There is a story in the Life of Krishna where Krishna goes to retrieve a precious gem that has the power to produce its weight in gold every single day. The gem was stolen by a murderer and then lost in the wilderness, where it was eaten by a lion, and then that lion was killed and eaten by a bear. The bear’s name is Jambavan, and Jambavan is a very old and ancient bear, a relic of a warrior from the previous age when animals had the ability to talk and possessed yogic powers.
So Jambavan was this powerful, magnificent bear, who had been given a boon by Lord Ram, a previous incarnation of Krishna, for fighting in the battle against the demon king, Lord Ravana. Ram promised Jambavan that he would marry Jambavan's human daughter. Krishna, having incarnated in this age, met Jambavan in his cave to retrieve the gem, but also to fulfill his promise to Jamabavan.
Jambavan at this point was so old that he could no longer see through the folds of his eyes. So when Krishna came into the cave, Jambavan did not recognize Krishna as his master, Ram. Jambavan proceeded to fight Krishna in a battle that lasted for over a month. Krishna reciprocated his every punch, because that is the nature of Krishna. If you come at him with a punch, he will return with a punch. If you come at him with a kiss, he will return with a kiss.
In the texts, it tells us that Krishna comes to you through whatever form you meet him in. If you come to Krishna as a murderer, then he will come to you in the same form. If you come to Krishna with your fists up, ready to fight, he will come to you in the same way. If you come to Krishna with your heart open, vulnerable, and yearning, he will come to you in the same way.
The Law of Attraction and Bhakti
This teaching is the law of attraction and the law of karma dished out in story. In the stories, Krishna tells his devotees that whatever form they come to him in, he will meet them in that same form through his grace, as a way of liberation.
When we read these ancient texts, what we are seeing are philosophical truths and universal laws broken down into stories so we can easily understand them. Krishna tells us here that the form that we choose to meet him in is the form of our liberation. In other words, no matter the path we walk, all paths are vehicles for transformation and liberation, or moksha.
No matter what path you walk, even if it seems like it’s not a very spiritual path, it is still a path for liberation. Now the funny thing about this is that just because the path we choose is a path to liberation, it does not necessarily mean that the path will feel enjoyable, or gracious, or loving. The more we fight, the more negative we go with our path, the more difficult the path will be. When we bend to the will of love and dissolve into love, when we let go of our beliefs and patterns that get in the way of this love, then we clear ourselves to receive the pure love of God because we allow ourselves to become love, and we meet God in a space of love. This becomes the vehicle through which God meets us.
There are many intricacies to this understanding because many of us are dealing with karmic energy we hardly understand, and so much of the experiences we move through are ways to close out and settle the karma. In other words, we will endure experiences that liberate us from what we originally set into motion. If we set jealousy into motion, we will experience something that will bring up jealousy until we realize "aha! that's just God/Goddess/Self playing with me as jealousy to liberate me from jealousy!" Just like Jambavan. In the story, Jambavan did finally realize it was Krishna who was fighting him and he understood there was no longer a need to fight. And so Jambavan surrendered. The Surrender happens eventually--when we've had enough fighting.
Some people think the law of attraction is an impersonal law, but on the contrary, it is very personal. It’s so personal that it’s like a mirror, and whatever form you meet the mirror of the heart of God in, that is the form that God will approach you in too. This is not about punishment or about unworthiness, or shame. It’s about understanding that God/Goddess in all his/her love is seeking to liberate us and they do this through the mirror, through the law of attraction, through the fulfillment of karma, which says that they will come to us through whatever form in which we come to them. And they come to us to free us from the prison of cause and effect, what they call in the Upanishads “samsara”.
The universe is love. Krishna is known as the Lord of Love. The bible tells us that God is love. We hear from almost every master who has ever walked the Earth that God/Goddess is love and the energy that God/Goddess primarily works on is love. That love only becomes distorted through our body vehicle when we attempt to interpret the workings of this love through the muddied lenses of our humanity. Love is directing us to our liberation, our freedom and the law of attraction is working on us specifically for that purpose. When we experience pain and challenge, it can be easy to interpret this working of love and grace as a punishment.
So how can we truly live abundant, loving, peaceful, purposeful lives?
The answer is simple, yet complicated. We simply meet God/Goddess in the form of abundance, love, peace, and purpose. The complicated part is getting out of our own way enough to allow those energies to emerge from us and become us, pure and unadulterated by beliefs and patterns of behavior. Often to get there, we must be pruned, picked, and polished. That’s where our difficulties and challenges come. In truth, these challenges are simply opportunities for growth and expansion in order for us to get what we truly desire, which is freedom. We all want the freedom to authentically be and express ourselves without fear or worry of shame. We all want the freedom to exist in a space of love, magic, and abundance. We all want the freedom that is our spirit.
Every human being wants this. The question is, what vehicle will you drive to get there? Will you be like Jambavan and throw punches? Or will you be like Radha, the lover, and surrender yourself purely to Love so that you can have that Love reflected back to you?