Lord Kṛṣṇa intended for Vasudeva to see everything with the vision of a mahā-bhāgavata, a first-class devotee, who sees that all living entities are part and parcel of the Supreme Lord and that the Supreme Lord is situated in everyone’s heart. In fact, every living entity has a spiritual identity, but in contact with material existence he becomes influenced by the material modes of nature. He becomes covered by the concept of bodily life, forgetting that his spirit soul is of the same quality as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. One mistakenly considers one individual to be different from another simply because of their material bodily coverings. Because of differences between bodies, the spirit soul appears before us differently.
Lord Kṛṣṇa then gave a nice example in terms of the five material elements. The total material elements, namely the sky, air, fire, water and earth, are present in everything in the material world, whether in an earthen pot or in a mountain or in the trees or in an earring. These five elements are present in everything, in different proportions and quantities. A mountain is a gigantic form of the combination of these five elements, and a small earthen pot is made of the same elements, but in a smaller quantity. Therefore all material items, although in different shapes or different quantities, are of the same ingredients. Similarly, the living entities—beginning from Lord Kṛṣṇa and including millions of Viṣṇu forms, and also the living entities in different forms, from Lord Brahmā down to the small ant—are all of the same spiritual quality. Some are great in quantity, and some are small, but qualitatively they are of the same nature. It is therefore confirmed in the Upaniṣads that Kṛṣṇa, or the Supreme Lord, is the chief among all living entities and that He maintains them and supplies them with all necessities of life. Anyone who knows this philosophy is in perfect knowledge. The Vedic version tat tvam asi, “Thou art the same,” means not that everyone is God but that everyone is qualitatively of the same nature as God.
After hearing Kṛṣṇa speak the entire philosophy of spiritual life in an abbreviated summation, Vasudeva was exceedingly pleased with his son. Being thus elated, he could not speak but remained silent. In the meantime, Devakī, the mother of Lord Kṛṣṇa, sat by the side of her husband. Previously she had heard that Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma were so kind to Their teacher that They had brought back the teacher’s dead son from the clutches of the superintendent of death, Yamarāja. Since she had heard of this incident, she had also been thinking of her own sons who were killed by Kaṁsa, and while remembering them she was overwhelmed with grief.
Out of compassion for her dead sons, Devakī appealed to Lord Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma thus: “My dear Balarāma, Your very name suggests that You give all pleasure and all strength to everyone. Your unlimited potency is beyond the reach of our minds and words. And, my dear Kṛṣṇa, You are the master of all mystic yogīs. I know that You are the master of the Prajāpatis like Brahmā and his assistants, and You are the original Personality of Godhead, Nārāyaṇa. I also know for certain that You have descended to annihilate all kinds of miscreants who have been misled in the course of time. They have lost control of their minds and senses, have fallen from the quality of goodness and have deliberately neglected the direction of the revealed scriptures by living a life of extravagance and impudence. You have descended on the earth to minimize the burden of the world by killing such miscreant rulers. My dear Kṛṣṇa, I know that Mahā-Viṣṇu, who is lying in the Causal Ocean of the cosmic manifestation and who is the source of this whole creation, is simply an expansion of Your plenary portion. The creation, maintenance and annihilation of this cosmic manifestation are effected only by Your plenary portion. I therefore take shelter of You without reservation. I have heard that when You wanted to reward Your teacher, Sāndīpani Muni, and he asked You to bring back his dead son, You and Balarāma immediately brought him from the custody of Yamarāja, although he had been dead for a very long time. By this act I understand You to be the supreme master of all mystic yogīs. I therefore ask You to fulfill my desire in the same way. In other words, I am asking You to bring back all my sons who were killed by Kaṁsa; upon Your bringing them back, my heart will be content, and it will be a great pleasure for me just to see them once.”
After hearing Their mother speak in this way, Lord Balarāma and Kṛṣṇa immediately called for the assistance of yogamāyā and started for the lower planetary system known as Sutala. Formerly, in His incarnation of Vāmana, the Supreme Personality of Godhead had been satisfied by the King of the demons, Bali Mahārāja, who donated to Him everything he had. Bali Mahārāja was then given the whole of Sutala for his residence and kingdom. Now when this great devotee, Bali Mahārāja, saw that Lord Balarāma and Kṛṣṇa had come to his planet, he immediately merged in an ocean of happiness. As soon as he saw Lord Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma in his presence, he and all his family members stood up from their seats and bowed down at the lotus feet of the Lords. Bali Mahārāja offered Lord Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma the best seat he had in his possession, and when both Lords were seated comfortably, he began to wash Their lotus feet. He then sprinkled the water on his head and on the heads of his family members. The water used to wash the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma can purify even the greatest demigods, such as Lord Brahmā.