“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)
It is something to distract the mind during these difficult times. While there is endless streaming content already available, a new documentary has everyone excited. A way to revisit the past, the good old days, before the smartphones and social media sites sucked the fun out of practically everything.
This television series documents the final season of a particular player with the team he was best known for. A behind-the-scenes account that was apparently just sitting in a vault somewhere for over twenty years. That mistake is now forgiven; the memories flood back with every episode.
One notable takeaway, at least from your perspective, is that this player never travelled alone. At the height of their success, they were likely the most famous athlete in the world. Transcending national boundaries, cultural differences, and even the ability to understand the language spoken – they were the ultimate celebrity.
The close associates were always there, accompanying. In a world where everyone wanted to be a friend, to get a taste of the fame and fortune, trusted advisors and guards were around to look out for this person’s best interests.
It is a similar concept with the Supreme Personality of Godhead and His descents to this mortal realm. The Sanskrit term is mrityu-loka. This means “the planet of death.” In order for the end to take place, there must first be a beginning. Thus mrityu-loka can also be considered the land of birth and death.
I appear at some point in time. Where was I prior? How many times have I appeared before? Is this birth the beginning? I don’t remember the time spent in the womb, but it most certainly occurred. This means that memory is not the sole factor for establishing a truth. If I can’t remember the time spent in the womb, it means that I would not be able to remember past lives, also.
The descent of the Divine is something special. Though He appears before the eyes in mrityu-loka, the otherwise harsh rules of the place do not apply to Him. He is never subject to birth and death. The dualities of a material existence have no meaning to Him.
The associates also accompany the avatara. The purpose for this travel is that they are associates for a reason. They remain by His side because He prefers it that way. Though God is atmarama, He has room to accept an unlimited number of friends and well-wishers. He is satisfied in the self, but He takes pleasure in the company of others.
We see in the early moments of the avatara of Krishna in this world that He did not arrive alone. As a newborn, He showed the equivalence to Narayana in the display of the four-handed form. This was to the parents, Vasudeva and Devaki, who were imprisoned in Mathura at the time.
Baby Krishna asked to be transferred to Gokula, a nearby town where the newborn would be away from the watchful and fearful eye of the king named Kamsa. Vasudeva took care of the transport task. He carried baby Krishna across the Yamuna River in the middle of the night.
An amazing thing took place. Though it was raining heavily, there was protection for the child. Ananta Shesha Naga suddenly appeared and used his many hoods to serve as an umbrella. This was the first sighting of an associate. Thus far only Narayana had revealed Himself.
Anantadeva was not hiding somewhere the entire time. He is always with God the person, appearing whenever necessary. He would take the avatara of Balarama, the elder brother of Krishna, during the subsequent lila.
The number of associates at any one time is not fixed, so this is one possible achievement through the life in liberation, mukti. It is a benediction superior to merging into the Brahman energy or simply escaping the cycle of birth and death. The associates get to always bask in the splendor of the Divine, whose potency can be experienced through sound: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
Though seemingly sometimes to hide,
Entourage always by His side.
Just at right time appearing,
Like when river path clearing.
For Vasudeva in nighttime calling,
Ananta to protect from rain falling.
Chance for same closeness for me,
And that bright effulgence to see.
Categories: crossing the yamuna