Devotion raises our knowledge of Krishna from superficial familiarity to substantial understanding
The Bhagavad-gita (04.09) states that those who know in truth the divine birth and activities of Krishna become liberated and return to his eternal abode.
On reading this extraordinary promise, we may naturally get the question: “Millions of people such as me already know Krishna. Will all of us be liberated?”
Yes, answers Gita wisdom, provided we know him in truth. The verse indicates that we need to not just know but also understand Krishna, as is conveyed through its use of a significant phrase vetti tattvatah (know in truth). The principle of knowing in truth highlights the all-important difference between superficial familiarity and substantial understanding.
We may know Krishna superficially, having heard about him from grandparents or TV or comics. At this level, we often see him as a mythological or historical character, as a colorful figure in our cultural landscape.
Gita wisdom explains that we need to take this knowledge to the next level of understanding by permeating it with devotion. When we render devotional service to Krishna, we understand him to be a living, loving God whose ever-new glory and ever-fresh beauty makes us feel that we have never really known him. We discover his ever-available mercy in the flood of love that inundates our heart in reciprocation for every drop of love that we offer him.
When we are thus charmed by Krishna, we relish a sublime fulfillment that gradually frees us from the worldly desires that bind us to material existence. On being thus freed, we attain, as promised in this Gita verse, the ultimate result of understanding Krishna: return to his abode for a life of eternal love.
“One who knows the transcendental nature of My appearance and activities does not, upon leaving the body, take his birth again in this material world, but attains My eternal abode, O Arjuna.”