“When Uddhava said that he had a message from Krishna, the gopis were more interested in hearing the message than in hearing about their exalted position. They did not very much like being praised for their high position. They showed their anxiety to hear the message which Uddhava had brought from Krishna.” (Krishna, The Supreme Personality Of Godhead, Vol 1, Ch 46)
Friend1: You would have to say that Shri Krishna is simultaneously many things.
Friend2: That’s true in more ways that one. There are the different relationships that He has.
Friend1: Oh yeah. I wasn’t even thinking about that. He was son to mother Yashoda.
Friend2: Brother to Balarama.
Friend1: Cousin to the Pandavas.
Friend2: Disciple to Sandipani Muni.
Friend1: Wife to Rukmini Devi.
Friend2: King of Dvaraka.
Friend1: And the list goes on. I was thinking at the higher level, in His role as Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Friend2: Oh, for sure. He is indeed the God of all things. He creates and maintains the many universes and their planets.
Friend1: He enters each one of them through expansions. In fact, He is everywhere around us through the role of Supersoul.
Friend2: The all-pervading witness. The overseer and permitter.
Friend1: While doing all of these things, He is not tired. He does this amazing work, but is not affected by it.
Friend2: “O Dhananjaya, all this work cannot bind Me. I am ever detached, seated as though neutral.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 9.9)
Friend1: I like how He is the greatest teacher, too.
Friend2: A fact attested to by the Bhagavad-gita, the sacred song of God.
Friend1: The recipient of the instruction is Arjuna, the cousin who is also a distressed warrior about to enter battle. I was thinking more about the conversation they had. It’s so profound.
Friend2: You won’t find information like that anywhere else in the world, spanning the length of time of creation and beyond.
Friend1: Right, and so Krishna is automatically the greatest teacher.
Friend2: He is the original, the adi-guru. The instruction to Arjuna was also given to the sun-god many thousands of years prior.
Friend1: Alright, so here is where my question comes in. Krishna taught Arjuna. Krishna taught Vivasvan. I know that in the Shrimad Bhagavatam we find a section where Krishna taught another cousin, Uddhava. Why didn’t Krishna teach more people?
Friend2: What do you mean? Are you asking why the role of guru wasn’t more prominently displayed?
Friend1: Well, it doesn’t have to be as widely recognized authority on important subject matters or anything. When He taught Arjuna He was first playing the role of charioteer, which is subordinate to the warrior riding the chariot. It’s not like there was a school that Krishna was running.
Friend2: So you want to know why there aren’t more instances of Him providing such instruction?
Friend1: Yeah, like to the people of Vrindavana. He didn’t instruct the father, the mother, the friends. He didn’t instruct the gopis, the cowherd women who spent so much time with Him.
Friend2: There’s a simple answer.
Friend1: Which is?
Friend2: Those people already know. They were already taught.
Friend1: When? By whom?
Friend2: Likely in a previous lifetime. By someone representing Krishna.
Friend1: How do you know this?
Friend2: Living in Vrindavana during that time is a kind of reward. It is the fruit of accepting transcendental knowledge and practically applying it. In Vrindavana there is only sweetness in interaction with Krishna in a variety of moods. There is no need for instruction because the best result of accepting that instruction is already there.
Friend1: So you’re saying devotional service, bhakti-yoga, in direct association of Krishna is superior to knowledge?
Friend2: At that point it’s not even bhakti-yoga. It’s bhava and beyond. It is the very nature of the soul. It is unfettered living. The experience is difficult to explain since we are not in it. We are conditioned at present, overcome by the dualities of desire and hate.
“O scion of Bharata [Arjuna], O conqueror of the foe, all living entities are born into delusion, overcome by the dualities of desire and hate.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 7.27)
Friend1: I see.
Friend2: Proof is there in the meeting with Uddhava and the gopis. He came to Vrindavana to deliver a message from Krishna, who had left to become the king of Dvaraka. After seeing their devotion Uddhava praised the gopis as being the best yogis. They were true transcendentalists, since they always thought of Krishna. The gopis responded that they had no use for such praise or instruction. They simply wanted to know how Krishna was doing and whether He was thinking of them.
Friend1: Wow. Interesting.
Friend2: Krishna doesn’t teach everyone because only those interested in knowing the higher subject matter will benefit from hearing. That is why the guru, the spiritual master, uses discretion when offering instruction. That discretion involves adjusting to both location and audience. With the exalted devotees, they have already reached a higher platform of understanding. They have already performed every auspicious yajna, or sacrifice. They have already overcome desire, aversion, attachment, and hatred.
Requiring instruction no more,
Since Krishna they already adore.
Every sacrifice and ritual done before,
To reach position of devotion and more.
Explaining why limited instruction instilling,
To hear not every audience willing.
Like gopis with Uddhava not interested to hear,
Of jnana or yoga, just of one to heart most dear.