Does God Have Favorites

Srimad Bhagavatam 10.61.07-12 - Does God Have Favorites (download mp3) and (download mp4)
by Chaitanya Charan Prabhu at ISKCON Chowpatty

SB 10.60.7
vala-vyajanam adaya
 ratna-dandam sakhi-karat
tena vijayati devi
 upasam cakra isvaram

From her maidservant’s hand Goddess Rukmini took a yak-hair fan with a jeweled handle, and then she began to worship her master by fanning Him.

SB 10.60.8
sopacyutam kvanayati mani-nupurabhyam
 reje ’nguliya-valaya-vyajanagra-hasta
 bhasa nitamba-dhrtaya ca parardhya-kaƱcya

Her hand adorned with rings, bangles and the camara fan, Queen Rukmini looked resplendent standing near Lord Krsna. Her jeweled ankle-bells tinkled, and her necklace glittered, reddened by the kunkuma from her breasts, which were covered by the end of her sari. On her hips she wore a priceless belt.

Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti points out that as Queen Rukmini fanned her Lord with broad strokes, the jewels and gold on her beautiful limbs resounded with her effort.

SB 10.60.9
tam rupinim sriyam ananya-gatim niriksya
 ya lilaya dhrta-tanor anurupa-rupa
pritah smayann alaka-kundala-niska-kantha-
 vaktrollasat-smita-sudham harir ababhase

As He contemplated her, the goddess of fortune herself, who desires only Him, Lord Krsna smiled. The Lord assumes various forms to enact His pastimes, and He was pleased that the form the goddess of fortune had assumed was just suitable for her to serve as His consort. Her charming face was adorned with curling hair, earrings, a locket on her neck, and the nectar of her bright, happy smile. The Lord then spoke to her as follows.

Srila Sridhara Svami has quoted an interesting verse, spoken by Sri Parasara in the Visnu Purana:

devatve deva-deheyam
 manusyatve ca manusi
visnor dehanurupam vai
 karoty esatmanas tanum

“When the Lord appears as a demigod, she [the goddess of fortune] takes the form of a demigoddess, and when He appears as a human being, she takes a humanlike form. Thus the body she assumes matches the one Lord Visnu takes.”

Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti adds that as Lord Krsna is even more beautiful than the Lord of Vaikuntha, Lord Krsna’s consort Rukmini-devi is even more attractive than the goddess of fortune in the Vaikuntha world.

SB 10.60.10
sri-bhagavan uvaca
raja-putripsita bhupair
mahanubhavaih srimadbhi

The Supreme Lord said: My dear princess, you were sought after by many kings as powerful as the rulers of planets. They were all abundantly endowed with political influence, wealth, beauty, generosity and physical strength.

SB 10.60.11
tan praptan arthino hitva
 caidyadin smara-durmadan
datta bhratra sva-pitra ca
 kasman no vavrse ’saman

Since your brother and father offered you to them, why did you reject the King of Cedi and all those other suitors, who stood before you, maddened by Cupid? Why, instead, did you choose Us, who are not at all your equal?

SB 10.60.12
rajabhyo bibhyatah su-bhru
 samudram saranam gatan
balavadbhih krta-dvesan
 prayas tyakta-nrpasanan

Terrified of these kings, O lovely-browed one, We took shelter in the ocean. We have become enemies of powerful men, and We practically abandoned Our royal throne.

Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti comments on this verse as follows: “The Lord’s mentality here can be understood as follows: ‘When I gave Rukmini a single flower from the heavenly parijata tree, Satyabhama showed such a torrent of fury that I could not pacify her even by bowing down at her feet. Only when I gave her a whole parijata tree was she satisfied. Rukmini, however, did not display any anger even when she saw Me give Satyabhama the whole tree. So how can I enjoy the nectar of angry words from this wife, who never feels jealousy, who is supremely sober and who always speaks pleasingly?’ Thus considering, the Supreme Lord decided, ‘If I speak like this to her, I will be able to provoke her anger.’ This is how some authorities explain Krsna’s speech to Rukmini.”

According to the acarya, here the words balavadbhih krta-dvesan prayah indicate that Lord Krsna opposed almost all the contemporary kings during His incarnation, befriending only a few, such as the Pandavas and loyal members of His dynasty. Of course, as stated in the beginning of the Tenth Canto, Lord Krsna appeared specifically because the earth was overburdened by innumerable bogus kings and He wanted to remove this burden.

Finally Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti points out that the word tyakta-nrpasanan, “giving up the king’s throne,” indicates that after Lord Krsna killed Kamsa He humbly gave the royal throne to His grandfather Ugrasena, although the Lord Himself was entitled to it.