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Chapter 36
Comrade and King 


"Listen O King! God is omnipotent, He knows no distinction between the possible and the impossible. His Wizardry, His Sport, His Play, His Pranks cannot be described with the vocabulary that man commands. Though He has no Rupa or Form, He can assume the Form of the Universal Person, embodying all Creation in His Form. He is One but He makes Himself Many. Matsya, VarâhaNarasimha, [Kurma], Vâmana, Parasurâma, Râma, Krishna, Buddha, Kalki - people relate to each other that these are the Divine Forms He has assumed. But, that is not describing Him as vast as His magnificence! We have to visualize all forms as His; the vitality of every being is His Breath. In short, every bit in Creation is He, the manifestation of His Will. There is nothing distinct or separate from Him.

But, for the protection of the world, for the upholding of Dharma, for fulfilling the yearnings of devotees He wills specially and assumes a special Form and moves in the world; He confers great joy on the devotees by His divine acts, which convince them of His Advent; they are thus confirmed in their faith and prompted to dedicate their activities to God and thus save themselves, and liberate themselves. Therefore people consider the Forms aforesaid which were assumed with this end in view, as specially sacred and they worship God in those incarnated Forms. On certain occasions, for resolving certain urgent crisis, God has incarnated with Forms embodying part of His Divinity, with some Divine powers and potentialities. Examples of such incarnations for the protection of the world are plenty."

When the Sage Suka spoke thus, Parikshith lifted up his face lit with a strange joy and exclaimed, "Ah, did the charming Lord assume such Forms through a part of Himself? Of course, it is all Play for Him. Tell me about these Forms taken by Him for the preservation of the world; make me happy, listening to that narrative". Praying thus, he prostrated before the Preceptor.

Suka continued, "Listen, O King! Kapila, Dattatreya, Sanaka, Sananda, Sanatkumara, Sanatsujatha, and other sages, Rshabha, Nara-Narayana, Vishnu, Dhruva, Hayagriva, Prthu, Kachchapa, Dhanvanthari, Hamsa, Manu, Balarama, Vyasa and many such Divine Personages are but Name-Forms assumed by the Lord, for granting boons to devotees, for saving the world from ruin, for laying down the Code of Morality and Right Behaviour for humanity, and the restoration of traditional and well-established ideals and modes among mankind. There are many more such Amsa (partial) Avatharas (incarnations). But, we have no time for the detailed description of each. Moreover they are not so important as, to merit detailed consideration. I responded to your request because, I felt a short review is enough." [see also Srimad Bhagavatam, Canto 2, Chapter 7, Brief Description of the Past and Coming Avataras]

But, Parikshith intervened. He said, "Master! Tell me at least very briefly the reasons for the Lord incarnating so, even though only a part of Him incarnated, as Kapila, Dhruva, Dattatreya, Hayagriva, Dhanvanthari etc.; tell me about their achievements and the significance of each Advent. That will afford me purifying enlightenment." So, Suka said, "King! Devahuthi, the wife of Kardama Prajapathi bore nine daughters, and as her tenth child, the Kapila Form was born. The Lord appearing as Kapila became the Preceptor and spiritual Guide to the mother, Devahuthi herself! He taught her the secret of attaining Liberation and vouchsafed to her the teaching that led to final release. (see also Srimad Bhagavatam, Canto 3, Chapter 25,The Glories of Devotional Service)

The consort of the sage Athri, Anasuya by name, prayed that the Lord may be born as the child of her womb and the Lord replied, 'Granted' (Datta). Since the father's name was Athri, He was called Datta-athreya, Dattathreya. He showered on Karthaveeryarjuna and Yadu, emperors of high renown endowed with all glory, the great treasure of Yogic wisdom. It is in this Form that God, in the beginning of this Kalpa or Age, moved about as the four child sages, Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanathkumara and Sanathana. They were ever at the age of five, so innocent that they wore no clothes, so divine that they spread Wisdom and Peace around them. The Lord was born as the twins, Nara and Narayana, and they lived in the forests around Badri in the Himalayas, practicing austerities. They had Murthidevi as their mother. The Lord appreciated the intensity of the austerity of the boy Dhruva; He conferred on him the Blessing of His Vision in concrete Form; He sanctified the lives of the parents of Dhruva. He crowned him as the Lord of the polar regions, and set him in the sky as the Pole Star. When the downward - falling wicked Vena was cursed and destroyed by the sages, and when his body was churned, the first sovereign ruler of the world emerged, because the Lord took that Form; he was Prithu, the first Iswara (Lord) of Prithvi (the Earth). By his austerity and good conduct, Prithu saved his father from hell. He restored prosperity and morality in the entire world. He built villages, towns and cities on the earth and ordered that men dwell peacefully therein, each performing in loving cooperation with the rest, the duties assigned to him.

The Lord was born again as the child of Nabhi and Sudevi; He manifested as a Paramahamsa, a realized sage, and He taught the supreme remedy for all ills, viz., renunciation (thyaga) and the ways of cultivating it. Later, the Lord took Form as Yajna, in a Brahma-yajna, and since, above the neck, He had the Form of a Horse, He was called Haya (horse)-griva (head). The breath of Hayagriva became manifest as the Vedas. Meanwhile the wily ogre, Somaka, stole away the Vedas and hid them in the surging floods of Pralaya (The Great Dissolution). So, the Lord had to assume the Form of a Fish, search for the Vedas amidst the depths of the sea, destroy the ogre and bring the Vedas over to be restored to Brahma and thus, re-establish on earth the ways of living laid down in the Vedas and the goal of life marked out therein. The Lord has thus assumed many forms appropriate for each need and manifested Himself on countless critical occasions and showered His Grace on the World; He has destroyed the fear and agony of mankind; He has rescued the good and the godly. Countless are the narratives of such advents. His Will results in His advent; so it is foolish to investigate into the reasons that prompted Him to incarnate.

Those who seek to know or lay down the causes for the Lord willing, one way and not another, are really fools venturing on an impertinent adventure; so too are those who assert that His Power and His Plans have such and such characteristics, qualifications and limits, and those who claim to know that the Lord will act only in this particular mode, and those who declare that the Divine Principle is of this nature and not otherwise!

There can be no limit or obstacle to His Will. There can be no bounds to the manifestation of His Power and His Glory. He fructifies all that He wills; He can manifest in whatever Form He wills. He is unique, incomparable equal to Himself alone. He is His own measure, witness, authority. (see also Srimad Bhagavatam, Canto 1, Chapter 3: Krishna is the Source of all Incarnations

Once, the Lord was so touched by the sincerity of Narada's devotion to Him that He assumed the Form of a Hamsa (Celestial Swan) and, elaborated to Him the nature of Bhaktha, Bhagavan and of the relation between the two, so that all aspirants may be led and liberated. He placed the Wisdom and the Path on a foundation strong enough to survive the end of this present age, without any fear of defeat or decline. He rendered the Seven Worlds shine in purity, through the splendour of His spotless renown. During the Great Churning of the Ocean of Milk, the Lord assumed the Form of the Tortoise, to hold up the Mandara Mountain Peak, which was the Churning Rod. At that very time, the Lord took another Form too, as Dhanvanthari, to bring the Divine Vessel filled with Amrith (Immortality-granting Nectar). As Dhanvanthari, He taught the means of conquering disease and enable men to cure their physical ills. He rendered many, famous as physicians and doctors, skilled in diagnosis and cure.

He did much more, O King! Physicians and doctors were until then not entitled to receive a share of the offerings made to the Gods in sacrifices. Dhanvanthari laid down that they must be given a share and thus, He raised their status, in society.

Did you note the inscrutable sport of the Lord, evident in these manifestations? God! God alone knows the ways of God! How can others gauge their grandeur and their glory? How can they successfully measure them with their poor equipment of intellect and imagination? Since men are bound by the shackles of Ajnana (ignorance), they argue and dilate, long and loud, on God and His attributes and flounder in the sin of sacrilege. Instead, man can win the Grace of God, if only he discards doubt when he sees Divine manifestations, if his picture of God is untarnished by passing moods and events, and if he transmutes his own moods and acts, in conformity with the manifestations of God he is privileged to witness. If he acts otherwise, he cannot hope to win the Grace, or taste the Bliss.

Next, the mystery of the Krishna incarnation! That embodiment of sweetness is most captivating! Exquisite charm, unrivalled sweetness, incomparable love - the Krishna Form was the concretization of all these! That Form was the treasure-house of Bliss; it was the Ocean of Virtue; 0, what Innocence! What Superhuman Excellence! The mere sight of Him is enough; listening to His words is enough; merely touching Him is enough; one's life will find its goal! All rituals, all sacrifices, all scriptural ceremonies have as their goal only this, this sight, this listening, this touch. The gain that accrues from the rites etc., are nothing when compared to the gain from the sight and the touch, and the listening to His voice. No. They are nothing at all. Ah! What immeasurable sweetness! Contemplating on that Form, recollecting the charm and the loveliness, the sage started shedding profuse tears of joy; he was so full of inward bliss that he stopped his narration and lost all consciousness of himself and his listeners.

The ascetics around him and the King himself were overcome with wonder at the rare sight of the sage's Samadhi; the illumination on his face had an overpowering impact on all. They sat like statues, afraid to disturb the sage and immersed in their own amazement and joy."

After some time, Suka opened his eyes, and exclaimed! "How fortunate were the Gopas and Gopis (the herdsmen and maids) who lived then. How their bodies must have shone with the Divine Joy they experienced, when they moved in His Company, played with Him, talked with Him, sang with Him and shared supreme Ananda with Him! Gods envied their luck, for, it was a chance they could not secure. Those simple illiterate folk could get the singular good fortune as a consequence of the merit acquired by them in many previous lives. Those Gopas and Gopis were not just common men and women. No. At first sight they struck one as simple unlearned folk, that was all. But, they had, within them, a vast treasure of revealed wisdom, which only a few could appreciate and understand. Or else, how could they secure the Bliss of the Lord's Touch, which even Rukmini and Sathyabhama could not win so easily! The Gopas and the Gopis can be said to be more fortunate than those Queens. Their good fortune was the fruit of the good deeds done by them during, not one, but, three previous lives!"

The sage's eyes closed again. He was in Samadhi, tasting the sweetness of the Krishna Incarnation; there was a beautiful smile beaming on his lips. Parikshith was astounded at the sight of the waves of joy that overpowered the great sage, whenever he allowed his mind to dwell on the Divine career of Krishna. He too yearned with enthusiastic impatience to listen to those enrapturing incidents and activities of the Lord.

When Suka resumed, Parikshith too lost all consciousness of his surroundings; he was so struck with wonder, that he could not believe that some of the incidents could ever have happened! This gave him immense pain, and caused unbearable agony, at the thought of his own inconstancy. So, he placed his problem before the Sage and won peace of mind. after hearing his explanation and elaboration. While proceeding thus, on one occasion, the King developed serious doubts about the Bhakthi (devotion) of the Gopis; he argued within himself and sought remedial assurances through his own understanding and faith. But, the doubts would not vanish. Nor had he the courage to ask the Sage who might consider them as too childish. So, he was suffering and smothering the suffering. This became evident to the Sage and, so, he asked the King with a smile, "It is evident that some insane idea is distracting you. In this crisis, it is not beneficial to suffer from repressed emotions. If some doubt is simmering in you, or if a thirst to know about something is hurting you, do not hesitate to ask me; I shall resolve the doubt, I shall quench the thirst and ensure joy and contentment of mind." When the Sage encouraged the King in this manner, the King spoke, "Master! You know the Past, the Present and the Future. You have the vision and the capacity to cure me of the doubt that is pestering me. Therefore, please do not misunderstand me; hear me and resolve the doubt; Cure me of the anguish I have on account of it. Restore the peace of mind, I had, before it entered my heart". The King fell at the Sage's Feet and continued, "Master! I have heard much, in various versions, of the sport and pranks, of the Rasakrida (the Raasa Dance) of Krishna, with the cowherd maids (the Gopis) of Brindavan. They appear to be sensual pastimes of ordinary mortals. If such incidents had happened in truth, how can they be interpreted as Divine? Are they not disapproved by the world? These incidents at Brindavan, on the Yamuna banks, where such loose sensual lascivious play was enacted, besmirch the Divine Nature of Krishna, I am afraid. It is said that ultimate release or Moksha can be attained only by those who transcend the Gunas or qualities. These Gopis were afflicted with qualities, and the desires born out of them, mostly sensual, and objective. When it is said that the Gopis too were able to attain Moksha, it causes amazement; indeed, it appears even ridiculous! If, however, these immoral activities have some inner significance which justifies their being accepted as praise-worthy, please enlighten me."

When Parikshith prayed thus, Suka had a hearty laugh. He said, "0 King! Do not think that You are afflicted by a doubt; it is much worse! For, those who have realized that Krishna is the Lord Himself will not entertain such doubts! This is the final period of the Dwapara Age; the Kali Age is beginning soon. It is the Kali spirit, the spirit of the Age of Wickedness that has entered into you, that has prompted you to lodge such ideas in your mind. Or else, you had unshaken faith that Krishna is the Sovereign Supreme God. Every incident in His Career shines in your heart with Divine Brilliance. The moment you recollect His Name, you are overcome by joy and your thoughts merge in Him. So these doubts cannot arise in such as you! You are defiling your personality by them. Again, consider what type of person I am. You know that there is no place in my heart for activities born out of Gunas or the impulses created out of those qualities. Just consider how such a one as I is overpowered with supreme joy, when I contemplate the Divine Sport of Krishna with the Gopis! Consider how I praise the good fortune of the Gopis who got that precious Companionship. Can they be ordinary sensual sport? 

Or are they the pure and genuine exuberance of Divine intoxication? Think a while. Sensual exultation and Divine exhilaration might appear, the same, in their external manifestations, to the untrained eye. But, when the senses are transcended, when the Individual and the Universal have merged into one Thought and Consciousness, when all awareness of the body has been negated - to interpret these activities as objective and sensual is sheer stupidity, to say the least.

A knife in the hands of a murderer is fraught with danger to all; a knife in the hands of a surgeon confers freedom from pain, though in both cases, there is a hand that holds the knife. So too, the acts of those whose self is centered in the body are to be condemned; those of people whose self is centered in the Atma or Inner Reality are highly beneficent and praiseworthy.

Be devoted to Me and receive power from Me. To the extent to which you enthusiastically intensify and quicken up this process of give and take, to that extent you will be successful and happy. Deliver all your anxieties, troubles, travails and desires to Me and in return receive joy, peace and strength of mind from Me. During this Advent, only spiritual aspirants and righteous persons are relatives, friends and recipients of My Grace."

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