Krishna.com needs your help. This project is maintained by donations, which have been reduced during the pandemic. Kindly consider supporting this very important service project. Click here to contribute.

Krishna's pastimes

Krishna Plays in the Village of Vrindavan

Krishna Plays in the Village

Krishna Plays in the Village

Harinama Dasi narrates specific pastimes of Lord Krishna playing in the village of Vrindavan.

More:

Harinam Cintamani dasi narrates several of Lord Krishna's pastimes.

Frequency of Krishna's appearances on earth


Our Answer:

He appears here once in a day of Brahma, which means once every thousand Kali-yugas. Sometimes there are differences in His pastimes, but they're generally the same. There are unlimited pastimes going on, even now, on other planets within this universe and in unlimited other universes. The Srimad-Bhagavatam gives us a sample of Krishna's many incarnations and avatars, but it would be impossible to recount them all.

The version of the Srimad-Bhagavatam that's available to human society on this earth contains only eighteen thousand verses. On higher planets, where the lifespan and mental capacity of the inhabitants is far superior to ours, the Bhagavatam has many more verses.

Janmashtami Lecture in Montreal

What follows is a transcription of a talk given by Srila Prabhupada in Montreal in observance of Janmashtami in 1968.

From the Complete Srila Prabhupada mp3 Library

A transcription of this lecture is also available on the Bhaktivedanta Vedabase.

Note: The Vedabase transcription includes bonus material which the recording omits. As Prabhupada is ending his lecture, he asks all the devotees present to stand, one after another, and share their own realizations of Krishna consciousness.

Montreal 1968: Prabhupada on Janmashtami

So, today is the birth—appearance ceremony—of Lord Krishna.

In the Bhagavad-gita, the Lord says,

janma karma ca me divyam
yo janati tattvatah
tyaktva deham punar janma
naiti mam eti kaunteya

[Bg. 4.9]

"My dear Arjuna, any person who simply tries to understand about My transcendental birth or appearance and disappearance and activities, janma karma..."

The Personality of Godhead is not niskriya, without activities. So anyone who can understand what kind of activities the Lord has and what kind of birth He accepts; simply by understanding these two things one gets wonderful result.

What is that? Tyaktva deham. By quitting this body—tyaktva deha punar janma naiti [Bg. 4.9]—he does not take any more birth in this material world.

Tyaktva deham punar janma naiti. Some of us may think that “punar janma naiti” means he becomes vanquished. No. Punar janma naiti, but mam eti, "He does not come to this material world, but he comes to Me." Mam eti.

Mam eti means, then...the supreme personality of Godhead has His place, the...abode where we can go, simply by understanding the nature of His appearance and activities.

So today is that auspicious day, Janmashtami, when Lord Krishna appeared—five thousand years ago—in India, Mathura. Those who are Indian ladies and gentlemen present, they know very well where is Mathura. It is about ninety miles south of New Delhi. Mathura is still existing, and it is eternally existing. . .

Krishna appeared in Mathura in His maternal uncle's house in a very precarious condition.

That birthplace, Lord Krishna's birthplace, is now maintained very nicely. One who goes to India, they see.

So anyway, Lord Krishna appeared on this planet five thousand years ago. Now Krishna says, janma karma me divyam [Bg. 4.9]. Divyam means "not ordinary." It should not be understood just like we take our birth.

Krishna does not take his birth like us.

That is also explained in the Bhagavad-gita: when Arjuna inquired from Krishna, "My dear Krishna, You are speaking that formerly You spoke this yoga system of Bhagavad-gita to the sun-god. That means it is millions and trillions years ago You spoke. How can I believe it?" Because Krishna was contemporary to Arjuna, so he was thinking that "Krishna is my friend, is my cousin brother. How it is possible that He spoke this Bhagavad-gita yoga to sun-god?"

So what was the reply? The reply was this, that "You also appear many, many times; I also appear many, many times. The difference is that I can remember. You cannot remember."

That is the difference between God and ordinary living creature—that we are also taking birth after birth. . .

There are 8,400,000 species of life, and, so long we are in this material world, we are cycling ‘round this birth after birth. So Krishna's birth is not like that. Therefore Krishna says,

janma karma me divyam yo janati tattvatah

Tattvatah means “in truth.” Not superficially. Scientifically, one who knows, he can get— immediately—liberation. And how one can understand the same truths? That is also explained in the Bhagavad-gita:

Bhaktya mam abhijanati yavan yas casmi tattvatah [Bg. 18.55].

Again the same thing, tattvatah, “in truth.” If anyone wants to know God, or Krishna, in truth—not superficially—then he has to undertake the process of devotional service; Bhaktya.

In another place Krishna says,

patram pushpam phalam toyam yo me bhaktya prayacchati [Bg. 9.26]

"Any person who gives Me a little fruit, little flower, little water, but with devotion, bhaktya..." That is the only qualification. So Krishna says, taya bhaktya upahrtam asnami. "Because he brings it with devotion and faith and love, I eat."

Krishna eats.

We are offering, in the temple, prasadam. So He eats because He says "I eat." How you can say that He does not eat?

Some gentleman asked me that "Swamiji, you offer prasadam in the temple, but do you think Krishna or God eats?" I answered, "Yes, why not? He says, 'I eat.' How you can say He does not eat? But you do not know how He eats."

Due to poor fund of knowledge, you think that God does not eat. But eat..., His eating process is different. That is answered in the Brahma-samhita, it is said

angani yasya sakalendriya-vritti-manti [Bs. 5.32].

God's senses—Krishna's senses—are as powerful as other senses; just like I can see with my eyes, but Krishna can eat also with His eyes. That is angani yasya sakalendriya-vritti-manti.

Just like, there are many examples. Krishna or Vishnu—the first creation is that Garbhosayi (Garbhodakashayi) Vishnu lying on the ocean and Brahma was created from His navel. There was a lotus stem grown from the abdomen of the Lord, and Brahma was born.

Now Laksmi, the goddess of fortune, was just sitting. But as we understand that if we beget child, we require the cooperation of wife, but here we see that wife was sitting, but He begot Brahma from the navel.

This is called sarva-shaktiman. He does not require anyone's help. He can beget child—not exactly as we beget child—therefore, janma karma me divyam [Bg. 4.9]. He is within your heart, He is everywhere, so He can appear from everywhere.

Just like sun rises from the eastern side. It does not mean that eastern side is the “mother” of sun; we simply see that sun is rising from the eastern side. In this way, if we try to understand in truth, then we can understand what is God.

Superficially, if we try to understand by our experimental knowledge, then it is not possible to understand God.

panthas tu ko?i-sata-vatsara-sampragamyo
vayor athapi manaso muni-pungavanam
so 'py asti yat-prapada-simny avicintya-tattve
govindam adi-puru?a? tam aha? bhajami

The Brahma-samhita says that if one starts on the chariot of air and makes progress at the speed of mind, still one cannot understand what is God.

Vedeshu durlabham adurlabham atma-bhaktau [Bs. 5.33].

He cannot be understood simply by studying Vedas.

Traigunya visaya veda nistraigunyo bhavarjuna.

One has to transcend the position of Vedas also. Then one can understand what is God or what is Krishna.

That process is explained in the Bhagavad-gita,

bhaktya mam abhijanati
yavan yas casmi tattvata?

[Bg. 18.55].

So this bhakti—devotional service of Krishna—is so nice.

And under that bhakti category, this Janmashtami... Of course, this Janmashtami ceremony is observed by all Hindus—irrespective of becoming Vaishnava or not, this ceremony is observed in India every home.

Just like in your Western countries the Christmas is observed in every home, similarly Janmashtami is observed in every home.

Today is a great ceremonial day.

So our program is; at twelve o'clock night the Lord will take birth and we shall receive Him. And just now it is ten o'clock. For two hours our program will continue in kirtan.

Kirtan means sometimes chanting with music, and sometimes speaking. Both of them are kirtan. Kirtayati iti kirtanam. Whenever we glorify the Lord, that is called kirtan. The Srimad-Bhagavatam reading is also kirtan.

Abhavad Vaiyasaki kirtane. . .

Vaiyasaki, Sukadeva Gosvami, he achieved the highest perfection, liberation, simply by reciting Srimad-Bhagavatam;

Sri-Vishnu-sravane pariksit.

Pariksit Maharaja, he simply heard.

There are nine processes of devotional service;

srava?a? kirtana? vi??o?
smara?a? pada-sevanam

Chanting, hearing—first hearing, then chanting. Without hearing, nobody can chant.

srava?a? kirtana?

And what sort of srava?a? kirtana?? Vishnoh, of Vishnu. Not anything else.

srava?a? kirtana? vi??o?
smara?a? pada-sevanam
arcana? vandana? dasya?
sakhyam atma-nivedanam

[SB 7.5.23]

These are nine processes of devotional service, of which sravanam, hearing, is most important. Without hearing, nobody can understand the science of God.

Therefore the Vedic mantras are called shruti. Shruti means it is to be heard. It is not to be experimented in the laboratory. It is simply to be heard. Therefore it is called shruti.

So,

srava?a? kirtana? vi??o?
smara?a? pada-sevanam
arcana? vandana? dasya?

Vandanam, “offering prayer.”

We also offer prayer. The other religious sects—just like the Christians—they offer prayer. The Muhammadans, they offer prayer. So prayer—offering prayer—is also one of the items of bhakti; chanting, hearing, meditating, offering prayers, arcanam (worshiping the Deity in the temple), all of them are together devotional service.

So out of the nine, if you can execute all the nine, it is very good. But it is not possible. So even if you can execute one item, you become perfect. It is so nice.

sri-vishnoh sravane parikshid

Just like Maharaja Pariksit, he simply executed the function of hearing. He got perfection.

Similarly,

abhavad vaiyasakih kirtane. . .

Vaiyasaki means Sukadeva Gosvami. He simply glorified the Lord.

prahladah smarane. . .

Prahlada Maharaja, he was simply meditating.

There are many examples; simply by following one principle of this devotional service, they got the highest perfectional life— liberation, back to home, back to Godhead.

So we shall invite today to speak about Krishna from our students, as well as all the members who are present here. So I shall request Janardana to speak something about his realization of Krishna.

From the Complete Srila Prabhupada mp3 Library

Diwali & Govardhana Puja

Diwali

Offering a ghee lamp during Diwali

Diwali is a five-day festival widely known as the Hindu New Year, and comes from the Sanskrit word dipavali (dipa-- lights, vali-- numerous). The festival is commonly observed by illuminating candles or other lights in homes, temples and public spaces, and by offering opulent preparations of food to the deity.

In ancient times, Diwali was first observed by the citizens of Ayodhya to celebrate the joyful return of King Rama, an incarnation of Krishna. In another era, this was also the day when Lord Krishna performed His Damodara childhood pastime of breaking the pots of yogurt and letting Himself be bound by Mother Yashoda. Devotees remember these pastimes during this auspicious month known as Karttika.

The Founder-Acharya of the Hare Krishna Movement, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada wrote about Diwali in a letter to a disciple:

"Diwali ceremony can be observed in the temple by illuminating hundreds of candles, in different parts of the temple, and offering special Prasad to the Deity. This ceremony was observed by the inhabitants of Ayodhya, the Kingdom of Lord Ramacandra, while Lord Ramacandra was out of His Kingdom due to His fourteen years banishment by the order of His father. His younger step-brother Bharata, took charge of the Kingdom and the day on which Lord Ramacandra took back the charge again from His brother, and seated on the throne, this is observed as Diwali function. This is the original idea of Diwali, and Dipabali. Dipabali means the same thing—Dipa means candles, and bali means numerous. When numerous candles are lighted it is called Dipabali. In India, this Dipabali function is celebrated in a special auspicious occasion."

Govardhana Puja

In ancient times, Annakuta, the day after Diwali, was an Indra-yajña, a traditional sacrifice honoring the demigod Indra for providing rains essential for a successful harvest. During His manifest pastimes on Earth in Vrindavana, some 5000 years ago, Lord Sri Krishna emphasized that exclusive devotional service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead is of greater importance, and that benefits bestowed by demigods are actually sanctioned and bestowed by Himself.

Furthermore, sensing that His devotee Indra had become overly proud of being king of heaven, Krishna wanted to teach him a lesson. So He convinced the residents of Vrindavan to stop the Indra-yajña and instead worship Govardhana Hill and the brahmanas. Lord Krishna argued that it was the fertile soils on the hill that provided the grass upon which the cows and bulls grazed; that it was the cows and bulls who provided milk and ploughed the lands and should therefore be worshiped; and, to convince the devotees that Govardhana Hill and Krishna Himself are identical, He expanded himself into a great transcendental form and began to eat all of the food offered there. This turn of events naturally upset the mighty Indra, who, blinded by anger, retaliated with terrifying thunderstorms, hail and torrential rains.

Seeing this, Lord Krishna, the all powerful Supreme Personality of Godhead, effortlessly lifted Govardhana Hill with one hand and held it up like a giant umbrella, providing shelter for the people and animals of Vrindavan. For seven days, as Indra's fury raged and the rains intensified, Lord Krishna held up the hill while the residents of of Vrindavan chanted His praises and glanced at Him with joyful and amazed eyes.

In the Srimad-Bhagavatam (Bhagavata Purana) we read: "When Indra observed this exhibition of Lord Krishna's mystic power, he became most astonished. Pulled down from his platform of false pride, and his intentions thwarted, he ordered his clouds to desist."

In this way Lord Krishna demonstrated that He is Deva Deva, the Lord of the demigods, and that any purpose for which demigods might be worshiped could easily be served by worshiping Him, the supreme cause of all causes.

Several thousand years later, on this same day, Srila Madhavendra Puri established a temple for the Gopala Deity on top of Govardhana Hill.

To celebrate this festival, devotees build a replica of Govardhana Hill made of various opulent foods, worship Lord Krishna as the lifter of Govardhana Hill, worship the hill as His incarnation, and worship the cows and bulls who are dear to the Lord. At the end of the festival, the hill of prasada (sanctified food) is distributed to the public. Vaishnava temples in India and throughout the world observe this ceremony, and thousands of people are fed prasada according to the capacity of each temple.

To read this pastime in the Srimad-Bhagavatam (Bhagavata Purana), click here: https://vedabase.io/en/library/sb/10/25/

Related articles:

Janmashtami Lecture in Hamburg

Srila Prabhupada in Europe

In this lecture, given in Hamburg, Germany on Janmastami day on September 4, 1969, Prabhupada stresses how important it is to use our senses to serve Krishna in order to be able to understand anything about Him.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The entire transcription of this lecture follows below the audio players—so, read along! If the audio player doesn't appear right away, refresh the page.

Hamburg part 1

Hamburg part 2

Hamburg part 3

sep 4, 1969

...avidya-karma-samjnanya
tåtiya shaktir ishyate

This is a verse from Vishnu Purana. It is stated there that vishnu-shaktih para, "The energy of the Supreme Lord is spiritual." Energy and the energetic, they are nondifferent. Just like the sunshine is the energy of the sun globe, but the quality of sunshine and the sun globe is the same. It is not different.

The sunshine is bright, illuminating, hot—similarly, we can understand the sun globe, the temperature may be very high, but the quality is the same.

So,

vishnu-shaktih para prokta [Cc. Madhya 6.154]

God has got one energy. That energy is spiritual energy. And kshetrajnakhya tatha para: and the same energy is manifested in another form, which is called kshetrajna, or marginal energy, or the energy in which we living creatures are acting.

Ksetrajnakhya tatha para.

And

avidya-karma-samjna, and tåtiya shaktir ishyate.

And besides these energies, there is another energy, which is avidya , ignorance. Karma-samjna : and it is based on fruitive activities.

Anya means besides these two energies, spiritual energy and the marginal energy, living entities, there is another energy, which is called avidya. Avidya means ignorance. And karma-samjna : and in that energy, one has to enjoy his, the fruit of his own labor.

This is the material world.

This material world is also energy of Krishna, or God, but here ignorance prevails. Ignorance is prominent. Avidya , ignorance. Therefore one has to work.

Practically one hasn't got to work, but because he is, one is in avidya , ignorance, therefore he has to work.

Avidya-karma-samjnanya tåtiya shaktir ishyate.

So actually, there is one energy: spiritual energy. Krishna, or God, is the whole spirit, and the energies emanating from Him, that is also spiritual.

Shaktih shaktimator abhinnah.

In the Vedic language we understand that the shaktiman , or the energetic, Krishna, and the energy, they are nondifferent. So this material energy is also nondifferent from Krishna.

In other words of Vedic language it is said,

sarvam khalv idam brahma:

"Everything is Brahman."

In the Bhagavad-gita also, Lord Krishna says that

maya tatam idam sarvam.

Sarvam means all, idam , this manifestation, this cosmic manifestation, whatever you are experiencing... Krishna says that "I am expanded as this cosmic manifestation."

Maya tatam idam sarvam. . .avyakta-murtina.

This impersonal feature, avyakta,

mat-sthani sarva-bhutani naham teshu avasthitah : [Bg. 9.4]

"Everything is resting on Me, or everything is expansion of Myself."

Naham teshu avasthitah:

"But I am not there." This philosophy, acintya-bhedabheda— simultaneously one and different—is our philosophy, inaugurated by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, although it is in the Vedanta-sutras.

So everything is simultaneously one and different from the Supreme Lord. But there are two classes of philosophers.

One class says that God and the living entities are different, and there is another philosopher, monist philosopher. They say God and the living entities are one.

So this acintya-bhedabheda philosophy adjusts that "God and the living creatures, they are simultaneously one and different." They are one in quality, just like the energy and the energetic, the sun globe and the sunshine.

In quality, in sunshine there is heat, there is illumination, light. In the sun globe also, there is heat, there is illumination. But the degrees are quite different.

You can bear the heat and illumination of the sunshine, but you cannot go to the sun globe or you can bear the heat and temperature there. The scientist says that so many millions miles away, if somebody goes or some planet goes near the sun globe, it will immediately burn into ashes.

Similarly, God and ourself, Krishna and living entities, they are qualitatively one, but quantitatively, we are very minute. Anu . We are smaller than the atom.

Nowadays there is atomic theory. We can see the atoms within the holes of the windows when there is focus of sunlight. That is called prasarenu. Prasarenu means six atoms combined together, then it is visible.

Otherwise, atom is also not visible with our naked eyes. There is atomic theory, paramanuvada , in Vedic literature also. And Bhagavata says that the scientists may be one day able to count how many atoms are there within this universe. This is not possible, of course, but it is theoretically.

The Vedic—Srimad-Bhagavatam—says that "It may be possible one day by scientific research, one can count how many atoms are there within this cosmic manifestation. Still, it is not possible to know the Supreme Personality of Godhead by our ordinary sense perception."

Atah Sri-Krishna-namadi na bhaved grahyam indriyaih [Cc. Madhya 17.136].

Krishna, or God, is not perceivable by your material senses. It is not possible. Atah , therefore, Sri-Krishna-namadi. Atah Sri-Krishna-namadi. Namadi. Namadi means "beginning from His name." Because we try to understand Krishna beginning by chanting His holy name, Hare Krishna.

Then, after chanting Hare Krishna, when our heart is purified, then we can understand His form,

sac-cid-ananda-vigraha [Bs. 5.1].

So either His name or His form or His quality or His paraphernalia or His activities—none of these can be understood by your material senses. It is not possible.

Atah Sri-Krishna-namadi na bhaved grahyam indriyaih [Cc. Madhya 17.136].

Indriyaih , the senses. Then how it is understood?

Sevonmukhe hi jihvadau svayam eva sphuraty adah.

When we take to the transcendental loving service of the Lord, then the Lord reveals Himself. We cannot understand. He reveals Himself.

Therefore, sevonmukhe hi jihvadau. Jihva means tongue. The first business of is to engage the tongue in the service of the Lord.

How you can engage the tongue in the service of the Lord? By chanting and glorifying His name, fame, quality, form, paraphernalia, pastimes. This is the business of the tongue.

Sevonmukhe hi jihvadau .

When the tongue is engaged, gradually all other senses are also engaged in the service of the Lord. The tongue is the most important sense within our body; therefore for controlling our senses it is recommended that one should control first of all the tongue.

Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura sings in his song:

ta'ra madhye jihva ati lobhamaya sudurmati.

Our present conditional state is like this.

Sarira avidya-jal,

We are packed up in the network of this material body. It is just like a fish is caught within a net. Similarly, we are caught up by this network of this material body.

Not only this body—we are changing this net in various phases of life. There are 8,400,000's of holes of this network. This is a network of ignorance, avidya-jal. Avidya means ignorance.

Sarira avidya-jal jatendriya tahe kal.

And this network, my imprisonment within this network of ignorance, is being continued on account of these dangerous senses. Sense enjoyment. So out of these dangerous senses, Bhaktivinoda Thakura says, the tongue is the most dangerous. Tongue is the most dangerous.

The tongue... If we cannot control the tongue, then the tongue will oblige me to take different types of body, one after another. If I am very much fond of satisfying my tongue by flesh and blood, then nature, material nature, will give me facility to taste flesh and blood fresh and give me a body of the tiger.

If I do not discriminate of eating, then material nature will give me a body just like a hog, when we have to accept, as our food, stool.

So we are so-called materially suffering and enjoying according to this body. Therefore this body, this human form of body, is a great opportunity, because God realization begins by engaging the tongue.

Sevonmukhe hi jihvadau [Brs. 1.2.234].

By engaging the tongue in the loving service of the Lord, one can make advance(ment) in Krishna consciousness, ultimate realization of God, the tongue.

So this tongue, in the human body, can be engaged.

In other body, in the cat's body, dog's body, tiger's body—tiger may be a very powerful animal—(but) no animal is powerful or better than human beings. That is accepted.

So this human form of life is a great boon to the living entity who is traveling through the cycle of birth and death, perpetually changing different sorts of body. Here is the opportunity, human form of body. We can utilize the tongue properly and get out of these clutches.

Sevonmukhe hi jihvadau .

So seva, seva means service; jihva adau , beginning from the tongue. So if we can keep our tongue engaged, always chanting Hare Krishna mantra ... Because "Krishna," this sound, is not different from Krishna. Krishna is absolute. Nothing is different from Him. Krishna and Krishna's name is not different.

In the material sense, everything is different. I myself (am) different from this body. I am not this body. But Krishna is not like that. Krishna and Krishna's body is the same.

Avajananti mam mudha manusim tanum ashritah [Bg. 9.11].

Krishna says in the Bhagavad-gita, "Rascals and fools, they deride (at) Me because I appear as a human being. They are thinking just like ‘I am ordinary human being’."

Param bhavam ajananto — "These rascals do not know what is My influence and what I am."

Param bhavam — "What is My nature they do not know. Without knowing Me, they consider, 'Krishna is an ordinary human being.' "

Avajananti mudha —This very particular word has been used, mudha. Mudha means rascals. So in spite of this warning, there are so many rascals passing as big scholars.

They say like this—“when there is order of Krishna that ‘you surrender unto Me,’ (the rascals comment), it is not to Krishna but the unborn spirit which is within Krishna." He does not know that Krishna is not different from His body, Krishna is not different from His name, Krishna is not different from His fame.

Anything pertaining to Krishna is Krishna. They are monists, they are philosophizing that oneness, but as soon as they come to Krishna, immediately they divide: "Krishna is different from His body," or "Krishna's body is different from Krishna."

So atah Sri-Krishna-namadi . So Krishna's name and Krishna is not different. Therefore, as soon as my tongue touches the holy name of Krishna, that means immediately it associates with Krishna.

So if you constantly keep yourself associated with Krishna by chanting this mantra, Hare Krishna, then just imagine how you are being easily purified simply by this process, chanting— jihvadau —engaging the tongue in chanting.

And your tongue wants very palatable dishes to taste. So Krishna is very kind. He has given you hundreds and thousands of palatable dishes, remnants of foodstuff eaten by Him. You eat.

In this way, if you simply make it a determination that "I shall not allow my tongue to taste anything which is not offered to Krishna, and I shall engage my tongue always chanting Hare Krishna," then all perfection is within your hold.

All perfection.

Two simple things: Don't eat anything which is not offered to Krishna. That's all. Our Krishna prasadam are so variegated, nice varieties... The variety is the mother of enjoyment.

How much enjoyment you want with your tongue? You can have simply by eating Krishna prasadam . And the more your tongue is purified, the more you relish the chanting of Hare Krishna mantra .

Relish.

Anandambudhi-vardhanam . It is stated by Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu that it increases the ocean of bliss, transcendental bliss.

Ocean does not increase—we have no experience within this material world. If (the) ocean would have increased, then all the lands would have been swallowed up many long, long years ago. Ocean does not increase.

But this ocean, transcendental bliss, is increasing. Some of you must have experienced, those who are actually relishing.

The authorities like Rupa Gosvami, he says that "What I shall chant with one tongue? If I would have millions of tongues, then I could chant a little more. And what I shall hear with two ears?"

So he's expecting, he's aspiring to have millions of ears and trillions of tongues to relish this chanting Hare Krishna. So that is another stage, of course, when this chanting will be so melodious that we shall try to have more ears and more tongues to utilize it.

Atah Sri-Krishna-namadi
na bhaved grahyam indriyaih

[Cc. Madhya 17.136].

By our present senses, we cannot understand what is Krishna, or what is God, what is His name, what is His form, what is His quality.

Therefore immediately, if we try to understand Krishna by His picture, "Oh, Krishna is embracing Radharani or the gopis," we shall mistake. Because unless our senses are purified, we shall accept Krishna and Radharani as ordinary young boy or girl and their dealings.

But actually it is not. It is pure.

Caitanya-caritamrita has distinguished that the loving affairs of the gopis with Krishna and the ordinary—these lustful dealings of human beings— there is a gulf of difference.

He compares that the gopis' love with Krishna is gold, and our so-called love here is iron. As there is difference between gold and iron, similarly there is difference between the loving affairs of gopis with Krishna and these mundane, so-called lusty affairs between men and women or boys and girls.

It is never equal.

Therefore, atah Sri-Krishna-namadi na bhaved ... [Brs. 1.2.234]. These present senses, these impure senses, contaminated senses, cannot understand Krishna; therefore we should follow this principle:

sevonmukhe hi jihvadau.

First of all, engage (in) chanting Hare Krishna.

There is Radha and Krishna. Hara is Radha, and Krishna, there is. But don't try to understand by the present senses, but simply chant their holy Name, Hare Krishna. Then,

ceto-darpana-marjanam [Cc. Antya 20.12].

When your, the dust on the mirror of your heart will be cleansed, and it will cleanse by simply chanting,

ceto-darpana-marjanam bhava-maha-davagni-nirvapanam,

. . . and there will be no more any material condition.

That is the next stage. If you chant Hare Krishna mantra without any offense, then immediately the stage will be that you are freed from all material anxieties.

That is the test—how I am advancing in chanting will be tested “how far you are free from material anxieties.” That's all.

Ceto-darpana-marjanam bhava-maha-davagni-nirvapanam [Cc. Antya 20.12].

Then real life begins.

So long you are perturbed by material disturbances, you should know that your spiritual life has not begun. This is confirmed in everywhere:

Brahma-bhutah prasannatma na shocati na kanksati [Bg. 18.54]

Prasannatma — Bhagavad-gita says, "When one is Brahman realized..." Brahman realized means one who understands that I am not this body. I am pure spirit soul, eternal servitor of Krishna.

Simply understanding that "I am not this body. I am spirit soul," is not enough. That is not sufficient knowledge.

Of course, that is good. That is just on the marginal step between matter and spirit. But you have to transcend completely this material existence and come to the platform of spiritual understanding. So, for that purpose, you have to go further after Brahman realization. Brahman:

brahma-bhutah prasannatma [Bg. 18.54]

If you are actually Brahman realized, the symptom will be that you are always joyful, no anxiety—“Anxiety, why...?”

Everything is very nicely discussed in Srimad-Bhagavatam;

Bhayam dvitiyabhiniveshatah syad

When you forget Krishna, or God, and if we think there is something else than Krishna, then we are afraid. And those who are convinced and realized souls that “there is nothing but Krishna, where is the cause of fearfulness?”

Therefore those who are pure devotees, they are not disturbed even in most distressed condition of life. What they think? They think, tat te 'nukampa ...: "My Lord, it is Your great mercy that You have put me into this distressed condition:"

Tat te 'nukampam su-samiksamanah [SB 10.14.8]

So in the distressed condition, the devotees take it an opportunity that "I have got a very nice opportunity to remember God constantly. Krishna, You are so kind that You have given me this distressed condition."

So this Krishna consciousness is very nice. If we try to make progress on this line, we'll feel even:

Yasmin sthite gurunapi duhkhena na vicalyate [Bg. 6.20-23]

Bhagavad-gita says if one is situated in Krishna consciousness, even in the terrible situation, fearful situation, he is not afraid.

Just like Prahlada Maharaja. You see? Prahlada Maharaja, a five-years-old boy, his father tortured him like anything. But he was not afraid. He was not afraid. This is the Krishna consciousness state. The boy is not afraid.

Even in such tortured condition, when his father challenged him, "Prahlada, with whose strength you are so powerful that you do not care for me?" he immediately answered, "My dear father, by whose power you are talking like that?"

So Krishna consciousness is so nice that even one is put into the terrible condition of distress, he is not perturbed.

Narayana-parah sarve

There are many verses like that. We can quote hundreds.

Narayana-parah sarve na kutashcana bibhyati [SB 6.17.28]

If one becomes Krishna conscious, he is not afraid, any condition of life.

Na kutashcana bibhyati. Svargapavarga-narakesv api,

If he is put into the hell or in heaven or in the spiritual world or any world, he is happy.

Tulyartha-darshinah —he thinks everything is all the same: "Either you put me in the hell or heaven or this or that, (it) is all the same." Because he is always with Krishna, chanting Hare Krishna. Krishna is always with him.

So where is the cause of being afraid that "This place is not good; this place is very good?” No. Wherever Krishna is there is very good. That's all.

So we have to practice and train the tongue very nicely.

Sevonmukhe hi jihvadau svayam eva sphuraty adah [Brs. 1.2.234]

And the more our tongue is engaged in the loving service of Krishna... It is very nice service. You simply chant and eat Krishna prasadam. Is it very difficult service? Everyone will accept, "Oh, yes." But unfortunately, everyone does not accept. (laughter) (chuckles) You see.

Caitanya Mahaprabhu therefore says,

etadrishi tava kripa bhagavan mamapi

"My dear Lord, You are so kind that You have approached Me in..., by transcendental sound. Or You are always with Me." You can be. If I take, then Krishna is always with me. If I reject, then... That is the (ignorance)...

"Krishna is everywhere" means as soon as we accept, Krishna is immediately with us. And as soon as we reject, oh, He is far, far away. So Krishna can be with us very easily simply by this chanting or engaging the tongue in His service.

So Caitanya Mahaprabhu recommended this process, or He inaugurated this process in this age. Although it is not new system, but He especially introduced because His incarnation is to reclaim the fallen souls of this age.

So He... [break] ...before advent of Krishna he's simply planning, "As soon as Krishna will take birth, I will kill him."

This is the plan of the demons, to kill God. Atheism. "God is dead"—that is also killing, one sort of killing. "There is no God. I am God." These are all different processes of trying to kill. But God is never killed. Rather, they are killed. That is the whole history everywhere.

Guest: I don't follow. Is it...? Whose choice is it to be a demon? Is it the living entity's choice, complete choice, to be demonic, against God, or is it a part of Krishna's energy to put demons, or to have created him that way?

Prabhupada: No...

Guest: Is it completely each individual's choice to be demonic, or...?

Prabhupada: Yes. Demon means when he is forgotten, when has lost his sense, that is demon. When has lost his sense, that is demon.

Demon means mayayapahrita-jnanah [Bg. 7.15]. Maya, by the influence of maya , the true aspect of knowledge is taken away.

Anyone who is trying to establish it that "There is no God," he is demon. That's all.

There are so many philosophers, so many atheists, so many scientists. Their only business is to deny God. They are demons. Yes?

Guest: Then is there individual complete choice?

Prabhupada: That is ignorance. Yes. Apahrita-jnanah means just like a madman. For the time being, his natural knowledge is taken away. Crazy.

What do we mean by crazy? For the time being, his knowledge is taken away.

Similarly, when a living entity is in that position, as somebody has taken away his knowledge, that is demonic condition. But he can be reestablished again in knowledge.

Just like a crazy man is sent—mental disorder, to hospital for treatment; again he comes as a sane man. Similarly, the demons are just like crazy men. Even they are treated with Krishna consciousness, they can be reverted to their own position.

So this is temporary. This demoniac nature is temporary due to the contact with maya . Therefore the whole business is how to get out of the clutches of maya . Then there is no more demonic nature. It is artificial...superficial. It comes and goes. As it comes artificially, so it can go also. And the driving method is this Krishna consciousness.

Guest: So maya is temporary, and the only thing that is eternal is Krishna and the spiritual energies.
Prabhupada: Yes. Spiritual energy. That is eternal. That is eternal.

So we are... due to our ignorance, we have been very much serious with the temporary situation of maya and we have forgotten the eternal position. This is our present conditional life.

Now this Krishna consciousness movement means His treatment to reclaim the living entity from the clutches of maya . Then he is situated in his natural position. [break]

Damodarastakam

Damodara Lila

This song describes Krishna's early childhood pastime of running from His mother when she tried to chastise Him for stealing butter.

During the month of Kartika, devotees around the world sing this prayer each day while offering ghee lamps or candles to Krishna. Each verse describes various qualities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who, in this pastime, appears as a child and allows Himself to be captured by the love of His devotees. Sing along with the lyrics below, which include the English translations.

Click on the link to listen to an audio recording of the late Aindra Dasa singing Damodarastakam during Kartika at the ISKCON Krishna-Balarama temple in Vrindavan, India. The link will open in a new tab. Once the song begins to play, return to this page to follow the lyrics.

Damodarastakam sung by Aindra Dasa

(1)

namāmīśvaram sac-cid-ānanda-rūpam
lasat-kuṇḍalam gokule bhrājamanam
yaśodā-bhiyolūkhalād dhāvamānam
parāmṛṣṭam atyantato drutya gopyā

To the supreme controller, who possesses an eternal form of blissful knowledge, whose glistening earrings swing to and fro, who manifested Himself in Gokula, who stole the butter that the gopis kept hanging from the rafters of their storerooms and who then quickly jumped up and ran in retreat in fear of Mother Yasoda but was ultimately caught - to that Supreme Lord, Sri Damodara, I offer my humble obeisances.

(2)

rudantam muhur netra-yugmam mṛjantam
karāmbhoja-yugmena sātańka-netram
muhuḥ śvāsa-kampa-trirekhāńka-kaṇṭha-
sthita-graivam dāmodaram bhakti-baddham

Upon seeing His mother's whipping stick, He cried and rubbed His eyes again and again with His two lotus hands. His eyes were fearful and His breathing quick, and as Mother Yasoda bound His belly with ropes, He shivered in fright and His pearl necklace shook. To this Supreme Lord, Sri Damodara, I offer my humble obeisances.

(3)

itīdṛk sva-līlābhir ānanda-kuṇḍe
sva-ghoṣam nimajjantam ākhyāpayantam
tadīyeṣita-jñeṣu bhaktair jitatvam
punaḥ prematas tam śatāvṛtti vande

Those superexcellent pastimes of Lord Krishna's babyhood drowned the inhabitants of Gokula in pools of ecstasy. To the devotees who are attracted only to His majestic aspect of Narayana in Vaikuntha, the Lord herein reveals: “I am conquered and overwhelmed by pure loving devotion.” To the Supreme Lord, Damodara, my obeisances hundreds and hundreds of times.

(4)

varam deva mokṣam na mokṣāvadhim vā
na canyam vṛṇe ‘ham vareṣād apīha
idam te vapur nātha gopāla-bālam
sadā me manasy āvirāstām kim anyaiḥ

O Lord, although You are able to give all kinds of benedictions, I do not pray to You for liberation, nor eternal life in Vaikuntha, nor any other boon. My only prayer is that Your childhood pastimes may constantly appear in my mind. O Lord, I do not even want to know your feature of Paramatma. I simply wish that Your childhood pastimes may ever be enacted in my heart.

(5)

idam te mukhāmbhojam atyanta-nīlair
vṛtam kuntalaiḥ snigdha-raktaiś ca gopyā
muhuś cumbitam bimba-raktādharam me
manasy āvirāstām alam lakṣa-lābhaiḥ

O Lord, the cheeks of Your blackish lotus face, which is encircled by locks of curling hair, have become reddened like bimba fruits due to Mother Yasoda's kisses. What more can I describe than this? Millions of opulences are of no use to me, but may this vision constantly remain in my mind.

(6)

namo deva dāmodarānanta viṣṇo
prasīda prabho duḥkha-jālābdhi-magnam
kṛpā-dṛṣṭi-vṛṣṭyāti-dīnam batānu
gṛhāṇeṣa mām ajñam edhy akṣi-dṛśyaḥ

O unlimited Vishnu! O master! O Lord! Be pleased upon me! I am drowning in an ocean of sorrow and am almost like a dead man. Please shower the rain of mercy on me; uplift me and protect me with Your nectarean vision.

(7)

kuverātmajau baddha-mūrtyaiva yadvat
tvayā mocitau bhakti-bhājau kṛtau ca
tathā prema-bhaktim svakām me prayaccha
na mokṣe graho me ‘sti dāmodareha

O Lord Damodara, in Your form as a baby Mother Yasoda bound You to a grinding stone with a rope for tying cows. You then freed the sons of Kuvera, Manigriva and Nalakuvara, who were cursed to stand as trees and You gave them the chance to become Your devotees. Please bless me in this same way. I have no desire for liberation into Your effulgence.

(8)

namas te 'stu dāmne sphurad-dīpti-dhāmne
tvadīyodarāyātha viśvasya dhāmne
namo rādhikāyai tvadīya-priyāyai
namo 'nanta-līlāya devāya tubhyam

O Lord, the entire universe was created by Lord Brahma, who was born from Your abdomen, which was bound with a rope by Mother Yasoda. To this rope I offer my humble obeisances. I offer my obeisances to Your most beloved Srimati Radharani and to Your unlimited pastimes.

Related articles:

How Krishna Makes His Entrance

"Important" activities of "important" people on this "important" planet get big media coverage. Fifty-foot high video billboards in the center of the city, full-page ads in major papers, and TV commercials are all designed to help us all appreciate the importance of such people and their "important" activities, and sell product.

But because nothing happens on this tiny, temporary planet that's really that important, we surround our human events with hype to trick ourselves into thinking that they are. Big light shows, huge, elevated stages, booming sound effects, pyrotechnics, advertisements ad nauseam, and miles of magazine covers are essential components of the show business of the material world.

So, when contemplating the idea of the appearance of God Himself, those of us steeped in the contemporary culture of hype might naturally expect a grandiose production, reminiscent of the best that Hollywood has to offer, calculated to inspire awe and fear.

Considering Krishna's extremely high-profile position—the omnipotent, omnipresent, ultimate source of all energies—His appearance in this world is remarkably low-key. He doesn't draw attention to himself. He has nothing to prove. His "publicist"—yogamaya, His energy for engaging in transcendental pastimes—arranged His entrance to be subtle, classy, and mysterious. Here's how the moment of His appearance on earth is described in Srimad-Bhagavatam:

"Thereafter, at the auspicious time for the appearance of the Lord, the entire universe was surcharged with all the qualities of goodness, beauty and peace. The constellation Rohini appeared, as did stars like Asvini. . ."

This might be very useful and interesting information for you Vedic astrologers.

"The sun, the moon and the other stars and planets were very peaceful. All directions appeared extremely pleasing, and the beautiful stars twinkled in the cloudless sky.
Decorated with towns, villages, mines and pasturing grounds, the earth seemed all-auspicious. The rivers flowed with clear water, and the lakes and vast reservoirs, full of lilies and lotuses, were extraordinarily beautiful. In the trees and green plants, full of flowers and leaves, pleasing to the eyes, birds like cuckoos and swarms of bees began chanting with sweet voices for the sake of the demigods."

If you pause to imagine this scene, you may notice that this description is very rich in detail, and calls to mind the most attractive circumstances possible. It goes on:

"A pure breeze began to blow, pleasing the sense of touch and bearing the aroma of flowers, and when the brahmanas engaging in ritualistic ceremonies ignited their fires according to Vedic principles, the fires burned steadily, undisturbed by the breeze. Thus when the birthless (italics added) Lord Vishnu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, was about to appear, the saints and brahmanas, who had always been disturbed by demons like Kamsa and his men, felt peace within the core of their hearts, and kettledrums simultaneously vibrated from the upper planetary system." (Srimad Bhagavatam 10.3.1)

The narrator makes a point of describing Krishna as "birthless," because that is the fact. He has no "birth" the way we do. We're born into the bodies we're born into because of our karma, our destiny. But Krishna is the supreme controller. He appears and disappears from our sight whenever and wherever He likes.

He chose to make His appearance in a prison, in the middle of the night. The only human witnesses were Devaki and Vasudeva--the extraordinarily devoted husband and wife who had prayed for many lifetimes to have Krishna as their son:

"Then the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vishnu, who is situated in the core of everyone's heart, appeared from the heart of Devaki in the dense darkness of night, like the full moon rising on the eastern horizon, because Devaki was of the same category as Sri Krishna." (Srimad Bhagavatam,10.3.8)

Almost immediately then, under cover of night, Krishna was mystically whisked away to the remote cowherd village of Gokula, Vrindavan, so that no one but Devaki and Vasudeva would know that He had appeared.

Krishna's appearance was as undercover as could be.

"The Lord is one, but He can appear in everyone's heart by His inconceivable potency. Thus although the Lord was within the heart of Devaki, He appeared as her child. . . the Lord appeared like the sun . . . the Lord is situated even within the atom . . .He is situated in Mathura, in Vaikuntha and in the core of the heart. Therefore one should clearly understand that He did not live like an ordinary child in the heart or the womb of Devaki. Nor did He appear like an ordinary human child, although He seemed to do so in order to bewilder asuras [atheistic persons] like Kamsa."

In other words, Krishna appears to take birth—and even "die"—here, just like us, so that determined atheists can tell themselves and others, "Look! Krishna is just an ordinary guy!" Krishna doesn't mess with their view of reality.

"The asuras wrongly think that Krishna took birth like an ordinary child and passed away from this world like an ordinary man. Such asuric [demonic] conceptions are rejected by persons in knowledge of the Supreme Personality of Godhead . . .The Lord is aja, unborn, and He is the supreme controller of everything. Nonetheless, He appeared as the child of Devaki.
This verse describes the inconceivable potency of the Lord, who appeared like the full moon. Understanding the special significance of the appearance of the Supreme Godhead, one should never regard Him as having taken birth like an ordinary child.(Srimad Bhagavatam 10.3.7-8, Purport)

Krishna is very kind to come see us. He doesn't have to. We may try our best to maintain the illusion that people, places, and events in this world are so important, but once we begin to understand the significance of Krishna's appearance, it's possible to see everything here in its proper perspective. It's not that big of a deal. But Krishna coming—that's a big deal.

Vrindavan

The gates of the Krishna-Balarama Temple in Vrindavan, India

Vrindavan is a town in north central India, about ninety miles southeast of Delhi. Traditionally acknowledged as the place of Krishna’s childhood pastimes, it is known as one of the holy dhamas—residences of the Supreme Being—and is one of the most frequented pilgrimage sites on the subcontinent.

Srimad-Bhagavatam describes the extraordinary pastimes Krishna performed in Vrindavan during His childhood. The Introduction to the Bhagavad-gita As It Is explains that the Vrindavan on earth is a replica of Krishna's eternal residence in the spiritual world. And the Brahma-samhita says Krishna, the Supreme Person, is simultaneously all-pervading and eternally living in that eternal, spiritual Vrindavan.

Even today, residents of Vrindavan commonly greet each other with shouts of, "Jaya Radhe!" meaning, "all glories to Krishna's beloved companion Srimati Radharani!"

Photo shows the front gate of the Krishna-Balarama Temple in Vrindavan, India

Janmashtami


Janmashtami is the yearly observance of Krishna's appearance on earth. It is one of the world's most widely observed spiritual festivals. Krishna's "birth," janma, occurred at midnight on ashtami, the eighth day after the full moon in the Vedic calendar.

Krishna's appearance is significant on many levels, and is something of a paradox. He's the beginningless Supreme Person, eternally existing everywhere at all times. He isn't "born" like we're are—forced by karma into a succession of material bodies. Krishna appears in His same permanent, spiritual form whenever and wherever He likes.

When He does appear, He chooses His devotees to play the roles of His father and mother. He Himself plays the role of their child, and acts like a human being, while also performing superhuman activities that are impossible for anyone else to imitate.

Read More

Krishna explains in the Bhagavad-gita that He appears time after time in this world, in His original form, to reestablish religious principles, deliver His devotees from material existence, and annihilate the wicked. He also says that those who hear about and understand the nature of His appearance and activities no longer have to undergo repeated birth and death, but return to live with Him in the spiritual world.

Devotees of Krishna most commonly celebrate Janmashtami by:

Those who live far from a temple may wish to celebrate online by:

Can God Do That?

If I were to tell you I knew a story about a boy who swallowed a raging forest fire to save his friends and relatives, you’d probably think it was a fairy tale. Boys don’t swallow forest fires.

If I were to tell you the story was about how God swallowed a raging forest fire, you might consider more seriously the possibility of the story’s being true. God has been known to part seas, hold forth from clouds, and demolish mighty empires. So why not inhale a forest fire?

The fact is, the short story I am going to tell is about an attractive young boy who inhaled a raging forest fire to save His friends and relatives. But it’s not a fairy tale. It’s a true story. You see, that young boy is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Krishna. Let me explain.

The Vedic literatures describe three levels of God realization. On the first level, the transcendentalist realizes God as Brahman, the effulgent, all-pervading spirit, and he realizes that he too is eternal spirit, different from the temporary, physical body. This is not to say, as many transcendentalists mistakenly conclude, that we are God, but that we have the same eternal, spiritual nature as God.

On the second level, God is realized as Paramatma, the Supersoul, who is within the hearts of all living creatures and within every atom. The Supersoul witnesses our activities, awards us our karma, hears and answers our prayers, and directs the movements of material nature, from the orbits of the greatest planets down to the stirring of the smallest particles of dust. “Not a blade of grass moves” say the Upanishads, “without the will of the Lord.”

Most currently popular conceptions of God fall within the categories of Brahman and Paramatma realization: God is understood to be the omnipresent and omniscient Supreme Being, the almighty creator and ruler of the universe, the provider of our daily necessities, the overseer and stem judge of our deeds; He is the Great Cosmic Scorekeeper, fully absorbed in His unlimited administrative duties.

These conceptions of God, while correct, are incomplete. There is a third and higher level of God realization, known as Bhagavan realization, in which we understand that God is neither first and foremost the controller of this material world nor the servant of our desires. God is the Supreme, the one master of all. How could He be obliged to act as our servant or simply as a cosmic administrator? The Vedic literatures inform us that God, in His topmost feature as Bhagavan, resides in His eternal abode, beyond the material world, where He enjoys blissful pastimes with His pure devotees. In that transcendental abode He is known as Krishna, the all-attractive Personality of Godhead, and although He is the oldest of all, He appears eternally as a fresh youth.

Brahman, Paramatma, and Bhagavan are progressive realizations of the same Supreme Person. Brahman is the effulgence of Krishna’s transcendental body. Paramatma is Krishna’s personal expansion through which He creates and maintains the material universe. And Bhagavan is Krishna’s original form as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the source of all other features of God.

People sometimes argue that God cannot be a person. If He were, they say. He would be limited and imperfect like us. But the Vedic literature answers that although God is an individual person; we cannot compare our personalities to His in every respect. He is the greatest person and has no limitations or faults. Because He is the origin of everything, He necessarily possesses everything. If He were merely an impersonal being, He would be lacking the most valued of all assets: personality, or individuality. And how can the Supreme lack anything?

Bhagavan Sri Krishna occasionally appears in human society to display His intimate pastimes. To play the part of a human being, He descended five thousand years ago as the son of one of His devotees. He grew from childhood to boyhood to youth—but no further. When He spoke the Bhagavad-gita to Arjuna on the Battlefield of Kurukshetra, He had been on earth for 125 years and had many children and grandchildren. Yet He looked no older than twenty or twenty-five.

So what about that boy in the painting inhaling all those flames? As I was saying, that’s Krishna, the Supreme Person, and He’s swallowing a forest fire to save His friends and relatives. Once, while Krishna and all the residents of Vrindavana, India (Krishna’s home town), were in the forest on the bank of the river Yamuna, a fire broke out, surrounding them all. Krishna was only seven years old at the time, and yet all the inhabitants of Vrindavana, feeling the heat of the fire closing in on them, turned to Him with full faith and cried out, “Our dear Krishna! O Supreme Personality of Godhead! Please try to save us from this devastating fire. We have no other shelter than You.”

The residents of Vrindavana were on the topmost level of Bhagavan realization. They knew and loved Krishna as their dearmost Friend and as their affectionate child. Although they were sometimes aware that He was the Supreme Personality of Godhead, that fact was not important to them.

Attracted by His beauty and by His loving dealings, they lived only to serve Him and to please Him. “Krishna may or may not be God” they would think, “but we want to serve Him just because He is such a wonderful boy.” Even when they called out to Him in fear of the fire, addressing Him as the Supreme Personality of Godhead and asking Him to save them, they were thinking of Him primarily as their intimate friend.

Hearing the distressed cry of His own townspeople, and understanding that they were depending completely upon Him, Krishna felt compassionate and immediately swallowed the forest fire. Although He was playing the part of a human being, whenever He desired He would display the opulences and power that proved He was God.

In the Bhagavad-gita Krishna explains that He rewards us according to our degree of surrender. To the atheist, who denies the very existence of God, Krishna remains obligingly invisible. To those persons who approach Lord Krishna to request that He fulfill their material desires, He reveals Himself as the Almighty Father. But to those who worship Him only to please Him, without any desire for their own gratification, He is eternally the most loving friend. He displays His earthly pastimes, such as swallowing the forest fire, to awaken in all of us an ambition to attain this transcendental friendship.