Krishna as a Teacher, Preacher? When I begun to study Krishna and His place in Indian religion, there was something that didn't sit right with me, something I couldn't quite define. In other religions the main proponents of the religions have been teachers, prophets, reformers and law makers. Moses, Muhammad, Jesus, Buddha all share these traits whereas Krishna does not. This is the bit that always had me puzzled. But it is only when you pay more attention that the theme underlying the stories begin to work itself out. Krishna as Religious Teacher When you read Krishna's stories it is clear that Krishna was not a religious preacher like the others although it was a role he was quite capable of playing. One realises the customs, law and tradition were already present in the society. It was the role of the brahmins, seers and sages to expound and teach them and as Krishna didn't exactly fall into that category it wasn't His role, but could elucidate them properly when asked. All the religious teachings and practices had been established, and had been existence for thousands of years, there was nothing more to be added or subtracted from the system. It was all already in place. What Krishna brought was His very being as God, to people whose customs and traditions He had established thousands of years ago, He was bringing Himself as God in person. When you consider it, it must have been very comforting for those who knew of Krishna's true nature to have God Himself, Heaven Itself, come round and live in an environment whose ways and manners He had already established. It must really give faith to the faithful when you think of it in such terms. What better vote of confidence in your system than the being who created come in person to endorse it, and what a great vote for customs and traditions. Krishna as Prankster Many people of other religions, even other Hindus, read about Krishna's pranks, mischievious behaviour, and games with the girls of Vrindavan as a youth and ask how such a person could be the incarnation of God. The simple answer is that there is nothing to indicate that He was meant to be different from any other youth as far as His basic nature was concerned. He did not incarnate to be a holy man or religious teacher, with the expectations of exemplary conduct that goes with such a role. He was simply a boy who had the full power and knowledge of God in His being, other than that he wasn't much different. Boys like to chase girls, why should Krishna be different because He is an incarnation of God? What boys do Krishna does - He only had the additional power and charisma of God to bring to bear on his engagement with others. Boys engage in mischief - why should Krishna be different? There are many great men in the world who were quite naughty in their youth. Why should Krishna be different, simply because He has the person of God in Himself? Everything people are, good and bad, God is. From this viewpoint you see that there is something more profound about Krishna's story than in other religions, the very idea of having God in all His full power living as an ordinary member of the community, and bringing all His power and charisma to bear in his engagements. Krishna and the Bhagavad-Gita When one read the Gita, something clearly stands out. The Gita clearly does not contain any religious instructions or procedures. There are no descriptions of rituals, theories, admonitions or any of the things you would find in a normal religous text. It appears to be simply a text that describes an approach to devotional worship, and a spiritually oriented attitude towards life and sets out the view of reality that underpins such an approach, that makes the approach an intelligent one. A lot of the it involves concepts from Yoga and aspects of Hindu religious life and practice. Other than the Yogic aspect the religious aspects have their counterparts in other religions. It adds the concepts of dedication of works to God, renunciation, abandonment to regular devotional worship which is present in all types of religion, Hindu and non-Hindu alike. You might ask yourself why people of other religions should add those concepts to their normal devotional worship. The answer is simple, when you consider the ontology and cosmogony expressed in the True Story and in Krishna is the God Star, there is no other way a pious devoted person of any other religion, devoted to their God can act. The arguments there are not of a type that a reasonably intelligent person of any culture in the 21st century cannot understand. It is simply so superb. Once a person understands them and commits themselves to Dharma everything falls into place. All that matters then is good moral and religious instruction with a strong commitment to the sattvic. One thing that strikes me when I think of Krishna guide to devotional worship is Islam. Muslims are required five times every day to stop whatever they are doing and pray to Allah, circumstances permitting. I can't think of something which expresses Krishna's way better. Although Muslims don't see themselves as Krishna worshippers, they approach the worship of Allah in the way prescribed by Krishna. This is what I consider to be the Universal message of the Gita. When the concepts of the True Story and Krishna is the God Star are properly understood it is religion neutral. It is religion neutral.
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