When I was around eight or ten years old, my mother told me about an elderly lady who lived in our neighbourhood. I cannot recall her face now, but I often think about her when someone talks about devotion to Shri Krishna.
Like the majority of the Hindu population, in the 90s, my family was unaware of the phenomenon and enigma that is Shri Krishna. So when mummy described the experiences of this neighbourhood aunty with Krishna, all of us would have a hearty chuckle.
The elderly lady who had her offsprings settled well in life was a doting grandma, used to complete all her chores by herself and was worldly-wise. If one saw her in a crowd, they would not consider her out of place. But within herself, she was constantly in communion with Shri Krishna.
For her, Krishna was a living presence. If anyone met her, all she would say is, “बस श्री कृष्ण को अपना मान लो, आपका पूरा जीवन सफल हो जाएगा।”
She even claimed to have mystical experiences. She narrated how Shri Krishna visited her daily, spoke to her, engaged in heart-to-heart chats and enquired about her everyday well-being. When she once fell seriously ill, and all her family and friends got concerned, she lovingly informed them that Shri Krishna has told me my time hasn’t yet come to leave.
The stunning part was that when she did leave her body, she did so by informing her folks about her departure because her Krishna had already told her to prepare!
Talk about having a personal relationship with God!
Almost two decades later, having learned, read and observed the divinity of Shri Krishna, as I recount her story here, I no longer chuckle at her. Instead, I yearn to have a mere drop of her devotion towards Shri Krishna.
Incarnation or the source of incarnations
Think of Krishna.
What are some of the first thoughts, words or ideas that come to your mind?
Image of a child butter thief?
Dancing with the gopis (cow-herd girls)?
Or maybe (luckily), Bhagavad Gita’s image of Him instructing Arjuna?
While all such associations with Krishna are accurate and give a glimpse into the incredible range of Krishna’s personality, they still lead to a limited understanding.
The ones who restrict themselves (without a devotional mindset) to the flute playing, dancing, butter stealing stories of Krishna miss the chance of gaining the ineffable bliss and wisdom He can grant.
A detailed and deeper study of the most important texts of Sanatana Dharma like Srimad Bhagavad Geeta, Srimad Bhagavatam Mahapurana, and The Mahabharat makes one aware of the magnanimity and greatness of Shri Krishna. Shri Krishna no longer remains the eighth incarnation of Shri Vishnu, nor is He then restricted to some fun and frolic; Shri Krishna is then realized as the Supreme Personality of Godhead (कृष्णस्तु भगवान् स्वयम्)
Beyond Worship and Religion
Bhagavan Shri Krishna is the propounder and protector of Sanatana Dharma. In one of the most well-known verses of the Bhagavad Gita, He makes a statement about coming back, again and again, to protect the saintly and vanquish the demoniac. (4.8)
However, the charm, appeal and grace of Shri Krishna are beyond religion, rituals and texts. Bhagavan Shri Krishna’s impact is seen and felt by devotees like that elderly neighbour lady I mentioned at the beginning of the blog.
Shri Krishna’s impact is seen amongst those thousands of devotees singing and dancing to His names in temples, homes and sometimes on the streets.
Shri Krishna’s impact is seen and felt in observing those humans who carry His deity form wherever they go. How the deity manifestation of Bhagavan Shri Krishna is bathed, dressed, offered the best of foodstuff and adored like one’s own child.
Shri Krishna’s appeal is witnessed through the innumerable saints. The latter have loved Him and found Him as a living presence like Mirabai, Surdas, Bilvamangal Thakur, Narsingh Mehta, Tukaram, Rasikhan etc.
Shri Krishna’s stature can be glimpsed by the impact created by Bhagavad Gita, the top most scripture of yoga, a churning of Vedic/Sanatana Wisdom imparted by Him, impromptu, on a battlefield to His best friend. The holy texts of the Gita have guided humanity for thousands of years in every sphere of life and continue to do so.
Shri Krishna’s skill in stealing people’s hearts is seen amongst those devotees in Goverdhan who take a vow of offering thousands of dandvats (prostrated obeisances) to a mountain He lifted as a child.
Bhagavan Shri Krishna is our treasure. His stories, wisdom, character, sweetness and loving exchanges can transform a person’s existence. You need not have an attitude of divinity towards Him; simply enquiring about His stories, reading and learning from the Bhagavad Gita can uplift you from the nether of despondency to the zenith of peace, love and purpose.
If approached as the divinity that He is, He offers fulfilment to every kind of intention as reciprocation. He can be your master, friend, child or lover. He can be an object of your worship, meditation or even if He is the object of your envy and anger, He can uplift. Haha! (Ask Kans, ask Putana)
This Janmashtami, where all His followers celebrate His divine appearance, make an intention to connect with Him in some way or another. There can be nothing better than reading about His glorious, charming and heart-warming pastimes.
Oh, and lastly, Shri Krishna is the simplest and easiest personality to please. Such a low level of maintenance. In His own words,
पत्रं पुष्पं फलं तोयं यो मे भक्त्या प्रयच्छति ।
तदहं भक्त्युपहृतमश्नामि प्रयतात्मन: ॥
“If one offers a leaf, a flower, a fruit, or water WITH LOVE, I accept it.”
Just be careful, though. Beyond the veil of His sweet exchanges, beauty and wisdom is a possessive lover. Once He imprisons you, He never does let go.
I wish and hope you find this little piece inspiring. If you like it, please pray that I develop a trickle of love and devotion at the lotus feet of Bhagavan Shri Krishna. Thank you for reading this.
ABOUT THE BLOGGER:
Kushagra Singh is a spiritual seeker working as a civil engineering consultant based in New Delhi. He is a certified 200 HR yoga teacher, certified clinical Hypnotherapist and a former theatre actor.
He derives his inspiration for leading life from Indian epics namely, Ramayana and Mahabharat. He endeavours to share that wisdom through his blog and podcast. He also offers free guided meditations and sessions on the Indian scriptures from time to time.