Krishna, Karma, and Bhakti

Krishna, Karma, and Bhakti

by Vidur Mishra

Happy (Belated) Janmashtami!

Krishna. Ahh! As Sadhguru said, “Krishna is the most colorful incarnation – an irrepressible child, an irresistible lover, a truly valiant warrior, an astute statesman, and a yogi of the highest order.”

Indeed, Krishna is a Yogi of the highest order. Since his very breathtaking birth that blissed-out the nature itself, he always abided in the state of Sahaja Samadhi. Sahaja Samadhi is a state of spontaneous, effortless, choiceless, thoughtless, “I”-less awareness. A Yogi who abides in Sahaja Samadhi doesn’t require any effort-based meditative practice. Whether he sits in meditation or not, it doesn’t matter; he is always in touch with the light of primordial consciousness. The greatest sages, monks, and yogis bestowed him with the title of Yogeshwara (Lord of Yoga) — a title given to the rarest of rare Yogis — a title of Shiva the Adiyogi (First Yogi).

Krishna was totally involved with every moment of life yet completely untouched by the process (happenings) of life. Never thought of the past. Never thought of the future. He was always with Now. He was Now. He is Now. He just kept moving forward, totally unfettered by the walk of life. He never once looked back as he left all behind. Beyond the very cycle of life-death-rebirth, he was untouched by all cosmic drama. He was always playful and naughty. And, his presence blissed the life out of those around him. Even when his whole clan and empire died, his presence and smile remained ever so sweet — untouched. Whenever he stepped into any playing field, the game turned its tides into his favor. Casting his Lila (play), he had everybody dancing on the tips of his fingers. Having mastered all the forms of Yoga, he was the embodiment of Karma Yoga — giving yourself fully to the activity of life without any expectation for fruit. By surrendering oneself fully to the universe, one nourishes the universe with one’s selfless presence and participation. One doesn’t require any goal or purpose for such ecstatic participation. The journey is the destination. One doesn’t desire a fruit but becomes the fruit itself. And plants the seed of liberation into others. As a fruit, one nourishes the universe. The universe responds back with delight.

He knew his physical death would mark the phase transition into Kali Yuga (when materialism- and illusion-driven activities would start to take over). He knew that most beings would not be able to afford the time, energy, and commitment needed for the systematic hardcore combo of Jnana(intellect)-Kriya(energy)-Raja(mind) Yoga that grants one mastery over the mind-body-energy system, a mastery that allows one to choose one’s womb and shed body consciously at one’s own leisure. Thus, in Bhagavad Gita, he primarily taught Karma Yoga and Bhakti Yoga.

Bhakti Yoga, if practiced appropriately (non-delusionally), is the quickest and sweetest path to self-realization and liberation. One directs every fiber of one’s being to an object of devotion (whatever it may be — a stone, a blade of leaf, a plant, an insect, a bird, an animal, a human, a guru, a deity, anything that brings out that blissful emotion from one). It is the intensity of devotion that ultimately matters. And then one sees that object of devotion in every being, thing, process in the universe. Indeed, one sees that object of devotion as the whole universe. As a Bhakti Yogi, one’s only job is to be blissful by totally surrendering one’s consciousness to the object of devotion. Forget about everything else. The universe is very intelligent (far more intelligent than one’s tiny egoic dualistic intellect can ever comprehend or model). As such, the universe takes care of the rest. One just needs to be ecstatic-blissful and leave everything else to the universe. The intelligent universe responds with light and carries one’s back into liberation. For such kind of devotion, what object of devotion can be more captivating than Krishna himself — the most colorful manifestation or instance of the universe?!

“But, O Arjuna, those whose minds are absorbed in me in total faith and who are engaged in devotional service unto me, for them I give deliverance from the cycle of birth and death.” – Krishna

When he says ‘I’ in “I give deliverance from the cycle of birth and death,” he is not talking about himself as an individual. He is talking about the intelligent totality of the cosmos that includes both the Saguna (actual) and Nirguna (potential). Keeping this in mind, read the following:

“Among animals I am the lion; among birds, the eagle Garuda. I am Prahlada, born among the demons, and of all that measures, I am time.
I am death, which overcomes all, and the source of all beings still to be born.
Just remember that I am, and that I support the entire cosmos with only a fragment of my being.
Behold, Arjuna, a million divine forms, with an infinite variety of color and shape. Behold the gods of the natural world, and many more wonders never revealed before. Behold the entire cosmos turning within my body, and the other things you desire to see.
I am time, the destroyer of all; I have come to consume the world.” – Krishna.

I have only read Bhagavad Gita once. But, when I read, tears of bliss were rolling down my eyes from the start to the very end. Then with a big smile on my face, my eyes half-closed, and my mind absorbed in Krishna, I entered samadhi for hours that felt like a minute. Absolutely still and silent. No time. No space. Dissolved in Krishna, there was no longer any “me.” There was only Krishna. There is only Krishna. This is Bhakti Yoga.

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