“Although Krishna is manifested before Arjuna in His universal form, Arjuna remembers his friendly relationship with Krishna and is therefore asking pardon and requesting Him to excuse him for the many informal gestures which arise out of friendship. He is admitting that formerly he did not know that Krishna could assume such a universal form, although He explained it as his intimate friend.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Bhagavad-gita, 11.41-42 Purport)
There is sufficient room for interaction with Bhagavan, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. At the start there is worship of the deity, which gives the appearance of lacking animating properties. The origin is a statue, made of stone, wood, resin, or some other material substance.
The magic is in the authorized way the deity is worshiped. The methods are passed on in a chain of disciplic succession, from people who understand that the Divine is impossible to comprehend fully, that He showers His mercy in many ways to help the conditioned souls.
The deity of Krishna is the same as the person Krishna, who once showed different potential moods of interaction in a short period of time. The people interacting were the same.
This was on the battlefield of Kurukshetra. There was Krishna, and with Him was the bow-warrior Arjuna. They were friends from a long time back. They were also related. Arjuna’s mother was the sister of Krishna’s father.
Friendship was seen in the earlier pastimes, as well. The Supreme Lord descends to earth from time to time. The gap in between may be thousands of years, but in the grand scheme that is insignificant. The word “occasionally” to someone who really knows time can even be billions of years, as that is the length of one day of Lord Brahma, the creator.
2. A task needing completion
Krishna and Arjuna weren’t at the battlefield of Kurukshetra merely touring. It’s a historical site today precisely because what was about to happen. Prior, it was still a special place, having spiritual significance. Another name for Kurukshetra is Dharmakshetra, or the field of religiosity.
The task at hand was war, a grand one at that. Arjuna was the leading warrior for his side, the Pandavas. Krishna was helping, but only subtly. He was serving as Arjuna’s charioteer. Arjuna would say where to go, and Krishna would oblige.
Such a relationship is possible with God, because He is endless love. He is already within us, ready to direct in the same way. His presence is through the expansion known as Supersoul. The bona fide spiritual master gives us the knowledge on how to tap into the Supreme Consciousness for direction in life.
3. Guru and disciple
They were friends. They were partners in a great task. In a moment the relationship changed. Arjuna needed guidance. Not on military tactics. Not on which arrows to fire and when. Not on which location was the most strategic.
He wanted to know the meaning to it all. What was winning a war going to accomplish? Why is killing necessary? Isn’t it better to just let the other side win? Throw down the weapons, retreat to the forest, and don’t be party to mass killing.
Just as He was there to fulfill the roles of friend and charioteer, Krishna became the guru in an instant. It is not an unusual role for Him, as He is the adi-guru, or the original teacher of the world. A sampradaya is bona fide when it worships and takes Krishna as the origin.
4. Awe and reverence
During the subsequent question and answer session, Arjuna felt remorse. He viewed Krishna as He is, God. The mood changed to awe and reverence. This was when Krishna displayed the virata-rupa, which is the universal form. Just as someone would be in awe when approaching the sun and seeing its magnificence and size up close, a person naturally gets awestruck when witnessing the entire creation put into a single image.
Quickly, the relationship returned to what it was before. Krishna became the expert driver and Arjuna directed where to go. The underlying consciousness was a little different. Now Arjuna would proceed without doubt. He would work, but with detachment. He would work to please the Supreme Lord.
This was his mindset all along, but the sudden case of self-doubt helped to ignite the discussion that would help countless future generations of seekers of the Truth. The Almighty is all-attractive and worship of Him is full of bliss-filled interaction that can continue into the infinite future.
Worship of statue at start taking,
Slowly the bhakti spirit overtaking.
Where God as the well-wisher seeing,
Who helped Arjuna’s ignorance freeing.
Who as the best friend saw,
Then in virata-rupa awe.
Moods many available to get,
When in devotion’s path set.
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