Thursday, September 1, 2016

Jottings : Slice of life -42

Jottings : Slice of life -41
The day before Yesterday, Hindus across the globe celebrated what has come to christened as "Janmastami" - or the birth of Krishna, the youthful God. Among the Gods and Goddesses created by Human Mind, nothing comes even close to the deep symbolism of this little dark prince of Vedic times. He is Aphrodite, Zeus, Ra, Hermes and Apollo - all rolled into one creative symbol. It is interesting though, that the name krishna drives from its Sanskrit root "The Black one", or the "blue-black one". It has deep mystical significance. Black absorbs everything into itself Just as the sky placidly reflects the colour of the ocean and vice versa, Krishna consciousness in each man obliterates the scars of experience , and purifies the experience of objective world outside. Its an osmotic process of cleansing and experiencing. In Krishna's symbolism, there is nothing right or wrong, Moral or immoral. It is contextual. His actions reflect the need of the present moment. To Arjuna, he is the teacher; to Karna, he is treachery personified,; to Yashoda, he is the darling boy; to Gopikas , he is unquenchable lust; to Draupadi, he is the savior, to Shishupal, Justice; to Bheesma, God.. One cannot hold Krishna's myth within well defined moral boundaries. He escapes all categorization, just as consciousness per se escapes all names and forms. That is the true depth of Krishna Symbolism, as it needs to be understood.
The problem with religion is that it can very easily descend into a literal interpretation of myths. In a land, where there are a million Gods in all shapes, sizes and forms, it is natural that legends, apocryphal stories -Made made dreams and fantasies translating into theories of God - will abound. Especially, if the God in question is conceived as vivacious, omnipotent, supremely intelligent, schemer and charmer as Krishna is. An entire epic revolves around his life and times. The largest tome of Devotional literature ( Bhagavatham) extols his numerous virtues. The most number of temples, alongside his peer Shiva, is consecrated to his name. The most profound spiritual exposition of Advaita finds its voice in Charotieer Krishna. Majority of Hindus (Vaishnavaites)wake up in the morning uttering his name, and go to bed cleansing their lives with a prayer to him on their lips . Take Krishna, the formal idolized god, away from the Hindu pantheon of Gods, and it seems, nothing more is left of institutionalized Hindu religion.
But Is Krishna, the God to be venerated and deified and worshipped as a form, an idol?, or is it that the myth of Krishna a pointer to a deeper truth about Human life and Cosmos. "Myths are public dreams, dreams are private myths". So writes Joseph Campbell after a lifetime spent in studying and understanding the power, significance and relevance of Myths. It is not the literal objectification of a myth that makes sense, but its underlying symbolism pointing to deeper truth. Mystics across religions, across cultures have emphasized and realized this deeper meaning. It is childish to think of Krishna's childhood pranks, amorous adventures, bravery and magical life as historical happenings and enact them on stage as entertainment, or bow our heads in devotion without understanding the significance and depth of his story. His carefully scripted acts are pointers to inward psychological flowering. His life was meant to be a symbol of Playfulness - both Physical and intellectual. The beautiful Sanskrit word "lila", of which Krishna is a personification, has no parallel in any language. It means a game, a process, a dream, a movement, a happening, a mutation, a transformation, a state of timeless motion - and much more. Along with that elusive, seductive and mesmeric word "maya", Lila represents the highest Flowering of Indian thinking and realization. The Universe is dance, a play without purpose, and none expounded this understanding for Modern times better than Alan watts.
In a clipping, which I shared with you yesterday, you will hear the lovely , baritone voice of alan watts talking about Playfulness, the essence of Krishna consciousness. Many years, nearly two decades ago, My first introduction to Watts was though his short book called "The Book - the taboo against knowing who you are". There has been nothing like this book ever in the history of Spiritual literature. Its a must read for all parents, and after them, their children. The condensation of deepest, simplest and intimate truth about oneself and the universe is laid bare in 150 odd pages. Its the one book, you will need , if you are ripe for it.
God bless..
Yours in mortality,
Bala

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