While most religions present God as Supremely great, and an awarder of justice, the Krishna yoga tradition presents God as supremely sweet, in addition to His Supreme greatness.
The contrasts of Krishna make Him sweet; on the one hand He’s the Supreme Personality of Godhead and millions of universes come from an expansion of His expansion. Yet on the other hand He crawls like an innocent, helpless, baby. He killed the demoness Putana as a three day old baby, thus establishing His unparalleled greatness. Yet to increase the sweet love of His devotees towards Him, He remained a helpless baby amidst them, as if He doesn’t know how the demoness was killed. All others also believed Lord Narayana, saved their innocent child Krishna.
Krishna is also known as ‘rasabihari’, an expert in invoking loving mellows of his girlfriends, the gopis of Vrindavan. The same Krishna also killed the formidable demons like Aghasura and Bakasura, thus invoking fear in the hearts of his enemies. He appears as Time personified in the lives of all, yet in His sweet pastimes, He failed to stop His boyfriends from entering the mouth of the demon Aghasura, whom He eventually killed. He got late in stopping His friends while He is the one who controls Time.
The Vedic traditions explain the position of the secondary creator of this universe, Lord Brahma, who lives 311 trillion years. Brahma knows all the Vedic verses, and he’s also so powerful that most powerful demons like Hiranyakashipu and Ravana who were the arch enemies of Supreme Personality of Godhead, bowed their heads in front of him. He’s the great grandfather of all other demi gods of the universe. Yet this person bows his head at the tiny lotus feet of Krishna who appears as a sweet cowherd boy of Vrindavan. In his prayers, Lord Brahma compares himself to a tiny fire fly and a snow flake in front of the sun of Krishna. We see the most exalted personality like Brahma surrendering to Krishna, and this Krishna is busy playing with his friends.
Krishna’s sporting games like hide and seek are not exalted games either; we all have played these games during our childhood. There is no championship trophy awarded for winning these games, yet Krishna relishes playing them with His loving friends. He shows through these actions that He has no time for creating universes; “let me do better things like playing hide and seek”, Krishna tells his friends. The Srimad Bhagavatam describes how Krishna and His friends jumped like monkeys or how He cried like a baby. While killing demons, Krishna also loses the games to His friends. While prominent demigods of the universe like Brahma and Indra and afraid of approaching Krishna, all His friends jump and wrestle with Him. In Vrindavan, even the bees and butterfly approach Krishna.
Radhanath Swami reveals why Krishna performs these pastimes, “When Krishna does these most ordinary acts, He captures our heart. He can do the most extraordinary tasks but behaves in the most ordinary way only to attract our love for Him and to reciprocate with His pure devotees who have offered everything to Him”. One page of this beautiful scripture, Srimad Bhagavatam, presents Krishna as killing demons, and on the next page, He cries helplessly.
Krishna’s mother Yashoda picks a stick to punish Krishna who runs and cries in fear. And He’s not pretending; while fear personified is afraid of Krishna, He feels fear from His own mother. He’s the Absolute Truth, yet on many occasions, He lies to his parents and friends. The Bhagavad Gita describes Krishna as the most powerful, and the source of all ability in humans, yet He crawls in the courtyard of His house in Vrindavan.
Radhanath Swami shares the secret of Krishna’s sweet activities, “When an exalted personality performs the most ordinary activities, that attracts our heart. When that attraction grows to deep love, that experience makes us a resident of Vrindavan, and at that point, we don’t’ know He is God. Knowledge of God’s supremacy then becomes a distraction.”
Sukadeva Goswami, the narrator of Srimad Bhagavatam invites all of us to join Krishna in His eternal home of Vrindavan.
The Hare Krishna chanter meditates on these enchanting, beautiful childhood pastimes of Krishna and aspires to return back home, back to Godhead, at the end of this life.