The Secret of Krishna’s Birth
I asked him: “Uncle, what was that you were watching?”
“I was watching the talk on Sri Krishna’s birth by (name of a Swami)”he said.
With great devotion Mahesh’s parents (both are retired) narrated the story that they heard in the television program by the swami.
When the great sages along with Brahma prayed to Vishnu to destroy evils in the world, the latter assured them that he would take avatar (as Krishna) in the earth to annihilate tyrannical forces like Kamsa, the ruler of Mathura. On the day his sister Devaki was married off to Vasudeva, Kamsa heard an akashvani (voice from the sky) prophesying that Devaki’s 8th son would kill him. The frightened Kamsa imprisoned the couple. Devaki gave birth to six children, each time Kamsa picked up the child, held him by the legs and smashed him on a rock.
Vasudeva managed to smuggle out the seventh son (Balarama) to Gokula and gave it to Rohini, his second wife. The eighth child was Krishna. Vasudeva could miraculously take Krishna out of the prison and replaced Yashodha’s (wife of his brother Nanda) girl child and came back. Kamsa picked up the girl child by her legs and was about to crash her on the floor, this child slipped out of his hands, flew out the window, laughed at him and said, “Your slayer is elsewhere.”….
I heard soft laugh of Mahesh and his wife. Mahesh is a physics professor. Uncle got angry.
“Today’s youngsters are not interested in these divine stories….My son won’t let his kids learn such purana stories.” Uncle and aunt told me as a complaint.
“Dad, you were a Marxist during your young period and taught us to think rationally and scientifically. Now that you are old and weak, you suddenly turned religious. Your bad. I can’t let my children learn such irrational nonsense stories which have nothing to do with today’s life. Krishna is just a myth….I can’t let my children listen to those fancy dressed jokers in the name of swamis and gurus.” Mahesh said.
“You see Uday…my son has become a hardcore Marxist. I made a mistake.”
“But Mahesh is right, uncle. The story that you have just told me is for kids. Not for grownups…”I said. Mahesh grinned at his father.
“Mahesh, there are rational, scientific and logical explanations for our Puranas. I agree 90% of today’s high profile swamijis and gurus are frauds. But our great sages were not like those cons men. There is strong message, philosophy and science behind each stories…”
“Oh, really? Isn’t Krishna’s birth a bed-time story? Krishna is a fiction hero…” Mahesh said.
“Hmmm…Uncle, you said Krishna is Vishnu’s avatar. Tell me about Vishnu?”
“Vishnu’s abode is Vaikunta in Ksheera Sagara (Milky Ocean). He is lying in five-headed serpent named Ananta-Sesha. He is blue in colour.” Mahesh’s father said.
“Okay,” I turned to his son: “now, Mahesh, please tell me the name of our galaxy…”
“It’s Milky Way. Oh, it is ksheera sagara…But just a coincidence…”he said.
“Okay, what’s it structure or shape?”
“The structure of clusters of galaxies… There is coiled and spiral shape.”
“The latest astronomical discovery says Galaxy contains about 100,000 suns’ worth of material, and looks more like a cosmic snake. The slender bone of the Milky Way is more than 300 light-years long but only 1 or 2 light-years wide. (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics)…” I told him.
“The only commonly known living creature that represents this coiled structure is a snake…and it has a name too. What’s the meaning of Ananta?”
“Infinity” Uncle said.
“And Sesha means “that which remains”. Even if this world is destroyed, Shesha remains as he is. It is just a representation of existence of galaxy. Just coincidence?”
“But this is a five-headed snake, Uday…” Mahesh tried to rectify.
“Correct. Uncle, what’s the entire universe is made up of?”
“The Five basic elements called Pancha Boothas are kept in a certain balance in the Universe and the body. Yes, five elements joining to a body….You are right…The five-elements join as a body in a coiled shape like a cosmic snake.”
“Now, what was the colour of Vishnu?”
“Sky like blue…Yes I know blue colour represents the depth…Oh god… all are scientific…He is described as being blue in colour, meaning that he is all pervasive and omnipresent. The colour represents infinity too. I understand now” Uncle said with excitement.
“But, for people like Mahesh (or scientists) our ancestors have gone a step further. He can argue the colour of the sky is not blue…”
“Yes,” Mahesh said, “even high school students would know that colour of the sky is not blue. It appears blue…”
“The Markandeya Purana (78.8) clearly says ‘Blue Sky is nothing but scattered sunlight’. And after 5000 years, our physical scientists also discovered the principle called Rayleigh scattering.”
“Okay, but what about Brahma…What’s his relation with Vishnu?” Mahesh asked.
“Hmm. Bhagavatham says, at the beginning of the universe, Brahma is born from a lotus flower which grew from the navel of Vishnu. Being born into solitude and universal darkness with no one to teach or guide him he didn’t know what to do. He looked around in four directions (four faces). The feeling of “I” (ego) came to him. Thus he is the first manifestation of one’s existence (ahankara).”
“Oh, then what happened?” uncle asked.
“He then entered the stem of the lotus, but couldn’t trace out the source. While searching brahma realized his mortality and felt the fear of death in his mind (subtle ego).Then he began “tapa” (penance or meditation). He became aware. He understood his connection with the supreme universe of Time, Space and Life known as Vishnu. The moment he realized that he is not separate and he is the integral part of the Brahmam he became happy and focused in his dharma. This is enlightenment. The Lotus stem connection with navel or belly button is symbolic of umbilical cord – the connection to the cosmos,” I said.
“But what about Krishna Avataram? Isn’t it a story?” Mahesh asked.
“Ava=descending or coming down tharam = star or fixed luminous point with remote incandescent body like the sun. Avatharam simply means a person who is enlightened. Krishna was an enlightened person. So we call him avatar…”
“Kamsa is the personification of fearfulness; hence Kamsa is the avatara of fear. Fear is subtle ego. He kills the six children of Devaki. Do you know their names?” I asked
“No, they died immediately, right?” uncle asked.
“Yes, but Bhagavatha (10-85.51) says Krishna brought them back to life just to present before Devaki. Their names are Smara, Udgitha, Parisvanga, Patanga, Ksudrabhrta and Ghrni, respectively. What’s the meaning of Smara? Memory. The first thing in meditation (tapa or penance) is erasing the memory. Memory is nothing but the conditioned ego. You have to kill it as the first step towards enlightenment. What’s the meaning of Udgita? Words or speech. It represents your sense of hearing or talking. Parisvanga means touch – it is another sense. Try to find out other meanings yourself. The killing of six boys communicates to you a very basic thing in meditation – destroys the six sense objects from the womb of your state of being similarly Kamsa kills. Then you can move towards total awareness. The seventh one is Balarama – an avatar of Ananta-Sesha, you know the meaning.”
“So the eighth person is Krishna…”
“Yes, it is the final enlightenment. He kills Kamsa – our fearful state of being – and light yourself. Krishna is pure awareness. The presence of Krishna annihilates adharma, fear and insecurity in you. And you will find yourself dancing with joy and happiness to Krishna’s melodious music coming out of the flute…Remember, flute is the only no-cost instrument that can produce music – means, it is accessible to the poorest man in the earth.”
“I didn’t know this much details, Uday…” uncle said.
“Do you believe that Krishna was a real character?” Mahesh asked.
“Yes, Krishna was enlightened being, an avatar of Maha Vishnu. There are lot of exaggerated stories, myths and legends about Krishna. But, if you read the Mahabharata, Harivamsa, Bhagavata Purana and Vishnu Purana and analyze yourself without any prejudice, you will know who Krishna was. Krishna was mentioned in thousands of contemporary scriptures and literatures. Even in Ramayana, which was written thousands of years before Krishna’s birth, Vasistha tells Rama about the future birth of Krishna and Arjuna.”
“Oh, I didn’t know those were historical factors. Can you tell the exact timing of Krishna’s birth?”
“As you know 90% of our scriptures are destroyed by invaders from the Middle East and burned our libraries associated with temples. Krishna took birth at midnight on the ashtami or the 8th day of the Krishnapaksha or dark fortnight in the Hindu month of Shravan (now August-September). This auspicious day is called Janmashtami. Scholars say Krishna lived on earth during 3200 -3100 BCE. There was no unified Calendar system in India during puranic times. Hence there are two possible dates – July 27, 3112 BCE and 19 July 3228 BCE based on scriptural details and astronomical calculations. “(See Krishna’s Bodily Departure)
“This is interesting Uday… If those Pravachakas talk sensibly like you, even atheists will listen. But they are teaching Puranas as soap opera or as an idiotic TV serial story with overload of sentimental emotions. They kill the essence of Puranas and convert you to superstitious and blind believers. They spread superstitions and blind beliefs…it is not properly taught…”Mahesh’s father said. Mahesh also nodded his head: “Yeah, nice to listen.” (See also: Interview with Krishna)
“Mahesh, Puranas are for the people who dare to think beyond. Otherwise you will see only irrational stories there. The authors were great sages. You cannot approach Puranas with your conditioned mind or as a brain-washed zombie. The egotic mind always wants to criticize rather than admitting, “I don’t understand”. Unfortunately, we don’t realize this mind game. Purana stories are about killing ego or conditioned mind and moving towards awareness. For those fancy dressed long-bearded jerks are concerned, this is a just trade to make money. They are not aware, hence try selling superstitions, blind beliefs, fear of god etc. for their very livelihood or amass wealth. But you cannot generalize. Still there are very good people who can provide real insights to Puranas.”
Krishna has a universal appeal. No external sadhanas will take you to Krishna. A true meditation or self-enquiry will get you connected to the navel of the source which in turn will provide you the answer to all your queries. It is not confined to believers of a religion or a sect. Krishna is inclusive and pure love. (See Krishna Reloaded for further details)
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© Uday Lal Pai. Please contact the author for re-posting or publishing at firstname.lastname@example.org