The all-pervading Supreme Lord dwells in our heart, playing hide-and-seek. If we can discover Him, we can attain the infinite, eternal bliss. However, our finite mind and intellect cannot realize him, unless he bestows his grace upon us. He does that on only one condition – nishkām prem (selfless love.) When Shree Krishna descended, He bestowed upon us that rare opportunity to fill our heart and mind with that selfless love.

We cannot count the Supreme Lord’s infinite avatārs (descensions) that are classified in four categories: Āveśhāvatār, Prābhavāvatār, Vaibhavatār, and Parāvasthāvatār. Shree Krishna is Parāvasthāvatār, and he manifested the highest bliss of devotion in his personal divine form. Forgetting his almightiness, he became a son, friend, beloved, and more. He displayed amazing leelas, which became a basis for our bhakti (devotion).

When we do devotion, we can have different relationships with God. There are two kinds of bhaktiaiśhwarya bhakti and mādhurya bhaktiAiśhwarya bhakti is that where we engage in devotion by contemplating upon the almighty aspect of God. The dominant sentiment in aiśhwarya bhakti is of awe and reverence. In such devotion, we feel the need for maintaining propriety of conduct.  In Mādhurya bhakti on the other hand, we feel the intimate personal relationship with God. Like the cowherd boys of Vrindavan, Yashoda and Nand baba, or the gopīsMādhurya bhakti is infinitely sweeter than aiśhwarya bhakti. Hence, Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj states:

sabai sarasa rasa dwārikā, mathurā aru braja māhiñ
madhura, madhuratara, madhuratama, rasa brajarasa sama nāhiñ

(Bhakti Śhatak Verse 70)

“The divine bliss of God is immensely sweet in all his forms. Yet, there is a gradation in it – the bliss of his Dwaraka pastimes is sweet, the bliss of his Mathura pastimes is sweeter, and the bliss of his Braj pastimes is the sweetest.”

In Mādhurya bhakti, forgetting the almightiness of God, devotees establish four kinds of relationships with Shree Krishna: Dāsya bhāv (as master, father or mother,) Sakhya bhāv (as friend,) Vātsalya bhāv (as child,) and Mādhurya bhāv (as beloved.) When Shree Krishna descended, he appeared in four-armed form first, and Devaki pleaded:

उपसंहर विश्वात्मन्नदो रूपमलौकिकम् ।
शङ्खचक्रगदापद्मश्रिया जुष्टं चतुर्भुजम् ॥

upasaṁhara viśvātmannado rūpam alaukikam
śaṅkha-cakra-gadā-padma-śriyā juṣṭaṁ catur-bhujam 

(Shreemad Bhagavatam 10.3.30)

“O my Lord, you are the all-pervading Supreme Personality, and your transcendental four-armed form, holding conch shell, disc, club, and lotus, is unnatural for this world. Please withdraw this form and become just like a natural human child.”

Thus, the Lord became Bal Gopal and began his pastimes in the house of Yashoda and Nand Baba. When Sage Narad came to know that God has descended to earth in Dwapar Yug, he went to Nand Baba’s palace in Gokul, to have His darshan. When Narad ji reached, what he witnessed there bewildered him. He saw a two-year-old boy tugging on to a middle-aged woman’s sari, crying, stamping and flailing his feet, and begging, “Maiya, take me into your lap.”

Narad ji, who had gone to have the darshan of God, wondered which one of them – the child or the woman – was God. The soul is the one that usually pleads and begs God, “O Lord, I have fallen into the deep, dark ocean of Maya, please grant me your support and take me into your lap.” Since the child was crying and pleading, Narad ji first thought he must be the soul and the woman must be God, but he remembered that God has descended in the male form.  Once this thought came to him, shedding tears and contemplating on how blessed mother Yashoda was, he marvelled:

किम् ब्रूमस्त्वाम् यशोदे कति कति सुक्रतक्षेत्र व्रिन्दानि पूर्वम्
ग़त्वा कीहग्विधनैहि कति कति सुक्रितह् न्यर्जितनि त्वयैव

kim bruumastvaam yashode kathi kathi sukrati kshetre vrindani purvam, 
Gatwaa kiihagvidhanaihi kati kati sukritah nyarjitani twayaiva

“Mother Yashoda, what spiritual practices did you do, that God is yearning to come into your lap? What devotion did you do to attain this exalted position of being his mother?” Mother Yashoda was blessed to feed Him, bathe Him, and rock Him to sleep. The Purushotham (Supreme Divine Personality,) who measured the three worlds with three steps in Vamana avatar, allowed Yashoda to teach him how to walk. The Sarvavyaapak (All Pervading Lord) allowed her to bind him with a rope!

By becoming one among us, the Supreme Lord revealed an easier path for us to do devotion. “Divine virtues emanate from God himself. He is perfectly just, truthful, compassionate, loving, merciful. These qualities manifest in us when the mind is purified; and the purification of the mind happens when we attach it to the all-pure God,” elucidates H. H. Swami Mukundananda ji. So, take your mind to Shree Krishna’s glorious names, splendid form, sublime virtues, and delightful pastimes. His ocean of infinite bliss naturally purifies our heart and bestows immense bliss. As Suta Muni advocates, our devotion should be: अहैतुक्यप्रतिहता ययात्मा सुप्रसीदति ahaituky apratihatā. (Shreemad Bhagavatam 1.2.6) “unmotivated and uninterrupted to completely satisfy the self.”

 Janmashtami is around the corner, and it’s a wonderful opportunity to engage all your senses in the divine realm when you participate in the two-day, nectarous Janmashtami Mahotsav on a virtual platform.  We extend a hearty welcome to the celebrations!