How Krishna descends to civilize and spiritualize humanity

 

One of the greatest civilizing forces in human history has been the belief in a God who keeps track of our actions and who thereby keeps us on track. The more we become aware of God’s greatness — his omniscience and his omnipotence, for example — the more we restrain our urges to act in uncivilized ways, either to get some quick pleasure or to get some quick-fix for some trouble. 

The Bhagavad-gita demonstrates God’s greatness through its revelation of Krishna’s universal form which has the power to consume even the greatest of warriors, indeed, the entire army on both sides on the Kurukshetra battlefield. Seeing that fierce form, even Arjuna becomes awestruck.

Additionally, the bhakti tradition reveals the sweetness of Krishna by describing his many endearing pastimes, wherein he reciprocates intimate and intense loving exchanges with his devotees. While such exchanges manifest periodically in this material world, they manifest eternally in the spiritual world, which can be attained only when we elevate our consciousness to the spiritual level. Hearing and appreciating Krishna’s sweet pastimes inspires us to raise our consciousness to the spiritual level to thereby enter into that sweet world of love. Our consciousness can’t become spiritualized steadily as long as we are captivated by cravings for worldly pleasures. This captivation is countered by the revelation of Krishna’s supremely loving and lovable sweetness. 

The Bhagavad-gita outlines both these purposes of Krishna’s descent: he descends to establish dharma, which essentially means that he civilizes humanity by empowering the civilized and disempowering the uncivilized (04.07-08). And he also reveals his attractive pastimes which when understood properly charm and conquer our heart so that we want to offer our love to him and thus spiritualize our consciousness (04.09). 

One-sentence summary:

Krishna reveals his greatness to civilize humanity and reveals his sweetness to spiritualize humanity. 

Think it over:

  • How does Krishna descend to civilize humanity?
  • How does Krishna descend to spiritualize humanity?
  • How does the Gita reveal  both purposes Krishna’s descent?

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4 Comments

  1. Civility is Krishna

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  2. Hare Krishna Prabhuji….Please accept my humble obeseiance

    Very nice connection made – “Krishna reveals his greatness to civilize humanity and reveals his sweetness to spiritualize humanity”

    Inspired by your intimatedely & intelectually relevant connecton …..I Just thouhgt to share a realisation that GREATNESS may invoke ‘Attractiveness’ ( preminiary level of attachment towards The ALL ATTRACTIVE – Lord Krishna )… however SWEETNESS of The Lord will PURIFY our Heart and would infuse great amount of enthusiasm to dwelve into LOVING FAVOURABLE DEVOTIONAL SERVICE – Just to Please Krishna & His pure devotess !!

    Thank you very muc prabhuji and a nice article on the most auspicious eve of Sri Krishna Janamastami & Nando-Utsava …

    Pranaam….Hare Krishna

    Rukmininath K Das

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