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January 3, 1999   VNN2782  

Bala Krishna: The Supreme Son


EDITORIAL, Jan 3 (VNN) — (from Sanga wfd@efn.org)

While Christianity stresses God the father, who is approachable through his son, Hinduism speaks further of other relationships souls can have with God. In sharp contrast to the conception of God as father, many devotees of Krishna conceive of him, the Supreme Godhead, as their son.

The love of the son and daughter for their parents is generally less intense than the love of the parents for their children. At least for some time, children do not know what love is or how to express it maturely. A mother loves her son in spite of the child's rejection of parental authority. Any mother knows that love is about sacrifice, while children more often think it is about getting rather than giving. Devotees who conceive of Krishna as their child (not their child as Krishna) experience greater intensity and intimacy of love of God than devotees who conceive of him as the supreme father.

The principal devotee of Krishna who serves as a role model for others aspiring to love Krishna as their son is Mother Yashoda. She is described in the Puranas, and her ecstatic reality (bhava) is articulated in the Bhagavata Purana in particular. Drawing on this Purana, Vallabhacharya, a contemporary of Shri Chaitanya, has contributed much to the religious world in terms of articulating the spiritual path of loving Bala (baby) Krishna. Vallabhacharya called his path pushti marg, the path of nourishment, in which imbibing the spiritual sentiment of parental love for God is a prominent ideal.

Bala Krishna is not an obedient son. He is mischievous and misbehaved. Bala Krishna is a thief who steals butter from the neighbors of the cowherd community and distributes it to the monkeys. Butter and other milk products are the livelihood of the cowherds, yet seeing their wealth misspent by baby Krisna is their inner wealth of spiritual love. In all of his blatant wrongdoing, Krishna can do no wrong to those who have eyes of love. Such eyes are not blind, however, for if God steals it is only play, since everything already belongs to him.

Bala Krishna's lilas take place in the spiritual realm known as Gokula, a transcendental pastoral setting. The neighboring devotees' complaints about his mischief serve as an opportunity to continue to speak about him, an activity that is the very life of his devotees. While neighboring devotees of parental love complain about Krishna, Mother Yashoda replies, turning their fault finding into glorification of Krishna:

"Your son releases our cows!" "Is he not then helping you in your duties?" "But Madame, he does this for no reason." "Then why don't you scold him?" "If we do, he merely laughs." "Then why don't you give him some milk?" "He eats only stolen things." "That is ridiculous! Put the milk out of his reach." "He makes a hole in the pot from a distance." "How could he know milk was inside the pot?" "He is expert in knowing the inside of things." "Put it in the dark corners of your houses." "His effulgent body lights them." "What you say is incredible."

No doubt, God is unborn, yet he takes birth nonetheless. This is indeed a mystery that can be unlocked only by the key of selfless love.

From 'Form of Beauty: The Krishna Art of B.G. Sharma'
by Swami B.V. Tripurari

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