“When Krishna and Satyabhama were returning from the capital city of Indra, Satyabhama remembered Krishna's promise to give her the plant of the parijata flower. Taking the opportunity of having come to the heavenly kingdom, she plucked a parijata plant and kept it on the back of Garuda.” (Krishna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vol 2, Ch 4)Download this episode (right click and save)
Akama, sarva-kama, moksha-kama. Whatever the disposition of the individual, they should worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is the recommendation of the Shrimad Bhagavatam.
akāmaḥ sarva-kāmo vā
yajeta puruṣaṁ param
“A person who has broader intelligence, whether he be full of all material desire, without any material desire, or desiring liberation, must by all means worship the supreme whole, the Personality of Godhead.” (Shrimad Bhagavatam, 2.3.10)
Sarva-kama is there at the start. This is where the individual desires one thing after another. Think of the child who has so many toys already at home but sees one at the store and then desperately wants it. Moksha-kama is the desire for impersonal liberation, merging into the Absolute, becoming almost stateless and identity-less.
Akama refers to the devotees. They have no material desires. This doesn’t mean that desire itself is eliminated. Rather, the nature changes. Sarva-kama cannot be satisfied, and moksha-kama is very difficult. The Supreme Lord understands that desire is not harmful for the akama devotees. He is so moved by their unflinching devotion that He doesn’t hesitate to satisfy their desires, even if those desires should be extraordinary.
1. Kidnapping Rukmini on the day of marriage
Shri Krishna descended to this earth some five thousand years ago, during the age known as Dvapara. This is the third of the four time divisions of the single yuga. The Supreme Lord is both formless and with form. The formless aspect is a negation to the flawed-form concept with which we are familiar. God is without form in the sense that we understand it. He is with form from the perspective of giving a vision that has features identifiable by the eyes of the creatures living in the material world.
When He descended in His original and spiritual form of Shri Krishna, He lived for a period in the city of Dvaraka. One time He received a message from a princess. Named Rukmini, she was from the kingdom of Vidarbha. She was the king’s daughter, and that king had already arranged for her marriage to someone. Yet Rukmini had given her heart to Krishna. This was not a material desire. Completely in the akama mindset, she proposed a plan whereby Krishna could take her away just prior to the marriage ceremony.
For any person this would be a dangerous path. The people at the ceremony wouldn’t take too kindly to an outsider suddenly swooping in and changing the plans. Yet Krishna did not mind the risk. He is the most powerful, after all, so He can defend both Himself and the beautiful Rukmini from the princes who would object. Krishna proceeded to do just that, as He brought the goddess of fortune back to Dvaraka to preside over the underwater city as its chief queen.
2. Bringing the parijata plant for Satyabhama
Rukmini would not be the only wife to Krishna. As He is the savior of the surrendered souls, He does not have to limit the outflow of His mercy. In Dvaraka He had another wife named Satyabhama. One time she saw Rukmini receive a parijata flower as a gift from Narada Muni. Satyabhama then demanded to get a similar gift from Krishna. The Lord replied that He would do one better; an entire tree of parijata flowers.
This was facilitated through Krishna defeating a powerful demon named Bhaumasura, who had taken the earrings of Aditi, who is the mother of the demigods. Krishna, who had brought Satyabhama with Him on the trip, then proceeded to the heavenly realm to return the earrings. Indra, the king of heaven, was pleased by this. On their way out, Satyabhama plucked a parijata plant. Indra and the demigods objected to this, to the point that a fight began. Krishna emerged victorious. Satyabhama’s wish was fulfilled, as she brought the plant back to Dvaraka, where it would later turn into a beautiful tree.
3. Acting as charioteer for Arjuna
Krishna is famously known throughout the world as the speaker of the Bhagavad-gita. Arjuna is the recipient of those time-honored and valuable words, which perfectly summarize Vedic philosophy. What may not be as well-known is that Krishna was the charioteer for Arjuna. The troubled soul was calling the shots on the eve of a huge battle. Krishna had not lost a bet. He was not paying off a debt to Arjuna. He was not known to be an extraordinary driver. Rather, He volunteered to perform this service, as Arjuna is very dear to Him. Arjuna had Krishna with Him, which meant that he was guaranteed to emerge victorious against the opposing army, which was formidable.
4. Dancing with the gopis
It is against dharma for a married woman to leave home and rendezvous with another man. In this case, the other man was Krishna Himself. He is the object of dharma, the end goal of following principles of righteousness. At some point along the path of progression of the consciousness, strict adherence to principles of righteousness must be abandoned; otherwise those principles themselves become superior. They become an almost impersonal God.
mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja
ahaṁ tvāṁ sarva-pāpebhyo
mokṣayiṣyāmi mā śucaḥ
“Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reaction. Do not fear.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 18.66)
Krishna danced with the many gopis who came to meet Him in the forest at night. He did so to please them. They had abandoned everything for Him. They were living embodiments of the famous verse from the Bhagavad-gita, wherein Krishna concludes His discourse by advising Arjuna to simply surrender, abandoning all varieties of religion.
5. Accepting defeat in mock fights with His friends
As mentioned previously, Krishna defeated the powerful demon known as Bhaumasura. He defended Himself against very capable princes who objected to His taking of Rukmini. He even defeated the demigods when they tried to stop Satyabhama from taking the parijata plant. These are but a few examples that show Krishna’s amazing and inconceivable strength.
Yet some might be surprised to learn that Krishna lost many fights as well. These occurred during His childhood in the sacred land of Vrindavana. Krishna was the son of a cowherd, and so He and the other cowherd boys of the town would go out to the fields every day. There they would enjoy as children. This enjoyment included play-fighting. Krishna would sometimes be defeated by His friends, who would proudly boast of their victory. In this way we see that the Supreme Lord holds affection for His servants at such a level that can’t be imagined. He will go to any lengths to bring bliss and happiness to them.
Despite having immeasurable strength,
For pleasing devotees to go any length.
Sometimes losing at mock fighting,
Defending Satyabhama after flower sighting.
Rukmini away from marriage assembly taking,
Back to Dvaraka, His wedded wife making.
Whether liberation, all desires or having none,
Worship of Krishna to benefit each and every one.