Tonight at the stroke of midnight, Hindu temples and homes will come alive to the chiming of bells as they celebrate once again the birth of their beloved Lord, Krishna. Cradles with idols of baby Krishna will be rocked lovingly and sweets will be distributed; the joy of his birth real and palpable to his devotees. Stories of the charming Krishna and his many leelas will be sung and rejoiced in once again by many millions.
Just as I was wondering which Krishna story to choose for today’s post, for there are many, I chanced upon this wonderful write up on knowing Krishna, by Sadguru of the Isha Foundation. I’d like to share it with you.
When we say Krishna, who do we mean? What is the essence of Krishna?
Sadguru says, Krishna is many things.
He is an irrepressible child, a terrible prankster, an enchanting flute player, a graceful dancer, an irresistible lover, a truly valiant warrior, a ruthless vanquisher of his foes, a man who left a broken heart in every home, an astute statesman and kingmaker, a thorough gentleman, a yogi of the highest order, and the most colorful incarnation.
Krishna has been seen, perceived, understood and experienced in many different ways by different people. For example, in Duryodhana’s words, Krishna is a “smiling rogue if there ever was one. He can eat, he can drink, he can sing, he can dance. He can make love, he can fight, he can gossip with old women, and play with little children. Who says he’s God?” That was Duryodhana’s perception
Krishna’s childhood lover Radhe, who became so big that you cannot talk of Krishna without Radhe – we don’t say “Krishna Radhe,” we say, “Radhe Krishna” – she said, “Krishna is with me. He is always with me wherever he is. Whoever he is with, he is still with me.” That was her perception.
Shikandi, who because of a certain situation within himself was an absolutely tortured soul right from his childhood said, “Krishna never gave me any hope. But when he is there, the breeze of hope touches everybody.”
We are all caught up in Krishna’s leela. His play. Different people see different facets of who he is. For some, he is God. For some, he is a crook. For some, he is a lover. For some, he is a fighter. He is so many things. If we want to know the essence of Krishna, if we want to be touched by the consciousness that we refer to as Krishna, we need leela. We need play. We need playfulness.
The reason why the most profound dimensions of life have been missed by a vast population of the world is because they do not know how to be playful. To explore the path of the playful, you need a heart full of love, a joyful mind, and a vibrant body. Only then there is leela.
To explore the most profound dimensions of life in a playful way, you must be willing to play with your awareness, with your imagination, with your memory, with your life, with your death. If you are willing to play with everything, only then there is Leela. Leela does not mean just dancing with somebody. It means you are willing to dance with life. You are willing to dance with your enemy, you are willing to dance with the one whom you love, you are willing to dance at the moment of your death. Only then there is leela.
And in the leela of life, you find Krishna. The many faces of him.
For more insightful stories and articles visit www.ishafoundation.org