The Puranas speak of the greatness of the Meru mountain, which is supposed to be made of gold. But while it is praised for its greatness, we cannot see it. There are many other hills we can see, but they do not have Meru’s greatness. We see powerful, influential people who can help us, but they cannot be approached by us.

We can easily approach someone who is not powerful or wealthy, but he is unable to do much for us. It is hard to find simplicity, accessibility and greatness all in one person. But greatness and simplicity go hand in hand, where God is concerned, said M.A. Venkatakrishnan, in a discourse.

One could see this in the Rama avatara. Rama was the son of a king. But he treated a hunter as His equal. Royalty would fill us with awe. But in the case of Guha, the predominant emotion was love, not fear or awe. Therein lay Rama’s greatness, for He was able to make the hunter see that He was approachable and simple. “My wife is your friend,” said Rama to Guha.

Then pointing to Lakshmana, He said: “Your brother is my brother.” He made Guha feel at ease in His presence. So one could easily conclude that Rama’s simplicity was unmatched.

But then Krishna came along and showed an even greater quality. He was prepared to be a charioteer and serve a mere mortal.

Being a charioteer demanded a lot from a person. The fighter’s instructions to the chariot driver would not be heard in the din of the battle. So it was the practice for the soldier to press on the back of the driver to indicate the direction he was to take. A pressure on the left side meant he had to turn left, and so on. To alight, the warrior would step on the shoulders of the driver and then step down.

So Krishna was willing to go through all of this, showing that when it came to the quality of saulabhya, He remained unmatched. Because of His saulabhya, Lord Krishna has taken the idol form in the temple in Triplicane, where He appears as He did in the Kurukshetra war, as a charioteer, so that those of us who were not lucky enough to be born then can see Him in all His glory and simplicity.