To understand that we can’t understand Krishna is the key to understanding him

To understand that we can’t understand Krishna is the key to understanding him

In the Bhagavad-gita, Arjuna admits (10.14) that even superhuman beings such as gods can’t understand Krishna. Thereby, he conveys that he too can’t understand Krishna.

Yet this admission doesn’t dampen Arjuna’s eagerness to know more about Krishna, as is evident in his request (10.16) that Krishna speak his glories in detail. After hearing those glories in the tenth chapter, Arjuna states (11.01) that Krishna’s merciful words have dispelled his illusion.

Does this mean that Arjuna has now understood Krishna fully? No, because he like all of us is forever a finite soul, and the finite can never fully understand the infinite.

Then to what does Arjuna’s statement refer?

It refers to the removal of the illusion that had at the Gita’s start obscured his understanding of Krishna’s plan – the illusion that had made him flinch and falter in his devotional service. The restoration of his determination to serve Krishna is evident in his declaration (18.73) at the Gita’s end.

How does Arjuna’s example apply to our life as devotee-seekers?

Our devotional quest takes off only when we accept the principle that we can’t understand Krishna in the sense that we can’t conquer him with our intelligence as we might, say, crack a crossword puzzle. This acceptance minimizes the many exasperations and doubts that come when we can’t fit him into our preconceived intellectual framework.

With the intellectual distraction thus minimized, we can focus on serving Krishna with our intelligence, striving to understand him as much as possible in a mood of submission, not conquest. This service attitude helps us realize how he is our greatest well-wisher and is supremely worthy of our wholehearted love. This understanding increases our attraction to him. And that divine attraction is the supreme perfection of our intelligence, indeed of our existence.

Bhagavad Gita Chapter 11 Text 01

Explanation of article:

Listen audio

Devotees left with nothing are right with Krishna
The bird may be encaged, but its desires stay engaged in the field

Author: Chaitanya Charan Das

Share This Post On


  1. In the next verse this incomprehension to understand the glories of the Lord transforms into attraction and love for Krishna’s beauty when Arjuna addresses Him with the Name ‘kamala-patra-aksa’ or ‘He whose eyes are broad and as pleasing as the petals of a lotus flower.’

    Post a Reply
  2. Very important message conveyed.
    We have to try to understand Krishna in a mood of submission, not intellectual conquest.
    Thank you for sharing.

    Post a Reply
  3. Another example given by Radha Gopinath Swami about Lord Brahma. When he tried to test Krishna by hiding his friends and cows, Krishna expands himself to his friends and cows. Brahma when surrenders makes this statement, ‘People may claim to have known Krishna, but for me I have just started to know him.’

    Post a Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Captcha *