स्ववशेनापि कृष्णेन यस्येदं सेश्वरं वशे ॥ १९ ॥
yasyedaṁ seśvaraṁ vaśe
evam — in this manner; sandarśitā — was exhibited; hi — indeed; aṅga — O Mahārāja Parīkṣit; hariṇā — by the Supreme Personality of Godhead; bhṛtya-vaśyatā — His transcendental quality of becoming subordinate to His servitor or devotee; sva-vaśena — who is within the control only of His own self; api — indeed; kṛṣṇena — by Kṛṣṇa; yasya — of whom; idam — the whole universe; sa-īśvaram — with the powerful demigods like Lord Śiva and Lord Brahmā; vaśe — under the control.
O Mahārāja Parīkṣit, this entire universe, with its great, exalted demigods like Lord Śiva, Lord Brahmā and Lord Indra, is under the control of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Yet the Supreme Lord has one transcendental attribute: He comes under the control of His devotees. This was now exhibited by Kṛṣṇa in this pastime.
This pastime of Kṛṣṇa’s is very difficult to understand, but devotees can understand it. It is therefore said, darśayaṁs tad-vidāṁ loka ātmano bhakta-vaśyatām (Bhāg. 10.11.9): the Lord displays the transcendental attribute of coming under the control of His devotees. As stated in the Brahma-saṁhitā (5.35):
yac-chaktir asti jagad-aṇḍa-cayā yad-antaḥ
govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi
By His one plenary portion as Paramātmā, the Lord controls innumerable universes, with all their demigods; yet He agrees to be controlled by a devotee. In the Upaniṣads it is said that the Supreme Personality of Godhead can run with more speed than the mind, but here we see that although Kṛṣṇa wanted to avoid being arrested by His mother, He was finally defeated, and mother Yaśodā captured Him. Lakṣmī-sahasra-śata-sambhrama-sevyamānam: Kṛṣṇa is served by hundreds and thousands of goddesses of fortune. Nonetheless, He steals butter like one who is poverty-stricken. Yamarāja, the controller of all living entities, fears the order of Kṛṣṇa, yet Kṛṣṇa is afraid of His mother’s stick. These contradictions cannot be understood by one who is not a devotee, but a devotee can understand how powerful is unalloyed devotional service to Kṛṣṇa; it is so powerful that Kṛṣṇa can be controlled by an unalloyed devotee. This bhṛtya-vaśyatā does not mean that He is under the control of the servant; rather, He is under the control of the servant’s pure love. In Bhagavad-gītā (1.21) it is said that Kṛṣṇa became the chariot driver of Arjuna. Arjuna ordered Him, senayor ubhayor madhye rathaṁ sthāpaya me ’cyuta: “My dear Kṛṣṇa, You have agreed to be my charioteer and to execute my orders. Place my chariot between the two armies of soldiers.” Kṛṣṇa immediately executed this order, and therefore one may argue that Kṛṣṇa also is not independent. But this is one’s ajñāna, ignorance. Kṛṣṇa is always fully independent; when He becomes subordinate to His devotees, this is a display of ānanda-cinmaya-rasa, the humor of transcendental qualities that increases His transcendental pleasure. Everyone worships Kṛṣṇa as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and therefore He sometimes desires to be controlled by someone else. Such a controller can be no one else but a pure devotee.