The baby Krishna and his foster mother, Jashoda

Dramatis personæ

JASHODA (FOSTER MOTHER OF KRISHNA)

KRISHNA (AS A YOUNG CHILD)

Scene I

(Jashoda is churning curd into butter. Krishna is playing near her.)

JASHODA: Krishna! What are you doing?

(Krishna smiles.)

JASHODA: Stop eating mud! Stop! You dirty fellow!

(Krishna smiles.)

JASHODA: Stop! Stop! Otherwise I shall strike you!

(Krishna smiles and Jashoda comes to him.)

JASHODA: Open your mouth! Spit it out!

(Krishna opens his mouth. She takes the mud out of his mouth.)

JASHODA: Oh! What do I see? I see the whole universe! I see earth, heaven, stars, planets, the sun, the moon, countless beings, all the beings inside you. My child, is this a dream? Is it only a dream? My child, close your mouth.

(Krishna closes his mouth.)

JASHODA: Now open it. (He opens it.) Again I see the universe: earth, heaven, stars, planets, the sun, the moon and countless beings. O Krishna, this time it is not a dream. This time it is not a mental hallucination. For the second time, I am seeing all this. O Lord Supreme, You have given me Nanda, my husband, who is all love for mankind. You have blessed me with Krishna, in whom I see the entire universe. Something within me tells me, O Lord Supreme, that my Krishna is none other than You, Yourself.

(Krishna smiles.)

Don’t worship Indra but worship Giri Govardhan

Dramatis personæ

KRISHNA

A RELATIVE

HIS PARENTS, OTHER RELATIVES AND NEIGHBOURS

INDRA (KING OF THE GODS)

Scene I

(Krishna’s parents, relatives and neighbours are performing ceremonies in honour of the Lord Indra.)

KRISHNA: Why are you worshipping Indra? Who is he?

RELATIVE: Oh Krishna, you are just a child. You are eleven years old. That is why you do not know who Indra is.

KRISHNA: I do not know, but I wish to know from you who he is.

RELATIVE: Indra is the rain god. And he is King of the Gods.

KRISHNA: That is why you are worshipping him? You should worship this hill. (Points out the hill Giri Govardhan.) Our cattle are being fed by this hill; everyone is being helped in one way or another by this hill. Indra does not help us in any way. If you want to know the Truth, if you care for the Truth, then I tell you that you should worship this hill, and not Indra.

RELATIVE: Krishna, if we do it and something happens, your parents will feel miserable. And I am your relative, so I shall also feel miserable.

KRISHNA: Nothing will happen. My parents will not feel miserable. You will not feel miserable. At least let’s try this time, please. We shall not worship Indra any more.

(Indra is watching from Heaven. He is furious.)

INDRA: How do they dare to listen to that little child, that rascal, Krishna! I shall show them! I shall teach them a lesson! I shall inundate the whole place with water!

(Rain begins to fall.)

RELATIVE: I knew this was going to happen! Now see this rain! God alone knows when this downpour will stop. Krishna, what do you have to say now?

KRISHNA: I never accept defeat. Never. Look! With one of my fingers I shall lift the whole hill, and it will serve as an umbrella. (Lifts the hill.) You can all be under the protection of the hill. Even if it rains for seven days, I will protect you. Giri Govardhan will protect us this way for seven days. And then Indra will have to accept defeat. Do not worry. You are all safe, protected under the hill.

RELATIVE: O Krishna, now we know who you are. From now on you will save us and illumine us.

Radha and Krishna are pure

Dramatis personæ

KRISHNA

RADHA (DIVINE CONSORT OF KRISHNA)

FIRST GIRL

SECOND GIRL

THIRD GIRL

OTHER DIVINE FRIENDS OF KRISHNA (MOSTLY WOMEN)

Scene I

(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 do not 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): Do not mock. Do not 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.)

O Krishna, keep me in constant suffering!

Dramatis personæ

KUNTI (MOTHER OF ARJUNA)

ARJUNA

Scene I

(Kunti is crying. Enter Arjuna.)

ARJUNA: Mother, Mother, why are you crying? Has anything happened to you?

KUNTI: Nothing, my son.

ARJUNA: You know that we are all right. Your children are all well. We Pandava brothers and all our wives are safe and well. Why are you crying? Mother, please tell me. Are you not feeling well?

KUNTI: No, my son, I am feeling perfectly well.

ARJUNA: Then why are you crying?

KUNTI: My son, you won’t understand me.

ARJUNA: Perhaps I won’t understand you, but you can make me understand. Tell me. Why are you crying?

KUNTI: I am crying for Krishna.

ARJUNA: You are crying for Krishna? Let me go and bring him here. He is all affection for you. He is all love for you and for all of us. Let me go and bring him. You don’t have to cry for him. He will come. I will be able to bring him immediately.

KUNTI: No, I don’t want you to go and bring him here.

ARJUNA: Then why are you crying for him? Either let me go and bring him, or stop crying, Mother. One of the two you must do.

KUNTI: Arjuna, people cry for name and fame; people cry for success and happiness. I cry only for one thing, only for one person, and that is my Krishna. I cry to him for one special thing. That is to keep me in constant suffering. When I have outer satisfaction, outer prosperity, I do not need Krishna and I forget him. And when I forget him, my life becomes unbearable. This morning I was praying to him, and I did not feel his presence inside my heart. A day I don’t feel his presence inside my heart is a day of tremendous suffering. A day I don’t feel his presence, I feel miserable; I feel that my real life has ended. That is why I am crying, Arjuna.

ARJUNA: Mother, what kind of philosophy do you have? You don’t have to suffer in order to feel Krishna’s presence. His presence we can always feel. We don’t have to be in sorrow in order to feel him. He is all joy, all love. Why do you cry for sorrow, Mother?

KUNTI: Arjuna, your philosophy is different from mine. My philosophy wants constant suffering, constant sorrow. It is through constant suffering that I feel his presence. When I can feel Krishna in my heart, then I am happy. You are dear to me, just because I feel Krishna’s presence inside your heart. All my children make me happy just because I feel Krishna’s presence inside them. My real life is only to see and feel Krishna within me and around me. And in order to do that I need constant sorrow, constant suffering. (Pauses.) O Arjuna, my son, you stay with your philosophy. You remain with joy, continuous joy. You realise the Truth in your own way. I want to see, feel and become inseparably one with my Krishna, the eternal Life of the infinite Universe, in my own way.

(Kunti sings.)

Dureo tumi kachheo tumi tabu bhabi dure
tripti je tai paina kabhu gahan hiya pure
basana mor purna hauk e nahe mor chaowa
tomar paye sanpi jena amar sakal paowa

(You are afar, You are near.
Yet I think that You are always far, far away.
Therefore I get no satisfaction in the inmost recesses of my heart.
My wish is not to let my desire be fulfilled; that is not my wish.
My wish is to offer at Your Feet all desires conceived and achieved.)

Krishna, I need You only

Dramatis personæ

DURYODHANA (ELDEST OF THE KAURAVAS)

ARJUNA

KRISHNA

Scene I

(The eve of the battle of Kurukshetra. Duryodhana has come to Krishna’s abode. Krishna is fast asleep. Duryodhana enters Krishna’s room and sits by Krishna’s head on a chair. Soon Arjuna comes in and sits at Krishna’s feet. Both of them are waiting for Krishna to wake up. Arjuna is looking at Krishna’s feet most devotedly and soulfully. Duryodhana is looking at Krishna with tremendous confidence and assurance.)

DURYODHANA (to Arjuna): Look at this Krishna! Why is he sleeping so much during the day? Has he not read the shastras? It is a great sin to sleep during the day. What is he doing?

ARJUNA (to Krishna): For the first time, Krishna, I am seeing your feet. They are so beautiful. They are so divine.

(Arjuna touches Krishna’s feet, appreciating and admiring their beauty.)

DURYODHANA: Yes, that is what you should do and must do. You should touch his feet, kiss his feet. You are meant for his feet and I am meant for his head. I shall touch his head.

(He is about to touch Krishna’s head when Krishna opens his eyes and sees Arjuna.)

KRISHNA: Ah, my Arjuna, what brings you here? You are my joy, you are my pride, you are my love. What can I do for you?

DURYODHANA: Krishna, I came before him. I came before him, so you have to pay attention to me first. You have to fulfil my desire first.

ARJUNA: Krishna, I have come also with a desire.

KRISHNA: If both of you have desires, I shall fulfil your desires.

DURYODHANA: But I came first. You must fulfil my desire first.

KRISHNA: True, you came first, Duryodhana, but I saw Arjuna first. I have to fulfil his desire first. After all, he is younger than you. The younger one gets the first chance, always.

DURYODHANA: All right, Arjuna, you beggar, ask Krishna to fulfil your desire.

KRISHNA: Duryodhana, let us not quarrel here. This is my house. Both of you came here to have your desires fulfilled. I shall fulfil them. But here there should be no quarrel, no fight, no dispute. My place is all peace, love and harmony. Both of you are dear to me, and I assure you both that I shall fulfil your desires.

ARJUNA: O Krishna, you know that the battle is imminent. I want you to take my side.

DURYODHANA: Stop, Arjuna! I want Krishna on my side. I want him!

KRISHNA: If both of you want me, I have to choose one side. But I want to please both of you. Here is my suggestion: I shall be on one side, and my soldiers and warriors all will be on the other side. Now you make a choice. Arjuna has to make the first choice because I saw him first.

ARJUNA: O Krishna, I want you, I want you. I do not need your army. I want you only.

DURYODHANA: Krishna, are you sure? Will you keep your promise? You will be on one side and your army, your entire army, will be on the other?

KRISHNA: Duryodhana, my promise is my promise. Rest assured, I shall never break my promise. You take my entire army, and I will be on Arjuna’s side.

ARJUNA (shedding tears of joy and gratitude): O Krishna, you are so kind. To have you is to achieve victory. For me to have you is my supreme joy, supreme glory and supreme pride. O Krishna, you are so kind to me. My joy, my life is all gratitude to you.

DURYODHANA: I thank you deeply for your army. Your army is your real strength. Let Arjuna have your body’s strength. I will have the strength of your entire army. But keep your promise. Keep your promise, O Krishna. All of your army must be on my side.

KRISHNA: O Duryodhana, I shall tell you something more. I shall not fight. I shall only give whatever help Arjuna asks of me.

ARJUNA: I want you to be my charioteer, O Krishna. Since you have taken my side, please be my charioteer.

KRISHNA: Of course, I will be your charioteer, Arjuna. But I shall not fight.

ARJUNA: No, you do not have to fight. Only be my charioteer.

DURYODHANA (overjoyed): Krishna, so you will be Arjuna’s charioteer! You cannot fight and you cannot have your army with you. This is your promise.

KRISHNA: Yes, this is my promise. You take my army with you and I shall be Arjuna’s charioteer.

DURYODHANA: Tomorrow I shall come and take your army. Don’t forget your promise, Krishna.

KRISHNA: Never.

(Exit Duryodhana.)

ARJUNA: I know that the creator is always infinitely greater than the creation. You are the creator of your army. Duryodhana has the creation, but I have the creator. I know, Krishna, that you are All. Your very presence is infinite strength for me. Your very presence is my victory.

(Arjuna sings.)

Ogo sundara ogo ananda
ogo mor prananath sasime asime peyechhi tomar
chetanar sakkhat rupantarer alor banshari
bajabo hriday bane
hasiya nachiya harabo
amare rakhal rajar dhane

(O my beautiful One, O my Lord of Delight,
O Lord of my life-breath,
In the finite and the Infinite I have met Your universal consciousness.
I shall play on the flute of transformation-light in the forest of my heart.
Smiling and dancing I shall lose myself in the wealth of Lord Krishna.)

(Krishna gives him a most soulful smile.)

KRISHNA: O Arjuna, you do not know how dear you are to my heart. Come, let us go.

Krishna and Arjuna

Dramatis personæ

KRISHNA

ARJUNA

Scene I

(Krishna and Arjuna on the battlefield.)

ARJUNA: Krishna, I have to fight now. I have to conquer my enemies. But Krishna, now that I am in the battlefield, I am nervous. You know I have never suffered from nervousness before.

(Arjuna sings.)

Sidanti mama gatrani
mukham ca parisusyati
vepathus ca sarire me
romaharsas ca jayate

(My limbs give way and my mouth is parched, my body quivers, and my hair stands on end.)

KRISHNA: Arjuna, you must never be nervous. This kind of thing I do not expect from you. You are a great hero, Arjuna. You must not be nervous.

ARJUNA: Krishna, please tell me what you actually want from my life. What do you expect from my life? Please tell me. What do you want from me? I am all yours.

KRISHNA: Do not be nervous. I have told you that you are the hero of heroes, the supreme hero. You have to fight. Fight for the right cause. I shall tell you all about the inner life, the spiritual life, the life of perfection, inner and outer. First I shall teach you the life of realisation and revelation. Then I shall teach you the life of perfection.

ARJUNA: Krishna, you came into the world with a special purpose, I know. But please tell me, what is that purpose? I want to know from you.

(Krishna sings.)

Yada-hada hi dharmasya
glanir bhavati bharata
abhyutthanam adharmasya
tada ’tmanam srjamy aham

paritranaya sadhunam
vinasaya ca duskrtam
dharmasamsthapanarthaya
sambhavami yuge-yuge

(O Arjuna, whenever righteousness declines and unrighteouness prevails, Myself I embody and manifest. For the protection of the good and for the destruction of the wicked, and for the establishment of the inner code of life, I come into being from age to age.)

Krishna, I see death-forces all around me

Dramatis personæ

KRISHNA

ARJUNA

Scene I

(Krishna and Arjuna on the battlefield.)

ARJUNA: Krishna, the battle is about to start. Alas, I see death-forces all around me.

KRISHNA: Stop, Arjuna. Your heart has always been a perfect stranger to fear.

(Krishna sings.)

Klaibyam ma sma gamah...

(Yield not to feebleness.)

ARJUNA: My Lord, please tell me something about death.

KRISHNA: Arjuna, this is a divine battle, so be not afraid of killing others, nor of being killed yourself. Here is my teaching with regard to death.

(Krishna sings.)

Vasamsi jirnani yatha vihaya
navani grhnati naro ’parani
tatha sarirani vihaya jirnany
anyani samyati navani dehi

(As a man casts off his worn-out garments and puts on new ones, so also the embodied soul casts off the worn-out body and enters into a new form for manifestation.)

ARJUNA: Is there anything that is not killed?

KRISHNA: Yes, Arjuna, the soul is not killed. The soul cannot be killed.

(Krishna sings.)

Nai ’nam chindanti sastrani
nai ’nam dahati pavakah
na cai ’nam kledayanty apo
na sosayati marutah

(Weapons cannot cleave the soul.
Fire cannot burn the soul.
Water cannot drench the soul.
Wind cannot dry the soul.)

Nimitta matram bhava savyasachin

(O Arjuna, become a mere instrument.)

ARJUNA: O Krishna, fear of death is gone. I shall be afraid neither of killing others nor of being killed by others. Fight I must, and conquer the forces undivine.