Krishna was a gift to everyone who came across him. He was the eighth son of Devaki, who was to kill his maternal uncle, Kamsa, who had usurped Mathura’s throne for himself by putting his own father in prison. For good measure, Kamsa had his sister Devaki and her husband Vasudeva chained up in jail. This way, Kamsa could make sure that he got to kill his newborn nephews before they could have a chance to kill him.
But then the ways of divinities are inexplicable. Both Devaki and Vasudeva had a vision that the child of her eighth pregnancy was indeed Mahavishnu, taking on a human form for His sojourn on earth. Following the theory of evolution, each manifestation of Mahavishnu’s nine avatars (the tenth one was Kalki, whose advent is expected to end Kali, bane of the Iron Age Kaliyuga, named after him) was for a definite purpose, their common denominator being the annihilation of ignorance. One could potentially argue that all evil rose out of the same ignorance.
Lack of knowledge was unfortunate, though not a fault. But lack of effort at gaining knowledge was certainly an unwelcome trait. Immediately after the birth of the Divine child, Vasudeva found the whole of Mathura in deep slumber, one of the wildest storms during Ashtami, in the dark half of the moon, the chains that bound him in his cell unshackled and the doors opened wide by the sleeping guards. Vasudeva took his newborn son to the house of Nandagopar and Yashoda who had given birth to a beautiful baby girl. After a quick substitute, Vasudeva returned to Mathura with Yashoda’s daughter. But it is of Krishna that we speak.
Unlike the sterner avatar of Rama, Krishna knew right from his infancy that he was divine. There was no crippling self-doubt about his abilities as he merrily went about destroying demons and Poothana, the demoness entrusted with the job of killing him through poisoned breast milk! It was a total subversion of the very idea of motherhood. His baby feet went about Gokul and Vrindavan drawing all of Creation into his magic web of love.
The pastures that he strode with his cowherd friends sprouted the greenest, juiciest grass; the cows he milked had their udders overflowing with thick, creamy milk with an abundance left over for the calves who had deferred to this boy God’s thirst. The cattle he herded, never strayed; had they even done that, they were quite safe from the predators who had been a threat to these simple pastoral people as those very carnivores became peaceful in Krishna’s vicinity.
All the women of Nandagopar’s clan complained incessantly to Yashoda that
not only was her son, Krishna, an expert thief of their milk and milk products, he was actively encouraging all the boys to join him in his escapades. Yet, they secretly loved their darling butter thief. To love was a pleasure, to talk about that very love was another such secret pleasure!
Yamuna, the dark river, thrilled to the splash of his hot, dusty body, during a mid-afternoon dip in her. She washed him gently, receiving his dust as prasadam that she wore with pride. Both the sun and the moon seemed to linger on her humming waters. She too, had borne the Lord in her womb for intervals.
The plants and the trees grew thick and the tulsi bushes wove themselves to make comfortable seats for Krishna. The boughs of the trees bent low and covered themselves with foliage to aid his games of hide-and-seek. The forest flowers vied to be chosen for his garland he wore each day, the flowers as magically fresh as they were when they were picked in the dew-draped dawn. They were circumspect as they released their perfume around him, intoxicated as they themselves were by his own fragrance.
The peacocks spread their opulent tails. Their feathers were to be woven into his dark curls and they felt themselves to be more precious than any diadem on any Emperor’s head. The grating call of these birds lowered to a croon as they clumsily flew, eager to keep Krishna in their sights for a few extra moments.
His flute was an enchanting lasso which tied his cattle to his surroundings and pulled at the heart strings of all the women of his village. Married, matron, ageing, young—all of them found themselves to be inordinately fond of Yashoda’s son. There was no let-up in those relationships. The world roundly condemned extra-marital affairs. But for the women of Vrindavan, there was no thought beyond their beloved Krishna; there was, in fact, no existence beyond him.
It was a simple case of being happy when they were with Krishna. Thinking of him made them want to see him. Seeing led conversation, which in turn led to a timorous intimacy that began with the linking of eyes and hands to lips and bodies. Clasped in Krishna’s arms, everything felt so absolutely right. There was no guilt, no sense of shame. The bodies of the gopikas sought and found a similar passion with him. It was a hunger which fed on itself. The undergrowth draped with Krishna’s signature yellow silk, the silver illumination of the curious moon, the circumspect stars who winked at such trysts, the trusty Yamuna who washed away all tell-tale signs of
intense lovemaking—was all part of that divine lovescape.
Radha, the only true love of his life, was indeed Krishna personified. It took a woman of her calibre to love him completely the way she did. It took a divinity like Krishna to engender that kind of love for him.
Kaliya, the most poisonous of snakes, felt himself blessed by the dance of this magic child on his hood. Snakes were forever to carry the mark of those twinkle toes on their head. Venerable mountain Govardhan was doubly blessed, once to be worshipped by Krishna and his entire clan, and to be balanced on Krishna’s little finger as an umbrella cover against Indra’s onslaught of torrential rain.
Krishna was a child of the pastoral village. As a naughty son, little brother to Balarama, cattle tender, friend, protector, nature lover, conservationist and lover, he was second to none. Krishna as a God has unrivalled accessibility to date as a perfect divinity, who would appear to his devotees just in that form they envisaged him to be. He is the sampoorn, or the complete manifestation, of Mahavishnu. He is the most user-friendly God in this Kaliyuga age that is forged immediately after the Dwaparayuga, in which he lived.