Chapter 21: Qualities of Sri Krishna

Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Nectar of Devotion

Srila Rupa Gosvami, after consulting various scriptures, has enumerated the transcendental qualities of the Lord as follows: (1) beautiful features of the entire body; (2) marked with all auspicious characteristics; (3) extremely pleasing; (4) effulgent; (5) strong; (6) ever youthful; (7) wonderful linguist; (8) truthful; (9) talks pleasingly; (10) fluent; (11) highly learned; (12) highly intelligent; (13) a genius; (14) artistic; (15) extremely clever; (16) expert; (17) grateful; (18) firmly determined; (19) an expert judge of time and circumstances; (20) sees and speaks on the authority of Vedas, or scriptures; (21) pure; (22) self-controlled; (23) steadfast; (24) forbearing; (25) forgiving; (26) grave; (27) self-satisfied; (28) possessing equilibrium; (29) magnanimous; (30) religious; (31) heroic; (32) compassionate; (33) respectful; (34) gentle; (35) liberal; (36) shy; (37) the protector of surrendered souls; (38) happy; (39) the well-wisher of devotees; (40) controlled by love; (41) all-auspicious; (42) most powerful; (43) all-famous; (44) popular; (45) partial to devotees; (46) very attractive to all women; (47) all-worshipable; (48) all-opulent; (49) all-honorable; (50) the supreme controller. The Supreme Personality of Godhead has all these fifty transcendental qualities in fullness as deep as the ocean. In other words, the extent of His qualities is inconceivable.

As parts and parcels of the Supreme Lord, the individual living entities can also possess all of these qualities in minute quantities, provided they become pure devotees of the Lord. In other words, all of the above transcendental qualities can be present in the devotees in minute quantity, whereas the qualities in fullness are always present in the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

Besides these, there are other transcendental qualities which are described by Lord Siva to Parvati in the Padma Purana, and in the First Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam in connection with a conversation between the deity of the earth and the King of religion, Yamaraja. It is said therein, "Persons Who who are desirous of becoming great personalities must be decorated with the following qualities: truthfulness, cleanliness, mercy, perseverance, renunciation, peacefulness, simplicity, control of the senses, equilibrium of the mind, austerity, equality, forbearance, placidity, learning, knowledge, detachment, opulence, chivalry, influence, strength, memory, independence, tactfulness, luster, patience, kind-heartedness, ingenuity, gentility, mannerliness, determination, perfection in all knowledge, proper execution, possession of all objects of enjoyment, gravity, steadiness, faithfulness, fame, respectfulness and lack of false egotism." Persons who are desiring to become great souls cannot be without any of the above qualities, so we can know for certain that these qualities are found in Lord Krishna, the supreme soul.

Besides all of the above-mentioned fifty qualities, Lord Krishna possesses five more, which are sometimes partially manifested in the persons of Lord Brahma or Lord Siva. These transcendental qualities are as follows: (51) changeless; (52) all-cognizant; (53) ever fresh; (54) sac-cid-ananda (possessing an eternal blissful body); (55) possessing all mystic perfections.

Krishna also possesses five other qualities, which are manifest in the body of Narayana, and they are listed as follows. (56) He has inconceivable potency. (57) Uncountable universes generate from His body. (58) He is the original source of all incarnations. (59) He is the giver of salvation to the enemies whom He kills. (60) He is the attractor of liberated souls. All these transcendental qualities are manifest wonderfully in the personal feature of Lord Krishna.

Besides these sixty transcendental qualities, Krishna has four more, which are not manifest even in the Narayana form of Godhead, what to speak of the demigods or living entities. They are as follows. (61) He is the performer of wonderful varieties of pastimes (especially His childhood pastimes). (62) He is surrounded by devotees endowed with wonderful love of Godhead. (63) He can attract all living entities all over the universes by playing on His flute. (64) He has a wonderful excellence of beauty which cannot be rivaled anywhere in the creation.

Adding to the list these four exceptional qualities of Krishna, it is to be understood that the aggregate number of qualities of Krishna is sixty-four. Srila Rupa Gosvami has attempted to give evidences from various scriptures about all sixty-four qualities present in the person of the Supreme Lord.

1. Beautiful Bodily Features

Any comparison of the different parts of the Lord's body to different material objects cannot factually be a complete comparison. Ordinary persons, who cannot understand how exalted are the bodily features of the Lord, are simply given a chance to understand by a material comparison. It is said that Krishna's face is as beautiful as the moon, His thighs are powerful just like the trunks of elephants, His arms are just like two pillars, His palms are expanded like lotus flowers, His chest is just like a doorway, His hips are dens, and the middle of His body is a terrace.

2. Auspicious Characteristics

There are certain characteristics of different limbs which are considered to be very auspicious and are fully present in the body of the Lord. In this connection, one friend of Nanda Maharaja, speaking about Lord Krishna's auspicious bodily symptoms, said, "My dear King of the cowherds, I can find thirty-two auspicious symptoms on the body of your son! I am wondering how this boy could have taken His birth in a family of cowherd men." Generally, when Lord Krishna appears He does so in a family of kshatriyas (kings), as did Lord Ramacandra, and sometimes in a family of brahmanas. But Krishna accepted the role of son to Maharaja Nanda, despite the fact that Nanda belonged to the vaisya community. The business of the vaisya community is trade, commerce and the protection of cows. Therefore his friend, who may have been born into a brahmana family, expressed his wonder at how such an exalted child could take birth in a family of vaisyas. Anyway, he pointed out the auspicious signs on the body of Krishna to the boy's foster father.

He continued, "This boy has a reddish luster in seven places -- His eyes, the ends of His hands, the ends of His legs, His palate, His lips, His tongue and His nails. A reddish luster in these seven places is considered to be auspicious. Three parts of His body are very broad: His waist, forehead and chest. Three parts of His body are short: His neck, thighs and genitals. Three parts of His body are very deep: His voice, intelligence and navel. There is highness in five parts of His body: His nose, arms, ears, forehead and thighs. In five parts of His body there is fineness: His skin, the hairs on His head and on the other parts of His body, His teeth and His fingertips. The aggregate of all these bodily features is manifest only in the bodies of great personalities."

The fate lines on the palm are also considered to be auspicious bodily symptoms. In this connection, one old gopi informed King Nanda, "Your son possesses various wonderful fate lines on His palms. There are the signs of lotus flowers and wheels on His palms, and on His soles there are the signs of a flag, a thunderbolt, a fish, a rod for controlling elephants, and a lotus flower. Please observe how auspicious these signs are!"

3. Pleasing

Beautiful bodily features which automatically attract the eyes are called rucira (pleasing). Krishna possesses this attractive feature of rucira in His personal features. In the Third Canto, Second Chapter, verse 13, of Srimad-Bhagavatam, there is a statement about this. "The Supreme Personality of Godhead, in His pleasing dress, appeared at the scene of the sacrificial arena when King Yudhishthira was performing the Rajasuya sacrifice. All important personalities from different parts of the universe had been invited to the sacrificial arena, and all of them, upon beholding Krishna there, considered that the Creator had ended all of His craftsmanship in the creation of this particular body of Krishna."

It is said that the transcendental body of Krishna resembles the lotus flower in eight parts -- namely His face, His two eyes, His two hands, His navel and His two feet. The gopis and inhabitants of Vrindavana used to see the luster of lotus flowers everywhere, and they could hardly withdraw their eyes from such a vision.

4. Effulgent

The effulgence pervading the universe is considered to be the rays of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The supreme abode of Krishna is always throwing off the effulgence known as brahmajyoti, and that effulgence is emanating from His body.

The luster of the hosts of jewels fixed on the chest of the Lord can defeat even the luster of the sun, and still, when compared with the bodily luster of the Lord, that crest of jewels appears to be only as bright as one of the stars in the sky. Therefore the transcendental influence of Krishna is so great that it can defeat anyone. When Krishna was present in the sacrificial arena of His enemy King Kamsa, the wrestlers present, although appreciating the softness of the body of Sri Krishna, were afraid and perturbed when they thought of engaging with Him in battle.

5. Strong

A person who has extraordinary bodily strength is called baliyan. When Krishna killed Arishtasura, some of the gopis said, "My dear friends, just see how Krishna has killed Arishtasura! Although be was stronger than a mountain, Krishna plucked him up just like a piece of cotton and threw him away without any difficulty!" There is another passage wherein it is said, "O my dear devotees of Lord Krishna, may the left hand of Lord Krishna, which has lifted Govardhana Hill like a ball, save you from all dangers."

6. Ever Youthful

Krishna is beautiful at His different ages -- namely His childhood, His boyhood and His youth. Out of these three, His youth is the reservoir of all pleasures and is the time when the highest varieties of devotional service are acceptable. At that age, Krishna is full with all transcendental qualities and is engaged in His transcendental pastimes. Therefore, devotees have accepted the beginning of His youth as the most attractive feature in ecstatic love.

At this age Krishna is described as follows: "The force of Krishna's youth was combined with His beautiful smile, which defeated even the beauty of the full moon. He was always nicely dressed, in beauty surpassing even Cupid, and He was always attracting the minds of the gopis, who were thereby always feeling pleasure."

7. Wonderful Linguist

Rupa Gosvami says that a person who knows the languages of different countries, especially the Sanskrit language, which is spoken in the cities of the demigods -- as well as other worldly languages, including those of the animals -- is called a wonderful linguist. It appears from this statement that Krishna can also speak and understand the languages of the animals. An old woman in Vrindavana, present at the time of Krishna's pastimes, once stated in surprise, "How wonderful it is that Krishna, who owns the hearts of all the young girls of Vrajabhumi, can nicely speak the language of Vrajabhumi with the gopis, while in Sanskrit He speaks with the demigods, and in the language of the animals He can even speak with the cows and buffalo! Similarly, in the language of the Kashmir Province, and with the parrots and other birds, as well as in most common languages, Krishna is so expressive!" She inquired from the gopis as to how Krishna had become so expert in speaking so many different types of languages.

8. Truthful

A person whose word of honor is never broken is called truthful. Krishna once promised Kunti, the mother of the Pandavas, that He would bring her five sons back from the Battlefield of Kurukshetra. After the battle was finished, when all the Pandavas had come home, Kunti praised Krishna because His promise was so nicely fulfilled. She said, "Even the sunshine may one day become cool and the moonshine one day become hot, but still Your promise will not fail." Similarly, when Krishna, along with Bhima and Arjuna, went to challenge Jarasandha, He plainly told Jarasandha that He was the eternal Krishna, present along with two of the Pandavas. The story is that both Krishna and the Pandavas -- in this case Bhima and Arjuna -- were kshatriyas (warrior-kings). Jarasandha was also a kshatriya and was very charitable toward the brahmanas. Thus Krishna, who had planned to fight with Jarasandha, went to him with Bhima and Arjuna in the dress of brahmanas. Jarasandha, being very charitable toward the brahmanas, asked them what they wanted, and they expressed their desire to fight with him. Then Krishna, dressed as a brahmana, declared Himself to be the same Krishna who was the King's eternal enemy.

9. Pleasing Talker

A person who can speak sweetly even with his enemy just to pacify him is called a pleasing talker. Krishna was such a pleasing talker that after defeating His enemy Kaliya in the water of the Yamuna, He said, "My dear King of the snakes, although I have given you so much pain, please do not be dissatisfied with Me. It is My duty to protect these cows, which are worshiped even by the demigods. Only in order to save them from the danger of your presence have I been obliged to banish you from this place."

Kaliya was residing within the water of the Yamuna, and as a result the back portion of that river had become poisoned. Thus so many cows who had drunk the water had died. Therefore Krishna, even though He was only four or five years old, dipped Himself into the water, punished Kaliya very severely and then asked him to leave the place and go elsewhere.

Krishna said at that time that the cows are worshiped even by the demigods, and He practically demonstrated how to protect the cows. At least people who are in Krishna consciousness should follow in His footsteps and give all protection to the cows. Cows are worshiped not only by the demigods. Krishna Himself worshiped the cows on several occasions, especially on the days of Gopashtami and Govardhana-puja.

10. Fluent

A person who can speak meaningful words and with all politeness and good qualities is called vavaduka, or fluent. There is a nice statement in Srimad-Bhagavatam regarding Krishna's speaking politely. When Krishna politely bade His father, Nanda Maharaja, to stop the ritualistic offering of sacrifice to the rain-god, Indra, a wife of one village cowherd man became captivated. She later thus described the speaking of Krishna to her friends: "Krishna was speaking to His father so politely and gently that it was as if He were pouring nectar into the ears of all present there. After hearing such sweet words from Krishna, who will not be attracted to Him?"

Krishna's speech, which contains all good qualities in the universe, is described in the following statement by Uddhava: "The words of Krishna are so attractive that they can immediately change the heart of even His opponent. His words can immediately solve all of the questions and problems of the world. Although He does not speak very long, each and every word from His mouth contains volumes of meaning. These speeches of Krishna are very pleasing to my heart."

11. Highly Learned

When a person is highly educated and acts strictly on moral principles, he is called highly learned. A person conversant in different departments of knowledge is called educated, and because he acts on moral principles, he is called morally stout. Together, these two factors constitute learning.

Krishna's receiving education from Sandipani Muni is described by Sri Narada Muni as follows: "In the beginning, Lord Brahma and others are like clouds of evaporated water from the great ocean of Krishna. In other words, Brahma first received the Vedic education from Krishna, as the clouds receive water from the ocean. That Vedic education or instruction which was spoken by Brahma to the world was then reposed upon the mountain of Sandipani Muni. Sandipani Muni's instructions to Krishna are like a reservoir of water on the mountain, which flows as a river and goes again to mix with the source, the ocean of Krishna." To be more clear, the idea is that Krishna actually cannot be instructed by anyone, just as the ocean does not receive water from any source but itself. It only appears that the rivers are pouring water into the ocean. So it is clear that Brahma received his education from Krishna, and from Brahma, via the disciplic succession, this Vedic instruction was distributed. Sandipani Muni is likened to the river which is flowing down again to that same original ocean of Krishna.

The Siddhas, the inhabitants of Siddhaloka (where all are born with fully developed mystic powers), and the Caranas, the inhabitants of a similar planet, pray to Krishna as follows: "My Lord Govinda, the goddess of learning is decorated with fourteen kinds of educational ornaments, her intelligence is all-pervading within the four departments of the Vedas, her attention is always on the lawbooks given by great sages like Manu, and she is appareled in six kinds of expert knowledge -- namely Vedic evidence, grammar, astrology, rhetoric, vocabulary and logic. Her constant friends are the supplements of the Vedas, the Puranas, and she is decorated with the final conclusion of all education. And now she has acquired an opportunity to sit with You as a class friend in school, and she is now engaged in Your service."

Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, does not require any education, but He gives a chance to the goddess of learning to serve Him. Being self-sufficient, Krishna does not require the service of any living entity, although He has many devotees. It is because Krishna is so kind and merciful that He gives everyone the opportunity to serve Him, as though He required the service of His devotees.

Regarding His moral principles, it is stated in Srimad-Bhagavatam that Krishna is ruling over Vrindavana as death personified to the thieves, as pleasing bliss to the pious, as the most beautiful Cupid to the young girls and as the most munificent personality to the poor men. He is as refreshing as the full moon to His friends, and to His opponents He is the annihilating fire generated from Lord Siva. Krishna is therefore the most perfect moralist in His reciprocal dealings with different kinds of persons. When He is death personified to the thieves, it is not that He is without moral principles or that He is cruel; He is still kind, because to punish thieves with death is to exhibit the highest quality of moral principles. In Bhagavad-gita, also, Krishna says that He deals with different kinds of persons according to their dealings with Him. Krishna's dealings with devotees and with nondevotees, although different, are equally good. Because Krishna is all-good, His dealings. with everyone are always good.

12. Highly Intelligent

A man is called intelligent if he has a sharp memory and fine discretion. As far as Krishna's memory is concerned, it is said that when He was studying in the school of Sandipani Muni in Avantipura, He showed such a sharp memory that by once taking instructions from the teacher He immediately became perfect in any subject. Actually, His going to the school of Sandipani Muni was to show the people of the world that however great or ingenious one may be, he must go to higher authorities for general education. However great one may be, he must accept a teacher or spiritual master.

Krishna's fine discretion was exhibited when He was fighting with the untouchable king who attacked the city of Mathura. According to Vedic rites, those who are untouchable are not to be touched by the kshatriya kings, not even for killing. Therefore, when the untouchable king seized the city of Mathura, Krishna did not think it wise to kill him directly with His own hand. Still the king had to be killed, and therefore Krishna decided with fine discretion that He should flee from the battlefield so that the untouchable king would chase Him. He could then lead the king to the mountain where Mucukunda was lying asleep. Mucukunda had received a benediction from Karttikeya to the effect that when he awoke from his sleep, whomever he might see would at once be burnt to ashes. Therefore Krishna thought it wise to lead the untouchable king to that cave, so that the king's presence would awaken Mucukunda and he would at once be burnt to ashes.

13. Genius

A person is called a genius when he can refute any kind of opposing element with newer and newer arguments. In this connection there is a statement in Padyavali which contains the following conversation between Krishna and Radha. One morning, when Krishna came to Radha, Radha asked Him, "My dear Kesava, where is Your vasa at present?" The Sanskrit word vasa has three meanings: one meaning is residence, one meaning is fragrance, and another meaning is dress.

Actually Radharani inquired from Krishna, "Where is Your dress?" But Krishna took the meaning as residence, and He replied to Radharani, "My dear captivated one, at the present moment My residence is in Your beautiful eyes."

To this Radharani replied, "My dear cunning boy, I did not ask You about Your residence. I inquired about Your dress."

Krishna then took the meaning of vasa as fragrance and said, "My dear fortunate one, I have just assumed this fragrance in order to be associated with Your body."

Srimati Radharani again inquired from Krishna, "Where did You pass Your night?" The exact Sanskrit word used in this connection was yaminyamushitah. Yaminyam means "at night," and ushitah means "pass." Krishna, however, divided the word yaminyamushitah into two separate words, namely yaminya and mushitah. By dividing this word into two, it came out to mean that He was kidnapped by Yamini, or night. Krishna therefore replied to Radharani, "My dear Radharani, is it possible that night can kidnap Me?" In this way He was answering all of the questions of Radharani so cunningly that He gladdened this dearest of the gopis.

14. Artistic

One who can talk and dress himself very artistically is called vidagdha. This exemplary characteristic was visible in the personality of Sri Krishna. It is spoken of by Radharani as follows: "My dear friend, just see how Krishna has nicely composed songs and how He dances and speaks funny words and plays on His flute, wearing such nice garlands. He has dressed Himself in such an enchanting way, as though He had defeated all kinds of players at the chessboard. He lives wonderfully at the topmost height of artistic craftsmanship."

15. Clever

A person who can perform various types of work at once is called clever. In this connection one of the gopis said, "My dear friends, just see the clever activities of Sri Krishna! He has composed nice songs about the cowherd boys and is pleasing the cows. By the movement of His eyes He is pleasing the gopis, and at the same time, He is fighting with demons like Arishtasura. In this way, He is sitting with different living entities in different ways, and He is thoroughly enjoying the situation."

16. Expert

Any person who can quickly execute a very difficult task is called expert. About the expertise of Krishna there is a statement in the Tenth Canto, Fifty-ninth Chapter, verse 17, of Srimad-Bhagavatam, wherein Sukadeva Gosvami tells Maharaja Parikshit, "O best of the Kurus, Sri Krishna cut to pieces all the different weapons used by different fighters." Formerly, fighting was done by releasing different kinds of arrows. One party would release a certain arrow, and the other party had to defeat it by counteracting it with another arrow. For example, one party might release an arrow which would cause water to pour from the sky, and to counteract this the opposing party would have to release an arrow which could immediately turn the water into clouds. So from this statement it appears that Krishna was very expert in counteracting the enemy's arrows. Similarly, at the rasa dance, each and every gopi requested that Krishna individually become her partner, and Krishna immediately expanded Himself into so many Krishnas in order to be coupled with each and every gopi. The result was that each gopi found Krishna by her side.

17. Grateful

Any person who is conscious of his friend's beneficent activities and never forgets his service is called grateful. In the Mahabharata, Krishna says, "When I was away from Draupadi, she cried with the words, 'He govinda!' This call for Me has put Me in her debt, and that indebtedness is gradually increasing in My heart!" This statement by Krishna gives evidence of how one can please the Supreme Lord simply by addressing Him, "He krishna! He govinda!"

The maha-mantra (Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare) is also simply an address to the Lord and His energy. So to anyone who is constantly engaged in addressing the Lord and His energy, we can imagine how much the Supreme Lord is obliged. It is impossible for the Lord to ever forget such a devotee. It is clearly stated in this verse that anyone who addresses the Lord immediately attracts the attention of the Lord, who always remains obliged to him.

Another instance of Krishna's feeling of obligation is stated in connection with His dealings with Jambavan. When the Lord was present as Lord Ramacandra, Jambavan, the great king of the monkeys, rendered very faithful service to Him. When the Lord again appeared as Lord Krishna, He married Jambavan's daughter and paid him all the respect that is usually given to superiors. Any honest person is obliged to his friend if some service has been rendered unto Him. Since Krishna is the supreme honest personality, how can He forget an obligation to His servitor?

18. Determined

Any person who observes regulative principles and fulfills his promises by practical activity is called determined. As far as the Lord's determination is concerned, there is an example in His dealings in the Hari-vamsa. This is in connection with Lord Krishna's fighting the King of heaven, Indra, who was forcibly deprived of the parijata flower. Parijata is a kind of lotus flower grown on the heavenly planets. Once, Satyabhama, one of Krishna's queens, wanted that lotus flower, and Krishna promised to deliver it; but Indra refused to part with his parijata flower. Therefore there was a great fight, with Krishna and the Pandavas on one side and all of the demigods on the other. Ultimately, Krishna defeated all of them and took the parijata flower, which He presented to His queen. So, in regard to that occurrence, Krishna told Narada Muni, "My dear great sage of the demigods, now you can declare to the devotees in general, and to the nondevotees in particular, that in this matter of taking the parijata flower, all the demigods -- the Gandharvas, the Nagas, the demon Rakshasas, the Yakshas, the Pannagas -- tried to defeat Me, but none could make Me break My promise to My queen."

There is another promise by Krishna in Bhagavad-gita to the effect that His devotee will never be vanquished. So a sincere devotee who is always engaged in the transcendental loving service of the Lord should know for certain that Krishna will never break His promise. He will always protect His devotees in every circumstance.

Krishna showed how He fulfills His promise by delivering the parijata flower to Satyabhama, by saving Draupadi from being insulted and by freeing Arjuna from the attacks of all enemies.

The promise of Krishna that His devotees are never vanquished had also previously been admitted by Indra when he was defeated in the govardhana-lila. When Krishna stopped the villagers of Vraja (Vrindavana) from worshiping Indra, Indra became angry and therefore inundated Vrindavana with continuous rain. Krishna, however, protected all of the citizens and animals of Vrindavana by lifting Govardhana Hill, which served as an umbrella. After the incident was over, Indra surrendered to Krishna with many prayers, in which he admitted, "By Your lifting Govardhana Hill and protecting the citizens of Vrindavana, You have kept Your promise that Your devotees are never to be vanquished."

19. Expert Judge of Time and Circumstances

Krishna was very expert in dealing with people according to circumstances, country, time and paraphernalia. How He could take advantage of a particular time, circumstance and person is expressed by Him while talking to Uddhava about His rasa dance with the gopis. He says, "The most opportune time is the full-moon night in autumn, like tonight. The best place within the universe is Vrindavana, and the most beautiful girls are the gopis. So, My dear friend Uddhava, I think I should now take advantage of all these circumstances and engage Myself in the rasa dance."

20. Seer by the Authority of the Scriptures

A person who acts exactly according to the tenets of scripture is called sastra-cakshus. Sastra-cakshus means one who sees through the eyes of the authorized scriptures. Actually, any man of knowledge and experience should see everything through these books. For example, with our naked eye we perceive the sun globe simply as some glaring substance, but when we see through authorized books of science and other literature, we can understand how much greater the sun globe is than this earth and how powerful it is. So seeing things through the naked eye is not actually seeing. Seeing things through the authorized books or authorized teachers is the correct way to see. So, although Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead and can see all that is past, present and future, to teach the people in general He used to always refer to the scriptures. For example, in Bhagavad-gita, although Krishna was speaking as the supreme authority, He still mentioned and quoted Vedanta-sutra as authority. There is a statement in Srimad-Bhagavatam wherein a person jokingly says that Krishna, the enemy of Kamsa, is known as the seer through the sastras. In order to establish His authority, however, He is now engaged in seeing the gopis, whereby the gopis are becoming maddened.

21. Pure

There are two kinds of supreme purity. When one type is possessed, one is able to deliver a sinful person. When the other type is possessed, one does not do anything which is impure. A person who possesses either of these qualities is called supremely pure. Krishna is both; He can deliver all sinful conditioned souls, and at the same time, He never does anything by which He can be contaminated.

In this connection, Vidura, while trying to detach his elder brother, Dhritarashtra, from his familial attachments, said, "My dear brother, you just fix your mind on the lotus feet of Krishna, who is worshiped with beautiful, erudite verses by great sages and saintly persons. Krishna is the supreme deliverer among all deliverers. Undoubtedly there are great demigods like Lord Siva and Lord Brahma, but their positions as deliverers depend always upon the mercy of Krishna." Therefore Vidura advised his elder brother, Dhritarashtra, to concentrate his mind and worship only Krishna. If one simply chants the holy name of Krishna, this holy name will rise within one's heart like the powerful sun and will immediately dissipate all the darkness of ignorance. Vidura advised Dhritarashtra to therefore think always of Krishna, so that the volumes of contaminations due to sinful activities would be washed off immediately. In Bhagavad-gita also Krishna is addressed by Arjuna as param brahma param dhama pavitram [Bg. 10.12] -- the supreme pure. There are many other instances exhibiting Krishna's supreme purity.

22. Self-controlled

A person who can control his senses fully is called vasi, or self-controlled. In this connection it is stated in Srimad-Bhagavatam, "All the sixteen thousand wives of Krishna were so exquisitely beautiful that their smiling and shyness were able to captivate the minds of great demigods like Lord Siva. But still they could not even agitate the mind of Krishna, in spite of their attractive feminine behavior." Every one of the thousands of wives of Krishna was thinking that Krishna was captivated by her feminine beauty, but this was not the case. Krishna is therefore the supreme controller of the senses, and this is admitted in Bhagavad-gita, where He is addressed as Hrishikesa -- the master of the senses.

23. Steadfast

A person who continues to work until his desired goal is achieved is called steadfast.

There was a fight between Krishna and King Jambavan, and Krishna was to take the valuable Syamantaka jewel from the King. The King tried to hide himself in the forest, but Krishna would not become discouraged. Krishna finally got the jewel by seeking out the King with great steadfastness.

24. Forbearing

A person who tolerates all kinds of troubles, even though such troubles appear to be unbearable, is called forbearing.

When Krishna was residing at the place of His spiritual master, He did not mind taking all troubles in rendering service to His guru, although His body was very soft and delicate. It is the duty of the disciple to execute all services unto the spiritual master, despite all kinds of difficulties. The disciple living at the residence of the spiritual master has to go begging from door to door and bring everything back to the spiritual master. When prasada is being served, the spiritual master is supposed to call each and every disciple to come eat. If by chance the spiritual master forgets to call a disciple to partake of the prasada, it is enjoined in the scriptures that the student should fast on that day rather than accept food on his own initiative. There are many such strictures. Sometimes, also, Krishna went to the forest to collect dry wood for fuel.

25. Forgiving

A person who can tolerate all kinds of offenses from the opposite party is known to be forgiving.

Lord Krishna's forgiving quality is described in the Sisupala-vadha in connection with His forbidding the killing of Sisupala. King Sisupala was the monarch of the Cedi kingdom, and although he happened to be a cousin of Krishna's, he was always envious of Him. Whenever they would meet, Sisupala would try to insult Krishna and call Him ill names as much as possible. In the arena of the Rajasuya sacrifice of Maharaja Yudhishthira, when Sisupala began to call Lord Krishna ill names, Krishna did not care and remained silent. Some of the people at the arena were prepared to kill Sisupala, but Krishna restricted them. He was so forgiving. It is said that when there is a thundering sound in the clouds, the mighty lion immediately replies with his thundering roar. But the lion doesn't care when all the foolish jackals begin to make their less important sounds.

Sri Yamunacarya praises Krishna's power of forgiveness with the following statement: "My dear Lord Ramacandra, You are so merciful to have excused the crow's clawing on the nipples of Janaki simply because of his bowing down before You." Once Indra, the King of heaven, assumed the form of a crow and attacked Sita (Janaki), Lord Ramacandra's wife, by striking her on the breast. This was certainly an insult to the universal mother, Sita, and Lord Ramacandra was immediately prepared to kill the crow. But because later on the crow bowed down before the Lord, the Lord excused his offense. Sri Yamunacarya further says in his prayer that the forgiving power of Lord Krishna is even greater than that of Lord Ramacandra, because Sisupala was always in the habit of insulting Krishna -- not only in one lifetime, but continually throughout three lives. Still, Krishna was so kind that He gave Sisupala the salvation of merging into His existence. From this we can understand that the goal of the monist to merge into the effulgence of the Supreme is not a very difficult problem. Persons like Sisupala who are consistently inimical to Krishna can also get this liberation.

26. Grave

A person who does not express his mind to everyone, or whose mental activity and plan of action are very difficult to understand, is called grave. After Lord Sri Krishna had been offended by Brahma, Brahma prayed to Him to be excused. But in spite of his offering nice prayers to Krishna, Brahma could not understand whether Krishna was satisfied or still dissatisfied. In other words, Krishna was so grave that He did not take the prayers of Brahma very seriously. Another instance of Krishna's gravity is found in connection with His love affairs with Radharani. Krishna was always very silent about His love affairs with Radharani, so much so that Baladeva, Krishna's elder brother and constant companion, could not understand the transformations of Krishna on account of His gravity.

27. Self-satisfied

A person who is fully satisfied in himself, without any hankering, and who is not agitated even in the presence of serious cause for distress, is called self-satisfied.

An example of Krishna's self-satisfaction was exhibited when He, Arjuna and Bhima went to challenge Jarasandha, the formidable king of Magadha, and Krishna gave all credit to Bhima for the killing of Jarasandha. From this we can understand that Krishna never cares at all for fame, although no one can be more famous.

An example of His not being disturbed was shown when Sisupala began to call Him ill names. All the kings and brahmanas assembled at the sacrificial arena of Maharaja Yudhishthira became perturbed and immediately wanted to satisfy Krishna by offering nice prayers. But all these kings and brahmanas could not discover any disturbance in Krishna's person.

28. Possessing Equilibrium

A person who is unaffected by attachment and envy is said to possess equilibrium.

An example of Krishna's equilibrium is given in the Tenth Canto, Sixteenth Chapter, verse 33, of Srimad-Bhagavatam in connection with His chastising Kaliya, the hundred-headed serpent. While Kaliya was being severely punished, all of his wives appeared before the Lord and prayed as follows: "Dear Lord, You have descended to punish all kinds of demoniac living creatures. Our husband, this Kaliya, is a greatly sinful creature, and so Your punishment for him is quite appropriate. We know that Your punishment for Your enemies and Your dealings with Your sons are both the same. We know that it is in thinking of the future welfare of this condemned creature that You have chastised him."

In another prayer it is said, "My dear Lord Krishna, best of all the Kuru dynasty, You are so impartial that if even Your enemy is qualified, You will reward him; and if one of Your sons is a culprit, You will chastise him. This is Your business, because You are the supreme author of the universes. You have no partiality. If anyone finds any partiality in Your characteristics, he is surely mistaken."

29. Magnanimous

Any person who is very charitably disposed is called magnanimous.

When Krishna was reigning over Dvaraka, He was so magnanimous and charitably disposed that there was no limit to His charity. In fact, so great was His charity in Dvaraka that even the spiritual kingdom, with all of its opulence of cintamani (touchstone), desire trees and surabhi cows, was surpassed. In the spiritual kingdom of Lord Krishna, named Goloka Vrindavana, there are surabhi cows which give unlimited quantities of milk. There are desire trees from which anyone can take all kinds of fruits, as much as he may desire. The land is made of touchstone, which when touched to iron will transform it into gold. In other words, although in the spiritual kingdom, the abode of Krishna, everything is wonderfully opulent, still when Krishna was in Dvaraka His charity exceeded the opulences of Goloka Vrindavana. Wherever Krishna is present, the limitless opulence of Goloka Vrindavana is automatically present.

It is also stated that while Lord Krishna was living in Dvaraka, He expanded Himself into 16,108 forms, and each and every expansion resided in a palace with a queen. Not only was Krishna happily living with His queens in those palaces, but He was giving in charity from each palace an aggregate number of 13,054 cows completely decorated with nice clothing and ornaments. From each of Krishna's 16,108 palaces, these cows were being given in charity by Krishna every day. No one can estimate the value of such a large number of cows given in charity, but that was the system of Krishna's daily affairs while He was reigning in Dvaraka.

30. Religious

A person who personally practices the tenets of religion as they are enjoined in the sastras and who also teaches others the same principles is called religious. Simply professing a kind of faith is not a sign of religiousness. One must act according to religious principles, and by his personal example he should teach others. Such a person is to be understood as religious.

When Krishna was present on this planet, there was no irreligion. In this connection, Narada Muni once addressed Krishna jokingly, "My dear Lord of the cowherd boys, Your bulls [bulls are the representation of religion], while eating grass from the pasturing ground and moving on their four legs, have certainly eaten up all the grass of irreligion!" In other words, by the grace of Krishna, religious principles were so well cared for that hardly any irreligious activities could be found.

It is said that because Krishna was constantly performing various types of sacrifices and was inviting the demigods from the higher planetary systems, the demigods were almost always absent from their consorts. Therefore the wives of the demigods, regretting the absence of their husbands, began to pray for the appearance of Lord Buddha, Krishna's ninth incarnation, who appears in the age of Kali. In other words, instead of being pleased that Lord Krishna had come, they began to pray for Lord Buddha, who is the ninth incarnation, because Lord Buddha stopped the ritualistic ceremonies and sacrifices recommended in the Vedas in order to discourage animal-killing. The demigods' wives thought that if Lord Buddha appeared, all kinds of sacrifices would be stopped, and thus their husbands would not be invited to such ceremonies and would not be separated from them.

Sometimes it is inquired, "Why don't the demigods from higher planetary systems come to this earth planet nowadays?" The plain answer is that since Lord Buddha appeared and began to deprecate the performance of sacrifice in order to stop animal-killing on this planet, the process of offering sacrifices has been stopped, and the demigods do not care to come here anymore.

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His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Founder Acarya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness