Why Do Devotees Sometimes Ask For Darshana Of Bhagavan

[Vasudeva crossing the Yamuna]“I gave you the benediction that I would take birth as your son three times. The first time I was known as Prishnigarbha, born of Prishni and Sutapa, the next birth I was Upendra born of Aditi and Kashyapa, and now for the third time I am born as Krishna from you, Devaki and Vasudeva. I appeared in this Vishnu form just to convince you that I am the same Supreme Personality of Godhead again taken birth.” (Krishna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vol 1, Ch 3)

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“When reading about the history of Vaishnava saints, especially from esteemed works like Bhaktamala, there is a common theme of desiring darshana of the object of worship. The people worshiping want to have some sort of face-to-face meeting with the Almighty.

“This is while they are alive; in the moment, if you will. Granted, the meeting is not the only thing they want. It is not like that is the end to their devotional life. Nevertheless, they ask for something to see.

“You find this even in ancient times. In Bhagavad-gita, Arjuna asks to see the virata-rupa. He knows that Krishna is Bhagavan. He has been interacting with Krishna for his whole life. They have spent so many important moments together.

“Still, Arjuna requests this other vision, as if it is more special. In the same Mahabharata, we have Arjuna’s brother, Bhima, asking Hanuman to show the amazing rupa that was used to cross over the ocean and reach Lanka.

“In Bhagavata Purana, we have baby Krishna showing the four-handed form of Vishnu moments after appearing. This was to give confirmation to the parents, Devaki and Vasudeva, that this was indeed the eighth child, the long awaited savior, the terror to the wicked King Kamsa.

“Certainly these are wonderful moments, to be remembered fondly, to be celebrated for generations to come. At the same time, what is a meeting going to do? It is usually brief. You have to move on with life after that. What if someone has no interest in meeting God in such a way? They would rather continue to serve.”

[Bhaktamala]To continue to serve, to not ask for any personal benefit, is the embodiment of pure devotional service. This is the mood of worship put forward by Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. The academic term, if considering along those lines, is vipralambha-seva.

In the concluding verses to one of the works by Goswami Tulsidas, the author presents the scene where he is approaching Shri Rama, the king of Ayodhya, on a day where anyone can ask for anything. The author asks Rama for continued devotion, and based on the rules of the day that request must be granted. The king has no other choice.

At the same time, it is only natural to want to meet an important person. We see recording artists offering VIP experience packages to their live concerts. For an added fee, which might be considered exorbitant to some, fans can briefly meet the artists in person, get memorabilia signed, and take pictures.

If the spiritual guide happens to be travelling through the area, it is courtesy to meet them in person and offer respects. The service will hopefully continue. As His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada explains, between the two kinds of interaction, vapu and vani, following the words of instruction, vani, is more important.

“There are two ways of association – by vani and by vapu. Vani means words, and vapu means physical presence. Physical presence is sometimes appreciable and sometimes not, but vani continues to exist eternally. Therefore we must take advantage of the vani, not the physical presence. Bhagavad-gita, for example, is the vani of Lord Krishna.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Chaitanya Charitamrita, Concluding Words)

We see that principle play out in the real-life situation of Krishna’s appearance in Mathura. There was service to the vapu, the transcendental form, in accepting Krishna as the beloved son. The parents offered personal respect to the vision of Narayana shown by Krishna.

That was not the end to the interaction, however. Vasudeva, the father, followed through on the words of instruction. He bravely escaped the prison in the middle of the night and crossed over the Yamuna river. It was during a rainstorm, and it is not the easiest to maneuver rough waters while holding a newborn, ensuring their safety.

[Vasudeva crossing the Yamuna]At the end of the assignment, there was separation. Vasudeva respected the vani, and he understood that the work he was carrying out would lead to separation from the same Narayana he had just seen firsthand, within the prison cell.

In this way, there is no harm in requesting darshana. There is nothing lost in the process. If a personal meeting will help solidify the relationship, if it will bring happiness to the sevaka, then at His own discretion, at the proper time and place, Bhagavan will reveal Himself, casting aside the illusion of maya, which is under His control.

In Closing:

At the time of His choosing,
Spell of maya losing.

And Bhagavan directly to see,
Witnessing how glorious is He.

Saints sometimes this way to request,
So their eyes by vision blessed.

Even after the moment is gone,
Service to continue on.

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1 reply

  1. Radhe Radhe ❣️ oshriRadhekrishnaBole ❣️ Hare Ram Hare Ram Ram Ram Hare Hare
    Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
    Jay Jay Shree Siya Ram

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