There is a third thing associated with the birth of Krishna, and it is fear of his death. There is a danger, a threat of his being killed. But does not everyone of us face the fear of death? With birth, death comes as the inevitable possibility. One can die just a moment after one is born. And one’s every moment after birth is beset with the danger of death. One can die any moment, and this moment comes darkly, uninvited. Death has only one necessary condition attached to it, and that is the condition of birth. How can one die without being born? And a moment-old child is as eligible for death as a seventy year-old man. To die you don’t need any other qualification than to be born.
Soon after his birth Krishna is confronted with the danger of death, with the fear of death. But this is precisely the case with each one of us. What do we do after being born? We begin to die and we continue to die. We die each day, each hour of our lives. What we know as life is nothing but a long and dreary journey towards death. It begins with birth and ends in death. That is all.
There is yet another thing associated with Krishna’s birth which is very significant. It is that Krishna is confronted with any number of deadly dangers to his life, and he escapes them all. Whoever comes to kill him gets killed himself. We can say that death dies when it confronts Krishna. It uses every means to finish him and it fails utterly. This is very meaningful. It is not the same with all of us. Death can finish us in its very first attempt; we cannot escape its single onslaught. The truth is that we are as good as dead; a small stroke and we will be no more. We really don’t know what life is; we don’t know the life that defeats death.
Krishna’s story is a story of life’s victory over death. Death comes to him in countless forms and always goes back disappointed. We all know the many stories where death, in various guises, encircles Krishna and courts defeat after defeat at his hands. But we never care to go deeply into these stories and discover their truth. And there is a single truth underlying them all: it is that every day Krishna is triumphantly marching towards life and every day death is laying down its arms before him. Every conceivable means is used to destroy him and he frustrates them all and continues to live to the maximum. And then a day comes when death accepts defeat and surrenders to him. Krishna really represents life’s triumph over death.
But this truth has not been said so plainly as I am now saying it to you. And there is a reason for it. People in past ages had no way to say it so plainly. And it would be good to understand this clearly.
The more we go back into olden times, the more we find that the way of thinking is pictorial, and not verbal. Even now when you dream, you may have noticed you use pictures and images instead of words. We still dream in pictures, because dreaming is our most primitive language. Our dreams have yet to be updated, modernized. With respect to dreams there is no difference whatsoever between modern man and the man who lived ten thousand years before him. Our dreams continue to be primitive; no one dreams in a modern way. Our dreams are as old as they were ten thousand years ago, even ten hundred thousand years ago. The way a man living in an air conditioned house dreams today is the same as the caveman in times immemorial. In the manner of dreaming no difference whatsoever has occurred between a caveman living in the vastness of the forests and a man living in a skyscraper in New York.