Janmastami: August 21st
On August 21st we will be celebrating Janmastami, the Appearance Day of Krishna, the 8th major incarnation of Vishnu, the Preserving, Sustaining Aspect of the Divine Presence/Essence of the Universe.
Someone once asked me what made Krishna unique from previous incarnations. I thought about it and then looked at his life. He was first in many ways. He appeared at midnight in the jail cell of Vasudeva and Devaki. I thought--wow--very radical. Not born in a palace as Rama was but right with the common people.
Later in his life he started to show aspects of divinity in amazing ways. He said people should not worship Indra, the rain deity, but nature, the mountain and the cow from which came their substance. The miracle of Govardhan Mountain happened where he upheld the mountain while Indra sent tons of rain. In the end Krishna defeated Indra. I thought--wow--Radical Krishna: worships the earth over the heavens.
Then he defeated Kaliya, the poisonous serpent in the Yamuna River, who had poisoned all the people and animals drinking from the river. He restored the river and beings poisoned by the polluting serpent. I thought--wow--Radical Krishna. He cleaned up a polluted river. What an ecologist! Not only that he did a great discourse on the Beauty of Trees in the Puranas describing what great beings trees are and how they do so much for the humans and animals of the earth. This discourse reads like a modern textbook on ecology and global warming. Radical Krishna!
Later on, time after time, he upheld the rights of women. Draupadi, the wife of the Pandavas brothers, was being abused by Dushanan. She told the elders off for not stepping in and doing justice. She summoned Krishna in her mind and he performs the miracle of making her sari's cloth infinite in length, so Dushanan could not assault her. Wow--Radical Krishna--brings justice when the men fail to do so!
Another great story is of the Princess Rukumini, whose brother wanted her to marry Prince Shisupala for political reasons. She does not love this man. In ancient times a woman had the right to choose her own husband through a ceremony where several men showed their virtues, intelligence and physical prowess. She wrote a letter to Krishna and asked him to marry her and described the circumstances of her relatives' schemes. He upheld her right to choose her own husband and met her at the temple. He ends up defeating her brother. Wow! Radical Krishna! When was the last time you heard of someone taking the army out for women's rights? Impressive! I like the idea of the ancients of women choosing their own husbands. How progressive and forward thinking!
There are many other stories, too, where he embraced the Untouchable Woman. He saw her inner and outer beauty. She saw her own inner and outer beauty and the curse was lifted inside of herself. He refused to eat with Duryodhan, even though he had prepared a great gourmet meal for Krishna, because his heart was not in the right place. He eats with Vidur, who prepared a simple meal, because he had love and virtue in his heart. Radical Krishna!
When the Divine incarnates there is a radical transformation to the earth. Krishna was called the Lord of Love, Lord of Compassion. Thus love is the greatest goal in life. Jesus was also called the Lord of Compassion and Love in what he taught and lived. This was only an affirmation of Krishna's philosophy and consciousness which incarnated thousands of years before Jesus entered the earth plane. Both brought a radical, new consciousness: living the concept of love. It is one thing to say you love. It is another thing to put love in action and show that love in concrete ways. True love is about showing commitment by doing right action. Love is about showing up for the challenges of life, not sitting on your rear end. As they say love is more than a feeling. It is a verb full of action. Several writers talk about Jesus coming to India as found in The Aquarian Gospel of Jesus Christ and the manuscripts in a Buddhist monastery of Hermis in Ladkh called The Life of St. Issa translated by Nicolas Notovich. Jesus brought those teachings from the East, which had existed for centuries, which were manifested first by Krishna, the Lord of Compassion and Love. Krishna was a beloved, a friend and a transformer. Radical Krishna!
The great stories of Krishna live on and touch humanity to this day. Ancient India was a matriarchy and an ecological paradise. It's time to return to the ancient Vedic Philosophy which was progressive, life affirming and full of love. Someone sent me an event on facebook which made me cry. It was promoting the idea of spitting on the Koran. I told the individual that I do not believe in desecrating anyone's holy book. Those books belong to every one. We all are one. We all are related. As Hindus we honor all religions. This is basic human rights. Love is found in all traditions. Krishna met every one where they were and touched their hearts with love. Radical Krishna!
JAI SHRI KRISHNA!, Radhapriestess