Krishna – the real meaning of this avatar:
Krishna, literally “attractive”, — “beautiful”, also similar to chrysos meaning “gold” in Greek is the eighth incarnation of the supreme god Vishnu in Hinduism. The word Krishna means One With Dark Complexion and One Who Attracts All. The name Krishna appears as the 57th and 550th name of Lord Vishnu in Vishnu Sahasranama of the Mahabharata, and is also listed in the 24 Keshava Namas of Lord Vishnu which are recited and praised at the beginning of all Vedic pujas.
A puja is the ritualistic worship offered in Hinduism. According to the Bhagavata Purana, which is a sattvic purana, Krishna is termed as Svayam Bhagavan since he was the purna-avatara or full incarnation of the supreme god Vishnu. Krishna is often described and portrayed as an infant or young boy playing a flute as in the Bhagavata Purana, or as a youthful prince giving direction and guidance as in the Bhagavad Gita. The stories of Krishna appear across a broad spectrum of Hindu philosophical and theological traditions. They portray him in various perspectives: a god-child, a prankster, a model lover, a divine hero and the supreme being. The principal scriptures discussing Krishna’s story are the Mahabharata, the Harivamsa, the Bhagavata Purana, and the Vishnu Purana.
There is nothing that Lord Krishna possess but Lord Rama don’t! But, the reason why Lord Krishna is said to be ‘Purna Avatar’ is that He performs divine pastimes in all the Rasas. Lord Rama was Maryada Purushottam & hence He didn’t engage much in ‘madhurya bhava’ (devotional service in the form of a couple).
Lord Krishna, the evergreen deity, has been the most enigmatic character of our ancient mythology. So much has been written about the lord in last hundreds of years that many a time, one wonders that despite so many researches being carried out, why is it so that nobody has understood him fully? What is it that makes him so mysterious?
Some sects of religion believe that Krishna was an incarnation of God himself whereas some believe that he was God himself. But, in view of the legendary stories about him, followers of other religions are not prepared to concede this. In short, while some assert he being a complete incarnation of God, others, equally emphatically, deny it, keeping in view his deeds and conduct as narrated in ancient literature.
God-believers feel that Krishna is the ocean of knowledge, peace, bliss and love, and is also supremely pure and benevolent. They also believe that these attributes of his are not mutually contradictory. For instance, if God makes use of his power, it should not be for a violent act, otherwise it will be contradictory.
Thus, keeping in view the prevailing accounts of war and violence attributed to Lord Krishna, believers of non-violence find it hard to believe that God is an absolutely non-violent entity. Similarly, the amorous love tales described by some people, run counter to the concept of purity in love. Hence, some people refuse to accept Lord Krishna as God or his incarnation, while others believe in him on the basis of those very accounts.
It has been observed that over the years, the meaning and exposition of the accounts from Lord Krishna’s life seem to have vastly changed. For instance, the account of Krishna stealing gopis’ clothes is interpreted today in its gross, literal sense, whereas it carries a spiritual meaning intended to be conveyed, viz. that God got his devotees divested of their body consciousness.
Similarly, the account of Krishna bringing about a great war has been subjected to a literal interpretation, whereas, it is an allegorical description referring to man’s fight against the demons (vices), deeply rooted within himself. Given its spiritual interpretation, the contradiction noticeable in the principal divine attributes of God disappears.
To get a more pragmatic view, we should understand that Krishna, to whom various descriptions are attributed, was not a human being — a son who was busy killing people, by wielding the Sudarshan Chakra — but simply the attributive name of God himself who, ‘in the night of deep ignorance’, enters the body of a human being through whom he acts.
So, stealing of butter, destroying of the demons Akasur and Bakasur, and driving Arjun’s chariot, etc., are all accounts which interpreted, run counter to the conception of God’s divinity. However, in their spiritual sense, they lose their contradictions and prove far from being the acts of a human, they are divine tasks which God performs by entering a human body.
The question that remains now is that if ‘Krishna’ is the attributive name of the supreme Almighty who is a subtle radiant entity, then who was Krishna with the peacock crown on his head, whose images are worshipped in temples in India? It can be said in this connection that he was the first crown prince of Bharat who, because of his brilliant character, is adored among the deities.
His crown itself is the proof of the fact that he was the sovereign king, while the peacock feathers in it are symbolic of his purity. So, coming out of all these confusions, let us celebrate Janmashtami in its truest sense by understanding the magical qualities of Lord Krishna.
Some view it as powers of mind….
The sixteen Kalas, or digits, are the sixteen powers of the mind. The sixteen powers are always not manifest in every individual, so that no one is entirely in possession of one’s own mind. We have control over certain aspects or features of the mind, but not over the entire mind. Immeasurable strength can never be attained by a partial identification of consciousness with the mind, but only when one is identical in soul with the whole of one’s mind.
The connection of moon with the mind….
The fifteen days and nights of the lunar half month, are veritably forces of the Creator Himself.which represent the fifteen Kalas, or digits, and the one that is invisible, midway between the full moon or the new moon and the other day is the sixteenth one.the transcendent element in it which is called the sixteenth Kala.
From the vibrations in space, air is produced, from air, fire emerges.from which water is produced. The solidified form of water is the earth. These are the Panchabhutas (five basic elements). There are five vital breaths: Prana, Apaana, Samaana, Udaana and Vyaana. The five elements and the five vital breaths together make ten. The five organs of perception are the eyes, the ears, the nose, the mouth and the skin seeing, hearing, smelling, speaking and touching are the faculties of these organs. With these five, the total goes upto fifteen.There is the mind. With it, we have the sixteen kalas. These sixteen powers are nothing but the sixteen energies that are present in the individual without any coordination.But in Him they are total, whole, complete – integrated like a mass, and not isolated in their content.
Degrees of manifestation of Kalas….
In fact Chaitanya Sakti is measured by means of Kalas which finds its expression in different degrees everywhere as follows: 1..Rocks, minerals and other inert matter have the lowest Chaitanya-Shakti of 1 kala. 2. Plants are the next evolution of Chaitanya-Shakti with 2 kalas. 3. Animals have 3,4 kalas. 4. Average human beings have 5 kalas. 5. Human beings with higher spiritual capacities have 6 kalas. 6. Saints have 7 kalas. The most advanced saints and sages have 8 kalas. Beyond that starts the incarnations (avataras) with special sattva bodies. it is considered that Varaha Avatara of Vishnu had special sattva body with 11 kalas.
Lord Sri Rama With fourteen Kalas…
Shri Rama before, incarnation had decided to hide two kalas,declaring him a God.because of boon to Ravan in which he was promised that no god would kill him.So Rama intentionally hid his 2 kalas and behaved like a common man… to fulfill the boon that Ravan would be killed by a man.and He cried for his wife and he took help from monkeys. Hence Sri Ram deliberately hiding His last two kalas.acted in His leela as Maryada Purushottam.
Bibhutis of SriKrishna!
However Lord Sri Krishna was having all these sixteen kalas right from His birth and His life was full of miracles only. and hence He is rightly called as Leela Purushottam.His sixteen Kalas are: 1)Anna Maya (with cereals) 2) Pranamaya (with breath) 3) Mano Maya (with mind) 4) Vigyanamaya (with knowledge) 5) Anandamaya (with joy) 6) Atishayini (With Peace) 7) Viparinabhini (With Love) 8) Sankramini (With Creator) 9) Prabhavi (Kartum Akartum, that is able to do seemingly impossible tasks) 10) Kunthini 11) Vikasini (12) Maryadini (highly respected or with etiquette) 13) Sanhaladini (cheering, a source of happiness) 14) Ahladini (causing joy or delight) 15) Paripurna (complete knowledge of all forms of awakening) 16) Swarupavasthitha (swarup + awasthith = established in his real true self) .
Looking from other perspective….
The art of winning the heart of others, the art of reforming, the art of being carefree, the art of learning, the art of remaining happy and content , the art of keeping others happy/ healthy, the art of organizing,the art of leadership,the art of ruling, the art of learning and teaching,the art of making people smile, the art of speech, the art of thinking,the art of giving sustenance, the art of concealing and revealing combined together makes sixteen Kalas too which Lord Krishna was adept…..Hence He is Purushottam!
Krishna is Wonderful….
If omnipresence, omniscience and omnipotence are to be pressed into one being and this being is to be focused into a jet of action, what will be the result? This is what happened when Sri Krishna lived as a Person in this world. He is In fact mysterious to comprehend until an iota of individuality persists.
The Atman is something quite different from what we regard as very dear to us, notwithstanding the fact that we have been told again and again that It is the deepest Reality in our personality. All this teaching has remained only a theory for us. We have always been pampering the senses and fondling the ego, in spite of the fact that we know that we are not the ego and the senses, but the Atman.
All this teaching is like pouring water on a rock. It has made no impression upon us. The infinite is the Fullness, the Purna; and the finite is the Apurna. We individuals, the Jivatmans and everything in this world are Apurna, finites, but we enshrine the Infinite in our bosom. And the manifestation of the Infinite in the finite, the birth of God in man is possible, practicable and inevitable when the obstructions to Its manifestation are obviated totally.
To speak from the point of view of the historical life which Bhagavan Sri Krishna is said to have lived thousands of years ago, let alone the spiritual or the mystical, we see a wholeness manifest in Him. His life was a fullness right from childhood upto the maturity of life. He was a completeness in every respect even in his babyhood or childhood, a completeness in his adolescence, a completeness in his youth and maturity; He was a fullness of bodily perfection, a fullness of understanding, a fullness of social relationship and political statesmanship and a fullness in His own Being. This has been revealed even in His outward physical personality,–a beauty and a charm that mankind has never seen.
Our meditations and our worships are really silent invocations of the characteristics of the Object of our worship and meditation. Every worship is an invocation, and every form of meditation is an invocation; and invocation means the calling of the force into our own being and the planting of the power of the Divine in our own personality. We have in ritualistic or Tantric parlance what is known as Nyasa performed during the time of worship. The Pundits and Archakas who perform worship in temples know what Nyasa means. Nyasa is a Sanskrit word which means ‘placing’, ‘stabilising’, ‘fixing’, ‘invoking’, ‘stamping’. All these meanings are conveyed by the word ‘Nyasa’.
At the commencement of the worship, whether it is done in one’s own private sanctum sanctorum in the house or in a public temple, Nyasa is performed by every worshipper. In this process of Nyasa, what is done is that every part, every aspect, every conceivable characteristic of the Divine Being is located, in an intensity of feeling and invocation, in the corresponding parts and aspects of one’s own personality, so that during the time of the worship and meditation, you are in communion with the Divine Being. You are as though possessed by God at that time. You yourself become a sort of Avatara, to put it in a meagre sense, at the time of true worship.
The invocation is made in such a complete form, and with such method and system of rituals, that you assume in your body, mind and soul, in your total personality, the various aspects and manifestations of the personality of the Divinity, God.
So, on this day we have such an occasion of worship of Bhagavan. Sri Krishna which means to say that we have to put on in our. Inward character and meditation, a deep sense. Of our unity with the various aspects of His personality which are co-extensive with all that is external to Him and all that is transcendent as well as immanent. This is to give you an idea of ‘Purnata’, what. Purna-Avatara would mean and what it also means to worship and meditate and adore such a Purna-Avatara.
If meditation is difficult, worship is also difficult. Any kind of inward communion is a difficult task for the mind, because of its out-going tendency. The mind never comes in communion with anything in this world at any time. It always longs for contact rather than communion. The senses and the mind are habituated to contact with their objects. The religious invocation of worship and meditation is not an attempt at coming in contact even with a. Divinity or a Godhead, but an endeavour to commune oneself with the Supreme Being, which is the purpose of Nyasa. There is a difference between contact and communion. You can never commune yourself with any object in this world, but you can only come in contact with it.
What is the difference between contact and communion? In contact you really do not imbibe the characteristics of the object. And you are not really in possession of the object. In contact, again, you do not receive into yourself the power of the object. And, therefore, you cannot also enjoy that object or have control over it. This would also give an idea of the generally unknown fact that our daily. Efforts at coming in contact with things, including persons. With a desire to possess and enjoy them, is a futile effort. It will not bring any fruit at all, except pain. Ye hi samsparsaja bhogah duhkhayonaya eva te–“
The pleasures born of sense-contact are wombs of pain,” says the Gita. Every contact brings pain and suffering and ultimate ruin of oneself. But the religious aspiration of the soul does not long for contact with God, but a communion with Him. In that communion that you try to establish in your spiritual moments of worship. And meditation, you simultaneously commune yourself with the whole of creation, because creation is the cosmic body of God.
Thus to worship God is to worship the whole world and to serve. God is to serve humanity, and vice versa. That is why we are sometimes told, “Janata Janardanah; Manava seva Madhava seva,” etc. These sayings have a great significance and a meaning behind them. Janata and Janardana, Manava and Madhava cannot be identical except in terms of the perfection or Purnata of God. Thus our communion with God is simultaneously a communion with everything in the world.
Thus, this is an occasion for us to strengthen ourselves spiritually. Spiritual strength, of course, is the real strength and real power that we are seeking. And in this particularly specialised form of worship and communion with the ideal of Bhagavan. Sri Krishna on this holy day, we have, no doubt, a very vast and comprehensive achievement. Made which will ensure prosperity in every walk of life.
The peculiarity and the speciality of the life of. Bhagavan Sri Krishna was, as I have already hinted, that He was an all-comprehensive personality. He was a householder and not a Sannyasin. So had wife and children. He was a politician and a statesman. He was a soldier and also a servant when the time demanded that kind of attitude from Him. And at the same time, He was a person with a comprehensive understanding. Of the various shades of the difference which relationships put on among things. Therefore, it is difficult to understand, ordinarily, the significance behind many of the things that. He did and many of the things He said also, especially in the Bhagavad Gita.
The Mahabharata and the Srimad Bhagavata are the monumental records of His life, His activities and His achievements. The Bhagavad Gita may be regarded as the great gospel that He gave to mankind. It is as difficult to understand His teaching as it is to understand. His own life, because He did not think as we are thinking. His thinking does not comply with the sentimental demands of our human feelings. Ethical sense, the usual social morality, and so on and so forth, which. We will be entertaining in our own hearts. A total transformation, a transfiguration of all values is brought about in. His activity and life, and also in His teachings, so that His life and teachings. Are a sort of a superhuman presentation before us. And you know how difficult it is for a human being to confront a superhuman presentation of any kind.
But, this is the ideal before us and this is our goal. Whether or not we are able to understand it, this is what the life of Sri Krishna tells us. The Bhagavad Gita, the cream of. His teaching, also conveys to us that things are not what they seem to our senses. This is what we learn from His life also. There is something quite different from what we sense, feel, think and understand as valuable.
This is the Truth behind things, for which His life and teachings stood and which He. Himself embodied in His own life. This is the message for us today, which we should. Try to imbibe into our lives by invoking His grace and putting forth honest efforts. As the Gita concludes, where Krishna and Arjuna are together, i.e., where. Divine Grace and human effort go together, there is prosperity, victory, happiness and firm polity.