Understanding the relevance of Krishna
19th August, 2022
It is Janamashtami today.
We have been fasting on this day for as long back as I can remember.
But it used to be fun fasting for us as there would be a rich spread of sweets, fruits & nuts on this day. Our mother said it was Krishna’s birthday so we must feast on everything that He loved to eat- which meant halwa, kheer, rasagullas, rabri, doodh, besides all kinds of fruits minus the cucumber (which was saved for the ritual of the Lord’s birth at midnight).
Janamashtami celebrations at home also meant hectic preparations for dance dramas & the raas lila with all the children of Sangeet Sadhana (the music school run by mother) and the marathon kirtan which lasted well past midnight.
So as a child I particularly loved this God, not just for the sumptuous food on his birthday, but also because of the fun persona of Krishna- naughty, playful & punishable, one who loved music & dancing amidst nature even as he went about pulling off miraculous feats. I could so relate to this Lord!
It wasn’t until I became much older that I understood the symbolism of Krishna’s actions & behaviour as ‘Leelas’ to teach the lesser mortals the invaluable lessons to live our lives more beautifully & meaningfully despite all trials & tribulations.
So here is this Lord who faced all kinds of threats and struggles right from the day he was born, but he never for once gave up his smile and cheer. Adorning the peacock feather (symbolising fun & gaiety) in his hair and murli in his hands (signifying the embalming role of music), using the sudarshan chakra (divine weapon) most sparingly, he seamlessly worked to bring happiness & comfort to people around as he resolved their big and small problems whether in Vrindavan, Mathura, Dwarka, or the Kurukshetra.
Krishna’s life continues to be an enigma as I endeavour to decipher and explain the meaning and symbolism behind each of his actions (leelas) to our children. Be it romancing the gopis of Vrindavan or marrying 16,000 wives or becoming the charioteer for Arjun and so on.
Krishna & his actions are relevant for all generations to come, but only if you have the inclination and the wisdom to see through his seemingly frivolous or sometimes unreasonable behaviour.
Here's wishing that each one of us is blessed with this consciousness.
Happy Janamshtami !