Monday, December 20, 2010

Krishna: History or Myth

-- By Manish Pandit

Krishna: History or Myth from Saraswati Films on Vimeo.

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The historicity of Krishna is of less spiritual importance and is not essential, but it has still a considerable value. It does not seem to me that there can be any reasonable doubt that Krishna the man was not a legend or a poetic invention but actually existed upon earth and played a part in the Indian past. Two facts emerge clearly, that he was regarded as an important spiritual figure, one whose spiritual illumination was recorded in one of the Upanishads, and that he was traditionally regarded as a divine man, one worshipped after his death as a deity; this is apart from the story in the Mahabharata and the Puranas. There is no reason to suppose that the connection of his name with the development of the Bhagavata religion, an important current in the stream of Indian spirituality , was founded on a mere legend or poetic invention. The Mahabharata is a poem and not history , but it is clearly a poem founded on a great historical event, traditionally preserved in memory; some of the figures connected with it, Dhritarashtra, Parikshit, for instance, certainly existed and the story of the part played by Krishna as leader, warrior and statesman can be accepted as probable in itself and to all appearance founded on a tradition which can be given a historical value and has not the air of a myth or a sheer poetical invention. That is as much as can be positively said from the point of view of the theoretical reason as to the historic figure of the man Krishna; but in my view there is much more than that in it and I have always regarded the incarnation as a fact and accepted the historicity of Krishna as I accept the historicity of Christ.

-- Sri Aurobindo

Thursday, December 09, 2010

The Homeless

Polli-geetis which literally mean village-songs are Bengali folk songs that have a way of touching the heart with their simple representation of rather complex matters of emotions and philosophy. My father, who was an master of Indian classical vocal music, was also an exponent in folk music particularly those had a subtle philosophical tint. One song that he sometimes hummed, was

Porer jayga porer zamin
Ghar baania aami roi
Ami to shee gorer mallik noi

Translates to

This place, this land –
On which I have built my house –
belongs to someone else.
I can’t call myself its owner
As a child I used to think that this is the lament of encroachers who had been caught and asked to evict :)

Home is such a complex term. The old saying goes, Home is where the heart is. But how often we know where our heart is? The heart of the money minded may lie at the stock exchange, of the philanderer at the house of ill-repute, of the pining girl at the house of beloved (in a common Indian context). But are those truly their home? What happens of the heart and the home when expectations break, for anything man made is transient, has a shelf life beyond which it rots away.

What happens to the home when the heart it held ensconced drifts away?

What happens to the heart when the home that was its retreat wants it no longer?

Tragedy? Naah!!!
What happens is freedom from transience. Or at the very least cognition of the inevitability of transience. And only when one becomes aware of darkness can someone appreciate light…

Did Siddharth not have to leave his wife and son to achieve the enlightenment that illuminated not only himself but the whole of mankind? Did Nimai not have to leave home to become the Krishna Chaitanya who reintroduced the nectar of the Lord’s love to a perched humanity?

Homeless is not the absence of home, it is the absence of the need to belong to a man made structure. For in denying oneself the attraction of the transient can one truly give in to the attraction to the permanent home, which in my psyche takes the form of Lord Krishna’s Lotus feet..

Tomar Sreepad pod-de, Mojiya Thaki
Hari-he amar aai bashona..

Let my mind and soul remain immerged evermore, in your lotus feel. My Lord, my Hari, that is my only desire..

Sri Krishna Sarnam Mamah