Reverential Devotion of Sons and Other Subordinates
True reverential devotion is exhibited by persons who think themselves subordinate to Krsna and by persons who think themselves sons of Krsna. The best examples of this subordination are Sarana, Gada and Subhadra. They were all members of the Yadu dynasty, and they always used to think themselves protected by Krsna. Similarly, Krsna's sons, such as Pradyumna, Carudesna, and Samba, felt the same way. Krsna had many sons in Dvaraka. He begot ten sons by each of His 16,108 queens, and all of these sons, headed by Pradyumna, Carudesna and Samba, used to think themselves always protected by Krsna. When Krsna's sons dined with Him, they would sometimes open their mouths for Krsna to feed them. Sometimes when Krsna would pat one of His sons, the son would sit on Krsna's lap, and while Krsna was blessing the son's head by smelling it, the others would shed tears, thinking how many pious activities he must have performed in his previous life. Out of Krsna's many sons, Pradyumna, a son of Krsna's chief queen, Rukmini, is considered the leader. Pradyumna's bodily features resemble Krsna's exactly. Pure devotees of Krsna glorify Pradyumna because he is so fortunate: like father like son.
There is a description in the Hari-vamsa of Pradyumna's activities when he kidnapped Prabhavati. Pradyumna addressed Prabhavati at that time and said: "My dear Prabhavati, just look at the head of our family, Sri Krsna: He is Visnu Himself, the supreme driver of Garuda, and He is our supreme master. Because we have become so proud and confident of His protecting us, we sometimes do not even care about fighting with Tripurari [Lord Siva]."
There are two kinds of devotees engaged in devotional service with awe and veneration, and the servitors in the abode of Dvaraka always worship Krsna as the most respectable and revered Personality of Godhead. They are captivated by Krsna because of His super-excellent opulences. The members who always thought themselves protected by Krsna could readily convert their conviction into practical demonstration, because it was sometimes found that the sons of Krsna acted very unlawfully in various places. Nonetheless they were given full protection by Krsna and Balarama.
Even Balarama, the elder brother of Krsna, sometimes unknowingly offered respect to Him. Once when Krsna came before Lord Balarama, Krsna was anxious to offer His respects to His elder brother, but at that time Balarama's club was lowered down upon Krsna's lotus feet. In other words, the club in Balarama's hand offered its own respects to Krsna. These feelings of subordination, as explained above, are sometimes manifested as anubhava.
When demigods from the heavenly planets came to Sri Krsna, all of Krsna's sons followed them, and Lord Brahma sprinkled water from his kamandalu upon them. When the demigods came before Krsna, instead of sitting on golden chairs, the sons sat down on the floor, which was covered with deerskin.
Sometimes the behavior of Krsna's sons appears similar to the behavior of His personal servants. For example, the sons used to offer their obeisances, they were silent, submissive and gentle, and they were always ready to carry out Krsna's orders, even at the risk of life. When present before Krsna, they bowed down on the ground. They were very silent and steady, and they used to restrain coughing and laughing before the Lord. Also, they never discussed Krsna's pastimes in conjugal love. In other words, devotees who are engaged in reverential devotional service should not discuss the conjugal love affairs of Krsna. No one should claim his eternal relationship with Krsna unless he is liberated. In the conditioned state of life, the devotees have to execute the prescribed duties as recommended in the codes of devotional service. When one is mature in devotional service and is a realized soul, he can know his own eternal relationship with Krsna. One should not artificially try to establish some relationship. In the premature stage it is sometimes found that a lusty, conditioned person will artificially try to establish some relationship with Krsna in conjugal love. The result of this is that one becomes prakrta-sahajiya, or one who takes everything very cheaply. Although such persons may be very anxious to establish a relationship with Krsna in conjugal love, their conditioned life in the material world is still most abominable. A person who has actually established his relationship with Krsna can no longer act on the material plane, and his personal character cannot be criticized.
When Cupid came on one occasion to visit Lord Krsna, some devotee addressed him thus: "My dear Cupid, because you have been so fortunate as to have placed your eyesight on the lotus feet of Krsna, the drops of perspiration on your body have become frozen, and they resemble kantaki fruits [a kind of small fruit found in thorny bushes]." These are signs of ecstasy and veneration unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead. When the princes of the Yadu dynasty heard the vibration of Krsna's Pancajanya conchshell, the hairs on their bodies immediately stood up in ecstatic jubilation. It seemed at that time that all the hairs on the bodies of the princes were dancing in ecstasy.
In addition to jubilation, there are sometimes symptoms of disappointment. Pradyumna once addressed Samba with these words: "My dear Samba, you are such a glorified personality! I have seen that once when you were playing on the ground, your body became covered with dust; yet, our father, Lord Krsna, still took you up on His lap. But I am so unfortunate that I could never get such love from our father!" This statement is an example of disappointment in love.
To regard Krsna as one's superior is called reverential feeling, and when, in addition to this, a devotee feels that Krsna is his protector, his transcendental love for Krsna is increased, and his combined feelings are called reverential devotion. When this steady reverential devotion increases further, it is called love of Godhead in reverential devotion. Attraction and affection are two prominent symptoms of this stage. In this reverential devotional attitude, Pradyumna never talked to his father in a loud voice. In fact, he never so much as unlocked the lips of his mouth, nor did he ever show his face filled with tears. He would always glance only at the lotus feet of his father.
There is another example of steady and fixed love for Krsna in the instance of Arjuna's informing Him of the death of Arjuna's son, Abhimanyu, who was also the nephew of Krsna. Abhimanyu was the son of Subhadra, Krsna's younger sister. He was killed at the Battle of Kuruksetra by the combined efforts of all the commanders in King Duryodhana's army-namely, Karna, Asvatthama, Jayadratha, Bhisma, Krpacarya and Dronacarya. In order to assure Krsna that there was no change of love on Subhadra's part, Arjuna informed Him: "Although Abhimanyu was killed almost in Your presence, Subhadra's love for You is not agitated at all, nor has it even slightly changed its original color."
The affection that Krsna has for His devotees was expressed by Himself when He asked Pradyumna not to feel so bashful before Him. He addressed Pradyumna thus: "My dear boy, just give up your inferiority complex, and do not hang your neck. Just talk with Me in a clear voice, and do not shed tears. You can look straight at Me, and you can place your hands on My body without any hesitation. There is no need of exhibiting so much reverence before your father."
Pradyumna's attachment for Krsna was always exhibited by his action. Whenever he was ordered by his father to execute something, he would immediately execute the order, taking the task as nectarean even though it may have been poison. Similarly, whenever he would find something to be disapproved of by his father, he would immediately reject it as poison, even though it may have been nectarean.
Pradyumna's attachment in anxiety for Krsna was expressed when he said to his wife Rati: "The enemy, Sambara, is already killed. Now I am very anxious to see my father, who is my spiritual master and who always carries the conchshell known as Pancajanya." Pradyumna felt great separation from Krsna when He was absent from Dvaraka at the battlefield of Kuruksetra. He said, "Since my father has left Dvaraka, I do not take much pleasure in practicing fighting, nor am I interested in any kind of sporting pastimes. And what need is there to speak of these things? I do not even wish to stay at Dvaraka in the absence of my father."
When Pradyumna came back home after killing the Sambarasura, and as soon as he saw his father, Krsna, before him, he became so overjoyed that he himself could not understand his joy on that occasion. This is an instance of success in separation. A similar satisfaction was observed when Krsna returned from the battlefield of Kuruksetra to His home at Dvaraka. All of His sons were so overjoyed that, out of ecstasy, they repeatedly made many mistakes. These mistakes were a sign of complete satisfaction.
Every day Pradyumna looked over Krsna's lotus feet with tears in his eyes. These signs of reverential devotion on the part of Pradyumna can be described in the same way they have been described in the case of other devotees.
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