Scene 1

(Krishna sits alone. Beside him is his flute.)

KRISHNA (lifting his flute): When I play on this flute, men and women, especially women, come to listen to my music. People criticise me because they feel that my association with these women is not pure. But I know how pure these women are, and I know what purity I embody. Poor Radha, she is my dearest shakti. She is Purity itself. But human beings, how will they understand divine Love? How will they understand divine Delight? I shall have to suffer criticism from people.

(Krishna sings.)

Je besechhe bhalo
ei dharanire
se peyechhe shudhu byatha
parane tahar dhelechhe abani
kuruper malinata
tabu nirbhay chale sei bir
pritthvir bojha niye
ahaba ante habe upanita
prabhur charane giye

(He who has loved this world
Has only got excruciating pangs.
The world has thrown on him all ugliness and filth and dirt, and impurity.
Yet the hero marches along,
Carrying the burden of the entire world.
At the end of his teeming struggles
He will go and stand at the Feet of the Lord Supreme.)

KRISHNA: I don’t mind. I am above it all. But my Radha suffers, and I feel sorry for her.

(Enter Radha.)

KRISHNA: How do you feel today, Radha?

(Radha does not answer.)

KRISHNA: Yesterday you were in a sulking mood. It seems today you are worse. Radha, please tell me what is going on. Yesterday I asked you what was wrong with you, and you didn’t answer. Today again I am asking you. I am begging you. Now tell me what is wrong with you. Has anybody insulted you?

RADHA: You are so pure, so divine. I come to you to listen to your music, to listen to your divine voice, to listen to your eternal Truth. I know you are divine, and my heart is all for you. But everybody criticises us, even my girl friends who also come here to listen to you. My girl friends are creating such gossip. It is unthinkable, unbearable.

KRISHNA: Do you know why they do it? Can you tell me why they act like that?

RADHA: Just because you show me special attention, they can’t bear it. They are jealous of me. (Krishna smiles.) Can you not stop their jealousy?

KRISHNA: Human jealousy, Radha, is a very serious disease. I shall try to free them from jealousy. But it is a very difficult task.

RADHA: Either you have to free them from jealousy, or you have to make them feel that I am pure.

KRISHNA: To make them feel that you are pure — that is far easier. That I can do easily. I shall show you.

(Krishna begins playing soul-stirring music on his flute. All his divine friends come rushing to hear his music. Krishna plays for a few minutes.)

KRISHNA: Today I wish to play a special game. (Speaking to the women.) Most of you are married. I want you to prove today that you are all chaste. I want you to prove your purity.

(When Krishna says this, some of them immediately run away.)

KRISHNA: Look at this. I wanted them to prove their chastity and they have run away. You can imagine what kind of life they lead. So you people are remaining. I am so glad that you lead a chaste life. Now, here is a sieve and here is a bucket of water. One by one you come and pour the water into the sieve. If the water does not leak through when someone pours, that means that that woman is extremely pure and chaste.

(The girls line up. The first girl comes and pours water into the sieve. The water leaks through. The onlookers start laughing.)

ONLOOKERS: Oh, she is not chaste. She is not pure.

(The girl hides her face in embarrassment. The next girl starts pouring, but again the water goes through.)

ONLOOKERS (laughing): She is not chaste, she is not chaste.

KRISHNA (to a third girl): Now come on.

(The third girl comes and suffers the same fate. The water leaks through the sieve. Everybody starts laughing.)

THIRD GIRL (mockingly): Oh, Radha should come. Let her try!

OTHERS: Yes, Radha should come. Let Radha come. Let Radha try!

SECOND GIRL: Why do you bother Radha? She is not chaste either. Have some sympathy for her. You know perfectly well what kind of life she is leading.

KRISHNA: All right, she is not leading a life of purity. But let her try anyway. Radha, please come and see. You try, Radha. Come.

(Radha comes forward and is about to pour the water. The other women immediately start laughing.)

KRISHNA: Be quiet. Let us see first.

RADHA: Look, already they are laughing and mocking and criticising me. Why should I do it?

KRISHNA (to the onlookers): Don’t mock. Don’t laugh. This is not yet the time to laugh and criticise. You people have proved yourselves. You have proved that you are not chaste at all. You only know how to criticise and mock. Now, let Radha try. At least give her a chance.

(Radha pours the water. The water does not leak through the sieve. Everybody is astonished.)

KRISHNA: Now you can see who is chaste, who is pure. You people, look. You know how to criticise, how to mock. But you do not know how to lead a pure life. I am teaching you the eternal Truth. I am the Lord of the Universe. Radha comes to me for spiritual help, eternal Truth. Her love for me is divine. My love for her is also divine. Your minds are in the gutter. You remain in a filthy consciousness. You care for men, you care for earthly duties, you care for name, fame and so many things. But my Radha, I am always in her mind. She is also a married woman. She has her husband and everything else, just like you. But no matter where she goes, no matter with whom she speaks, her mind is always on my Transcendental Consciousness. She knows that I am the Lord of the Universe. (Pauses.) Whoever thinks of me has the purest heart on earth. Those who think of other things are not pure and can never be pure. Their purity today you observed. A day will come when the whole world will know who Radha is. The world will not only recognise her purity, but also receive from her divinity the purest delight that exists in the earth-consciousness. She is my delight; she is the delight of the Universe. Pray, meditate. All of you will one day have Radha’s purity, Radha’s consciousness. It will take time; it will take centuries, millennia. But it will be possible for you also to have Radha’s height, Radha’s consciousness, Radha’s realisation.

(Radha soulfully looks at Krishna and the other girls listen quietly while the second girl sings.)

Kalo baran nai je kanu
jena kancha sona
bishwa ruper rup madhuri
jyoti diye bona
amar —
maner kali dhela pare
dekhai tare kalo
ta nahale priya je mor
sudhui ujal alo
alo andhar tahar gara
kanu bishwamoy
sabar sathe habe amar
naba parichay

(My Krishna is not black,
He is pure gold.
He Himself is woven
Into the universal Beauty, Light and Splendour.
He looks dark
Because I have spilled the ink of my mind on Him.
Otherwise, my Beloved is All-Light.
He created Light and Darkness,
He is within and without the Cosmos Vast.
With this knowledge,
I will have a new acquaintance
With the world at large.)