Chapter 13: Krishna Goes to the West
Questioner: You have said one can encounter Krishna’ soul any time, because it is everlasting, nothing in existence dies. If so, what should one do to make it possible? And tell us if one can attain to full devotion through concentration on Krishna’s icon and chanting his name and hymns of his praise.
Nothing in existence perishes, nor does anything new come into being. Forms change, appearances change, but the deepest mysteries of life remain ever the same. Individuals come and go, waves in the ocean rise and disappear, but that which is hidden in the individual, in the wave is eternal.
We have to look at Krishna in two different ways, and then we can look at ourselves in the same way. We exist at two levels - one at the level of waves and another at the level of the ocean. As waves we are individual human beings, and as the ocean we are the supreme being.
Krishna’s physical form, his voice, his music are like the waves. His soul, hidden inside the body is like the ocean. Waves come and go, but the ocean is everlasting. While the forms of existence change, its soul, the spirit which abides in its élan vital is deathless, eternal. The spirit was there even when Krishna was not born and it is there when he is no more. It was there before your birth and it will be there even after your death. Krishna was like a wave that arose from the ocean, danced for a while with the winds, and disappeared again in the same ocean.
All of us are like Krishna, but there is a small difference. When Krishna is dancing as a wave he is aware that he belongs to the ocean, he is the ocean itself. But as far as we are concerned we know ourselves only as waves; we forget that we are the ocean. This is the difference between us and Krishna. And since we know ourselves only as waves, we fail to understand the oceanic form of Krishna.
Krishna’s physical body, his picture and statue can be used to come in contact with his soul. But it is just a play that belongs to the world of appearances. And to understand it we have to approach it from two or three sides.
Even today we can make contact with the oceanic form of Krishna - his soul. In the same way we can come in contact with the souls of Mahavira and Buddha. And to contact the essential Krishna we can make use of his physical form as a medium, an instrument.
When statues of men like Krishna were first made, they were not meant for worship. In fact, these statues came in the wake of an esoteric science which has become almost extinct. Before leaving their physical forms, the awakened ones had given a promise and a technique to their lovers, their disciples, that they could contact their oceanic life by meditating on unconscious mind that whenever you repeat the process he will go into sleep, and then his unconscious mind will begin to operate on him.