Relationships with Krishna

Krishna's friends joking around

We all have relationships—no one lives in a vacuum—and each of us also has a relationship with the Supreme Person, Krishna. Our basic relationship with Krishna is that of parts to the whole: God is great; we're small. He's like the sun, the ocean, or fire; we're like the sun's rays, drops of the ocean, or sparks of the fire. Ultimately, God is the source of our existence, and we're all parts of His energy. As such, we all have an inseparable relationship with Him.

How we relate with Him is up to us. Most people in this material world are trying to forget God entirely. The Prema-vivarta and other Vedic writings say that we've come here in the first place because we want to forget God, or Krishna, and He allows us to do that. He doesn't interfere with our free will. He keeps Himself out of sight, maintains us at a distance, and provides all our necessities of life while patiently waiting for us to turn towards Him again.

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As long as we wish to avoid having a direct relationship with Krishna, our relationship is indirect. Indirect relationships with Him are of different types:

  • begrudging and resentful—we may believe in God but not necessarily like Him.
  • selfish—we're always asking what God can do for us.
  • antagonistic—we may deny His very existence and consider ourselves atheists, or
  • competitive—we may overtly or covertly wish we were God and hate the fact that He is.
  • apathetic—we may not care about God one way or the other.

None of these indirect relationships give us any real peace or happiness.

Sooner or later, however, we become aware of a nagging sense of incompleteness in our lives. We sense we're missing something, and we are, but we don't know what it is. Our eternal relationship with Krishna is the foundation of our very existence, and once we turn away from Him we try anything to fill the infinite void left by His absence—except seek His company. We occupy ourselves with all manner of temporary relationships, material goods, obsessions and addictions, all of which ultimately leave us dissatisfied.

When our dissatisfaction finally becomes unbearable, and we've exhausted all other options, we turn to the Supreme for answers to why we're feeling empty. Krishna then arranges for us to meet His devotees, and from them we can relearn who we are and how to reestablish our lost connection with our source.

We each have a direct, unique, permanent relationship with Krishna. This relationship, or rasa is now dormant but can be reawakened. Hearing and speaking about Him helps us remember who we are, who He is, and what our relationship with Him is. This process of hearing, speaking, and remembering can be carried out in any genuine spiritual tradition, and is generally known as devotional service to God, or bhakti-yoga.

Expert sages say there are basically five ways to relate with Krishna directly:

The happiness available through acting in these relationships—rasas—with Krishna is said to give the self an overwhelming degree of pleasure. As with any relationship, our natural spiritual relationship with Krishna revives to the extent we put energy into it. The more we work towards reviving our innate love for Krishna, the more we feel extraordinary happiness, beyond what's available in any temporary, material relationship.

(Picture shows Krishna's friends joking around with Him.)