The Story of Krishna and Uddhava

There are beautiful stories about the relationship between Lord Krishna and his devotee, Uddhava, a disciple of Brihaspati, the preceptor of the Gods and son of Devabhanga. The differences between them were sharp and glaring. Uddhava was a scholar and intellectual, while Krishna was a cowherd. The former was brought in a city while Krishna was brought up in a village. Uddhava intuitively knew that Krishna was no ordinary soul while Krishna saw Uddhava as a seeker.

Two incidents in their relationship invite attention. In the first instance, Krishna requests Uddhava to go to Vrindavan and contrary to the promise he had made to them, inform the milkmaids that he would never return to Vrindavan.

Uddhava accepted the mission but he was egoistic of his knowledge and considered the gopikas uneducated, while Krishna wanted to show Uddhava that divine love was above wisdom. Uddhava promptly went to the gopikas and told them that they should not weep for Krishna and that they should invest their energies in acquiring Brahamajnana.
He tried to teach them the virtues the yoga and meditation, instructed them to ignore the body and how these practices would lead to samadhi. The gopikas told him that they were is Krishna samadhi all the time and were constantly experiencing the three yogas of meditation, wisdom and devotion. Uddhava wanted to impart theoretical knowledge, while the gopikas were instructing him in the priceless value of direct experience.
For the first time in his life, Uddhava understood the value of surrendering to Krishna with love, devotion and unconditional trust. The second instance took place in the final years of the Krishna avatar where Krishna advised the Yadavas to shift out of Mathura to protect themselves against Jarasandha. While Uddhava was witness to Krishna protecting the Pandavas, he was aghast when Krishna was shot on his left foot by a hunter’s poisoned arrow.

He was even more astonished when Krishna calmly told him that the end of the Yadava clan was near and to inform the message of his death to his family and people. This was the context behind Krishna’s revelation to Uddhava of the Hamsa Gita or the Song of the Swan otherwise known as the Uddhava Gita. It seeks to console Uddhava from pain and separation and rescue him from sadness. It forms an integral part of the Srimad Bhagavatam.

“The restless mind,” says Krishna to Uddhava, “easily falls victim to the illusion of diversity, which leads to the conception of good and evil and the discrimination between prescribed action, inaction, and prohibited action. By controlling your mind and senses you will see the world in your own self, and your own self in Me, the Supreme Lord.

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