For many devotees in our movement, Krsna is anything but a friend. They do not dare to think in this direction. Some feel it is sahajiyaism, or taking things too lightly, while others think, “He is so far away and inaccessible. A friend is someone I can call with my smartphone or write a whatsapp to. Krsna is a friend? Is this just a swami-hype? How can we relate to this?” My dear devotees, you can only find peace in your life if you become aware that:
Krsna is your best friend and there are definite things you can do to establish a firm friendship with Krsna.
Let us look at the first point and how the acaryas (spiritual teachers) explain it and then discuss the second point. Srila Baladeva Vidya-bhusana cites the well-known line from Bhagavad-gita (5.29) suhrdam sarva-bhutanam – which describes Krsna as the good friend of all living entities in this world and comments that this means that Krsna is an unprejudiced wellwisher and He doesn’t judge you. He also has no place in His heart for the mistakes of His devotees. He is a true friend.
If you make a mistake, He will say “No problem, we are friends.” Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura says Krsna is such a friend that even though we are separated from Him and live in the material world, He gives us mercy through His devotees that walk this earth. In the Srimad-Bhagavatam (canto 11, ch. 29), Uddhava addresses Krsna as his dear friend and calls out to Him: “You have not forgotten the living entities, even if they have forgotten You. For this, transcendental poets have difficulty expressing their gratitude to You! You have proven Your dedication to the friendship to the soul in two ways: You accompany the soul as the Supersoul in the heart – a place that is closer to the soul than its own breath. You are always there – accessible – and if someone turns to You, You turn to him or her and give all facilities for advancement.
Secondly, You come as the instructing spiritual master.” As proof, Uddhava concludes: “Look, Krsna, You have not forgotten me, even though I wanted to forget You. You came with me, although I wanted to leave You. You are present in the heart as the most reliable friend.” In the Bhagavad-gita (5.29) the Lord says, “If you are conscious about our relationship and you see Me as your benefactor and wellwisher you attain peace from the pangs of material miseries.” My dear devotees, are you peaceful? Not always, isn’t it? It may be that you have not entered into a friendship with Krsna. We may have some relationship with Him – we visit Him on the altar, He is always there – but a friend is someone we take along on our experiences. If you have a friendship with Krsna and you turn to Him and He turns to you, you will become supremely peaceful. Everything will be alright.
What could happen with such a friend next to us? It is seen that when people are in a loving relationship, when they feel loved and secure in the support of that relationship, their resilience is very strong – this means they have inner strength and psychological security to deal with obstacles. On the other hand, if people feel alone and rejected by the world, others and God, they are weak inside and break easily. Therefore, the fact that we may need more inner strength can indicate that we don’t yet fully have that ultimate loving context to hold us. On his way to Vrndavana, Akrura was in a troubled state. A part of him thought, “I don’t know if Krsna will receive me.
To date, he has killed everyone who has been sent by Kamsa.” Then he had another thought, “Krsna is here in my heart as my best friend. He will understand me. He will look at me and He will know that on the inside I am His devotee although externally I’m engaged by a cruel king.” Later Akrura expressed his thoughts directly to Krsna: “What learned person would approach anyone but You for shelter, when You are the affectionate, grateful and truthful well-wisher of Your devotees? To those who worship You in sincere friendship, You reward everything they desire, even Your own self, yet You never increase or diminish.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam 10.48.26) Thus, Akrura praises three of Krsna’s qualities that make Him truly our best friend. First, He loves His devotees and is affectionate towards them; He has a soft spot for them. Second, He keeps His promises; devotees can utterly rely on Him.
Queen Kunti echoes this sentiment when she says that even if the sunshine were to become cold or the moonshine to become hot, Krsna’s promises will never fail. And third, Krsna is grateful for any little thing someone does for Him. How can we establish a friendship with Krsna? Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu quotes a verse from the Srimad-Bhagavatam (11.2.55) to explain how we can bind Krsna to our hearts. He says that chanting, even if it is done inattentively, binds the Lord to the devotee’s heart because Krsna likes to be praised, called upon and addressed with His Name. Krsna immediately comes to that person who calls upon Him to find out what they desire from Him.
This is His mercy to all of us here in Kali-yuga. So, kirtana and japa are the way to enter into our friendship with Krsna. Krsna wants to see our love! If you think “Krsna will never be my friend, I am too fallen” you are most probably right – Krsna will never enter a concrete relationship with you. But if you understand, “He is waiting for me! He is waiting for me to come back to Him! He is waiting for me to give me his mercy!” then you will do what is necessary to become His friend and that means you will chant with affection and you will no longer do your services mechanically but with a favorable intent to turn to Him. And He will reciprocate a million-fold.
I think it is time for us to go to Krsna and say “It is me again. I want to enter our relationship. Please accept me in Your service.” My dear devotees, if you take this step, if you conquer your false ego and give up your reserved attitude towards Krsna, please expect miracles to happen! You might find that He has been waiting for you all this time…
From a lecture by Sacinandana Swami in Buckland Hall (UK), Feb. 10, 2018.