09.29: Krishna is impartially partial

by January 18, 2012

The Bhagavad-gita (9.29) states two paradoxical features of Krishna’s nature:

  1. He is equal to all and does not consider anyone to be an object of aversion or affection.
  2. For those who worship him with devotion, he offers himself to them and they offer themselves to him.

These two features suggest that Krishna is both partial and impartial. How can that be? The key to understand Krishna is to remember that he is not just an impersonal principle, but a sentient person. Being a person, Krishna is neither neutral, nor partial; he is reciprocal. When we try to avoid Krishna, he reciprocates by not interfering in our lives and lets us stay under the supervision of the impartial law of karma. When we try to love Krishna, he reciprocates by showering his love on us and intervening to take special care of us.

If Krishna exhibited a stone-like neutrality towards all, there would be hardly any possibility to develop a relationship with him. How many people can sing songs about their love for a stone? If Krishna had not been reciprocal, love for him would have remained mostly an abstract intellectual conception. It is Krishna’s reciprocity that makes his personality emotionally tangible and eminently lovable. It is Krishna’s reciprocity that makes love for him real.

As Krishna is reciprocal, he is indeed partial to his devotees. But as he is universally reciprocal, he allows anyone to become his devotee and thereby benefit from his partiality.

Thus, Krishna is impartially partial: he impartially opens the doors to partiality for everyone.


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