“Uddhava has described the transcendental qualities of Shri Krishna as follows: ‘Lord Shri Krishna, who is our master and worshipable Deity, who is the controller of Lord Shiva and Lord Brahma, the controller of the whole universe as well, accepts the controlling orders of Ugrasena, His grandfather. He is the proprietor of millions of universes, but still He begged a little land from the ocean. And although He is just like an ocean of wisdom, still He sometimes consults me. He is so great and magnanimous, yet He is engaged in His different activities just like an ordinary person.’” (The Nectar of Devotion, Ch 36)
It is the great mystery. If there is indeed a God, if the Almighty does in fact exist, when appearing before us what would He look like? After all, the spiritual science says that everything we know of is a combination of matter and spirit. The trees, the birds, the fish, the tigers, the dogs, and up to the human beings – each living being is a combination of atma and maya.
So when the purported Supreme Personality of Godhead appears before the eyes, it must be the same way. If so, then how can He be different? What makes Him special? Where is the distinction?
The idea is that God is the lone exception. Bhagavan transcends the rules precisely because He makes them. Atma and maya come from Him. He is the source of both material and spiritual worlds. Only the less intelligent believe that He accepts a material body when roaming the manifest world in a visible form.
“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)
Nevertheless, He is still so kind to perform human-like activities. The cousin Uddhava once remarked how Krishna performed ordinary activities despite being the controlling authority over some of the most powerful forces and people known to man.
1. Accepting the controlling orders of Ugrasena
The grandfather was imprisoned, under the control of the evil son named Kamsa. It was Krishna who fixed the situation. The wicked ruler’s reign of terror came to an end with a swift blow delivered by the transcendental fist.
That should have made Krishna the ultimate ruling authority over Mathura. Still, to follow proper etiquette, to show respect to people worthy of it, Krishna would accept the controlling orders of Ugrasena.
2. Begging a little land from the ocean
Bhagavan has the right to take over any land at any time. This is because He is the proprietor of the universes. In his four-handed form of Vishnu, He lies down and creates effortlessly. Just through breathing in and out we get creation, maintenance and destruction. The most complicated and most difficult work is accomplished with little to no effort by Him.
Still, He asks for land from the ocean. He does not just run over everything and claim total ownership. There is maryada to consider. Though He can break the rules without consequence, better to show others what to follow, to strengthen the system of law and order that He instituted in the first place. The ocean kindly obliges and the wonderful city in the water gets built, Dvaraka.
3. Consulting Uddhava
Krishna is the king of Dvaraka, and like a good ruler He does not act hastily. He is the wisest person in the world, as evident by the delivery of the Bhagavad-gita to Arjuna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra. In that situation He is the guru to the disciple. He is in fact the adi-guru, the first spiritual master of the world.
In the capacity as king, Krishna sometimes consults Uddhava for advice. This is the wise way to make decisions. Take different opinions before reaching a final conclusion. You may have an idea already of which course to follow, but see from the eyes of others just in case. They have a different perspective. They may remember certain principles that you have overlooked. Their life experiences may give warnings of potential pitfalls that have yet to be encountered.
In the exercise of bhakti-yoga, the union with the Divine through love and devotion, there are many more examples of Krishna’s causeless mercy. He is the largest person in the world, and yet He appears as the deity to allow others to dress Him. He is the most complicated subject matter, fit for study by the wise adult of a sharpened intellect, and yet He can be worshiped just as well by a small child. He is far away in the spiritual world of Vaikuntha, and yet He can come close by in a matter of seconds through the chanting of the holy names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
Ordinary person only to the fool,
Who stuck on matter and spirit rule.
But Krishna always transcendental so,
Sometimes to earthly realm to go.
For maryada the proper way showing,
Like for advice to cousin Uddhava going.
Orders from Ugrasena tasking,
And from ocean a little land asking.
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