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Lord Vishnu And Shri Krishna
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Krishna is a living God. That is not an exaggeration or hyperbole. In India, religion is not an abstract concept or something that is written in unchanging stone. It is a dynamic concept with various communities following their own tenets and worldview. Multiculturalism may have entered the lexicon of the West in the age of liberalization and globalization through the last 2 decades, but India has been a melting pot of languages, religions, cultures and ethnicities since time immemorial. As home to one of the most ancient religions of the world, India has various shades of Hinduism. Every 200 kilometres legends and folk lore change along with social customs and eating habits. That is how diverse the religion is. This is not to imply that Hinduism is some ideal or utopian belief system. Our purpose is to highlight the ever present possibility of difference even within what may appear to be a monolithic religion from the outsider’s perspective. Lord Krishna perhaps embodies this sense of immeasurable possibilities most distinctly.
Cavalier and flirtatious Krishna’s early life was spent in the pursuit of all kinds of mischief, be it stealing butter from his mother’s kitchen or peeping at and teasing village girls bathing in the river. Simultaneously we also see this happy go lucky boy lifting up the Govardan Mountain on his little finger to shelter his people from torrential down pour and in a spirit of zest, he fights demons and seven headed serpents for good measure!
This sense of wit and agile strength would mature and create a Prince who would later go on to become the King of Dwaraka, a sprawling and prosperous ancient city.
While most of these things make Krishna extremely endearing, perhaps what really tips the scale in his favour when compared to most other Hindu mythological characters is the role he plays in the Mahabharata. During the battle of Kurukshetra Krishna appeared in his Vishwaroop or the ultimate form encompassing everything divine and awe inspiring. He narrated to Arjuna the contents of the Bhagwat Gita. Arjuna could not bear to look upon the power and the brilliance. He felt sublime fear at his proximity to the Lord of all things.
Beginning with charting the course of the battle of Kurukshetra, Krishna revealed to Arjuna how everything that has happened, is happening and shall ever happen is all bound to the inscrutable will of Vidhata or the ultimate cosmic force, of which Krishna was but a part. Arjuna learnt that he was, despite all his accomplishments, just a device to execute the will of Vidhata.
Therefore when Krishna’s death comes to pass by the arrow of a hunter, while he sat on a tree, one wonders what kind of an anticlimactic end it turns out! The whole point though is located precisely at the commonplaceness of the death. Births and deaths constitute an eternal cycle, and having served one’s purpose, one simply passes on. The whole purpose of Krishna’s life was to restore order and to ensure the preservation of creation- acts he conducted all through his life.
Now the important question we can all ask is what are we to take away with ourselves from the entire life story of Krishna. Making a religious reading of the story can and has given millions of people a moral and religious mooring. An objective, secular reading though also has the power to transform lives. The level of pragmatism in the narrative, under all the mythic effects continues to be validly applicable to lived realities of our times. That is the reason one shall not be too far away from the truth, when claiming Krishna to be a living God.
A lot of serious discussions shall continue about the adult Krishna but in our next email we shall bring to you some exquisite beauties featuring the Baal Krishna or the young and mischievous Krishna. Be with us...
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