Chapter 1: A Mystic Born before His Time
That is why Krishna has great significance for the future. And his significance will continue to grow with the passage of time. When the glow and the glamour of all other godmen and messiahs has dimmed, when the suppressive religions of the world have been consigned to the wastebasket of history, Krishna’s flame will be heading towards its peak, moving towards the pinnacle of its brilliance. It will be so because, for the first time, man will be able to comprehend him, to understand him and to imbibe him. And it will be so because, for the first time, man will really deserve him and his blessings.
It is really arduous to understand Krishna. It is easy to understand that a man should run away from the world if he wants to find peace, but it is really difficult to accept that one can find peace in the thick of the marketplace. It is understandable that a man can attain to purity of mind if he breaks away from his attachments, but it is really difficult to realize that one can remain unattached and innocent in the very midst of relationships and attachments, that one can remain calm and still live at the very center of the cyclone. There is no difficulty in accepting that the flame of a candle will remain steady and still in a place well secluded from winds and storms, but how can you believe that a candle can keep burning steadily even in the midst of raging storms and hurricanes? So it is difficult even for those who are close to Krishna to understand him.
For the first time in his long history man has attempted a great and bold experiment through Krishna. For the first time, through Krishna, man has tested, and tested fully his own strength and intelligence. It has been tested and found that man can remain, like a lotus in water, untouched and unattached while living in the throes of relationship. It has been discovered that man can hold to his love and compassion even on the battlefield, that he can continue to love with his whole being while wielding a sword in his hand.
It is this paradox that makes Krishna difficult to understand. Therefore, people who have loved and worshipped him have done so by dividing him into parts, and they have worshipped his different fragments, those of their liking. No one has accepted and worshipped the whole of Krishna, no one has embraced him in his entirety. Poet Surdas sings superb hymns of praise to the Krishna of his childhood, Bal. Krishna. Surdas’ Krishna never grows up, because there is a danger with a grown-up Krishna which Surdas cannot take. There is not much trouble with a boy Krishna flirting with the young women of his village, but it will be too much if a grown-up Krishna does the same. Then it will be difficult to understand him.
After all, we can understand something on our own plane, on our own level. There is no way to understand something on a plane other than ours.
So for their adoration of Krishna, different people have chosen different facets of his life. Those who love the Gita will simply ignore the Bhagavad, because the Krishna of the Gita is so different from the Krishna of the Bhagavad. Similarly, those who love the Bhagavad will avoid getting involved with the Gita. While the Krishna of the Gita stands on a battlefield surrounded by violence and war, the Krishna of the Bhagavad is dancing, singing and celebrating. There is seemingly no meeting-point whatsoever between the two.