Krishna is one of the central characters in ancient Hindu texts such as the Mahabharata, the Puranas, the Itihasas, etc. In these texts, he is depicted with powers asscoiated often with supreme God characteristics of Hindu religious art, such as multiple arms or heads denoting power, and with attributes of Lord Vishnu such as the chakra or in his two-armed form as a charioteer. In the Hindu texts, he is represented as playing the flute which draws all the gopis and people of Vrindavan towards him, transfixed by the blissful sound of his flute. It is said that when he played the flute, people used to forget all their worldly problems and get focused on him alone. Some great seers explain that the flute of Krishna means the flute of revelation and not the physical flute. Majority of the people regard him as a Hindu god.
But Krishna is more. Krishna transcends Hinduism or any religion as such. As he himself says in the Bhagavad Gita:-
“सब धर्मों के भेद मिटाकर बस मेरा शरणागत हो जा, मैं सब पाप से मुक्ति दूँगा शोक ना कर मेरी भक्ति में खो जा |”
“Erasing the distinctions between all religions just come under my asylum/shelter, I will free you from all your sins, do not mourn, just be lost in my devotion.”
Krishna is the personification of pure universal energy. Krishna is our inner voice of conscience. Yes, it is that inner voice which we keep suppressed most of the time. Yes, it is that inner voice which if we listen to, will guide us and keep us on the right track morally and ethically. That voice somehow always knows what is right and what is wrong. In the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna is described as the saintliness of the saint, the wisdom of the wise, the strength of the strong and the silence of the secret. Krishna is our eternal friend, guide and well-wisher. Krishna is what one aspires to be. Strangely, he was born in the past but is a glimpse of what we would like to be in the future. He is the characterization of the ideal person. Krishna is an olympian par excellence. Omniscient, all-pervading, infinite reality are all adjectives that are used to describe him.
My experience with the Bhagavad Gita
The Bhagavad Gita(literally “The Song of God”) is a part of Mahabharata. It is a text in dialogue form. The dialogue is between its two central characters Krishna and Arjuna. In the war, Arjuna’s mind is clouded with doubts, apprehensions and fears. Krishna patiently listens to each of his questions/doubts and answers them, in the process removing all of Arjuna’s fears. The Bhagavad Gita contains answers to all moral, ethical, philosophical and psychological questions one can possibly imagine and even more. It declares that to have a complete understanding of the Infinite(God/Universe) is impossible, but the essence of that universal knowledge is contained in the Gita.
The Bhagavad Gita transforms its reader mentally, emotionally, spiritually and psychologically. It has that magical effect of clearing the mind and showing the truth to such a magnitude that you cannot imagine it without reading it. One goes through various phases of vivid variety of thoughts, emotions and feelings while reading it. Words cannot describe the experience the reader goes through while reading it. You have to read it to experience it. Most people read the Gita only when they have lost all hope in life or are nearing the end of their lives. But if possible one should read it very early in life as the knowledge it contains is vital for living a happy life. After understanding the Bhagavad Gita, one experiences great magnification in one’s confidence, composure and mental strength. It makes a person fearless and tension-free. It has an elevating effect on the reader. It imparts a trenchant charge in energy to fill the reader’s mind with unlimited zeal, enthusiasm and vigour.
The Bhagavad Gita’s call for selfless action inspired many leaders of the Indian independence movement including Mahatma Gandhi, who referred to the Gita as his “spiritual dictionary”.
With this post, I wish you a very happy Krishna Janmashtami.
If you are interested/still curious, visit the following links for more information on Krishna: