By His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda
By devotional service, you can become dear to Krishna. Just like Arjuna is addressed by Krishna, bhakto ‘si priyo ‘si: [Bg. 4.3] “You are My devotee and very dear friend.” So our business is, somehow or other, to become very dear to Krishna, as a servant, as a friend, or as father, mother, or as lover. Some way or other, make Krishna your dear as master or as son or as father or….
Even ordinary person, if he is God conscious, he takes Krishna as supreme father. Just like the Christians, they take that “O Father, give us our daily…” Father means to ask Him, “Give me, give me, give me, give me.” Nobody wants to give father, but wants to take from father. Sometimes our students, when they spend extravagantly and I point out, he says, “My father has sent money.” ‘Why did you stay at Ashoka Hotel?’ “My father sent money.” “Why not ask your father to send money? Why are you collecting by making life member?”
So means idea of father… Father means that “Whenever I want to stay in Ashoka Hotel, he’ll send money,” not that “I will send money to father. He may stay at Ashoka Hotel.” Nobody thinks like that. “Father may send money, and I shall stay in Ashoka Hotel.” This is the idea of father. Father means “to exploit him”.
So the father conception of God, mother conception of God, is not bad. Just like in Bengal especially, they have got mother conception. Mother conception means the same thing, to exploit, take from mother, or father. But the Vaishnava conception is not to accept God as father or mother but as son. Son means to give. Father means to take from him, and son means to take from the father. So if you become father of God, then your business will be to give, not to take. That is Vaishnava conception. From the very beginning of the son’s life, the mother is giving service to the son, the father is giving service. Therefore the service is there.
Even Krishna is afraid of mother Yashoda. Why? Why mother Yashoda was trying to bind Krishna? Because He disrupted mother Yashoda’s process of service to Krishna. Mother Yashoda tried that “You have broken the butter, and You have distributed to the monkeys, You rascal. Then how will You live? I kept the butter for You so that You will eat and You’ll become fatty. And You have broken that, and You have distributed the butter to the monkeys, so You must be punished.”
So the aim is to serve Krishna, not that Yashoda is thinking, “My butter is spoiled by this child. Therefore He should be punished.” She is anxious to see that “Krishna may not starve for want of butter. He’s child. He does not know. He has distributed the butter to the monkeys.” But Krishna knows that “These monkeys are not ordinary monkeys.” Those monkeys, they have taken birth in Vrindavana and come to Krishna. Do you think they’re ordinary monkeys? They’re devotees. They’re devotees. They’re playing as monkey for Krishna’s satisfaction. These are the intricate meanings of understanding Krishna’s līlā. Therefore Krishna says, janma karma me divyam yo jānāti tattvatah [Bg. 4.9].
[An excerpt from a lecture delivered on the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 1.8.32 in Mayapur, India on October 12, 1974]