“The Supreme Lord, Purushottama, or Shri Krishna, is the maintainer of all, in both the transcendental and material worlds. He is the life and friend of all because there is eternally natural affection and love between the living entities and the Lord. He is the one friend and well-wisher for all, and He is one without a second. The Lord maintains all the living entities everywhere by His six transcendental opulences, for which He is known as bhagavan, or the Supreme Personality of Godhead.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Shrimad Bhagavatam, 3.9.22 Purport)
“I don’t care what you tell me, I will never abandon my friends. They have supported me for so many years. I’m unaware of so many things and I’m incapable in so many departments, but because of my friends I was able to survive. I was introduced to so many things through their association, and those things are now staples in my life. No matter the time, the place, or the circumstance, if one of my friends needs me, I am there for them. If I can’t give of myself in this way, then what kind of person am I? Only a miser doesn’t repay good deeds done for them. And my friends have done the best deeds for me, so I will never think that my debt to them is fully repaid.”
This sort of sentiment exists within all of us to some degree. From studying Vedic philosophy, it is learned that the sentiment comes from the natural affection that every living entity has for the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Having affection for Him isn’t so difficult, as He is all-attractive. This means that His features are attractive in every regard. Whether you come at it from the financial angle, the enjoyment angle, or the physical feature angle, God has something to attract you. Because of this unique position, one way to address Him is Krishna.
This way of understanding God is theoretical, but there is also the practical provided in the Vedas. We don’t have to accept it on faith that Krishna attracts everyone; we can see it for ourselves in the pastimes described of Vrindavana. Vrindavana is the forest where Vrinda Devi is prominent. Vrinda Devi is the personality of the tulasi plant. This plant is very dear to Krishna. Vrinda Devi, also known as Tulasi Devi, is the goddess of devotion. When you honor her, you get devotion to God. This gift is more valuable than anything else. If you’re looking for money, you can go to another divine figure. If you want some amazing power to be exercised by your temporary body, you can worship someone else. If you want devotion, however, you go to Tulasi Devi. She distributes this gift very easily, for she only looks for sincerity. “Do you want to be devoted to God?” is the lone question she asks.
In Vrindavana there is no need to ask this question. The residents there are constitutionally in the mood of bhakti, or divine love. They are so devoted to God that all they think of is service. It makes sense that Tulasi Devi would be prominent in this land. She works alongside Paurnamasi, the divine energy of the Lord, to manipulate situations in such a way that the enjoyment of both Krishna and His dearmost servants is enhanced.
In Vrindavana everyone is affectionate towards Krishna. The cows happily produce so much milk that one couldn’t imagine the quantity. Scientifically we understand that milk is produced when the mother cow is in the company of her children. Out of love she produces the milk. In Vrindavana the milk is produced at the mere sight of Krishna. In this way we understand that the production of milk has its roots in divine love. For this reason cow’s milk is very dear to God in His personal form. It is the best offering to make to Him. All other kinds of milk are cheap substitutes, which are used when cow’s milk is not available. The grossly foolish, putting their activism above their desire to please God, erroneously think that other kinds of milk are more suitable offerings, but from the behavior in Vrindavana we understand just how much Krishna loves cows and the milk they produce to please Him.
The deer and other forest animals show their affection for Krishna by always running to Him. They follow Him as He traverses the sacred land playing with His friends. These friends show affection in their playful pastimes. Sometimes there is wrestling, sometimes there is joke-making, and sometimes there is a meal shared. The parents love Krishna with the desire to protect and feed Him. The cowherd women enjoy with Krishna in more intimate ways, but in all respects there is affection shown.
The material world is a perverted reflection of the spiritual land that is Vrindavana. In the reflection, the same objects are there, but they are oriented in the wrong way. The emotions exist too, but they are directed in areas not related to divine love. Affection is held for friends, family and paramours ahead of affection for God. In order to justify such behavior, mentally concocted ideas such as “service to man” are presented as the real religion. Indeed, by itself service to any singular non-divine entity will not bring one to the platform of divine love.
On the other hand, love for God will increase our love for others. After all, if I know that I am naturally affectionate towards God, I will eventually realize that others have the same affection. They may not know it, so I will try my best to make them aware. And yet the exercise of my affection is not dependent on others. Whether one person listens to me or one million, in glorifying God I am not stopped. Even if facing the strongest opposition, at the very least I can recite to myself the maha-mantra: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
This mantra speaks God’s names. This is a very nice thing to do, for there is no ulterior motive involved. By saying this mantra over and over again, I’m merely looking to act on my affection. Since Krishna possesses the attribute of complete strength, He protects my exercise of affection, in the same way that He protects the cows in Vrindavana, allowing them to be totally happy in serving Him.
As Supersoul within You He does reside,
The Supreme Lord never to leave your side.
Affection for you and me always there,
Offers all greatest attention and care.
Since He is disposed that way towards me,
Devoted to Him from now on I will be.
Every day His names I will chant,
Will go forward even when I think I can’t.