A Series Inspired by India’s Rebirth – 12

Author: Beloo Mehra (2020). Published under the title ‘When Young India Awakes’ in Sri Aurobindo’s Action, Vol. 51 (1), January 2020, pp. 8-10

CONTINUED FROM Part 11

Indian youth

When Young India Awakes

CHAPTER XI – continued


For a few minutes, Yuvaan just stood there. In awe.

He was completely rested and feeling fresh after the nice long much-needed nap at this quaint little hotel run by Gujarat Tourism in Dwarka. And now here he was, standing outside the majestic old temple of the Lord of Dwarka.

He recalled the shabby restaurant where he had his simple lunch after spending another serene and beautiful morning at Sri Aurobindo Nivas in Baroda. And there it was on the wall behind the cash counter – the faded calendar with an image of Sri Krishna. But it was not the Krishna with flute and Radha, it was not Krishna with butter and Yashoda – the images he had seen numerous times. It was Krishna as a King, in his Dwarkadheesh rūpa as he learned from the restaurant owner later when he went to pay for his food. And Yuvaan instinctively knew that’s where he was headed next – Dwarka.

Some clicks on his trusty mobile and he soon found a way to reach Dwarka. Two auto-rides, one train-ride, one bus-ride, and a long nap later, Yuvaan was now about to meet the King of Dwarka.

The evening ārti at the temple was about to begin. And he just stood there, in silence at the entrance of the magnificently and spell-binding five-storied Dwarkadhīsh temple. He remembered reading on the Internet the previous night that in its present form the temple with its carved columns and two entrances, known as Moksha Dwar and Swarga Dwar, was built in Chalukyan style, constructed in 15-16th century. The Sun and Moon bearing mandir-dhwaja, the temple’s flag, is changed five times during the day, the article said.

But there was something else, something beyond the outer magnificence, something else which made him stop there, right at the entrance of the temple. There was something so inwardly grand, so regally divine about it. Something so out-of-this-earth, indeed a heavenly structure brought down on earth. 

His mind went back to the brief conversation he had with a graceful lady at Sri Aurobindo Nivas in Baroda, just 24 hours earlier. It was at the library during his second visit to the Nivas. She was sitting in a corner holding a picture book with Krishna paintings, and he was fascinated with the way she was admiring at each picture, smiling, as if having a secret silent conversation with Krishna on the glossy page.

Yuvaan approached her and she looked at him with the same smile. And immediately said – “you know, he is real, don’t you?”

“Who is? Real, I mean?”

“Krishna, who else?”

Yuvaan didn’t know what to say in response.

And the lady bent down and picked up her bag from the ground and took out a dairy.

“See, I show you something…here it is. Read this,” and with her eyes pointed Yuvaan to read the words on the page.

Sitting down on the chair next to her, he started reading the note written in a neat handwriting.

“Krishna consciousness is a reality, but if there were no Krishna, there could be no Krishna consciousness: except in arbitrary metaphysical abstractions there can be no consciousness without a Being who is conscious. It is the person who gives value and reality to the personality, he expresses himself in it and is not constituted by it. Krishna is a being, a person and it is as the Divine Person that we meet him, hear his voice, speak with him and feel his presence. To speak of the consciousness of Krishna as something separate from Krishna is an error of the mind, which is always separating the inseparable and which also tends to regard the impersonal, because it is abstract, as greater, more real and more enduring than the person. Such divisions may be useful to the mind for its own purposes, but it is not the real truth; in the real truth the being or person and its impersonality or state of being are one reality.”[1]

Krishna, a real being!

Immediately the picture of his grandmother, his Nani ma, came in front of his eyes. For her, Krishna was so real, and her grandson, Yuvaan was in fact Krishna on Krishna Janmashtami day when on her insistence he would be dressed up as toddler Krishna, complete with a yellow dhoti, a bamboo flute and a peacock feather in his hair.

Fifteen years later, this graceful lady at the library in Baroda was introducing to him the reality of the being of Krishna. Through the words of Sri Aurobindo. It was all so surreal! Yet so true, as if it was meant to be.

He looked up from the page of the dairy, smiled gently at the owner of the dairy and was about to return it when she said, “Go on…read the next page. This is from a letter of Sri Aurobindo.”

“The historicity of Krishna is of less spiritual importance and is not essential, but it has still a considerable value. It does not seem to me that there can be any reasonable doubt that Krishna the man was not a legend or a poetic invention but actually existed upon earth and played a part in the Indian past. Two facts emerge clearly, that he was regarded as an important spiritual figure, one whose spiritual illumination was recorded in one of the Upanishads, and that he was traditionally regarded as a divine man, one worshipped after his death as a deity; this is apart from the story in the Mahabharata and the Puranas.

“There is no reason to suppose that the connection of his name with the development of the Bhagavata religion, an important current in the stream of Indian spirituality, was founded on a mere legend or poetic invention. The Mahabharata is a poem and not history, but it is clearly a poem founded on a great historical event, traditionally preserved in memory; some of the figures connected with it, Dhritarashtra, Parikshit, for instance, certainly existed and the story of the part played by Krishna as leader, warrior and statesman can be accepted as probable in itself and to all appearance founded on a tradition which can be given a historical value and has not the air of a myth or a sheer poetical invention.

“That is as much as can be positively said from the point of view of the theoretical reason as to the historical figure of the man Krishna; but in my view there is much more than that in it and I have always regarded the incarnation as a fact and accepted the historicity of Krishna as I accept the historicity of Christ.”[2]

That was the end of the note in the dairy.

Yuvaan couldn’t say anything. There was nothing to say. After a few minutes of staring at the words on the page, he looked up at the lady and saw her sitting calmly, eyes closed in meditation, the same gentle smile on her lips. As if she was with her Krishna, he felt.

He closed the dairy, kept it neatly in front of her and walked out of the library.

Krishna, a real being! Standing at the entrance of the Dwarkadhīsh temple, a day later, he again remembered the words that had floated in his mind at the library when he was reading that note.

The crowds were getting thicker as the ārti time was getting closer. He decided to join them.

Back in his room at the hotel, he decided to write a letter to his Nani. He had already called her an hour back and told her about the temple and how amazing it was for him to be at Dwarka. He felt a little guilty when she casually mentioned how she would have loved to visit with her grandson the city of her Lord Sri Krishna, Krishna the Rājadhirāj. Quickly he made a mental note that he must come back here soon, with his Nani-ma.

Yuvaan was amazed to hear his grandmother recount a few details about the temple’s history, dating back to about 2500 years or more. She told him that it was Sri Krishna’s grandson Vajranabh who is believed to have first built this temple in memory of his divine ancestor. She asked him if he knew that the town of Dwarka is believed to have been submerged in the Arabian Sea six times and the present town is the seventh reincarnation of the holy abode of Lord Dwarkadhīsh.

He listened to his Nani-ma in a state of deep gratitude when she told him that Dwarka is known as the Moksha-dwar, gateway to liberation, considered as one of the four significant places of pilgrimage (char dham) for devout Hindus. He felt thankful to his Nani, the lady at the library in Baroda and Sri Aurobindo who made it possible for him to be here.

But there was something he couldn’t tell her on the phone. Or he felt his words were failing him when he tried to express. So, he decided to write a letter, something he hadn’t done in years.

My dearest Nani,

There was something about what I felt at the Dwarkadhīsh temple which I couldn’t tell you on the phone earlier. It was this palpable feeling of recognition that this IS indeed the Lord’s place — the place from where while outwardly running the affairs of his kingdom, Krishna was in fact always inwardly working and arranging to establish a reign of Dharma, to unify the disparate regions of Bharatavarsha under the one flag of Dharma-rajya. And with this recognition many stories from the Mahabharata which you used to tell me came alive in front of my eyes.

What was also very palpable was that even though Dwarka is Sri Krishna’s karmabhoomi – and his field of karma was as grand and noble as the punyabhoomi of Bharat – there is also such an intense feeling of Joy, Ananda, that sweeps over you as soon as you enter the temple premises.

Somehow, I feel that this is the feeling that the Indian heart and mind have come to associate with Sri Krishna, his life and work. What do you think?

As I waited in the darshan queue, I felt this joy of anticipation of meeting Sri Krishna in his regal shringār, befitting a king of kings. The joy was pouring through the beats of the dhol as the ārti began. The joy united all the bhakta-s standing in the darshan queue in one universal embrace of the love for the Lord. The same joy melted through the eyes when I was in front of the Lord, the joy that is beyond all description. 

There is a lot more I could say about the very special darshan I had at Dwarkadhīsh temple. But there is a whole lot more that would still be left unsaid. Because it simply can’t be said. It has to be experienced.  But I am sure you know all that I have not written here.

 All I can say is – thank you, Krishna for blessing me with the experience. And thank you my dearest Nani for being who you are. Somehow, I feel that it was you who planted this tiny little seed of Krishna’s Love somewhere in me, which is now beginning to blossom. Maybe it is your love for Krishna of which I am only now beginning to get a tiny glimpse. Whatever it is, I really wanted you to know that I am here in Dwarka, and I will definitely be coming back here again, with you. So, keep your bags ready!

Ciao! Or as they say here, Jai Dwarkadhīsh!

A year later, he would remember that he never actually got around to post the letter.

But today he was joyful and grateful that he could express what he felt. He felt a new love filling his heart. He realised that other than that note in that nice lady’s dairy he had not read anything in the past couple of days. What was it that he was reading earlier – something from Sri Aurobindo’s Essays on the Gita? Yes. He will look up the book tomorrow. Now he had Krishna to think of, Krishna as the King of kings, Rājadhirāj.

Blissfully tired, he dozed off to sleep. A few words leaped up in his heart. Will you come, Krishna?

To be continued…


Notes

[1] CWSA, Vol. 28, p. 482

[2] CWSA, Vol. 28, pp. 482-483

Read earlier parts in the series:

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8a, Part 8b, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11

7 thoughts on “A Series Inspired by India’s Rebirth – 12

Add yours

  1. This is a beautiful site, Beloo. It must be an amazing feeling to be part of India’s Re-awakening. I have always wanted to go to India, and became more intimately familiar with India’s culture and history during my junior year of college, while studying a yearlong course on Indian Philosophy with a Yogi at the University of Durham in Northern England. I passionately wanted to visit then, and still do. What an amazingly deep and profound culture India has had for several thousand years. The youth of India contain the seeds of the hope of civilization on this planet. Peace to you and all that you do to help raise our appreciation for the depth and beauty of India through the work of one its many great philosophers Sri Arubindo.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Joe, so good to see you here! Thank you for your kind words of appreciation and encouragement. My husband and I enjoy working on this site because it helps us stay closer to the vast ocean of the vision and works of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother.

      I am happy to hear about your studies in Indian philosophy, I suppose you might have mentioned it also when I was at Antioch but somehow it had slipped my mind. I hope Mother India calls you sometime soon – of course, once the travel situation eases 🙂 Do let me know for sure whenever you visit India, and I hope you will keep Pondicherry in your itinerary!

      Wishing you and your family love, light and peace for the new year.

      Like

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