The awe-inspiring mystery of God is to be venerated, not penetrated

When we come to know of Krishna’s form, pastimes, philosophy, associates, paraphernalia, we may think that we know him.

But do we, really?

Krishna is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent – he is the supreme mystery, unknowable to even the greatest sages.

Arjuna was Krishna’s personal associate and dear friend; he knew Krishna much better than we do. But even he realized that he didn’t know Krishna when he beheld Krishna’s universal form. That form was so unending and unfathomable that Arjuna was initially astounded, then alarmed. Why alarmed? Because Krishna had revealed his all-devouring time manifestation which Arjuna couldn’t recognize.

On understanding Krishna’s awe-inspiring glories, Arjuna offered reverential prayers (11.36-46). Therein, he glorified Krishna: Your might is limitless; you pervade everything; you are everything (11.40).

Normally, when we go to a temple, we offer obeisances to the Deity. But if a temple has deities everywhere, where will we offer obeisances? Such was Arjuna’s predicament on seeing the universal form everywhere. So, he offered obeisances from the front, from the back, from all directions (11.40) – indeed, he offered obeisances hundreds of times (11.39).

When we approach Krishna, we need a similar mood of veneration. Why? Because mysterious are his ways. How he orchestrates things to bring good out of bad is a profound mystery. And this mystery is not arcane theology; it has immense, immediate bearing on our life. If we try to penetrate Krishna’s mysterious ways, we will be baffled and disheartened. Instead, we need to just surrender to him, “Krishna, I am your servant. Please guide me how I can serve you.” – as did Arjuna (18.73).

By such veneration, we can connect steadily with him. And that connection will gradually give us calmness and clarity to navigate our way through life’s dark phases and ultimately attain Krishna’s eternal abode.


Think it over:

  1. If we think that we know Krishna, how are we mistaken?
  2. Why did Arjuna offer obeisances in all directions?
  3. How can venerating Krishna’s mysterious ways help us in our life?

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