Four People Who Mistook Krishna For An Ordinary Person

[Krishna lifting Govardhana]“Fools deride Me when I descend in the human form. They do not know My transcendental nature and My supreme dominion over all that be.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 9.11)

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It’s understandable for a person to not make the proper identification upon first glance. There is all-attractiveness, for sure. That immediately indicates something is special about this Krishna person. He has done amazing things, and everyone closely associated with Him is of the highest character.

“One who knows the transcendental nature of My appearance and activities does not, upon leaving the body, take his birth again in this material world, but attains My eternal abode, O Arjuna.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 4.9)

Knowing His true nature would be quite beneficial, as He describes in the Bhagavad-gita. The birth and activities for Krishna are divyam, or transcendental. During His brief time roaming the earthly realm in the original form, Krishna was misidentified by several people. Even those with discrimination and prior knowledge of the truth were bewildered on occasion.

1. Kamsa

The king of Mathura falls on the side of bad. He was so afraid of death that he would rather kill innocent children just born to save himself. He got word of his impending demise through a helpful voice from the sky. Kamsa couldn’t bear to part with the temporary life and the power amassed within it.

The prediction was for the eighth child of Kamsa’s sister Devaki. This child would spell the king’s doom. He happened to escape everyone’s sight in Mathura and secretly get transferred to the neighboring town of Gokula.

When Kamsa learned what happened, he thought he could simply have the boy killed, like Devaki’s previous children. This was foolish from the start, and became more so as each attempt was foiled. Kamsa sent his most powerful deputies, who worked in disguise, but they all failed. Destiny in this case was unavoidable.

2. Brahma

He is the four-headed one, the creator, the person who works with the three modes of nature to create the different species. He should have known better because he was part of the group that petitioned Lord Vishnu to descend to earth and deal with the asura class, which included people like Kamsa.

The karma, or work, of God is so beyond anything witnessed that even a wise person like Brahma can be fooled. Suffering from a bout of ignorance, Brahma decided one time to steal Krishna’s childhood friends and some cows. How would the small actor react, then? How would Krishna explain to the elders in Vrindavana what had happened?

[Krishna and Brahma]As Krishna is the supreme mystic, He simply expanded Himself to generate replicas of the cowherd boys and the cows. The ruse went on for an entire year, and no one was the wiser. Brahma finally realized his mistake and returned Krishna’s friends and cows back to Him.

3. Indra

The king of heaven was watching from above. Who wouldn’t take delight in seeing God play the role of an ordinary child, albeit an amazing and powerful one when called upon for help? What caused Indra’s temporary ignorance was envy. He was so jealous because one time the residents of Vrindavana were urged away from worshiping him. They brought their preparations to Govardhana Hill instead. This was at Krishna’s insistence.

[Krishna lifting Govardhana Hill]Indra thought that God could be overpowered by a devastating rainstorm. The plan was foiled through Krishna holding up the just worshiped Govardhana Hill and using it as an umbrella. Indra saw firsthand that Krishna is not ordinary, that His work is capable of defending against any antagonistic force.

4. Duryodhana

The leader of the Kurus should have been enjoying life. He had a kingdom. He had family around him. His rivals were ousted, and adding insult to injury they had been tortured for so long. The problem was that the sinner’s fruit eventually catches up with them. It arrives at the appropriate time, and in a ghastly form.

“Just as a tree starts to blossom during the proper season, so the doer of sinful deeds inevitably reaps the horrible fruit of their actions at the appropriate time.” (Lord Rama speaking to Khara, Valmiki Ramayana, Aranya Kand, 29.8)

Duryodhana likely understood this in the back of his mind, and it explains why he was so fearful when Shri Krishna paid a visit. This was a mission of peace. The Pandavas were fed up. They wanted the kingdom back, the one that was rightfully theirs. War was imminent, and Krishna made one last effort to avoid it.

Duryodhana simply had to give the land back. He refused, and also developed an ill-conceived plan to have Krishna bound. The thought was that the Pandavas would lose heart by seeing their well-wisher tied up. Krishna laughed at the idea before it could ever be implemented. He showed the virata-rupa, the universal form, and asked Duryodhana to try to bind it. The task would be something like trying to put rope around the entire universe.

As others have made the mistake in identification, there is plenty of material from which to learn. God the person is anything but ordinary. He does not assume the body that supposedly covers Him. Krishna’s true nature is changeless and supreme, and He gives the same properties to the devotees who are liberated in service to Him.

In Closing:

Tricked easily can be,

When quickly body to see.

Making errors even the wise,

Like Brahma fooled by size.

And Indra sending rain devastating,

Power in Krishna’s pinky demonstrating.

Kamsa and Duryodhana too,

Something special about Him knew.



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