Not only Krishna, even Mahavira had never been ignorant and imperfect in any of his past lives. It is another thing that Mahavira came to know of it only in his last life. Krishna had always known it; he knew it eternally. Even we are not ignorant and imperfect. Each one of us is all- knowing and each one of us is whole – just we are not aware of it. It is all a matter of remembering, of being aware that we are it. The difference lies in awareness, not in being. For example, the sun is high up in the sky, but all of us here go to deep sleep. The sun will be high up there, but then we will not be aware of it. Then one of us wakes up and knows that sun is shining on him. The sun will be shedding light equally on all those who remain sleep, but they will not be aware of it. And when they awaken will they be right in saying the sun rose with their awakening? No, what would be right for them to say is that the sun was already there, but they woke up to it later. No one neither Mahavira, nor Krishna or you or me – is without light and knowledge. Each one of his whole as he is, it is all a matter of remembering it, waking up to it.
Throughout his existence, in all of his lives, Krishna has been aware that he is whole. So his question of striving for it does not arise. At particular level of his existence, say in his last life, Mahavira comes to know through his efforts and disciplines, that he is not ignorant and imperfect, but knowing and whole. And when he is awakened he also comes to know that this has always been the case, he has always been aware and whole. And what difference does it make if someone comes to know of it a few lives earlier or later? But it makes a difference for those of us who live in time; we are always concerned about time – who comes first and who comes last. But eternally no one is the first and no one is the last. In existence, time is without beginning and without end. So the question of one’s awakening to reality sooner or later does not arise. This question has relevance for those of us who has who believe in time begins and ends. If time has no beginning, then what does it matter if someone awakens two days before me? Or two lives after me?
The measurement of time in seconds, days, and years is imaginary; man has invented it. It is conceptual, utilitarian and comparative, but not a fact. Reality is eternal and immeasurable. And enlightenment and awakening or whatever we call it happens beyond time, in timelessness. It will seem strange to us when we see that the moment of Mahavira’s attainment is the same as the moment of Krishna’s. We will say it is incredible, yet it is the fact. Let us understand it this way. On a piece of paper I draw a circle with a centre. Then I draw a number of lines running from the circumference to the centre (like spokes of a wheel). Right at the circumference there is distance, a gap between any two lines. But this gap goes on shrinking as the lines proceed towards the centre. And as they reach the centre this gap disappears altogether. It is the same with the time. At the circumference of the time there is a gap between Mahavira and Krishna, between Krishna and me, between me and you, but there is no gap what so ever when we arrive at the centre. But since we all live in the time of circumference, and we have no knowledge of its centre, we find it difficult to understand that Mahavira and Krishna arrive there together, at the same place. In the same way time or history forms the circumference while the truth or divinity forms the centre. All distances belong to time and space. At the centre where eternity abides, all distances disappear.