Evaluating action without understanding position causes delusion
Suppose a tribal ignorant of surgery comes to a hospital and sees a surgeon cutting the patient’s body. Alarmed, he cries out, “Killer, killer, killer.” But the patients’ relatives neglect him and instead thank and pay the surgeon – to his total bewilderment.
We may become similarly deluded if we evaluate Krishna’s actions without understanding his position. Some of his actions such as stealing butter may seem immoral. Yet many moral people, even renounced sages, far from condemning Krishna as immoral, worship him as the Supreme.
Pertinently, the Bhagavad-gita (04.09) declares that we can attain liberation by understanding Krishna’s pastimes in truth – which means first understanding his position as the all-pure, all-powerful, all-good Absolute Truth. He is not prone to any of the selfish desires that make us act immorally. He is motivated only by love: pure, spiritual love. Whatever he does is for the welfare of all living beings.
In his eternal abode, he doesn’t delight in his supremacy, but subordinates his godhood for reciprocating love with his devotees. Further, to demonstrate the supremacy of love in his abode, he sometimes performs pastimes that subordinate morality to the higher purpose of love. Thus, for example, he steals butter to steal hearts – to playfully interact with those who lovingly make butter just for him to come and steal. This doesn’t make him a liar or thief; it makes him God extraordinary and endearing, the God who subordinates both divinity and morality to love.
When Krishna descends to this world, he demonstrates some of those sublime pastimes. If we contemplate these pastimes while keeping in mind his position, we feel astonished and delighted to see how the Supreme offers the supreme esteem to love. Thereby, we feel inspired to offer our love to him, and that love propels us towards his world of eternal love.
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