Krishna in Universe: Universe in Krishna
We talked about ocean in a drop earlier on in our discussions. The discussion there was a little abstract and brief. Let’s talk a little more about that here.
A drop of water merging in the ocean is simple, we see it and get it. Water vaporizing and becoming a drop is easily understood and within our grasp. The drop is qualitatively the same as ocean without the salt component. We might even say that it is basic knowledge. However, the next equation of saying that the whole ocean qualitatively enters the drop becomes mathematically and intellectually difficult to accept.
We all know that a man is usually larger than his physical limits. That’s how we had kings and queens in the past and have presidents and prime ministers in today’s times. We have big names in business like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates while we have others who are famous in sports or movies. They all appear very normal people but carry a larger than life images, they have big contributions in the world and sometimes have to manifest their powers too. The power of a President is not always that evident. But, it becomes apparent when their country is challenged or threatened and a Hiroshima or a Nagasaki happens.
However, some individuals are completely at a different level. They also appear normal like any one of us. Buddha, Ram, Guru Nanka, Krishna, and Mahavir are some examples for that. I mentioned before about an equation given to us by Ishavasya upanishad. The upanishad did not talk about ocean and a drop but had the same idea. It gave a formula for all times. Krishna is one living example of the formula. He personifies the drop in above example that contains the universe (ocean) within. We can say the same about some of other names above, but Krishna was one who manifested both forms during his life time.
As a child:
Krishna was extra-ordinary child, yet, he lived as an ordinary one. He played with others and did mischievous like any other friend in his age group. His friends were comfortable complaining about Krishna to his mother and Krishna even put up fake defenses for mischievous acts he had commited.
One day, while playing in the fields, little Krishna secretly ate mud. His friends witnessed it and his told mother Yashoda about this. When Krishna returned home, Yashoda caught him by his ears and scolded him for putting dirt in his mouth. Krishna promptly replied that he had had a fight with his friends in the morning and to take revenge they were all lying and that Yashoda shouldn’t believe them. He said that she was being unfair as she believed them instead of believing her son. Yashoda knew her son too well. She ordered, “If you have not taken any mud, then open your mouth. I shall see for myself.”
Krishna obediently opened his mouth. But when Yashoda looked into his mouth, she was wonderstruck. She saw the entire universe: the mountains the oceans, the planets, air, fire, moon and the stars in his small mouth. Yashoda was stunned and began to wonder whether she were dreaming or actually seeing something extraordinary. She fell on the ground, unconscious. When she recovered, she realized what had happened. She took Krishna in her lap and hugged him tightly and fondly.
There is a description of two instances in the Mahabharat where Krishna reveals his divinity.
Krishna revealed the Vishwaroop form when went to Hastinapur to negotiate terms with Dhritarashtra and Duryodhana refused to give any land to the Pandavas. Duryodhana ordered his guards to capture Krishna, and then Krishna revealed what is known as his Vishwaroop form, which supposedly the people of the court were unable to behold, except Vidur and Bheeshma (and in some versions, Dhritarashtra himself).
Krishna revealed the Vishwaroop (universal form) form again in the Bhagavad Gita, revealing his immortal, all-encompassing self to Arjun. The form is described in great detail by the narrator Sanjay. An example is verse 11:19
मनन्तबाहुं शशिसूर्यनेत्रम् |
पश्यामि त्वां दीप्तहुताशवक्त्रं-
स्वतेजसा विश्वमिदं तपन्तम् || 19||
You are without beginning, middle, or end; your power has no limits. Your arms are infinite; the sun and the moon are like your eyes, and fire is like your mouth. I see you warming the entire creation by your radiance.
Eventually Arjun is filled with great awe and wonder and asks Krishna to take his pleasant four armed form again.
O thousand-armed one, though you are the embodiment of all creation, I wish to see you in your four-armed form, carrying the mace and disc, and wearing the crown.
Krishna as a Friend:
Krishna is unique in that sense; he allows a friend relationship to develop with him. Arjun lived with Krishna as friend (sakha). you cannot imagine being a friend with Buddha, Mahavir, Nanak or Ram. Friendship brings a different kind of closeness. Knowing a friend like Krishna brings on the respect and devotion for him over time. The more you know Krishna, the more you appreciate his vastness and depth. One day he will open up his whole mystery to you or I as he did to his sakha (friend) Arjun. Then and then only the true form of Krishna is realized.
Krishna lived in this universe and the universe lived inside him. If there is something beyond universe, that also existed inside Krishna. Krishna represents entire existence, he cares for the existence and he nurtures the existence. All this is hard to understand intellectually. Closeness to Krishna and Krishna’s help is essential in understanding him. Let’s make him a friend as Arjun did.
Thinking of you as my friend, I presumptuously addressed you as, “O Krishna,” “O Yadav,” “O my dear mate.”
And then the devotion:
O Arjun, by unalloyed devotion alone can I be known as I am, standing before you.