Sri Krishnawas a teacher from the very beginning of his life. Even before he entered into the physical world he acted as a teacher. Before he entered into his mother’s womb, he came to his father who had been imprisoned by the king and said, “I am now going to enter into the physical world. As soon as I am born, you will take me out of this prison-cell and take me to Nanda” (one of his relatives). His father saw Sri Krishna vividly before he came into the world of manifestation, and to everybody’s surprise, all of a sudden all the doors and gates of the prison were wide open, and his father took him to Nanda’s place. Here he started his teaching.
To come back to Sri Krishna, while he was just a child he opened his mouth and showed his mother the whole universe. He was teaching his mother that the universe is nowhere else but inside him.
Then, when he was eleven years old, one day he observed that his parents and his relatives and neighbours were all performing ceremonies in honour of the Lord Indra, Indra the rain God, King of the Gods. Sri Krishna said, “Why are you worshipping Indra? It is better to worship this hill. Why don’t you worship this Giri Govardhan? Our cattle are being fed by this hill, and everyone is being helped in one way or another by this hill. We should worship the hill and not Indra. Indra is not helping us in any way. If you want to know the truth, then you worship this hill.? They listened to him on that occasion. They worshipped not Indra but the hill, and Indra became furious. He inundated the whole place with water. There was a constant downpour which lasted seven days. But Sri Krishna was not to accept defeat. With one of his fingers he lifted the whole hill, and the hill served the purpose of an umbrella. The entire vicinity was under the protection of the hill, and it is still there. It is said that Sri Krishna held it for seven days and then Lord Indra felt that it was useless. Sri Krishna protected his whole race and all his relatives. Then Lord Indra accepted his defeat.
Krishna was a cowherd and he had many, many friends. He was a very great flutist. The boys and girls, especially the girls, used to come to listen to his music. But the love he had for them was always of the purest. He had many so-called girlfriends. We immediately associate this term with the wrong emotion, but in Sri Krishna’s case, his relationship was absolutely pure. Among these girls, there was one called Radha. Radha finally became his consort and his shakti, and it was she who understood fully who Sri Krishna was. There Sri Krishna was expressing his Divine Love to human beings. It was delight that he wanted to express, pure delight, to this physical world. But criticism was existent in those days too. People started criticising Sri Krishna openly because of his fondness for Radha. Radha became very close to him. One day, Radha, in a sulking mood, said to him, “Look, you are so pure and so divine and I come here to listen to your music and you tell me eternal, divine truths. How is it that people create such gossip, especially my girlfriends? Just because you give special attention to me they criticise us.? Sri Krishna gave her a broad smile and said, “All right.” So one day Sri Krishna invited all his girlfriends and told them, “Today I wish to have a special game. I know all of you are pure and all of you are chaste. Most of you have husbands.” Then Sri Krishna took a sieve and a bucket of water. He told them each to pour the water into the sieve, and if the water did not leak through, it meant that that particular girl was pure and chaste. They started, one by one, to pour water, and of course with the first one the water leaked through. They all were laughing and saying that she was not chaste or pure, and she buried her head in the fold of her arm. Then the next girl came and the same thing happened, and on and on with each girl.
Radha was observing the scene. Sri Krishna said to her, “Radha, why are you silent, why don’t you try?” She said, “They are always criticising me, and if I try I will probably join them in their failure.” Sri Krishna said, “Why don’t you come and try, it is a game after all.” So she came and poured the water, bucket after bucket, but the sieve did not leak. They were all astonished and Sri Krishna said, “Look here, now you can see who is chaste, who is pure. Now I am teaching you the eternal truth. I am the Lord of the Universe. Radha comes to Me for spiritual help and Eternal Truth, and My love for her and all of you is spiritual and divine. Some of you have husbands, but your minds still roam elsewhere. You care for other men and you give much attention to name, fame and duties. But in Radha’s case, I am always in her mind. Radha is a married woman, Radha has her own husband, but no matter where she goes and with whom she speaks, her mind is always on Me. I am the Lord of the Universe, and whoever thinks of Me is the purest on earth. Those who think of other things are not pure.”
When he grew up in the society very often he wished to give most illumining counsel. Everybody came to him for guidance, and he was their chief counsellor. When the Pandavas became his most intimate friends, he used to advise them all the time in their difficulties; in all their sorrows and joys Sri Krishna was there to advise them. Then he came to the battlefield to help Arjuna. We already know from the Gita how he advised Arjuna to fight, and he taught Arjuna all about the inner life, the spiritual life, inner perfection and outer perfection, realisation and revelation. Sri Krishna said,
“Whenever there is decline of righteousness, and unrighteousness is in the ascendent, then I body Myself forth to protect the virtuous and put an end to evil-doers; to establish Dharma, I am born from age to age.” This is one of the most important verses in the Gita.
Next: Arjuna and the Ascetic