04.14 – Seek to know Krishna not theoretically but transformationally
Many Bhagavad-gita readers are puzzled by its repeated declarations that knowledge about Krishna grants liberation: “So many people know Krishna, but they aren’t liberated. Are such glorifications for real?”
Yes, they are. However, the knowledge about Krishna that they refer to is not theoretical but transformational.
To understand, let’s look at a specific eulogy. The Gita (04.14) asserts that those who understand Krishna’s transcendental position – how he is neither affected by worldly work (karma) nor attracted to its result – become free from karmic bondage. Normally, all our actions have these two motivations – an inner desire to feel better and outer desire to make things better. If Krishna doesn’t act due to either of these motivations, then what motivates him?
Love – pure, perfect, perennial love.
Krishna’s love is not selfish, but selfless; not flickering, but forever; not material, but spiritual. It is entirely outside the ambit of karma. Only when we understand his all-loving nature do we actually understand him. And that understanding is so dramatically, profoundly, completely transformational that it invites, inspires, impels us to redirect our love from worldly things to him. When we thus choose to love him and become accomplished in that love, all our actions become selflessly motivated, as are Krishna’s. They rise above the arena of karma and propel us towards supreme liberation. This doesn’t happen for those who know Krishna theoretically as a historical or mythological person.
Significantly, when we know Krishna as the ultimate transcendental person, our love-inspired actions help us feel better – we become enriched by his remembrance, grace and love. And our actions also help us make things better – we become channels of his omnibenevolent wisdom, empowering others through our example and words for making good choices.
Thus is knowledge about Krishna transformational – sweetly, sublimely, supremely transformational.
There is no work that affects Me; nor do I aspire for the fruits of action. One who understands this truth about Me also does not become entangled in the fruitive reactions of work.