Act I, Scene IV

(Krishna and Arjuna are walking together.)

ARJUNA: O Krishna, this woman is so poor. Why don’t you do something for her? I could not tell her you were Krishna because I did not have your permission. But you can see, Krishna, how she suffers. She has nobody on earth. Her only means of support is her cow. She has only the cow and nothing else on earth. How can she live, Krishna? Please give her something. Give her a boon, I beg of you. Grant her a boon so that she can lead a better life.

KRISHNA: I have already granted her a very big boon.

ARJUNA: What is your boon?

KRISHNA: The boon is that her cow will die tomorrow.

ARJUNA: Krishna, she fed us and this is your boon? What! This kind of boon you give! Are you so ungrateful, so cruel? She has no other means of support, and you want her cow to die! I can’t understand you, Krishna. I can’t understand you at all.

KRISHNA: True, Arjuna, you don’t understand me. Now listen. She always thinks of the cow. The cow has to be fed; the cow has to be milked; the cow has to be bathed, and so forth. I want her to think only of Me, and when she has nobody on earth, not even the cow, she will think of Me all the time, devoting herself to Me twenty-four hours a day. If her cow were to remain alive, she would linger on earth and constantly think of the cow, and not of me. She would not make as much progress. But since I am now taking her cow, soon the time will be right for me to take her away from this world, and after a few years I will give her a better and more fulfilling incarnation.

ARJUNA (bowing): O Krishna, you are right. You are always right. Your ways are inscrutable, but I see you are always right, perfectly right, once I understand you. You are always right, my Krishna.