Letting Go

Yashoda with Krishna“For the moment, she was rather disappointed, thinking, ‘My endeavors to protect my son by charity and other auspicious activities are useless. The Supreme Lord has given me many things, but unless He takes charge of everything, there is no assurance of protection. I must therefore ultimately seek shelter of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.’” (Shrila Prabhupada, Shrimad Bhagavatam, 10.8.42 Purport)

So easy it is to forget that we are not in control of very much. So little is within our grasp, through both the mind and the influence we exert on external objects, that it is futile to get too bogged down with the prospect of success or failure. There is the pursuit of success, the hope that whatever effort we put in will bear fruit eventually. Then there is the corresponding fear of failure, the worry that no matter how hard we try, in the end we might not get what we want. In turn, we don’t know how we will handle that situation. For a loving mother a long time ago, a wonderful vision for a moment put everything into the right perspective, and as a result she devoted herself more to the origin of matter and spirit.

This sort of humbling is good for everyone. If you mentally lock yourself into a task, you may forget that there are more important things in life, and that no matter how hard you try, later on what you thought was important really wasn’t. Say, for instance, that you’re working on the design of a web page. There are endless configurations available to you. You can place the menu at the top of the page or you can place it on one of the sides, using a vertical alignment. Then you could also go without a menu at all. There are the images to worry about, what kind of artwork you will have. The artwork then drives the color scheme and what fonts are used. Change one of these variables and everything else has to be altered to match.

Every time you change one little thing, you might look to see how the object of focus has been fixed, but then the larger picture of the site needs to be reviewed also. Each change has an impact on the complete whole in addition to the localized area. Should you dedicate enough time and effort to this project you can easily go crazy. “I don’t know what to do anymore. I wish I didn’t have to do this. Why am I losing my mind?” What’s interesting is that you can work on this for so long, come up with a finished product, and later on look at it and hate it. Meanwhile, a design you came up with at the beginning may have been the better choice. If you had less options and less time, you could have avoided driving yourself crazy with doubt. The burden on the mind could have been reduced.

For mother Yashoda, her primary responsibility was the protection of her beloved child Krishna. Think of the love offered by the mother to her firstborn. She goes through the pain of labor, so she knows the difficulty involved with bringing a new person into this world. At the same time, that effort makes her more attached to the child, as its wellbeing consumes her thoughts throughout the day. With Krishna, Yashoda was blessed with an enchantingly beautiful young boy, who captivated the hearts and minds of all the residents of the small farm community of Vrindavana.

Krishna’s activities didn’t lessen the anxiety of the caring mother. For some reason, He kept finding danger, extraordinary danger at that. His travels to prohibited areas was only one part of the problem; there were also vile creatures coming to Vrindavana to try to kill Him. One witch assumed the false guise of a beautiful woman and tried to poison Krishna by feeding Him from her breast. Another fiend created a whirlwind and took young Krishna up into the sky. Then another time the cart that Krishna was in fell to the ground. Yet the boy somehow survived these calamities, while the fiends did not. There was something special about this boy, just as the family priest Gargamuni had noted soon after the child was born.

Besides the safety of her child, Yashoda worried whether or not He was satisfied with her offerings of love. Yashoda heard complaints from the neighbors that her child was going into their homes and stealing their butter. What was wrong with the butter at home? Was Krishna starving that He had to resort to stealing? Mother Yashoda then took special care to churn butter from the milk of her husband Nanda’s best cows. Nanda Maharaja, the king of this small town, had many cows in his possession, as the community survived on cow protection and farming.

Krishna and YashodaYashoda’s concerns increased one day when Krishna’s friends approached her to complain that He had eaten dirt. Krishna’s elder brother Balarama was among the boys leveling the accusation, so the sweet mother had to take the incident seriously. Dirt can be used for many things, but food is not one of them. If Krishna had eaten dirt, He had to be informed to not do it again. Of course the naughty child denied the accusation, inviting His mother to look into His mouth if she didn’t believe Him.

Yashoda peeked into the child’s tiny mouth, and what she saw was a vision of the entire creation. All of the planets, stars, bodies of water, exalted living beings – pretty much anything you can think of was in that vision of the universal form. Just as looking into the night sky can remind us of how insignificant we really are, that manifestation of the entire cosmos humbled Yashoda immediately. She thought of God and how He is ultimately responsible for everything. She was worrying over her child, the cows, and her husband, but these all came to her through the influence of the highest authority, the Supreme Lord. She had no say in the events that led to those attachments, so why should she be overburdened by responsibilities pertaining to them? Why should she be falsely proud of her possessions when she or any other living entity doesn’t own anything?

Rather than just throw caution to the wind and follow the dictates of the senses, Yashoda went in the right direction and simply surrendered to God. He is the universal form. Indeed, that is just one way to conceptualize Him, though He is much more than the total aggregate of matter and spirit. He is the divine coordinator, and the subordinate living entities are meant to derive pleasure through His company. If there is any cause for anxiety in this world it is the separation from God in terms of consciousness. Yashoda didn’t need this lesson because her son was God Himself, the original Personality of Godhead descended to earth to delight the residents of Vrajabhumi. Yet her realization is nonetheless spot on, and her subsequent attitude showed the proper humility and grace.

Yashoda correctly noted that no matter what measures of protection we employ, if the divine master doesn’t give sanction, nothing can take place. It is said that if Krishna wants someone to die, nothing can be done to protect them, and if Krishna wants someone to live, nothing can be done to kill them. King Kamsa was destined to die due to Krishna’s will. The evil king tried to escape death by killing the first seven children of his sister Devaki, but Krishna arrived anyway to end his life. In the case of Prahlada Maharaja, the powerful father Hiranyakashipu attempted in so many ways to end the five-year old boy’s life, but since Krishna was there to protect him, nothing could kill Prahlada.

This begs the question of how to influence Krishna’s decision to either protect or kill. Not surprisingly, the answer is love. In the case of Kamsa, it was love for Devaki and her husband Vasudeva that made Krishna decide to rid the world of him. It was love for Prahlada that caught Krishna’s attention and resulted in unflinching protection. No one can love Krishna more than Yashoda, so her attempts to protect her son would always be successful. The countless many other living entities in this world may not be so fortunate to have Krishna as an adorable son, but the attitude can be adopted all the same. Know that if the desire is to connect with the Lord through chanting His names, “Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare”, the delight of mother Yashoda will guarantee that the connection takes place, both in the present life and future ones. Correspondingly, any outside attempt made to thwart that dedicated devotional practice will ultimately fail due to the will of the supreme protector.

The humbling from the vision of the universal form helped to show Yashoda’s real attitude and her high level of intelligence with respect to how the universe works. Only a fool would think that they can control everything. Man cannot even get a grasp on the weather, what to speak of the influence of other living entities who operate off of intelligence and desires that sprout anew at every second. Know that Krishna is in control one way or another, and through the proper mood of surrender, the fever of material existence that has trapped us can be cured, paving the way towards dedication in the constitutional engagement of devotional service.

In Closing:

“Daily responsibilities been taxing my mind,

Relief from fear and worry I cannot find.


But now just from one vision seeing,

I understand the role of highest being.


Of the outcomes to action He is in charge,

I should as loving mother my duties discharge.


He will certainly take care of the rest,

As at protecting devotees He is the best.”


From vision created by Krishna she let go,

Trust in God made her love for son only grow.


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