Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Krishna, the michivious


There he is,the beautiful baby Krishna. A peacock feather stuck in His headband, a bamboo flute in hand. Doesn't he look sweet? How such an innocent-looking child could get into so much mischief. And.. trouble with Yashoda, His mother?

Of course, to some he is not simply a child, but a powerful god, the eighth avatar of Vishnu, in fact. But He is a little boy too. A boy any parent to would love to have. He is the epitome of a son, mothers long for. They call their sons endearingly a Kanhaiya.

He was brought up by Yashoda. However, she did not bear Him. That honor belongs to Queen Devaki, wife of Vasudeva. Krishna was born while the couple were imprisoned by Devaki's evil brother Kamsa, who was determined to kill all of Devaki's children because of a prophecy that said her eighth child would destroy him. To save this avatar from the fate of his elder siblings, Vishnu helped Vasudeva carry the infant from his parents' prison to the home of his foster parents.

But position of Yashoda is rather above that of Devaki. She it was who who did the motherly duties. She it was who had the joy and bliss of seeing Him, playing with Him and even chastising Him!! The Lord of the Cosmos had to accept the chastising too, as He had chosen to take the human form and thus agreed to accept the authority of His mother. He thus gave a new definition of motherhood.

This submission to His mother is what makes Him so adorable. His pranks, mischiefs and generally getting underfoot of His mother is what makes Him so lovely. All the time being fully aware of His Godhood too.

Raising a god-child was not as easy as it sounds. You might say, “Surely Krishna was a perfectly behaved boy, a model for other children. We would expect nothing less from a god.” Yes, yes. But then children are children. He was extra-ordinary, but still a child when He was the Child.

But Krishna being God, did anything but follow expectations.

Before he could walk and talk (which, being a god, he did very early), he was getting into mischief. His favorite question was "why?" or, more often, "why not?" He made no distinction between "no, you may not" and "yes, please do!" Given the amount of trouble he was always in, his motto might have been "Easier to ask forgiveness rather than permission." He Himself was nothing if not forgiveness. Then maternal forgiveness is not hard to obtain. He repeatedly made mischief, asked for forgiveness [ the One who made forgiveness possible] and was again and again hugged by the mother. A normal child-mother duo.

Yashoda was churning for butter, when He came and pestered her for snack. She could not leave the churning and anyway He had a snack an hour earlier. She said,”Not now, Kanha”. He too accepted the refusal, but only to get into a mischief. Moments later, there was a crash in the kitchen. Krishna had brought down the hanging jar containing butter, and was busy eating butter, and managing to get Himself smeared all over.





Krishna raiding the larder is a very popular theme of art. A sixth century rock carving is the earliest such creation.

Yashoda chased Him, and finally He allowed His mother to catch Him. She tied Him to a post in the kitchen, where he could watch me clean up the mess he had made. He squirmed and wriggled, but his protests fell on deaf ears.

The Acts of baby and boy Krishna are legendry, and are recited. Krishna is truly a personal God, to whom it is very easy to relate. Who will fail to respond to such a God?

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