Chapter 24: Further Traits of Śrī Kṛṣṇa

Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Nectar of Devotion

It is said that a person is great if he is decorated with the qualities of being very merciful toward the unfortunate, very powerful, superior, chivalrous, enthusiastic, expert and truthful. These decorations were manifested in the character of Kṛṣṇa during His govardhana-līlā. At that time the whole tract of land in Vṛndāvana was being disturbed by the rains sent by Indra, as described elsewhere. At first Kṛṣṇa thought, "Let Me retaliate against this vengeance of Indra by destroying his heavenly kingdom," but later on, when He thought of the insignificance of the King of heaven, Kṛṣṇa changed His mind and felt merciful toward Indra. No one is able to tolerate the wrath of Kṛṣṇa, so instead of retaliating against Indra, He simply showed His compassion for His friends in Vṛndāvana by lifting the whole of Govardhana Hill to protect them.


When a person is seen to be always happy and is accustomed to speak smilingly, he is considered to be in the mode of enjoyment. This trait was found in Kṛṣṇa when He appeared at the sacrificial arena of King Kaḿsa. It is described that the lotus-eyed Kṛṣṇa entered among the wrestlers without being impolite to them, glanced over them with determination and seemed to them just like an elephant attacking some plants. Even while speaking to them, Kṛṣṇa was still smiling, and in this way He stood valiantly upon the wrestling dais.


When one's characteristics are very sweet and desirable, his personality is called pleasing. An example of Kṛṣṇa's pleasing nature is thus described in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam: "One day while Kṛṣṇa was awaiting the arrival of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī by the bank of the Yamunā, He began to make a garland of kadamba flowers. In the meantime, Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī appeared there, and at that time Murāri [Kṛṣṇa], the enemy of Mura, glanced over Rādhārāṇī very sweetly."


Any person who is reliable in all circumstances is called dependable. In this connection Rūpa Gosvāmī says that even the demons were relying upon the dependability of Kṛṣṇa, because they were confident that Kṛṣṇa would never attack them without due cause. Therefore, with faith and confidence, they used to live with their doors wide open. And the demigods, although afraid of the demons, were confident of the protection of Kṛṣṇa. Therefore, even in the midst of danger they were engaged in sportive activities. Persons who had never undergone the reformatory ritualistic ceremonies of the Vedas were confident that Kṛṣṇa would accept only faith and devotion, and so they were engaged in Kṛṣṇa consciousness and were freed from all anxieties. In other words, all kinds of men, from the demigods down to the uncultured, can rely on the causeless mercy of the Supreme Lord.


A person who is not disturbed even in a situation of reverses is called steady. This steadiness was observed in Kṛṣṇa in connection with His chastising the demon known as Bāṇa. The Bāṇa demon had many hands, and Kṛṣṇa was cutting off these hands one after another. This Bāṇa was a great devotee of Lord Śiva and the goddess Durgā. Thus, when Bāṇa was being chastised, Lord Śiva and Durgā became very furious at Kṛṣṇa. But Kṛṣṇa did not care for them.


A person who can affect the mind of everyone is called predominating. As far as Kṛṣṇa's predomination is concerned, in the Tenth Canto, Forty-third Chapter, verse 17, of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Kṛṣṇa is described thus by Śukadeva Gosvāmī to King Parīkṣit: "My dear King, Kṛṣṇa is a thunderbolt to the wrestlers; to the common man He is the most beautiful human being; to the young girls He is just like Cupid; to the cowherd men and women He is the most intimate relative; to the impious kings He is the supreme ruler; to His parents, Nanda and Yaśodā, He is just a baby; to Kaḿsa, the King of Bhoja, He is death personified; to the dull and stupid He is just like a stone; to the yogīs He is the Supreme Absolute Truth; and to the Vṛṣṇis He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In such a predominating position, Kṛṣṇa appeared in that arena along with His older brother, Balarāma." When Kṛṣṇa, the reservoir of all mellows, was present in the arena of Kaḿsa, He appeared differently to the different persons who were related to Him in different mellows. It is stated in Bhagavad-gītā that He appears to every person according to one's relationship with Him.

Sometimes learned scholars describe "predominating" to mean a person intolerant of being neglected. This peculiarity in Kṛṣṇa was visible when Kaḿsa was insulting Mahārāja Nanda. Vasudeva was asking Kṛṣṇa's assistance in killing Kaḿsa, and Kṛṣṇa was glancing over Kaḿsa with longing eyes, just like a prostitute, and was just preparing to jump at the King.

Meticulous Dresser

A person who is very fond of dressing himself is called lalita, or a meticulous dresser. This characteristic was found in Kṛṣṇa in two ways: sometimes He used to decorate Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī with various marks, and sometimes, when He was preparing to kill demons like Ariṣṭāsura, He would take care to arrange His belt very nicely.


Persons who can give themselves to anyone are called magnanimous. No one could be more magnanimous than Kṛṣṇa, because He is always prepared to give Himself completely to His devotee. Even to one who is not a devotee, Kṛṣṇa in His form of Lord Caitanya is prepared to give Himself and to grant deliverance.

Although Kṛṣṇa is independent of everyone, out of His causeless mercy He is dependent upon Garga Ṛṣi for religious instruction; for learning the military art He is dependent upon Sātyaki; and for good counsel He is dependent upon His friend Uddhava.

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