The baby Krishna and his foster mother, Jashoda
JASHODA (FOSTER MOTHER OF KRISHNA)
KRISHNA (AS A YOUNG CHILD)
(Jashoda is churning curd into butter. Krishna is playing near her.)
JASHODA: Krishna! What are you doing?
JASHODA: Stop eating mud! Stop! You dirty fellow!
JASHODA: Stop! Stop! Otherwise I shall strike you!
(Krishna smiles and Jashoda comes to him.)
JASHODA: Open your mouth! Spit it out!
(Krishna opens his mouth. She takes the mud out of his mouth.)
JASHODA: Oh! What do I see? I see the whole universe! I see earth, heaven, stars, planets, the sun, the moon, countless beings, all the beings inside you. My child, is this a dream? Is it only a dream? My child, close your mouth.
(Krishna closes his mouth.)
JASHODA: Now open it. (He opens it.) Again I see the universe: earth, heaven, stars, planets, the sun, the moon and countless beings. O Krishna, this time it is not a dream. This time it is not a mental hallucination. For the second time, I am seeing all this. O Lord Supreme, You have given me Nanda, my husband, who is all love for mankind. You have blessed me with Krishna, in whom I see the entire universe. Something within me tells me, O Lord Supreme, that my Krishna is none other than You, Yourself.
Don’t worship Indra but worship Giri Govardhan
HIS PARENTS, OTHER RELATIVES AND NEIGHBOURS
INDRA (KING OF THE GODS)
(Krishna’s parents, relatives and neighbours are performing ceremonies in honour of the Lord Indra.)
KRISHNA: Why are you worshipping Indra? Who is he?
RELATIVE: Oh Krishna, you are just a child. You are eleven years old. That is why you do not know who Indra is.
KRISHNA: I do not know, but I wish to know from you who he is.
RELATIVE: Indra is the rain god. And he is King of the Gods.
KRISHNA: That is why you are worshipping him? You should worship this hill. (Points out the hill Giri Govardhan.) Our cattle are being fed by this hill; everyone is being helped in one way or another by this hill. Indra does not help us in any way. If you want to know the Truth, if you care for the Truth, then I tell you that you should worship this hill, and not Indra.
RELATIVE: Krishna, if we do it and something happens, your parents will feel miserable. And I am your relative, so I shall also feel miserable.
KRISHNA: Nothing will happen. My parents will not feel miserable. You will not feel miserable. At least let’s try this time, please. We shall not worship Indra any more.
(Indra is watching from Heaven. He is furious.)
INDRA: How do they dare to listen to that little child, that rascal, Krishna! I shall show them! I shall teach them a lesson! I shall inundate the whole place with water!
(Rain begins to fall.)
RELATIVE: I knew this was going to happen! Now see this rain! God alone knows when this downpour will stop. Krishna, what do you have to say now?
KRISHNA: I never accept defeat. Never. Look! With one of my fingers I shall lift the whole hill, and it will serve as an umbrella. (Lifts the hill.) You can all be under the protection of the hill. Even if it rains for seven days, I will protect you. Giri Govardhan will protect us this way for seven days. And then Indra will have to accept defeat. Do not worry. You are all safe, protected under the hill.
RELATIVE: O Krishna, now we know who you are. From now on you will save us and illumine us.
Radha and Krishna are pure
RADHA (DIVINE CONSORT OF KRISHNA)
OTHER DIVINE FRIENDS OF KRISHNA (MOSTLY WOMEN)
(Krishna sits alone. Beside him is his flute.)
KRISHNA (lifting his flute): When I play on this flute, men and women, especially women, come to listen to my music. People criticise me because they feel that my association with these women is not pure. But I know how pure these women are, and I know what purity I embody. Poor Radha, she is my dearest shakti. She is Purity itself. But human beings, how will they understand divine Love? How will they understand divine Delight? I shall have to suffer criticism from people.
tabunirbhaychale sei bir
ahaba ante habeupanita
(He who has loved this world
Has only got excruciating pangs.
The world has thrown on him all ugliness and filth and dirt, and impurity.
Yet the hero marches along,
Carrying the burden of the entire world.
At the end of his teeming struggles
He will go and stand at the Feet of the Lord Supreme.)
KRISHNA: I do not mind. I am above it all. But my Radha suffers, and I feel sorry for her.
KRISHNA: How do you feel today, Radha?
(Radha does not answer.)
KRISHNA: Yesterday you were in a sulking mood. It seems today you are worse. Radha, please tell me what is going on. Yesterday I asked you what was wrong with you, and you didn’t answer. Today again I am asking you. I am begging you. Now tell me what is wrong with you. Has anybody insulted you?
RADHA: You are so pure, so divine. I come to you to listen to your music, to listen to your divine voice, to listen to your eternal Truth. I know you are divine, and my heart is all for you. But everybody criticises us, even my girl friends who also come here to listen to you. My girl friends are creating such gossip. It is unthinkable, unbearable.
KRISHNA: Do you know why they do it? Can you tell me why they act like that?
RADHA: Just because you show me special attention, they can’t bear it. They are jealous of me. (Krishna smiles.) Can you not stop their jealousy?
KRISHNA: Human jealousy, Radha, is a very serious disease. I shall try to free them from jealousy. But it is a very difficult task.
RADHA: Either you have to free them from jealousy, or you have to make them feel that I am pure.
KRISHNA: To make them feel that you are pure — that is far easier. That I can do easily. I shall show you.
(Krishna begins playing soul-stirring music on his flute. All his divine friends come rushing to hear his music. Krishna plays for a few minutes.)
KRISHNA: Today I wish to play a special game. (Speaking to the women.) Most of you are married. I want you to prove today that you are all chaste. I want you to prove your purity.
(When Krishna says this, some of them immediately run away.)
KRISHNA: Look at this. I wanted them to prove their chastity and they have run away. You can imagine what kind of life they lead. So you people are remaining. I am so glad that you lead a chaste life. Now, here is a sieve and here is a bucket of water. One by one you come and pour the water into the sieve. If the water does not leak through when someone pours, that means that that woman is extremely pure and chaste.
(The girls line up. The first girl comes and pours water into the sieve. The water leaks through. The onlookers start laughing.)
ONLOOKERS: Oh, she is not chaste. She is not pure.
(The girl hides her face in embarrassment. The next girl starts pouring, but again the water goes through.)
ONLOOKERS (laughing): She is not chaste, she is not chaste.
KRISHNA (to a third girl): Now come on.
(The third girl comes and suffers the same fate. The water leaks through the sieve. Everybody starts laughing.)
THIRD GIRL (mockingly): Oh, Radha should come. Let her try!
OTHERS: Yes, Radha should come. Let Radha come. Let Radha try!
SECOND GIRL: Why do you bother Radha? She is not chaste either. Have some sympathy for her. You know perfectly well what kind of life she is leading.
KRISHNA: All right, she is not leading a life of purity. But let her try anyway. Radha, please come and see. You try, Radha. Come.
(Radha comes forward and is about to pour the water. The other women immediately start laughing.)
KRISHNA: Be quiet. Let us see first.
RADHA: Look, already they are laughing and mocking and criticising me. Why should I do it?
KRISHNA (to the onlookers): Do not mock. Do not laugh. This is not yet the time to laugh and criticise. You people have proved yourselves. You have proved that you are not chaste at all. You only know how to criticise and mock. Now, let Radha try. At least give her a chance.
(Radha pours the water. The water does not leak through the sieve. Everybody is astonished.)
KRISHNA: Now you can see who is chaste, who is pure. You people, look. You know how to criticise, how to mock. But you do not know how to lead a pure life. I am teaching you the eternal Truth. I am the Lord of the Universe. Radha comes to me for spiritual help, eternal Truth. Her love for me is divine. My love for her is also divine. Your minds are in the gutter. You remain in a filthy consciousness. You care for men, you care for earthly duties, you care for name, fame and so many things. But my Radha, I am always in her mind. She is also a married woman. She has her husband and everything else, just like you. But no matter where she goes, no matter with whom she speaks, her mind is always on my Transcendental Consciousness. She knows that I am the Lord of the Universe. (Pauses.) Whoever thinks of me has the purest heart on earth. Those who think of other things are not pure and can never be pure. Their purity today you observed. A day will come when the whole world will know who Radha is. The world will not only recognise her purity, but also receive from her divinity the purest delight that exists in the earth-consciousness. She is my delight; she is the delight of the Universe. Pray, meditate. All of you will one day have Radha’s purity, Radha’s consciousness. It will take time; it will take centuries, millennia. But it will be possible for you also to have Radha’s height, Radha’s consciousness, Radha’s realisation.
(Radha soulfully looks at Krishna and the other girls listen quietly while the second girl sings.)
Kalobarannai je kanu
maner kali dhela pare
dekhai tare kalo
ta nahalepriya je mor
(My Krishna is not black,
He is pure gold.
He Himself is woven
Into the universal Beauty, Light and Splendour.
He looks dark
Because I have spilled the ink of my mind on Him.
Otherwise, my Beloved is All-Light.
He created Light and Darkness,
He is within and without the Cosmos Vast.
With this knowledge,
I will have a new acquaintance
With the world at large.)
O Krishna, keep me in constant suffering!
KUNTI (MOTHER OF ARJUNA)
(Kunti is crying. Enter Arjuna.)
ARJUNA: Mother, Mother, why are you crying? Has anything happened to you?
KUNTI: Nothing, my son.
ARJUNA: You know that we are all right. Your children are all well. We Pandava brothers and all our wives are safe and well. Why are you crying? Mother, please tell me. Are you not feeling well?
KUNTI: No, my son, I am feeling perfectly well.
ARJUNA: Then why are you crying?
KUNTI: My son, you won’t understand me.
ARJUNA: Perhaps I won’t understand you, but you can make me understand. Tell me. Why are you crying?
KUNTI: I am crying for Krishna.
ARJUNA: You are crying for Krishna? Let me go and bring him here. He is all affection for you. He is all love for you and for all of us. Let me go and bring him. You don’t have to cry for him. He will come. I will be able to bring him immediately.
KUNTI: No, I don’t want you to go and bring him here.
ARJUNA: Then why are you crying for him? Either let me go and bring him, or stop crying, Mother. One of the two you must do.
KUNTI: Arjuna, people cry for name and fame; people cry for success and happiness. I cry only for one thing, only for one person, and that is my Krishna. I cry to him for one special thing. That is to keep me in constant suffering. When I have outer satisfaction, outer prosperity, I do not need Krishna and I forget him. And when I forget him, my life becomes unbearable. This morning I was praying to him, and I did not feel his presence inside my heart. A day I don’t feel his presence inside my heart is a day of tremendous suffering. A day I don’t feel his presence, I feel miserable; I feel that my real life has ended. That is why I am crying, Arjuna.
ARJUNA: Mother, what kind of philosophy do you have? You don’t have to suffer in order to feel Krishna’s presence. His presence we can always feel. We don’t have to be in sorrow in order to feel him. He is all joy, all love. Why do you cry for sorrow, Mother?
KUNTI: Arjuna, your philosophy is different from mine. My philosophy wants constant suffering, constant sorrow. It is through constant suffering that I feel his presence. When I can feel Krishna in my heart, then I am happy. You are dear to me, just because I feel Krishna’s presence inside your heart. All my children make me happy just because I feel Krishna’s presence inside them. My real life is only to see and feel Krishna within me and around me. And in order to do that I need constant sorrow, constant suffering. (Pauses.) O Arjuna, my son, you stay with your philosophy. You remain with joy, continuous joy. You realise the Truth in your own way. I want to see, feel and become inseparably one with my Krishna, the eternal Life of the infinite Universe, in my own way.
tripti je tai painakabhugahan hiya pure
basana mor purnahauk e nahe mor chaowa
(You are afar, You are near.
Yet I think that You are always far, far away.
Therefore I get no satisfaction in the inmost recesses of my heart.
My wish is not to let my desire be fulfilled; that is not my wish.
My wish is to offer at Your Feet all desires conceived and achieved.)
Krishna, I need You only
DURYODHANA (ELDEST OF THE KAURAVAS)
(The eve of the battle of Kurukshetra. Duryodhana has come to Krishna’s abode. Krishna is fast asleep. Duryodhana enters Krishna’s room and sits by Krishna’s head on a chair. Soon Arjuna comes in and sits at Krishna’s feet. Both of them are waiting for Krishna to wake up. Arjuna is looking at Krishna’s feet most devotedly and soulfully. Duryodhana is looking at Krishna with tremendous confidence and assurance.)
DURYODHANA (to Arjuna): Look at this Krishna! Why is he sleeping so much during the day? Has he not read the shastras? It is a great sin to sleep during the day. What is he doing?
ARJUNA (to Krishna): For the first time, Krishna, I am seeing your feet. They are so beautiful. They are so divine.
(Arjuna touches Krishna’s feet, appreciating and admiring their beauty.)
DURYODHANA: Yes, that is what you should do and must do. You should touch his feet, kiss his feet. You are meant for his feet and I am meant for his head. I shall touch his head.
(He is about to touch Krishna’s head when Krishna opens his eyes and sees Arjuna.)
KRISHNA: Ah, my Arjuna, what brings you here? You are my joy, you are my pride, you are my love. What can I do for you?
DURYODHANA: Krishna, I came before him. I came before him, so you have to pay attention to me first. You have to fulfil my desire first.
ARJUNA: Krishna, I have come also with a desire.
KRISHNA: If both of you have desires, I shall fulfil your desires.
DURYODHANA: But I came first. You must fulfil my desire first.
KRISHNA: True, you came first, Duryodhana, but I saw Arjuna first. I have to fulfil his desire first. After all, he is younger than you. The younger one gets the first chance, always.
DURYODHANA: All right, Arjuna, you beggar, ask Krishna to fulfil your desire.
KRISHNA: Duryodhana, let us not quarrel here. This is my house. Both of you came here to have your desires fulfilled. I shall fulfil them. But here there should be no quarrel, no fight, no dispute. My place is all peace, love and harmony. Both of you are dear to me, and I assure you both that I shall fulfil your desires.
ARJUNA: O Krishna, you know that the battle is imminent. I want you to take my side.
DURYODHANA: Stop, Arjuna! I want Krishna on my side. I want him!
KRISHNA: If both of you want me, I have to choose one side. But I want to please both of you. Here is my suggestion: I shall be on one side, and my soldiers and warriors all will be on the other side. Now you make a choice. Arjuna has to make the first choice because I saw him first.
ARJUNA: O Krishna, I want you, I want you. I do not need your army. I want you only.
DURYODHANA: Krishna, are you sure? Will you keep your promise? You will be on one side and your army, your entire army, will be on the other?
KRISHNA: Duryodhana, my promise is my promise. Rest assured, I shall never break my promise. You take my entire army, and I will be on Arjuna’s side.
ARJUNA (shedding tears of joy and gratitude): O Krishna, you are so kind. To have you is to achieve victory. For me to have you is my supreme joy, supreme glory and supreme pride. O Krishna, you are so kind to me. My joy, my life is all gratitude to you.
DURYODHANA: I thank you deeply for your army. Your army is your real strength. Let Arjuna have your body’s strength. I will have the strength of your entire army. But keep your promise. Keep your promise, O Krishna. All of your army must be on my side.
KRISHNA: O Duryodhana, I shall tell you something more. I shall not fight. I shall only give whatever help Arjuna asks of me.
ARJUNA: I want you to be my charioteer, O Krishna. Since you have taken my side, please be my charioteer.
KRISHNA: Of course, I will be your charioteer, Arjuna. But I shall not fight.
ARJUNA: No, you do not have to fight. Only be my charioteer.
DURYODHANA (overjoyed): Krishna, so you will be Arjuna’s charioteer! You cannot fight and you cannot have your army with you. This is your promise.
KRISHNA: Yes, this is my promise. You take my army with you and I shall be Arjuna’s charioteer.
DURYODHANA: Tomorrow I shall come and take your army. Don’t forget your promise, Krishna.
ARJUNA: I know that the creator is always infinitely greater than the creation. You are the creator of your army. Duryodhana has the creation, but I have the creator. I know, Krishna, that you are All. Your very presence is infinite strength for me. Your very presence is my victory.
ogo mor prananathsasimeasimepeyechhitomar
(O my beautiful One, O my Lord of Delight,
O Lord of my life-breath,
In the finite and the Infinite I have met Your universal consciousness.
I shall play on the flute of transformation-light in the forest of my heart.
Smiling and dancing I shall lose myself in the wealth of Lord Krishna.)
(Krishna gives him a most soulful smile.)
KRISHNA: O Arjuna, you do not know how dear you are to my heart. Come, let us go.
Krishna and Arjuna
(Krishna and Arjuna on the battlefield.)
ARJUNA: Krishna, I have to fight now. I have to conquer my enemies. But Krishna, now that I am in the battlefield, I am nervous. You know I have never suffered from nervousness before.
Sidanti mama gatrani
mukham ca parisusyati
vepathus ca sarire me
romaharsas ca jayate
“(My limbs give way and my mouth is parched, my body quivers, and my hair stands on end.)”
KRISHNA: Arjuna, you must never be nervous. This kind of thing I do not expect from you. You are a great hero, Arjuna. You must not be nervous.
ARJUNA: Krishna, please tell me what you actually want from my life. What do you expect from my life? Please tell me. What do you want from me? I am all yours.
KRISHNA: Do not be nervous. I have told you that you are the hero of heroes, the supreme hero. You have to fight. Fight for the right cause. I shall tell you all about the inner life, the spiritual life, the life of perfection, inner and outer. First I shall teach you the life of realisation and revelation. Then I shall teach you the life of perfection.
ARJUNA: Krishna, you came into the world with a special purpose, I know. But please tell me, what is that purpose? I want to know from you.
Yada-hada hi dharmasya
vinasaya ca duskrtam
“(O Arjuna, whenever righteousness declines and unrighteouness prevails, Myself I embody and manifest. For the protection of the good and for the destruction of the wicked, and for the establishment of the inner code of life, I come into being from age to age.)”
Krishna, I see death-forces all around me
(Krishna and Arjuna on the battlefield.)
ARJUNA: Krishna, the battle is about to start. Alas, I see death-forces all around me.
KRISHNA: Stop, Arjuna. Your heart has always been a perfect stranger to fear.
Klaibyam ma smagamah…
(Yield not to feebleness.)
ARJUNA: My Lord, please tell me something about death.
KRISHNA: Arjuna, this is a divine battle, so be not afraid of killing others, nor of being killed yourself. Here is my teaching with regard to death.
“(As a man casts off his worn-out garments and puts on new ones, so also the embodied soul casts off the worn-out body and enters into a new form for manifestation.)”
ARJUNA: Is there anything that is not killed?
KRISHNA: Yes, Arjuna, the soul is not killed. The soul cannot be killed.
nacai ‘namkledayanty apo
(Weapons cannot cleave the soul.
Fire cannot burn the soul.
Water cannot drench the soul.
Wind cannot dry the soul.)
Nimittamatram bhava savyasachin
(O Arjuna, become a mere instrument.)
ARJUNA: O Krishna, fear of death is gone. I shall be afraid neither of killing others nor of being killed by others. Fight I must, and conquer the forces undivine.
The Universal Form
(Krishna and Arjuna.)
ARJUNA: Krishna, I have a supreme desire.
KRISHNA: No true desire of yours will remain unfulfilled, Arjuna. Let me know what you want.
ARJUNA: My heart cries to see the Universal Form of God in you.
KRISHNA: Is that all. Behold!
(Arjuna, wonderstruck, sings.)
Pasyamidevamstava deva dehe
Rsims ca sarvanuragams ca divyan
“(In Your Body, O Krishna, I see all the cosmic gods and numerous hosts of beings. I see Lord Brahma seated on his lotus throne and all the sages and celestial //nagas// [snakes].)”
tvamasyavisvasya param nidhanam
vetta ‘sivedyam ca param ca dhama
punas ca bhuyo ‘pi namonamaste
(You are the Primal God.
You are the Ancient Purusha.
You are the Supreme Haven of the Universe.
You are the Knower.
You are the Knowable.
You are the Supreme Abode.
By You pervaded is the entire Universe, O Being of infinite Forms.
You are Vayu, the wind god.
You are Yama, the cosmic destroyer.
You are Agni, the fire god.
You are Varuna, the sea god.
You are Shashanka, the moon god.
You are Prajapati, the grandsire of the Creation.
To You I offer my salutations, To You I offer.
A thousand times, and again and again, My salutations to You.)
Krishna, my existence is at your disposal
(Krishna and Arjuna are together.)
ARJUNA: Krishna, on different occasions I have asked you for advice. Every time your advice has strengthened my heart and fulfilled my purpose. But today I am not in any specific difficulty. Today is the day for me to ask you what your supreme advice is.
Manmana bhava madbhakto
madyaji mam namaskuru…
(Oneness with My mind establish.
Devote your life to Me.
Sacrifice your breath to Me.
Before Me prostrate.)
moksayisyami ma sucah
(All duties give up.
In Me alone take refuge.
From all sins you I shall liberate.
ARJUNA: Krishna, my Lord…
“(My delusion is now destroyed for good. Through your boundless Grace and Compassion I have recognised the Truth. All my doubts are dispelled. To your Will I surrender my life unconditionally. My existence is totally at your disposal.)”
KRISHNA: Arjuna, you are dear to me in my role. You are dearer to me in my soul. You are dearest to me in my Goal. In you is my supreme Realisation. With you is my supreme Manifestation.
Ask Vishma, O Arjuna
VISHMA (GRANDSIRE OF THE PANDAVAS AND THE KAURAVAS)
(Vishma is lying down on a bed of arrows made by Arjuna. Arjuna and Krishna have come to pay him their last respects. Vishma suddenly bursts into tears.)
ARJUNA: Krishna, Krishna, please tell me why my grandfather is shedding tears? He has read and studied the Vedas. He has read and studied all our Indian scriptures. He knows perfectly well that death is not the end. Why, then, is he afraid of death? It was he who told us how to kill him, despite the fact that he was our adversary in this war. Who else on earth would tell his opponents how to kill him? He has shown the world the zenith of the heart’s nobility and magnanimity. His soul is the height of sacrifice. O Krishna, is there anything on earth that you do not know? Tell me, O Krishna, what can I do for him? I will do anything for my grandfather. We lost our father when we were quite young. Vishma replaced our father with his constant love and concern. His sacrifice for us was unparalleled. Now, Krishna, do tell me why he is crying and weeping.
KRISHNA: I do not know, Arjuna. You can ask him. He will tell you.
ARJUNA: Grandfather, please tell me why you are weeping. What can I do for you?
VISHMA: My child, I am weeping not because I am afraid of death. I am shedding bitter tears for one simple reason: because your Pandava family has suffered so much. The Kauravas have been torturing you right from the beginning. Krishna is the Lord of the Universe, yet your suffering has no end. I do not know how it is that you have suffered so much when Krishna has been with you all the time. How is it possible for him to observe your suffering? His heart is all love and concern for you. I do not understand his game; that is why I am shedding tears.
KRISHNA (smiling): O Vishma, O man of wisdom, my mystery is unfathomable. You know that my heart has been suffering with Arjuna’s family. My soul is one with them. Both my divine existence and my human existence are one with them.
VISHMA: O Lord, you are dearer to me than my life itself. You made a solemn promise that you would not take weapons, that you would not fight, yet twice you left your chariot to kill me. On the third day and on the ninth day of the battle, you came out of your chariot to kill me. I was so filled with joy, for it was by you, my Lord, that I wanted to be killed. To die in your presence, to be killed by your weapons, means to go to Heaven immediately. Nothing can be more glorious than to be killed by the Lord Himself. O Krishna, when you came out of the chariot to kill me, I wanted to embrace you in the battlefield, but Arjuna pulled you back into the chariot. Arjuna, you have done me a terrible disservice.
ARJUNA: I wanted Krishna to keep his promise, Grandfather. He promised he would not fight, that he would only be my charioteer.
VISHMA (to Krishna): I know, Krishna, that you are now with me. The end of my life is fast approaching. You have many times blessed me, O Krishna, with your divine presence. But this time please bless me in a different way: place your ever-compassionate hands on my head, and let this blessing of yours carry me into the highest plane of Peace.
(Krishna blesses Vishma. Vishma sings.)
Shanti shantihridaye shanti
Parane shanti raje
Hariyephelechhiamar e tanu
Mana prana antare
Peace within my heart reigns supreme.
The soul-stirring flute of Lord Krishna
Is being played in my Heaven
And on my earth.
The destruction-shadows of dark demons
And the ignorance-delusion of sombre night
Lie long-buried in the depths of my body, mind, heart and life.
My aspiration-flames ever swim across the expanse of Your Compassion-waters.)
KRISHNA: Vishma, the world knows about your supreme promises and supreme sacrifices. To fulfil your father’s desire you did not marry, you did not take the throne. The Kauravas supported you. Morality-bound, you fought for them. The human in you fought with the human, the undivine. The divine in you fought with the divine for the divine. The human in you fought against the Pandavas. The divine in you told the Pandavas how to kill you. Arjuna has listened to your advice, and now you are dying. Your life is now a matter of a few hours. I offer to you all my heart’s boundless Love, Peace and Bliss. Here on earth you are immortal, and there in Heaven you are immortal. Your promise is the pride of Mother Earth and your sacrifice is the pride of Father Heaven.
UTANKA (A SAGE)
(Utanka’s ashram. Utanka is meditating. Enter Krishna.)
UTANKA: Krishna, Krishna, you have come. I am so happy, so delighted, so grateful. Give me some news.
KRISHNA: News? Have you not heard about the Kurukshetra battle?
UTANKA: No, I have been praying and meditating here all the time. I have heard no news. I do not know anything about the Kurukshetra battle. What happened? Tell me, Krishna, tell me.
KRISHNA: Oh, it’s a long story.
UTANKA: But tell me what has happened.
KRISHNA: Utanka, all one hundred brothers of Duryodhana were killed on the battlefield.
UTANKA: Duryodhana’s brothers killed? What had they done?
KRISHNA: You know that they were very unspiritual, very undivine. You know how they tortured the Pandava family and me all the time. You know that.
UTANKA: I know, I know, but that doesn’t mean that they had to be killed. Who has killed them?
KRISHNA: The Pandavas, with the help of their friends.
UTANKA: I can’t understand this. Tell me, were you there?
KRISHNA: Yes, I was there. I was Arjuna’s charioteer. I did not fight.
UTANKA: You did not fight, but your very presence was a great help to them. You gave them inspiration and strength. Krishna, I shall curse you. You are responsible for ruining such a big family. I am sure that many, many, many people were killed.
KRISHNA: True, many people were killed and Yudhishthira is now the King of Hastinapura. He is a very pious King. You know he and sincerity go together, he and purity go together, he and all virtues go together.
UTANKA: I don’t deny it. He will make a good King. But so many people were killed, so many people from the Kaurava family were destroyed. You have just seen it. What kind of news are you giving me, Krishna?
KRISHNA: I tried my best. I went there personally to avert the war, but the Kaurava princes wouldn’t listen to me. They mocked me. They insulted me.
UTANKA: Now, I see. That is the reason you entered into this battle, because they insulted and mocked you. Why didn’t you tell me that that was the reason?
KRISHNA: No, that is not true. It was not because they insulted and mocked me, but because I saw that the time had come for them to be destroyed. In every way I tried to prevent the battle, avert the war. I asked that they give the Pandavas only five villages, but they wouldn’t do it. So it was the Will of God that they be destroyed.
UTANKA: Will of God! Will of God! It was the will of Krishna the rogue! (All of a sudden.) Wait, Krishna, wait!
KRISHNA: What is wrong?
UTANKA: I hear a message from within. Allow me to concentrate on it. (He concentrates.) Ah, Krishna. I shall not curse you, but you have to fulfil my desire.
KRISHNA: Let me know what your desire is.
UTANKA: My inner voice says that you showed your Universal Form to Arjuna before the Kurukshetra battle. Is it true? Is it true? I have been longing to see the Universal Form in you for such a long time, Krishna. Krishna, I shall not curse you. Please, please show me your Universal Form.
KRISHNA: Oh, Utanka, all right. I do not want to be cursed by you. I shall show you my Universal Form.
(Krishna shows his Universal Form. Utanka touches Krishna’s feet.)
UTANKA: O Krishna, I have seen in you an infinite sky; hundreds of suns, stars, planets; all the creatures and human beings. They are all taking birth, living and dying within you, under your supreme guidance. Inside you all the universal forces are functioning. O Krishna, forgive me! Forgive me, O Lord of my existence, O Lord of the world.
KRISHNA: I have forgiven you, Utanka. I did not want to be cursed by you. That is why I have fulfilled your desire. Now, do you have any more desires to be fulfilled?
UTANKA: O Krishna, after seeing your Universal Form, can there be any other desire?
KRISHNA: Think it over. I have much to do at home. Is there anything else you want before I leave?
UTANKA: O Krishna, since you are all-powerful, all-loving, please give me one boon.
KRISHNA: What kind of boon do you want, Utanka?
UTANKA: This place is a dry desert. There is no water here at all. I wish to have water. Please supply me with water, O Krishna.
KRISHNA: That is very easy. Whenever you want to have water, just think of me and water will be supplied.
(Utanka, with deepest gratitude, touches Krishna’s feet. Exit Krishna.)
(Utanka is very thirsty, and there is no pure water in the house. He invokes Krishna.)
UTANKA: O Krishna, fulfil your promise. I need water, pure water. Let me see if you come, or how the water will come.
(Immediately, a Chandala [undertaker] comes forward with a glass of water and offers it to Utanka.)
UTANKA: You untouchable! How dare you come to me with water! True, I am thirsty, but I will never take water from an untouchable. Get away from here! I don’t need you. I will die of thirst before I drink anything that you have touched.
UTANKA: O Krishna! You rogue! True, I wanted water. I am practically dying of thirst, but did you have to send an undertaker, an untouchable, with my water? This is how you insult me. I don’t need that kind of water. Either bring me the water yourself, or I don’t need any water from you. I shall manage my life as I did before you gave me that boon, you rogue. (Enter Krishna.) Krishna, you didn’t keep your promise. You didn’t give me water, at least not pure water that I could drink.
KRISHNA: Water! I sent Indra himself to you, not with water, but with divine nectar.
KRISHNA: Yes, in the garb of a Chandala. He wanted to test you, to see whether you have conquered the feeling of superiority and inferiority, purity and impurity, whether you have gone beyond that after having seen my Universal Form.
UTANKA: You know, Krishna, that I am a Brahmin. I thought that he was a Chandala. He came in that garb. How can I drink water from a Chandala? Why did he deceive me?
KRISHNA: He did not deceive you, Utanka. He came to see whether you had really gone beyond caste. Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya, Shudra and Chandala all go together. They are all in the Heart of God, in the Heart of the Supreme.
UTANKA: O Krishna, forgive me. Now it is too late. What am I going to do? What can I do?
KRISHNA: Utanka, I have forgiven you. From now on whenever you are in need of water, you will be supplied with water in another way. You invoke me and with my occult power, I shall form clouds in the sky and cause rain. Then you will have no dearth of water. This plot of land will always have enough water. And the clouds that form in the sky will be called Utankamegh from now on. In the future, those who stay in this land, when they see these rain clouds, will call them Utanka.
UTANKA: Krishna, you are all forgiveness. You are a constant miracle. You are constant joy. You are constant fulfilment. This ungrateful heart of mine is at your compassionate feet.
Not how many hours you meditate, but how you meditate
(Krishna and Arjuna are walking along the street. All of a sudden they see a man drawing a cart loaded with flowers.)
ARJUNA: Krishna, look! A man is drawing a cart loaded with all kinds of flowers. Are they not beautiful?
KRISHNA: Yes, they are really beautiful.
ARJUNA (to the cartman): What are you doing with these flowers, my friend? Where are you going?
(The man pays no attention to Arjuna. He continues pulling the cart. Exit cartman.)
KRISHNA: Arjuna, let us follow him.
ARJUNA: That’s a nice idea.
(Exeunt Krishna and Arjuna.)
(The cartman has reached his destination. Enter Krishna and Arjuna.)
ARJUNA: What are you going to do with all these flowers? It seems to me that you have already brought a few cartloads of flowers here. What a huge pile of flowers I see! What are you doing with so many flowers?
MAN: I have no time to speak to you. I am now employed in serious business. I can speak only to one person on earth, and that is Bhima, the second Pandava.
MAN: Don’t argue with me. He is the greatest spiritual seeker of all. When he meditates just for a minute or two before his meals, saying, “O Mighty Lord Shiva,” he offers thousands of flowers to the Lord. His concentration is most intense; his meditation is most sincere. Look, in his family he has a brother named Arjuna, who only offers one flower at a time to Lord Shiva. He just shows off, meditating for hours. God alone knows when Arjuna will come to realise that his meditation, his power of concentration, is nowhere near his brother Bhima’s.
ARJUNA: Krishna, enough humiliation! You are humiliating me in every way! Why do you humiliate me so badly?
KRISHNA: This is not humiliation, my dearest Arjuna. This is illumination. I am teaching the world through you. I wanted to teach you that it is not how many flowers you offer or how many hours you meditate that counts, but rather your power of concentration, your power of dedication. You pray to this god and that god. You want to please all the gods. You collect many flowers and offer them to Lord Shiva one by one, for two hours every day. Each time, while offering a flower, you utter the name of Lord Shiva. You think that, since you offer many flowers to Lord Shiva and the other gods for so many hours, you are the best seeker. This is your pride, O Arjuna. It was my boundless love and compassion for you that wanted to shatter your pride. O Arjuna, again and again I tell you, you are my dearest disciple, my dearest friend. You have established your eternal oneness with me.
(I am Your flower,
You are my Golden Shore.
I am Your divine cow,
You are my Flute, Divine Flute.
I am Your song, celestial song,
You are my Life, Eternal Life.
I am Your forgiveness,
You are my Beauty, Inner Beauty.)
These are my psychic tears
(A scholar is walking along the street. He sees a Brahmin holding a copy of the Bhagavad-Gita and weeping.)
SCHOLAR: O Brahmin, your eyes are swimming in a sea of tears. My heart is all sympathy for you. I clearly see that you have been unable to understand the teachings of the Gita. But I shall gladly help you. Tell me, where do you find it difficult? Which particular shloka don’t you understand? I shall explain it to you.
BRAHMIN: There is a special reason why I am weeping.
SCHOLAR: Yes, I am sure you have a special reason. Why don’t you be frank with me? Tell me straight away which particular shloka you find difficult to understand.
BRAHMIN: You will not understand me. You will not believe me.
SCHOLAR: I will understand you. I will believe you. Tell me why you are weeping. I have not much time, for I am now on my way to my school, where my students are waiting for me. Please don’t waste my time. Please tell me.
I am a fool, they say.
Am I, am I a fool?
I go to my inner School;
God’s Eye my eternal Day.
To help my Lord in His Play,
To found His Smile on earth,
My divinely human birth.
Yet I am a fool, they say.
BRAHMIN: I am weeping, I am weeping because…
SCHOLAR: Please don’t waste my time. Don’t weep, don’t weep. Just let me know what you can’t understand and I shall immediately help you.
BRAHMIN: I am weeping because I see the Lord Krishna right in front of me. No matter which page I turn to, I see Arjuna’s charioteer, Krishna. These are my psychic tears. I see my Lord in all the pages. I see Sri Krishna in His chariot. That is why I am shedding tears. It is not that I do not understand the teachings of the Gita.
(The scholar bows to the Brahmin.)
SCHOLAR: I have studied the Gita hundreds of times. I have taught thousands of people the Gita, but none of them have said that they have seen Lord Krishna. They haven’t seen even a spark of Sri Krishna’s light. I have personally talked and talked about the Gita. I have taught and taught the Gita, but I have never seen Sri Krishna on the pages, or before my eyes in a mental vision. I have never felt his presence deep in my heart. (Pauses.) O Brahmin, forgive my arrogance, forgive my impertinence. Today I am not going to school to teach. Today is the end of my teaching career. Today begins my life of aspiration, my life of the inner cry. From now on I shall only pray to Krishna instead of explaining Him. Instead of speaking about Him I shall meditate on Him, and like you, I am sure, one day I will be able to see Krishna, my beloved Lord. My life of outer teaching now ends, and my life of inner searching begins.
Two divine liars: are they really so?
SATYAVAMA (HIS WIFE)
DURVASHA (A GREAT SAGE VERY DEVOTED TO KRISHNA)
(Krishna’s palace. Krishna and Satyavama are together.)
SATYAVAMA: How is it that people think you are full of compassion? I see that you have no compassion at all. Look at your greatest devotee. He is repeating your name so devotedly and so soulfully! But you do not care for him. All he eats is a blade of grass now and then, because there is nobody to feed him.
KRISHNA: What do you want me to do?
SATYAVAMA: Why don’t you ask someone to look after him? You have so many admirers and devotees. Why don’t you ask someone to bring food to Durvasha every day, so that he can continue his meditating and still have proper food to eat.
KRISHNA: He does not need that kind of food.
SATYAVAMA (becoming angry): He does need it, but you don’t supply it.
KRISHNA: No, no. His food is different, entirely different.
SATYAVAMA: I am sure that if I take him some proper food, delicious food, right now, he will eat voraciously.
KRISHNA: Well, perhaps you are right. You can try it. Go to him on the other side of the Jamuna, and then come back and tell me what he says about the food.
(Satyavama, having prepared a most delicious meal, goes to the River Jamuna, and tries to cross it. The Jamuna is a tiny river that is usually knee deep, but when there is a flood or a storm, it has to be crossed in a ferryboat. Satyavama sees that the water is raging like the surges of the sea. The boatman refuses to take her across because of the danger. Satyavama, depressed and angry, returns to the palace.)
SATYAVAMA: Krishna, I went to cross the river to take food to your dearest disciple, but the river was hostile to me. Do something!
KRISHNA: All right. Go and say this to the river: “If my Lord Krishna has not seen the face of any woman other than me, then calm down.”
SATYAVAMA: How can I say this? I know how many women friends you have. I cannot say to Jamuna that you have never seen the face of any woman but me. It is all lies! Jamuna will never calm down. You have seen the faces of millions of women. To say that you have only seen my face is ridiculous!
KRISHNA: Go. Go and say what I have told you to Jamuna and see what happens.
(Satyavama stands at the edge of the raging river.)
SATYAVAMA: O Jamuna, if my Lord Krishna has not seen the face of any woman but me, then please calm down so that I may cross.
(The river subsides and she crosses.)
SATYAVAMA (thinking aloud): I am sure the Jamuna has allowed me to cross just to please Krishna.
(She comes to the place where Durvasha is meditating. He is in a high trance, but slowly opens his eyes when she approaches him.)
SATYAVAMA: O Durvasha, I have observed that for many weeks now you have been repeating my Lord’s name with deepest devotion, and you have taken almost no food. Today, I have brought you food which I myself have prepared for you.
DURVASHA (still in a meditative mood, touches the feet of Satyavama): Mother, your compassion is food enough for me. Yet I am supremely grateful that you have thought of me and brought me food.
(Satyavama has to feed Durvasha herself as he is still in a trance-like state. When he has finished the food, Durvasha bows and touches Satyavama’s feet.)
SATYAVAMA: Now I am going home. I am happy that you are pleased with my meal.
(Exit Satyavama. Durvasha resumes his deep meditation, and a little later Satyavama returns.)
SATYAVAMA: O Durvasha, please do something for me. There is no boatman at the river and my Lord is on the other side. I cannot cross because of the storm. While I was coming here it was also stormy, but my Lord made the river subside. But now my Lord is not here. Please tell me what I should do.
DURVASHA: This is very easy, Mother. I will tell you. Go and say this to the river: “If Durvasha has not eaten anything but a few blades of grass for many years, then you must calm down, O Jamuna.”
SATYAVAMA: You fool! You liar! I have just fed you a most delicious meal with my own hands, and now you are asking me to say this!
DURVASHA: Mother, please tell the river what I have told you. I will come with you.
(Exeunt Durvasha and Satyavama.)
(Satyavama and Durvasha at the river.)
SATYAVAMA (sarcastically, to the river): If Durvasha hasn’t taken anything to eat for several years except a few blades of grass, then please, Jamuna, calm down. (The waters subside. Satyavama is surprised and angry.) Durvasha, your Lord is a liar and you are a liar! I am caught between two liars. But at least I am able to go home.
SATYAVAMA: Krishna, you are a liar and you have taught your dearest disciple also how to tell lies.
KRISHNA: What lies have we told?
SATYAVAMA: You said that you have never looked at any woman’s face in your life except mine. How can it be? Millions of women you have seen. We have so many relatives, including your own mother, your sister and many others around us. So how can you say that you have not seen any other woman’s face?
KRISHNA: Satyavama, you do not understand my spiritual knowledge. You are my dearest. You and I are one. When I look at any woman, immediately I see your face in that person. All women to me are represented by you. When I look at any woman’s face, physically it is different, but according to my inner wisdom, inner light, I see that it is you who are that particular person. You are the Divine Mother and I am the Divine Father. So I see my female part, you, inside everyone. How, then, can I say that I am seeing somebody else? It is you I see in different forms, in different shapes.
SATYAVAMA (satisfied): I see. You are dealing with your universal consciousness. You are the Lord and I am your divine Shakti. But what about this liar Durvasha? He is your devotee. I fed him a delicious meal with my own hands. And immediately afterwards he said that he had not eaten anything but a few blades of grass for several years!
KRISHNA: Dearest Satyavama, all the while you were feeding him, Durvasha was in trance. He always remains in trance. And in trance what he eats is delight, ecstasy. That is his only food. He has practically lost all outer consciousness. On rare occasions he comes down to the earth-consciousness. Most of the time he is in his highest transcendental Consciousness, where he is communing with me. I feed him Peace, Light and Bliss. When he told you that he had taken only blades of grass, he was speaking the truth. He ate your food, true, but he didn’t get any taste from the food you gave him. He was only drinking my divine nectar all the time. Before he entered into this rigorous discipline, this austere life, he decided that he would eat only blades of grass after beginning serious meditation. That particular idea is still in his mind, and he still thinks that he is eating only grass and nothing else, for he is not aware of outer things, earthly things. He has lost the consciousness of the outer world. So if you give him delicious earthly food, he gets no more taste from your meal than he gets from grass. That is why he could say that he had not eaten anything other than a few blades of grass for many years.
SATYAVAMA: You have convinced me, my Lord. I am most grateful to you. I withdraw my charges.
Her cow must die tomorrow
A WOMAN (VERY DEVOTED TO KRISHNA)
(Evening. Krishna and Arjuna are walking along the street. It is quite dark. A woman sees them.)
WOMAN: It seems to me that both of you are lost in the dark, and that both of you need a place to stay tonight. I shall be happy to have you as my guests tonight.
ARJUNA: That is a splendid idea.
KRISHNA: Let us stay at her place.
WOMAN: I shall be happy to have you as my divine guests.
(The woman’s home. Enter all three.)
ARJUNA: How many children do you have?
WOMAN: Oh, I have no children.
ARJUNA: What does your husband do?
WOMAN: I have no husband. My husband died long ago. I am all alone.
ARJUNA: Then how do you support yourself? I am sorry that we have come here to burden you.
WOMAN: Oh no, no. Do not feel sorry. I am quite rich. My Lord Krishna supports me. I have a cow. The cow gives milk, and I sell the milk and thus maintain my life on earth. So, I am very glad to receive both of you. Let me feed you with what little I have.
(She brings food and offers it to them. Arjuna and Krishna eat happily.)
KRISHNA: Most delicious food!
WOMAN: All thanks to Lord Krishna. He is my Lord; he is my all, my Lord Krishna. I feel that both of you are very nice and spiritual. Whom do you pray to?
ARJUNA: We also pray to Krishna. He is very great.
WOMAN: I am so happy that two devotees of Krishna have come here. I am so happy and proud that we three are together.
(The following morning Krishna and Arjuna are leaving.)
KRISHNA: I am very grateful to you for your generosity.
ARJUNA: I am also grateful for your generosity.
KRISHNA: May Krishna bless you. May Krishna guide you.
ARJUNA: May Krishna protect you, and may you get a vision of Krishna.
(Exeunt Krishna and Arjuna.)
(Krishna and Arjuna are walking together.)
ARJUNA: O Krishna, this woman is so poor. Why don’t you do something for her? I could not tell her you were Krishna because I did not have your permission. But you can see, Krishna, how she suffers. She has nobody on earth. Her only means of support is her cow. She has only the cow and nothing else on earth. How can she live, Krishna? Please give her something. Give her a boon, I beg of you. Grant her a boon so that she can lead a better life.
KRISHNA: I have already granted her a very big boon.
ARJUNA: What is your boon?
KRISHNA: The boon is that her cow will die tomorrow.
ARJUNA: Krishna, she fed us and this is your boon? What! This kind of boon you give! Are you so ungrateful, so cruel? She has no other means of support, and you want her cow to die! I can’t understand you, Krishna. I can’t understand you at all.
KRISHNA: True, Arjuna, you do not understand Me. Now listen. She always thinks of the cow. The cow has to be fed; the cow has to be milked; the cow has to be bathed, and so forth. I want her to think only of Me, and when she has nobody on earth, not even the cow, she will think of Me all the time, devoting herself to Me twenty-four hours a day. If her cow were to remain alive, she would linger on earth and constantly think of the cow, and not of Me. She would not make as much progress. But since I am now taking her cow, soon the time will be right for Me to take her away from this world, and after a few years I will give her a better and more fulfilling incarnation.
ARJUNA (bowing): O Krishna, you are right. You are always right. Your ways are inscrutable, but I see you are always right, perfectly right, once I understand you. You are always right, my Krishna.
Think of God: He will not only think of you, but He will think of your dear ones as well
A POOR BRAHMIN
MEN AND WOMEN SERVANTS
(A Brahmin and his wife inside their cottage.)
WIFE: My Lord, you always speak of your friend, Krishna. If he really is your friend, how is it that you do not go to him and get some money to relieve our poverty? You happened to be a very close friend of his when you were both boys. Now he has become King of Dwaraka, a very opulent, powerful King ruling a vast territory. But your fate is otherwise. You are extremely honest, sincere, moral and spiritual, but you are extremely poor. Sri Krishna is so rich, and you always speak highly of him. Why don’t you go to him for help?
BRAHMIN: I do not want to ruin our friendship now that I know Krishna is not an ordinary man. He is a King in the outer world, and he is also a King in the inner world. I think of him, meditate on him and pray to him. He gives me much joy, much inner treasure. Although I do not have a lot of money and I do not wallow in the pleasures of riches, inwardly I am very happy. If I take money from him, then perhaps our friendship will come to an end. That is why I do not want to go to him.
WIFE: No, you should go. He is not an ordinary man, and he is very generous. He will give you a large sum of money. And I assure you that he will maintain his same old friendship with you.
BRAHMIN: I really can’t do it. (Pauses.) All right. Since you have been insisting on my going for a long time, I will go there. I will kill two birds with one stone. I will please you by listening to your request, and I will please myself by seeing my intimate childhood friend whom I haven’t seen for a long time. I will go and see him, but not to ask for money. I will see him, my Lord Krishna, so I can be filled with inner joy. And at the same time, I will be fulfilling your request that I go to his palace. Give me some food. Krishna, if he is still the same old Krishna, may ask me for something home-made.
WIFE: I have a small quantity of popped rice that you can tie in the corner of your dhoti.
BRAHMIN: Thank you. I shall leave for his palace right now.
(The Brahmin and Sri Krishna at Sri Krishna’s palace.)
KRISHNA: I am exceedingly glad to see you, my old friend. Please tell me about your present life.
BRAHMIN: I am very happy, and my wife is very nice. And you, Krishna, you are a Lord now — an inner king and an outer king. Even so, you are showing me the utmost kindness, sympathy and friendship.
KRISHNA: What have you brought from home? I am eager to eat something of yours.
BRAHMIN (aside): Krishna is the King here. He has hundreds of slaves, and his palace is most luxurious. All divine and earthly things are at his command. What can I do? I am too embarrassed to give him this small quantity of popped rice.
(Sri Krishna snatches away his popped rice and starts eating.)
KRISHNA: Delicious, most delicious! For a long time I have not been blessed with this kind of food. I left Brindavan, and now I am King. Here I get food, but it doesn’t have in it the real affection, the boundless affection, that is in this food you have brought from your wife. Now that I am in a city, I miss real affection, real concern.
BRAHMIN (aside): How I am enjoying Sri Krishna’s presence! Divine Joy, divine Peace, divine Light is pouring forth from him, and I am drinking in his divine Nectar. I am so happy. Oh, now I am really pleased. I have fulfilled my desire, and my wife’s desire I have also fulfilled in a way, since I have come to Sri Krishna. But I will not be able to ask my beloved Krishna for earthly wealth. I can’t. How can I ask him for earthly things, fleeting things, ephemeral things, when out of his infinite bounty he has given me divine things, eternal things?
(The Brahmin is on his way home the following day filled with utmost inner and outer joy. He sings.)
(My world is for Your Feet.
My life is for Your Dream.)
(Suddenly, a heaviness attacks him.)
BRAHMIN: I am spiritual; that is why I am in a position to cry for divine things. But my wife does not care for spiritual things; she needs earthly things. Perhaps I made a mistake. I ought to have asked Krishna to give her something. She likes candy. I should have asked him to give me some candy for her. I feel sorry, but now it is too late. I do not want to go back to my friend, but I know she will be angry with me. What can I do?
(The Brahmin enters his village and approaches his home. Many men and women servants are moving around.)
BRAHMIN: Oh God! Where is my cottage? Standing where my home, my tiny cottage, was, I see a big building, a huge palace. I see servants and maids. (Looking in.) From here I can see that it is full of expensive furniture, and it is decorated with elaborate ornaments. (Turning to one servant who is passing by.) What happened to the cottage that was here?
SERVANT: Oh, don’t you know? The owner is now wallowing in riches.
BYSTANDER: He went to his friend, Krishna, and Krishna gave him all this wealth.
BRAHMIN: Ah! Now I know the whole story. (His wife appears briefly in the doorway, dressed in costly garments and jewels.) Now my wife is decked in a most expensive, beautiful dress, and I see a flood of joy in her face. Hundreds of servants are waiting to attend me. But an inner pang shoots through me. O Lord Krishna, you have deceived me! Now how can I think of you? You pleased me when I was with you. Now you have pleased my wife. But here is temptation. My wife did not care for the spiritual life. Now that she is rich it will be worse; she will never care for it! Perhaps my spiritual life will come to an end as well. I will become involved in these ordinary earthly things, ephemeral glittering things.
(Suddenly Krishna appears before the Brahmin in a vision.)
BRAHMIN: O Krishna, feed me only with inner wealth. I want to live in you and receive your inner wealth, not this outer wealth. O my eternal friend, beloved Krishna, keep me inside your heart and feed me with your Compassion, Peace, Light and Bliss. And I pray to you to transform my wife’s consciousness so that she will also realise that earthly wealth is no wealth — only inner wealth is worth having.
KRISHNA: My childhood friend, do you think I would betray you? You sought only inner wealth, and I have given you all that I am. Your wife sought outer wealth, and I have given her all that I have. After a while she will get tired of this outer wealth, she will see that it does not satisfy her, and then she too will cry for Light, Peace and Bliss. And then you both will run side by side to your Goal: my Infinity’s Breath and my Eternity’s Life.
He eats grass but carries a naked sword
(Krishna and Arjuna.)
KRISHNA: Arjuna, I am in the mood to go out for a walk. Would you like to accompany me?
ARJUNA: Certainly! It is a great joy, a great honour to walk with you.
KRISHNA: Come, let us go.
(Krishna and Arjuna are walking together along the street. All of a sudden they see an ascetic.)
ARJUNA: Look, there is an ascetic meditating.
KRISHNA: Yes, let him meditate. Let us not bother him.
ARJUNA: But look, Krishna, something is very strange.
KRISHNA: What is it? I do not see anything.
ARJUNA: Look, he is eating a tiny blade of dry grass. I see green grass all around, but he is eating dry grass.
KRISHNA: It is certainly strange, Arjuna.
ARJUNA: But that is not the thing. It is something unthinkable, unbelievable! The man has a naked sword by his side. Krishna, it is really incredible! On the one hand he will eat only dry, lifeless grass, because he does not want to destroy life. His compassion for living things is so great that he won’t even eat green grass. But at the same time, he is carrying a naked sword. Tell me, Krishna — why is he behaving like this? What is wrong with the fellow? It seems to me that his life is a life of contradiction. A blade of grass and a naked sword do not go together.
KRISHNA: Yes, you are right. To eat only dry grass and carry a naked sword is certainly incongruous. Why don’t you go and ask why he does this? I shall wait for you.
ARJUNA: No, please come with me.
KRISHNA: All right, I am coming. I am following you.
(They go up to the ascetic.)
ARJUNA: Please tell me, venerable sir, why you act this way? I see that you are leading a simple life, an austere life, a pious life. But why are you carrying this sword? Please tell me the reason for this strange behaviour.
ASCETIC: The reason is very simple. I have four persons to kill with this sword, four unpardonable rascals.
ARJUNA: Who are they? I may be of some help to you if they are so bad.
ASCETIC: I don’t need your help. Thank you anyway.
ARJUNA: May I please know their names? Such bad people must not stay on earth. They should be killed if they are really so bad. You say you do not need my help, but in case you change your mind, I am the person who can be of service to you.
ASCETIC: Thank you. I am happy to hear it. I shall tell you their names after all. The first is Narada.
ARJUNA: Narada! What has he done? What has he done to you?
ASCETIC: All the time Narada sings the glories of my Lord Krishna. He never shuts up. He does not even give my Lord time to take his rest. All the time he has to sing, and Krishna has to hear his songs. With his constant singing, singing, singing, he is always disturbing my Lord’s sleep. I shall kill that wretched Narada if I see him!
ARJUNA: May I know who the second person is?
ASCETIC: The second rascal is Draupadi, the wife of the Pandavas. As soon as she got into a difficult situation she had to cry, “Lord, save me! Save me!” My Lord had to go and use his force in order to save her modesty. What kind of audacity she had! Who asked her husband to mix with bad people and play dice with the Kauravas? If her husband did something wrong, she should have to pay the penalty for it. Why did she have to call on my Lord Krishna to save her modesty? He had to waste his precious time and energy just to save her modesty. I hate her. I hate her for that, and I shall kill her as soon as I see her!
ARJUNA: What are you talking about? How do you know that story? You are an ascetic.
ASCETIC: Do you think that I do not care for the world’s news? I know what is happening in the world. Listen: The story of Draupadi is very simple. Draupadi’s husband, Yudhishthira, lost to Duhshasana in a dice game. And his last promise, unthinkable, was that he would give his wife, Draupadi, to the winner. Naturally Duhshasana defeated Draupadi’s husband, that senseless man. She had to stay with the Kauravas, their enemies. They wanted to undress her in front of their kings and potentates. Draupadi tried to hold fast to her sari, but finally she surrendered and said, “O Krishna, save me, save me!” Immediately my Lord had to grant her an endless stretch of material. They went on and on pulling at her sari, but it was endless. That is why I hate Draupadi. As for Yudhishthira, it is beneath my dignity even to think of him. He was the real culprit. Anyway, it was Draupadi who invoked my Lord to help her. I hate her. In season and out of season, at any time, she calls on him. When the Pandava family was in the forest, do you know what happened?
ARJUNA: I do not know what happened.
ASCETIC: You don’t know? That means you don’t read, then.
ARJUNA: Oh, I am an illiterate person. I do not read books, but I would be very happy to hear from you what happened. I have great fondness for the Pandava family. I like the Pandavas better than I like the Kauravas.
ASCETIC: Yes, they are nice people. My Lord Krishna always takes their side. But they have no sense. They exploit my Lord Krishna. When the Pandava family was in the forest, it happened that the sage Durvasha came to visit them with all of his followers and disciples. The Kauravas, the enemies of the Pandavas, had sent Durvasha to pronounce a curse on the Pandavas. Durvasha had once gone to the Kauravas, where he was given princely honours by the eldest of the Kauravas, Duryodhana. Now, since he was very highly pleased with Duryodhana, Durvasha said he would grant him any boon. So Duryodhana asked him to go into the forest where the Pandavas were and cause them trouble. My Lord Krishna had given the Pandavas a pot out of which any number of people might be fed. But this miracle could take place only before Draupadi had taken her last meal of the day. After Draupadi had eaten her last meal, the Pandavas could not feed a single person on earth. Duryodhana asked Durvasha to go there one day after Draupadi had finished her last meal. Durvasha listened to Duryodhana’s request. He came after Draupadi had finished her meal, only to torture her. When he came in he said, “I am very hungry, very hungry. I and my followers are going to bathe in the Ganges, and when we return you must feed us.” Draupadi knew that she could not feed them. But she also knew that if she did not feed them he would curse her and her husbands. So she invoked my Lord Krishna for help. My Lord Krishna — do you know where he was?
ASCETIC: He was seated on his throne. He was nowhere near the forest, but immediately he had to use his occult power to come physically to save her. Sri Krishna said, “Please give me something to eat. I am very hungry, Draupadi.” Draupadi answered, “You are hungry? O Krishna, I have invoked you to help me because I have no food, and you have come here to torture me. How am I to feed you? I have no food here.” Lord Krishna said, “You have to give me food. Examine your pot.” She replied, “There is nothing left, O Krishna. I am not telling you a lie. We have all eaten, and there is nothing left. I can show the pot to you.” She brought the pot before Krishna. To her surprise there was a grain of rice in it. He ate it. Then he said, “I am satisfied. Now ask me anything. I am pleased with you.” She said, “Then save me. The sage Durvasha is coming. He has gone now with his thousands of disciples to bathe in the Ganges, and when he comes back he will want food.” With his spiritual power, Krishna immediately made food for thousands of people. But Durvasha, with his yogic vision, came to know that Sri Krishna was there. He said, “It is useless for me to go there, because now they will be able to feed us. I don’t want to go there. I am satisfied.” So look how Draupadi caused problems for my Krishna. My Lord Krishna had to save her again. I shall kill her! I won’t let her go on like this, exploiting my Lord.
ARJUNA: Who is the third person, please?
ASCETIC: The third person is that Prahlada. Whenever there is any danger, immediately Prahlada says the name of my Lord Krishna, who goes to save him. Prahlada has no right to bother my Lord so often. He has to be punished.
ARJUNA: Please tell me who Prahlada is.
ASCETIC: Oh, you don’t know Prahlada? He claims to be one of the greatest disciples of Krishna, which is absolutely untrue. Prahlada’s father used to hate Krishna. The very name of Krishna used to irritate him. His son was just the opposite. Constantly he was all love, all admiration for Krishna. So what did his father do? His father took Prahlada and threw him into a tub of boiling oil. On another occasion, he knocked him onto the ground in the path of a mad elephant, all because his son was worshipping Krishna. But the boiling oil did not kill the boy, nor did the elephant crush him. Sri Krishna, my Lord, was there to save him. Sri Krishna’s presence saved him every time. I hate Prahlada! I shall punish him. I shall punish him for wasting my Krishna’s time. All these three that I have mentioned I shall kill.
ARJUNA: Now may I know who the fourth person is?
ASCETIC: The fourth! He is the worst of all! The wretched, wretched Arjuna! I want to kill him here and now. If I see him anywhere I will kill him, without delay.
ARJUNA: Arjuna! What has he done?
ASCETIC: That third Pandava has brought disgrace to his family and to the whole world!
ARJUNA: How? Please tell me how Arjuna has brought disgrace to his family and to the world?
ASCETIC: Look at his audacity. He asked my Lord Krishna to be his charioteer on the battlefield. Sri Krishna is not only my Lord, he is the Lord of the Universe. And Arjuna asked him to be his charioteer! Look at his audacity! I shall kill him! I shall kill him! Until I kill him I shall not leave this earth.
ARJUNA (smiling): You are absolutely right. I am sure that one day you will meet these four and you will be able to kill them.
ASCETIC: I am so happy to hear these words from you. Yes, I shall certainly do it.
(Exeunt Krishna and Arjuna.)
Kali and Krishna are one
WIFE (A DEVOTEE OF LORD KRISHNA)
HUSBAND (A DEVOTEE OF MOTHER KALI)
(The home of two devotees, husband and wife.)
WIFE: Kali, Kali, all the time Kali! What has Kali ever done for us? She has only created untold problems.
HUSBAND: Krishna, Krishna, all the time, all the time! What has Krishna done for us? He has only deceived the world, and he is deceiving you.
WIFE: Krishna has deceived the world? My Krishna has deceived the world? My Krishna is all love, all love for mankind. Your Kali is ruthless. She kills people, she destroys people. She is called destruction. I have lost my only daughter because of her. When she was seriously ill you prayed to Kali. You assured me that Kali would cure our daughter. Now we have lost our only daughter. (Cries.)
HUSBAND: Why didn’t you pray to your Krishna? If he is so kind, so generous, so compassionate, why didn’t you call on him? Why didn’t you pray to him to cure our daughter?
WIFE: I didn’t invoke Krishna because I did not want to conflict with your prayer. I thought that since you were praying most ardently to your Kali, your Kali would cure our dearest, sweetest daughter. We have lost our daughter because of Kali. Now if our son gets even a headache I will not allow you to pray to Kali. I will pray to Krishna, my Krishna. He will cure our son. There is no danger on earth which I cannot conquer with my prayers to Krishna. Our son will remain on earth, happy and prosperous, all by Krishna’s Grace. Our son will become great, very great. And I know it is Krishna’s Grace that will make him great.
HUSBAND: I also want our son to be happy and great. If you feel that your Lord Krishna will make our son happy and great, then you pray to Krishna and I shall remain silent. I shall silently pray to my Kali to give me joy, to give me peace of mind, so that I can bear your constant scoldings and insults.
WIFE: If I scold you, then you have to know that you deserve it. You are callous, useless, hopeless in every way.
HUSBAND: Let us not quarrel. Let us not fight in front of our son. I wish you to be happy; I wish my son to be happy; I wish my Kali to make me happy.
SON: How I wish I could do something so that all our problems would be solved! Father is fond of Kali; Mother is fond of Krishna. I do not know of whom I am fond. No, I do know of whom I am fond. But if I say I am fond of Krishna, Father will be displeased; and if I say I am fond of Kali, Mother will be displeased. So I won’t say.
WIFE: All right, keep it secret.
HUSBAND: Even if you say you are fond of Krishna, I will not be displeased. You are free to choose.
WIFE: I also want to tell you, my son, that if you are fond of Kali, you must not think I will be displeased with you. You have a free choice. But it is better for you to be fond of one particular deity, to have total faith in him and love and adoration for him. You should worship only one deity, and that deity will make you really happy, great and prosperous.
(Night. The son is sleeping. He suddenly awakens.)
SON: What a strange dream I had! I dreamt that I struck the statue of Kali which is in my father’s room and broke it to pieces. I was so happy to inform my mother that now there is only one statue in the house. All along I have been inwardly, secretly praying to Krishna. I am fond of Krishna and not of Kali. Let me go and see if the statue is broken or not.
(Opens the door to his father’s room and sees a statue of Krishna, not of Kali. He is wonder-struck.)
SON: How can it be? How can it be?
(Goes to his mother’s room and looks in. Her own statue of Krishna is still there.)
SON: Now we have two statues of Krishna! But perhaps I was mistaken. Let me go again to Father’s room and see. Maybe Father has replaced Kali’s statue. Perhaps he has given away Kali’s statue and bought a statue of Krishna so that Mother will be happy. Perhaps he does not want to quarrel with Mother any more.
(He goes to his father’s room and sees that the statue of Krishna is still there. He wakes his father.)
FATHER: What are you doing here at this hour?
SON: Why have you replaced Kali? Why do I see Krishna’s statue?
FATHER: Krishna? Krishna? How did Krishna get here? Has your mother brought her statue here and put it in my room?
SON: No, the same Krishna statue is in her room. I was just there.
FATHER: Let me go into your mother’s room and see.
(Father and son go into the mother’s room and see the same statue of Krishna there.)
MOTHER: What is the matter? What are you doing here at this hour? What are you doing in my room?
SON: Mother, Mother, now there is only Krishna in our family! In your room is Krishna and in Father’s room is Krishna.
MOTHER: What? Is it true? I can’t believe my ears! That means your father has now become Krishna’s devotee. I am so glad. I am so glad that at last you have replaced Kali with Krishna.
FATHER: I have not done it. I don’t know how Krishna’s statue got into my room.
MOTHER: Then how could this happen?
SON: Father, this must be a miracle. Since it is a divine miracle, let us meditate together. Let the three of us meditate together and see what we can learn from within.
(They sit down to meditate. An angel appears.)
ANGEL: It was your son’s prayer that we heard. Your son has always been suffering from your quarrels. One of you cries for Krishna, the other is all for Kali. Although he was fond of Krishna, your son felt miserable because each of you was always fighting for his own chosen deity. In order to prove to you that Kali and Krishna are one, Kali has taken the form of Krishna. From now on there will be no quarrel between you, no dispute between husband and wife, for you know that Kali and Krishna are one. Now Krishna is in both rooms because both wife and son like Krishna. Let there be no more disputes about which deity is better. You two may worship Krishna directly, and you (addressing the husband) may worship Kali inside Krishna. She is most certainly there. They are one.
(The angel disappears and the whole room is flooded with light.)
(Sri Chinmoy, The Singer of the Eternal Beyond, Agni Press, 1973)