Chapter 47: Compassion and Anger

Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Nectar of Devotion

When Kṛṣṇa entered the Yamunā River, which had become very poisonous from the presence of Kāliya, mother Yaśodā feared all kinds of mishaps, and she was breathing hotly. Tears from her eyes were soaking her clothes, and she was almost collapsing.

Similarly, when the Śańkhāsura demon was attacking Kṛṣṇa's queens one after another, Lord Baladeva became more and more bluish.

In the Haḿsadūta, the following incident is described. The gopīs requested Haḿsadūta to search after the marks of Kṛṣṇa's lotus feet and to accept them as Lord Brahmā had accepted them on his helmet after he had stolen all Kṛṣṇa's cowherd boys. Regretting his challenge to Kṛṣṇa, Lord Brahmā had bowed down before the Lord, and his helmet became marked with the footprints of Kṛṣṇa. The gopīs reminded Haḿsadūta that sometimes even the great sage Nārada becomes very ecstatic by seeing these footprints, and sometimes great liberated sages also aspire to see them. "You should therefore seek very enthusiastically to find the footprints of Kṛṣṇa," they urged. This is another instance of devotional service in compassion.

There is an instance when Sahadeva, the younger brother of Nakula, became greatly gladdened at seeing the effulgent glowing of Kṛṣṇa's footprints. He began to cry and call out, "Mother Mādrī! Where are you now? Father Pāṇḍu! Where are you now? I am very sorry that you are not here to see these footprints of Kṛṣṇa!" This is another instance of devotional service in compassion.

In devotional service without strong attraction to the Lord, there may sometimes be smiling and other symptoms, but never the stress or lamentation that are symptoms of devotional service in compassion. The basic principle of this compassion is always ecstatic love. The apprehension of some mishap to Kṛṣṇa or to His beloved queens, as exhibited by Baladeva and Yudhiṣṭhira, has been explained above. This apprehension is due not exactly to their ignorance of the inconceivable potencies of Kṛṣṇa but to their intense love for Him. This kind of apprehension of some mishap to Kṛṣṇa first of all becomes manifested as an object of lamentation, but gradually it develops into such compassionate loving ecstasy that it turns to another channel and gives transcendental pleasure.


In ecstatic loving service to Kṛṣṇa in anger, Kṛṣṇa is always the object. In Vidagdha-mādhava, Second Act, verse 37, Lalitā-gopī expressed her anger, which was caused by Kṛṣṇa, when she addressed Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī thus: "My dear friend, my inner desires have been polluted. Therefore I shall go to the place of Yamarāja. But I am sorry to see that Kṛṣṇa has still not given up His smiling over cheating You. I do not know how You could repose all Your loving propensities upon this lusty young boy from the neighborhood of the cowherds."

After seeing Kṛṣṇa, Jaratī sometimes said, "O You thief of young girls' properties! I can distinctly see the covering garment of my daughter-in-law on Your person." Then she cried very loudly, addressing all the residents of Vṛndāvana to inform them that this son of King Nanda was setting fire to the household life of her daughter-in-law.

Similar ecstatic love for Kṛṣṇa in anger was expressed by Rohiṇī-devī when she heard the roaring sound of the two falling arjuna trees to which Kṛṣṇa had been tied. The whole neighborhood proceeded immediately toward the place where the accident had taken place, and Rohiṇī-devī took the opportunity to rebuke mother Yaśodā as follows: "You may be very expert in giving lessons to your son by binding Him with rope, but don't you look to see if your son is in a dangerous spot? The trees are falling on the ground, and He is simply loitering there!" This expression of Rohiṇī-devī's anger toward Yaśodā is an example of ecstatic love in anger caused by Kṛṣṇa.

Once, while Kṛṣṇa was in the pasturing ground with His cowherd boys, His friends requested Him to go to the Tālavana forest, where Gardabhāsura, a disturbing demon in the shape of an ass, resided. The friends of Kṛṣṇa wanted to eat the fruit from the forest trees, but they could not go because of fear of the demon. Thus they requested Kṛṣṇa to go there and kill Gardabhāsura. After Kṛṣṇa did this, they all returned home, and their report of the day's activity perturbed mother Yaśodā because Kṛṣṇa had been sent alone into such danger in the Tālavana forest. Thus she looked upon the boys with anger.

There is another instance of anger on the part of a friend of Rādhārāṇī's. When Rādhārāṇī was dissatisfied with the behavior of Kṛṣṇa and had stopped talking with Him, Kṛṣṇa was very sorry for Rādhārāṇī's great dissatisfaction, and in order to beg forgiveness, He fell down at Her lotus feet. But even after this, Rādhārāṇī was not satisfied, and She did not talk with Kṛṣṇa. At that time, one of Her friends chastised Her in the following words: "My dear friend, You are allowing Yourself to be churned by the rod of dissatisfaction, so what can I say unto You? The only advice I can give You is that You had better leave this scene immediately, because Your misbehavior is giving me too much pain. I cannot bear to see Your behavior, because even though Kṛṣṇa's peacock feather has touched Your feet, You still appear to be red-faced."

The above attitudes of dissatisfaction and anger in devotional service are called īrṣyu.

When Akrūra was leaving Vṛndāvana, some of the elderly gopīs rebuked him as follows: "O son of Gāndinī, your cruelty is defaming the dynasty of King Yadu. You are taking Kṛṣṇa away, keeping us in such a pitiable condition without Him. Now, even before you have left, the life air of all the gopīs has practically disappeared."

When Kṛṣṇa was insulted by Śiśupāla in the assembly of the Rājasūya yajña convened by Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira, there was a great turmoil among the Pāṇḍavas and Kurus, involving grandfather Bhīṣma. At that time Nakula said with great anger, "Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and the nails of His toes are beautified by the light emanating from the jeweled helmets of the authorities of the Vedas. If He is derided by anyone, I declare herewith as a Pāṇḍava that I will kick his helmet with my left foot and I will strike him with my arrows, which are as good as yama-daṇḍa, the scepter of Yamarāja!" This is an instance of ecstatic love for Kṛṣṇa in anger.

In such a transcendental angry mood sometimes sarcastic remarks, unfavorable glances and insulting words are exhibited. Sometimes there are other symptoms, like rubbing of the two hands, clacking of the teeth, clamping of the lips, moving of the eyebrows, scratching of the arms, lowering of the head, rapid breathing, uttering of strong words, nodding of the head, yellowishness at the corners of the eyes, and trembling lips. Sometimes the eyes turn red, and sometimes they fade. And there are sometimes chastisement and silence. All these symptoms of anger may be divided into two parts: constitutional and unconstitutional, or permanent and temporary symptoms. Sometimes great emotion, bewilderment, pride, frustration, illusion, impotence, jealousy, dexterity, negligence and signs of hard labor are also manifest as unconstitutional symptoms.

In all these humors of ecstatic love, the feeling of anger is accepted as the steady factor.

When Jarāsandha angrily attacked the city of Mathurā, he looked at Kṛṣṇa with sarcastic glances. At that time Baladeva took up His plow weapon and gazed upon Jarāsandha with colored eyes.

There is a statement in the Vidagdha-mādhava wherein Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, in an angry mood, addressed Her mother, Paurṇamāsī, after she had accused Rādhārāṇī of going to Kṛṣṇa. "My dear mother," Rādhā declared, "what can I say to you? Kṛṣṇa is so cruel that He often attacks Me on the street, and if I want to cry out very loudly, this boy with a peacock feather on His head immediately covers My face so that I cannot cry. And if I want to go away from the scene because I am afraid of Him, He will immediately spread His arms to block My path. If I piteously fall down at His feet, then this enemy of the Madhu demon, in an angry mood, bites My face! Mother, just try to understand My situation, and don't be unnecessarily angry with Me. Instead, please tell Me how I can save Myself from these terrible attacks of Kṛṣṇa!"

Sometimes among contemporary personalities there are signs of ecstasy in anger because of love for Kṛṣṇa. An example of such anger was exhibited in a quarrel between Jaṭilā and Mukharā. Jaṭilā was the mother-in-law of Rādhārāṇī, and Mukharā was Her great-grandmother. Both of them were talking about Kṛṣṇa's unnecessary harassment of Rādhārāṇī when She was walking on the street. Jaṭilā said, "You cruel-faced Mukharā! By hearing your words my heart feels like it is burning in a fire!" And Mukharā replied, "You sinful Jaṭilā, by hearing your words, there is aching in my head! You cannot give any evidence that Kṛṣṇa has attacked Rādhārāṇī, the daughter of my granddaughter Kīrtidā."

Once, when Rādhārāṇī was taking off the necklace given to Her by Kṛṣṇa, Jaṭilā, her mother-in-law, told a friend, "My dear friend, just see the beautiful necklace that Kṛṣṇa has presented to Rādhārāṇī. She is now holding it, but still She wants to tell us that She has no connection with Kṛṣṇa. This girl's activities have disgraced our whole family!"

Natural jealousy of Kṛṣṇa by persons like Śiśupāla cannot be accepted as ecstatic love in anger with Kṛṣṇa.

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