“I envy no one, nor am I partial to anyone. I am equal to all. But whoever renders service unto Me in devotion is a friend, is in Me, and I am also a friend to him.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 9.29)
समो ऽहं सर्व-भूतेषु
न मे द्वेष्यो ऽस्ति न प्रियः
ये भजन्ति तु मां भक्त्या
मयि ते तेषु चाप्य् अहम्
samo ‘haṁ sarva-bhūteṣu
na me dveṣyo ‘sti na priyaḥ
ye bhajanti tu māṁ bhaktyā
mayi te teṣu cāpy aham
“We know that in the Bharata War, the side with Shri Krishna as the charioteer for the leading warrior ended up victorious. Though technically a neutral participant, this was no ordinary servant taking direction from the person in charge.
“We know so based on the conversation which is today called Bhagavad-gita. The roles reversed. It was Arjuna who asked the questions. The guru gave the directions. Recommending which way to turn, what traps to avoid, how to assess progress, where to place priority.
“This historical event, which took place in real life, is also symbolic of the general doubt. Man has intelligence, but they still require guidance. There is the potential to rise to CEO of the most valuable company in the world, but you still need training. Learning the ABCs. Trial and error. Overcoming hardships.
“Would it be fair to say that Arjuna was favored by Krishna, who is also known as the Supreme Personality of Godhead? I hope you realize that many people turn to religion and have their faith strengthened based on what they perceive to be Divine intervention in their life, favoritism from above.
“If that is the case, then wouldn’t the opposite condition indicate lack of favoritism? Going back to the Bharata War example, were the Kauravas devoid of Krishna’s assistance? If so, does that not invalidate the greatness of God, who should be kind towards everyone?”
There are many ways to explain the distinction and the difference. It is certainly true that the mercy of the Almighty is available to everyone. We find confirmation within the conversation itself, between Arjuna and Krishna.
The Supreme Lord does not envy anyone. He has no need to. He is Bhagavan for a reason. Enumerate the basic opulences that would be desirable in life. Then understand that God possesses those opulences to the highest degree and also simultaneously.
Proof of the non-envious nature is the all-pervading distribution of Bhagavan in His expansion of Supersoul. In simpler terms, God is within everyone. Not a single space is lacking His presence. When that tree falls in the forest, it most certainly makes a sound. This is because Supersoul is there to witness, to vouch for the reaction within nature, where the two objects collide.
With respect to favoritism towards Arjuna and the Pandavas, the symbolism of the image provides further clarity. Krishna was available to both sides in the war, but only the Pandavas took advantage. It was Arjuna who asked the questions. He made the inquiries that changed God’s stance from neutral, disinterested observer to well-wishing guide.
It would be something like two hungry people approaching a counter at a restaurant. The owner sets out two piping hot pizza pies, which are fresh out of the oven. One pie for each. The hunger should cease.
Except only one person takes advantage. They dig into the pizza and soon their hunger is gone. The other person is distracted first by their smartphone. They are busy checking the news. Soon the pie has gone cold and is less appealing. Though still hungry, they refuse to eat the pizza given to them.
Would it be fair to say that the proprietor has shown favoritism? Could any rationally thinking adult blame anyone except the individual for their predicament of continued hunger?
In the same way, the Supreme Lord shines His transcendental effulgence everywhere. Both the burglar and the home owner have God inside of them. Supersoul was with Duryodhana and the Kauravas. It was with Hiranyakashipu in his attacks against his innocent son, Prahlada Maharaja.
Those who approach Bhagavan directly take advantage of assistance already available to everyone. Such a person becomes a friend in the eyes of the Almighty, who then breaks from His position of neutrality and offers direct assistance. Since He is Ajita, or unconquerable, anyone who is so fortunate will always be protected in their endeavors moving forward.
Krishna with Arjuna to align,
Favoritism not to find?
Since other side bereft,
With little protection left.
Idea that universally available to all,
But only approaching friend to call.
Where Krishna from stance breaking,
And control over outcome taking.