Chapter 5: Follow No One but Yourself
Yudhishthira then said to Bhima, “Wait a moment; I made a mistake. He alone can make such a promise who has attained to supreme freedom. Call the beggar back so I can give him something right now. Tomorrow is really unknown.”
Krishna’s promise is not confined to a day or two, it covers the whole of infinity. He says, “l will come whenever religion will decline.” No prisoner can make such a promise. Put a person in a prison and then ask him to give you an assurance he will come to you tomorrow if the need be. He cannot give such an assurance. An assurance like this can be made only in a state of absolute freedom. Only freedom which is utterly uninhibited can do so.
So remember, Krishna’s birth is not dependent on any conditions; it is an act of supreme intelligence, utterly uninhibited, free, sovereign. This difference needs to be clearly understood. It is evident from this promise that Krishna is not bound by time and its conditions. He is not subject to any laws, like the law of causation. He is free; he is freedom itself. And this promise is a promise of freedom.
But it is difficult to understand the language of freedom, because we don’t know what freedom is. We are in bondage, we are inhibited and conditioned. So when Krishna says something it seems to be paradoxical, and we find ourselves in difficulty. We think that Krishna is bound by some laws, by rules and regulations, to visit us from time to time. Water is subject to the law that it has to turn into steam when heated to the boiling point. But if someday water says it can turn into heat even at a ninety-degree temperature, you can take it that it has become free, that now it is not subject to a law. The assurance that Krishna makes in the Gita arises from an awareness of utter independence, where every vestige of dependence has been destroyed. Such a pledge is the flowering of freedom and ecstasy.
No, a man like Krishna does not come here because of you. He comes on his own. He is not bound like us. He is free. He is freedom itself.
Questioner: What does Krishna mean when he says in the Gita, “I will come into being for the protection of the righteous and for the destruction of the wicked”?
“Protection of the righteous and destruction of the wicked” - both these phrases mean the same. But it is necessary to understand how the wicked are destroyed. How are the wicked finished? Are they destroyed by killing?