Diary entry dated 17th March 2020:
When we hear about Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes, one thing that becomes very apparent is that His heart is full of gratitude towards His devotees. Everything belongs to Kṛṣṇa, so there’s nothing we can give Him that He doesn’t already possess. The only thing that we can give Him – the only thing that actually belongs to us – is our love. And when we willingly give Him our only possession, Kṛṣṇa’s heart becomes overwhelmed with gratitude.
Everything in the spiritual world has consciousness, from towering trees to humble blades of grass, from massive mountains to tiny pebbles – everything serves Kṛṣṇa with love, and He is very grateful for their loving service.
Although He is unaffected by heat, cold, thirst or hunger, when Kṛṣṇa passes through the forests of Vraja He says to the trees, “Thank you for kindly giving Me shelter from the burning sun, and for offering Me such juicy fruits to satisfy My hunger!”
Though the sound of His flute puts all other sounds to shame, when Kṛṣṇa hears the singing of the birds He smiles and tells them, “My little winged friends, your sweet songs are so pleasing to My ears!”
Smelling the scent of the forest flowers, He says to them, “What a wonderful aroma! Surely it is because of you that Vṛndāvana is such a pleasant place!”
And to the particles of dust on the ground, He says, “Thank you for protecting My feet from thorns by creating such a nice, soft path for Me to walk on!”
Such is the extent of Kṛṣṇa’s gratitude!
In a class which he gave at the Manor on 19th April 2018, Vraja Bihārī Prabhu of ISKCON Chowpatty described the gratitude that Lord Rāma felt towards His dear devotee Jaṭāyu, who gave up his life trying to protect Sītā from Rāvaṇa:
“Jaṭāyu … was a bird… huge bird, and he … he tried to protect Mother Sītā, and he gave up his life, and Lord Rāma and Sītā and all the devotees are so grateful to Jaṭāyu that… you know what happened? When Rāma was coronating Vibhīṣaṇa in Lanka, Lord Rāma had tears in His eyes, and as He was putting the crown on Vibhīṣaṇa’s head, He stopped. And He cried. And He looked at Lakṣmaṇa and said, “Lakṣmaṇa, I gave the kingdom of Ayodhyā to Bharata, I gave the kingdom of Kiṣkindhā to Sugrīva, and now I am giving the kingdom of Lanka to Vibhīṣaṇa, but I did not give anything to Jaṭāyu.” So, in gratitude, He remembered Jaṭāyu.
And during Rāma’s coronation in Ayodhyā, Mother Sītā starts crying when devotees are throwing different colours… There’s a big festival going on, and they are throwing rose petals … and everyone is celebrating and dancing and happy, but Mother Sītā starts crying profusely. And Lord Rāma says, “Why are you crying?”
And Mother Sītā says, “Seeing all the red lotus petals being showered, I am remembering Jaṭāyu.” Because when Jaṭāyu’s body was pierced by Rāvaṇa’s arrows and Rāvaṇa’s sword, Jaṭāyu’s body was bleeding, and in the sky, Jaṭāyu was falling, and all the blood was splashing everywhere. So, Mother Sītā also felt extremely grateful to Jaṭāyu.”
Another aspect of Kṛṣṇa’s heart is that He feels pain of separation from the living entities who are suffering greatly in this material world due to forgetfulness of Him. A devotee who truly understands the Lord’s heart cannot bear the thought of Him feeling pain, and so they dedicate their life to reducing that pain by reminding the fallen souls of their relationship with Kṛṣṇa.
And when one surrenders everything to Kṛṣṇa in this way, His gratitude is so great that He feels He can never sufficiently repay that devotee. To the gopīs, He says, na pāraye ’haṁ niravadya-saṁyujāṁ sva-sādhu-kṛtyaṁ. “I am not able to repay My debt for your spotless service” (Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 10.32.22).
In my Reflection entitled The Kindness of Vaiṣṇavas, which I wrote in January 2019, I described my interactions with Śrutidharma Prabhu and how he had deeply touched my heart. Last week, on 10th March, that great soul departed from this material world and returned to Kṛṣṇa’s transcendental abode.
In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 10.10.41, Kṛṣṇa says, “When one is face to face with the sun, there is no longer darkness for one’s eyes. Similarly, when one is face to face with a sādhu, a devotee, who is fully determined and surrendered to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, one will no longer be subject to material bondage.”
The more I hear about Śrutidharma Prabhu, the more it becomes clear that he matched this description – he was an incredible devotee who gave his life in service to Kṛṣṇa and His devotees and, understanding Kṛṣṇa’s heart, inspired many others to do the same. So, we can just imagine how grateful the Lord must be for Śrutidharma Prabhu’s selfless service!