Friendly Relationship with the Lord (Dāsya)

O Krsna O Yadava

There are five basic relationships a devotee might have with the Lord; namely in the neutral stage (sānta-rasa), which is the stage of awe and reverence. Knowing that God is Great. Then there are four transcendental mellows (rasas); servitude (dāsya), friendship (sakhya), parental affection (vātsalya) and conjugal love (śṛṅgāra).

Kṛṣṇa and Arjuna are related in friendship.

Arjuna was in a relationship with the Lord as friend. Of course there is a gulf of difference between this friendship and the friendship found in the material world. This is transcendental friendship which cannot be had by everyone. Of course everyone has a particular relationship with the Lord, and that relationship is evoked by the perfection of devotional service. But in the present status of our life, we have not only forgotten the Supreme Lord, but we have forgotten our eternal relationship with the Lord. Every living being, out of many, many billions and trillions of living beings, has a particular relationship with the Lord eternally. That is called svarūpa. By the process of devotional service, one can revive that svarūpa, and that stage is called svarūpa-siddhi-perfection of one’s constitutional position. So Arjuna was a devotee, and he was in touch with the Supreme Lord in friendship. (from Introduction to Bhagavad-gita As It Is)

The following verse is one of my most favorite from the Bhagavad-gita As It Is.

I have in the past addressed You as “O Kṛṣṇa,” “O Yādava,” “O my friend,” without knowing Your glories. Please forgive whatever I may have done in madness or in love. I have dishonored You many times while relaxing or while lying on the same bed or eating together, sometimes alone and sometimes in front of many friends. Please excuse me for all my offenses.

I find this verse to be a beautiful expression of what is Bhakti Yoga. It is a personal loving exchange with the Lord. There are two ways to approach the Lord. One can approach the Lord with awe and reverence (sānta-rasa), or with a more personal approach; love and affection.

Kṛṣṇa’s devotees relate to Kṛṣṇa in various relationships.. Kṛṣṇa and Arjuna are related in friendship. As the father tolerates, or the husband or master tolerates, so Kṛṣṇa tolerates. Very Beautiful!

Bhagavad-gita As It Is Texts 40-45

Bhagavad-gita As It Is 1972 Edition
By His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Chapter 11, Texts 40-45

namaḥ purastād atha pṛṣṭhatas te
namo ’stu te sarvata eva sarva
ananta-vīryāmita-vikramas tvaṁ
sarvaṁ samāpnoṣi tato ’si sarvaḥ

namaḥ—offering obeisances; purastāt—from the front; atha—also; pṛṣṭhataḥ—from behind; te—You; namaḥ astu—offer my respects; te—unto You; sarvataḥ—from all sides; eva sarva—because You are everything; ananta-vīrya—unlimited potency; amita-vikramaḥ—unlimited force; tvam—You; sarvam—everything; samāpnoṣi—cover; tataḥ asi—therefore You are; sarvaḥ—everything.


Obeisances from the front, from behind and from all sides! O unbounded power, You are the master of limitless, might! You are all-pervading, and thus You are everything!


Out of loving ecstasy for Kṛṣṇa, his friend, Arjuna is offering his respects from all sides. He is accepting that He is the master of all potencies and all prowess and far superior to all the great warriors assembled on the battlefield. It is said in the Viṣṇu Purāṇa: yo ’yaṁ tavāgato deva-samīpaṁ devatā-gaṇaḥ sa tvam eva jagat-sraṣṭā yataḥ sarva-gato bhavān. “Whoever comes before You, be he a demigod, is created by You, O Supreme Personality of Godhead.”

TEXTS 41–42

sakheti matvā prasabhaṁ yad uktaṁ
he kṛṣṇa he yādava he sakheti
ajānatā mahimānaṁ tavedaṁ
mayā pramādāt praṇayena vāpi

yac cāvahāsārtham asat-kṛto ’si
eko ’tha vāpy acyuta tat-samakṣaṁ
tat kṣāmaye tvām aham aprameyam

sakhā—friend; iti—thus; matvā—thinking; prasabham—temporary; yat—whatever; uktam—said; he krṣṇa—O Kṛṣṇa; he yādava—O Yādava; he sakhā iti—O my dear friend, ajānatā—without knowing; mahimānam—glories; tava—Your; idam—this; mayā—by me; pramādāt—out of foolishness; pranayena—out of love; vā api—either; yat—whatever; ca—also; avahāsārtham—for joking; asatkṛtaḥ—dishonor; asi—have been done; vihāra—in relaxation; śayyā—in joking; āsana—in a resting place; bhojaneṣu—or while eating together; ekaḥ—alone; athavā—or; api—others; acyuta—O infallible one; tat-samakṣam—as Your competitor; tat—all those; kṣāmaye—excuse; tvām—You; aham—I; aprameyam—immeasurable.


I have in the past addressed You as “O Kṛṣṇa,” “O Yādava,” “O my friend,” without knowing Your glories. Please forgive whatever I may have done in madness or in love. I have dishonored You many times while relaxing or while lying on the same bed or eating together, sometimes alone and sometimes in front of many friends. Please excuse me for all my offenses.


Although Kṛṣṇa is manifested before Arjuna in His universal form, Arjuna remembers his friendly relationship with Kṛṣṇa and is therefore asking pardon and requesting Him to excuse him for the many informal gestures which arise out of friendship. He is admitting that formerly he did not know that Kṛṣṇa could assume such a universal form, although He explained it as his intimate friend. Arjuna did not know how many times he may have dishonored Him by addressing Him as “O my friend, O Kṛṣṇa, O Yādava,” etc., without acknowledging His opulence. But Kṛṣṇa is so kind and merciful that in spite of such opulence He played with Arjuna as a friend. Such is the transcendental loving reciprocation between the devotee and the Lord. The relationship between the living entity and Kṛṣṇa is fixed eternally; it cannot be forgotten, as we can see from the behavior of Arjuna. Although Arjuna has seen the opulence in the universal form, he could not forget his friendly relationship with Kṛṣṇa.


pitāsi lokasya carācarasya
tvam asya pūjyaś ca gurur garīyān
na tvat-samo ‘sty abhyadhikaḥ kuto ‘nyo
loka-traye ‘py apratima-prabhāva

pitā—father; asi—You are; lokasya—of all the world; cara—moving; acarasya—nonmoving; tvam—You are; asya—of this; pūjyaḥ—worshipable; ca—also; guruḥ—master; garīyān—glorious; na—never; tvat-samaḥ—equal to You; asti—there is; abhyadhikaḥ—greater; kutaḥ—how is it possible; anyaḥ—other; loka-traye—in three planetary systems; api—also; apratima—immeasurable; prabhāva—power.


You are the father of this complete cosmic manifestation, the worshipable chief, the spiritual master. No one is equal to You, nor can anyone be one with You. Within the three worlds, You are immeasurable.


The Lord Kṛṣṇa is worshipable as a father is worshipable for his son. He is the spiritual master because He originally gave the Vedic instructions to Brahmā, and presently He is also instructing Bhagavad-gītā to Arjuna; therefore He is the original spiritual master, and any bona fide spiritual master at the present moment must be a descendant in the line of disciplic succession stemming from Kṛṣṇa. Without being a representative of Kṛṣṇa, one cannot become a teacher or spiritual master of transcendental subject matter.

The Lord is being paid obeisances in all respects. He is of immeasurable greatness. No one can be greater than the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, because no one is equal to or higher than Kṛṣṇa within any manifestation, spiritual or material. Everyone is below Him. No one can excel Him.
The Supreme Lord Kṛṣṇa has senses and a body like the ordinary man, but for Him there is no difference between His senses, body, mind and Himself. Foolish persons who do not know Him perfectly say that Kṛṣṇa is different from His soul, mind, heart and everything else. Kṛṣṇa is absolute; therefore His activities and potencies are supreme. It is also stated that He does not have senses like ours. He can perform all sensual activities; therefore His senses are neither imperfect nor limited. No one can be greater than Him, no one can be equal to Him, and everyone is lower than Him.
Whoever knows His transcendental body, activities and perfection, after quitting his body, returns to Him and doesn’t come back again to this miserable world. Therefore one should know that Kṛṣṇa’s activities are different from others. The best policy is to follow the principles of Kṛṣṇa; that will make one perfect. It is also stated that there is no one who is master of Kṛṣṇa; everyone is His servant. Only Kṛṣṇa is God, and everyone is servant. Everyone is complying with His order. There is no one who can deny His order. Everyone is acting according to His direction, being under His superintendence. As stated in the Brahmā-saṁhitā, He is the cause of all causes.


tasmāt praṇamya praṇidhāya kāyaṁ
prasādaye tvām aham īśam īḍyam
piteva putrasya sakheva sakhyuḥ
priyaḥ priyāyārhasi deva soḍhum

tasmāt—therefore; praṇamya—after offering obeisances; praṇidhāya—laying down; kāyam—body; prasādaye—to beg mercy; tvām—unto you; aham—I; īśam—unto the Supreme Lord; īḍyam—who is worshipable; pitā iva—like a father; putrasya—of a son; sakhā iva—like a friend; sakhyuḥ—of a friend; priyaḥ—lover; priyāyāḥ—of the dearmost; arhasi—You should; deva—my Lord; soḍhum—tolerate.


You are the Supreme Lord, to be worshiped by every living being. Thus I fall down to offer You my respects and ask Your mercy. Please tolerate the wrongs that I may have done to You and bear with me as a father with his son, or a friend with his friend, or a lover with his beloved.


Kṛṣṇa’s devotees relate to Kṛṣṇa in various relationships; one might treat Kṛṣṇa as a son, one might treat Kṛṣṇa as a husband, as a friend, as a master, etc. Kṛṣṇa and Arjuna are related in friendship. As the father tolerates, or the husband or master tolerates, so Kṛṣṇa tolerates.


adṛṣṭa-pūrvaṁ hṛṣito ‘smi dṛṣṭvā
bhayena ca pravyathitaṁ mano me
tad eva me darśaya deva rūpaṁ
prasīda deveśa jagan-nivāsa

adṛṣṭa-pūrvam—never seen before; hṛṣitaḥ—gladdened; asmi—I am; dṛṣṭvā—by seeing; bhayena—out of fear; ca—also; pravyathitam—perturbed; manaḥ—mind; me—mine; tat—therefore; eva—certainly; me—unto me; darśaya—show; deva—O Lord; rūpam—the form; prasīda—just be gracious; deveśa—O Lord of lords; jagat-nivāsa—the refuge of the universe.


After seeing this universal form, which I have never seen before, I am gladdened, but at the same time my mind is disturbed with fear. Therefore please bestow Your grace upon me and reveal again Your form as the Personality of Godhead, O Lord of lords, O abode of the universe.


Arjuna is always in confidence with Kṛṣṇa because he is a very dear friend, and as a dear friend is gladdened by his friend’s opulence, Arjuna is very joyful to see that his friend, Kṛṣṇa, is the Supreme Personality of Godhead and can show such a wonderful universal form. But at the same time, after seeing that universal form, he is afraid that he has committed so many offenses to Kṛṣṇa out of his unalloyed friendship. Thus his mind is disturbed out of fear, although he had no reason to fear. Arjuna therefore is asking Kṛṣṇa to show His Nārāyaṇa form because He can assume any form. This universal form is material and temporary, as the material world is temporary. But in the Vaikuṇṭha planets He has His transcendental form with four hands as Nārāyaṇa. There are innumerable planets in the spiritual sky, and in each of them Kṛṣṇa is present by His plenary manifestations of different names. Thus Arjuna desired to see one of the forms manifest in the Vaikuṇṭha planets. Of course in each Vaikuṇṭha planet the form of Nārāyaṇa is four-handed, and the four hands hold different symbols, the conchshell, mace, lotus and disc. According to the different hands these four things are held in, the Nārāyaṇas are named. All of these forms are one and the same to Kṛṣṇa; therefore Arjuna requests to see His four-handed feature.

Also from the Srimad Bhagavatam

Srimad Bhagavatam
By His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Canto 1, Chapter 15, Texts 4, 5, 18, and 19


sakhyaṁ maitrīṁ sauhṛdaṁ ca
sārathyādiṣu saṁsmaran
nṛpam agrajam ity āha
bāṣpa-gadgadayā girā

sakhyam—well-wishing; maitrīm—benediction; sauhṛdam—intimately related; ca—also; sārathya-ādiṣu—in becoming the chariot driver; saṁsmaran—remembering all these; nṛpam—unto the King; agrajam—the eldest brother; iti—thus; āha—said; bāṣpa—heavily breathing; gadgadayā—overwhelmingly; girā—by speeches.


Remembering Lord Kṛṣṇa and His well-wishes, benefactions, intimate familial relations and His chariot driving, Arjuna, overwhelmed and breathing very heavily, began to speak.


The Supreme Living Being is perfect in all relations with His pure devotee. Śrī Arjuna is one of the typical pure devotees of the Lord reciprocating in the fraternal relationship, and the Lord’s dealings with Arjuna are displays of friendship of the highest perfect order. He was not only a well-wisher of Arjuna but actually a benefactor, and to make it still more perfect the Lord tied him into a family relationship by arranging Subhadrā’s marriage with him. And above all, the Lord agreed to become a chariot driver of Arjuna in order to protect His friend from warfare risks, and the Lord became actually happy when He established the Pāṇḍavas to rule over the world. Arjuna remembered all these one after another, and thus he became overwhelmed with such thoughts.


arjuna uvāca

vañcito ’haṁ mahā-rāja
hariṇā bandhu-rūpiṇā
yena me ’pahṛtaṁ tejo
deva-vismāpanaṁ mahat

arjunaḥ uvāca—Arjuna said; vañcitaḥ—left by Him; aham—myself; mahā-rāja—O King; hariṇā—by the Personality of Godhead; bandhu-rūpiṇā—as if an intimate friend; yena—by whom; me—my; apahṛtam—I have been bereft; tejaḥ—power; deva—the demigods; vismāpanam—astonishing; mahat—astounding.


Arjuna said: O King! The Supreme Personality of Godhead Hari, who treated me exactly like an intimate friend, has left me alone. Thus my astounding power, which astonished even the demigods, is no longer with me.


In the Bhagavad-gītā (10.41) the Lord says, “Anyone specifically powerful and opulent in wealth, strength, beauty, knowledge and all that is materially desirable is to be considered but a product of an insignificant portion of the complete whole of My energy.” No one, therefore, can be independently powerful in any measure without being endowed by the Lord. When the Lord descends on the earth along with His eternal ever-liberated associates, He not only displays the divine energy possessed by Himself, but also empowers His associate devotees with the required energy to execute His mission of incarnation. It is also stated in the Bhagavad-gītā (4.5) that the Lord and His eternal associates descend on the earth many times, but the Lord remembers all the different roles of incarnations, whereas the associates, by His supreme will, forget them. Similarly, the Lord takes away with Him all His associates when He disappears from the earth. The power and energy which were bestowed upon Arjuna were required for fulfillment of the mission of the Lord, but when His mission was fulfilled, the emergency powers were withdrawn from Arjuna because the astounding powers of Arjuna, which were astonishing even to the denizens of heaven, were no longer required, and they were not meant for going back home, back to Godhead. If endowment of powers and withdrawal of powers by the Lord are possible even for a great devotee like Arjuna, or even the demigods in heaven, then what to speak of the ordinary living beings who are but figs compared to such great souls. The lesson is, therefore, that no one should be puffed up for his powers borrowed from the Lord. The sane man should rather feel obliged to the Lord for such benefactions and must utilize such power for the service of the Lord. Such power can be withdrawn at any time by the Lord, so the best use of such power and opulence is to engage them in the service of the Lord.


narmāṇy udāra-rucira-smita-śobhitāni
he pārtha he ’rjuna sakhe kuru-nandaneti
sañjalpitāni nara-deva hṛdi-spṛśāni
smartur luṭhanti hṛdayaṁ mama mādhavasya

narmāṇi—conversation in jokes; udāra—talked very frankly; rucira—pleasing; smita-śobhitāni—decorated with a smiling face; he—note of address; pārtha—O son of Pṛthā; he—note of address; arjuna—Arjuna; sakhe—friend; kuru-nandana—son of the Kuru dynasty; iti—and so on; sañjalpitāni—such conversation; nara-deva—O King; hṛdi—heart; spṛśāni—touching; smartuḥ—by remembering them; luṭhanti—overwhelms; hṛdayam—heart and soul; mama—my; mādhavasya—of Mādhava (Kṛṣṇa).


O King! His jokings and frank talks were pleasing and beautifully decorated with smiles. His addresses unto me as “O son of Pṛthā, O friend, O son of the Kuru dynasty,” and all such heartiness are now remembered by me, and thus I am overwhelmed.


aikyād vayasya ṛtavān iti vipralabdhaḥ
sakhyuḥ sakheva pitṛvat tanayasya sarvaṁ
sehe mahān mahitayā kumater aghaṁ me

śayya—sleeping on one bed; āsana—sitting on one seat; aṭana—walking together; vikatthana—self-adoration; bhojana—dining together; ādiṣu—and in all such dealings; aikyāt—because of oneness; vayasya—O my friend; ṛtavān—truthful; iti—thus; vipralabdhaḥ—misbehaved; sakhyuḥ—unto a friend; sakhā iva—just like a friend; pitṛvat—just like the father; tanayasya—of a child; sarvam—all; sehe—tolerated; mahān—great; mahitayā—by glories; kumateḥ—of one who is of low mentality; agham—offense; me—mine.


Generally both of us used to live together and sleep, sit and loiter together. And at the time of advertising oneself for acts of chivalry, sometimes, if there were any irregularity, I used to reproach Him by saying, “My friend, You are very truthful.” Even in those hours when His value was minimized, He, being the Supreme Soul, used to tolerate all those utterings of mine, excusing me exactly as a true friend excuses his true friend, or a father excuses his son.


Since the Supreme Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa is all-perfect, His transcendental pastimes with His pure devotees never lack anything in any respect, either as a friend, son or lover. The Lord relishes the reproaches of friends, parents or fiancees more than the Vedic hymns offered to Him by great learned scholars and religionists in an official fashion.

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