Just as Lord Rama brought the Sattwic mind into the earth play, so too Sri Krishna and Christ, as Avatars, bring divine gifts to the world. Each brings a new possibility, a new element into the Play, alas if only man be ready to receive them. The present talk is based on what Christ and Krishna brought into the human play.
Aphorisms of Sri Aurobindo and Words of the Mother
Men are still in love with grief; when they see one who is too high for grief or joy, they curse him and cry, “O thou insensible!” Therefore Christ still hangs on the cross in Jerusalem.
Men are in love with sin; when they see one who is too high for vice or virtue, they curse him and cry, “O thou breaker of bonds, thou wicked and immoral one!” Therefore Sri Krishna does not live as yet in Brindavan.
When Christ came upon earth, he brought a message of brotherhood, love and peace. But he had to die in pain, on the cross, so that his message might be heard. For men cherish suffering and hatred and want their God to suffer with them. They wanted this when Christ came and, in spite of his teaching and sacrifice, they still want it; and they are so attached to their pain that, symbolically, Christ is still bound to his cross, suffering perpetually for the salvation of men.
As for Krishna, he came upon earth to bring freedom and delight. He came to announce to men, enslaved to Nature, to their passions and errors, that if they took refuge in the Supreme Lord they would be free from all bondage and sin. But men are very attached to their vices and virtues (for without vice there would be no virtue); they are in love with their sins and cannot tolerate anyone being free and above all error.
That is why Krishna, although immortal, is not present at Brindavan in a body at this moment.
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Some say Krishna never lived, he is a myth. They mean on earth; for if Brindavan existed nowhere, the Bhagavat could not have been written.
Does Brindavan exist anywhere else than on earth?
The whole earth and everything it contains is a kind of concentration, a condensation of something which exists in other worlds invisible to the material eye. Each thing manifested here has its principle, idea or essence somewhere in the subtler regions. This is an indispensable condition for the manifestation.
And the importance of the manifestation will always depend on the origin of the thing manifested. In the world of the gods there is an ideal and harmonious Brindavan of which the earthly Brindavan is but a deformation and a caricature.
Those who are developed inwardly, either in their senses or in their minds, perceive these realities which are invisible (to the ordinary man) and receive their inspiration from them.
So the writer or writers of the Bhagavat were certainly in contact with a whole inner world that is well and truly real and existent, where they saw and experienced everything they have described or revealed.
Whether Krishna existed or not in a human form, living on earth, is only of very secondary importance (except perhaps from an exclusively historical point of view), for Krishna is a real, living and active being; and his influence has been one of the great factors in the progress and transformation of the earth.
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God is a great and cruel Torturer because He loves. You do not understand this, because you have not seen and played with Krishna.
What does “to play with Krishna” mean? What does “God is a great and cruel Torturer” mean?
Krishna is the immanent Divine, the Divine Presence in everyone and in all things. He is also, sovereignly, the aspect of Delight and Love of the Supreme; he is the smiling tenderness and the playful gaiety; he is at once the player, the play and all his playmates. And as both the game and its results are wholly known, conceived, willed, organised and played consciously in their entirety, there can be room for nothing but the delight of the play. Thus to see Krishna means to find the inner Godhead, to play with Krishna means to be identified with the inner Godhead and to share in his consciousness. When you achieve this state, you enter immediately into the bliss of the divine play; and the more complete the identification, the more perfect the state.
But if some corner of the consciousness keeps the ordinary perception, the ordinary understanding, the ordinary sensation, then you see the suffering of others, you find the play that causes so much suffering very cruel and you conclude that the God who takes pleasure in such a play must be a terrible Torturer; but on the other hand, when you have had the experience of identification with the Divine, you cannot forget the immense, the wonderful love which he puts into his play, and you understand that it is the limitation of our vision that makes us judge in this way, and that far from being a voluntary Torturer, he is the great beneficent love that guides the world and men, by the quickest routes, in their progressive march towards perfection, a perfection which, moreover, is always relative and is always being surpassed.
But a day will come when this apparent suffering will no longer be required to stimulate the advance and when progress can be made more and more in harmony and delight.
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If Krishna be alone on one side and the armed and organised world with its hosts and its shrapnel and its maxims on the other, yet prefer thy divine solitude. Care not if the world passes over thy body and its shrapnel tear thee to pieces and its cavalry trample thy limbs into shapeless mire by the wayside; for the mind was always a simulacrum and the body a carcass. The spirit liberated from its casings ranges and triumphs.
This is to tell us that the only choice to be made is to unite with the Divine in spite of everything, even the opposition of the whole world, because the world only has an apparent strength in the mental and the physical, whereas the Divine possesses the eternal power of Truth.
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Why dost thou recoil from a mask? Behind its odious, grotesque or terrible seemings Krishna laughs at thy foolish anger, thy more foolish scorn or loathing and thy most foolish terror.
I did not know for some time whether I loved Krishna best or Kali; when I loved Kali, it was loving myself, but when I loved Krishna, I loved another, and still it was myself with whom I was in love. Therefore I came to love Krishna better even than Kali.
Sri Aurobindo always had his own way of saying things, always original and always unexpected.
* * *
Beyond Personality the Mayavadin sees indefinable Existence; I followed him there and found my Krishna beyond in indefinable Personality.
As always, this is Sri Aurobindo’s wonderful way of making clear to us the inanity of human assertions by which each one arrogantly denies anything that is not his own discovery or his own personal experience.
Wisdom begins with the capacity to admit all theories, even the most contradictory.
When I first met Krishna, I loved Him as a friend and playmate till He deceived me; then I was indignant and could not forgive Him. Afterwards I loved Him as a lover and He still deceived me; I was again and much more indignant, but this time I had to pardon.
After offending, He forced me to pardon Him not by reparation, but by committing fresh offences.
So long as God tried to repair His offences against me, we went on periodically quarrelling; but when He found out His mistake, the quarrelling stopped, for I had to submit to Him entirely. When I saw others than Krishna and myself in the world, I kept secret God’s doings with me; but since I began to see Him and myself everywhere, I have become shameless and garrulous.
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No doubt, when the priest curses, he is crying to God; but it is the God of anger and darkness to whom he devotes himself along with his enemy; for as he approaches God, so shall God receive him. I was much plagued by Satan, until I found that it was God who was tempting me; then the anguish of him passed out of my soul for ever. I hated the devil and was sick with his temptations and tortures; and I could not tell why the voice in his departing words was so sweet that when he returned often and offered himself to me, it was with sorrow I refused him. Then I discovered it was Krishna at His tricks and my hate was changed into laughter.
They explained the evil in the world by saying that Satan had prevailed against God; but I think more proudly of my Beloved. I believe that nothing is done but by His will in heaven or hell, on earth or on the waters.
In the Supreme, opposites are reconciled and complement each other. It is division in the manifestation which has made them into opposites; but once one’s consciousness is united to the Divine Consciousness, opposition disappears.
At first whenever I fell back into sin, I used to weep and rage against myself and against God for having suffered it. Afterwards it was as much as I could dare to ask, “Why hast thou rolled me again in the mud, O my playfellow?” Then even that came to my mind to seem too bold and presumptuous; I could only get up in silence, look at him out of the corner of my eyes — and clean myself.
So long as man prides himself on his virtue, the Supreme Lord will make him fall into sin to teach him the necessity of modesty.
God has so arranged life that the world is the soul’s husband; Krishna its divine paramour. We owe a debt of service to the world and are bound to it by a law, a compelling opinion, and a common experience of pain and pleasure, but our heart’s worship and our free and secret joy are for our Lover.
Sin is a trick and a disguise of Krishna to conceal Himself from the gaze of the virtuous. Behold, O Pharisee, God in the sinner, sin in thyself purifying thy heart; clasp thy brother.
As always, in his striking and humorous way, Sri Aurobindo tells us that the Divine truth is above both virtue and sin.