On Saturday evening I had the opportunity to attend a performance of traditional Indian dance presented by the SaiNrityalaya School for Dance. The performers used beautiful traditional dance to tell the story of the life of the Hindu god Krishna.
Now if you are like me this brings images of hippies dressed as monks passing out flowers and chanting Hara Krishna. The story was told through dance by the young girls and teenagers of our Indian community. And through their grace and beauty performing this ancient dance to tell the story “Tales of a Lovable Thief,” I came to know a little about the life of Krishna. I can’t share the performance with you but I will share the story of Krishna.
Krishna’s mother was Devaki, sister of the evil ruler King Kamsa, at Devaki’s wedding the fortune tellers told King Kamsa Devaki’s 8th child will be the kings undoing, so King Kamsa ordered Devaki and her husband to be imprisoned and he ordered all their children to be murdered. Devaki gave birth to her 8th child in prison on a stormy night, they knew the child was special, divine when the guards fell into a sleep so that Krishna’s father could carry him to safety across the Yamuna river. In the village of Gokul Krishna’s father exchanged children and left Krishna to be raised by Yeshoda.
Krishna was a beautiful child, he played and created joy and blissfulness in the village. He danced and played his flute. Krishna grew and was known for his pranks and he loved butter, which was a mainstay for the village, Krishna would eat all the butter his mother made and he was not above stealing the butter of his neighbors. Krishna would play pranks on everyone; he would pull the girl’s long braids, throw mud on their clothes and offer them fruit only to grab it away from them. But all the girls in the village were drawn to him and his golden flute. The women would go to his mother and try to tell her about the trouble Krishna was causing, but they were not angry because Krishna was very loved by all.
Krishna performed many acts as a young man which established him as a natural leader in his community. He showed extraordinary prowess and wisdom in handling many situations.
In one incident a poisonous snake was living in the Yamuna River, the snake poisoned the water, and nothing could grow in or near the river. No one could go near the river; the people of the village Vrindavan were suffering. Krishna jumped into the river and wrestled with the snake and subdued it there by saving the people of Vrindavan.
Krishna is pictured as being loved by all, and he stole the hearts of the young girls, but it was not his physical beauty that made him so attractive but his aura, the electrifying energy that surrounded him. It is said that the outer most ring of Krishna’s aura is blue the color signifying all-inclusiveness. Anything that is vast and beyond your perception tends to be blue, like the sky or the ocean, this explains why Krishna is pictured as having blue skin. Krishna’s energy was too strong that it made him not only attractive to the women but also to his sworn enemies who would give in to him,
Krishna loved life; he loved all around him, the people, the cows, the trees the river and the Mount Govardhan all which sustained the village and made life happen there. Krishna celebrated the ordinary, he lived his life as if it was a festival.
To understand and experience Krishna one needs to understand life as a celebration. To explore the path of Krishna you need to have a heart full of love, a joyful mind, and a vibrant body. You must be willing to dance with life, dance with your enemies and dance the dance of life with your loved ones.