“Regarding His moral principles, it is stated in the Shrimad-Bhagavatam that Krishna is ruling over Vrindavana as death personified to the thieves, as pleasing bliss to the pious, as the most beautiful Cupid to the young girls and as the most munificent personality to the poor men.” (The Nectar of Devotion, Ch 21)
The less intelligent would tell you that Shri Krishna is not very moral. Their best evidence is a painting, which depicts a series of pairs consisting of a young girl and Krishna dancing under the brightest moon of the year, Sharada Purnima. How can such a scene represent morality? Isn’t it against religious principles to associate with others in this way, to give in to the urges of illicit sex?
As Krishna Himself explains in the Bhagavad-gita, every person is rewarded accordingly in their dealings with Him. Every person is indeed interacting with Him, in some form. The indirect interaction is through the consciousness of maya, or illusion. Taking that which is not to be everything that is, the person is rewarded through continued forgetfulness of their constitutional position. That forgetfulness is facilitated by Krishna Himself, who is the source of both maya and Brahman [reality].
“All of them – as they surrender unto Me – I reward accordingly. Everyone follows My path in all respects, O son of Pritha.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 4.11)
The interactions in the sacred land of Vrindavana provide an even clearer picture. In that place are found a variety of living entities, in different circumstances and situations, and Krishna does not deal with each of them in the exact same way. Regardless, every interaction is proper, proving that only Shri Krishna is the epitome of morality and virtue.
1. Death personified to the thieves
If it’s a spiritual land, supposedly a replica of the same place that exists in the highest planetary system, how can there be thieves? How can there be bad guys? This is one of the distinctions between Gokula Vrindavana and Goloka Vrindavana. On the planet in the spiritual sky, bad guys cannot remain. Everyone there is a servant of Krishna through love. As soon as there is a hint of envy, the fall to the material world takes place.
Gokula is on this earth, and though the bhakti spirit thrives, impious people do arrive from time to time. When Krishna is present in the childhood form, the bad guys are the asuras sent from the neighboring town of Mathura. The king, named Kamsa, who is also Krishna’s uncle, wants the beautiful youth killed.
Of course just the opposite occurs. These asuras see incorrectly from beginning to end. At the start they think of Krishna as an ordinary child, innocent and helpless. When the interaction is finished, they see Him as cruel death. He is the one that ends up killing them, turning the tables.
2. Pleasing bliss to the pious
The opposite of the asuras are the suras. This word generally refers to the demigods, the celestials staying high above, managing different departments of the material creation. The brahmanas are often described as bhu-sura. They are the demigods on earth.
They live in the mode of goodness, which is what we typically call piety. The brahmanas stay away from sin. They live by religious principles and teach them to others. For such people Shri Krishna is pleasing bliss, ananda. He is their primary deity, after all. Krishna is known as brahmanya-devaya. Religious principles are not merely for avoiding the punishment commensurate with sin. There is a higher taste to experience. That bliss arrives through the connection with Krishna.
3. The most beautiful Cupid to the young girls
The young girls in Vrindavana are the gopis. They tend to the cows in the same way that the men do. They are like milkmaids, also. They see Krishna roaming about and their passions are stirred. More than typical amorous feelings, seeing Krishna is like having the most beautiful Cupid.
In Sanskrit Cupid is known as Madana. He is considered the most beautiful male, one who attracts others. Since Krishna’s beauty is so great that it influences Madana himself, the Supreme Lord is also known as Madana-mohana. The gopis see Madana-mohana and are immediately attracted by His beauty.
4. The most munificent personality to the poor men
Any person who connects with Krishna in a positive way will never be worse off as a result. It is simply not possible. Not that every person will become immensely wealthy, but Shri Krishna will keep an eye on the wellbeing and welfare of the devotee. This is the notable distinction with approaching Him versus other divine figures. Krishna applies discrimination to the requests made of Him.
For the poor men in Vrindavana He is the most munificent personality. Krishna is more generous than is needed. There is the well-known example of the fruit vendor. She one day came to Nanda Maharaja’s house selling fruit as usual. Krishna was the son of the king of Gokula, and so He wanted to try giving payment this time. Imitating the adults, Krishna took some rice grains in His tiny little hands, but they mostly fell to the ground by the time He reached the vendor.
She gave Him fruit anyway; such is the adorable nature of Yashoda’s delight. The vendor did not become poorer as a result of this giveaway. Rather, she found later on that the fruits in her basket were transformed into valuable jewels. The gift is not necessary, but Shri Krishna is known for such munificence.
Each interaction is proper, in a way befitting the mentality of the devotee. Since He is the most moral person, Krishna is the ideal object of worship. Whatever experiences of life have already passed, whatever desires we have, whichever way we view the world, Madana-mohana is the person to approach, as He rewards everyone accordingly.
Most beautiful, adorable face,
A single glance awareness to erase.
In Vrindavana gopis this way viewing,
Each time loving feelings renewing.
Like death personified to the thieves,
For poor munificent who worries relieves.
Mothers, fathers, friends and animals alike,
Though different vision, to all a delight.
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