Questioner: Why did you choose to speak on Krishna? And what is the central theme of this discussion?
If a man has to think, understand, and say something, for him there can be no more meaningful a topic than Krishna. He is the most significant person in all of history. It is not that other significant people did not happen in the past – and it would be wrong to say that significant people will not happen in the future; in fact, any number of remarkable people have walked this earth – but Krishna’s significance is quite different. He is more significant for the future than for the past.
The truth is, Krishna was born much ahead of his time. All great persons are born ahead of their time, and all insignificant people are born after their time. It is only mediocre people who are born in their time.
All significant people come ahead of their time, but Krishna came too far ahead. Perhaps only in some future period will we be able to understand him; the past could not do so.
And remember, we begin to worship those we fail to understand in their lifetimes. We worship those who perplex and defeat our ability to understand them. We either praise or slander them, but both praise and slander are kinds of worship. We worship friends with praise and we worship enemies with slander. It is all the same. One who defies our judgment, we call him a god or God-incarnate. It is really difficult to accept one’s ignorance; it is easier to call him a god or God-incarnate. But these are the two sides of the same coin. Such a person is God-like in the sense that we don’t understand him, just as we don’t understand God. This person is as unknowable and as mysterious as God himself. Despite our best efforts he, like God, ever remains to be known. And all such people become objects of worship.
It is precisely for this reason that I chose Krishna for discussion. He is, in my view, the most relevant, the most significant person in the context of the future. And in this regard, I would like to go into a few things.
With the exception of Krishna, all the remarkable people of the world, the salt of the earth like Mahavira, Buddha, and Christ, stood for some other world, for a life in some other world. They set distant things like the attainment of heaven and liberation as goals for man’s life on this earth. In their day, life on this earth was so miserable and painful it was nearly impossible to live. Man’s whole past was so full of want and hardship, of struggle and suffering, that it was hard to accept life happily. Therefore all the religions in the past denied and denounced life on this earth.