The learned do not fathom God, for learning is not the key to understanding Him. That is why even Brahma was tempted during Lord Narayana’s Krishna avatara to play a trick on Him. Brahma carted away all the cows He was grazing and His playmates too. Humbled by the Lord, Brahma then sought the Lord’s forgiveness and worshipped Him.

Clouds give rain to everyone, sinner and virtuous man alike. The Lord too may be compared to clouds in His kindness to us. He condones our sins, and in this regard He is like a parent. The baby in its mother’s womb kicks out, but the mother does not get annoyed. So is the Lord towards us. We reject Him. We forget Him. We are arrogant towards Him, and yet despite our repeated mistakes, He helps us. All good qualities reside in Lord Krishna. The poet Kalidasa says that usually good qualities are said to adorn a person. But when good qualities took residence in Rama, they acquired an exalted status.

How can we hope to understand God easily? Sage Parasara in the Vishnu Purana says that only that which shows us the Supreme One is gnana. The rest of the knowledge that we have and we think of as gnana does not qualify to be so called. But often, even those who have studied the Vedas are unable to understand Him. That is because no amount of learning will help in the absence of bhakti, said Kidambi Narayanan in a discourse.

The Vaishnavite Acharya Parasara Bhattar used to give discourses in the Srirangam temple. One day, he asked a very learned man what one should know in life. The scholar replied that one should know the Supreme One, but knowing Him was not easy. Parasara Bhattar then posed the question to a man who used to fetch water for Lord Ranganatha every day. The man replied: “You should know the One who is reclining inside this temple.” So while the scholar’s learning had not helped him fathom that the Supreme One was Lord Ranganatha, the other man had put it very simply, thus showing that bhakti scores over scholarship when it comes to knowing God. Brahma, despite his learning, had not understood the Lord, but the Gopikas, despite being uneducated, saw Krishna’ greatness because of their bhakti towards Him.

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