Srimad Bhagavatam is considered the crown jewel by scholars of Vedic scriptures. While one finds it to be replete with stories from itihas, astronomy, philosophy, creation etc., it effectively outlines the biography of Bhagavan Shri Krishna. Please note that Srimad Bhagavatam is a Purana (set of ancient Vedic texts) which is different from Bhagavad Gita.
अहो बकी यं स्तनकालकूटं
लेभे गतिं धात्र्युचितां ततोऽन्यं
कं वा दयालुं शरणं व्रजेम ॥SB 3.2.23
This verse is one of the most cherished verses by the scholars of Bhagavatam. The learned ones explain that this verse highlights the compassion that God, Krishna, bestows upon even those who happen to be inimical to Him.
Now, this particular idea changes everything that we may have learned about God or religion from our exposure to the subject of God. When even taking God’s name in vain can be considered blasphemous by some, how can someone who possibly had the motive to kill God not only get liberated but celebrated and immortalised?
The above verse challenges the ingrained ideas of God being a hard taskmaster, existing only to dole out rewards or punishment and subjugate the dependent souls.
Here the idea of God is filled with compassion, grace and love for every living entity regardless of their motive, actions or intentions.
The Story of Putana
In Chapter 6 of the book (canto) 10 of the Bhagavatam, we read the story of Demoness Putana coming to Gokul to try and poison baby Krishna.
The narrator Shri Suka uses two adjectives for her, घोरा and बालघातिनी for Putana, i.e., Ferocious and a literal killer of babies.
Krishna was only six days old since He had to face cold-blooded assassins like Putana who were out there to eliminate Him. And while other assassins who came later usually were direct in their approach, Putana was the most deceptive one.
Putana taking on a beautiful external form to dupe the residents of Gokul (where Krishna resided), entered the Nanda Bhavan and tried to poison baby Krishna by feeding Him her milk. That was her modus operandi: Enter the homes of newborn babies, smear her breasts with poison and unbeknownst to the other family members, kill their babies.
The story has incredibly profound spiritual meaning and has had tons of masters writing their commentaries on just one incident of baby Krishna’s life. All of it is beyond the scope and capability of this author to elaborate. I will humbly try and put forth my personal takeaway.
When the demoness tries her tried and notoriously tested technique to kill this particular baby, He not only drinks the milk but also sucks up her life airs.
“Please leave me, leave me”, cried out Putana.
Alas, she didn’t know that the future butter thief, the speaker of Gita, the enchanting flute player, never quits. Ever.
Not even on the ones who wish to kill Him.
Not even the ones like us, who have long forgotten our eternal relationship with Him.
The verse I quoted at the beginning of the blog is uttered by Uddhav, one of Krishna’s most trusted friend and minister in Dwarka. When Krishna leaves the earthly realm, He instructs Uddhav to stay behind. Uddhav, upon meeting Vidura (from Mahabharata), breaks down, remembering the magnanimity of his beloved friend and worshippable lord.
The Only Unconditional And Everlasting Love
Heartfelt relations forged with animals and humans give a glimpse into the divine nature of love from which we emerge. I use the term emerge here because Vedic scriptures describe God as a manifestation of love.
But unfortunately, while true love is everlasting, bodies are mortal. One day, either of the two gets separated by the laws of nature—all of it assuming that one has had the good fortune of forging an unconditionally loving relationship. We observe that more and more relationships are becoming conditional and transaction-based. I am no one to judge, for I honestly admit to being attracted more towards those who’re fulfilling certain mental, emotional, and physical needs! It is easy to antagonise even the closest relationships if they fail to live up to our expectations.
But here, the Vedic scriptures talk about a divine that never leaves you, no matter which form of life, planet, or condition one enters. Just like Krishna did not let go of Putana despite her pleas, our divine lover never quits on us, even if we abuse and desecrate the bond through our egoistic acts.
One cannot even think of committing the sins Krishna is willing to forgive. Just like a mother tolerates the baby’s kicks in her womb, Krishna (or God) tolerates all of our mistakes lifetime after lifetime.
While Krishna proclaims that the divine descends to establish dharmic principles and annihilate the miscreants in Bhagavad Gita (BG 4.7), the spiritual masters explain the hidden reason. The esoteric cause of the descent of the divine is to give a trailer of the eternal love that awaits the soul if it decides to embrace its divine essence.
The only takeaway I can offer you for your investment of time, dear reader, is to reflect on your personal relationship with the divine. Many like me find that source to be Krishna. For you, it may be the holy spirit, Allah, Rama, Jesus, Shiva, Buddha or your soul itself. The definition is not as important as seeking to grow this relationship as carefully as we want our material wealth to grow. An intelligent person is fully immersed in the present but also plans for the future.
Our deeds, impressions and relationship with the divine is the only thing we carry forward when the body perishes.
The choice is ours. Always.
P.S. I do warn you to tread carefully, though. Once a soul is ensnared by the lure of the mischievous Murari (another name for Krishna), there is no letting go. Like a lover possessed, He won’t stop until He wins your love. He just doesn’t steal butter; He steals hearts as well.