The Lord's Special Mercy

Hare Krishna Prabhujis and Matajis,
My humble pranams to all devotees, All glories to Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva.

The following is a short story from the Mahabharat illustrating the mercy and kindness of Lord Krishna. When the Kurukshetra battle was over, Lord Krishna bade farewell to the Pandavas and went to Dwaraka. While on his way he met his old brahmana friend Utanga. Krishna stopped and descended from his chariot and saluted the brahmana. Utanga returned the greeting and proceeded to make the usual inquiries about the health and welfare of relatives. He asked whether Krishna's cousins the Pandavas and Kauravas love one another as brothers should and whether they are well and flourishing. The innocent recluse had not heard about the great battle that had been fought. The Lord was astounded by this question and for a while, He stood silent not knowing what to say in reply. He then softly disclosed what had happened, about how a great battle had been fought and almost all the Kauravas had been exterminated. On hearing the narrative Utanga became very angry. He told Krishna that He had failed in His duties and asked Him to be prepared to receive his curse.

In reply, the Lord just smiled asking him not to use up the fruits of his great penances. He then proceeded to show Utanga his Visvarupa form and explain to him the message of the Bhagavad Gita just as He had done to Arjuna. After this explanation of Krishna, Utanga recovered his calm and the Lord was pleased. He told the brahmana to ask for any boon he desired to which the brahmana said that he did not desire anything as he had seen the Lord's Universal form. When Krishna insisted, Utanga said that he should be able to find water whenever he might feel thirsty. The Lord thus blessed him and went on His way.

Later when Utanga was passing through a desert he felt very thirsty and remembered the boon he had received. He decided to make use of that boon. At the same moment, a nishada (shudra) appeared before him clothed in rags; he had five hunting hounds(dogs) in leash and a water bag strapped to his shoulder. He offered the bamboo spout of his water skin to the brahmana to drink from. Utanga looked at the man in disgust and told him he wasn't thirsty and asked him to go. Saying this he reproached the Lord in his mind for the kind of boon He had given him.

The outcaste pressed Utanga over and over again to quench his thirst, but it only made Utanga more and more angry and he refused to drink. The outcaste then disappeared. Seeing this strange disappearance of the nishada the brahmana reflected, "Who was this? He could not have been a real nishada. It was certainly a test and I blundered miserably. I rejected the water offered by the outcaste and proved myself to be an arrogant fool."

Utanga was in great anguish when a moment later Madhava Himself appeared before him with conch and discus.

"O Purushottama!, exclaimed Utanga, "Was it right of You to send an outcaste offer unclean water to a brahmana like me? Was this kind?", asked Utanga. He spoke in bitter tones.

To him, the Lord replied smiling, "O Utanga! for your sake I asked Indra to take amrita and give it to you as water. He said he would on no account give nectar to a mortal. But I prevailed upon him and he agreed to do so only if I allowed him to test you in the form of a chandala. I accepted the challenge believing you had attained that stage of understanding. But you have and made me suffer defeat at Indra's hands."

Although the Brahmana asked the Lord only for water, the Lord gave him nectar out of His causeless mercy. The Lord always cares for us more than we do for ourselves. We just need to have the vision to understand His mercy. A nice verse from Srimad Bhagavatam 5.19.27 highlights this point nicely:

satyaṁ diśaty arthitam arthito nṛṇāṁ
naivārthado yat punar arthitā yataḥ
svayaṁ vidhatte bhajatām anicchatām
icchāpidhānaṁ nija-pāda-pallavam

The Supreme Personality of Godhead fulfills the material desires of a devotee who approaches Him with such motives, but He does not bestow benedictions upon the devotee that will cause him to demand more benedictions again. However, the Lord willingly gives the devotee shelter at His own lotus feet, even though such a person does not aspire for it, and that shelter satisfies all his desires. That is the Supreme Personality's special mercy.

Thank you very much.
Yours in service of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva,
Kailash Ramakrishnan

Moderator's Note: Kailash Prabhuji is the elder son of HG Purna Prajna Prabhu, an active member of Abu Dhabi congregation. Kailash is doing his Bachelor of Engineering in one of the colleges in Chennai. It is a great pleasure to see the younger generation devotees playing an active role in Granthraj. As Maharaj very often says, "These younger generation kids are not only steadfast in devotion but are also shrewd in their studies." My sincere thanks to every one of you.