NOD 22

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Go-previous.png Nectar of Devotion (1982), Qualities of Kṛṣṇa Further Explained

His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada



31. Heroic

A person who is very enthusiastic in military activities and expert in releasing different kinds of weapons is called heroic.

Regarding Kṛṣṇa's heroism in fighting, there is the following statement: "My dear killer of the enemy, just as the elephant while taking bath in the lake destroys all the lotus stems within the water by swinging its trunk, so simply by moving Your arms, which are compared to the trunks of elephants, You have killed so many lotuslike enemies."

Regarding Kṛṣṇa's expertise in releasing weapons, when Jarāsandha and thirteen divisions of soldiers attacked Kṛṣṇa's army, they were unable to hurt even one soldier on the side of Kṛṣṇa. This was due to Kṛṣṇa's expert military training. This is unique in the history of military art.


32. Compassionate

A person who is unable to bear another's distress is called compassionate.

Kṛṣṇa's compassion for distressed persons was exhibited when He released all of the kings imprisoned by Magadhendra. While dying, Grandfather Bhīṣma prayed to Kṛṣṇa and described Him as the sun which eradicated darkness. The kings imprisoned by Magadhendra were put into dark cells, and when Kṛṣṇa appeared there, the darkness immediately disappeared, just as if the sun had risen. In other words, although Magadhendra was able to imprison so many kings, upon the appearance of Kṛṣṇa they were all released. Kṛṣṇa released the kings out of His sincere compassion for them.

Kṛṣṇa's compassion was also exhibited when Grandfather Bhīṣma was lying on the bed of arrows which had been shot through his body. While lying in this position, Bhīṣma was very anxious to see Kṛṣṇa, and thus Kṛṣṇa appeared there. Upon seeing the pitiable condition of Bhīṣma, Kṛṣṇa began speaking with tears in His eyes. Not only was He shedding tears, but He also forgot Himself in His compassion. Therefore, instead of offering obeisances to Kṛṣṇa directly, devotees offer obeisances to His compassionate nature. Actually, because Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, it is very difficult to approach Him. But the devotees, taking advantage of His compassionate nature, which is represented by Rādhārāṇī, always pray to Rādhārāṇī for Kṛṣṇa's compassion.


33. Respectful

A person who shows adequate respect to a spiritual master, a brāhmaṇa and an old person is to be understood as being respectful.

When superior persons assembled before Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa first of all offered respect to His spiritual master, then to His father, and then to His elder brother, Balarāma. In this way Lord Kṛṣṇa, the lotus-eyed, was completely happy and pure at heart in all of His dealings.


34. Gentle

Any person who neither becomes impudent nor exhibits a puffed-up nature is called gentle.

The example of Kṛṣṇa's gentle behavior was manifested when He was coming to the arena of the Rājasūya sacrifice arranged by Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira, Kṛṣṇa's older cousin. Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira knew that Kṛṣṇa was the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and he was attempting to get down from his chariot to receive Kṛṣṇa. But before Yudhiṣṭhira could get down, Lord Kṛṣṇa got down from His own chariot and immediately fell at the feet of the King. Even though Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, He never forgets to show social etiquette in His dealings.


35. Liberal

Any person who is by his natural behavior very mild is called liberal.

A statement by Uddhava after the Syamantaka jewel plundering confirms that Kṛṣṇa is so kind and favorable that if a servitor is accused even of great offenses, Kṛṣṇa does not take this into consideration. He simply considers the service that is rendered by His devotee.


36. Shy

A person who sometimes exhibits humility and bashfulness is called shy.

As described in the Lalita-mādhava, Kṛṣṇa's shyness was manifested when He lifted Govardhana Hill by the little finger of His left hand. All of the gopīs were observing Kṛṣṇa's wonderful achievement, and Kṛṣṇa was also smiling at seeing the gopīs. When Kṛṣṇa's glance went over the breasts of the gopīs, His hand began to shake, and upon seeing His hand shake, all of the cowherd men underneath the hill became a little disturbed. Then there was a tumultuous roaring sound, and they all began to pray to Kṛṣṇa for safety. At this time Lord Balarāma was smiling, thinking that these cowherd men had been frightened by the shaking of Govardhana Hill. But, seeing Balarāma smile, Kṛṣṇa thought that Balarāma had understood His mind in observing the breasts of the gopīs, and He immediately became bashful.


37. Protector of Surrendered Souls

Kṛṣṇa is the protector of all surrendered souls.

Some enemy of Kṛṣṇa's was enlivened with the thought that he needn't fear Kṛṣṇa, because if he simply surrendered unto Him, Kṛṣṇa would give him all protection. Kṛṣṇa is sometimes compared to the moon, which does not hesitate to distribute its soothing rays, even on the houses of the caṇḍālas and other untouchables.


38. Happy

Any person who is always joyful and untouched by any distress is called happy.

As far as Kṛṣṇa's enjoyment is concerned, it is stated that the ornaments which decorated the bodies of Kṛṣṇa and His queens were beyond the dreams of Kuvera, the treasurer of the heavenly kingdom. The constant dancing before the doors of Kṛṣṇa's palaces was not to be imagined even by the demigods in the heavenly kingdom. In the heavenly kingdom, Indra always sees the dancing of the society girls. But even Indra could not imagine how beautiful were the dances being performed at the gates of Kṛṣṇa's palaces. Gaurī means "white woman," and Lord Śiva's wife is called Gaurī. The beautiful women residing within the palaces of Kṛṣṇa were so much whiter than Gaurī that they were compared to the moonshine, and they were constantly visible to Kṛṣṇa. Therefore, no one can be enjoying more than Kṛṣṇa. The conception of enjoyment is beautiful women, ornaments and riches. And all of these were fabulously present in the palaces of Kṛṣṇa, defeating even the imagination of Kuvera, Lord Indra or Lord Śiva.

Not even a slight distress can touch Kṛṣṇa. Once some of the gopīs went to the place where the brāhmaṇas were performing sacrifices and said, "Dear wives of the brāhmaṇas, you must know that not even a slight smell of distress can touch Kṛṣṇa. He knows no loss, He knows no defamation, He has no fear, He has no anxiety, and He does not know calamity. He is simply encircled by the dancers of Vraja and is enjoying their company in the rāsa dance."


39. Well-wisher of His Devotees

It is said of Kṛṣṇa's devotees that if they offer even a little water or a tulasī leaf in devotion to Lord Viṣṇu, Lord Viṣṇu is so kind that He will sell Himself to them.

Kṛṣṇa's favoritism toward His devotees was exhibited in His fight with Bhīṣma. When Grandfather Bhīṣma was lying at the point of death on the bed of arrows, Kṛṣṇa was present before him, and Bhīṣma was remembering how Kṛṣṇa had been kind to him on the battlefield. Kṛṣṇa had promised that in the Battle of Kurukṣetra He would not even touch a weapon to help either side; He would remain neutral. Although Kṛṣṇa was Arjuna's charioteer, He had promised that He would not help Arjuna by using any weapons. But one day Bhīṣma, in order to nullify Kṛṣṇa's promise, exhibited his fighting spirit so magnificently against Arjuna that Kṛṣṇa was obliged to get down from His chariot. Taking up a broken chariot wheel, He ran toward Grandfather Bhīṣma as a lion runs toward an elephant to kill it. Grandfather Bhīṣma remembered this scene, and He later praised Kṛṣṇa for His glorious favoritism toward His devotee, Arjuna, even at the risk of breaking His own promise.


40. Controlled by Love

Kṛṣṇa becomes obliged to the loving spirit of the devotee and not exactly to the service rendered. No one can serve Kṛṣṇa completely. He is so complete and self-sufficient that He has no need of any service from the devotee. It is the devotee's attitude of love and affection for Kṛṣṇa that makes Him obliged. A very nice example of this obligatory behavior was manifested when Sudāmā Vipra went to Kṛṣṇa's palace. Sudāmā Vipra had been a class friend of Kṛṣṇa's, and due to his poverty he was induced by his wife to see Kṛṣṇa to request some aid. When Sudāmā Vipra reached Kṛṣṇa's palace, Kṛṣṇa received him very well, and both He and His wife washed the feet of Sudāmā Vipra, showing respect to the brāhmaṇa. Remembering His loving affairs with Sudāmā in their childhood, Kṛṣṇa began to shed tears while receiving him.

Another instance of Kṛṣṇa's obligation to His devotee is described in the Tenth Canto, Ninth Chapter, verse 18, of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, where Śukadeva Gosvāmī tells King Parīkṣit, "My dear King, when mother Yaśodā was perspiring, tired of trying to bind Kṛṣṇa up with rope, Kṛṣṇa agreed to allow her to bind Him." Kṛṣṇa, as a child, was disturbing His mother by His naughty activities, and she wanted to bind Him up. Mother Yaśodā brought some rope from the house and tried to tie up the child, but she could not tie a knot due to the shortness of the rope. She tied together many ropes, but when she finished still the rope was too short. After a while she felt very tired and began to perspire. At that time Kṛṣṇa agreed to be bound up by His mother. In other words, no one can bind Kṛṣṇa by any means other than love. He is bound only by obligation to His devotees, because of their ecstatic love for Him.


41. All-auspicious

A person who is always engaged in auspicious welfare activities for everyone is known as all-auspicious.

After the disappearance of Lord Kṛṣṇa from this planet, Uddhava began to remember the activities of the Lord and said, "Kṛṣṇa satisfied all great sages by His wonderful pastimes. He demolished all of the demoniac activities of the cruel royal order, protected all pious men and killed all cruel fighters on the battlefield. Therefore He is all-auspicious for all men."


42. Most Powerful

A person who can always put his enemy into calamities is called powerful.

When Kṛṣṇa was present on this planet, just as the powerful sun drives all darkness to take shelter in caves, He drove away all of His enemies, who fled like owls to take shelter beyond His sight.


43. All-famous

A person who becomes well known due to his spotless character is called famous.

It is stated that the diffusion of Kṛṣṇa's fame is like the moonshine, which turns darkness into light. In other words, if Kṛṣṇa consciousness is preached all over the world, the darkness of ignorance and the anxiety of material existence will turn into the whiteness of purity, peacefulness and prosperity.

When the great sage Nārada was chanting the glories of the Lord, the bluish line on the neck of Lord Śiva disappeared. Upon seeing this, Gaurī, the wife of Lord Śiva, suspected Lord Śiva of being someone else disguised as her husband, and out of fear she immediately left his company. Upon hearing the chanting of Kṛṣṇa's name, Lord Balarāma saw that His dress had become white, although He was generally accustomed to a bluish dress. And the cowherd girls saw all of the water of the Yamunā River turn into milk, so they began to churn it into butter. In other words, by the spreading of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, or the glories of Kṛṣṇa, everything became white and pure.


44. Popular

Any person who is very dear to people in general is called a popular man.

As for Kṛṣṇa's popularity, there is a statement in the First Canto, Eleventh Chapter, verse 9, of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, that deals with His returning home from the capital of Hastināpura. While He had been absent from Dvārakā at the Battle of Kurukṣetra, all the citizens of Dvārakā had become morose. Then, when He returned, the citizens joyfully received Him and said, "Dear Lord, while You were absent from the city, we passed our days in the darkness of night. As in the darkness of night every moment appears to be a long duration of time, so while You were gone every moment appeared to us like millions of years. Your separation is completely unbearable to us." This statement shows how popular Kṛṣṇa was all over the country.

A similar incident occurred when Kṛṣṇa entered the arena of sacrifice arranged by King Kaṁsa for His death. As soon as He entered the place, all the sages began to cry, "Jaya! Jaya! Jaya!" (which means "Victory!"). Kṛṣṇa was a boy at that time, and all the sages offered their respectful blessings to Him. The demigods who were present also began to offer beautiful prayers to Kṛṣṇa. And the ladies and girls present expressed their joy from all corners of the arena. In other words, there was no one in that particular place with whom Kṛṣṇa was not very popular.


45. Partiality to Devotees

Although Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead and is therefore not partial to anyone, it is stated in Bhagavad-gītā that He has special attraction for a devotee who worships His name in love and affection. When Kṛṣṇa was on this planet, one devotee expressed his feeling in this way: "My dear Lord, if You had not appeared on this planet, then the asuras [demons] and atheists would have surely created havoc against the activities of the devotees. I cannot imagine the magnitude of such devastation prevented by Your presence." From the very beginning of His appearance, Kṛṣṇa was the greatest enemy of all demoniac persons, although Kṛṣṇa's enmity toward the demons is actually comparable to His friendship with the devotees. This is because any demon who is killed by Kṛṣṇa receives immediate salvation.


46. Very Attractive to All Women

Any person who has special qualifications becomes immediately very attractive to women.

A devotee made the following statement about the queens of Dvārakā: "How shall I describe the glories of the queens of Dvārakā, who were personally engaged in the service of the Lord? The Lord is so great that simply by chanting His name all the great sages like Nārada can enjoy transcendental bliss. So what can be said about those queens, who were at every moment seeing the Lord and serving Him personally?" Kṛṣṇa had 16,108 wives in Dvārakā, and each and every one of them was attracted to Kṛṣṇa just as iron is attracted by a magnet. There is a statement by a devotee: "My dear Lord, You are just like a magnet, and all the damsels of Vraja are just like iron: in whichever direction You are moving they are following You, as iron is attracted by magnetic force."


47. All-worshipable

A person who is respected and worshiped by all kinds of human beings and demigods is called sarvārādhya, or all-worshipable.

Kṛṣṇa is worshiped not only by all living entities, including the great demigods like Lord Śiva and Lord Brahmā, but also by Viṣṇu expansions (forms of Godhead) such as Baladeva and Śeṣa. Baladeva is a direct expansion of Kṛṣṇa, but He still accepts Kṛṣṇa as worshipable. When Kṛṣṇa appeared in the arena of the Rājasūya sacrifice organized by Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira, to all present, including great sages and demigods, Kṛṣṇa became the cynosure, the center of attraction, and everyone offered Him respects.


48. All-opulent

Kṛṣṇa is full in all opulences - namely strength, wealth, fame, beauty, knowledge and renunciation. When Kṛṣṇa was present in Dvārakā, His family, which is known as the Yadu dynasty, consisted of 560 million members. And all of these family members were very obedient and faithful to Kṛṣṇa. There were more than 900,000 big palatial buildings there to house all the people, and everyone in them respected Kṛṣṇa as the most worshipable. Devotees were astonished to see the opulence of Kṛṣṇa.

This was verified by Bilvamaṅgala Ṭhākura when in Kṛṣṇa-karṇāmṛta he addressed Kṛṣṇa thus: "My dear Lord, what can I say about the opulence of Your Vṛndāvana? Simply the ornaments on the legs of the damsels of Vṛndāvana are more than cintāmaṇi, and their dresses are as good as the heavenly pārijāta flowers. And the cows exactly resemble the surabhi cows in the transcendental abode. Therefore Your opulence is just like an ocean that no one can measure."


49. All-honorable

A person who is chief among all important persons is called all honorable.

When Kṛṣṇa was living at Dvārakā, demigods like Lord Śiva, Lord Brahmā, Indra the King of heaven and many others used to come to visit Him. The doorkeeper, who had to manage the entrance of all these demigods, one very busy day said, "My dear Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva, please sit down on this bench and wait. My dear Indra, please desist from reading your prayers. This is creating a disturbance. Please wait silently. My dear Varuṇa, please go away. And my dear demigods, do not waste your time uselessly. Kṛṣṇa is very busy; He cannot see you!"


50. The Supreme Controller

There are two kinds of controllers, or lords: one who is independent is called controller, and one whose orders cannot be neglected by anyone is called controller.

Regarding Kṛṣṇa's complete independence and lordship, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam says that although Kāliya was a great offender, Kṛṣṇa still favored him by marking his head with His lotus feet, whereas Lord Brahmā, although having prayed to Kṛṣṇa with so many wonderful verses, still could not attract Him.

This contradictory treatment by Kṛṣṇa is just befitting His position, because in all the Vedic literature He is described as the complete independent. In the beginning of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam the Lord is described as svarāṭ, which means "completely independent." That is the position of the Supreme Absolute Truth. The Absolute Truth is not only sentient, but is also completely independent.

As for Kṛṣṇa's orders not being neglected by anyone, in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Third Canto, Second Chapter, verse 21, Uddhava tells Vidura, "Lord Kṛṣṇa is the master of the three modes of material nature. He is the enjoyer of all opulences, and therefore there is no one equal to or greater than Him." All the great kings and emperors used to come before Him, offer their gifts and pay obeisances with their helmets at the feet of the Lord. One devotee said, "My dear Kṛṣṇa, when You order Brahmā, 'Now you may create the universe,' and when You order Lord Śiva, 'Now you dissolve this material manifestation,' You are in this way creating and dissolving the material creation Yourself. Simply by Your orders and by Your partial representation of Viṣṇu, You are maintaining the universes. In this way, O Kṛṣṇa, O enemy of Kaṁsa, there are so many Brahmās and Śivas who are simply carrying out Your orders."


51. Changeless

Kṛṣṇa does not change His constitutional position, not even when He appears in this material world. Ordinary living entities have their constitutional spiritual positions covered. They appear in different bodies, and under the different bodily concepts of life they act. But Kṛṣṇa does not change His body. He appears in His own body and is therefore not affected by the modes of material nature. In the First Canto, Eleventh Chapter, verse 38, of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam it is stated that the special prerogative of the supreme controller is that He is not at all affected by the modes of nature. The practical example of this is that devotees who are under the protection of the Lord are also not affected by material nature. To overcome the influence of material nature is very difficult, but the devotees or the saintly persons who are under the protection of the Lord are not affected. So what need is there to speak of the Lord Himself? To be more clear, although the Lord sometimes appears in this material world, He has nothing to do with the modes of material nature, and He acts with full independence in His transcendental position. This is the special quality of the Lord.


52. All-cognizant

Any person who can understand the feelings of all persons and incidents in all places at all times is called all-cognizant.

A nice example of the all-cognizant quality of the Lord is described in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, First Canto, Fifteenth Chapter, verse 11, in connection with Durvāsā Muni's visit to the house of the Pāṇḍavas in the forest. Following a calculated plan, Duryodhana sent Durvāsā Muni and his ten thousand disciples to be guests of the Pāṇḍavas in the forest. Duryodhana arranged for Durvāsā and his men to reach the place of the Pāṇḍavas just when the Pāṇḍavas' lunchtime ended, so that the Pāṇḍavas would be caught without sufficient means to feed such a large number of guests. Knowing Duryodhana's plan, Kṛṣṇa came to the Pāṇḍavas and asked their wife, Draupadī, if there were any remnants of food which she could offer to Him. Draupadī offered Him a container in which there was only a little fragment of some vegetable preparation, and Kṛṣṇa at once ate it. At that moment all of the sages accompanying Durvāsā were taking bath in the river, and when Kṛṣṇa felt satisfaction from eating Draupadī's offering, they also felt satisfaction, and their hunger was gone. Because Durvāsā and his men were unable to eat anything more, they went away without coming into the house of the Pāṇḍavas. In this way the Pāṇḍavas were saved from the wrath of Durvāsā. Duryodhana had sent them because he knew that since the Pāṇḍavas would not be able to receive such a large number, Durvāsā would become angry, and the Pāṇḍavas would be cursed. But Kṛṣṇa saved them from this calamity by His trick and by His all-cognizant quality.


53. Ever Fresh

Kṛṣṇa is always remembered, and His name is always chanted by millions of devotees, but the devotees never become saturated. Instead of becoming disinterested in thinking of Kṛṣṇa and in chanting His holy name, the devotees get newer and newer impetus to continue the process. Therefore Kṛṣṇa is ever fresh. Not only Kṛṣṇa Himself, but also Kṛṣṇa's knowledge is ever fresh. Bhagavad-gītā, which was imparted five thousand years ago, is still being read repeatedly by many, many men, and still new light is always being found in it. Therefore, Kṛṣṇa and His name, fame, qualities - and everything in relationship with Him - is ever fresh.

All the queens at Dvārakā were goddesses of fortune. It is said in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, First Canto, Eleventh Chapter, verse 33, that the goddesses of fortune are very fickle and restless, so no one can consistently captivate them. Thus one's luck will always change sometime. Yet the goddesses of fortune could not leave Kṛṣṇa for even a moment when they were residing with Him at Dvārakā. This means that Kṛṣṇa's attraction is ever fresh. Even the goddesses of fortune cannot leave His company.

Regarding Kṛṣṇa's attractive features being ever fresh, there is a statement by Rādhārāṇī in the Lalita-mādhava in which Kṛṣṇa is compared to the greatest sculptor, because He is expert in chiseling at the chastity of women. In other words, although chaste women may follow the rules and regulations of Vedic principles to become ever faithful to their husbands, Kṛṣṇa is able to break their stonelike chastity with the chisel of His beauty. Most of the girl friends of Kṛṣṇa were married, but because Kṛṣṇa was their friend before their marriages, they could not forget His attractive features, which were always fascinating to them, even after their marriages.


54. Sac-cid-ānanda-vigraha

Kṛṣṇa's transcendental body is eternal, full of knowledge and bliss. Sat means ever-existing for all time and in all places; in other words, all-pervading in time and space. Cit means full of knowledge. Kṛṣṇa has nothing to learn from anyone. He is independently full of all knowledge. Ānanda means the reservoir of all pleasure. The impersonalists are seeking to merge into the Brahman effulgence of eternity and knowledge, but the major portion of the absolute pleasure which is in Kṛṣṇa is avoided by them. One can enjoy the transcendental blissfulness of merging into the Brahman effulgence after being freed from the contamination of material illusion, false identification, attachment, detachment and material absorption. These are the preliminary qualifications of a person who can realize Brahman. It is stated in Bhagavad-gītā that one has to become full of joyfulness; this is not exactly joyfulness, but a sense of freedom from all anxieties. Freedom from all anxieties may be the first principle of joyfulness, but it is not actual joyfulness. Those who realize the self, or become brahma-bhūta (SB 4.30.20), are only preparing themselves for the platform of joyfulness. That joyfulness can be actually achieved only when one comes into contact with Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa consciousness is so complete that it includes the transcendental pleasure derived from impersonal or Brahman realization. Even the impersonalist will become attracted to the personal form of Kṛṣṇa, known as Śyāmasundara.

It is confirmed by the statement of Brahma-saṁhitā that the Brahman effulgence is the bodily ray of Kṛṣṇa; the Brahman effulgence is simply an exhibition of the energy of Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa is the source of the Brahman effulgence, as He Himself confirms in Bhagavad-gītā. From this we can conclude that the impersonal feature of the Absolute Truth is not the ultimate end; Kṛṣṇa is the ultimate end of the Absolute Truth.

The members of the Vaiṣṇava schools therefore never try to merge into the Brahman effulgence in their pursuit of spiritual perfection. They accept Kṛṣṇa as the ultimate goal of self-realization. Therefore Kṛṣṇa is called Parambrahman (the Supreme Brahman) or Parameśvara (the supreme controller). Śrī Yāmunācārya has prayed as follows: "My dear Lord, I know that the gigantic universe and gigantic space and time within the universe are covered by the ten layers of the material elements, each layer ten times larger than the previous one. The three material modes of nature, the Garbhodakaśāyī Viṣṇu, the Kṣīrodakaśāyī Viṣṇu, the Mahā-Viṣṇu, and beyond them the spiritual sky and its spiritual planets, known as Vaikuṇṭhas, and the Brahman effulgence in that spiritual sky - all of these taken together are nothing but a small exhibition of Your potency."


55. Possessing All Mystic Perfections

There are many standards of perfection. The highest material perfections, obtained by perfect yogīs, are listed as eight: to become the smallest of the small, to become the greatest of the great, etc. All of these material perfections, as well as all spiritual perfections, can be found fully in Kṛṣṇa's personality.


56. Kṛṣṇa's Inconceivable Potencies

Kṛṣṇa is present everywhere, not only within the universe, not only within the hearts of all living entities, but also within every atom. In the prayers of Queen Kuntī we find mention of this inconceivable potency of Kṛṣṇa. While Kṛṣṇa was talking with Kuntī, He simultaneously entered the womb of Uttarā, who was in danger due to the atomic weapon of Aśvatthāmā. Kṛṣṇa can illusion even Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva, and He can protect all surrendered devotees from the reactions of sinful activities. These are some of the examples of His inconceivable potencies.

Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī therefore offers his obeisances unto Kṛṣṇa by saying, "Kṛṣṇa, who is present as a human being, has as His mere shadow the whole material nature. He has expanded Himself into so many cows, calves and cowherd boys, and He has again manifested Himself in all of them as the four-handed Nārāyaṇa. He has taught millions of Brahmās self-realization, and thus He is worshipable not only by the heads of all universes, but by everyone else also. Therefore let me always accept Him as the Supreme Personality of Godhead."

When Indra was defeated by Kṛṣṇa in the matter of taking the pārijāta plant from heaven, Nārada met Indra and criticized him, "O Indra, great King of heaven, Kṛṣṇa has already defeated Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva. So what can be said of an insignificant demigod like you?" Nārada Muni, of course, was criticizing Indra jokingly, and Indra enjoyed it. In Nārada's statement it is confirmed that Kṛṣṇa was able to illusion even Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva, as well as Indra. So there is no question of Kṛṣṇa's power to do the same to lesser living entities.

A description of Kṛṣṇa's power in minimizing the sufferings of sinful reactions is given in Brahma-saṁhitā as follows: "Beginning from the great King of heaven down to the ant, everyone is undergoing the reactions of past deeds. But a devotee of Kṛṣṇa is relieved from such reactions by the grace of Kṛṣṇa." This was clearly proved when Kṛṣṇa went to the place of Yamarāja, the Lord of death, to reclaim the dead son of His teacher. Kṛṣṇa's teacher had requested Kṛṣṇa to bring back his dead son, and to do so Kṛṣṇa went to the place of Yamarāja to claim that soul, who had been brought there by Yamarāja and was being kept under his control. Kṛṣṇa immediately ordered Yamarāja, "Be benefited by My order and return that soul unto Me!" The purport of this incident is that even a person who is under the regulative principles of the laws of nature, and is therefore punishable by Yamarāja under these laws, can be granted complete immunity by the grace of Kṛṣṇa.

Kṛṣṇa's inconceivable potencies have been described by Śukadeva Gosvāmī as follows: "Kṛṣṇa is bewildering my intelligence because, although He is unborn, He has appeared as the son of Nanda Mahārāja. He is all-pervading, but still He is held on the lap of Yaśodā. In spite of His being all-pervasive, He has become limited by the love of Yaśodā. Although He has innumerable forms, still He is moving as one Kṛṣṇa before His father and mother, Nanda and Yaśodā." In the Brahma-saṁhitā also it is said that although Kṛṣṇa is eternally living in Goloka Vṛndāvana, His transcendental abode, He is still present everywhere, even within the atoms.


57. Kṛṣṇa's Body Generates Innumerable Universes

In the Tenth Canto, Fourteenth Chapter, verse 11, of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Lord Brahmā says, "My dear Lord, false ego, intelligence, mind, sky, air, fire, water and earth are the material ingredients of this universe, which can be compared to a gigantic pot. In that gigantic pot my body is of insignificant measurement, and even though one of the many universes is created by me, innumerable universes are coming and going from the pores of Your body, just as atomic particles are seen flickering in the sunlight. I think I am very, very insignificant before You, and I am therefore begging Your pardon. Please be merciful toward me."

If one takes account of only one universe, he will find so many combinations of wonderful things within, because there are innumerable planets, innumerable residences and places of demigods. The diameter of the universe is four billion miles, and it is infested with many unfathomable regions known as Pātālas, or lower planetary systems. Although Kṛṣṇa is the origin of all this, He can always be seen in Vṛndāvana, exhibiting His inconceivable potencies. So who can adequately worship such an all-powerful Lord, possessed of such inconceivable energy?


58. The Original Source of All Incarnations

Jayadeva Gosvāmī, in his Gīta-govinda, has sung as follows: "The Lord has saved the Vedas in His form as a fish, and He has borne the whole universe on His back in the form of a tortoise. He has picked up this earthly planet from the water in the form of a boar. He has killed Hiraṇyakaśipu in the form of Nṛsiṁha. He has cheated Mahārāja Bali in the form of Vāmana. He has annihilated all the dynasties of the kṣatriyas in the form of Paraśurāma. He has killed all the demons in the form of Lord Rāma. He has accepted the great plow in the form of Balarāma. He has annihilated all the atheistic persons in the form of Kalki. And He has saved all the poor animals in the form of Lord Buddha."* These are some of the descriptions of the incarnations emanating from Kṛṣṇa, and from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam it is understood that innumerable incarnations are always coming out from the body of Kṛṣṇa, just like waves in the ocean. No one can even count how many waves there are, and similarly no one can count how many incarnations are coming from the Lord's body.


59. Kṛṣṇa Gives Salvation to the Enemies That He Kills

Another name for salvation is apavarga. Apavarga is the opposite of pavarga, or the various miserable conditions of material existence. The word pa-varga indicates the combination of five Sanskrit letters: pa, pha, ba, bha and ma. These letters are the first letters of the words for five different conditions as described below. The first letter, pa, comes from the word parābhava, which means "defeat." In this material struggle for existence, we are simply meeting defeat. Actually, we have to conquer birth, death, disease and old age, and because there is no possibility of overcoming all these miserable conditions, due to the illusion of māyā we are simply meeting with parābhava, or defeat. The next letter, pha, is taken from the word phena. Phena is the foam which is found on the mouth when one is very tired (as is commonly observed with horses). The letter ba comes from the word bandha, or bondage. Bha is taken from the word bhīti, or fearfulness. Ma is taken from the word mṛti, or death. So the word pavarga signifies our struggle for existence and our meeting with defeat, exhaustion, bondage, fearfulness and, at last, death. Apavarga means that which can nullify all of these material conditions. Kṛṣṇa is said to be the giver of apavarga, the path of liberation.

For the impersonalists and the enemies of Kṛṣṇa, liberation means merging into the Supreme. The demons and the impersonalists do not care for Kṛṣṇa, but Kṛṣṇa is so kind that He gives this liberation even to His enemies and to the impersonalists. There is the following statement in this connection: "O Murāri [Kṛṣṇa]! How wonderful it is that although the demons, who were always envious of the demigods, have failed to penetrate Your military phalanx, they have penetrated the region of mitra, the sun globe." The word mitra is used metaphorically. Mitra means "the sun globe," and mitra also means "friend." The demons who opposed Kṛṣṇa as enemies wanted to penetrate His military phalanx, but instead of doing this, they died in battle, and the result was that they penetrated the planet of Mitra, or the sun planet. In other words, they entered into the Brahman effulgence. The example of the sun planet is given here because the sun is ever-illuminating, like the spiritual sky, where there are innumerable illuminating Vaikuṇṭha planets. The enemies of Kṛṣṇa were killed, and instead of penetrating Kṛṣṇa's phalanx, they entered into the friendly atmosphere of the spiritual effulgence. That is the mercy of Kṛṣṇa, and therefore He is known as the deliverer of His enemies also.


60. The Attractor of Liberated Souls

There are many examples of how Kṛṣṇa attracted even great liberated souls like Śukadeva Gosvāmī and the Kumāras. In this connection the following statement was given by the Kumāras: "How wonderful it is that although we are completely liberated, free from desire and situated at the stage of paramahaṁsa, we are still aspiring to taste the pastimes of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa."


61. Performer of Wonderful Activities

In the Bṛhad-vāmana Purāṇa, the Lord says, "Although I have many fascinating pastimes, whenever I think of the rāsa-līlā, which I perform with the gopīs, I become eager to have it again."

One devotee has said, "I know about Nārāyaṇa, the husband of the goddess of fortune, and I also know about many other incarnations of the Lord. Certainly all the pastimes of such incarnations are exciting to my mind, but still the pastimes of the rāsa-līlā performed by Lord Kṛṣṇa Himself are wonderfully increasing my transcendental pleasure."


62. Kṛṣṇa Is Surrounded by Loving Devotees

When we speak of Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa is not alone. "Kṛṣṇa" means His name, His qualities, His fame, His friends, His paraphernalia, His entourage - all of these are included. When we speak of a king, it is to be understood that he is surrounded by ministers, secretaries, military commanders and many other people. Similarly, Kṛṣṇa is not impersonal. In His Vṛndāvana līlā especially, He is surrounded by the gopīs, the cowherd boys, His father, His mother and all the inhabitants of Vṛndāvana.

In the Tenth Canto, Thirty-first Chapter, verse 15, of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, the gopīs lament, "My dear Kṛṣṇa, during the daytime when You go out into the forest of Vṛndāvana with Your cows, we consider one moment to be twelve years, and it is very difficult for us to pass the time. And again when You come back at the end of the day, by seeing Your beautiful face we are so much attracted that we are unable to stop looking upon You constantly. At these times, when there is occasional blinking of our eyelids, we condemn the creator, Lord Brahmā, as a dunce, because he does not know how to make perfect eyes!" In other words, the gopīs were disturbed by the blinking of their eyes, because for the moment that their eyes were closed they could not see Kṛṣṇa. This means that the gopīs' love for Kṛṣṇa was so great and ecstatic that they were disturbed by even His momentary absence. And when they saw Kṛṣṇa, they were also disturbed. This is a paradox.

One gopī, expressing herself to Kṛṣṇa, says, "When we meet You at night, we consider the duration of night to be very small. And why speak of only this night? Even if we had a night of Brahmā we would consider it a very short time!" We get an idea of Brahmā's day from the following statement of Bhagavad-gītā (BG 8.17): "By human calculation, a thousand yuga cycles taken together is Brahmā's one day. And such also is the duration of his night." The gopīs said that even if they could have that duration of night, it would still not be sufficient for their meeting with Kṛṣṇa.


63. Kṛṣṇa's Attractive Flute

In the Tenth Canto, Thirty-fifth Chapter, verse 15, of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, the gopīs tell mother Yaśodā, "When your son plays on His flute, Lord Śiva, Lord Brahmā and Indra - although they are supposed to be the greatest learned scholars and personalities - all become bewildered. Although they are all very great personalities, by hearing the sound of Kṛṣṇa's flute they humbly bow down and become grave from studying the sound vibrated."

In his book Vidagdha-mādhava, Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī thus describes the vibration of Kṛṣṇa's flute: "The sound vibration created by the flute of Kṛṣṇa wonderfully stopped Lord Śiva from playing his ḍiṇḍima drum, and the same flute has caused great sages like the four Kumāras to become disturbed in their meditation. It has caused Lord Brahmā, who was sitting on the lotus flower for the creative function, to become astonished. And Anantadeva, who was calmly holding all the planets on His hood, was moving in this way and that due to the transcendental vibration from Kṛṣṇa's flute, which penetrated through the covering of this universe and reached to the spiritual sky."


64. Kṛṣṇa's Exquisite Beauty

In the Third Canto, Second Chapter, verse 12, of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Uddhava tells Vidura, "My dear sir, Kṛṣṇa's form was most wonderful when He appeared on this planet and exhibited the potency of His internal energy. His wonderfully attractive form was present during His pastimes on this planet, and by His internal potency He exhibited His opulences, which are striking to everyone. His personal beauty was so great that there was no necessity for His wearing ornaments on His body. In fact, instead of the ornaments' beautifying Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa's beauty enhanced the ornaments."

Regarding the attractiveness of Kṛṣṇa's bodily beauty and the sound vibration of His flute, in the Tenth Canto, Twenty-ninth Chapter, verse 40, of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, the gopīs address Kṛṣṇa as follows: "Although our attitude toward You resembles loving affairs with a paramour, we cannot but wonder at how no woman can maintain her chastity upon hearing the vibration from Your flute. And not only women, but even stronghearted men are subject to falling down from their position at the sound of Your flute. In fact, we have seen that in Vṛndāvana even the cows, the deer, the birds, the trees - everyone - has been enchanted by the sweet vibration of Your flute and the fascinating beauty of Your person."

In Rūpa Gosvāmī's Lalita-mādhava, it is said, "One day Kṛṣṇa happened to see the shadow of His beautiful form reflected on the jeweled foreground. Upon seeing this bodily reflection, He expressed His feelings: 'How wonderful it is that I have never seen such a beautiful form! Although it is My own form, still, like Rādhārāṇī, I am trying to embrace this form and enjoy celestial bliss.'" This statement shows how Kṛṣṇa and His shadow reflection are one and the same. There is no difference between Kṛṣṇa and His shadow reflection, nor between Kṛṣṇa and His picture. That is the transcendental position of Kṛṣṇa.

The above statements describe some of the wonderful reservoirs of pleasure within Kṛṣṇa, as well as the transcendental qualities of His personality. The transcendental qualities of Kṛṣṇa are compared to the ocean: no one can estimate the length and breadth of the ocean. But as one can understand the ocean's contents simply by testing one drop of it, so these statements will give us some understanding of Kṛṣṇa's transcendental position and qualities.

In the Tenth Canto, Fourteenth Chapter, verse 7, of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Lord Brahmā says, "My dear Lord, the inconceivable qualities, beauties and activities which You have revealed by Your presence on this planet cannot be calculated by any material measurement. If one even tries to imagine, 'Kṛṣṇa may be like this,' that is also impossible. The day may come when the material scientist, after many, many births or after many, many years, will be able to estimate the atomic constitution of the whole world, or he may be able to count the atomic fragments that permeate the sky, or he may even give an estimate of all the atoms within the universe, but still he will never be able to count the transcendental qualities in Your reservoir of transcendental bliss."