Krishna, The Lovable Thief

Krishna

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.

Understand Krishna

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.

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The Service Of The Lamentation (Good Friday)

Easter Orthodox
The Service, Good Froday
The dome at Saint Barbara Greek Orthodox Church

Service of Good Friday starts the weekend of Easter. The celebration of Easter for the Orthodox Christians is the most important religious holiday of the year. Good Friday service is with the service of the Lamentations.

The most common estimate of the number of Eastern Orthodox Christians worldwide is 225–300 million. Forming a single communion, making it the second largest, single Christian denomination behind the Catholic Church. The Orthodox Christian throughout the world is celebrating the resurrection of Christ.

The Orthodox Christian throughout the world is celebrating the resurrection of Christ.

The Seven Last Words

The Seven last words of Christ remembered in sermons during the Easter season. In addition the theme of a famous choral cantata rendered by choirs.

  1. “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”Spoken by Christ at the time he was crucified and the Roman soldiers were casting lots for his robe. ( Luke 23:34)
  2. ” Verify I say unto thee, today thou shall be with Me in paradise.”Spoken to the repentant thief who hung on a cross beside Christ (Luke 34:43)
  3. “Women,  Behold thy Son! Son Behold thy mother.”Spoken to His mother and to the disciple John who was charged with taking care of Christ’s mother. (John 19:26-27)
  4. “My God, my God, Why hast Thou forsaken Me.” Spoken by Christ during His agony on the cross.(Matthew 27:46 and Mark 15:34)
  5. Ï thirst” Spoken by Christ on the Cross in His final hour. Vinegar on a sponge was administered to Him at the time. (John 19:28)
  6.  “Father, Into Thy hands I commend My spirit,” Spoken by Christ just before His death after six hours of crucifixion. (Luke 23:46)
  7.  Ït is finished.”The final words of Christ as He died on the Cross. (John 19:30)
The Service of The Lamentations

In John 19:25 we read ” …standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Cleopas, and Mary Magdalene” Mary the Theotokos stood by and watched her son die. During the Lamentations service, we sing during the evening of Good Friday. This is when Jesus’s mother expresses her feeling of her son’s death.

The Service, Good Froday

Passing Under The Tomb

Has been an old tradition in some of the churches to have the children go under the tomb. not to mention as a young lad, I was an altar boy with my uncle Reverend Theophilos Theophilopoulos in Montreal. There, a set of altar boys would help the children and the aged to get under the tomb. Equally important this act was supposed to represent the renewal of our baptismal commitment.

The Service, Good Froday

The Procession

Holy Friday in the Orthodox Church commemorates not only the death and the burial of Jesus Christ but also his descent into Hades. In addition, he preached to all the souls in Hades. All the ones that died in the past.

As the hymn says, “Thou hast come down to earth to save Adam and having not found him on earth, Thou hast descended, searching for him, even into Hades…” The last part of the service is the procession.  Together with the Epitaphio (the coffin) the parishioners following the priests and their helpers into the evening as they walked around the church. As a matter of fact, this procession represents Jesus Christ carrying the cross.

Once the procession re-enters the church the priest prepare to finalize the service. Furthermore, it is the custom to remove the flowers from the Epitaphio and give them to the worshippers. With this in mind, the parishioners take the flower and it is then preserved before their home icon.

 

“List of Christian denominations by number of members” April 2017 <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Christian_denominations_by_number_of_members>

N.Takis “Modern English Translation and metered” <http://www.newbyz.org/lamentations_sisters.pdf>

“Greek Orthodox Services in Sarasota”<http://sarasotaorthodox.com/>

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