“Vasudeva saw that wonderful child born as a baby with four hands, holding conchshell, club, disc, and lotus flower, decorated with the mark of Shrivatsa, wearing the jeweled necklace of kaustubha stone, dressed in yellow silk, appearing dazzling like a bright blackish cloud, wearing a helmet bedecked with the vaidurya stone, valuable bracelets, earrings and similar other ornaments all over His body and an abundance of hair on His head.” (Krishna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vol 1, Ch 3)
Friend1: People are known to hallucinate, am I correct?
Friend2: Particularly when under the influence of chemicals that are known to induce such visions.
Friend1: Sort of like what you see in a dream, except you are awake. The hallucination is solid evidence that something is wrong. If you weren’t sure before, once you see something that doesn’t make sense, you know that you are not well.
Friend2: It can occur during an exceptional fever, as well. The body temperature rises to such an extreme that you are not sure what is up and what is down, which way to go, what time it is, or what you are doing in this world.
Friend1: We have established that hallucinations do occur. Let’s travel back in time, to the period described in Bhagavata Purana. You have the transcendental janma of Shri Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Friend2: Who arrived in a prison, of all places.
Friend1: To the loving parents, Vasudeva and Devaki. This was the Yadu-vamsha, and so Krishna would be known by such names as Yaduvara and Yadunandana.
Friend2: He would soon rescue those parents, who were otherwise in distress. They were held in the prison against their will, by the King of Mathura, Kamsa.
Friend1: We have the descriptions of the vision of the four-handed Narayana. This is how the father, Vasudeva, saw Krishna at the time of birth.
Friend2: A confirmation of Divinity. Leaving no room for speculation or error. Every indication was there. The four hands, the ornaments in the right place, the mark on the chest, the dazzling beauty, and the proper color cloth around the waist.
Friend1: It is an image that carries forward to this day. You have the parents offering their obeisances to the newborn, who is actually Narayana, the Supreme Lord. The manner of the arrival confirms that the birth of the Almighty is not ordinary.
Friend2: When we take birth, the clock starts ticking. The death watch ticks down. It is only a matter of time, though no one is entirely sure of their number. In between, we have our activities, karma. Everything is based on a material existence. Purusha and prakriti together. Jivatma associated with maya.
Friend1: For Krishna it is different.
Friend2: He never associates with maya. He is the controller of the various energies, and they are non-different from Him, in a sense. At the same time, He is not a component to any other object or person’s existence. It is the other way around; everything is in Him.
मया ततम् इदं सर्वं
न चाहं तेष्व् अवस्थितः
mayā tatam idaṁ sarvaṁ
na cāhaṁ teṣv avasthitaḥ
“By Me, in My unmanifested form, this entire universe is pervaded. All beings are in Me, but I am not in them.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 9.4)
Friend1: Alright, so one question I had is how did Vasudeva know that what he was seeing was real? Why did he not consider it a hallucination?
Friend2: Of course someone is bound to think that. It is not every day that you see a newborn child as the four-handed Narayana.
Friend1: Exactly. It could have been a trick by one of the asuras that was friends with Kamsa. It could have been stress-related, from being in prison for so long.
Friend2: The key is that everything was exactly as it should be. This person showed every indication of Narayana. He also spoke, giving a brief history of the parents in their previous lives. That is vital information that no one else can provide with complete accuracy. We think that when a person dies everything leaves with them, that it seems like they were never here in the first place.
Friend1: People say that you survive through the memories of others, how you impacted their lives, and so forth.
Friend2: That is certainly true. It is the evidence that you were here, but one day everyone who has memories of you will themselves pass on. The single, perfect witness is Narayana, who expands to reside in the heart of every living entity. He told the parents that they were pure devotees and that this appearance as their son was the fruit of their pious deeds.
Friend1: In other words, it sort of made sense that Krishna would be their child. It was not a big shock that Narayana was in that jail-cell as a baby.
Friend2: There was the akasha-vani, as well. Remember, that was the reason the parents were in jail to begin with. A voice from the sky told Kamsa that Devaki’s eighth child would be his doom. Krishna was that eighth child. Everything fell into place. More important than seeing God is serving Him, and that is exactly the path Vasudeva chose in the aftermath. He was not simply stunned into submission and silence. He carried through on directions, against all odds and without fear.
Accepting directions clear,
Executing without fear.
Not into silence to stun,
By amazing vision to come.
The arrival certainly was real,
Prior the akasha-vani to reveal.
Now Narayana in person seeing,
Parents blessed by power freeing.