“My dear mother, your son is very expert among the cowherd boys. He knows all the different arts, how to tend the cows and how to play the flute. He composes His own songs, and to sing them He puts His flute to His mouth. When He plays, either in the morning or in the evening, all the demigods, like Lord Shiva, Brahma, Indra and Chandra, bow their heads and listen with great attention.” (Gopi speaking to mother Yashoda, Krishna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vol 1, Ch 34)
“I am a God-fearing person.” The purpose of this statement is to make a distinction from the atheist, the person who doesn’t worry about consequences to their actions. There is a witness to every action. The famous question about a tree falling in an empty forest making a sound is not valid, because even the trees are living entities. They have a spirit soul inside of them, and where there is individual spirit there is also Supreme Spirit.
gatir bhartā prabhuḥ sākṣī
nivāsaḥ śaraṇaṁ suhṛt
prabhavaḥ pralayaḥ sthānaṁ
nidhānaṁ bījam avyayam
“I am the goal, the sustainer, the master, the witness, the abode, the refuge and the most dear friend. I am the creation and the annihilation, the basis of everything, the resting place and the eternal seed.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 9.18)
The Vedas describe God as Bhagavan. Presenting this word is not for the purpose of instilling fear. Of course, the person who is against the Supreme Lord should be worried about His different features, particularly His strength. Yet God is not someone to be inherently feared. His features are there to be enjoyed. He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and when a person knows Him in truth, they realize just how awesome He is.
1. He steals butter.
Stealing is bad. It’s taking property that belongs to someone else. If a person works hard, saves up their money, and then buys a new car, another person shouldn’t spoil that effort by stealing the car. In modern times theft can be made legal through enough votes in a governing body. In spite of the sanctioning by the higher authorities, stealing is still wrong. It will be punished at some point in the future, if not by the state then through the law of karma.
The Supreme Lord is above karma. He is the creator of time and the material nature and is the source of all living things. He shows His supreme standing in many ways, with one of them involving stealing. In the sacred town of Vrindavana, He visits the homes of the neighbors, uninvited on occasion. He sneaks in while in the visual manifestation of an innocent child. He has ill-intentions. He schemes with His friends on how to steal the butter that is stored safely in the stockrooms.
2. He is rebellious.
Krishna gives us religion, whose true definition is dharma. Dharma is the way to transcendence. Follow your specific duty with detachment and you’ll make advancement in consciousness. The pinnacle achievement is untainted consciousness of God. This is difficult to achieve even after many lifetimes, so there is a gradual process that flows through rules and regulations. Many of the regulations involve paying tribute to higher authorities who manage the material nature. Krishna even mentions this practice in the Bhagavad-gita.
annād bhavanti bhūtāni
yajñād bhavati parjanyo
“All living bodies subsist on food grains, which are produced from rain. Rains are produced by performance of yajna [sacrifice], and yajna is born of prescribed duties.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 3.14)
Krishna is so awesome that He sometimes rebels against the system He has created. He does this to remind the higher authorities that they work under His direction. His rebelliousness also shows that He can be relied upon in any situation, that He will provide protection. One time in Vrindavana He suggested that the people worship the nearby Govardhana Hill instead of the king of heaven. The people were demigod-respecting; they had no issue paying tribute to Indra and other demigods.
Following Krishna’s suggestion earned them the wrath of Indra, who sent a torrential downpour that threatened to wash away the area and the people living in it. The rebellious Krishna lifted up the just-worshiped Govardhana Hill and held it up to act as an umbrella. He curbed Indra’s pride and protected the people who put their faith in Him.
3. He comes and goes whenever and wherever He pleases.
The Supreme Lord can appear wherever and whenever He chooses. In the Bhagavad-gita He gives the general conditions for His descents. There is usually a decline in religious practice and a rise in irreligion.
yadā yadā hi dharmasya
glānir bhavati bhārata
tadātmānaṁ sṛjāmy aham
“Whenever and wherever there is a decline in religious practice, O descendant of Bharata, and a predominant rise of irreligion-at that time I descend Myself.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 4.7)
Still, He is not bound to any conditions. He does not have to appear in the human species, nor one that is recognizable. One time a demoniac father and king mocked his son’s devotion to Krishna. The father, named Hiranyakashipu, facetiously asked if Krishna was in the nearby pillar, for the son had claimed that Krishna is everywhere. Sure enough, the Supreme Lord appeared on the scene, emerging from the pillar. The form was magnificent, a half-man/half-lion. It battled with and easily defeated the non-God-fearing king. This form, Narasimhadeva, arrived to protect the little boy, Prahlada.
4. He gets the greatest homecoming of all-time.
Imagine if every home in a large town were decorated with bright lights at the same time on the same night. Imagine if it was all done to honor a single person. We don’t have to imagine, as this occurred one time for Shri Ramachandra, Krishna’s incarnation made famous through the epic Ramayana. The people of Ayodhya loved Rama so much that they couldn’t wait for Him to come home. He had been gone for fourteen years, and when they found out He was returning, arati lamps were lit in every home. This was the greatest homecoming of all time, and it has since been repeated annually by followers of the Vedic tradition on the occasion known as Diwali.
5. He plays all day.
What does God do? What are His hobbies? Where does He prefer to live? As He appears millennium after millennium, the fortunate living entities get a variety of images of the Supreme Lord. They see different sides to Him. As Narasimha He kills an evil king, one who stoops so low as to apply deadly force to thwart the devotional efforts of his five-year old son. As Varaha the Supreme Lord saves the earth from sinking in water. As Ramachandra He upholds dharma and battles against night-rangers living in Lanka.
In His original form, however, He simply plays all day. Think of the joy of the innocence of youth. Now imagine that remaining with you forever. It is somewhat analogous to Krishna’s day to day life in the spiritual planet of Vrindavana. He goes out to the fields with His friends who are around the same age. He plays His flute that enchants everyone. The cows, the deer, the peacocks, the bees, the parrots and all other forms of life simply adore Him. The mothers think of Him all day, as do the younger cowherd women. The interactions with Krishna in Goloka Vrindavana are in the mood of madhurya, or sweetness. Krishna has nothing to do; He is constantly enjoying.
With arati lamps in every home,
Greatest welcome for Rama was shown.
Though wrong for others’ property to take,
As butter-thief, Krishna most pleasing sight to make.
Lord everywhere, even from a pillar once came,
Half-man/half-lion, of Narasimha the name.
In original form in joy spending the day,
Nothing to do, with friends on His flute to play.
Categories: the five