Gaura: Krishna in Crisis

lc_radhakundacropBy Swami Tripurari

While pursuing the highest love during his earthly lila, rasaraja Krishna was dumbfounded to experience the measure of Radha’s love, for it exceeded anything that he had ever experienced. Because he always considered himself the king of love, this experience threw Krishna into an existential crisis, forcing him to ask the difficult question, “Am I really the king of love, when it is apparent that Radha’s love exceeds anything that I have experienced?” When the primary reason for his descent—to taste the highest love—was thus frustrated, this in turn affected his ability to accomplish his secondary purpose—to teach the world about love.

To resolve this twofold crisis, Krishna, keeping with his nature, at­tempted to steal the emotions of Radha. A clever thief knows where to hide. Where did Syama go? That beautiful, dark-complected thief hid himself in the age of darkness, Kali-yuga, disguising himself as a sadhu. However, that which he stole was more brilliant than mil­lions of suns. Thus when his devotees—the dearest of Radha—looked for him, he was not hard to find.

Realizing the likelihood of his capture at the hands of his devo­tees, Krishna gave away the stolen goods in an effort to deflect atten­tion, advising each person who received the goods to pass them on to another. This, however, only made matters worse, for seeing the dis­tribution of prema, his devotees became suspicious. They knew that a love as brilliant as Radha’s could only be experienced in relation to Krishna himself and that he must therefore be in their midst. Fur­thermore, although Krishna had tried to distribute the goods, because of the nature of prema it only swelled within him that much more, turning his complexion golden. Attracted by his golden hue and see­ing the measure of his prema, they dubbed him Gaura Krishna and proceeded to broadcast the truth to the whole world. In the end, this golden Krishna, in the captivity of Radha’s two best friends, wrote his confession in eight stanzas, begging for mercy. Only after receiving that mercy was he able to realize the consequences of what he had done and fully taste Radha’s love.


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8 Responses to Gaura: Krishna in Crisis

  1. Wonderful words. They explain so much about the nature of humans and about our spiritual tradition. It also explains the nature of grace among souls as being the stolen love of Radha by Krishna. Also, it speaks to the guru/devotee relationship, does it not? Love is experienced at it’s highest taste through the receiving of it. Krishna didn’t know loves highest taste until he received it through Radha. Is that not also how it is with guru/devotee, parent/child, etc? Krishna is the sun, but Radha is the brillance of the sun, the two together are the model for love. The guru is only a guru through the love and service of the devotee. The two together make bhakti-yoga (prema) manifest. Otherwise, a guru is just a person with good ideas, and a student, just another body wandering the planet.
    Curious, what are the 8 stanzas in the confession? I assume this is a reference to a specific Vedic text, but where can I find it?

  2. The guru is only a guru through the love and service of the devotee. The two together make bhakti-yoga (prema) manifest. Otherwise, a guru is just a person with good ideas, and a student, just another body wandering the planet.

    While it is true that in one sense the guru-disciple relationship is symbiotic since there can be no teacher without students, I disagree with the idea that together they make prema manifest. Prema is eternally manifest, krsna prema nitya siddha, sadhya kabhu naya: prema is an eternally perfect reality and is not a product of practice. The guru who has prema can through association and instruction help to purify a disciple and so prepare the disciple for prema’s descent into his or her heart. It is the prema (svarupa-sakti) within the devotee’s heart that qualifies him or her as guru and draws souls to surrender to him or her. I also disagree with the idea that the guru is just a person with good ideas. A genuine guru is well versed in the theory but it is his or her internal realization that makes the theory come to life, and without which the theory alone does not have the power to foster faith in others.

    The 8 stanzas refers to the Siksastakam of Sri Caitanya.

  3. Vrajendra Nandana Dasa

    In this beautifully poetic and deeply esoteric article Krsna is described as being wondering if he is really the king of love.

    I am wondering, too. Not if maybe I am the king of love. No, I am wondering about Krsna’s thougths and feelings regarding being the king of love. Krsna’s thinking in these terms could be construed as if Krsna is a victim of pride, even though one could rightly argue, considering Krsna’s position, that pride is most appropriate for him. But then again Krsna is God forgetting his own position, God in his private life, God being most vulnerable. So is he always viewing himself as the king of love, I mean besides the times when he becomes aware of the depths of Radha’s love?

    Is he in general conscious of his special attraction, his special powers? Or is he usually feeling as a regular guy in Vrndavan, who happens to be unsusually attractive for others and who repeatedly reveals special powers (that are viewed by others as the mercy of “higher” forces), but who still has self doubts and struggles?
    Or is he feeling and thinking he is the king of love but just in the area of Vraja? Of course that could be construed as pride, too, but in Vraja seem to exist all the flavours and expressions of human emotions, even the so called dark traits like anger, greed, pride and the like. So how is Krsna viewing himself?

    I am not asking this to challenge, but rather to understand Krsna’s inner life better.

    Sure Srila Prabhupada is sometimes quoted to have answered a specific question about Krsna or Vrndavana (can’t remember the exact question) by saying “Why don’t you go there and find out?” Yes, I want to find out, but maybe it helps along the way to understand Krsna’s mood, character, predicaments and needs in his most intimate surroundings better.

    Are there any realizations about this out there? Or in there?

  4. Vrajendra Nandana Dasa

    I am wondering again. This time about:

    Is there nobody willing to enlighten me about my questions in the previous post? I really would like to understand Krsna’s feelings and thoughts better.

    • I am the last person to ask regarding specific Vedic topics, but I wonder about such speculation. If the soul is meant to serve Krishna, then where is the need for answers or speculation about such topics? It might be your own material attachment, afraid of seeming vulnerable, that poses such questions. You might have learned so much and are ready to engage in bhakti, to surrender, but your material ego is throwing up these roadblocks. Are you thinking that, “I just need to know the answers to these questions before I can advance in Krishna consiousness?” Krishna is all attractive, which means that he will be attractive to you in whatever form you need to allow you to engage in loving service. I believe the sincere soul can answer your questions in whatever way they need to fully surrender in service to Krishna, in whatever form allows for that to happen, it could be the rebellious child or the protector on Govardhana or the enchanter of the gopis. Concentrate on allowing your own surrender and just see what opens up, over analyzing might be your own roadblock to true devotion.

      • Vrajendra Nandana Dasa

        Thanks, Anthony, for your analysis of one of my anarthas and your well-meaning attempt to encourage me to simply surrender.

        Yes, I also heard that we are meant to surrender to Krsna (and Radha and all of their devotees). And it sounds so attractive. But for whatever reasons (call it material ego) I wasn’t able till now to give up my attempts to enjoy independently, although I really gave it some tries, admittedly feeble ones though.

        Yet I am happy that I still have some attraction at all to hear about Radha, Krsna, their special devotees, the sweet land of Vraja, the beautiful Yamuna and about all the sweet “humanlike” moods and dealings there. I cannot think of anything sweeter.(Besides the pastimes where Krsna and Radha show their special patita-pavana-mercy to us rebellious souls through Lord Caitanya, Sri Nityananda and all the devotees in their line.) And I hope that this attraction will never vanish, but grow. And I hope that I one day will be able to really surrender to this most charming realm and not be misled by thinking that I have gone somewhere, just by having some information about it.

        But then again, isn’t that what devotees and aspiring ones are doing: to exchange about the dealings of Radha-Krsna and their devotees? And doesn’t that include knowing something about the rasas, which differ through different feelings and attributes of character of those involved?

        I don’t know what ultimately will lead to my surrender. Material Exhaustion? Fear? Attraction to duty? Well, maybe they will play a role. But I hope and I can only imagine that it eventually will be the soft pliable heart of the Supreme and his intimate character-traits that will break me, and which attracted me in the first place.

        Still, I agree with your analysis and yet see merit in my specific interest about Krsna’s psychology and feelings. Time will tell if my interest can translate into total surrender. Thank you again, Anthony.

  5. Drawing on Srimad Bhagavatam, Visvanatha Cakravari has explained in his Ragavartma-candrika that Krishna is both all knowing and bewildered by love at the same time. This two aspects are connected to his aisvarya and madhurya respectively. Thus in Dvaraka his all knowing side is more prominent, whereas in Vraja this side recedes for the most part to the background and his bewilderment due to the influence of love is prominent. In Vraja he forgets that he is God, but not elsewhere to the same extent.

    Krishna thinks highly of his ability to taste love in Vraja independently of knowing that he is God. He is a “regular guy” in his own estimation to a large extent, but a very special regular guy (as opposed to being God) as it turns out. And the Vrajavasis readily agree.

    • Vrajendra Nandana Dasa

      Thank you very much, Maharaja, for your helpful beautiful clarification and your indirect kind encouragement. I really appreciate that.

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