“For one who worships Me, giving up all his activities unto Me and being devoted to Me without deviation, engaged in devotional service and always meditating upon Me, who has fixed his mind upon Me, O son of Pritha, for him I am the swift deliverer from the ocean of birth and death.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 12.6-7)
Friend1: Having a baby around is pretty amazing.
Friend2: Some people might choose a different word.
Friend1: Such as?
Friend2: Tiring. Exhausting. Frustrating.
Friend1: Haha, don’t get me wrong, I have those sentiments sometimes, too. But to see the changes, and how suddenly they occur. I mean who would believe that something so tiny could start to move so quickly in a matter of days.
Friend2: You mean like learning to walk?
Friend1: There is the standard progression, where the first significant change is sitting up. Then they likely roll over, followed by crawling. Eventually they grab onto railings to help stand up. Soon after they take their first steps, and then it’s walking for the rest of their life.
Friend2: Not all babies fall into the same pattern.
Friend1: I know. There are babies that don’t learn to crawl. They go straight to walking at around the normal age. Some never turn over. It’s so interesting to observe.
Friend1: One particular aspect got me to thinking about spiritual life.
Friend1: When some babies learn to crawl they start by moving while their head is down.
Friend2: Like the army crawl, where it looks like they are trying to go underneath a fence?
Friend1: Exactly. They resemble a snail. Eventually they learn to prop their head up. This is called being on all fours.
Friend2: Yes, they gain enough strength in their arms to hold the body up.
Friend1: This by itself is amazing to watch. It’s like the baby is doing push-ups. Where do they get the strength? Anyway, so it is in this phase where my brain started working. Some babies get on all fours and then start rocking back and forth.
Friend2: Like a bunny-rabbit.
Friend1: Yes. While it is nice to observe, there are safety concerns. They can’t hold themselves up for a long time, so eventually the head drops to the ground. You don’t want that fall to injure them.
Friend2: Yes, that’s why some parents purchase play-mats and other such padded surfaces.
Friend1: The bigger concern for me is the baby ramming their head into a wall. They don’t know better. Rocking back and forth, they could easily proceed forward into a place that they can’t go. There is sure to be some kind of discomfort resulting.
Friend2: That is why parents must keep a watchful eye.
Friend1: For sure. Definitely. Don’t want the kid to get hurt. Here’s the issue. How long to maintain this kind of oversight? Eventually, some mistakes will have to be experienced by the child. Otherwise they will never learn.
Friend2: That is true, but in this case the baby is too young to learn such things. You have to give it time.
Friend1: I understand that, but I was wondering how Shri Krishna behaves. He is the original father, after all. He provides the seed that led to the creation of the universes and the populations contained within.
“It should be understood that all species of life, O son of Kunti, are made possible by birth in this material nature, and that I am the seed-giving father.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 14.4)
Friend2: You want to know if He prevents us from making mistakes?
Friend1: Is He the spoiling kind of parent, always watching over and making sure nothing happens? Or is He the tough-love kind, where He wants the children to learn by experiment?
Friend2: It is interesting that you bring this up. A similar comparison is made by Shri Rama in the Ramacharitamanasa. Narada Muni, the celebrated travelling saint dedicated to spreading the glories of the Supreme Lord, one time was denied a request in marriage by Hari, the Supreme Lord. Narada became very angry and cursed God immediately after learning what had happened.
Friend1: And yes, I know that God cannot be cursed. He accepts the words of His devotees because He has other purposes to fulfill.
Friend2: Right. It is something like the child telling the father, “You are grounded.” The words are meaningless since they are not in a position to enforce. Anyway, so Hari descended to earth as the warrior Shri Rama. Later there was another meeting with Narada. He asked Rama about the previous incident. How could the whole thing have taken place?
Friend1: You mean being denied his choice in marriage?
Friend2: Yes. So Rama explained that His devotees are different. They are treated like the spoiled-children in a sense. Not necessarily spoiled, but the ones always given oversight. The Supreme Lord does not institute tough-love. He is always there for them.
Friend1: What about taking away? Wasn’t it tough-love for Hari to deny Narada the choice in marriage?
Friend2: Yes, but there was intervention. Oversight. There wasn’t passive interest, like with material life.
Friend1: Oh, okay. I guess that is the meaning to the swift-deliverer reference in the Bhagavad-gita.
Friend2: Every spirit soul is tied to Him. Krishna is within every living being in the expansion known as Supersoul. Yet for the devotees He plays the role of Bhagavan. He provides interference, direct oversight. This is a kindness to be truly appreciated.
Eventually to other side to turn,
And slowly crawling to learn.
Worry from the parents watching,
That head not to floor dropping.
Supreme Lord caretaker a similar kind?
Incident from Ramacharitamanasa to find.
Where Narada’s downfall preventing,
A protector like Rama unrelenting.