Author: Vikram Thapar, Student of Chartered accountant from Mumbai (Received via Email)
“The World around us is how we see it.” How apt is the above sentence!! A terrorist killing innocent people is applauded by his peers because they believe in the some misguided idea of a religious war that involves killing those who are more vulnerable than irreligious. But a sane lay man would see it as an act of purely biased prejudice just to prove themselves right.
People’s perceptions are myriad. Most people in the West freak out with the idea of two friendly guys embracing each other fearing if either of them has any other intention in doing so; but in the Eastern region, many people still see it as a pure and friendly sign of affection. When an apple fell down from the tree, it was Newton’s different way of seeing it that lead to the discovery of the Law of Gravity. Because apples used to fell down even before Newton saw it. My personal experience has been that few people from the remote villages in India still consider a television remote as a miracle because they aren’t aware of the technological advancements. If a person says that I was alone in a room with a naked girl, most people’s mind would concoct a beautiful young lady and draw numerous conclusions; but very few pure minds would imagine a six month old baby whose diaper is being changed. It’s like if a computer has a virus and a clean pen drive is inserted, it will still detect a virus in the pen drive. Thus, it can be clearly concluded that whatever we see, whatever we hear, whatever we contemplate, whatever we process and conclude; we do it in the shadow of our own thoughts, in the backdrop of whatever our mind has perceived from its personal experiences and that of the people with whom we connect.
So when M.F. Husain makes lewd paintings of Hindu Gods and Goddesses; we know why this breed of people were only worthy of worshiping God in the impersonal form!!
There have been several mundane attempts by various people across all strata of society to compare the various activities of Lord Shri Krishna with what a human can do and cannot do, especially by the disgraced Dr. Zakir Naik who argues that if Shri Krishna can have 16108 wives, then why can’t Muslims have four??
Simple argument to start with – if one wants to imitate Shri Krishna; why not do so in all His glories!! Shri Krishna is the most opulent form of the Super Soul. Few of His many opulences are Strength, Beauty, Knowledge, Fame, Wealth and Renunciation. All His opulences are in limitless capacity. He lifted the Govardhan Hill on his Kanishka meaning the little finger (Strength); His form captivates humans (men and women alike) to a level of transcendence that no other thing or person in this world can do (Beauty); He spoke the greatest words of wisdom ever known to mankind on a battlefield which lead to the defeat of the Kaurava army with He Himself not picking up even a single weapon (Knowledge); the chanting of His name and glories pull devotees together in chanting the same (Fame); He is the son of a King and has Goddess Laxmi as His consort (Wealth); His identity of being the Supreme Personality of God Head was discreet from his truly devoted and loving friends and family, He picked up the after meal dishes of Brahamanas and washed the feet of His dear friend Sudama to graciously and honorably welcome him; also His Viraat Swarup wasn’t even disclosed to the great Bheesma or Dronacharya (Renunciation).
If people thought Him to be just a great human being and wanted to imitate Him, why not try to do so in any way whatsoever possible from the above mentioned glories of Shri Krishna??
If somebody would ask the reason behind Him performing these glories, I would believe that it was to make humans understand the most basic principle of Vaishnavism – You are different and God is different. You are similar in qualities but not in the quantum of those qualities. Just like a drop of sea water is salty and has all the qualities of the sea water, but it can never match the vastness of the sea!! We are souls and Shri Krishna is the Super Soul from whom everything animate or inanimate has emanated from. So we will only have His qualities in the minutest possible bits and pieces. The yearning of the soul to become God is the cause of all the souls to come in this material world.
Let’s first also have a look at the real reason why Lord Krishna married 16,000 plus women!! These 16,100 maidens were kidnapped and held captive by demon Narakasura. Krishna killed the demon and released them all. According to strict social custom of the time, all of the captive women were degraded, and would be unable to marry, as they had been under Narakasura’s control. However Krishna married all of them to save their honor and to reinstate their status in the society. This wedding with 16,100 abandoned daughters was more of a mass women rehabilitation.
Also, there can be a nexus that can be drawn from Lord Krishna’s such an activity. When He married 16,000 young lasses under the circumstances, He proved that women can be symbols of respect and honor even in the most adulterous of the situations. The Agni Pariksha in Ramayana was grossly ‘made up’ and misunderstood by people. But, Shri Krishna gave those 16,000 girls a status of being called as His wives and proved that the guarding of a women’s honor is the responsibility of men, no matter what. More than five thousand years later, when we read in the newspapers about wives committed suicide because her husband doubted her of adultery; we know that the Supreme Lord knew where humans would falter in the Kalyuga. Adultery is a social crime whether done by a man or a woman, but the truth should be clearly dissected from distorted rumours.
The human body that is endowed to us souls has a very limited extent of sensory reach. We can’t even see what goes on beyond a wall or hear someone speaking from a distance. How can we then understand the extent and opulence of Krishna Leela with our five senses? Mostly, we try to see the world from the window of these senses. But as it is rightly said that “Salvation lies Within”, the understanding of The Supreme Lord’s form and His past times can only be achieved with meditation of His glories, not by mundane comparison and blind imitation of them.
The most common knowledge spread by Hinduism is the existence of a temporary body and a permanent soul. So when material world usually limits to at the most explaining the love of one life time, the love of one soul to another is only understood by advanced spiritual activists. His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the founder acharya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) once told one of his lady devotees that “Guru is your spiritual father and Krishna is your spiritual husband”.
The basic and the most pure form of any religion is love and Krishna Consciousness means loving Krishna with all your mind, body and soul. So when a learned and devoted Guru like Srila Prabhupada said something like that, it only meant for any girl to love the Supreme Lord with all her heart and without any material contaminations. That is the perfection of religion and knowledge, because more than any form or amount of knowledge, the Lord only considers if you are pure enough to stay in his Kingdom!!
For most people in this Kalyuga, love is mostly tainted by ideas of sex but for the most purest of the devotees it’s only love without a tinge of selfishness and corruption. We can have a look at Lord Krsna’s purest devotees, viz. Srila Prabhupada, Narsinh Mehta, Meerabai, etc. Even at the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, the most senior devotees are unmarried and celibate for they know, understand and feel the true meaning of love more than people who find lame excuses to justify polygamy or multiple partners!!
Apart from fanatics like Zakir Naik, there are other playboys and casanovas who understand Lord Krishna’s past times in the same league as Naik or even worse than that. The diciest topic on the minds of the people is about the definition of Love. Most of the times, we misunderstand what true love is!! Say for example, a person likes a particular food delicacy. He enjoys it for a few days straight but after a eating it daily for a week or so, he just can’t relish it any more. This can be experienced and be put to test by anybody. Such is human love, we think we love what gratifies our senses and after we are exhausted by certain ‘delicacy’, we jump to another one!! Lust always requires new meat every now and then. True Love is only understood when we are at peace with our senses!! It is bypassing our inherent lusty approach to life. Love is personal as well as all impersonal; lust is only personal. Lust needs meat, love needs heart and Love only changes a person for good. We should ask ourselves just one question that are we in our life, capable of doing full justice to even one partner in our life?? Blind imitation of Shri Krishna’s activities is utter folly. For all the wives that He had, He appeared in 16,108 forms simultaneously at one time!!! The highest level of love is well defined by HH Radhanath Swami – “Krishna Consciousness is the process which starts with us being completely defeated by Krishna’s Love and ends with Krishna being completely defeated by our love”.
And even after accepting all these philosophies, understanding them in the truest sense is an all together different issue. Einstein explained Theory of Relativity for laymen as “When you sit with a nice girl for two hours, it seems like two minutes. When you sit on a hot stove for two minutes, it seems like two hours that’s relativity.” But, understanding the layman’s language doesn’t make us an Einstien!! Just as understanding and deriving E=mc2 is at a different level all together. Only a person truly devoted in heart, mind and soul can understand The Supreme Lord and His Glories without envy and other material contaminations.
The mind is like clay which shapes according to the impact of senses and the endeavor of the concerned person. Krishna’s love for mothers was clearly deeper than for the Gopis. Most corrupt people in the mode of passion and ignorance wouldn’t surely see things in this light as their intelligence and thought process is completely under the control of the material energy.
Lord Krsna well explains the five factors of each and every action in the Bhagavad Gita Chapter 18 Text 14 – “The place of action [the body], the performer, the various senses, the many different kinds of endeavor, and ultimately the Supersoul—these are the five factors of action.”
The gist of the entire discussion can be summed up as follows:
Imitate Lord Ram in His actions and follow Lord Krishna in His words.