„Don't you recognize Me? I am your eternal friend. Can't you remember that in the past you had a very intimate friend? Unfortunately, you gave up My company and accepted a position as enjoyer of this material world. Both you and I are exactly like two swans. We live together in the same heart, which is just like the Mānasa Lake. Although we have been living together for many thousands of years, we are still far away from our original home.“ 1 These are the words of the unknown friend who appears as a brahmana in front of Puranjana.
In the course of my Bhagavatam studies here in Vrindavana, we are currently going through the allegorical narration of Puranjana. It is actually our story, the story of the conditioned soul.
Narada Muni instructs King Pracinabarhi in such an amazing, complex and most wonderful way that whatever he describes has a double meaning. The story begins with a King who searches for a place to stay (the conditioned Soul who wanders through many species of life, trying to find happiness). The King, named Puranjana, then finds a city with nine gates ( a human body which has nine holes). He then falls in love, in a garden, with a beautiful woman (material intelligence) who promises him to enjoy in the city for a hundred years. In this way, a whole lifespan and even reincarnation and taking up to spiritual life are described. Towards the end of the story, a brahmana appears to Puruanjana, who now was reborn as a woman named Vaidharhi.
That Brahmana is actually the Lord, the Paramatma, who reminds him of their eternal relationship: „The appearance of an old friend in the form of a brāhmaṇa is very significant. In His Paramātmā feature, Kṛṣṇa is the old friend of everyone. (..) The original home of the living entity and the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the spiritual world. Since the living entity remains engaged in the service of the Lord, they both share a blissful life in the spiritual world. However, when the living entity wants to enjoy himself, he falls down into the material world. Even while he is in that position, the Lord remains with him as the Supersoul, his intimate friend.“ 2
Studying this section of the Bhagavatam really made me reflect on my relationship with Krishna in His form as Paramatma.
First of all, how amazing is it that Krishna has been our friend since time immemorial? And although we have turned our face away from Him, He is still with us, just patiently waiting for us to come back. In this world, if we start to ignore someone, insult someone and neglect someone, we will lose this friendship. That person will feel hurt and, at some point, will just quit the friendship. But Krishna is such a friend, that although we have neglected Him since so many thousands and millions of lifetimes, He is still there accompanying us in whatever form of life we accept. Isn`t that amazing? Krishna is truly suhṛdaṁ sarva-bhūtānāṁ, our well-wishing friend. Understanding this fact, why do I still hesitate to develop my relationship with Him? How is it, that I still have doubts that He is actually the true Object of Love and no one else in this world?
And besides that, the fact that the Lord is with us, described herein as two swans swimming in the same lake, or sometimes compared to two birds sitting on the same branch of a tree, makes it obvious that the Lord is very close to us. We may think that „I am so fallen, I am so far away from God“, and that's certainly true in some way. But on the other hand, no one is as close to us than the Lord, He is right there. In other words, it is not so difficult to turn towards God. It is not so difficult to re-establish our relationship with the Lord, because He is just there, right next to us.
And it also means that we are never alone, ever! Krishna is always right there. He knows our heart, He knows our every thought, every feeling and has just one desire, which is that we again turn towards Him. Krishna has so much love for us that He never gives up the hope that we will one day again choose to become His servant instead of trying to enjoy in this world independently.
What a wonderful friend! Such a pity that He is unknown to us, but we can change that. He can become our most intimate friend again. Oh, Krishna, when will I sincerely turn again towards You?
1 - Srimad Bhagavatam 4.28.52-54
2 - Srimad Bhagavatam 4.28.51/54, Purport