Janmashtmi

radha_y_krishna


JANMASHTMI celebrating Lord Krishna’s birth day each year assures us of the grand manifestation of the Supreme in the form of Krishna for protection of the virtuous and destruction of  the wicked at the appropriate time.

Puranic Theology associates the avatars with the four Yugas —— Sat, Treta, Dvapara and Kali.  In today’s Kali Yuga Krishna could appear in our midst at any given moment.  The Bhagavatam say that Krishna is the full-fledged avatar complete in al aspects.


Krishna


Krishna denotes unmeasured, incomprehensible and absolutely great personae stimulating astonishment, rapture and admiration.  Krishna is known as the Foremost Yogi.  With the amalgamation of the theistic doctrine of devotion, Krishna evolved as a personal God of love and grace in the form of Kanha Krishna at Gokul and Vrindavan apart from representing Vasudeva Krishna at Mathura and Dvaraka.

Krishna is also looked upon as having two bodies.  One which is eternal, supracosmic and spiritual and the other which is material and temporary.  As an object of Bhakti, Krishna appears as an embodiment of Nine Emotions or Rasas and fulfils the nine-fold required enforcements of devotees as God in the form of a child, a youth, counsellor, friend and beloved.

———- Asha Goswami

The Puranas & the Vedas

PuranasHinduism can easily be divided into phases : the VEDIC PHASE and the PURANIC PHASE.  The Vedic phase focussed on  ritual, while the Puranic phase is about narrative.  The Vedic phase continues to be mysterious, even out of reach, while the Puranic phase, with its heroes and villains, seems to make immediate sense.

Historically, the Vedic phase begins 4,000 years ago and wanes after the arrival of Gautama Buddha, 500BCE.  The Puranic phase follows the rising appeal of the Buddha and his teachings, something that continues today.


Krishna Arjuna


The Vedic phase is associated with the hymn collections (SAMITHAS) ——RIG, YAJUR, SAMA, ATHARVA —– the ritual manuals (BRAHMANAS), and the philosophical texts (ARANYAKAS) and more prominently, the UPANISHADS.  The Puranic phase is associated with the great Epics ( the RAMAYANA and the MAHABHARATA), and with chronicles known as PURANAS.  There are many Puranas : 18 major ones, 100s of minor ones, including those restricted to a particular place (STHALA – PURANA) or to a particular community (JATI – PURANA).  It is through the Puranas, that Vedic Wisdom reaches the common man.

The story goes that a fisherwoman’s son called Krishna Dwaipayana, whose name means “the dark one who was born on an island”, compiled and organised the Vedic hymns, which was why he was given the title of VEDA VYASA, who then wrote the ADI PURANA full of stories that made Vedic Wisdom accessible.  From the Adi Purana came the Ramayana, the Mahabharata and the many Puranas.  Thus,, in traditional lore, Puranas are fruits of the tree that is the Vedas.


Puranas


The sages see Puranas as an extension of the Vedas, yet modern scholars separate Vedas from Puranas.  Some see Vedas and Puranas as two distinct traditions that have nothing to do with each other, but the Mahabharata says, “Study of Epics and Puranas supplements the understanding of Vedas”.

Others see Vedas as ‘superior’ and Puranas as ‘inferior’, a hierarchy that was common amongst Greek Aristocrats, and later Colonists, who preferred philosophy over poetry and saw ‘logos’ as superior to ‘mythos’.

At the heart of the Vedas is BRAHMAVIDYA ——– a deep understanding of human nature, which does not change with time (SANATHAN DHARMA).  The sages struggled to communicate this idea.  First they used rituals, hence the Vedas.  Later, with increased confidence, they used stories, hence the Puranas.  The former created an elite club.  The latter reached to the general public.

In the 21st century, we are seeing a trend towards anti-elitism and anti-intellectualism.  Why do some people insist that the Vedas are seen as different than and superior to the Puranas ?  Why do we reject the fruit and prefer the tree ?  Does it indulge the ego ? Does that not go against the very point of Vedic Wisdom ?

——– Devdutt Pattanaik. 

We are custodians, not possessors

Lord Krishna : Everything which we possess today was possessed by somebody else yesterday and will be possessed by others tomorrow and somebody else day after tomorrow.

Everything which we possess —— money, house, car, jewellery, property, etc., — was possessed by somebody else in the past, which means they got transferred to us.  We might have either earned it, or inherited it, or won it in a lottery, but the fact remains that they were possessed by somebody else, and in the present we possess them.

Will these possessions remain with us permanently ?  Will they not go to somebody else tomorrow, the way they came to us ?  They will definitely go to someone else after our death.

The land on which our house is built belonged to somebody else before our house was constructed, and maybe after 100years belong to somebody else with another house built over it.  Is it not our ignorance that the house in which we live is felt to be ours, the wealth which we own today is felt to be ours ?  All these things are temporary.


Krishna painting


Our body is not  permanently ours, as we will leave it after our death.  Our thoughts that emanate from our mind are not ours.  They have been received from other people and since our mind liked them, it possessed them.  We change our thought pattern too when we grow in age  or get influenced by others’ thoughts (of more intelligent, successful or spiritual people).

Everything in this creation is passing through from person to another, from one hand to another and from one place to another.  Everything is in a transmigratory state be it wealth, property, relationship or physical body.  We can at the most feel custodianship of all that which we possess.  A custodian is never attached to anything, has no ego of ownership, as he knows full well that all that which he possesses belongs to somebody else.

The laws of creation do not permit anything to remain permanently with anybody.

———-  Sadguru Rameshji.   

Nathdwara

Shrinathji Nathdwara


It literally means GATEWAY to SHRINATHJI.  It is a town in Rajasthan, famous for its Temple of Krishna which house the idol of Shrinathji (14th century)——- a 7-year-old infant incarnation of Krishna.  Nathdwara Town itself is popularly referred to as SHRINATHJI, after the presiding Deity.


Nathdwara


As per the religious beliefs, the shrine at Nathdwara was built in the 17th century at the spot as exactly ordained by Shrinathji Himself.  The idol of Lord Krishna was being transferred to a safer place from Vrindavan, to protect it from anti-Hindu, iconoclastic, Mughal ruler Aurangzeb.  When the idol reached the spot n the village of SINHAD, the wheels of the bullock-cart, in which the idol was being transported, sank axle-deep in mud and could not be moved any further.  The accompanying priests realised that the particular place was the Lord’s chosen spot, and accordingly, a Temple was built there, under the rule and protection of the then Maharana Rana Singh of Mewar.  Shrinathji Temple is also known as HAVELI (mansion) of Shrinathji.

Nathdwara has an average elevation of 1919ft.  It is set amid idyllic hills.  A steady stream of pilgrims has ensured a plentiful supply of transport and accommodation.  Shrinathji Temple is the centre of attraction, but the town is also famous for its PICHWAI paintings (large paintings on cloth depicting legends from the life of Lord Krishna), handmade terracotta, ivory articles and HAWELI music (devotional music akin to DHRUPAD singing with compositions meant for various seasons, festivals and sections of the day).


Shrinathji Nathdwara


The structure of the Temple is simple, but the aesthetic appeal of this Temple is ceaseless.  Lord Shrinathji symbolizes a form of Lord Krishna, when He lifted the Govardhana (a hill).  In the image, the Lord is revealed with His left hand raised and the right hand is like a fist.  The idol is carved out of a large black stone.  Images of two cows, a snake, a lion, two peacocks and a parrot near the God’s head are imprinted on the idol.


Nathdwara Shrinathji temple


The Temple authorities have not less than 500 cows.  Darshan opens eight times a day and the Lord looks different in every Darshan, and the RAJBHOG Darshan, taking place around noon, is the most important and sought-after.  Photography and mobile phones are strictly prohibited in the Temple premises.  The best time to visit Shrinathji is from September to February.

Krishna, a bosom friend

Srinath Chakravarty, while referring to Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s  teachings, states that the highest object of worship is Krishna.  He clarifies that we can worship NAND-NANDAN Sri Krishna in the context of any possible relationship we desire.  This is not possible with anyone else.
For example, we cannot participate in all types of relationship with the Supreme lore in His form as NARAYANA, who displays a majestic form of God, and so we can have a relationship of friendship with Him from a distance.  NARAYANA plays the role of a majestic king, so fear in the mind is evident.  His devotees may become His friends, but their intimacy is inhibited by fear.  Moods like parental affection and conjugal love are absent.  Therefore, those who wish to serve the Supreme Lord as a “bosom friend”, as a “child” or in a mood of conjugal love, cannot acquire this sort of relationship with the Lord in His form as NARAYANA. Therefore, NARAYANA cannot be the common centre for all devotees.  NARAYANA can grant moksha, vaikuntha, dasya rasa and partial sakhya rasa to His devotees, but nothing more intimate than these.

Krishna


In Krishna, the cowherd boy of Vrindavan, however, all sorts of intimate relationships are possible, and there is the possibility of different forms of worship, like for instance, the amorous relationship of the gopis for Krishna, considered to be the highest form of devotion and worship.

Human beings are said to have 50 kinds of divine qualities but in a  minute quantity only, whereas VISHNU or NARAYANA who have more qualities in addition to 55 qualities present in others, again to a fuller extent.  This makes a total of60 divine qualities in all.
In total there are 64 qualities or GUNAS.  There are 4 other qualities that one will not find anywhere  else except in Krishna, the beloved of all.  These 4 additional qualities are LEELA MADHURYA, RUPA MADHURYA, VENU MADHURYA & PREMA MADHURYA, referring to divine play, form, musical attributes and love.
Krishna has many wonderful pastimes, in which He assumes a sweet form.  He does not appear as a gigantic figure with all kinds of weapons.  Thus, He does not fight with Putana, the demon, but rather, appears as a baby an kills her by sucking her breast, exhibiting sweetness towards her.  This is the wonder of Krishna Leela.

Krishna


Also, we find even while retaining His sweet and endearing form, Krishna lifts the Govardhana mountain to provide shelter to his devotees, with just the little finger of his left hand.  He does have to assume a strong and formidable form to accomplish this.  As a  little boy, Krishna subdued Kaliya, the serpent, when he effortlessly jumped onto Kaliya’s many heads.

In Krishna, we find 12 RASAS(RASA is the mellow part of a relationship, the taste or bliss one experiences in a relationship with Krishna).  There are 5 principle RASAS, namely shant, dasya, sakhya, vatsalya and madhurya.  In addition to these there are 7 secondary RASAS, namely hasya, adbhuta, vira, karuna, raudra, bhayanak and bibhatsa.  All of these are mentioned in the SRIMAD BHAGAVATAM.
That is why Krishna is so special, so approachable and why he is loved and sought after by all.
——— B V Vaman Maharaj.. 

Dwarka

Dwaraka temple


The original city of DWARKA is believed to be sunken in the Arabian Sea 5,000 years ago.  That is why it is known as a “lost city”.  Divers till today are researching, after finding the artifacts from the sea floor.

Nearby, there is a small island known as BET DWARKA.  You can simply hire a boat from Dwarka to go to the island.  BET DWARKA is a part mud and part sand beach.  However, its the best place for zoologists.

DWARKADEESH temple


Due to its isolation and relatively limited accessibility by train, DWARKA is very rarely visited by foreign tourists.  It is, however, very popular in the domestic tourist market and has some excellent attractions.  Its omission from  International Guidebooks like LONELY PLANET is a serious one.

DWARKADEESH Temple is one of the finest in India, and it dominates the city’s small skyline.  SUNSET POINT, near the GOMTI River and its ghats are exceptionally beautiful at all times of day, though perhaps a little risky late at night.  Though the city is challenging up for the rare foreign tourist, its attractions more than make up for the difficulties faced if you are happy to spend the time getting there.  The city gives you a peaceful feeling and the nearby beaches make it certainly worth a visit.

krishna


DWARKA is 450km from Ahmedabad and is well connected by road and rail.  The nearest airport is Rajkot.  Spice Jet, Go Air and Jet Airways operate regular flights.  The Railway is located 2km from the Main Tempe and has direct trains from Mumbai and a few other cities in India.

There are a lot of places around DWARKA which can be covered in a single day.  There are local taxis available, and the places covered are :

DWARKADEESH_temple


(1) BET DWARKA, which is supposed to be the place where Lord Krishna lived.  The Temple has a main DWARKADEESH Deity, which was believed to have been made by Krishna’s chief Queen, RUKMINI and in which MEERA BAI merged and disappeared from the material world.  There are boats available from OKHA JETTY from where people are ferried to the island, which is approximately 30km from DWARKA.


Hanuman mandir yagna


(2) HANUMAN MANDIR is also on BET DWARKA, but is on the outskirts of the city and it is a lonely temple.  There is an interesting story of Rukmini being cursed by Sage DURVASA, because of which the temple is situated outside and it is also because of this that the water in DWARKA city is salty.


Dwarka temple landscape


(3) The DWARKADEESHA Temple is also called JAGAT MANDIR, and is a VAISHNAVA Temple.  The Temple, facing west, is at an elevation of 40ft above sea level.  It is conjectured that the Temple is 2,500 years old.  However, the existing Temple is dated to the 16th century.  It is a 5-storeyed edifice built over 72 pillars.  Its spire rises to a height of 256ft, and a very large flag with the symbol of the Sun and the Moon is hoisted on it.  The Temple layout consists of a GARBHAGRIHA and an ANTARALA (an ante-chamber).  The Main Deity is of DWARKADEESHA, which is known as the TRIVIKRAMA form of Vishnu and is depicted with four arms.


nageshwar mandir dwarka


(4) NAGESHWAR MANDIR is a temple dedicated to Shiva and one of the 12 JYOTIRLINGAS (meaning ‘radiant sign of the Almighty) is deified here in a subterranean  cell.


nageshwar mandir Dwarka_


(5) GOMTI GHAT consists of steps leading to the Gomti River.  The ghat has a number of shrines dedicated to SAMUDRA NARAYAN (God of the Sea), Saraswati and Lakshmi .  The GOMTI Temple has an idol of Goddess Gomti, that is said to have been brought to Earth by Sage VASISHTA.


Gomti ghat Dwarka


(6) The LIGHTHOUSE is a famous place on the coast, where one can enjoy complete silence and peace.  Behind the Lighthouse there is a huge cave, naturally created by the striking of the sea water.  There is also a small GANESH Temple behind the Lighthouse.  The Lighthouse has a fixed light situated 70ft above sea level and the light is visible over a distance of 16km.  The Lighthouse Tower is 12 metres in  height and is 107metres away from the high water level.  The radio beacon, provided on this Lighthouse Tower, is powered by a Solar PHOTOVOLTAIC module.


Dwarka lighthouse


Trees are yogis

Lord Krishna states in the Bhagwad Gita, “I am Peepal among trees”.  Trees are Mahayogis.  As an evolved human spreads divine aura, joy and peace, so do trees.  The moment it sprouts from earth, it spreads its arms (branches) towards the sky to receive all energies, head held high to get connected to universal life force for growth, yet rooted on earth.  It flows with natural forces, making itself stronger, taller and beautiful.


Radha Krishna

Trees always give just like the rest of Nature, teaching and reminding us that giving is the Law of Nature.  If we imbibe this, it will make the atmosphere pleasant and congenial for growth.  Tree is a Guru and reflection of the Supreme Provider..  It is the provider of bounties which are required for our healthy and natural survival.  That is why a tree reflects what it is to be alive, without thrusting and enforcing anything or being a doer.  It is alive till the last moment, and even when it perishes, every part of the tree is of great value.  There is no human habitat which does not have something made out of a tree or its produce.  Trees impart manure to earth  and its roots provide shelter to insects which live underground and nourish the soil.

No matter how much a human plucks its leaves and scratches its bark, the tree never retaliates.  It continues to be patient and does its karma.  Trees are a source of livelihood to so many.  Magnificent is the life of trees that spreads life force to all, giving shade to the tired souls and fruits to everyone, irrespective of caste, creed …….. and provide a restful abode to birds.  Trees are a great source of inspiration to writers, poets, philosophers and visionaries.  Wisdom dawns on those who do intense sadhna and dhyana under densely leafed old trees.  Buddha attained enlightenment under the natural canopy of the Bodhi tree.

big tree


Trees are the most beautiful poetic expression of Supreme Intelligence.  Trees are the embodiment of sensitivity also.  What you feel when you touch it or nurture it, reflects in its blossoming or flourishing the significance of feel.

Those who plant trees in faraway places bring salvation to ancestors and future generations, according to the Shiva Purana.  The one who plants Tulsi by igniting Vishnu, gets fruits of performing 100 yajnas, states the Padma Purana.
There is a shloka in Subhasittam : The tree provides shade while standing in the sun, bearing fruits for the benefit of others, like real virtuous SAT PURUSHA.”  Expect nothing from others like a true yogi and derive energy from the Eternal Source.  The Tree’s mission is welfare and nourishment for all, providing shelter and nutrients to even those who pelt stones at it, giving truly a great message of unconditional love by being most silent and graceful spokesperson of nature.  
Let us all realise and get enlightened by the purest wisdom of the Tree that plays the Divine Music of harmony and peace, in perfect sync with nature and like the tree, let us spread love an light all around.
—————— Meena Om.