“The love of Radha and Krishna is symbolic of the eternal love affair between the devoted mortal and the Divine Radha’s yearning for union with her beloved Krishna is the soul’s longing for spiritual awakening.”
Every aspect of Krishna and His deeds is pregnant with deep mystical symbolism indicating the highest Truth. One must have the subtle-sensitivity of a poet, the ruthless intellect of a scientist, and the soft heart of the beloved in order to enter into the enchanted realm of mysticism. Art can be fully appreciated only by hearts that have art in them.
In Sanskrit, the world Krishna means “dark”, indicat¬ing the Supreme Consciousness. Pure Consciousness is said to be “dark”, not as opposed to “light,” but in the sense that it is unseen by or unknown to one as long as one remains footed in earthly experiences, ex¬periences limited to the realms of perceptions, emotions, and thoughts gained through the physical body, and the intellect.
Consciousness is the pure Self, the sentient Life Principle which enlivens one’s material equipments to function in their respective realms. Consciousness is the very subject of all experiences and therefore cannot be objectively experienced.
The incarnation of Krishna represents the descent of the infinite Brahman to the material world. The ever-smiling, lotus-eyed Krishna with a garland of flowers around His neck is described as being blue in color and wearing yellow clothes. Blue is the color of the infinite and whatever is immeasurable can appear to the mortal eyes only as blue. Vast expanses in nature, such as the sky at midday or the ocean at its depths, appears blue to human perception. Yellow represents the earth. Anything buried in the earth gathers a yellowish hue; and in fire, earth (mud, silica) emits a yellow hue. Hence the blue form of Krishna clothed in yellow appro¬priately suggests pure, infinite Consciousness come down to earth to play in His finite form.
This infinite Lord dwells in the core of our persona¬lity as the very Self in us, for whatever exists in the macrocosm also takes place within the human heart, or the microcosm. The one infinite Reality has become the world of endless forms. Therefore, every form in the universe is, in a sense, but a representation of the primeval Truth.
The infinite, all-pervading Truth, donning the finite form of a human being, gives the impression that the Truth is fettered and limited. This idea of the illimitable Truth seeming to be limited is well brought out by the fact that Krishna is said to have been born in prison. His tyrant uncle, Kamsa, imprisoned Krishna’s father, usurped the throne of Mathura, and reigned along with his own cruel minister, Chanura. As long as these two men were in charge of Mathura, there was confusion and chaos everywhere. Krishna destroyed the tyrants and restored peace and order in the land. Similarly, our bosom is usurped by two evil forces, namely, the ego and egocentric desires, which cause agitations, worries, and anxieties within. When these two forces are con¬quered by one’s higher nature, the original glory and splendor of the pure Self is restored,
Krishna, as the Consciousness, or Atman, resides in the core of one’s personality. It remains confined, as it were, within the five layers of matter constituting the human personality (food, vital air, mental, intellectual, and bliss sheaths). However, Atman, being subtler than the matter vestures, is not bound or limited by them.
Though the infinite Being seems to be limited and confined to a human embodiment, it is ever free and un-contaminated. The pure Self within is never affected or bound by one’s material equipment (upadhis), that is, the body, mind, and intellect. Though the divine child Krishna was born in prison, neither the iron bars nor the prison guards could confine Him. Vasudeva, His father, safely carried Him out of prison in spite of the severe restrictions imposed upon him.
Krishna is described as the infinite, omnipresent, omni¬potent, and omniscient Reality. Yet His revered mother Yasoda saw only her child in Him. On one occasion, the little boy Krishna was suspected of having eaten mud. The mother chided Him, but the boy denied having eaten mud. Krishna was only telling the truth, for the earth is included in His universal form. He is the Whole.
How can the Whole Being eat its own part? The eater and the eaten cannot be one and the same. The Lord tried to explain, but the mother could not measure the magnitude and stature of His Infinite Being in her own child. Upon her insistence, the boy opened His tiny mouth and revealed, to her utter amazement, the entire universe within.
Lord Krishna plays the flute, producing enchanting music. The flute, by itself, cannot create music. It is an inert, insentient piece of matter. But when the Lord plays it, divine music emanates from it and enchants everyone. Similarly, the human body is, by itself, inert and insentient. It contains the sense organs and the mind-intellect equipment (the holes in the flute) through which the Consciousness expresses Itself. Radha’s Love for Krishna.
It is said that, long ago, Krishna left His dwelling place in the highest heaven. He came to earth, bringing with Him the things and inhabitants of that idyllic para¬dise of peace: cow, peacocks, nightingales, and the cowherds and milkmaids (gopis) who loved Him.
Krishna the beloved boy of Brindavan, is pictured amid the dancing gopis. Much criticism has been leveled against Krishna’s association with these milkmaids. Little do the critics realize that the Lord is ever an un¬concerned and unaffected witness of the milkmaids’ dance, even though He may be in their midst. Krishna is like the Consciousness within, which vitalizes one’s thoughts (gopis) but remains unperturbed and unaffected by them. The self is ever immaculate, uncontaminated by the thoughts in one’s bosom. Thus, if the lives of such god-men are read without understanding their mystical symbolism one comes to wrong, and at times absurd, conclusions.
The gopis performed their obligatory duties through¬out the day in constant remembrance of Krishna. Their limbs were ceaselessly engaged in activity, while their minds were ever attuned to the Lord. This, in short, is the essence of Karma Yoga, that is, the dedication of one’s actions to a higher altar working without ego and egocentric desires. Such activities exhaust one’s exist¬ing vasanas (inherent tendencies) and also prevent the formation of any new vasanas. When one thus strives hard and reduces his vasanas to the minimum, their last lingering traces are liquidated by the Lord Himself, even without one’s knowledge. Hence Krishna is also described as a thief stealing the butter which the gopis had carefully stored in their apartments.
The most beautiful and the most beloved of all gopis was Radha. The love of Radha and Krishna is symbolic of the eternal love affair between the devoted mortal and the Divine. In relation to God, it is said that we are all women. Radha’s yearning for union with her beloved Krishna is the soul’s longing for spiritual awaking to be united with the one Source of peace and bliss from which it has become separated. This long-forgotten pain of separation is the root cause of all suffering. To rediscover our Oneness is the source of all happiness and fulfillment. In this sense, Krishna is the fulfillment of all desires.
Every human being is constantly seeking a share of peace and happiness, and since one does not know the real source of these, one seeks them in the midst of sense objects. But when, in devotion, one comes to turn one’s entire attention towards the higher and the nobler, one experiences the Immortal, the Infinite—as intimately as one experienced the world and its changes before. Bhagawan Himself says in the Bhagavatam: “The mind that constantly contemplates upon the sense objects irresistibly comes to revel in their finite joys, and the mind that learns to constantly remember Me comes to dissolve into Me and revel in Me”. Radha represents this state of devotion and consequent merging with the Lord.