Q: As far as I understand, we’re all female by our original position. The only male is Krishna. Does this mean that when we back to Godhead, will we become gopis?
A: Femininity is not a matter of biology or genitalia. Femininity is a state of being, associated with but not identical to female physical gender.
All things are feminine in relation to Krishna, because all things are dependent on him, like a wife depends on the stability of the husband, and all things receive his energy and develop it into something beautiful to expand his world, like a wife receives a seed from the husband and develops it into a wonderful child.
The femininity of things in relation to krishna is why the most original and primal associates of krishna are female in form, the gopis. But each one of them manifests many forms to associate with krishna in many ways, and some of them are male forms. The female nature is not bound to a female form, it can also express itself in a male form. Thus the gopis are not the only companions of krishna. He is also surrounded by gopas sometimes, who are actually expansions of the gopis, and thus also essentially feminine, though expressing that nature in a male form.
Q: Some say Rādhārāṇī is a part of Krishna, some say They’re equals, some say She is the “energy” of Krishna. This is not so clear to me.
A: She is the original, complete root of Krishna’s energies. Energies are an integral part of the energetic, and they are equal in importance, for neither one has any relevance or meaning without the other. So all three descriptions of Rādhārāṇī are correct: She is a part of Krishna – they are equal in all respects, and she is the energy of Krishna.
Q: Krishna is the only male, His consort is Radharani, but at the same time we all belong to Him. This makes me confused.
A: Rādhārāṇī is the complete root of all Krishna’s energy. This means that she is the ultimate root of everything. You and I are jīva atma- we are tathastha shakti, one of the energies Rādhārāṇī manifests for krishna. So our place in relation to Rādhā and Krishna is that we are a part of what Rādhārāṇī creates for krishna’s pleasure. Our role, therefore, is to assist her and her expansions.
We belong to Krishna because she belongs to Krishna and, in the ultimate analysis, we belong to her.
Q: Another issue which makes my mind busy is the creation. As far as I understand, there is no time when we were not. We always were, are and will be as parts and parcels of God. But at the beginning, we were in our original, spiritual position. Then we wanted to “have” or “dominate” something, and God created this material world for us. But shouldn’t be our original position perfect? If we were with Krishna, if our souls know what is like to be with Him, how could we want to dominate something or someone? Because if there is full satisfaction, then why want something else? Doesn’t that mean that being with Krishna was not so satisfying?
A: you are right. This understanding is very confusing, and doesn’t really work within the logical boundaries established by śāstra. Here is a short attempt to clarify:
We are “jīva.”
The jīva is an eternally manifest individual consciousness (ātmā), described by Sri Caitanya (cc m.20.117) as “anādi bahirmukha” – begininglessly extrinsically oriented.
The word anādi (“without anything previous”) literally communicates that there was no “prior” state “before” we became extrinsically oriented (a.k.a. “entered the material world”). Then why!? Why are we extroversive? Why are we in the material world?
It is not by chance or whimsy. It is a result of our intrinsic constitutional nature, our intrinsic individual personality. Our individual nature makes us, from the very “beginning,” interested in the extrinsic world (anādi bahirmukha). This interest in extrinsic things is possible only because we do not begin with any experience of anything at all, intrinsic or extrinsic. If we began with an experience of the intrinsic reality centered on All-Attractive Krishna, we would not be able to explore any interest in anything extrinsic, because the bliss of experiencing Krishna is “sandrānanda viśeṣa” – it completely obliterates awareness of any other massively inferior form of happiness or fascination. Therefore Sri Jīva Goswāmī describes the jīva as anadi-bhagavad-ajnāna (“beginninglessly unaware of the All-Attractive”).
This is fairly abstract philosophical stuff because it involves causality that is not time-based, but is consciusness-based, or personality-based (our involvement in the extrinsic world is the result of who we intrinsically are, not the result of some event we participated in.) Prabhupāda illustrated it and made it easier to grasp by often using a narrative that involves “leaving Krishna” and “returning to Krishna.” There is no problem here, and no fault in Srila Prabhupada. This narrative is useful, but we are at fault if we give the illustration more importance than the concept being illustrated.
– Vraja Kishor