Monday Morning Greetings 2020 #23 – Krishna Loves the Earth

June 8th, 2020

To truly perceive another person requires more than just what we overtly see. It requires an understanding of the mind behind what we perceive. For example, when someone is happy, we don’t see just the end of the lips curl up and the teeth show, we see the emotion of happiness. All actions represent the consciousness that produce them. If we miss that, our perception is very limited. This principle is especially important in understanding Krishna’s pastimes as described in the Tenth Canto of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. I discussed this in a previous post called “Spiritual Autism”.[1] Let us now look at the pastimes of Krishna through the lens of the consciousness behind what is described, specifically in relation to Krishna’s feet touching the ground of Vṛndāvana as He is about to enter the forest.

 

When Krishna first enters the forest, the marks of His feet make the ground of Vṛndāvana auspicious. As mentioned above, one must also see in this pastime the affection with which Krishna touches the Earth and the emotions that she feels in response. Another name for the Earth is dharaṇī meaning “one who sustains and maintains”, for the Earth sustains and maintains everything in this world, including Krishna’s abode there. Krishna’s feet touching the ground is therefore an expression of overwhelming gratitude for her service. In fact, His feet not only touch the ground, but caress it as He compassionately walks behind the cows to pacify the Earth, which is being trampled by the stampede of His beloved cows.

 

There are so many pebbles, thorns, and other rough patches in the thick forest of Vṛndāvana. His mother therefore implores Him to wear shoes. Krishna refuses. He argues that a servant cannot enjoy more than the master, and therefore as the servant of the cows, He must also walk barefoot like them. His argument to not wear shoes, however, is just an excuse.  When, in desperation, Krishna’s mother offers to make silver shoes for all the cows in Vṛndāvana, He still refuses. Why is Krishna so adamant? He loves the Earth so much that He just wants to reciprocate with her by placing His soles on her dust without a covering in between. Krishna’s feet touching the ground of Vṛndāvana is thus a deeply affectionate act of gratitude, compassion, and devotion. To truly see this pastime of Krishna is to also see this.

 

For a devotee there is nothing more stimulating to one’s devotion than a tangible acknowledgment by Krishna of their relationship. When Krishna’s feet affectionately touch the ground, Mother Earth intensely feels the exchange of energy flowing between the Lord and His devotee called prema. As the Lord’s lotus feet step-by-step make imprints in her dust, a deep sense of belonging to the Lord increasingly awakens in her heart. Those footprints then become her tilaka, the sign of devotional belonging to one’s revered lineage and ultimately Krishna. Her sense of belonging to Krishna then becomes so deep that she never allows those imprints, her tilaka of belonging, to fade, even while the cows trample them.

 

How could the Earth allow Krishna to walk barefoot and bruise His soft lotus feet? Isn’t she concerned, like the gopīs, that His feet will be bruised and pained? Mother Earth is completely absorbed in sevā-bhāva, the mood of service, and like all great devotees she transforms in devotional ecstasy by that sevā. As Krishna’s feet touch her ground, the Earth therefore in devotional ecstasy immediately softens like butter to protect Krishna’s lotus feet.

 

This connection with the Divine that moves the heart to ecstasy is the greatest mercy. The Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam therefore describes that the Lord’s feet made the Earth ati-punyam, extremely auspicious. In conclusion, we should try to understand and hear the Lord’s pastimes by seeing the emotions that are generated by Krishna’s loving exchanges with His devotees and, in doing so, become inspired to make our lives auspicious by a connection with the Divine, especially His presence in the holy name.

 

 

“O dearly beloved! Your lotus feet are so soft that we place them gently on our breasts, fearing that Your feet will be hurt. Our life rests only in You. Our minds, therefore, are filled with anxiety that Your tender feet might be wounded by pebbles as You roam about the forest path.” (Bhag. 10.31.19, The Gopīs to Krishna)

 

 


[1] I received comments after my last article on “Spiritual Autism” that my definition of autism as “mind blindness” was too narrow, and there are multiple ways to describe such brain complexity.

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