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Krishna

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Janmashtami, Jhulan and Rasa are three of the festivals of Krishna, commemorating his birth, his bond of friendship and his pleasure on the "swing of eternity" with his beloved Radha.
I will not elaborate on the assumption of the "Avatar" theory, that accepts Krishna as an incarnation of "Vishnu", the power that sustains the creation.
No matter whatever may have been the base of the story, the divine status conferred on the individual named Krishna mentioned in the epic Mahabharat and the Bhagawat Puranas by far transcends any historical character and symbolizes the personification of Eternal and infinite consciousness.
This personification has been supported and accepted by generations in faith that acknowledges Krishna as the eternal and mysterious.
The power that can never be truly explained but can be venarated in human form creates the bridge between the human and the divine.
The story of Krishna with all its embellishments, is an eternal saga of relationship between humanity and divine power.
The multiple dimension relationships of many individual characters in that story are intensely human in emotions.
So, people throughout the ages have found it easy to have empathy with the characters in that story.
Through this empathy a process of self identification with the characters in "Krishnas life" has been possible for people in all walks of life.
This process of identification with many of the characters in Krishnas life, and with the relationships of those characters with Krishna has made "the way of devotion" an easy path for countless beings throughout the ages in India and beyond.
This faith has created a tradition of worshipping and adoring the incompassable Eternal consciousness within the limitations of compassable human feelings.
The path of "Sadhana" or spiritual discipline is difficult indeed for a common person to understand or to follow.
Such paths are taken by Yogis and Sadhakas who are self conscious about their spiritual journey through different stages.
Yet, a lay person, a common human being within the bondage of crude urges and pressurized by social compulsions can find spiritual solace from the empathy with ordinary human characters from Krishna’s life.
The feelings of Basudeva, Devaki, Nanda, and Yashoda, are understood and find sympathy with common people. Women throughout the ages have had and still have deep sympathy with Devaki and Yashoda who symbolizes two aspects of motherhood.
Krishna’s relationship with the Gopis of Brindavan and especially with Radha is unique, as this relationship carries the emotional flow from carnal to sublime, from physical to metaphysical.
The tragic pain as well as the fulfillment in the lives of these mythological female characters have been an inspiration for art, literature and music in countless folk forms as well as in classical styles.
The imagination of the artists, writers and musicians has created and recreated worlds in countless colours and shapes, forms and rhythms using the characters of Krishna’s life as base.
This has created an important and basic aspect in the cultural heritage of India.
People from different social stages and from diverse environments in India and beyond have allowed themselves to flow with such timeless emotions in an easy way in the transcendental journey of Eternity.
This Journey breaks all social barriers as the relationship of Radha and the Gopis with Krishna defied social norms.
It is a spiritual journey of love that breaks the perimeter of human bondage to reach out to a greater fulfillment.
Love frees itself from the limitations of sexual desires to reach a level of devotion at the ultimate stage when the devotee and the devoted are united to form a complete configuration in Eternity.
The perception of the formless through the form, the understanding of the abstract through the concrete, the attainment of the sublime through the worldly are the manifestations of the Eternal "Lila" or the "activities of joy" of the divine conceptualization termed Krishna.
This path has been opened to all, allowing the common people an access to the spiritual world.
The tradition of Krishna has been carried on generation after generation through festivals and social functions.
The devotee does not assume or accept the concept of a power beyond all human emotions or be insensitive to his or her emotional yearnings. The devotee accepts the Lord as one who cares for him or her. Devotee seeks a Lord with infinite compassion and mercy, a Lord who would pay attention to all the worldly needs and solve all the worldly problems of the devotee.
It is the joy of swinging on the "Jhula" or the swing of eternity with the caring Lord through the negative and positive aspects of existence.
The unending flow of "Time" is symbolized as Yamuna, the river that plays such an important part in the "Lila" of Radha, and Krishna.
Radha’s love for Krishna, tragic in this world reaches its ultimate fulfilment in the astral stage only.
Sexual desires of temporary physical pleasure dissolve in the light of the ultimate attainment of love. It is love that is for the sake of love only.
Crude craving based on self centered needs emphasizing on the concept the individual identity symbolized as "I" give way to emerge as an enlightened consciousness in this process of spiritual metamorphosis.
The attraction for physical beauty in the sexual manner and the urge to create physical contact for sexual pleasure loose the carnal aspects in this process of spiritual distillation, yet love remains with a pure and eternal glow, untouched by time, undeterred by death, unsullied by the cares of the world.
The enjoyment of beauty reachs a level of appreciation untouched by crude desires.
Such transformation places the soul on a different dimensional plane.
This process is the essence of Yoga as explained to Arjuna by Yogendra Krishna on the battle field of Kurukshetra many years after Krishna left Brindavana.
The paths of Arjuna and Radha, situation wise and presentation wise are different indeed but knowingly or unknowingly, they seek the same goal, the same door to salvation.
The concept created by faith that has lasted for milleniums is far more potent and is of much greater importance than any historical base.
Brindavana at the astral plane is more enduring than the situation in the physical world. The Eternal Yamuna flows in this astral plane in the depths of the consciousness.
Krishna, with Radha and Gopis continue their Eternal "lila" at this celestial Vrindavana.
By Prabal Pramanik
(From the book "The Lamp of Faith" by Prabal Pramanik)

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