“If Krishna is accepted as a son, He will never die. Here we have a very loving son or child, but the father and mother, or those who are affectionate towards him, always hope, ‘May my son not die.’ But Krishna actually never will die. Therefore those who accept Krishna, or the Supreme Lord, as their son will never be bereft of their son.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Shrimad Bhagavatam, 3.25.38 Purport)
Mother Yashoda and Nanda Maharaja practice devotional service in vatsalya-rasa. We say that they practice something, but this is only for our understanding. From our perspective the two wonderful parents love the Supreme Personality of Godhead in a specific way, with their efforts thereby qualifying under the umbrella of bhakti-yoga, which is linking the individual soul with the Supreme Soul specifically through acts, words and thoughts in devotion. But Yashoda never considers herself to be practicing anything. She is not after an achievement. She is not striving for perfection in life. She simply loves God as her son, and since He is the best son, He stays with her forever.
The following situation isn’t difficult to imagine. You’ve just gotten married. You and your husband love each other very much. Now that you’ve got the wedding behind you, you’re set to have children. You want to have a baby very badly. You pester your husband about it. Each month that goes by without your getting pregnant you start to worry. You wonder if there is something wrong with you. Perhaps your husband wasn’t the right match for you. Not until you get pregnant will you feel like things are progressing along the right track.
Finally it happens. You’re set to give birth. You are with child. It is a wonderful time. Everyone is happy for you. They all want to know the due date. They want to know where in the home the child will live. Where will you keep the crib? Will your family members be around to help you? Amidst all the questions, there is tremendous excitement.
Fast forward a few decades. Now that same child is no longer living with you. They have their own family. They live many hundreds of miles away. You still love them, but things aren’t the same. You can’t act on your love anymore. You received the gift of a child, but the benefit was only temporary.
This is not the case with the Supreme Lord. If one accepts Him as the son, He remains the son forever. We see some evidence of this with His manifest lila in Vrindavana. Some five thousand years ago, He roamed this earth in the replica version of the spiritual abode, Goloka Vrindavana. “Go” in Sanskrit means cow and “loka” means planet. Goloka is the planet of the cows, and there everyone is happily serving Shyamasundara, the beautiful youth of a blackish complexion who never ages. The cows are so happy to be with Him that their milk bags are always full. The dripping of the excess milk keeps the ground soft, and so the cowherd children can roam about barefoot. They don’t need to carry any identification with them. They don’t require a mobile telephone for emergency purposes. They’re not very worried about getting lost. They are always with Krishna, their best friend.
Mother Yashoda lives there as well. In the replica version of Vrindavana seen on this earth, Krishna appears and disappears. He lives with His parents one day but then eventually has to leave. But actually in the spiritual world Krishna never leaves His parents. One who accepts Him as their son thus has love to offer for eternity. Remember the excitement from when your first child was born? Now imagine maintaining that forever.
Who wouldn’t accept such an offer? The sober person most certainly would, and so sobriety is a key factor in finding happiness. Real sobriety is not related only to intoxicants. The sober mind, dhira, knows the changing of the bodies. They are not bewildered by the shift from boyhood to youth to old age or the shift to another body at the time of death.
“As the embodied soul continually passes, in this body, from boyhood to youth to old age, the soul similarly passes into another body at death. The self-realized soul is not bewildered by such a change.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 2.13)
Fortunately, both sobriety and attachment to the personal Supreme God come about rather quickly through the chanting of the holy names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. One who can’t chant can at least hear. If they can’t hear, they can read the mantra. From reviving the dormant love for God that rests within the heart, any of the several mellows of devotional service become attainable. Vatsalya-rasa is devotion in parental affection, but there is also devotion as a servant, as a friend, as a respectful admirer, and even as a lover. Whatever the interaction, Krishna plays the corresponding role perfectly, showing His mercy that cannot be matched.
With news of upcoming baby to get,
To fix up room plans now set.
Several decades then forward fast,
And see how quickly the time passed.
Direct service to offer no more,
Only in the heart child to adore.
Not the case with Krishna as son,
To forever be your most beloved one.