Monday Morning Greetings 2021 #30 – That Being of Which No Greater Can be Conceived

July 26th, 2021

He showed up at my college dorm unexpectedly. I had met the devotees the year before in Los Angeles with my college roommate Eric, but now my friend, recently initiated as Akshobhya das, was standing before me as a full-on head-shaved Hare Krishna! He enthusiastically gifted me the recently published Krsna book with that beautiful painting of Radha Krishna on the cover. I was so eager to read it that I cancelled my appointment that night and remained home. I already had a seed of faith in Krishna from my visit to California the year before, but when I got through Chapter Two: “Prayers by the Demigods for Lord Krishna in the Womb”, I had an epiphany: “Yep, there is no doubt. Krishna is God!”

 

I was studying philosophy at the university, and the previous week the teacher gave us the classic definition of God: “That being of which no greater can be conceived.” I had heard descriptions of Krishna before—the sweet butter thief and the lover of the gopis—but now, through the prayers of the exalted demigods, I was realizing more of His full-blown majesty and opulence. I remember my thinking at the time: “I can think of a being greater than the one with all the power that is ascribed to a traditional depiction of God. That is one who, in addition to such power, has a sweet and intimate life with family, friends, and lovers. In other words, a person who is Krishna!”

 

One of my inspirations for this week’s post was a lecture by Śrīla Radha Govinda Swami on krishna-lila where he puts to rest the concept of an amorphous mass of indistinct energy as that being of which no greater can be conceived. I like his simple logic:

“Jñānīs possess an absurd mentality in this respect. They understand that Śrī Krishna has made a world with beautiful people residing in it, but still feel the creator to be formless, which is madness.”

 

The Krishna concept of divinity, however, takes the idea of personhood as a prerequisite of supremacy even further. It espouses that the fullest manifestation of personhood is not just one’s majesty, but one’s personality or love defined in relationship as a father or mother, friend, or lover, and that, therefore, Krishna as akhila-rasāmṛta-mūrti[1], the complete embodiment of the nectar of all relationships, is the original or fullest manifestation of God.

 

This week I have been studying Chapter Twelve of the Tenth Canto in the same book that I had received fifty years ago. Krishna is playing with His friends and suddenly disappears into the forest. Krishna’s friends, after desperately trying to find Him, suddenly hear Him challenging them to see who can find Him first. When they finally do, He offers each one an affectionate hug. A heart-felt expression of affection from those whom we share a deep relationship with, whether it is as friend, child, or lover, is surely one of the true joys in life. We can just imagine the warmth and pleasure of the existential flow of God’s own love that ensues when we embrace Krishna in our eternal relationship with Him. While meditating in this way, I thought back to that definition of God that I first heard over fifty years ago in a second-year philosophy course, and how much hearing these pastimes reaffirmed my conviction of the absolute position of Krishna. At the same time, I also thought of a cute saying by Friedrich Nietzsche[2] that I heard in another philosophy class that year. Somehow, I spontaneously parried it into my own saying that even further solidified in my mind Krishna’s position as “that being of which no greater can be conceived”:

“I would believe only in a God that hugs.”

 

 


[1] At the beginning of the Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu, Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī defines Krishna in this way as akhila-rasāmṛta-mūrtiḥ, the nectar of the embodiment of all relationships.

[2] Friedrich Nietzsche’s quote was, “I would only believe in a God that dances.”

 

 

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