I wasn’t too enamoured by character sketches as a student. But today’s maturity prompts me to revel in the characterisation of every role I come across. Hence this series…
Why I admire…
Many of us fail to see the significance of Krishna lost as we are in validating his historical or mythological reality. Yet, to many, Krishna is a living presence. This is not a religious statement but a psychological identification with an absolutely fascinating and beautiful character I consciously emulate. Drop the unnecessary baggage of him needing to be an incarnation of God; forget for a moment that you were probably tutored to recite his thousand and one names; eliminate from your mind those incidents of super-human miracles – just deal with what is purely human in Krishna. Without that burden of divinity, Krishna still stands pure and pristine – a loving cowherd boy who could send the Gopis and Gopas into rapture with his flute; a mischievous teenager whose light-hearted flirting was enchanting yet never vulgar; a carefree youth suddenly elevated from being a cowherd to the son of cultured parents; a friend whose every wish was treated like a command by his near ones; a teacher from whom human kind learns even today. Every role of Krishna, as beautifully experienced by Sage Vyasa (and poetically expressed by Subramanya Bharati) was complete in itself. Never a clash between the roles – Carl Jung’s ideal candidate for the individuation process. Krishna was at once a monarch and a cowherd, a friend and a teacher, a lover and a child. He could play the flute and fight a war with equal ease; steal their butter and preach a philosophy that remains the inspiration for millions even today; sit in solitude in meditative silence and dance with ecstasy with the cowherds; wear a single piece of yellow cloth as a cowherd and be decked with the most precious jewellery as a Lord. The mere uttering of his name could send thousands of saints into bliss. That is something only those who ‘know’ him would understand.
When Arjuna recovers from his vision of Krishna’s Viswaroopam, Arjuna laments “O Lord! How utterly foolish of me! Here I was calling out to you as a friend – ‘Hey Krishna! Hey Achyuta!’ I patted your back like your peer. I treated you like I was your equal! How can I even look into your eyes today?” Krishna smiles and replies “I will always be just that to you – Achyuta your friend!”
Did Krishna live a human life at some point in time? Or is he just the fertile imagination of Sage Vyasa? Was the mischievous Krishna of the Bhagavatam and the serious Krishna of the Bhagavad Gita the same? Or were there two different Krishnas merged into one by human psyche? Did Krishna truly have sixteen million wives? Or was that merely an allegorical meaning to the Hindu belief that Krishna is the only male to all we human beings? Can we give a date in history to Krishna? Is it just mythology? Is there any truth in these magical incidents? A few thousand books can be filled with doubts as well as proof. But if you haven’t felt ‘Krishna’ in your heart, those words are a waste of time.
Abstraction to today’s generation, make everything that was Krishna a state of mind called Krishnahood. The essence of Krishna eludes every soul till the understanding dawns that Krishna is neither fact nor fiction, neither historical nor mythological, neither human nor celestial… Krishna is ultimately an aspiration.
A disciple approached Sri Paramahansa Yogananda and asked him “Which came first – the tree or the seed?” Everyone present wondered how the great yogi would respond. It was the classic question of the egg or the chick. Paramahansaji smiled and said ‘The tree’. The disciples looked at him curiously, waiting for him to expand. The great teacher replied – “The tree came first as the idea of a deed precedes the deed itself. The tree was, in this way, a special creation. God, when he set the process in motion, gave the tree seeds that it might produce other trees like itself. Everything at first is an idea, a special creation’. The seed is but a potential tree. It is not complete in itself. It was made in order to become a tree. Krishna the idea has already emerged. The question is when will the human seed evolve to make it a reality…
Marching towards you my dear Krishna….
Gita Krishna Raj