09.30-31: Krishna’s love is unconditional yet conditional

by February 18, 2012

The Bhagavad-gita (9.30) urges us to recognize as saintly a devotee who, though guilty of grievous misconduct, is still determined to serve Krishna. The next verse (9.31) first assures that a devotee will soon get reformed and then proclaims that Krishna’s unfailing love will forever protect such a devotee.

The first verse offers a glimpse of the unconditional nature of Krishna’s love: there is nothing that we can ever do – be it virtuous or vicious – that can stop Krishna from loving us; he will forever act as our well wisher and benefactor, just as the sun forever gives illumination.

However, love can be unilateral, but a loving relationship can never be unilateral; it always has to be bilateral. If we neglect or reject Krishna’s love by busying ourselves in non-devotional or anti-devotional activities, then we paralyze our capacity to experience Krishna’s love, just as closing or blindfolding one’s eyes disables one’s capacity to see the sun’s illumination. So, Krishna’s love can be said to be conditional in the sense that we need to cultivate a certain condition of the heart to experience his love. That’s why the second verse indirectly urges us to return to a virtuous, devotional lifestyle by first unequivocally reassuring us that such a change is definitely possible, even inevitable, and then disarmingly arming us for the inner battle by declaring that all of Krishna’s omnipotence is there to back us up.

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