“We further understand from Vedic information that Putana was also treated as a mother and given the same facility as Yashoda. As Yashoda was given liberation from the material world, so Putana was also given liberation.” (Krishna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vol 1, Ch 6)Download this episode (right click and save)
According to the Vedic understanding, which is knowledge passed down in the descending process, a chain of teachers that links all the way to the beginning of the creation as we know it, the Supreme Lord is anything but a mean and vindictive man. He is not old; since time has no influence on His transcendental body. There is no anger, since He never has His desires frustrated. There is sin and piety for the countless souls that are His sons and daughters, but the adherence or neglect of the rules of righteousness have no bearing on His disposition. He is known as atmarama, which means “self-satisfied.”
The relationship towards those countless souls is complete and full compassion. He always welcomes back the sincere devotees with open arms. He does not hold their many years of neglect against them. Every sinner has a future and every saint has a past. More than just taking someone’s word for it, there are many ways to understand this amazing compassion. The all-attractive one known as Krishna is indeed compassion personified.
1. He stays with us as the Supersoul
I should respect every single person. No matter what I think of their behavior, no matter how superior I think myself to be, at the core everyone is equal. This is because the spirit soul is what identifies us. Moreover, in each living being there is another spiritual spark that resides within. Unlike the individual soul, this spark is the same within everyone. It is known as the Supersoul or Paramatma.
Paramatma is God’s expansion. If you know Paramatma, you understand the all-pervading nature of the Divine. He is everywhere. He hears every prayer, sees every charitable deed, and remembers everything done in His honor. He witnesses everything, and He is neutral. He does not interfere with the choice to neglect Him.
The conditioned living being spins on the wheel of reincarnation, the samsara-chakra, for as long as the desire to reconnect with the Divine is absent. Throughout this time, the Supersoul remains close by. This means that God is the most compassionate person. He never abandons us.
2. He comes to this world as Chaitanya Mahaprabhu
Though God does not have to justify any of His actions, there are generally two accepted reasons for His special appearance in this world as Shri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Though the Divine is one, there are two aspects to that singularity. The male aspect is Krishna and the female Radha. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is a combined incarnation; Krishna appearing on earth in the mood of Radha.
The second reason for the advent is to help the conditioned souls who are otherwise suffering through the effects of Kali Yuga. In the age of quarrel and hypocrisy, everything is upside down. What is right is considered wrong, and vice versa. In the past it was a virtue to hold back on your desires, to control your lust. In Kali Yuga there is competition to see who is a bigger slave to their senses. “Look at what I’m eating today. Look at where I am on vacation. Just see how much influence kama has over me.”
Lord Chaitanya explained the true meaning of the Vedas through both personal instruction and ideal behavior. Most importantly, He popularized, prachara, the sankirtana movement. This is the congregational chanting of the holy names of God, “Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.” In this dark age there is no other way to find liberation. The names of Hari, or God, are the only way to emerge from the dark cloud of ignorance.
3. He gives liberation to demons like Putana
Release from the cycle of birth and death is known as mukti. This is liberation, and it is a reward very rarely achieved. The reason is that the material world envelops the otherwise knowledgeable individual in illusion. It’s like the person who continues to lay down bets at the blackjack table, even though everyone is telling them to stop. The gambler knows it’s a bad idea, but it is like there is some force preventing them from acting wisely.
“Arjuna said: O descendant of Vrishni, by what is one impelled to sinful acts, even unwillingly, as if engaged by force?” (Bhagavad-gita, 3.36)
Kama, or lust, is the force by which a man seems to be controlled, incapable of avoiding sin. The only way to truly conquer lust is to get the help of the Supreme Lord. It is interesting to note that liberation has been granted to even people who behaved poorly. The witch Putana from many centuries ago could be classified as more wicked than any creature we know.
She took the false guise of a beautiful woman and entered Vrindavana with evil intent. She was ready to kill the child of Nanda and Yashoda. This was Krishna Himself, who at that time was in the form of a beautiful and innocent child. Putana had smeared poison on her breast, hoping that by feeding Krishna she would kill Him. The opposite, of course, occurred. Her very life was sucked out of her.
Since she thought of Him at the time of death, Krishna gave Putana liberation. This is another example of extreme kindness and compassion. Even thinking of God inimically at the time of death qualifies as consciousness of Him. Krishna gives the same boon to all enemies who fight with Him to the death. The liberation for the devotees is even better, as they think of Him with love. Moreover, they don’t have to wait until death to experience the benefits of the release from reincarnation.
4. He never forgets sacrifices made in devotion
As the Supersoul, Krishna witnesses and remembers everything. There is compassion in that aspect, and there is something related that is more amazing. If a person makes a genuine effort at yoga, which is linking with that Supersoul, then their progress never goes away. I may start to build a new house and take a break halfway through. Through time, that progress can easily get erased. Then I am left to start from scratch.
“The unsuccessful yogi, after many, many years of enjoyment on the planets of the pious living entities, is born into a family of righteous people, or into a family of rich aristocracy.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 6.41)
The unsuccessful yogi need not worry. They get to start again from where they left off. The circumstances of their next birth are favorable for the continuation of yoga. They get the chance to again think of Krishna all the time; hopefully through to the time of death.
5. He brings saints to this world
In the Ramacharitamanasa, there is a statement by Maharishi Valmiki that one of the qualities of devotees is that they love their guru even more than God. The reason is that the guru is the compassionate person who showed them the way. The guru unveiled the path of devotion, which is like a gift that keeps on giving.
The guru is a saint, and these saints come to this world to spread the message of Divine Love. They are representatives empowered by Krishna Himself. They are another side to Him. Krishna is God who is served, and guru is God who offers the service. Though there may be many of them in the world at one time, the bona fide guru is one. They share the same interest of serving God without motivation and without interruption.
The presence of these saints to offer help and guidance, to teach us more about the one of limitless opulence, brilliance, and compassion is another way to understand the kindness of God. The saints are like an ocean of mercy, as they take all risks in the hopes of rescuing even a single soul. There is no way to properly repay that kindness.
Krishna the most compassionate to be,
Different ways for evidence to see.
Like with liberation to Putana giving,
A witch, her horrible sins forgiving.
As the Supersoul staying always with you,
The same in every person, every animal too.
As the avatara from time to time descending,
And most compassionate saints to this world sending.