetting our constitutional position as the eternal servant of Sri Krishna. Therefore, we should try to rectify our mistake by giving up all materialistic endeavors and engaging ourselves in the service of the Lord for that is the only means of achieving true good fortune and our eternal nature.