07.19 – Krishna is everything, but everything is not Krishna
The Bhagavad-gita (7.19) states that those enriched by knowledge (jnanavan) surrender to Krishna, understanding him to be everything (vasudevah sarvam iti). Does this verse outline a naïve pantheism that sentimentally worships everything to be God? The negative answer is evident in the verse itself, because states explicitly that the wise people surrender to Krishna, not to everything. When they are clear that the object of their surrender is Krishna, not everything, then why do they consider Krishna to be everything? Because they have understood the subtle and sublime relationship between Krishna and his creation.
The Gita reveals that Krishna doesn’t delight in majestic aloofness from everything else, considering it below his imperial dignity to stoop down to contact anything. Instead, he acts as the source, sustenance and summit of everything so as to provide us a facility to re-orient our heart towards him. Everything that exists is an extension of his grace, an expression of his merciful desire to give us an opportunity to learn to love him again. Even the worldly beauty that often distracts us from him is ultimately meant to remind us of his supreme beauty. Even the harmful and dreadful things of this world are meant to redirect our love to him by serving as graphic reminders of the temporality of all other loves.
Gita wisdom illuminates us with the understanding of how to use everything for its ultimate intended function: to help us remember and serve and love Krishna. When we assimilate this wisdom, then we too realize that Krishna is everything, but everything is not Krishna.