Why does Shri Krishna descend?

Why Does Shri Krishna Descend?

(Janmashtmi Lecture by Jagadguru Shri Kripalu Ji Maharaj)

*A brief introduction of Jagadguru Shri Kripalu Ji Maharaj*

(Known by His devotees as Shri Maharajji)

The original title of Jagadguruttam (‘Greatest Spiritual Teacher of the World’) was bestowed upon Shri Kripalu Ji Maharaj on January 14, 1957 by ‘Kashi Vidvat Parishad’ (a council of 500 greatest scholars saints of India). He composed divine texts like ‘Prem Ras Madira’, ‘Prem Ras Siddhant’, and ‘Radha Govind Geet’ to lead us on the right path of devotion. He also gave priceless monuments as gifts to the world which include - Bhakti Mandir located in Bhakti Dham, Mangarh,  Prem Mandir located in Vrindavan Dham, and Kirti Mandir located in Barsana Dham. Shri Maharajji also built hospitals for the impoverished, the Jagadguru Kripalu Chikitsalaya in Vrindavan, Jagadguru Kripalu Chikitsalaya in Barsana, and another one in Pratapgarh. All three help millions of underprivileged to gain free access to medical care. His Kindergarten, School, and College for impoverished girls Jagadguru Kripalu Parishat Education is located in Kunda and provides completely free education.

Bhagawan Shri Krishna’s descension occurs once in a kalp. What is a kalp?  A cycle of four yugs is 4.32 million years long, 71 cycles of four yugs, makes one manvantar. So, 306 million, six hundred and twenty thousand years long is equal to one manvantar. And fourteen long manvantars is equal to one day of Brahma. This is called a kalp.  So one day in Brahma’s life equals 4.32 billion of our years and a day and night of his put together are equal to 8.64 billion years long. Based on those time units, Brahma lives for 100 years.  

So in 8.64 billion years, Bhagavan Sri Krishna descends once on this earth. The descension that took place five thousand years ago was such a descension. The other descension that appears in every Dwapar Yug is called a ‘Yugavatar.’ It is an ‘ansh” (partial extension) of Sri Krishna. What does Sri Krishna’s ‘ansh’ do?  He kills demons and establishes law and order. And Bhagawan Shri Krishna does not do all this. One may reiterate that, “We saw Him do so when He descended” This was because Yugavatar Krishna had merged into Bhagwan Shri Krishna. It is Yugavatar Shri Krishna who does all the fighting and killing. Shri Krishna only grants the Bliss of Divine Love. He does not fight or kill.  

The Shri Krishna who descends after such a big interval cannot be understood by anyone. The ignorant souls governed by Maya (God’s delusionary power) of course, could not understand him.  Even the Divine Saints didn’t understand him then.  Neither did His friends nor the Gopis of Braj. Not one. Shri Krishna had mesmerised all of them with his special ‘Yogmaya’ power. They mocked Him (Shri Krishna, the Supreme God) as a ‘philanderer,’ a ‘thief’. Robbery and illicit love are considered as two topmost sins in our world. But Shri Krishna tops in both. “Chour jaar shikhamani” – the scriptures speak of Him in these words when it comes to stealing and illicit love.  He is considered supreme in these two fields.  Had the gopis regarded him as God, their love for Him would have ended and going by the scriptures, they would have instead been singing his praises and glorifying Him as Almighty.  Even in this world, if a woman whose husband holds a high office actually starts to consider his high post e.g. a Commissioner, a Governor, or a judge, she would be frightened and in awe of him, given that she may just be having an ordinary education.  But she doesn’t think of all this and simply loves him, no matter his status.

I have a personal experience of a High Court judge. I went to his home. This was more than forty five years ago. I used to go to many devotee judges’ houses then (sometimes without prior notice). As I stood in the sitting room, I heard the judge’s wife in the next room, reprimanding him “You will always be stupid.”  I was quite amused thinking that this judge who decides between life and death is being told off by his wife “You will always remain stupid”.  Nevertheless, I heard and moved into their room.  Suddenly seeing me, they were both startled and said, “Hey Maharaji is here, Maharaji is here.” And all their anger and their animosity seemed to vanish. I jokingly remarked that I had just heard a woman saying something like this to her husband.  The wife   immediately responded, “Yes Maharaji, he is like this,” and went on and on. Just imagine!  She is still not ready to accept her mistake.  This example shows that no mother, wife will ever regard her son or husband, no matter how educated he is, be it a Collector (a bureaucrat) or a Commissione; she will always consider him as ‘stupid.’  

So the Gopis did not consider Shri Krishna to be God. He was their “sweetheart,’ their ‘slave’ their ‘paramour.’ So deep and unfathomable was their love that they forgot everything, although they had seen Shri Krishna’s miracles so many times.  He had swallowed the fire of Daavanal; He had scared the serpent Kaliya; He had killed Aghasur, Bakasur and other demons. They had seen all this happening. Yet they forgot everything. Yashoda saw Shri Krishna’s magnificent universal form and thought “He is probably God.” God immediately worked His Mohini Maya on her and she went, “No, no, he is just my child.” She forgot everything. At first she had thought, “Probably some supernatural power has come down as my child.” But then in the next instant, she forgot everything again.  

Knowledge always merges into Love. That is the true essence of love in Braj. Shri Krishna is Bliss personified, the essence of Love Personified. So in Shri Krishna, we find unlimited glory, unlimited sweetness, unlimited radiance and qualities. He is omniscient, he loves his devotees and He also becomes subservient to his devotees. There are many, many wonderful qualities about him which we will talk about some other time.

Part 2

When Shri Krishna comes down to our earth, a question arises. “Why does he come here?” Every action has a cause. For instance, “Why have all of you come here? So why did Shri Krishna descend? This would be our question to him. “Why did you come to this filthy world of ours, which is filled with lust, anger, greed, infatuation, intoxication, jealousy, hatred and deceit. Every worldly person is completely immersed in these vices.  Why did you have to come to such a dirty place?” Many answers were offered by people. Someone said, and in fact Shri Krishna himself has said in the Gita, “I come down to kill demons and to establish spiritual law and order.” We may question God, “Which demon did you kill?”  His reply would be, “Yes, I have killed many, Ravana, for instance.” We may question again, “Ok, then you reside within Ravana’s heart too, right? Then why don’t you just make him have a heart attack and finish him off. Why do you need to kill him from outside?” The scriptures have declared that you, as God, can destroy the whole world and all the universes, just by holding your breath. “Why do you need to go from Ayodhya to Lanka just to kill the demon Ravana? What is the necessity to build a military force and flatter and take help from Sugreev etc.” Why all this effort? These are very valid questions. It just doesn’t make sense. “And as far as establishing spiritual law and order is concerned, that work is being done by saints. If  you, as God, and sitting inside the demon’s heart, could just kill him, then the saints would be able to re-establish order in the world. Your coming down to this world for just this purpose doesn’t make sense to us, the worldly people. Please don’t try to fool us.” All these are very valid questions which one may pose to God.

Bhagavad again says “God’s descension is for vinod (enjoyment).” In this miserable world of ours, what enjoyment can God possibly get? He is from Divine Golok, where as the Vedas say, “The moon, the sun, Maya, nothing can ever reach there.” There is no need for even the sun to be there. The land there radiates so much light that all the work gets done with it. There is no need for light from outside. Such is that divine world. Reaching there, one need not ever return. That is God’s abode. Rig Veda also mentions that God has an abode. So to say that God descends to enjoy himself is puzzling. Like in our world, a king might build a garden with all kinds of beautiful trees and flowers for his pleasure. And he enjoys them. Because he is after all a worldly king. He may have stress, with regards to his wife and sometimes his children; so he makes all this and he goes to take a walk in his garden to relax and feel better.  

But what worries could God possibly have? In this context, even the Ved has humorously penned that once God was not happy alone. He felt so lonely.  Like how we feel sometimes. So God too felt bored – So he thought, “Let me become two personalities by myself”. How to become two? The entire universe was dissolved and only God resided. So he took on a female form and a male form. So they can talk to each other, have fun and pass their time. But how can such a behaviour be applicable for God?  It’s okay for worldly people like you and me. But in the arena of God’s leelas, all this happens. Ved Vyas composed a verse in the Vedas which says, “Like in our world, a king gets a garden made for his entertainment, so God made this world like his park and He himself decided to come here.” However, this reasoning too somehow does not click.

Another theory was put forth by the Vedas in which Kunti says, “You descended in order to make Paramhansas into “Sri Paramhansas. What did she mean by adding “Sri”? She meant that Paramhansas were getting enraptured by God’s effulgence (having been blessed with Brahmanand) and when they saw the personified form of Shri Krishna with all his Divine attributes, they were blessed with Premanand, and their dry happiness was filled with a sweet nectar. So God descended in order to make their happiness even sweeter. Otherwise, they would have continued saying, “God has no virtues,is indistinct, is formless, cannot be seen, performs no actions, cannot be attained, has no qualities, cannot be conceived by the mind, and so on.   Instead when they saw Shri Krishna, and were captivated by his Premanand (like Saint Udhav Ji) then people were impressed and said “Yes, one must worship Shri Krishna”. That could possibly be the reason for his descension. But even this reason does not appeal to Kripalu, then what can be the actual reason?  

In my opinion, Shri Krishna descended to attract all those souls under Maya, with his Personified Form, Name, Leelas, Virtues and Abode. This is declared in the Bhagavad.  It is also said in the Ling Puran. This is by far the best explanation and reason for God’s descension. In the world, every individual works only for himself, whether it is your mother, father, brother, wife, husband or neighbour. An individual soul can only do something for his own happiness. Whereas God and his Divine Saints have nothing to gain by doing something; they are already drowned in Divine Bliss. So if they do anything, it has to be only for the sake of others. Note the word only.  

In Ramayana, it is said, no action of God can be for his own benefit only, as He is immersed in Bliss. His every action is only for the benefit of others only. “Why did God take a form?” For the benefit of others. “Why did God descend on earth?”  For the benefit of others.  “Why did He descend and do something or other?” For the benefit of others. Just always remember this and memorise it.  

Bhagwatam even says in one explicit sentence, “There is no reason for God’s descension.”  Reasons exist only for worldly people. They do something for a reason, a cause. God does not do anything for a reason.  He only does something for others. Treat that only as His reason. He has absolutely no reason of His own.  Tulsidas too wrote in the Ramayana, “Why does God descend? This question itself is wrong.” So what is the reason for God’s action? “It is simply to give happiness to individual souls.” He performs so many leelas (pastimes) because the human mind is such that it can naturally love only a Personified Form.  God says, “My formless aspect cannot be perceived by the the poor, worldly minds.”   

For instance, if we talk about Brahm. We may question what Brahm is and what its name is.  “It has no name.” “But you are calling it Brahm.” “Then let’s just say there is an entity that is Brahm which has no name, no form, no attributes, it does not do anything, it has no house or abode of its own. Now, let’s just start to meditate on it.” Imagine!  How is it even possible for the mind to meditate on such an entity? We can think of a form, with hands and feet, like our mother, father, son, wife, husband etc. We are used to thinking like that. Shankaracharya himself has also accepted and said, “Be properly equipped. Then walk on this lane.  Even then, expect to fall again and again.” “You may be very accomplished in ‘Yog’, yet you can fall down and fail.” Manu Ji has said so in our scriptures.  

To conclude, so why does Shri Krishna descend? Why does He perform any action? The direct answer to this direct question is – For the benefit of the worldly souls; for the benefit of His children. “So that they can love me and can get freed from this worldly prison of 8.4 million species and reach my Abode. And attain my Divine Love and become blissful forever.” Therefore devotion to Shri Krishna is our sole duty.  What is that devotion?  How does one practise it? These are all different topics. I will touch on them another time.