God Can Be Controlled

by Tridandisvami Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja

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Class in Govardhana during Kartik

[The following discourse is part of Srila Narayana Maharaja's lecture series on Srila Sanatana Gosvami's commentary of Srila Satyavrata Muni's song, Sri Damodarastakam. Srila Narayana Maharaja was basing his own explanation upon that of his Guru Maharaja, Srila Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja. The following is an explanation of Verse 3.

Srila Narayana Maharaja spoke on this subject during the first two weeks of Kartika this year – October, 2006 – and we are sending you practically the same talk, given in English, a few years earlier. The following class has never been published before . Really and truly, it is practically the same as this years.]

Vrndavana, India: Kartika, 1996

itidrk sva-lilabhir ananda-kunde
sva-ghosam nimajjantam akhyapayantam
tadiyesita-jnesu bhaktair jitatvam
punah prematas tam satavrtti vande

["By childhood pastimes such as this, He perpetually immerses the inhabitants of Gokula in pools of pure bliss, and through them informs the devotees desirous of knowing His aspect of supreme opulence and majesty that He is conquered only by those who are free from knowledge of His opulence. With great love I again and again worship that Damodara Sri Krsna."
(Sri Damodarastakam, verse 3)]

We cannot control Krsna by our sadhana. It is very difficult to control Him. However, if He sees that we are sincere in our sadhana-bhajana, His heart will melt. Other than that process there is no means to control Him. Mother Yasoda was trying hard to bind Him to the grinding mortar, but no matter how hard she tried, she was not abl e to do so. Seeing her sincere endeavour, Krsna's heart melted; His aisvarya-sakti (power of opulence and majesty) at once vanished and was replaced by His krpa-sakti (power of mercy). At that time Yasoda easily tied Him – with the same delicate, silk rope that she had used for tying her hair.

Srila Sanatana Gosvami has commented in this connection, on the words "bhaktair jitatvam." We are not performing bhakti with enough sincerity to attract Krsna and melt His heart. In order to attract Him, we must perform bhakti as Srila Rupa Gosvami, Srila Sanatana Gosvami and Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami did.

sankhya-purvaka-nama-gana-natibhih kalavasani-krtau
nidrahara-viharakadi-vijitau catyanta-dinau ca yau
radha-krsna-guna-smrter madhurimanandena sammohitau
vande rupa-sanatanau raghu-yugau sri-jiva-gopalakau

[“I worship the Six Gosvamis, who passed all their time in chanting the holy names, singing songs, and offering dandavat-pranama, thereby humbly fulfilling their vow to complete a fixed number daily. In this way they utilized their valuable lives and conquered over eating and sleeping. Always seeing themselves as completely worthless, they became enchanted in divine rapture by remembering Sri Radha-Krsna’s sweet qualities.”
(Sri Sad Gosvami-astakam, verse 6)]

In his commentary, Srila Sanatana Gosvami has quoted these verses from Srimad-Bhagavatam, 10th canto:
sva-matuh svinna-gatraya
drstva parisramam krsnah
krpayasit sva-bandhane

[“Because of Mother Yasoda’s hard labor, her whole body became covered with perspiration, and the flowers and comb were falling from her hair. When child Krsna saw His mother thus fatigued, He became merciful to her and agreed to be bound.”
(Srimad-Bhagavatam 10.9.18)]

evam sandarsita hy anga
harina bhrtya-vasyata
sva-vasenapi k rsnena
yasyedam sesvaram vase

[“O Maharaja Pariksit, this entire universe, with its great, exalted demigods like Lord Siva, Lord Brahma and Lord Indra, is under the control of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Yet, the Supreme Lord has one transcendental attribute: He comes under the control of His devotees. This was now exhibited by Krsna in this pastime.”
(Srimad Bhagavatam 10.9.19)]

nemam virinco na bhavo
na srir apy anga-samsraya
prasadam lebhire gopi
yat tat prapa vimuktidat

[“Neither Lord Brahma, nor Lord Siva, nor even the Goddess of Fortune, who is always the better half of the Supreme Lord, can obtain from the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the deliverer from this material world, such mercy as received by Mother Yasoda.”
(Srimad Bhagavatam 10.9.20)]

nayam sukhapo bhagavan
dehinam gopika-sutah
jnaninam catma-bhutanam
yatha bhaktimatam iha

[“The S upreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna, the son of Mother Yasoda, is accessible to devotees engaged in spontaneous loving service, but He is not as easily accessible to mental speculators, to those striving for self-realization by severe austerities and penances, or to those who consider the body the same as the self.”
(Srimad Bhagavatam 10.9.21)]

Krsna saw His mother's face, sometimes yellowish and sometimes reddish, owing to her great endeavour. She was very worried, so much so that she began to pray to Lord Narayana: "Oh, Narayana! Although my son is very little, I cannot bind Him." Tears were pouring from her eyes just as rain falls continuously from the clouds in the sky. When Sri Krsna saw her face, He immediately became merciful. He came under her control and allowed Himself to be tied to the mortar.

By this pastime, Krsna is showing that yogis, jnani-yogis (mental speculators who think God is impersonal) and even jnani-bhaktas (those devotees who realize the Lord's majesty and opulence) cannot control Him. There is a great difference between a jnani, jnani-yogi [the jnani wants to annihilate his own individuality and that of Krsna, and the jnani-yogi wants to know the Supreme through his own intelligence], jnani-bhakta, suddha-bhakta, premi-bhakta, prematura-bhakta, and prema-para-bhakta. There is so much difference between these. Jnanis, such as Sanat, Sanatana, Sanandana, and Sanaka Kumara are Vaidic brahma-jnanis. Sukadeva Gosvami was originally a vaidic (following the Vedas) brahma-jnani. [A vaidic brahma-jnani perceives the existence of God in everything but he has no desire to merge or annihilate his own existence within God. He has not developed a service relationship yet with God as a person, but he has attained strong faith in the perception that God is everywhere and within everything. -Editors]

Brahma-jnanis are not the same as sankara-vadis, the followers in the line of Sankaracarya. The followers of Sripad Sankaracarya are also known as Advaitavadis or mayavadis. [They think that God’s form is maya or illusory, and that we living beings are one in all respects with the impersonal, attribute-less God.-ed] They are offenders at the lotus feet of Sri Krsna, and their ideas of mukti (liberation) are absurd. Brahma-jnanis do not deny the existence of God, and they do not think that the living entity is one with God in all respects.

A jnani-bhakta is one whose jnana (knowledge) is related with bhakti. Without this, a person is known as a nirvisesa-brahma-jnani [a believer in an attribute-less God.).

There is also a great deal of difference between jnana-yogis and a jnani-bhakta. Krsna can never be controlled by Bhisma-pitamaha (Grandfather Bhisma), a jnani-bhakta, who is in santa-rasa [aware of God's majesty and opulence, and therefore not engaged in personal services]. The devotee whose bhakti is mixed with jnana (the aisvarya- jnana-bhakta) is aware of Krsna's Godhood or opulence, and an example of this is Sri Narada Muni. We have never heard that Narada has controlled Krsna, or that Uddhava has controlled Him, because they know He is God.

One time Narada, singing and playing on his vina, saw Sri Krsna in the courtyard of Mother Yasoda, rolling on the ground weeping, "Mother, Mother! I want to drink Your breast-milk." Yasoda was rebuking Krsna, saying, "No, I will not take You onto my lap. Go away." Seeing Yasoda rebuke her son, Narada's eyes became very wide and he forgot to continue playing his vina. He thought, "What is this? He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, filled with all opulences. Yet, He is rolling on the ground and crying with so many tears for His mother: 'Mother, Mother, I want to come on your lap!' and she is saying, 'Never! Never!'" Narada Muni is a tattva-jnani (a knower of all established truths) and also a bhakta, but when he saw t his pastime he became bewildered.

Narada was not thinking of Krsna as the son of Yasoda; instead he remembered His opulence. He prayed to Him: "May I be like Yasoda in some future birth?"

If anyone hears this and similar pastimes, he will give up the practice and knowledge that Sri Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead). Instead, he will see that Krsna is the son of Mother Yasoda, that He is Radha Raman, and that He is Gopijana-vallabha – only this. Like Yasoda, the gopas and the gopis do not think that Krsna has any power. They think that He has no power at all. If the residents of Vraja see a display of opulence in Krsna, they think that He has become empowered by Lord Narayana, or that it is because of the austerities performed by Nanda Maharaja.

By these pastimes, Lord Krsna shows that He can be controlled only by those who have a natural, spontaneous relationship with Him; not by anyone else. To whom does He show His pastimes? He allowed Narada to see this pastime, because Narada is a great tattva-jnani. Narada is His bhakta but he is also a tattva-jnani. Whether Lord Krsna is playing in the lap of His mother or sporting with the vraja-gopis or His cowherd friends, Narada Muni is aware that He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Once Narada saw Krsna playing with His cowherd friends Sridama and Subala, and Sridama defeated Him. Still, Narada did not forget that Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

Among the Vrajavasis, however, even the servants in the house of Nanda Baba are not at all aware of Krsna's opulence; they only see Him as a very small child. If anyone hears the Vrndavana pastimes of Krsna, automatically all tattva-jnana, brahma-jnana and aisvarya-jnana are bound to come without any separate endeavour.

Lord Brahma is the son of Garbhodakasayi Visnu. In this incarnation Krsna thinks, “Brahma is My son.” So, even the son of Krsn a cannot control Him, nor can a friend like Lord Siva. Sankara (Lord Siva) has a more friendly relationship with Krsna than Brahma has. He is His great devotee and a tattva-jnani (he knows all established truths). In fact, he is more than tattva-jnani. He was performing his bhajana in Manasi-Ganga. In one form he is also a premi-bhakta, and he can give gopi-prema. We accept this statement, because it has been told by Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami and Srila Rupa Gosvami. Otherwise we would not be able to accept it.

Srila Sanatana Gosvami has given his explanation of the words “gopika-suta” [in the Srimad-Bhagavatam verse 10.9.21): There are two Krsna's – one is Devaki-suta (the son of Devaki in Mathura, and the other is Yasoda-suta (the son of Yasoda in Vraja. These two are one in tattva, but by rasa [the mellow taste of relationships in the Lord's pastimes] there is some speciality. Yasoda-suta is not available by the love of the residents of Dv araka. Dvarakadisa Krsna – Devaki-suta Krsna – may be controlled by the residents of Dvaraka, but Yasoda-suta can be controlled only by the Vrajavasis.

This is why Srila Sanatana Gosvami has referred to the word “gopika suta”. When he refers to the word “jnanina” in the same verse, he is indicating the first stage of the four Kumaras and Srila Sukadeva Gosvami. This refers to their first stage only – not to their second stage, when they became devotees. Sri Krsna also cannot be controlled by the yogis; He can be controlled only by pure devotees – especially by the residents of Vraja. He cannot be controlled by Hanuman, Sita-devi, Bharata or Satrugna, or anyone in any pastime other than His Vraja pastimes.

Sanatana Gosvami has given the meaning of “bhakta-vatsalya.” Satyavrata Muni first mentioned that Krsna was controlled by Mother Yasoda, but then something entered His heart. He remembered th at Yasoda is not a sadhaka-bhakta, and he therefore decided to give a different example. Yasoda is not in the category of the sadhana-siddha. She never had to do any practice to attain her status as mother. She is not even in the category of the nitya-siddhas. She is eternally Krsna's mother. Srila Sanatana Gosvami has given this good example of her, but ordinary jivas are not able to understand it. They cannot relate to it or apply it. If a sadhana-siddha is used as an example, then it will be relatable and applicable to the ordinary jivas. If we say that Krsna is able to be controlled by a siddha-jiva, then it will be a good example.

Krsna was controlled by the bhakti of Narada Muni. Narada desired that the two sons of Kuvera – Nalakuvara and Manigriva – should be given salvation, then bhakti, and after that, pure prema-bhakti and residence in Vraja. Why?

devarsir me priyatamo
yad imau dhanadatmajau
tat tatha sadhayisyami
yad gitam tan mahatmana

["Although these two young men are the sons of the very rich Kuvera and I have nothing to do with them, Devarsi Narada is My very dear and affectionate devotee, and therefore because he wanted Me to come face to face with them, I must do so for their deliverance."
(Srimad-Bhagavatam 10.10.25)]

Srila Sanatana Gosvami has first given the example of how Krsna was able to be controlled by the bhakti of Yasoda, and then he gave the example of how He was controlled by Narada.*[See endnote 1] Krsna was thinking, "Narada is My beloved, My bhakta; therefore I want to fulfill his desire. He is My special and prominent bhakta."

Narada had cursed the sons of Kuvera – Nalakuvara and Manigriva. Who is Kuvera? Kuvera is a devotee of Sankara. Sankara is a krsna-bhakta, and Kuvera is one of his followers.

One day Narada was on his way to see Sankara, when he came to a very beautiful pond full of lotuses. He saw that the air there was very fragrant with the aroma of those lotuses, and he saw that the two sons of Kuvera were taking bath with some heavenly young ladies. They were drinking wine and playing with the naked girls.

Narada thought, "The sons of Kuvera have no sense that I am here."

If one has a great deal of worldly knowledge, if he has great beauty or wealth, if he is indulgent and kills and eats animals, he cannot have bhakti. Great wealth will take you very far away from Krsna; it is very difficult to develop bhakti in that condition. It is possible for such a person to perform some bhakti, but his main interest is to increase his wealth. If someone is a drunkard, it is not at all possible for him to perform bhajana. Those who have taken birth in very high or aristocratic families will not generally come and meet with us or sit among us. They see it as an insult to sit with the devotees. Such persons do not come and join with us in our Vrndavana parikrama. Even if they would want to come, they cannot.

Narada considers Sankara to be his bosom friend. Narada Muni can travel everywhere, but for Sankara it is very difficult to travel as Narada can – therefore Narada always goes to see Sankara. When Narada saw the intoxicated Nalakuvara and Manigriva, he thought, "Kuvera is the devotee of Sankara, and therefore Kuvera and his sons are somehow related to me."

Narada cursed them, and Sri Krsna was bound – only to fulfill the desire of Narada Rsi to give Nalakuvara and Manigriva bhakti. This is why Krsna was able to be bound by Yasoda – otherwise it is very hard to bind Him.

This and many other pastimes of Krsna are given in Srimad Bhagavatam, and they have been explained in the books of Srila Rupa Gosvami, Srila Sanatana Gosvami, and Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami.

[*Endnote 1: The previous example is given to emphasize the d ifference between Yasoda binding Krsna and Narada Muni desiring a blessing for the sons of Kuvera. There is a big difference in Narada's ability to control Krsna, but still there is a relation because due to Narada Muni, Krsna had to device a plan how to liberate the two sons of Kuvera.]

Editorial Advisors: Sripad Madhava Maharaja and Sripad Brajanath dasa
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