Appreciating God As Shreshtha

[Krishna's lotus feet]“Among punishments I am the rod of chastisement, and of those who seek victory, I am morality. Of secret things I am silence, and of the wise I am wisdom.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 10.38)

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दण्डो दमयतामस्मि नीतिरस्मि जिगीषताम् ।
मौनं चैवास्मि गुह्यानां ज्ञानं ज्ञानवतामहम् ॥

daṇḍo damayatām asmi
nītir asmi jigīṣatām
maunaṁ caivāsmi guhyānāṁ
jñānaṁ jñānavatām aham

“There is a section in Bhagavad-gita where Shri Krishna goes through a list of comparisons. He basically starts with different nouns. Persons, places, things. He goes through concepts. He goes through states of being. He goes through things which are enjoyable and also things which are necessary.

“Within each category, Krishna takes whatever is the best. The Sanskrit word is shreshtha. If you have flowers, for instance, Krishna is the best one. If you are familiar with a specific class of people, who trace their lineage to the mother named Diti, then understand that Krishna is the best within that group. He is Prahlada among the Daityas.

“If you want to punish someone, the most potent method is chastisement. Krishna is the essence of that punishment. He is what makes something work, so to speak. It is like the concept of dharma, but here we are also talking about a source. Dharma and more. That is one way to understand Krishna, who is the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

“I believe there is a similar section of verses found within Uddhava-gita. The same Krishna is speaking. He is trying to convey the same idea, but within different external circumstances. He is speaking to Uddhava instead of Arjuna. The aftermath is the destruction of the Yadus and the return of Krishna to the spiritual world.

“I can try to speculate, but perhaps you are aware of the justification for such information. Why does Krishna go through this list? I know that it is not Mayavada or anything to do with oneness. He is not saying that a person can lose their identity, that they were never who they thought they were. He is not saying that everything is God.

“What is a person to gain from such knowledge? Why should I know that Krishna is silence among secrets? If He is the gambling of those who like to cheat, what will that information do for me? What is the purpose?”

There is a commonly invoked phrase, “Stop to smell the roses.” The phrase is necessary. It is a kind of pause, if you will, because it is easy to do the opposite. Let’s assume we live within a beautiful community. We searched long and far for the best place to live.

We considered every factor imaginable. The property taxes. The proximity to supermarkets and shopping areas. The noise factor within the neighborhood and the type of people who live there. The quality of the schools.

In the end, we chose a specific community. It is stunningly beautiful, from the outside. Everyone can see that. It is the first thing you notice when entering. The place is in stark contrast to surrounding communities.

[neighborhood]The thing is, if we live there long enough, we soon stop noticing the exceptional aspect to the beauty. It falls into the background. We are miserable about this thing or that. The pressure from work. The weather forecast which reveals the sun will not return to the sky for about a week. The seasonal viral illness that is going around.

If we stop to smell the roses, so to speak, everything can change. If we slow down for a minute and appreciate what we have, our spirits can go in a totally different direction. We don’t have to travel far. We don’t have to make any dramatic turns. Simply slow down, locate a specific object, and appreciate it.

The particular section within Bhagavad-gita facilitates the same kind of review. Instead of travelling to a remote cave or abruptly joining a spiritual institution and leaving the family behind, simply take concepts with which we are already familiar.

Take a single concept. We don’t have to think too deeply. Once we have the concept we prefer, try to understand the essence. Within that concept, identify something which is the best. What is the most important factor that goes into greatness? What is the symbol of the best within that category?

Once we have identified it, we have a way of understanding God. He is that greatness. He is that essence. He is not only the best within that category, but all categories. If we have trouble enumerating the categories, Krishna kindly provides a list.

[Krishna's lotus feet]This is but a small sampling. It is only a brief review, for the purpose of instruction. We have endless ways of appreciating God. If we remember only a single verse from a sacred text like Bhagavad-gita, we can achieve perfection in life.

In Closing:

Surroundings beautiful and sweet,
But after time with misery to greet.

While in setting the same,
No happiness to gain.

But the roses stop and smell,
Concept Gita to tell.

How Krishna the best in category each,
Simple way for transcendence to reach.

Categories: questions

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2 replies

  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

  2. Daily I love ❤️ to read your message but I may not comment.🙏know that I value your efforts highly and am grateful for the detailed explanation U offer .Hare Krishna,Hare Rama 🕉🕉🕉

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