Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Six-Tool

Lord Krishna “The feature of the Supreme Personality is the ultimate realization of God. He has all six opulences in full: He is the strongest, the richest, the most beautiful, the most famous, the wisest, and the most renounced.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Science of Self-Realization, Ch 4a)

In any field of activity, there are certain skills required for success, attributes and levels of dexterity that correspond with the required tasks of the discipline. For those managing the endeavors, the people in charge of seeing to the successful end of a particular task, just finding one person who suitably matches a specific component of the job is cause for celebration. The leader would love to tackle the entire project alone if they could, but to increase productivity in the venture, they add helpers to the mix, especially in jobs where a team of workers is a necessity. But if the manager, the owner of the team, is able to find one individual who possesses many different beneficial attributes and qualities capable of being utilized across a broad scope of activities, the results of their recruiting efforts become all the more enjoyable. There is one individual, one supreme entity, who is not only qualified to perform every task in the phenomenal world, but He in fact possesses all six of the most important attributes to the fullest degree and simultaneously. Therefore not only is He the ideal worker and the missing piece of the puzzle in any endeavor, He is also the best friend anyone could ever have, the companion we’re all looking for.

baseball diamondIn no endeavor does it hurt to have a worker who is capable of flourishing in multiple roles, but in the arena of sports the benefits derived from having such stars is especially highlighted. In the game of baseball, there are nine starting players which all field their position and also bat. In one of the two leagues in the professional ranks, the National League, the pitcher position doesn’t bat, but all the way up through the lower ranks even the pitcher has to learn how to hit the ball. A good team owner or manager looks for players to fill specific positions. Each position requires a different skill-set; therefore the players that occupy them tend to have similar attributes and traits. The pitcher can throw the ball very fast and for long durations of time. A starting pitcher plays every five days and thus pitches for a long duration in each game. The relief pitchers come in more frequently but they don’t throw for as long. The relievers, especially the closers, can throw the ball very hard, as it is not required for them to vary their pitches too much because of the short duration of time they are in the game.

Pitching is only one aspect of the game, for good pitchers don’t necessarily make good hitters, nor are they expected to be skilled behind the plate. When the pitcher throws the ball, someone needs to catch it. Not surprisingly, that someone is known as the catcher. This position similarly doesn’t require a very capable batter due to the other functions that must be performed. A catcher must be able to crouch down and catch pitches thrown by all the pitchers in the nine inning game. Therefore catchers are usually somewhat stocky in stature, with the majority of their weight found in their thighs and calves. As such, catchers are also usually not fleet afoot. The first-baseman is tasked with fielding any ground balls hit to the infield. When a batter hits a ball into fair territory, they must run to first base. The first-baseman thus covers this base and hopes to get the runners out before they reach the bag. Since the first-baseman doesn’t really need to run very long or even throw the ball very well, he can concentrate more on the hitting aspects of the game. Therefore the first-baseman is usually a power hitter, one who can bulk up in the upper body so as to have a high bat-speed. The higher the speed of the swing and the more power in the arms of the batter, the farther the struck baseball will travel.

battingThe second-baseman has to guard the area of the infield adjacent to the first-baseman. Hence he must be very agile and able to cover a lot of ground with his feet. He doesn’t necessarily need to have a good arm, but he has to be somewhat quick. Therefore he usually doesn’t have much power when it comes to batting. The same holds true with the shortstop, a position player who is usually faster than the second-baseman. The shortstop’s requirements are increased in the area of throwing, as he is situated at a further distance away from the first-baseman, the man to whom all infield ground balls must be thrown. The third-baseman is similar to the first-baseman in that he doesn’t necessarily need to cover much ground with his feet. But his throwing abilities are fully scrutinized, as he has a very long toss to first-base. Therefore the third-basemen are usually power hitters who aren’t that fast.

Moving to the outfield, the center-fielder has the most ground to cover, so he must be very fast at running. Any outfield position requires a long throw back into the infield, so the fielder must be capable of throwing the ball very hard and a far distance. The left-fielder is similar in makeup to the center fielder but he doesn’t have to run as much. The right-fielder must have a good arm, as he has to make throws from his position in the field all the way to third base quite often, but he doesn’t have to run nearly as much as the other outfielders. Hence the right-fielder tends to have the most power at batting, while the center fielder has very good speed on the base paths. The left-fielder is usually somewhere in between the two as far as speed and power go.

OutfieldersIt is up to the manager to find the right player to fit each position. Putting someone with the qualities of a shortstop at first-base isn’t a good idea because the player’s abilities in the areas of throwing and fielding aren’t utilized properly. Similarly, putting a first-baseman behind the plate to catch isn’t a good idea because they may damage their knees by crouching down for nine innings. Even with the requirements specific to each position, there is one type of player who is seen as a godsend to the team, the owner, the manager and the fans. This individual is labeled a “five-tool” player, as he has the five attributes necessary for success in playing baseball at any position. A five-tool player has an above average capability in the areas of hitting for average, hitting for power, fielding, running and throwing. The power hitters, those with bulky arms and a very big swing, aren’t expected to hit for a high average. They aren’t necessarily concerned with putting the ball into play, just hitting it very hard. By the same token, the high average hitters generally suffer in the power department since their swings aren’t tailored for hitting the ball very far; they are more interested in making contact with the ball.

The five-tool player is a real gem because he can be placed at any position and still succeed. He can play the outfield or the infield and not cause a detriment to the team. If opposing teams want to pitch around such a player and put him on base, he is fast enough to be a threat to steal bases. The five-tool player can inflict damage at the plate in any situation, despite what the other team’s strategy might be. It is not surprising, therefore, to see five-tool players be handsomely rewarded in salary and be highly sought after by teams.

Lord KrishnaThough this example only describes the game of baseball, the concepts apply to all areas of endeavor. In the business world, one man or woman who can write, speak, think and sell effectively is the most valuable player to the company trying to distribute their product or service for a profit. While only certain tasks are required of each individual, one who can transcend any and all designations and properly fit into any situation will be the most valuable member of the team and the most highly sought after professional. While a multi-talented worker can excel in the various aspects of a specific material endeavor, there is one individual who is capable of fitting into any situation. Not only does He possess the necessary attributes to an above average degree, He is also the only individual who holds every beneficial quality at the highest level and at the same time. Not surprisingly, this person is deemed the most attractive in the world, and thus goes by the name of Krishna.

“The person who possesses all wealth, strength, fame, beauty, knowledge and renunciation is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Bhagavan.” (Parashara Muni, Vishnu Purana, 6.5.47)

Krishna is a Sanskrit word that describes the features of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the entity most of us refer to as God. Even for those who are in the unintelligent state of mind, where the picture of the Absolute Truth remains foggy, there is still a tendency to associate with and pray to the Divine Entity in the spiritual sky. The Vedas, the ancient scriptures of India, provide many names for the Supreme Being, allowing for different addresses by the conditioned souls desperately needing a companion while travelling the troublesome road of life. The name “Krishna” especially indicates the Lord’s attractiveness. He is the most beautiful entity the world has ever seen. While every aspect of His nature is beautiful, His transcendental form is uniquely attractive. More than just an ordinary figure turned folk hero, Krishna is the Lord of Lords who constantly appears on different planets in the innumerable universes. Just as the sun is rising at some place on earth at every moment, Krishna is appearing from the womb of Mother Devaki in some universe at this precise second. Wherever He is and wherever He goes, His natural beauty follows Him. He is the greatest enchanter, as those who have witnessed His unmatched beauty firsthand have described their experiences and how they became immediately transcendentally situated upon first glancing at the sweet Lord, who is also known as Shyamasundara. In this way, Krishna’s beauty is like no other’s.

Lord KrishnaKrishna also is the wealthiest. When we only have a cloudy picture of God, the issue of original ownership often gets overlooked. The material elements were all here prior to our birth and will remain manifest after our death, but there still must be an original owner, someone who created everything. The scientists will say that chemicals collided and created life, but who generated the chemicals? Are not the atoms part of the material world? The Vedic conclusion, one based on the authorized statements of acharyas following in the line of disciplic succession started by Krishna, reveals that God is the original proprietor of everything. Therefore to understand the true breadth and scope of His wealth, we must sum up the net-worths of every individual on earth since the beginning of time. Only then can a proper appraisal of Krishna’s massive estate be had. Indeed, during His times on earth, a small glimpse of His unimaginable wealth is put on display when He rules over the underwater kingdom of Dvaraka. In an instant, Krishna create thousands of the most beautiful palaces, with each one inhabited by the most beautiful and attractive queens the world has ever seen.

An infant, through the proper training and nutrition regimen, may eventually grow up to be a strong adult, but Krishna is so strong that He is not limited by His body type. Since He is eka-rasa, or complete in potency at all times, He can exhibit tremendous strength while even in the body of a small child. Such were the miraculous feats He performed during His childhood in Vrindavana some five thousand years ago that people couldn’t believe how the young Krishna was able to defy the laws of nature. Demon after demon was sent from the neighboring town of Mathura to kill baby Krishna, but each of them not only went away surprised, but dead. Krishna is the most benevolent killer, as He grants the soul of the departed liberation from the cycle of birth and death. The demon’s form of salvation is a little different from what others receive, as Krishna’s sparring partners get association with the blissful energy beaming off of the Lord’s original, gigantic transcendental body. For the devotees, those who swim in the ocean of bliss consisting of Krishna’s names, pastimes, forms and qualities, there is no loss of individuality when liberation arrives. Indeed, there is not even a loss of consciousness, as the thought processes of the soul remain forever blissfully stimulated. Krishna lifted a massive hill and held it over His head, all while He was just seven years old in terms of the time that had elapsed since His exit from the womb of Mother Devaki. In this way Krishna proves that His strength is always unmatched, as no one is able to come close to performing the same feats in any similar type of body.

Krishna lifting Govardhana HillCelebrities, actors, inventors and successful politicians have certainly garnered much fame throughout the many years the earth has been in existence, but only Krishna can validly claim to be the most famous. The greatest indication of this truth is the popularity of the books that describe His pastimes. The oldest and most widely read works in the world are the ones describing Krishna’s various forms, teachings and pastimes. The Ramayana, arguably the oldest poem in the world, describes the life and pastimes of Lord Rama, a non-different expansion of Krishna. The Ramayana was compiled during the Treta Yuga, which occurred many millions of years ago. The Vedas themselves are too old to accurately date, as they describe the events that took place at the beginning of creation. The Bhagavad-gita, the Song of God personally sung by Krishna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra, was compiled around five thousand years ago, yet it is the most widely read, studied and celebrated text on spirituality in the world. Krishna is the most famous individual today, and He will continue to be so in the future. His name found in the maha-mantra, “Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare”, is also the one word recited the most times in the mood of love and affection. This sacred formula is regularly chanted by the devotees, and it will continue to be vibrated throughout the universes for as far into the future as the eye can see.

Krishna’s supreme and unmatched knowledge is evidenced in the wonderful teachings He provides in books like the Bhagavad-gita and Shrimad Bhagavatam. Though one may argue that even such wisdom is narrow in scope, the limitations actually apply only to the individual being instructed. The human mind cannot think beyond time and space, but Krishna can. The Bhagavad-gita represents only a tiny fraction of His immeasurable mastery in the fields of logic, understanding, rational thought and sublime wisdom. Krishna can create thousands of Bhagavad-gitas in an instant, with each version supplanting the previous one in beauty and effectiveness at arousing the dormant spiritual consciousness within the listener. Krishna’s scriptures such as the Vedanta-sutras are so profound that others can study them for many years and still not understand them fully. The wisdom of the Vedas is so powerful and logical that many foolish commentators even try to deny Krishna’s existence by citing passages from the very same Vedas. Vedic logic is so potent that when not properly understood it can actually further delude the mind into believing that the human beings are themselves God. Only in the highest knowledge system, one emanating from Krishna, can the words be so powerful that they can lead to utter and complete delusion for those not qualified to understand them.

Radha and KrishnaThe sixth tool that rounds out Krishna’s justification for being labeled Bhagavan is renunciation, His ability to be completely detached from any and all situations. Though He possesses five of the most important attributes simultaneously and to the fullest degree, He is not attached to any of them. Though He is the most attractive entity and thus offered love by the most beautiful women in the world, He is not driven by lust, greed, anger, affection or attachment. As atmarama, Krishna is fully satisfied within Himself. One may argue that if Krishna is so renounced, how could He have associated with so many beautiful women during His most recent time on earth? Didn’t He marry over 16,000 princesses and regularly associate with the gopis of Vrindavana, the cowherd women of the town? To the devotees, those who are qualified to hear about and relish in the descriptions of Krishna’s activities, the Lord’s outward behavior doesn’t represent any contradiction at all. Since He is self-satisfied and fully renounced, Krishna can do whatever He wants. If 16,000 princesses captured by an evil king and held prisoner for a long time surrender fully unto Him, will Krishna deny their request for marriage? Will He just leave them hanging and tell them to go back home where they will be viewed as outcastes for having spent such a long time in another man’s custody? For the gopis of Vrindavana who only think of Krishna at all times, will the Lord deny their request for personal association?

Only the fools who have no ability to think beyond mundane logic, reason and the bounds imposed by the material world will give deference to rules, regulations and postulates and turn their backs on divine love. Krishna is the object of all dharma, or religiosity. The rules of science and math are meaningless unless applied practically. Similarly, the Vedic tenets, and the rituals and rules of conduct recommended, are all intended to bring one to the platform of bhakti, or pure love for God. As such, one who has attained the state of pure Krishna consciousness has no need to adhere to any mundane rules of morality. If such a principle applies to an individual worshiper, it most certainly also applies to the object of worship, Lord Krishna. Though Krishna spent so much time giving pleasure to those who desperately sought it from Him, He was still never attached to anyone or anything. He left Vrindavana when family business required His attention in Mathura. He left the world and His queens behind when the time was right. Though it is said that Krishna never leaves Vrindavana, it should be understood that the Lord voluntarily agrees to be in the company of His loving associates at least in thought. He is never required to listen to anyone.

Lord Krishna Krishna, as the only six-tool player in any game that He plays, is the most attractive individual to every person, regardless of the particular field of activity. Though the world we live in is temporary, the endless glory and beauty of Krishna are not. The aim in life is to develop a deep and loving attachment to the Supreme Spirit. One who sees God as He is, as the most attractive entity possessing the six opulences of importance to the fullest degree and simultaneously, will be able to derive the highest benefit out of their spiritual practice. Just as no one can beat Krishna in any contest of ability, no reward can surpass the eternal association He grants the sincere devotees.