When we examine the problem of knowledge and action in the light of our intelligence, our attention is directed to Nature and all that is in it; and we find that it consists of a number of great and good objects; and one of them is our planet Earth. The idea of the great and good objects of Nature is expressed by Vasudeva, and of the Earth by Kunti; and, as they are both derived from the same source, they are spoken of as brother and sister.
The word Vasudeva may be divided into Va, su, deva, when its meaning would be "(deva) god or a great good object or force of Nature, (su) born of (va, "water", symbolic of Nature, as the Mimansa tells us) Nature". Vasudeva accordingly refers to all that arises from Nature in terms of a god or the great good objects or forces of life. We have already seen that a god refers to these objects and forces.
Vasudeva in the story is said to have been married to Devaki, and they had eight children, the last of whom was Krshna. We have observed that "marriage" implies an intimate union or relationship; and so we might say that the idea expressed by Vasudeva is now closely united with that expressed by Devaki; and the union of the two gives rise to eight objects.
Now Devaki, as a woman, refers to Nature; and if we divide the word into Devaki, the meaning would be "(ki) what is (deva) a god or a great good force or object of Nature"? Her union with Vasudeva signifies an intense desire to know what things arise from Nature; and they are its eight divisions, as the Bhagavad Gita tells us. Hence Vasudeva and Devaki have eight "children". The idea of Kunti as Earth has already been explained.
Krishna: Vasudeva is said to be the "father" of Krshna; and that would require some explanation too. We are engaged in an examination of what Nature can create; and the sacred books tell us that it consists of eight divisions, the five great "elements" (Earth, Water, Fire, Air, and Ether), Mind, Ahankara, and the Intellect. As the idea of the latter is derived from the former, it may be said to be "descended" from it; and, as the former is Vasudeva (associated with Devaki), he should have eight children; and the last of them, Krshna should refer to the intellect. We find, on an examination of his name and what is associated with him, that it is so. We have a reference to this in the Bhagavad Gita.
We can divide the word Krshna into K, r, sh, na when its meaning would be "(na) intellect associated with (sh) mind, (r) the senses of action and (k) Nature or Prakrti". Krshna accordingly refers to intelligence in its most perfect conception as associated with the mind, action (or the senses of action) and the objects of Nature. That is to say, when we look at Nature, and see how it is associated with our intellect, mind, and the senses, and makes for action, we can get a complete idea of life; and if then we associate this with the idea of "sacrifice" or goodness, intelligence, and joy ii action, we can transform Nature itself into Brahma or God.
It is this that Krshna represents; and the idea of sacrifice is expressed by means of his Sudarsana Chakra, which really means "(Sudarsana) good or beautiful (chakra, derived from "kr", meaning "to act") action". This Chakra or action can never leave him, for he is always characterize by sacrifice.
The idea of Krshna, as given in the Mahabharata, has already been explained; and that, as given in the Bhagavat Purana, would be explained in due course. As we shall see, he represents the idea of God as Supreme Intelligence, immanent in the universe, and making itself manifest in ad of sacrifice. We might say that he represents the idea of God as it can be transformed out of that of Nature by means of the latter's association with sacrifice. It is for this reason that he is represented as being of dark colour, for that is said to be the colour of Nature or Prakrti, as distinguished from that of God, which is said to be white. Krshna is thus Nature transformed into God by means of sacrifice.
The family of Kunti: The whole idea may now be summed up as follows: There are a number of persons who believe that the exercise of intellect means the attainment of knowledge; and so the pursuit of pure knowledge, to the exclusion of everything else, is in accordance with an intelligent scheme of life (race of Yadus). But, if we pursue the idea to its logical end, we find that the intellect makes for action too; and so an intelligent scheme of life requires that knowledge should result in action (sura).
The idea of intelligent action takes us to the source of all action, Nature or Prakrti; and, if we understand the character of its different manifestations, we see that what arises from it is a number of great forms and forces of life, which are essentially good and governed by an intelligent plan (Vasudeva), and among them is our planet Earth (Kunti). If now we wish to know what are the great objects of life that arise from Nature or Prakrti (Vasudeva and Devaki), we find that they consist of eight things (eight children of Vasudeva and Devaki), the five great "elements" and all that belongs to them, Mind, Ahankara and Intellect. The idea of intellect is most important, for it is in its light that we can understand all things, including soul and God; and intellect and soul, and Supreme Intelligence and God may, for practical purposes, even be identified. Indeed, it is by means of intellect that we can, by associating the idea of sacrifice with Nature, transform it into God (Krshna).
It follows from this that, if we understand the essential character of our planet Earth, we shall find that it is connected with the idea of God (Kunti as the paternal aunt of Krshna). And corresponding to this we are told that it is in this family that Kunti or Prtha is born.
Kuntibhoja: But this is not a generally accepted view of Earth, for the people do not commonly believe that it belongs to the great family of God, and that we can understand the nature of His existence through it. They are rather content to think that it is a bountiful bestower of good things. But even this is allied to the process that leads to the idea of God, which is essentially based on the goodness of things that support life, though it does not by itself make for a proper conception of God.
Corresponding to this we are told that there was a childless cousin of Sura named Kuntibhoja, and Prtha was given to him to be brought up as his own daughter. The word Kunti-bhoja means "Kunti the Earth as bhoja bountiful". Kuntibhoja may accordingly be said to be one who believes that the Earth is bountiful, or is a bestower of good things.
He is said to be childless, because this conception of the Earth does not, by itself, produce any important result. He is the cousin of Sura because even the idea of Earth as bountiful partakes of some intelligence. We have already explained that sura refers to intelligence which is associated with action.
The Brahmana's boon: We have to begin with the position that the Earth is a bountiful bestower of good things, without any direct reference to the idea of God, Kunti is brought up by Kuntibhoja; and now we have to see what are those good things that it can bestow.
When we examine the character of Earth, we find that it is not possible for it to create anything by itself. But our intellect tells us that there are a number of great forces of Nature, and the Earth can create a number of things with their assistance. This is the Mantra of the Brahmana, according to which Kunti could call up any celestial to have children by, for a Brahmana, as the Mimansa tells us, refers to the intellect, and a god or a celestial to a great form or force of Nature.