”Surely You Will Come to Me”
Bhranti Devi Dasi
The Divine, Eternal Promises of the Lord
In the summer of the year 2000, something happened that would drastically change the lives of my family and me. It would also test our faith in Krishna and make us view life with a new awareness—an awareness of death.
We were traveling across America when, in the open country of Wyoming, the back tire on our minivan shredded and flew off. The car went out of control and after flipping over several times, landed upside down.
One of my sons, Keshava Kumara, sustained a head injury that would take his life the following day. He was only twelve years old. We did all we could to prepare him spiritually for his passing. He left this world marked and anointed with tilaka, Yamuna water, and Vrindavana dust, and with his hands resting on Srila Prabhupada’s books.
Time seemed to lose all meaning, as we were one day on a family vacation, one day at the hospital, and one day at the crematorium. When the doctor had informed us that he would not survive his injury, my first thought had been, “This life is ruined for me.” The bubble of illusion of a happy life in this world had been popped. I had never before felt so disoriented. How was this possible? Seven months earlier we had been in Vrindavana-dhama and had plans to return there after the summer. This seemed to be a nightmare that just couldn’t be true.
At Keshava’s bedside we had desperately struggled to take shelter of the verses describing the immortality of the soul in the Second Chapter of the Bhagavad-gita. The sudden loss of a loved one must be the most bewildering thing. It took months for me to grasp the reality of it. Intense grief can be very isolating, as it is rare that anyone around you can understand the depth of your pain.
Later, as I reread the Gita and prayed to Srila Prabhupada to help me through this, I noticed that so many of the verses spoken by the Lord are in the form of promises, divine and eternal. Lord Krishna declares that we are eternally joined to Him. He speaks words of love and assurance, shining like a lighthouse in the dark. Dictionaries define a promise as “a verbal commitment,” “a pact,” “grounds for expectation.” Any promise is a precious agreement, but how much more precious when it comes from the heart of God and is eternal. As He is omnipotent, there is no possibility that He will be unable to fulfill His promises, as may be the case with a human promise, however sincere. It occurs to me that a promise is a gift—one that is spoken. I held fast to these assurances of the Lord, taking heart in them and receiving solace and comfort.
I thought, “If I am eternally joined to the Supreme Lord, then so is my son—so is everyone.”
Every living being, every soul, has an intrinsic, eternal relationship with Krishna. In the Bhagavad-gita the Lord speaks timeless wisdom to Arjuna, and it is meant for all souls, for all time. I would like to share with you six of Lord Krishna’s promises. I hope that you will find encouragement in these eternal promises of love, given to everyone by the Supreme Lord Himself.
Six Promises by Lord Krishna
Sri Krishna promises: “Therefore, Arjuna, you should always think of Me in the form of Krishna and at the same time carry out your prescribed duty of fighting. With your activities dedicated to Me and your mind and intelligence fixed on Me, you will attain Me without doubt.” (8.7)
This is not a vague promise, but a clear and concrete statement. The First Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam presents a similarly clear statement on the result of hearing about the glories of the Lord: “Loving service unto the Personality of Godhead is established as an irrevocable fact.” Irrevocable: permanent, cannot be changed. Whatever we do for Krishna in this life is permanent and will stay with us even after the demise of this one body and this one temporary life.
Sri Krishna promises: “Engage your mind always in thinking of Me, become My devotee, offer obeisances to Me, and worship Me. Being completely absorbed in Me, surely you will come to Me.” (9.34)
This is such a beautiful promise. Srila Prabhupada states in the purport to this verse that we should be thinking of Krishna in devotional love and continually cultivating knowledge of Him. This is our part in a very real and reciprocal relationship.
In writing about the reciprocal relationship between the Lord and the devotee, Srila Prabhupada uses beautiful imagery in the purport of verse 9.29: “The Lord and the living entities eternally glitter, and when a living entity becomes inclined towards the service of the Supreme Lord he looks like gold. The Lord is a diamond, so this combination is very nice.”
Sri Krishna promises: “To those who are constantly devoted to serving Me with love, I give the understanding by which they can come to Me.” (10.10)
The words used here are “constantly devoted,” which indicate devotion without pause or cessation, continually flowing. Many people may worship God for some material benefit, and that is pious, as they are submitting their prayers to Him. But here in this verse Krishna speaks about those persons who desire only Him.
We cannot go to Krishna on our own power. If He is pleased with us, He gives us passage. From the beginning of the universe, the Vedas are there as guides, and down through the ages the Lord continually sends incarnations and saintly persons to bring transcendental knowledge to the jiva souls.
That we must take shelter of a bona fide guru completely devoted to the Lord is a very important point and cannot be overestimated. Arjuna’s accepting Krishna as his guru is a great turning point in the Bhagavad-gita. After exhibiting apparent grief, lamentation, and bewilderment, Arjuna says, “I am a soul surrendered unto you. Please instruct me.” (2.7) Our modern society places great emphasis on credentials, but people tend to take advice on spiritual matters from anyone who writes an interesting book on the subject. But life is temporary, and our connection with God is the most important area of study. We have to take care in selecting a teacher, just as we take care in selecting a doctor. We wouldn’t trust our surgical operation to a doctor who has no other qualification than being a good storyteller.
Sri Krishna promises: “My dear Arjuna, he who engages in My pure devotional service, free from the contaminations of fruitive activities and mental speculation, he who works for Me, who makes Me the supreme goal of his life, and who is friendly to every living being—he certainly comes to Me.” (11.55)
Srila Prabhupada says in the purport to this verse that anyone who wants to be intimately connected to Krishna must take to the formula Krishna presents here. He goes on to say that this verse is the essence of the Bhagavad-gita. Lord Krishna here describes the devotee as someone friendly to every living being. In a song praising the six Gosvamis of Vrindavana, Srinivasa Acharya says they were “popular with both the gentle and the ruffians, because they were not envious of anyone.”
How can we exhibit real caring and friendliness toward everyone? By spreading Lord Krishna’s formula, so that people won’t miss the extremely valuable opportunity afforded by the human form of life, and so that they can become freed from all the miseries in this world. We can even benefit those souls not presently in human bodies by loudly chanting the holy name and by giving them prasadam, food offered to the Supreme Lord.
Sri Krishna promises: “Just fix your mind on Me, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and engage all your intelligence in Me. Thus you will live in Me always, without a doubt.” (12.8)
As in 8.7, the Lord is again using the reassuring phrase “without a doubt.” In the purport Srila Prabhupada states: “One who is engaged in Lord Krishna’s devotional service lives in a direct relationship with the Supreme Lord, so there is no doubt that his position is transcendental from the very beginning. A devotee does not live on the material plane—he lives in Krishna.”
Sri Krishna promises: “Always think of Me, become My devotee, worship Me, and offer your homage unto Me. Thus you will come to Me without fail. I promise you this because you are My very dear friend.” (18.65)
I chose this verse for a memorial plaque placed in front of a young oak tree at the last school Keshava attended, in Alachua, Florida. I find this promise from the Supreme Lord to be so comforting, so personal—He really does know every one of us, and He really does want us to come to Him.
In the purport Srila Prabhupada refers to this particular message from Krishna as a promise. It is a surely a very personal, reassuring message. “Because you are My very dear friend—because you are connected with Me in a relationship—I am revealing these secrets to you.”
The most confidential knowledge is how to become reestablished in our original relationship with Krishna. That is the most secret of all secrets. In Vrindavana Mahimamrita Srila Prabodhananda Sarasvati writes, “I desire to achieve the highest mood [of love for God], which is a secret even to the Vedas.”
Srila Prabhupada also tells us in the purport to this promise that we should concentrate our mind on the form of Krishna as described in the Brahma-samhita: a blackish boy with two hands, a beautiful lotuslike face, a flute, and peacock feathers in His crown. This is the form of Syamasundara, a form so attractive that it attracts the minds and hearts of everyone.
The grief resulting from the loss of a child puts your very sanity to the test. Arjuna experiences symptoms of grief by even contemplating the loss of family members, and does go on to lose one of his sons in the battle. The loss of my son turned my world upside down. But Krishna’s promises are precious lifelines that I trust. They have saved me from despair time and time again. I pray to be able to perform my part in divine reciprocation with the Lord, and to have unshakable faith that His eternal promises will be fulfilled, in every glorious aspect.
“You will come to Me without fail. I promise you this because you are My very dear friend.” (18.65)