Krishna is not an optional source of entertainment – he is the indispensable source of shelter
Many people like to hear Krishna’s pastimes as a pious form of entertainment. Even if they know vaguely that he is God, their interest in him is as a source of entertainment.
Significantly, the Bhagavad-gita states that hearing about Krishna can do much more than entertain – it can elevate and liberate. Those who understand him in truth attain him, never to return to this distressful world (04.09). This implies that proper philosophical understanding of Krishna has the phenomenal purificatory potency to redirect our heart from the world to him.
What is this philosophical understanding? Understanding that Krishna is neither mythological nor just historical – he is the transcendental supreme person. He is the ultimate reality, the originator and sustainer of everything, the all-attractive source of the many things our heart hankers for. Only by knowing and loving him can we realize our spirituality and eternality. Absorption in him buffers us from the world’s distresses. All these empowering insights, we miss when we approach him only for entertainment.
Won’t hearing about Krishna, whatever our conception, purify us? Yes, but only minimally. Because purification is a function of intention; we won’t get much purified if we don’t want to, or don’t even know why we need to get purified. And even that minimal purification is undone by our inconsistent hearing: whenever we stop finding his pastimes entertaining, we treat him as optional and look for entertainment elsewhere, often in characters who fill us with impurities such as lust, anger and greed.
To appreciate that Krishna is our indispensable shelter, categorically different from any entertainment character, we need to understand his position philosophically. Thereafter, when we hear about his pastimes, they will elevate and liberate us, granting us access to a fulfillment that far supersedes the world’s best entertainment.
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