Sage Narada was in conversation with his father Brahma. His question was: “In all three worlds who is Naishtika Brahmachari?”. Narada imagined that Brahma would confirm that without doubt that he would qualify for the title. Brahma’s reply shocked Narada.
“Sri Krishna, who took birth on earth and is performing Leela in Gokul and Brindavan is the real Naishtika Brahmachari”, said Brahma.
“ The one who always sings, dances and performs Rasleela with Gopis, is he?” quipped Narada and exploded into laughter.
“ You can clear your doubt from sage Durvasa who observes fast everyday and does tapas; he will give you reasons” said Brahma. Narada was intrigued further. “ Durvasa cannot tolerate hunger. He eats several times everyday. Because of his excesses, he is short-tempered and curses indiscriminately! You praise his Upavasa. It is even stranger than Krishna’s BrahmaCharyam!”, retorted Narada.
“ Narada! You think that only those like you who chant the name of Narayana and observe celibacy; only those rishis who indulge in self-denial and engage in long meditations even to the extent of being covered by growing shrubs and mole-hills qualify. It is not true. Go forth and know the truth from both. Ask Krishna who is NithyaUpavasi and ask Durvasa as to who is Naishtika Brahmachari and be clear! Let the world also be clarified”, said Brahma.
It is usual for Narada to create conflicts; however, in this case, Brahma created the conflict in Narada! He proceeded to Brindavan. These were the days before Krishna weds Rukmini and the seven other royal consorts! These were the days when Krishna was young, was the darling of the Gopis, was a shepherd, played on the flute divine melodies and filled everyone’s heart with pleasure.
Narada wanted to meet Krishna in private! He found one Krishna in each household; he did not know which was real Krishna! Finally Narada stood under a tree and waited till daybreak! Let Krishna find me, was his thought! Lo! Krishna appeared; but Krishna appeared pensive! “ I came to meet you, Lord! Why do you have a worried look?” queried Narada.
“ Durvasa today ate in excess. Therefore, I have stomach ache” said Krishna. Narada was more confused. How could this be? Thought Narada.
As if reading his mind, Krishna said, “Narada! Durvasa does not eat anything for himself. Both before and after food he says ‘ SriKrishnarpanam!’ and drinks water. He is NityaUpavasi. Whatever he eats reaches me. Even the air he breathes he dedicates to me. His vairagya absolves him of ill-effects of his anger. He dedicates everything to me and lives light”, said Krishna.
Narada understood how anything dedicated to God attains an exalted status. He bowed to Krishna and left to see Durvasa.
Durvasa received Narada with customary respect and asked of him what he wanted. Narada narrated partly his conversation with his father and asked him who was Naishtika Brahmachari.
“ Sri Krishna is the Naishtika Brahmachari, sans doubt”, said Durvasa.
“ Why?” quipped Narada.
“ One who lives where there are no women observing celibacy is not the real one. The one who lives amidst women and is not caught in the sway of desire is in reality vairagya brahmachari. Krishna who sings and dances with ten thousand Gopis without a sense of ownership remains Parabrahman. His love and grace are the property of all. He regards both cows and Gopis in Brindavan alike, irrespective of gender. He remains like water droplets on lotus. Others think of him as son, father, mother, friend, lover, guru, deity etc., for their own bliss. He lives without carnal desires both in mind, word and deed, although he is the subject of love and attachment of everyone! He is the real Naishtika Brahmachari!”, said Durvasa.
“ Narada! You also need to know more. In Treta Yug, in his avatar as Rama Sriman Narayana undertook exile in forests to uphold his father’s promise. During his exile, thousands of maharishis and tapaswis wanted him to stay with them. But he could not, because of his mission. They all yearned for his company, love and embrace. To fulfil their pious wishes, in the next yuga, they were granted birth as Gopis to be loved and embraced spiritually! As far as He is concerned they were his Bhaktas. His Prema is transcendental and pure. There is no place for Kama, being Platonic. He is therefore the real Naishtika Brahmachari!”, explained Durvasa.
Now Narada understood that body with gender has no significance in this union. Krishna came to unite with his Bhakta Jivatmas and give them deliverance. Later, He teaches Arjun that he resides in and fills all and that there is no discrimination based on gender, in the Gita at the war for Dharma.
Narada profusely thanked Durvasa; Durvasa said “Krishnarpanam”.
Narada returned to his father’s abode and thanked him for his guidance.