“The Lord immediately got up from His seat and invited Narada Muni to sit on His personal seat. The Lord again worshiped him with as much paraphernalia for reception as He had in the palace of Rukmini. After worshiping him properly, Lord Krishna acted as if He did not know what had happened in the palace of Rukmini.” (Krishna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vol 2, Ch 14)
1. Jail cell in Mathura
This is the place of Krishna’s janma. It is not your typical birth. It is said that someone who knows that the janma and karma for Krishna are Divine never has to take birth again. They are set free from reincarnation; liberated from the dualities of a material existence.
जन्म कर्म च मे दिव्यम्
एवं यो वेत्ति तत्त्वतः
त्यक्त्वा देहं पुनर् जन्म
नैति माम् एति सो ऽर्जुन
janma karma ca me divyam
evaṁ yo vetti tattvataḥ
tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma
naiti mām eti so ‘rjuna
“One who knows the transcendental nature of My appearance and activities does not, upon leaving the body, take his birth again in this material world, but attains My eternal abode, O Arjuna.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 4.9)
2. Home of Nanda Maharaja
Moments after appearing within that jail cell in Mathura, Krishna was transferred to the nearby town of Gokula. He would spend the childhood years as the son of Maharaja Nanda and his wife Yashoda. He was the jewel of the town, taken as the center of attention.
3. Underneath Govardhana Hill
In Gokula and extending to Vrindavana, Krishna performed amazing feats of strength and heroism. He protected the people from attacking asuras, who were sent by Kamsa to try to reverse the course of destiny. As daivam is ultimately under the control of Krishna, these attacks did not work.
Sometimes there was friendly fire. The demigods attacked out of envy of the appreciation and honor Krishna received in Vrindavana. One time the wielder of the flute, the giver of joy to the cows, lifted up the massive Govardhana Hill and held it in the air, to serve as an umbrella. This life-saving move shielded the residents from the targeted devastating rain sent by Indra, the king of heaven.
4. In a palace in Dvaraka
As an adult, Shri Krishna lived in the underwater city of gates known as Dvaraka. Rukmini Devi was the primary queen. Narada Muni, the celebrated traveler of the three worlds once visited the Divine couple. He was welcomed appropriately, given his brahmana status, and he went on his way thereafter.
5. In another palace in Dvaraka
Narada soon visited another palace and was surprised to see the same Krishna. The Supreme Lord was with a different queen. Over sixteen thousand in total, but no one can fathom how a singular identity can be present in every place simultaneously. Krishna offered the same hospitality, but behaved as if it was the first time they were meeting for the day. Narada was astonished.
There is the verse from Bhagavad-gita which explains the external causes for the Divine descents. This is the Supreme Personality of Godhead appearing within the manifest world in a personal form. It is God Himself, svayam-rupa.
यदा यदा हि धर्मस्य
ग्लानिर् भवति भारत
तदात्मानं सृजाम्य् अहम्
yadā yadā hi dharmasya
glānir bhavati bhārata
tadātmānaṁ sṛjāmy aham
“Whenever and wherever there is a decline in religious practice, O descendant of Bharata, and a predominant rise of irreligion – at that time I descend Myself.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 4.7)
To offer more clarity, we have the extended descriptions of the notable descents. We know of the before and after with respect to Narasimhadeva, Shri Rama, Shri Krishna, and Vishnu travelling directly from Vaikuntha and so forth.
One thing to realize is that God is not limited by time and space. He is available during every time period. This is one reason that sole reliance on a single scriptural text is not a strict requirement. Though He spoke Bhagavad-gita to Arjuna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra some five thousand years ago, the same Supreme Lord could be worshiped prior to that time.
If someone has never heard of Bhagavad-gita, they are still eligible to worship. They can do so to perfection, in fact, as long as they dedicate their thoughts, words and deeds to Him. Such a person will never be lost to the husband of the goddess of fortune.
मन्-मना भव मद्-भक्तो
मद्-याजी मां नमस्कुरु
माम् एवैष्यसि युक्त्वैवम्
man-manā bhava mad-bhakto
mad-yājī māṁ namaskuru
mām evaiṣyasi yuktvaivam
“Engage your mind always in thinking of Me, offer obeisances and worship Me. Being completely absorbed in Me, surely you will come to Me.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 9.34)
His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada explains that the living entity is sarva-ga. He can go anywhere. I can call any place home. As a human being I cannot live in the air or under water, but I can certainly take a future birth in a species that facilitates such travel. This is the reason for the sarva-ga description.
As the Supreme Lord is the source of all spirit, the soul of souls, He can accomplish the same. As a further distinction, He can be at multiple places at the same time. It is not a magic show. It is not an optical illusion. It is not a theatre troupe hired to impersonate. It is actually Krishna in both places, observing, witnessing, facilitating, and accepting worship from His devotees.
This is an extension of His causeless mercy. I can reach out to Him wherever I am, in whatever circumstance, whenever I feel the need. The principles of the bhakti-yoga discipline are for creating a constant need, for our personal benefit, such that God is never away from us: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
Such that a need creating,
For dharma reinstating.
Such that Krishna always found,
As nearby as sound.
Simultaneously in multiple places,
Whether safe or danger faces.
My savior through and through,
The husband of Rukmini who.
Categories: the five