09.18: Krishna is a coach, not a critic
The Bhagavad-gita (9.18) states that Krishna is present in the hearts of all of us as the witness. The word ‘witness’ often conjures the image of a person who gives testimony to prove the culpability of a wrongdoer. However, this negative connotation doesn’t apply to Krishna, because he is present in our hearts not to catch us doing wrong, but to coach us in doing right. Krishna does indeed witness all our deeds – many of which, sadly, happen to be misdeeds. Naturally, then the knowledge of Krishna’s indwelling presence may frighten some of us, but actually it should reassure us because Krishna witnesses our deeds with compassion, not cynicism.
If while walking on a dark street we came to know that a policeman was witnessing us, that knowledge would make us fearful only if we had intended to break the law. But if we had intended to honor the law, then that knowledge of the policeman’s presence would have made us fearless. In fact, that knowledge would make us feel not only reassured but also empowered – all the more so if a habitual law-breaker had been tempting or threatening us into breaking the law.
Similarly, while walking in the dark material existence, the knowledge that Krishna is witnessing us will make us fearful only if we intend to violate Krishna’s injunctions. But if we intend to honor his injunctions, then the knowledge of his presence will make us fearless. In fact, that knowledge will make us feel not only reassured but also empowered – all the more so because the habitually godless mind is always tempting and threatening us into violating Krishna’s guidelines.
Krishna is ever-ready not to blame us whenever we succumb to our mind, but to bolster us whenever we fight the mind. He is not a critic for whom we are an object of cold analysis. He is a coach for whom we are all objects of his warm affection. After all, he loves us.