The unborn takes birth to save us from rebirth

God is the source of everything. This foundational definition of God implies that he is the source of time too, for everything includes time. This in turn implies that God, in his self-existence, transcends time. The existence of something in the realm beyond time is conveyed in the Bhagavad-gita by the word ‘aja’ (unborn).

While the soul too is unborn, the soul is not the Lord of all of existence, as is Krishna. The Gita (04.06) conveys Krishna’s distinctive position by referring to him as not just “unborn” but also as the Lord of all living beings. He remains the controller of material nature even when he appears within that nature – just like a king who while visiting a prison remains beyond the prison laws.

While referring to Krishna’s appearance, the Gita (04.09) uses the word janma (birth). Why does the unborn Lord take birth, seemingly like an embodied living being? For delivering us. The next two verses (04.07-08) state that Krishna appears to re-establish dharma in this world by removing the vicious and empowering the virtuous. The next verse (04.09) indicates the ultimate purpose of establishing dharma: to attract us to him, thereby enabling us to attain his abode.

Bhakti philosophy helps us understand Krishna’s mercifulness, tirelessness and sweetness: mercifulness in descending to this world from his eternal ecstatic abode, tirelessness in extending himself for establishing dharma, and sweetness as manifest in his love-filled pastimes with his devotees. Such an understanding of Krishna infuses us with the conviction that our longing for love can be perfectly fulfilled if directed towards him. When we practice bhakti-yoga diligently, our devotion for him strengthens, and it propels us, by his mercy, beyond this mortal world to his immortal abode.

Thus, when we appreciate Krishna’s inconceivable birth, we accelerate the end of our rebirth.

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