“Tell me again in detail, O Janardana [Krishna], of Your mighty potencies and glories, for I never tire of hearing Your ambrosial words.” (Arjuna, Bhagavad-gita, 10.18)Download this episode (right click and save)
If I take to Krishna consciousness, do I have to change my religion? What if I already have something that I inherited from my parents? Going to church, behaving piously, helping my fellow man – what need is there to go beyond this?
In the Bhagavad-gita, the acknowledged teacher is addressed by different names. It wasn’t that the student couldn’t remember. It wasn’t that he was trying to throw the teacher off. Rather, that teacher is the Supreme Himself. Known as Krishna, He is not a competitor God. He is the definition to the abstract picture painted in virtually every other tradition of spirituality.
This Sanskrit word has several meanings. As an attribute, Hari is one who takes away. Spiritual life is a struggle. It’s not more difficult than material life, for nothing can compare with the impossible. Zero is always less than any other number, no matter from which angle of vision you come. In the same way, material life always ends in zero, as there is death in the concluding phase. Everything will be erased, except for the spirit soul, the individual living within.
Still, if you take up spiritual life, there are many obstacles. It’s difficult to give up attachments. After focusing for so long on personal pleasures, how to suddenly shift to wanting only the pleasure of someone else? In devotional service, which is spiritual life corresponding directly with God the person, the object of service offers help. One of the ways is by taking away. If I’m too afraid to get rid of my attachments, Hari removes them for me. I may even be angry with Him for this, as Narada Muni was one time. Nevertheless, it is for my own good, ultimately benefitting me.
Krishna never falls down. Of course, when He is playing in the fields of Vrindavana with His friends during the period of childhood there are some wrestling matches. The cowherd boys, the sakhas, exult in their victory. Krishna then has to carry them on His back as per the conditions of the contest.
“There are two classes of beings, the fallible and the infallible. In the material world every entity is fallible, and in the spiritual world every entity is called infallible.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 15.16)
These are intimate pastimes with pure devotees; they don’t represent a lack of ability in Krishna. He is Achyuta because He is infallible. Indeed, this is another distinction between material life and spiritual life. Krishna Himself says that everyone in the spiritual world is infallible, while everyone in the material world is fallible. As He is never materially contaminated, He remains always infallible, wherever He goes.
Krishna is all-pervading. One proof of this is the Supersoul residing within the heart. Every person has God inside of them. They are individual soul, jiva, while He is Supersoul, Paramatma. Though unseen and apparently without a recognizable form, nirguna, the Supersoul is actually beautiful and four-handed. The form is known as Vishnu, and one of the meanings to this name is “all-pervading.” Krishna sees everything because He is everywhere.
The student Arjuna used this name several times to address Krishna in their conversation famously known as the Bhagavad-gita. Not some strange deity of the Hindu tradition, Krishna is God for everyone. One way to know is the name Janardana. This means “maintainer of all living entities.”
I see the sunlight cracking through the blinds of the window in the morning. This lets me know that it is time to wake up and get ready for work. I decide to do just that. With the successful completion of the task, I attribute the result to my own effort. But actually, the Supersoul had to give sanction first. Proof of His presence is the fact that not everyone who wants to get up from bed will be able to do so. There are millions of such results occurring at every moment in this vast universe, and the whole system is maintained by Janardana.
The very name of the blue-complexioned worshipable figure is “all-attractive.” Krishna is the same God that others worship. They just may not know that He has a spiritual form that is identifiable, saguna. They may not be aware of the amazing beauty in the reservoir of all good qualities. They may not know that the height of living is to be fixed in devotional service, tasting the nectar that flows from every aspect of the all-attractive one, who so kindly dispelled Arjuna’s doubts.
Warrior Arjuna’s doubts dispelled,
Every flawed logic repelled.
As Janaradana maintainer of all,
Supersoul in heart Vishnu called.
Achyuta since never down falling,
Taking away so some Hari calling.
The Supreme Lord for world entire,
Transcendental form devotion to inspire.