Our Lord Sri Krishna The Master Poet And Master Artist
THE Almighty Lord of the universe Whom we call Sree Krishna is indeed possessed of endless attributes. But it is said that sixty-four prominent attributes of the Supreme Lord are especially visible to the devotee’s eyes. The names and descriptions of these attributes are elaborately detailed in the Bhakti-shastras or the scriptures of love. The reader is to refer to the Bhakti-rasamrita Sindhu by Rupa Goswami as the authoritative work on the subject. In the present article we shall attempt to notice two salient qualities of our beloved Lord—His poetry and His Art. The poetic skill of Sree Krishna is only shadowed forth in all the different spheres of the phenomenal universe and substantial in the supersensuous and transcendental world.
The transcendental world is a grand volume of poetry. It is composed by the skilful hand of the Divine poet and abounds in lines of the most exquisite beauty and harmonious melody. It is a storehouse of the noblest and sublimest sentiments and does often suggest “thoughts whose very sweetness yieldeth proof, that they are born for immortality.” Age cannot wither it nor enjoyment stale its infinite variety. It is “musical as is Apollo’s lute and a perpetual feast of nectared sweets where no crude surfeit reigns”. It furnishes lessons of the highest truth and wisdom and lifts its readers above the low-thoughted care of a frail and feverish being” into “regions mild” where “beyond these voices there is peace”. The life of the human soul forms a most interesting chapter of this beautiful Book of poetry. The souls that inhabit the lower order of beings and in fact all living organisms, nay, the dead matter itself, form its pictorial pages.
But the hardest of all tasks under the sun we all know is to read properly and correctly a volume of poetry. Never is a poet so much grieved at heart as by one who fails to read his works aright. The offended heart of the poet bleeding, as it were, from the reader’s rods, seems to cry out in bitterness—“I pray you mar no more of my verses by reading them ill-favouredly”. But such are the mercy and tolerance of the All-merciful Sree Krishna the great author of the Divine volume of poesy that when instead of reading His glorious works aright we trample upon them in sheer folly and pride and wilfully shut our eyes to the lessons furnished by them, nay, damn the very name of Him Who made them all, the All-wise Supreme Lord does not withhold from us His saving mercy, but unceasingly loves us with the over-flowing love and watches us with the same paternal care, for “He knoweth our frame, He remembereth that we are dust’. It, however, falls to the lot of very few individuals, and they are certainly blessed, to study at all the works of Sree Krishna. Most of us have not the eyes to see and ears to hear and consequently we fly from Sree Krishna’s works, perfect and infallible as they are, to revel in the productions of maya which at best contain only half-truths and which only serve to make our “confusion worse confounded.” But Sree Krishna is always Sree Krishna whether we see Him or not and His world is a volume of poetry whether we read it or not. In His world the earth and the sky are all filled with poetry. Fire, air, ether and water are all redolent of poetry. There is poetry in the sun and the moon, in the stars and planets, lakes and rivers, springs and cataracts hills and valleys, seas and mountains, the lilies of the field, the warblers of the forest, the children of the nursery, the beauties of the harem, in fact, all creation which is there animate breathe true poetry and sing the praise and glory of Sree Krishna who turns all darkness into light. The poetry in the infant’s smile, the mother’s care, the sister’s affection, the wife’s love, the friend’s sympathy, the patron’s kindness of this world are but pale distorted unwholesome reflections of the poetry of Vaikuntha. The poetry in the dawn of infancy, in the bloom of youth, the glory of manhood, the sunset of life is realised only in the sphere of the spirit. What devout man can uplift his eyes to the floor of heaven, inlaid with patinas of bright gold and not exclaim like the Psalmist lost in awe and wonder by reminiscence of the unseen, “When I consider the heavens, the work of Thy fingers the moon and the stars which Thou hast ordained, what is man that Thou art mindful of him?” Blessed is he who lives to see Sree Krishna’s works even in the delusive world of matter and mind. Blessed is he who contemplates Sree Krishna’s works and smiling says, “My Lord made them all!” Blessed is he who is enraptured with the real poetry of the world of spirit.
But how shall we realise the beauty of Sree Krishna’s Divine poetry? “The world is too much with us” and we are immersed in a round of bestial and sensual pleasures. The fine eye and ear which enable us to appreciate this supersensuous beauty have not yet been developed in us. To be able to feel this poetry and to be en rapport with Sree Krishna who is nature’s God, require the most sincere and life-long practice justly called Sadhana without which “men are but gilded loam or painted clay”. We must entirely kill the beast in us and fully evolve our divinity to be able to form any the least conception of the divine nature and scope of Sree Krishna’s poetry. This poetry is not the “baseless fabric of a dream” or “a thing of beauty” founded on “airy nothing”. It is more real and substantial than anything our eyes can see and our senses can perceive. The worldly wise cannot value this poetry, the cool, calculating callous man cannot appreciate its beauty. In the world of poetry the child is truly the father of the man, the softer sex is assuredly the stronger, the heart imparts lessons to the head. Without this poetry life loses all its charm and the world with all its pomp and vanities seems to be “weary, stale, flat and unprofitable”. The absence of this poetry makes a man sick of life and disposes him to fly willingly unto the jaws of death. The absence of this poetry gives rise to rapine, plunder, “man’s inhumanity to man” and, in short, all the ills that flesh is heir to. The most unhappy of mortals is he who has no poetry in himself. To be deprived or devoid of this poetry is to be deprived or devoid of every form of bliss, A man without this poetry is not a man in the true sense of the term. Well may we say with the “sweet swan of Avon”, immortal Shakespeare, (taking the word music in a more comprehensive sense)—
The man that hath no music in himself,
Nor is not mov’d with concord of sweet sounds,
Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils,
The motions of his spirit are dull as night,
And his affection dark as Erebus:
Let no such man be trusted.”