“While Vasudeva was carrying his son Krishna in the falling rain, Lord Shesha in the shape of a serpent spread His hood over the head of Vasudeva so that he would not be hampered by the rainfall. Vasudeva came onto the bank of the Yamuna and saw that the water of the Yamuna was roaring with waves and that the whole span was full of foam. Still, in that furious feature, the river gave passage to Vasudeva to cross, just as the great Indian Ocean gave a path to Lord Rama when He was bridging over the gulf.” (Krishna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vol 1, Ch 3)
Friend1: One of the analogies offered by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada that really strikes me is to the two kinds of dictionaries, the pocket and full.
Friend2: What is the context?
Friend1: To explain the difference between Vedic culture and other popular traditions of spirituality. On one side you have the scriptures with no known date of origin. They were only written down later.
Friend2: The shrutis. “That which is heard.” Later the smritis, or that which is remembered.
Friend1: Then you have the scriptures of the yavanas, for lack of a better term.
Friend2: Mleccha, yavana. Basically, anyone who has deviated from the original Vedic culture. The prominent indications are meat eating and alcohol consumption.
Friend1: The comparison is that the Vedas are like the full dictionary. Much larger in size. The other books are like the pocket dictionary.
Friend2: Both are valid dictionaries. You can get an idea about God from the smaller one. We are not saying that the texts are invalid by themselves.
Friend1: Yes, but if you want to proceed further, to satisfy the inquisitiveness associated with advanced intelligence, only Vedic literature will meet your curiosity.
Friend2: Remember, this is not just an exercise for faculty lounge academics. The knowledge is there for fulfilling the highest purpose.
Friend1: That is what I wanted to ask you today. What do you say to the person who says that they do not need to know more about God?
Friend2: That the pocket dictionary is enough for them?
Friend1: Yes. Exactly. They have no concern with dictionaries, large or small. They don’t require hearing the many verses of Shrimad Bhagavatam, for instance. They are content knowing that God is great, that He is the origin and that He will be the savior.
Friend2: Okay, but you don’t know how great.
Friend1: But who cares? Why do I need to know that?
Friend2: Because your appreciation will increase. That is why Vedic literature is known to be endless, ananta. It continues to expand to this day. The saintly people sing of God’s gunas. These are His transcendental glories. There is never sufficient glorification, so the collection of published volumes, whether made public or kept private, continues to expand.
Friend1: I am not saying that no one would benefit from the full dictionary. I’m just wondering what the appeal is for someone who is already satisfied knowing that God is great.
Friend2: Because if you know exactly how great, your appreciation for Him will increase. Notice that saintly people like Narada Muni and Vyasadeva are never satisfied. They know that God is Krishna, or the all-attractive one. They describe Krishna’s glories to so many people and in so many ways. Through these devotional acts their appreciation only increases. The appreciation equates to attachment.
Friend1: And being attached to God is good.
Friend2: Because you will always be attached to something or someone. If you are not attached to Krishna, you will be vulnerable to the temporary pleasures of a material existence. Maya will get in your way. It is safer to be on the side of the Divine. The more you learn about Him, the stronger the attachment will be, as attested to by those who regularly chant the holy names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
Friend1: Better to be with the Divine consciousness than to be fixated on illusion.
Friend2: You can take the image of Vasudeva crossing the Yamuna. From a single incident, we learn that Krishna is kind enough to be so small as to be carried by a loving father through a very dangerous situation. Vasudeva risked personal safety for the wellbeing of his son, who had only appeared in the world moments prior. The direct connection with God enables this kind of blissful exchange.
“God already sufficient to know,
Then why to your scriptures to go?
Where endlessly books to read,
For me right now not a need.“
Idea that closer to Him coming,
Life more blissful becoming.
Where in lila’s play starring when,
Like Vasudeva reaching river’s end.