Chapter 12: Discipline, Devotion and Krishna
Questioner: We have had the rare opportunity of listening to you speak on Krishna’s multi-splendored life - his raas, his flute, his Radha and his unique weapon, the sudarshan. We would like to hear from you today something about his philosophy, the spiritual discipline and the way of worship that he taught to dispel the delusion of a single person, Arjuna.
Here you have before you so many of us who are all deluded and confused. Happily for us you are the most competent authority to remove our delusion.
Another questioner: in the course of the past five days you have presented Krishna, who is known as a butter-thief and performer of raas, as a perfect embodiment of the fullness of life and of yoga. If we understand you rightly we can say that Krishna’s raas is the true portrayal of existence and his Gita the quintessence of life itself.
You have said that the Gita, and not the raas, is a testimony to Krishna. You have also said that Mahavira and Buddha were incomplete because they were one-dimensional. And elsewhere you have said about Mahavira that he had transcended even the sixth and seventh bodies and attained to the fullness of yoga. In this context, we should like to know whether it was the Gita or frivolities like the raas that made Krishna a complete incarnation. We would also like to know if, like Mahavira, all other Jaina tirthankaras were unaware of multidimensional life. And lastly explain: What is samyama (discipline of balance in life) without repression? And what would be its place in spiritual discipline?
Let us first understand what I mean by completeness, wholeness.
Wholeness can be both one-dimensional and multidimensional. A painter can be complete as a painter, but it does not mean that he is also complete as a scientist. A scientist can be whole as a scientist, but that does not make him whole as a musician. So there is a one-dimensional completeness. I say Mahavira, Buddha and Jesus were complete in a particular dimension. But Krishna was complete in a multidimensional way.
It is quite possible that one chooses a particular dimension of life to the exclusion of the rest, and attains to its wholeness. This wholeness too can lead to the supreme truth. The river that flows in a single stream is as much entitled to reach the ocean as one flowing in many streams. With respect to reaching the ocean, there is no difference between the two. Mahavira and Buddha and Krishna all reach to the ocean of truth, but while Mahavira does it as a one-dimensional man, Krishna does it as one who is multi-dimensional. Krishna’s completeness is multidimensional, while Mahavira’s is one-dimensional. So don’t think that Mahavira does not attain to wholeness; he transcends the seventh body and attains to wholeness as much as Krishna does.
Krishna reaches the same goal from many, many directions, and that is significant.
Another significant thing about Krishna is that unlike Mahavira and Buddha, he does not deny life, he is not life-negative. There is an unavoidable element of negation in the lives of Mahavira and Buddha which is completely absent in Krishna’s life. There is not a trace of negativity in this man with the flute. Mahavira attains through renunciation of life; Krishna attains through total acceptance of it. That is why I differentiate Krishna’s wholeness from that of others. But let no one think that Mahavira is incomplete. All one can say is that while his wholeness is one-dimensional, Krishna’s wholeness is multidimensional.
One-dimensional wholeness is not going to have much meaning in the future. For the man of the future, multidimensional wholeness will have tremendous significance. And there are reasons for it. One who attains to wholeness through a single facet of his life not only negates all other facets of his own life, he also becomes instrumental in negating those aspects in the lives of many other multidimensional people.