Krsna’s Causeless Mercy


Back To Prabhupada, Issue 65, Vol 1, 2020

The concept of Krsna's "causeless mercy" is mentioned in numerous places in Srila Prabhupada's books. However, even this is now being challenged by those who claim to know more than Srila Prabhupada. All quotes in the shaded boxes are taken from a "Darshan" given by ISKCON guru HH Hridayananda Dasa Goswami ("HD"), which was streamed live on 15/9/19. Emphases added.

Causeless mercy is independent

"causeless mercy seems to emphasize that the person did not deserve it. So how could Krsna, Who says over and over again, in the Bhagavad-gita, that He is equal to everyone, how could He give preference to one soul over another [...] for no good reason just gives causeless mercy to someone and therefore when you go on sankirtana, people are getting causeless mercy, is that really practical?"

However, Srila Prabhupada explains in regards to Krsna:

"You act independently of the service rendered by Your servants. [...] Indeed, by Your causeless mercy, You can give liberation to anyone. Those who receive Your mercy are called krpa-siddha. [...] even without undergoing severe austerities, one can attain perfection by Your mercy. [...] A pure devotee continuously offers transcendental loving service to You, but You may nonetheless offer mercy to anyone, without depending on his service."
(SB, 8.12.7, purport)

Thus, regardless of what HD imagines is "practical", Srila Prabhupada states that although a pure devotee "continuously offers transcendental loving service", Krsna may offer mercy to anyone regardless of the service they may or may not render. Also, since everyone can receive Krsna's causeless mercy, everyone is equally eligible to receive such causeless mercy due to Krsna's sweet will. Which means that Krsna is equal to all in regards to who is eligible to receive such causeless mercy.

Pure devotee gives special mercy

"So if you say that a pure devotee is not equal to everyone, he gives special mercy to this one or that one, you're not glorifying the pure devotee, you're actually criticizing him. You're saying he's not following Krsna."

So, having derided the idea that Krsna gives causeless mercy, HD now claims that a pure devotee of Krsna would also not give such special or causeless mercy. However, Srila Prabhupada states the opposite – just as Krsna has freedom to give causeless mercy, so does His pure devotee:

"Krpa-siddhi means that you are not willing to take this bag. I say, "Take it, take it, take it." [laughter] "No." That is krpa-siddhi. Even you are unwilling, I give you in your pocket, push it. That is krpa-siddhi."
(Srila Prabhupada, Morning Walk, 25/3/76)

"Another devotee is called krpa-siddha. Krpa-siddha means even if he has not followed strictly all the regulative principle, still, by the mercy of acarya or a devotee or by Krsna, he is elevated to the perfectional stage. That is special."
(Srila Prabhupada, Bhajan & Purport, 6/1/69)

Thus, through krpa-siddhi, the pure devotee can give "special" mercy to persons who HD may think are not "deserving" of it.

Unconsciously brought to Krsna

"So what does causeless mercy actually mean? [...] Krsna says [...] ‘the four kinds of people worship me', [...] although those people go to Krsna intentionally, consciously, with different motives, but still they're conscious of going to Krsna, they're not unconsciously being brought to Krsna."

In the purport to this Bhagavad-gita verse that HD mentions here, Bg., 7.16, Srila Prabhupada actually states that it is possible even for miscreants, who obviously would not be "consciously" going to Krsna, to be brought to Krsna unconsciously "by chance":

"As far as the miscreants are concerned, for them devotional service is very difficult because their lives are selfish, irregular and without spiritual goals. But even some of them, by chance, when they come in contact with a pure devotee, also become pure devotees."
(Bg., 7.16, purport)

Thus, causeless mercy does mean that one can also unconsciously be brought to Krsna through receiving the pure devotee's mercy.

Krsna's special favour

"So the idea that, let's say someone will see the sankirtana party, or eat prasadam or buy a book, and they'll simply be carried into Krsna consciousness – that applies, according to Bhagavad-gita, to people that have practiced Krsna consciousness in a past life."

HD claims that one will get carried into Krsna consciousness only due to having already practised Krsna consciousness in a past life. But Srila Prabhupada states that one can also receive causeless mercy that is not generated by our actions, whether in this or a previous life:

"So far the first grade platform is concerned, it is not attained by our endeavor, but it is possible when we have full Grace of Krishna. It completely depends on the causeless Mercy of Krishna."
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, 29/7/68)

Hridayananda: "So Prabhupada, if some people say, "Well, I have no free will," that means they are actually lazy."
Srila Prabhupada: "Yes. You have got free will, but must utilize it properly. [...]"
Svarupa Damodara: "Our free will."
Srila Prabhupada: "Yes."
Svarupa Damodara: "God interferes."
Srila Prabhupada: "Yes. That is Krsna's special favor. Because by your free will you are going to hell. If Krsna interferes, that is Krsna's special favor. Just like a child is going to touch fire by free will, and father, "Eh, don't do it." That is his special favor."
Devotee: "Jaya."
Svarupa Damodara: "But it's called causeless mercy."
Srila Prabhupada: "Ah? Causeless mercy."
(Morning Walk, 4/12/73)

HD should understand this point since he himself was present at this conversation with Srila Prabhupada! Thus, causeless mercy does exist, and it does not depend on one having done previous Krishna conscious activity.


So, again we are faced with the choice of  accepting Srila Prabhupada's teachings, or those given by ISKCON's leaders, which are different. We can have Krsna's teachings explained to us by Srila Prabhupada, or a contradictory explanation from HD.

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