Tuesday, October 23, 2007

An Interlude

"The rasalila, 'the dance game,' the circular dance that is echoed in every other dance, couldn't get started. Each of the gopis wanted to be nearest to Krishna. They were all trying to get close enough to color his skin with the saffron paste smeared on their breasts. That way they would have managed, even if for only a few seconds, to have left a trace of themselves on him. A cluster of shawls, bodices, and slender, glistening chests closed him in on every side. Then in order to get the dance going, Krishna decided to multiply himself. He resorted to his knowledge of mirrors and reflection. In the circle, between each gopi and the next, another Krishna appeared, holding them by the hand and looking alternately at one, then the other, as though following the steps of the dance, though each gopi was convinced that he was there for her alone. The yellow cloth wrapped around his loins was always the same, but the color of his skin varied, from dark blue to hyacinth. These were the many Krishnas, while the one Krishna remained in the center of the circle, where the gopis could see nothing at all."

from Robert Calasso's "Ka—Stories of the Mind and Gods of India"

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Christopher,

The link below is for you. I have a similar painting on the wall where I use to meditate, but now write.

No real understanding me of the Krishna thing. Dare I try to sort out all his nuances including that Radha was a married woman? Would such a religion really help me cope with life in the 21 century?

http://images.exoticindiaart.com/panels/the_divine_circular_dance__rasa_lila_wh37sm.jpg

Is this a metaphor I can use? Knowledge without utility is bondage, isn't that one of the Shiva sutras or something?

Enjoying sharing your exploration of the labyrinth.

MC

Anonymous said...

Oh and I forgot to mention Radha was OLDER than Krishna.

What a story!!!!!!

MC

SeekHer said...

MC

Get the book "Ka" by Robert Calasso that this excerpt is taken from. It is available on amazon.com. Calasso includes a brief explanation of Indian thought about the relationship between Krishna and Radha, and whether it was svakiya (legitimate, conjugal) or parakiya (illegitimate, adulterous). It's actually a hotly debated theological question in Hinduism. I think you'll find Calasso's views on it helpful in clarifying your own.

3rdeyeopen said...

MC, when I am on a creative mojo and I am completely absorbed in my beloved (art, writing),
I use the metaphor that I am dancing with my Krishna. If Krishna is an aspect of Vishnu or the maintainence of things = nature, then Krishna can be in metaphor what you devote yourself to. Anyway, that metaphor works for this big city working yogini who carries her ashram within.

Anonymous said...

Re: 3rdeyeopen said...
MC, when I am on a creative mojo and I am completely absorbed in my beloved (art, writing),
I use the metaphor that I am dancing with my Krishna. If....

-----------------------
Now that would tend to create a diffent sensibility around one's writing I will admit.

I work in architecture. At the ground of that love is the sheer joy of banging boards together.

I am seeking ways to soften my approach to writing. So will think about the dancing thing. Not for this blog perhaps ;-)

MC

SeekHer said...

MC

Also--the link got cut off in your last comment and I couldn't follow it all the way to the pic! Could you send again? I'd love to see it.

PS was posting from work earlier and rushed. meant also to say that Calasso is an expert at teasing out the erotic elements in Indian mythology and lore—interestingly, these seemed to have been edited out in the more sanitized versions of the stories presented during SY programs and intensives (which I think is par for the course in more devotional tellings, and not unique to SY)

Anonymous said...

and of course this all becomes even more complex and interesting for those of us (many) who are gay or bisexual. talk about being uninterested in the illusion that the "other" gender is going to carry your projection of god for you! inside, i feel female, male, everything and often feel what hafiz said somewhere or another that gender (and age too) are total prisons. they never interested me. so the metaphor of radha and krishna has sure never meant a heterosexual couple to me (not, as old seinfeld rerun's would say, there's anything wrong with that!)

Anonymous said...

Hello Christopher,

Here's the link to Ras Lila image. I like the moon in the back.

http://www.exoticindiaart.com/product/WH37/

I think I am done with Krishna consciousness for now. I may be incapable of understanding the thing that went down during the big battle.

Getting lots from labyrinth, especially Minotaur exploration.

If we say we can see evidence of the archetypes in the culture, the Minotaur is quite apparent. His image is a standard model to demonstrate computer graphics.

A little history review:

The minotaur was a fearful man-eating beast who was half-man and half-bull. He was born to Pasiphae, the wife of King Minos of Crete. To prevent the minotaur from eating his own people, Minos had the minotaur shut up in a complex labyrinth designed by Daedalus, who had also built the contraption that had permitted Pasiphae to be impregnated by the white bull of Poseidon.
To keep the minotaur fed, Minos ordered the Athenians to send over 7 young men and 7 young women each year. When Theseus heard the wails of the families on the day on which the young people were to be sent as feed, he volunteered to replace one of the young men. He then went to Crete where, with the help of one of the king's daughters, Ariadne, he was able to solve the labyrinthine maze and slay the minotaur. About.com

Looking at another culture for clues feel great. Again really glad to be introduced to the writers you talk about here.

Just never got 'round to 'em.
How about a few book reviews?

MC

Anonymous said...

Ohh, beautiful image MC; may we all join in the Dance!

Peace and Love

Episcopalian

Anonymous said...

Epi,

Glad you liked the image.

I would like to testify that SY had what is going on in the painting for a while. Many times when we were gathered my heart melted and dripped with joy and gladness to be in the company of this group we called SY.

The Dancers made the Dance. I think I read that while Krishna Dances with each Dancer, He is really standing in the middle Invisible.

Enough Krishna Krishna Krishna
Hari Hari Hari!

MC

Anonymous said...

Hi MC,

Let's keep that dance going. I like that Krsna is in the middle invisible!

Epi

PS.The picture printed out beautifully.