Kompella Subbaraaya Shaasthry spoke about the coming on earth
of the incarnation of Krishna and read extracts from the
Bhaagavatha describing the antecedents of the birth. All of you
enjoyed listening to him, though many of you are listening to the
story for the hundredth time; the story of the Lord does not lose
its sweetness when repeated. Jnaana, Yoga and Karma (knowledge of
supreme self, meditation and selfless action) are, each one of
them, hard to go through, but like chutney, which is salt, chilly
and tamarind in the right proportion ground to a paste, Bhakthi
which is Jnaana, Yoga and Karma in the correct proportion, is
bound to be appetising to all tongues.
The grace of the Lord is a subject dear to every one. It is a
subject that is within the grasp of all. The Lord also can be
addressed by any name that tastes sweet to your tongue or pictured
in any form that appeals to your sense of wonder and awe. You can
sing of Him as Muruga, Ganapathi, Shaaradha, Jesus, Maithreyi,
Shakthi, or you can call on Allah or the formless, or the master
of all forms. It makes no difference at all. He is Sarvanaama and
Sarvaswaruupa (all names and all forms). He is the beginning, the
middle and the end; the basis, the substance and the source. So,
any story that brings into your consciousness, His glory, His
grace and His beauty must perforce appeal to you.
Every Thought sets up a Function, agitating all around
Believe Me, all Vriththis (mental modes or functions) are
A-nithya (impermanent). A Vriththi is a circle, like the circle
that emanates from the place where a stone falls into the still
water of a lake. The water gets agitated and the circle affects
the water up to the farthest end. Every thought acts like the
stone on the stillness of the mind; it sets up a Vriththi. It
agitates all round. The Pravriththi maarga (path of attachment)
multiplies these circular waves and seeks to create further and
wider agitations. But, the Nivriththi maarga (path of detachment)
aims at stilling the waters. No agitation at all. Preserve the
calmness, even the level. Keep the agitating thoughts away.
Concentration on the name and form of Krishna tends to calm the
waves of Vriththi. When E. M. Forster came to India, he was for
some time with the Thakore of Rajkot and when he found the Thakore
of Rajkot engaged in Dhyanaam (meditations) before the image of
Raadha-Shyaam, he wondered at first what it was all for! The
Thakore had no wants to fulfil. What could he pray for? One day,
he asked the Thakore, "Why?" He replied that Krishna was for him
the embodiment of Prema, Soundharya and Aanandham (love, beauty
and bliss), and so, when he meditated on that form he was filled
with love, beauty and joy. The senses, intellect and emotions, all
get purified and clarified by dwelling on the pure and the
splendid. Forster was induced to try the first steps and though he
found it rather difficult at first, the thrill engendered by the
strange calm egged him on to persist. He found Dhyaanam, good and
Krishna's Pranks reveal His Divine Essence
Krishna was only few weeks old, when a certain ascetic came
into the house of Nandha; Yasodha was having the baby in her lap.
Of course this is an incident not found in any book; I have Myself
to tell you this. The maids ran in, for, they were afraid the
child might start weeping at the sight of the uncouth individual.
He walked in nevertheless, and Yasodha found that when he was sent
away, the baby raised a cry; not when he was approaching! The Muni
also announced himself as having come to see Krishna Paramaathma
(Krishna, the supreme self), a name that was new to the entire
family. No wonder, the baby cried when that distinguished visitor
was asked to go! Devaki had been given the vision of Krishna being
the Lord Himself, but, this Muni had discovered the arrival of the
Avaathar, by the grace of the almighty. It was Baaba who had
invited the Muni for His Dharshan.
The replies that Krishna gave when the Gopees complained to His
mother about His mischievous pranks and thefts of milk, butter,
etc., also reveal, by the inner meaning they convey, the divine
essence that He was.
"Why did you drink the milk from the pot she was carrying?"
"She was taking it to be offered to God; perhaps, God might have
drunk it up."
"Where had you run away?"
"I was always with you, is it not?"
"Why do you hold that butter pot in your clasp?"
"So that others may not eat it!"
"Why do you put your hand into that butter pot?"
"I am looking for a lost calf."
These were the types of answers He taught them with. He was the
Ancient One, in the new garb. His words came from the beginning of
Raadha's Prema was pure without Egoism
The Raadha-thathwam (principle) is also a deep, inscrutable
one. She was ever in the contemplation of the Lord and His glory.
She too saw the child Krishna as the divine manifestation,
separate from the human form. Yasodha one day was searching for
Krishna who had strayed away; she sought almost everywhere and at
last, she went to the house of Raadha. Raadha just closed her eyes
and meditated on Krishna for a while and when she called
"Krishna," Krishna was there. Then, Yasodha shed tears of joy. She
said, "I love Krishna as a mother; I have a sense of egoism in me
that He is my son and that I must save Him from harm and seek to
give Him guidance and protection. Your Prema is pure; it has no
egoism prompting it."
The Gopees had that one-pointed Prema (love), unwavering, clear
and pure. The relationship between the Gopees and Krishna as
depicted in the Bhaagavatha has been unfortunately judged by
persons who have not regulated and controlled their Vriththis.
This subject is beyond the comprehension of such people. Only
Brahmachaarins (celibates) of the most ardent and ascetic type
like Shukha Maharishi who described it to king Pareekshith and in
recent years, Raamkrishna Paramahamsa, can appreciate that
relationship and pronounce upon its uniqueness. All the rest are
apt to see in it only the reflection of their own failings and
their own feelings. The language of Samsaara (worldly life) is the
only language they know; the regions of Thuriya - beyond the
regions of wakefulness, dream and deep sleep - to which those
experiences relate, are not within their reach. So, they drag the
subject down to their own level and claim that they have mastered
Every Godward Step makes you shed all Attachment
As a matter of fact, the Inner Eye, the Inner Senses are needed
to grasp the meaning of this relationship. Oruganti has shown that
it has eluded the grasp of most interpreters, for it is closely
allied to the Adhwaithic experience of Nirvikalpa Samaadhi (the
superconcious state where there is no mind) itself. The mind has
to be the master, not the slave, of the senses, if the
interpretation has to be just. Thoughts, wishes, deeds and
feelings - all have to be purified of the desire for gain.
Ahamkaara (egoism) itself must lose all its hold on the
interpreter, as it did on the Gopees. Prema towards the Lord such
as the Gopees had, should make a man strong, not weak. In fact,
the Gopees were not weakened by their love; they were rendered
tough. Raamakrishna too exhorted his disciples, like
Narendhranaath, to grow strong, with the cultivation of Prema
towards the Lord.
Every step taken towards the Lord makes you shed bit by bit all
attachment to the world. How then could the Gopees retain their
physical awareness? Dhruva went into the forest to get from the
Lord the boon of sitting on the lap of his father, a very ordinary
wish of a plainly earthly type. But as he advanced in Thapas, that
wish disappeared form his mind and his mind was elevated to great
spiritual heights. How can one who has tasted Amritha (nectar) be
eager to taste water? Or, crave for Tamarind fruits after tasting
Kharjur (dates) and having it in his possession? Every craving
will be sublimated into the higher realms of pure consciousness,
the moment one enters the spiritual field.
The Gods came to the World as Gopees
And then who are these Gopees, according to the Bhaagavatha
itself? They are the demi-Gods who wanted to share in the glory of
the Avathaar and who came down to the world as witnesses and
sharers in the divine Leela (cosmic sport). They came for a
purpose; they are not ordinary village folk, who could be
dismissed as a crowd of voluptuous women. They saw in every
gesture and gait, every word and phrase of Krishna the divine, not
the human at all. They had no occasion or chance to be agitated by
a secular Vriththi (thought wave); all Vriththis were awakened by
divine promptings and urges. Like the magnifying glass which
catches the rays of the sun and directs them all to one spot, thus
concentrating the heat on one point and helping it to ignite, the
hearts of the Gopees collected all the Vriththis and concentrated
them and caused the illumination and the flame. The flame burnt
all dross; the illumination revealed the truth. All other
interpretations are to be laid at the door of either ignorance or
scholasticism, the pompous pride of mere book learning, which
scorns the exercise of discipline.
Meaning of Krishna's Theft of Butter
Krishna is condemned as a thief who stole butter from the
cowherd maidens; but, the butter represents the Bhakthi of the
heart that is got after the process of churning. It is a question
of a symbol being taken as literally true. He is Chiththachor (the
stealer of hearts). The thief steals at night, in the darkness,
without awakening the master; but, when this thief steals, the
master awakens; He wakes him and tells him that He has come. The
victim is left supremely happy and satisfied.
Every Gopee had the highest type of Bhakthi in her heart. They
saw only Krishna wherever they turned; they wore on their
foreheads blue Kumkum, in order to remind themselves of Krishna.
There were many husbands who protested against the colour of the
Kumkum, but they dared not wipe it off, lest harm should befall
them and the sacrilege recoil on them alone.
Here Baaba who had filled his hand with petals
of Mallika (jasmine) flowers pulled apart by Him from garlands
given to Him, showered the petals from one palm to another and
they fell in a cascade of blue gems. Even the gems they preferred
were of this type, blue, like Krishna. He showed the astounded
gathering the gems He was referring to. Each gem had Krishna's
form in it, beautifully clear.
Do not have Pride in your Attachment to God
There was a Gopee named Suguna. One day, when Krishna was with
Sathyabhaama, He pretended to have severe stomach ache and in
spite of all the remedies that she tried she could not afford
relief. Of course, it was all acting, superb acting such as the
paralytic stroke I had for a week previous to Guru Pournami
recently! Even Rukmini was not admitted into the house by her to
inquire about Krishna's health. But, Rukmini found Suguna pining
outside the door in great agony at the illness of the Lord. She
gave her the articles and asked her to go in. Krishna welcomed
Suguna and made her sit at His Feet and ate the fruits she had
picked up from Sathyabhaama's own garden and suddenly, the ache
had gone. It was her agony at the Lord's condition, her simple
sincere devotion that was so effective.
There should be no artificiality in your attachment to the
Lord, no affectation, no pride, no egoism left, to soil the
freshness of the flower you offer. Sathyabhaama protested when
Krishna accepted the fruits, for, Krishna had brushed them aside
as tasteless when she had herself offered them as the precious
product of her assiduous gardening effort. They were tasteless,
since her pride had entered into them now. When the simple rustic
Gopee picked them from the ground and saturated them with her
devotion, they became tasty and attractive for The Lord, who cares
for the Bhaava (inner feeling), not the Baahya (outer show)!
The only Prema that will not allow pride and envy to interfere
with its purity is Prema towards God. I know that many of you, who
know that I have been taking only a cup of buttermilk daily for
the last two months, are genuinely grief-stricken, though I have
been talking to you that no work of Mine has been stopped or
delayed as a result of what they call My "reduced intake of food;"
that is a sign of their Prema but really, I live on your
Aanandham, not on this material food at all. I wish that you
realised this and stopped worrying or weeping.