Vol 4 Issue 17
The Dark Lord Leads Us To Ultimate Light
Sparkling lotus eyes, mesmerizing sidelong glance, enchanting curved eyebrows, rosy red lips, shining jasmine teeth, endearing gentle smile, silken curly blackish hair, peacock feather crown, effulgent yellow garment, sylvan flower garland, charming threefold bending form, silver flute at the lips, fingers deftly playing the spellbinding fifth note ? Aesthetic beauty find its culmination in Krishna. Indeed the gopis, the divine consorts of Krishna, reprimanded the creator Brahma for having fashioned eyelids that blinked; the moment of blinking appeared like a millennium of separation to them as it interrupted their incessant drinking of the nectar of Krishna?s beauty with their eyes.
Why is Krishna?s complexion dark, not fair? Is this a defect in the paragon of beauty?
Form is the most attractive object in our experience, but it is limited and temporary. So some people feel that God being unlimited cannot have a form. But God?s creation is replete with attractive forms and if He is devoid of form, then He will be less attractive than His creation, which is highly illogical. Form and formlessness are akin to the dialectic of thesis and antithesis employed in modern Hegelian philosophy. The final stage of synthesis logically necessitates the integration of form and the formless, a feat any materialistic mind would find absurd and paradoxical. But the resolution emerges when we dissolve an unexamined assumption ? that all form including God?s has to be material. Material form is limited, but claiming that God?s form is also limited reflects a tendency to foist material conceptions on transcendence. What causes limitation is not form per se, but matter, which is always limited, whether it has form or not. For example, a building with form occupies limited space, but its formless debris is also limited. God is unlimited and all-pervasive not because He is formless, but because He is spiritual. The Supreme Spirit is omnipresent, both with and without form. The impersonal formless brahmajyoti is all-pervasive, and so is Krishna. Krishna?s form, though seemingly localized, exists in omni-dimension and so is all-pervasive, not restricted by space or time. This extraordinary nature of Krishna?s form is seen in many of His pastimes, especially His showing the universe in His mouth to his mother Yashoda and His showing the universal form to Arjuna and Duryodhana.
Krishna?s complexion highlights the inconceivable nature of His form. A dark complexion is generally not considered attractive, yet spiritually, when manifest in the Supreme Transcendental Person, the same bluish-black fresh rain cloud color becomes Shyamsundara, the epitome of all attractiveness. The Bible states that God?s form is not like any form seen on land, in air or in water. Krishna?s form is unlike any seen anywhere in this world - black yet beautiful. Thus the darkness of Krishna?s form is not a dushana (blemish), but a bhushana (ornament).
Krishna declares unequivocally in the Bhagavad-gita (11.53-54) that bhakti, not karma or jnana, is the only means to understand Him. Bhakti catapults us to the realm of diversity in unity, beyond the undifferentiated brahman effulgence to the variegated spiritual world, characterized by endless love between the singular bhagavan and the plural bhaktas. The dark yet delectable form of Krishna reminds us that love lies beyond logic and that the heart probes deeper than the brawn and the brain. Krishna descends from that world of spirit to this world of matter to attract us to His original eternal form. He plays on His flute to invite us to board the plane of bhakti and fly back to the world of immortal love with Him.
Srila Prabhupada, the founder of ISKCON, who propagated Krishna-bhakti worldwide, expressed the profound philosophical truth of Krishna?s complexion and form in a disarmingly sweet exchange. When an African asked him somewhat facetiously, ?Do you worship a black god?? Srila Prabhupada replied, with no malice and full poise, ?Yes. Krishna is black - but not like you.?
Investigating Reality from the Higher
Dimensional Perspective of Vedic Wisdom