“After they departed, Devaki became stunned with wonder that her dead children had come back and had again been transferred to their respective planets. She could adjust the events only by thinking of Lord Krishna’s pastimes, in which, because Lord Krishna’s potencies are all inconceivable, anything wonderful can be performed.” (Krishna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vol 2, Ch 30)
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We have the situation of a person who follows bhakti-yoga in the devout sense, wherein they are trying to eliminate as many material attachments as possible. They want to focus only on the Supreme Personality of Godhead, worshiping Him, offering everything unto Him, in the manner recommended in Bhagavad-gita.
यत् करोषि यद् अश्नासि
यज् जुहोषि ददासि यत्
यत् तपस्यसि कौन्तेय
तत् कुरुष्व मद्-अर्पणम्
yat karoṣi yad aśnāsi
yaj juhoṣi dadāsi yat
yat tapasyasi kaunteya
tat kuruṣva mad-arpaṇam
“O son of Kunti, all that you do, all that you eat, all that you offer and give away, as well as all austerities that you may perform, should be done as an offering unto Me.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 9.27)
This person runs into a dilemma when facing trouble. In personal affairs, on occasion, they are tempted to look to the heavens for help. They try their best to avoid asking God for help, as they view their problems as material in nature.
Perhaps a loved one has fallen ill. Maybe the newly elected leaders are corrupt and are intent on destroying everything society depends on. The place of business might be facing difficulties and so there is uncertainty as to earning a living.
Is it wrong to approach Shri Krishna in such situations? Is it a violation of the subtle agreement in bhakti-yoga? Do these desires indicate a consciousness lost in maya? Is there illusion only, instead of clear thought and rational consideration?
1. Cowherd boys when facing the forest fire
In Shri Krishna’s childhood lila, there is an incident where the cowherd boys of the farm community of Gokula happen to be right in the path of a dangerous fire. Fortunately, Krishna and His elder brother Balarama are there with them.
The cowherd boys have no other choice. They know that Krishna can help them. He has done many amazing things already. There is no hesitation in reaching. They ask for rescue and Krishna obliges. He devours the forest fire. Straight into His mouth, and so the crisis is averted.
2. Devaki asking to see her departed children
The story of Krishna’s arrival in the manifest world, with Vishnu following through on His pledge to Bhumi Devi and Lord Brahma, involves trials and tribulations for the birth parents. Vasudeva and his wife Devaki suffer tremendously at the hands of the wicked king of Mathura, Kamsa.
Part of that suffering is seeing their newborn children thrown against stone. This is with the intent to kill. Kamsa does not want those children to live. There is the potential for one of them to be his angel of death, though the voice from the sky had specifically warned Kamsa that it would be Devaki’s eighth child.
Vishnu indeed arrived, and He did so in secret. Kamsa was not able to throw the infant against stone. Years later, after the threat of Kamsa was finally removed from the world, Devaki asked to see her departed children. She knew that Krishna would be able to come through. Krishna had saved them from Kamsa. Krishna was special.
3. Arjuna asking for help
This is the premise for the sacred Bhagavad-gita conversation, as it is known today. Arjuna is the leading fighter for the Pandava family. They have set foot on the battlefield of Kurukshetra. A great war is about to begin.
Arjuna chooses this inopportune moment to have a severe case of cold feet. He is not sure what to do. He makes every excuse he can think of to avoid moving forward. He would rather not be responsible for death and destruction, even if it is in the process of upholding dharma.
Arjuna asks Krishna for help. Without embarrassment. Without hesitation. He inherently knows that Krishna will be able to save him. Not that the son of Devaki will step in and fight for the Pandava side, but the maintainer of the people, Janardana, will know the right thing to do.
4. Arjuna asking to see the universal form
एवमेतद्यथात्थ त्वमात्मानं परमेश्वर ।
द्रष्टुमिच्छामि ते रूपमैश्वरं पुरुषोत्तम ॥
evametadyathāttha tvamātmānaṃ parameśvara ।
draṣṭumicchāmi te rūpamaiśvaraṃ puruṣottama ॥
“O greatest of all personalities, O supreme form, though I see here before me Your actual position, I yet wish to see how You have entered into this cosmic manifestation. I want to see that form of Yours.” (Arjuna, Bhagavad-gita, 11.3)
Within that subsequent conversation, Arjuna makes another request. He asks to see the universal form. This is known as the virat-rupa or virat-purusha. The universal form is the closest equivalent to visual evidence of the existence of God.
The wise person understands that there is evidence everywhere. They see Krishna’s influence in every aspect of life, from a single blade of grass moving to the changing of seasons. The requirement of a distinct image for proof generally applies to the less intelligent.
Arjuna is kind enough to ask for this image, to help future generations understand the Divine nature to His friend and charioteer. Krishna dutifully obliges. He extends a unique set of eyes to Arjuna for being able to witness this vision.
Through such interactions and many more, we see that devoted souls are always free to ask things from the Supreme Lord. Due to the closeness of the relationship, there is no harm or loss. They are devotees before and they will remain devotees, after the fact.
The recommendation is to always approach Shri Krishna, whenever we are in need. He is not obliged to respond. He is not required to deliver, in the manner of a formal business transaction. It is the interaction which is more beneficial, the closeness hopefully increases, and the loving mood of service continues to flourish, as a result.
With imminent danger to transpire,
Looking to Krishna to deal with fire.
Devaki her children wanting to see,
Ready to oblige was He.
Who the universal form revealing,
After Arjuna directly appealing.
Requests not rules of bhakti to breach,
Rather always Supreme Lord can reach.
Categories: the four
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