The Nighttime Awakening

[Vasudeva with Krishna]“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)

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The presentation of the principles in Bhagavad-gita by Shri Krishna is not merely for a theoretical exercise. The intent is to contemplate, process, and confirm with certainty through personal experience. The same destination is possible through utmost faith in the representative, the spiritual master, but there will always be an accompanying vijnana, or practical realization.

The Supreme Lord’s agents are so kind that they find different ways to present the timeless truths of Vedanta, which is the conclusion of knowledge and study. Moving past the illusion, where the teachers bluff and give false statements as a way to serve their own interests, the eternal associates of Krishna are completely honest, asking everyone to take a clear look at the world around them.

या निशा सर्व-भूतानां
तस्यां जागर्ति संयमी
यस्यां जाग्रति भूतानि
सा निशा पश्यतो मुनेः

yā niśā sarva-bhūtānāṁ
tasyāṁ jāgarti saṁyamī
yasyāṁ jāgrati bhūtāni
sā niśā paśyato muneḥ

“What is night for all beings is the time of awakening for the self-controlled; and the time of awakening for all beings is night for the introspective sage.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 2.69)

[owl at night]One verse from the sacred song of God delivered to Arjuna describes how the self-controlled person, the muni, has an awakening while others are in the dark. That is to say they can find light in a situation where others do not see anything. On the corresponding side, where the uncontrolled person sees a vast field of endless opportunities for sense gratification, the muni sees darkness.

That principle is wonderfully illustrated in one of the opening moments from Krishna-lila. This is the Divine play of the self-form avatara of the Almighty. He descended to this world to deal with the wicked Kamsa of Mathura, who had previously received a curse that would be cured through death dealt directly by the hand of God.

Krishna appeared within a jail cell in Mathura, to the birth parents, Vasudeva and Devaki. To keep everyone safe for the next few years, the baby asked to be transported to the nearby town of Gokula. This all occurred at midnight. Everyone else was sleeping, including the guards to the prison.

Vasudeva managed to escape. He was awake. This was a time of enlightenment, dealing directly with the source of the material and spiritual worlds. Devaki was also awake, having offered her obeisances to her son upon seeing the visual of the four-handed Narayana.

Not only was there darkness, but a storm looked to dampen the spirits of the new father, who had an important mission to complete. He needed to cross the Yamuna River, but how would he do so carrying a child? How would the child remain safe from the pouring rain?

The river gave way to Vasudeva, as it had previously done for Vishnu’s avatara of Shri Rama. Anantadeva provided an umbrella for the baby, showing that the embodiment of the guru was also wide awake during this important time.

[Vasudeva with Krishna]The incident illustrates the natural juxtaposition. A person may not win many friends by volunteering for the bhakti path. Their activities may appear to be in darkness to the person blinded by the shining light of illusion in the material world. But that direct connection with Krishna reverses the situation, allowing for success under even the most trying of circumstances.

In Closing:

Shining that light,
Illusion’s power bright.

The sage darkness only seeing,
Dissociated from Supreme Being.

But accomplishing even at night,
Like Vasudeva with nature to fight.

Helped by Yamuna and Ananta so,
Successfully towards Gokula to go.

Categories: crossing the yamuna

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