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Chapter 35
The Ananda Krishna Gives


Rama transformed the world into a realm of righteousness, through his varied activities and example. During the great Horse Sacrifice that he performed, all the sages and scholars of ritual who had assembled, honoured him as a great upholder of tradition and culture. His compassion and softness of heart are beyond description; no words can convey their depth and extent. He placed the dying eagle - Jatayu, a bird, which no one will ordinarily honour - on his lap (see RRV2-3b); he wiped with his own flowing hair, the dust that had enveloped it; when it breathed its last, he performed the obsequies, even as a son does when his father dies! (see also Srimad Bhagavatam, Canto 1, Chapter 3: Krishna is the Source of all Incarnations (verse 22))

His very appearance cast a charm on all who saw him. Love, Beauty and Virtue emanated from him and spread to all around him. He treated the Vanaras (monkey-tribals) with as much affection as he had towards his brothers, Bharatha, Lakshmana and Satrughna.

Rama was the full manifestation of Righteousness or Dharma. The sages extolled him, saying that Dharma Itself had taken that human form! There is no need to dilate and speak of a thousand details. For all householders, Rama is the Ideal. His advent was for restoring spiritual values and saving the world from moral disaster. How affectionately he moved with his brothers! Everything was ready for his coronation; but, at the last minute, when he was exiled and had to go to the forests, the populace of Ayodhya wailed in uncontrollable anguish; but, Rama moved out of the City and Kingdom, with as much joy and equanimity as he had, when he moved towards the throne for the coronation! What greater example is needed than this, for the Sthithaprajna (the person whose consciousness is calm and beyond all agitations)?

He felt that the plighted word was worth the sacrifice of even life. He suffered, with perfect equanimity, grievous hardships, in order to preserve the plighted word of his father. His sincere persistence in carrying out the promise made by his father is an inspiration and an example to every son of man.

Sita, too, insisted on accompanying her husband to the forest, since the true wife can keep alive only in the company of the husband; she had never before exposed herself to sun and rain; but she spent her days in the terror-striking forest, as in duty bound, and in unsullied joy.

"He who is born with you, is more worthy of affection, than she who joined you later", that was the view of Lakshmana, when he joined his brother Rama, leaving his wife, Urmila, in Ayodhya itself.

Bharatha could not but obey Rama's wish; he came back to the Capital with a heavy heart, since Rama declined to come and enthrone himself. Bharatha created an artificial 'forest' for himself (that is to say, he led an ascetic's life, out of inner compulsion, since he felt he must live like his exiled brother).

Consider the difference between Dasaratha, the father and Rama, the son; they are as different as earth and sky! To please his wife, to make her happy and contented, the father was prepared to bear the utmost agony; finally, he even sent his dear son as an exile to the jungle! The son sent his wife into the jungle, as an exile, in order to respect the opinion of a commoner in his empire! Think of the different ways in which the two carried out their duties to the people, over whom they ruled. Dasaratha was overwhelmed by the illusion that he was the physical body; Rama was moved by the realisation that he was the Atma.

Ah! The virtues and excellences of Rama, I am incapable of describing to you, O King! What greater task and mission in life can a man have, than the contemplation of that Supreme Person? To save oneself from downfall, the only exercise needed is: listening to the glorious narrative of the lives of Avatars. When you do so, all sin is washed away", said Suka. [Sukadeva Gosvami, Supreme son of Vyâsadeva, see Srimad Bhagavatam, Canto 1, Chapter 19: The appearance of Sukadeva Gosvami]

At this, Parikshith was delighted; his face flushed with excitement. He said, "Master! While your account of the life and activities, the virtues and charm of Rama - the embodiment of Dharma - is bestowing on me such great Ananda, I wonder how much greater would be the Ananda I can derive when you describe the career of Krishna! He is dark blue beauty personified. How sweet must be the account of Krishna's child-hood pranks, his boyish adventures, his Divine Leelas, His Divine prattle! I pray that I may be kept immersed in the thought and contemplation of the might and majesty, the charm and beauty, of Krishna Himself, during the days that I still have to live. I pray that I may be saved from the cycle of birth and death, thereby".

The Ananda Krishna Gives

Hearing this prayer, Suka said, "0 King, truly, the Leelas of Krishna are, as you said, amazing, wondrous; but, yet, sweet and meaningful. They are not tainted by the desire to show off the Divine Nature. The common man is drawn by external pomp, and apparent motives. So, he judges the Leelas as common and even low. The inner meaning and purpose are not easily patent to all. But, the Lord can never engage Himself in purposeless and paltry activities. His advent is for the uplifting of the world from the morass of wickedness and unrighteousness, for fulfilling the needs of those devoted to Him, for the re-establishment of Right and Morality and for the revival of the Vedas; He has to take into account the merit acquired by each in previous lives and shower His Grace accordingly; He makes Himself available through the grant of boons; His Leelas or Divine activities are so shaped that they suit the time, the person, the aspiration and the compassion which cause each shower of Grace. Therefore, who can comprehend correctly and interpret aright these Leelas?

"The amazing Leelas of Hari are known to Hari alone", it is said. He can be interpreted by Him alone, not by another.  One observation however, can be made with confidence. The Manifest Incarnations of God will not engage themselves in the least, for their own sake or for the sake of fulfilling any personal likes! All activity is for the good of the world! Though without Them, the world cannot exist and survive, They move and act as if the world has nothing to do with them. In every word and deed of Theirs, one can observe the underlying current of total renunciation. For Them who hold the worlds in the palm of Their hands what can the world give or withhold? They can shape it as they like.

Fools, persons without faith, persons who deny God, persons caught in the coils of ignorance, those who do not learn anything-these may see the Leela's of God as self-centred and even motivated by delusion, like the actions of ordinary mortals. But, genuine Bhakthas will cherish them as significant and sustaining examples of Grace. How can Thath be grasped by those who are engrossed in Thwam?

King! the actions of Rama, Emperor of Kosala, and of Krishna are, you should remember, wide apart. When the wicked and cruel enemies of righteousness were about to overwhelm the good, Krishna and Balarama, the two brothers were born, the one black and the other white (as a head of hair, both black and white), and by their acts that transcended the comprehension of man, astounded the world. (see also S'rîmad Bhâgavatam, Canto 1, Chapter 3: Krishna is the Source of all Incarnations (verse 23))

The Leelas of Krishna are beyond the comprehension of any one, however, scholarly or wise. His movement, his walk, his talk, his smile, his laughter, his gesture, his speech, his song, each is charming with a unique artistry.

It all looked so peculiar, so extra-ordinary. Very often, it resembled lawlessness and sheer mischief. While walking in the eastern direction, his attention was fixed in the western direction! He conversed through His eyes; the flash of His eyes spoke out His plans and intentions. He did not care for human limitations and disciplines. He did not recognise the distinction between new and old acquaintances; He treated both alike. He did not respect kinship or yield to the demands of convention.

Wherever He went, He created some strange mischief or other. Like a typhoon sweeping over the land, He left behind in every home that He visited a series of upheavals, quarrels, wailings and tears!

There was no need to invite Him ceremoniously into any house; He would enter, uninvited, unannounced. Every house belonged to Him; He would get in and take whatever He desired from wherever it was hidden, and eat them to His heart's content.

He was everyone's dearest kinsman, fastest comrade. So, He could take anything from any house with impunity. But, He was not content with that. He took away much more than His own need, for, He gave away large quantities to His companions too. And, they were quite a large number! The owners might bewail the loss, and condemn the theft, but, He did not care; He gave the things away as if they were His own! No one could hinder His sport; no one could go against His word. If any dared oppose or threaten, the sufferings that will be heaped on his head were indescribable!

But, the truth must be told. The smallest act of His was saturated with supreme sweetness. Even the sufferings He inflicted on those He wanted to punish were sweet. So, no one felt the least anger towards Him. Instead, they yearned to meet Him more often, to play with Him longer, to talk with Him and stay with Him as much as possible. Whatever His pranks and practical jokes, the victims never felt annoyed at Him.

The reason was: the Prema, the undercurrent of Love, that motivated all His words and acts. The cow-herd maids rushed towards Him with sticks to beat Him off, but, when they neared Him and cast their looks at Him, their hearts were filled with Prema, and they came away, with a prayer on their tongues. Whatever He did, appeared as Divine sport, Leela.

And the manner of His speech! It was so pleasing and so clever, it was mostly intended to mislead! He put sand into His mouth, before all His companions; but, when His mother took Him to ask for it, He denied it and put out His tongue to prove His denial! He rendered true statements false and false statements, true! He went daily to Vrishabhendrapura, the village where Radha lived. Many people saw Him on the road, while going and returning. But yet, when His mother accosted Him and challenged Him, saying, "Why are you trekking every day such long distances? Have you no comrades here, in this place itself, to play with?" He replied, "I do not know that road at all!" He caused confusion in every home, created factions between mothers-in-law and the daughters-in-law, set them one against the other, and enjoyed the fun. He was seldom stationary in one place, from dawn when He rose from bed till the hour when He went to sleep. This little bundle of mischief roamed from house to house, without rest.

In spite of all this, the villagers could not bear His absence, even for an instant! If He did not put in His appearance any day the milkmaids watched for His visit, peeping at the road through the windows or looking into the distance from the terrace. Such was the charm of the Divine Love that Krishna showered on them and the Love that the people had towards Him. His pranks were so heart-warming; they were so inspiring and meaningful. (See also Srimad Bhagavatam, Canto 10, Chapter 6: The Killing of the Demoness Pûtanâ)

The blue Boy was the Master of subterfuge and diplomacy. He saw through every artifice, however cleverly camouflaged. When the ogress Puthana approached Him as Mother to feed Him at her breast, He pretended to be taken in, by that stratagem; He sucked her life out and felled her to the ground. Many an Asura came near Him to destroy Him, Some assuming the familiar forms of the cowherds and milkmaids of the village; but, He discovered their identity and despatched them to the City of Death. One Asura took the form of a calf, and moved among the calves and cows which Krishna was tending, awaiting an opportunity to kill Him! But, the three year-old Divine infant saw through the device; He caught him by the tail, raised him, swung him one round and beat him on the ground, so that he breathed his last.

Such strength and skill were quite out of proportion with that Infant Form. But, He demonstrated His Divinity in a million ways, in order to convert and convince men. He taught every one, whether they were elders, women, or crooks, or His own kinsmen and well-wishers. He advised them into good ways. He entangled some of them in dilemmas. His maternal uncle, Kamsa, was drunk with imperial power and heroic audacity. He caught him by the tuft of hair, pulled him down from the throne, fisted him to death, and dragged the body along the main thoroughfare right down to the bank of the Yamuna! The entire population of the City of Mathura saw in every act of His, a wondrous mixture of the amazing, the astounding, the sweet, the charming, the enticing, the beautiful and the simple.

While yet an infant, He ended the lives of Puthana, Thrnavartha, and Sakatasura; He was then, a tiny thief in search of butter in every home! When His mother tied Him to a wooden mortar; He dragged it behind Him, and with it, He pulled down two giant trees, growing together. He curbed the conceit and fury of the serpent Kalinga, which poisoned the waters of the Yamuna and made them disastrous for men and cattle. When His mother attempted to tie Him up with a rope round His waist, He revealed to her His Universal Form, the Form in which the entire Universe was found to be but a part of Him. The parents and the people of Gokula were wonder-struck at the remarkable experience of His Divinity. Through His yawn, He showed them the macrocosm and the microcosm, both!

He showed His dear cowherd comrades His Paradise, which knew no grief or loss (Vaikunta). He persuaded Nanda to stop the usual Puja for Indra and to offer worship to the Govardhana Hill, instead. When the Rain-God Indra, stung by this neglect, poured terrible rains on the Village, Krishna held aloft on his little finger, the Govardhana Hill inviting the entire village to take shelter under it!

He raised the cowherd boys and maids into ecstatic moods, by means of His playful pranks and His melodious music on the Flute. To interpret this as low and sensuous is a sign of foolishness.

When Krishna danced in the moonlight [see also SB 10-33], with the maids, each maid having a concrete Krishna by her side, it is interpreted by low minded persons as laxity of morals and as a vulgar pastime. There is no basis for such inference at all. Krishna was only five or six years old when these miraculous incidents took place; how then call the experience be con- demned as lascivious? The Lord has no attributes or qualities. The Rasa Kreeda, as this, incident is called, is but a means of rendering the Gopis worthy of Grace, an example of Devotion and the fruit of Devotion, Dedication. The Lord was showering on them the Grace they had earned by their meritorious acts. It was a boon, a blessing. 

When that super-human Divine Manifestation is taken to be merely human, lasciviousness and thievishness may be attributed; but, consider, which human can achieve even an iota of what He did? He saved the world from the harassment of such monstrous evil-doers as Pralamba, Dhenuka, Kesi, Banasura, Arishta, Mushtika, Kuvalayapida, Kamsa, Naraka, Poundraka, Dwividha, Jarasandha, Dantavakra, Sambara, Kambhoja, Kuru, Matsya, Kaikaya and many such powerful heroes. Can it be said that all this is within the capacity of a mere man?

In this unique Avatar, every act is an amazing miracle. Even when angry, He could not but evince His overflowing Prema. In Love His compassion flowed unhindered. Through His Darsan, Sparsan and Sambhashana, one could earn Liberation. He granted Immortality to those who reminded themselves of His Name. The cowherds among whom He lived and moved tasted the nectar of ecstasy whenever they witnessed His deeds or remembered them.

O King! The Bhagavatha is not merely the narrative of the Lord's story, in the background of Mathurâ, Brindavan, Gokula, the banks of the Yamunâ, Nanda-Yasodâ, Vasudeva-Devakî, and others. Bhagavatha includes the stories of all the incarnations of Bhagavân or the Lord. All incarnations were the manifestations of the selfsame Gopala, Krishna, from Goloka or Vaikunta. The story of each is but the story of Vâsudeva, emerging from Him and merging in Him. That Divine Power is the sustaining factor for all incarnations as well as all living beings.


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