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.By Prabal Pramanik
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
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
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 Krishnas 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.
Krishnas 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 Krishnas
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
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
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.
Radhas 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
(From the book "The Lamp of Faith" by Prabal
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