Stepping Into A Portrait of Lord Shree Krishna

Shree Krishna, while He was on earth some time back, turned out to be the greatest polymath, independent thinker and upholder of spiritual values the world had ever known. He also declared Himself to be the primeval cause of all causes; the one to take shelter of in difficult times. Said declaration is the ‘take away’ from His famous Bhagavad-gita, which comprises spiritual pearls presented by Krishna to His friend Arjuna who was facing outrageous fortunes.

The extensive records that detail the life and times of Lord Krishna, make it such, that when the topic of Krishna and His exploits is raised, we know well who we are talking about: one extraordinary person! A monumental character with a personality of immeasurable scope and colour. In His Bhagavad-gita, this extraordinary Person recommended to the suffering Arjuna that Arjuna give up all other possible solutions for resolving the outrageous fortunes he faced, and depend on His (Krishna’s) answer to them. The answer was, that Arjuna be exclusively devoted to Him. Despite the straightforwardness of Krishna’s suggestion, it is apparently more in vogue to have the simplicity of Krishna’s words taken on a circuitous route by declaring that what He is really conveying to Arjuna, is that Arjuna should resort to the “unborn within Krishna” (sic); i.e. to an ineffable, impersonal spirit that comprises the essential conscious force of not only Krishna and Arjuna, but of everyone else as well.

Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan (above), the late president of India, was one whose English language translation of Bhagavad-gita presents Krishna’s instruction in this way. Dr. Radhahrishnan was not only India’s president (1962-1967), he also held a professorship at Oxford and was knighted by George V. To say Dr. Radhakrishnan was missing the point, therefore, might very well appear to be impertinent. But what Dr. Radhkrishnan is inevitably doing is undermining the relevance of Krishna, the Person. Asking someone for a glass of water only to have them mysteriously quiz you about what it was you really wanted would be strange if not irritating. When Krishna advises Arjuna “I’d like you to come to Me for shelter,” or “the world moves under My direction” or “nothing’s superior to Me” Krishna hasn’t suddenly come over all cryptic. He means just that. Of course, the unbiased reader of Krishna’s claims is free to believe or not believe the extraordinary-ness of those claims, but there’s nothing convoluted about them.

By all accounts, there really was no one superior to Krishna in His time, He really did protect anyone who needed His help – from anything. Then, as a child, He once showed His mother the universe inside His mouth! Krishna’s supreme personality as presented in Rupa Goswami’s portrait of Him in his beautiful drama, Vidagdha Madhava, a.k.a. A Portrait of Lord Shree Krishna, is especially arresting in this regard. Here we find the limits of emotional attachment reached in Krishna’s relationships with His parents, friends and beloveds, and those whose faith is stirred by the timeless and self-explanatory vedic descriptions about how divine Krishna is, will be especially pleased to find their faith not inconsiderably fortified.

Arjundas Adhikari

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