by Swami Krishnananda
The One alone, which's all this manifold,
Revealed as twofold inseparables,
Announced the strange togetherness of form,
Which undivided on one side abides
And vast creation on the other stands.
The unseen and the seen are just the one,
The That-which-is, is all this appearance.
Narayana and Nara immortals,
The great resources puissance e'r attained,
Whose radiance o'rshadows all the gods,
Whose lustre fills this world with vibrant life,
And reaches e'n all realms beyond the earth,
Who glow as fire invincible, yet calm,
As sun who shine, as wind are lofty strong,
Dazzling as flame and beautiful as moon,
As Krishna and Arjuna came on earth,
As fullness grown of Vishnu's encompass,
Glory which has no boundaries or walls.
When it descends to picture human frames
Is Superman who wields the field of force
Which throbs in hearts of atoms and all things.
The sea when pressed and condensed into form
To fill a space as wide as human form
Becomes the genius stunning human brain.
Stupendous surges from the infinite
Contain the whole of what's infinitude.
The full when all this world of things projects
Is still the full with no diminution,
And that which comes is also full ablaze;
So Krishna came as full eternity
Which walked the streets of temporality.
Bhagavan Sri Krishna is the Purna Avatara (Full Incarnation) of Narayana; the complete manifestation of God. The fullness of the incarnation is itself the difficulty in understanding the life and gospel of Sri Krishna. The many-sidedness of his personality and the multifaceted meaning of his gospel follow the integrality of his being. The human mind cannot think of fullness, as it is a finite instrument of the individual. The concepts of good and evil, right and wrong, and such other appraisals of the values of life, arise on account of the incapacity of the human mind to comprehend fullness. That which is good is not full, because the bad is opposed to it. The bad also is not full, because the good is opposed to it. The right thing is not full, because the wrong thing is opposed to it. The wrong also is not full, because the right thing is opposed to it. There is no such thing as fullness in this world. No form of thinking or understanding through the endowments of the human being can be complete. The manifestation of God as Sri Krishna, in that fullness and glory, is intended to demonstrate the perfection of God. Sri Krishna is supposed to have incarnated himself to show to mankind the glory and the perfection of God. Perfection is not to be seen in this world, not in its notion of truth, its ethical norms, its moral codes, its idea of reality, or its judgment of any value. It cannot be a content of the human mind or intellect, because the human view is logical in its comprehension; and logic is nothing but the way in which we try to bring together two separated parts of a proposition, the subject and the predicate. And the two parts, imply a dichotomy between the two parts. The very presence of the subject as distinguished from the object, the seer from the seen, severed one from the other, is a proof of the inability of the finite individual to comprehend perfection. Thus, the life of Sri Krishna cannot be correctly understood by man, nor can he appreciate adequately the teaching of the Bhagavad Gita.
What man thinks as a content of his mind, as an object of his perception, and what he himself is, is all comprehended in God-consciousness. It is the spiritual law that is manifest in the life and gospel of Sri Krishna, and not just the human law, the legal or political law of man, as it is enacted variegatedly from time to time according to the counsels of ministers or the members of a parliament. The Divine law is a perpetual one and it is an eternal enactment of the Universal Constitution of God's creation.. To think Sri Krishna is to think the Cosmos. It will stir the personality at one stroke and raise it to a sense of ecstasy. The necessity to demonstrate the Visvarupa, or the Universal Form, in the life of Sri Krishna, is enough indication of what was hiddenly present in the personality of Sri Krishna as the purpose of his incarnation. We have been told that a gesture of his hand, a smile from his lips, or any movement of his body, indicated, suggested a cosmic event taking place somewhere. This can be appreciated by us when we see that any movement of a particular limb of our body is related to a simultaneously sympathetic operation of all the limbs of the body, the whole body. If a toe moves, the whole body moves because of the interrelatedness of the parts composing the organism. In a similar manner is the way we have to understand the performances in the life of such a mighty incarnation as Sri Krishna. The whole cosmos was involved. It is only in this sense that we can say that he was considered Sampurna, Purna, Akshaya, complete. As every part of our body in its movement indicates a function of all the parts of the body simultaneously, we can understand how the events and actions of Sri Krishna in his life have relevance to anything that could take place anywhere in the cosmos. Cosmic was Sri Krishna, supreme par excellence. Transcendent Man was Sri Krishna. This is why his ethics, his teachings, his philosophy, is found to be so hard for us to go deep into it. Look at the Bhagavad Gita gospel, for instance. It is not easy for us to know what is its essential message. Anyone can read any meaning into it, according to one's own needs, predilections and dispositions. So was Sri Krishna's behaviour, the concretisation of the exemplary Superman.
To some he looked like a small child, to some others a beautiful youth, to some others a terror and a warrior, and to the Yogins he was the most beloved and magnificent object of highly satisfying meditation. Like the ocean in which one can find anything, so one could find everything in Sri Krishna, the great perfection. Narayana and Nara are supposed to have taken form as Sri Krishna and Arjuna. They were almost like twins, working together living together, eating together, one being in two bodies. The association of Sri Krishna with Arjuna, so inseparable, is an illustration of the inseparable relation between God and man. This truth is brought into high relief especially in the last verse of the Bhagavad Gita. "Yatra yogeshvarah Krishno, yatra partho dhanur dharah; Tatra srirvijayo bhutir dhruva nitir matir mama," says Sanjaya. "Where Sri Krishna, the Lord of Yoga, is; and Arjuna, the wielder of the bow, is; simultaneously seated in one chariot, together; there perfection reigns supreme, success is at hand, all glory is there at once, and there is perfect righteousness." Divine grace and human effort go together. Knowledge and action are in the state of a perfect blend. The absolute and the relative are not two different entities; they are in one chariot. The chariot in which Sri Krishna and Arjuna are seated may be the historical chariot that moved on the field of the Mahabharata, or it may be symbolic for Ishvara and Jiva, God and man who are working together in the human heart. Or, this chariot can be the whole Universe, and it could be the Absolute enacting the drama of the relativity of manifestation. The inseparability of Sri Krishna and Arjuna as friends, as has been told again and again in the Mahabharata, is an illustration of the point of the inseparability of God and man, the Creator and his Creation. It is to demonstrate this truth of the universality of God's perfection and the ideal inclusiveness of everything that this incarnation shone on earth. "Yada yada hi dharmasya glanir bhavati Bharata; Abhyutthanam adharmasya tadatmanam srijamyaham. Paritranaya sadhunam vinasaya cha dushkritam; Dharma-samthapanarthaya sambhavami yuge yuge." "Whenever the balance of the universe is disturbed by external interference from any of its parts, then I reveal Myself as the Power of eternal balancing. For the protection of those who are in harmony, and the rectification of everything disharmonious, I incarnate Myself at every juncture of time."
Through these verses of the Bhagavad Gita, Sri Krishna proclaims the meaning of his descent for the ascent of the spirit of man. God's incarnation is a perpetual act, an eternal occurrence. It is not merely a historical event that took place centuries back and is not taking place now. The words, 'Yuge yuge', imply every juncture of time. At a great juncture and critical moment and crisis, God manifests Himself to dissolve that crisis and conflict. The perpetual incarnation of God is taking place every moment of time, which is the work of Vishnu, the Sustainer, who is ever vigilant in maintaining the harmony of all creation, which gets disturbed by an excess of rajas and tamas, distracting desires in the direction of objects of sense and torpidity due to excessive fixity caused by dark natures, clouds of unknowing.
There are various facets in the life of Sri Krishna, the spiritual or the supremely transcendent metaphysical aspects, the cosmic aspect, the human aspect, the family aspect, the national aspect and the ethical, moral, social, economic and even political aspect. Could anyone imagine a greater warrior, a soldier, a field marshal, than Sri Krishna? Can anyone, any Yogi, any saint, any sage, any Rishi, excel, in any manner, the knowledge and the power of Sri Krishna? The greatest householder, the greatest Sannyasin, the greatest Yogin, the centre of knowledge and an abundant source of affection and love, embodiment of duty supreme and power magnificent, comprehensiveness of all sublime values, thus he excels. Such was Sri Krishna who could speak to Brahma, Vishnu and Rudra at the same time, and yet wash the feet of guests who attended the Rajasuya sacrifice of Yudhishthira. What a combination! To face Rudra and Brahma in the highest heavens and have concourse and discourse with them perpetually, while walking on the dusty streets of Kurukshetra and wielding a whip in his hand, driving the horses of the chariot of Arjuna in the battlefield! What a comprehensiveness! The highest and the lowest, both find an affectionate haven in Sri Krishna's glorious person. He himself was not a king, he was not an emperor, he was not a ruler, but he could manifest any number of kings. He was a master kingmaker. His word could bring kings down from their thrones. Such was his power. What a glory!