“You are the origin without beginning, middle or end. You have numberless arms, and the sun and moon are among Your great unlimited eyes. By Your own radiance You are heating this entire universe.” (Arjuna, Bhagavad-gita, 11.19)
पश्यामि त्वां दीप्त-हुताश-वक्त्रं
स्व-तेजसा विश्वम् इदं तपन्तम्
paśyāmi tvāṁ dīpta-hutāśa-vaktraṁ
sva-tejasā viśvam idaṁ tapantam
The human being is restricted by two limits. Tied to infinity, it is difficult to get a firm grasp on the idea. The primary reason is that the analysis never completes. Like the unfortunate bug in computer programming known as the infinite loop, the more a person contemplates a certain aspect, the more they have to continue down that path.
The two concepts are time and space. There is a beginning to the beginning and an end to the end. If you reach some point in time that you can safely identify as the origin, know that something exists prior to that. The same applies for the end, the point of annihilation. Time will continue to operate.
With as many boundary walls erected as can be conceived, there is still the infinite space beyond. No one can say for certain where the universe ends because the limits of travel thus far have shown more space in which to proceed.
This concept of infinity, of lacking limits, directly descends from the Supreme Lord. The Sanskrit word is ananta. In His incarnation as Shri Krishna, Bhagavan several times gave a hint of this feature.
1. After eating dirt
Balarama came home to warn the mother. Yashoda needed to know just what her boy was up to. Krishna had been playing with His friends. As children are known to do, they put foreign objects into the mouth. At some stage of maturity they should know better, but curiosity gets the best of them.
Krishna denied the accusation. He hadn’t eaten dirt. The brother and friends were lying, trying to get Him into trouble. To get confirmation on the truth, mother Yashoda decided to look into Krishna’s mouth.
What she saw was the entire universe. Forward and backward, left and right, in every direction infinite variety. It was like going on a ride throughout the creation. The unlimited was seemingly inside the mouth of a child, which would be a limited space.
2. After breaking the pot of butter
One time baby Krishna became angry over mother Yashoda leaving His side for a moment. She had been breastfeeding her darling child when she remembered something cooking on the stove in the kitchen. Krishna did not like being separated from His preferred form of consumption, so He retaliated by breaking a pot of butter that was nearby.
Knowing that He did something wrong, He immediately scampered away, leaving footprints of butter in His trail. Yashoda eventually caught up to Him and decided on a mild form of punishment. She would bind Him to a mortar.
The problem was that she could not find rope that was long enough. She eventually joined together all the rope that was available, but each time she came up just short. As He is Ananta, Krishna took charge of the rope that was seemingly unlimited in size. He shrunk it every time to make it short enough for the mother to fail. When He saw the dedicated effort of Yashoda, He finally relented and allowed her to succeed.
3. Saving Draupadi
With Yashoda the rope was never long enough, and with Draupadi the sari had no end. The same Krishna was behind the scenes, this time saving a distressed princess from a great embarrassment. She wished to avoid being shown naked in front of an assembly of respected personalities. Her husbands would not save her; they were too dedicated to honoring the rules of a lost wager.
She tried herself to hold on, but the people on the other side were too strong. It was a lopsided tug of war match. Rather than standing on the other side directly and showing His immeasurable strength, Krishna simply took the form of the sari. This meant that no matter how much the fiends pulled, Draupadi would not be shown naked; there was always some garment remaining.
4. Response to Duryodhana’s plan
That was not the first time the plans of the Kauravas were foiled, nor would it be the last. As hostilities escalated between the two families, who were related as cousins, war seemed imminent. Showing the ideal behavior of an ambassador, Shri Krishna went to visit the leader of the Kauravas to see if war could be avoided.
Duryodhana thought he could take advantage of the kindness by binding Krishna and thus dampening the spirits of the Pandavas, who loved Him so much. As Krishna is antaryami, He knew of the plan as soon as it was hatched.
Rather than run away, He gave Duryodhana every opportunity to succeed. But how was the leader of the Kauravas going to bind someone who is without limits? Krishna showed a version of the universal form and welcomed anyone to come and put Him under their grasp.
5. The virata-rupa to Arjuna
While the universal form has been shown several times to different personalities, the vision received by Arjuna was unique. This took place on the battlefield of Kurukshetra. Arjuna specifically asked to see it, knowing that the skeptics in the future would try to deny the idea that Krishna is God.
That vision was quite amazing. Something like the entire universe put into a single picture, except this was both three-dimensional and animated. Arjuna could see the future, meaning that both time and space were equally represented.
The ananta property extends to activities done in honor of Shri Krishna. This explains how something as basic as the maha-mantra can be chanted over and over, for many lifetimes, with bliss continuing to increase: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
Krishna also as Anatna known,
Several times property shown.
Like with mother adjoining rope,
But only from His sanction a hope.
Form of Draupadi’s sari took,
Yashoda into His mouth a look.
Same property to bhakti descending,
Resulting bliss infinitely ascending.
Categories: the five