Moments Winging By...|Aug 2, 2012 2:30 PM| by:

The Story of Krishna

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Krishna

At last I find a meaning of soul’s birth

Into this universe terrible and sweet,

I who have felt the hungry heart of earth

Aspiring beyond heaven to Krishna’s feet.

 

I have seen the beauty of immortal eyes,

And heard the passion of the Lover’s flute,

And known a deathless ecstasy’s surprise

And sorrow in my heart for ever mute.

 

Nearer and nearer now the music draws,

Life shudders with a strange felicity;

All nature is a wide enamoured pause

Hoping her lord to touch, to clasp, to be.

 

For this one moment lived the ages past;

The world now throbs fulfilled in me at last.

– Sri Aurobindo

 

Who is He?

Who is he? This person they call Krishna…? This prankster of a boy, this god of a man? Who is he they sing and dance for? Who is he they weep in joy for? Who is he they call to from the depths of their beings? Who is He?

Stories after stories have been penned in the colour of  love. Tales passing on from ear to ear, ceaselessly, from dawn to dawn. Things that make one laugh about him, at him. Things that make one give him respect, a firm handshake filled with admiration. Things that make one lie prostrate, head down, palms touching feet that are never there and yet always around, ever so slightly under the fingertips.

What can one say about a personality that dons the colour of the sky and sea with the splash of a golden sun draped over his shoulders… with the peacock’s hues tucked behind his crown… making his song heard through a  flute’s melody as it wafts across the heart of the land?  We can say much but it will never be the whole story. We can say little and in the silence itself, one may find all that there is to him.

This is the enigma of Krishna, the boy, the leader, the Lord.

 

Three parts to a whole and the first began when a babe was born to Devaki and Vasudeva… a birth ominous for the wicked king Kamsa, for he promised his destruction. The boy whisked away from Kamsa’s evil clutches is reared by foster parents Yashoda and Nanda, the chief of cowherds in a village called Gokula. From the moment of his arrival, miracles stream down upon the land; every step he takes, is a magical one; every action, delightful; every word he speaks, lovable. The whole village is his family and what are the sentiments of the village? For them, he is their playmate, their son, their lover, their saviour. The women of the village are driven into a frenzy each time they find their butter and curds and milk missing. They know it is him and they feign anger but deep inside their hearts, they yearn for another excuse to bring them at the door for just a look at his gentle face. His friends wait impatiently for the break of dawn so that armed with a full day ahead of them, they can frolic under the trees, do all things forbidden without fear of retribution for after all, which father would even whisper against the Divine Child? The cows adore him so,  that they forget to graze , rapt as they are by the melodies of his flute. And what of his foster mother, the fortunate Yashoda? If he torments the others with his love then what possibly could be the outcome on the one who has raised him on her devotion, put him to sleep singing of her love for him? She is indeed blessed and she knows it. How else could she explain how he fights as a mere child with titanic forces, bearing the omens of asuras, treating them as mere playthings? How is it possible for him to suck the life out of a demoness even as she pretends to suckle him; or transform grains of rice into gems for  a deed done well; or break the teeth or the beaks or the heads of gigantic animals that are but the guise of those who stalk him; or defy the god of rain, Indra, fool the god of creation, Brahma? How can she not think herself privileged when she sees in her baby’s mouth the whole world, the universe, all of existence, from before the beginning of time?

She knows her son to be the Lord and in the Lord she sees her son; that is what makes Yashoda and her love so special.

The boy must grow up and so he does. But wait, have we not said anything of his delightful amours with the gopis, the female cowherds, in the gardens of Brindavan? Did we actually forget to mention the moonlight dances that mesmerized each heart into forgetting its commitments, surrendering only to the call of the flute? They lived for him, these gopis. And longed for his gaze to rest on them for a mere moment. Even with them, he played the prankster, stealing their clothes as they bathed by the river or tormenting their hearts with every new dalliance. And yet, each one willfully stayed caught in the web of love that he cast at them, enraptured eternally, believing him to be hers alone.

And then there was one, the special chosen one, who had her place above all others, who teased him and was in turn teased by him, shedding tears of joy or grief when in union or away from the loved one. She gave him all that was she and asked for little in return. Their stories were so beautiful and so many, that some were immortalized in colour and song and word and thought. And so they live on together, even when apart.

They called her Radha and she was the quintessence of human love for the Divine.

And then one day, it was time for him to leave the company of his cowherd friends and taking the reins of his chariot, off he went into another world of adventure. Now a young man, he took on the responsibility first of his clan, then the nation. Born for  a purpose, he moves forward towards his mission. Killing  Kamsa is only the beginning of the elimination of evil. By then, the news spreads of this beautiful leader of men, this brave soul that answers the call of those who are plagued by  malicious forces. Attempts on his life are made even now but forever victorious is he. Everything is foretold, every move according to plan. The nation is headed by the Kuru family, the protagonists of a future tale. Their cousins, the Pandavas are the true inheritors and yet find themselves cheated by the wickedness that reigns the land instead. Krishna finds his own place in the game that is being played.

All is not well with the Pandava brothers and they undergo humiliation after humiliation via their hundred Kaurava cousins who lounge unabashedly in a stolen kingdom. Krishna now becomes their advisor, for his statesmanship and command over politics is unsurpassable. As yet, the plan is only half way through and none have a clue of its intent.

Events take place and the situation arises, the occasion for the next move arrives, the moment dawns and the trumpets blow – war begins. Krishna, offers himself as a charioteer to the Pandava called Arjuna, and off they go to take a last look at the battlefield, spilling at its seams with adversaries who were once friends and playmates and teachers and family. Arjuna, casts his arrogant eye at the foe that stand before him and then just as suddenly, his arrogance itself is awash with  tears of sorrow and guilt. Crumbling under the pressure of his grief-wrought emotions, he weakens and lets go of his will and desire to punish the offenders; his pleasure in this life from their death would be non-existent says he, for the sin of harming his own, would take him down not only while he lives but for all lives to come.

And thus enters the third aspect of our hero who brings down the rain with the cadence of his song just as easily as he benumbs  thousand-headed serpents with his lilting dance – he arrives as Krishna, the Avatar. Even as he speaks with the disillusioned warrior, the veil lifts itself bit by bit, to reveal a fraction of the mystery. Arjuna is perplexed and  bewildered to see his friend in such form, to hear words of such magnitude, to discover a plan of such immensity. He understands little at a time and Krishna, patient as he is, explains the whole cause of existence, its reason, its power, its objectives and the paths to attain them. He discloses to him the secret behind all that is, the relation of man and God, the play of Nature. He enlightens Arjuna on  the significance of his action, the results of his non-action. Bringing the Light into all that is, he finally reveals Himself in His true form of the Formless.

Arjuna is only an instrument, not just for the war of Kurukshetra devised to eliminate the asuric forces that rule, but an instrument by which the world at large, can learn of the mysteries that abound in the Unknown, the Truth that reigns the Land, the existence of the One. It is through him the Message is delivered.

Krishna signifies the Divine manifestation upon earth in his guise as an Avatar. But he is more than that, more than the naughty babe that had one cavort around him incessantly, more than the child that slew demons, more than the dazzling flautist that made many a heart aflutter, more than the leader who imparted sage advice.

He is also an image for the Divine, housed nowhere but deep in our hearts. An idol whom we worship in our moments of deafening silence, fuelled by the flames of our aspiration. He is what we cannot imagine and even if by a stroke of fortune we manage ever so slightly, he remains unfathomable. He is the invisible source of inspiration who creates through mortal means; we are but putty in his godly hands. But it is again him whom we endeavor to please and impress by those very creations that he has divined into being. He is what makes perfection perfect and hence it is he whom we chase. And it is he who sends forth riddles of the Unknown through anonymous messages, delivered at the proper time, in the proper place. To solve the riddle becomes our aim …the question he puts forth is simple… “Who am I”.

He can go by any name but for now, we will call him Krishna.

Krishna who is the Divinity, Joy, Love, Bliss we seek and yearn for. Take away from him his blue hue and yellow robe, golden crown and peacock feather, chariot and flute, and Krishna will become no less. These are only symbols of his Divine nature, the name only a means to identify and idolize.  It is not the sky or the lotus that should remind us of him but that in the tentacled greys of depthless pits we are inspired to see the soft tinge of Blue and smell the veiled Sweetness. It is the essence, the Krishnahood, that is of consequence; it is that that he wants us to discover, that that he wants us to understand and that that he wants us to become. It is for us to see the Divine in our sons and our sons in the Divine as Yashoda did or to see the Divine in our friend and our friend in the Divine as Arjuna did. All is resplendent of Him, He is resplendent of All.  It is for us to seek the Krishna within, the Krishna without.

And that would be the answer to the greatest riddle of all times.