“The Trinavarta demon who took baby Krishna on his shoulder went high in the sky, but the baby assumed such a weight that suddenly he could not go any further, and he had to stop his whirlwind activities. Baby Krishna made Himself heavy and began to weigh down the demon.” (Krishna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vol 1, Ch 7)
Girish: I was reading some more of that Krishna book yesterday.
Shankar: Yeah? How do you like it?
Girish: It’s very good. It’s a little different from the Bhagavad-gita.
Shankar: I know.
Girish: The seeker in me seemed to get more out of the Gita. But there’s still time.
Shankar: What did you get out of it?
Girish: That I am not the body.
Shankar: Good. That is pretty important.
Girish: And God is not impersonal. He is a person.
Shankar: He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Hence the subtitle to the current book you’re reading.
Girish: Maya is illusion. I should see past it. I should not follow activities in maya. That will only keep me in further darkness. I should know that I am Brahman, or spirit. Aham brahmasmi. I must understand that this body will change. I should know that this body continuously changes, actually, from boyhood to youth to old age.
Shankar: And then what happens at death?
Girish: I get another body. It’s like putting on clothes and then taking them off. I should not lament for the living. The same for the dead. Spirit will always remain.
Shankar: And who will you think of at the time of death?
Girish: Krishna! Thinking of God will work too. I guess that’s why the Krishna book is important. It explains who God is.
Shankar: Yeah, that’s very good to know.
Girish: I do have a question, though. This comes from the devil’s advocate in me.
Shankar: No problem. What do you got?
Girish: I’ve noticed a pattern to the chapters thus far. Krishna is living in Vrindavana as a small child, delighting everyone. There is the lead bad guy in the neighboring town of Mathura. In each chapter he sends over a bad guy to kill Krishna. The Lord then does something amazing to survive the attack and get rid of the demon.
Shankar: Yeah, Kamsa sent a lot of those bad guys. Putana, Trinavarta, Aghasura, to name a few.
Girish: Right. And the people were so relieved each time to see Krishna escape. They couldn’t believe He survived. The story part of it is nice. I get that. Yet I’m wondering why anyone would have an interest in it afterwards.
Shankar: What do you mean?
Girish: Well, God is all-knowing, right?
Shankar: He has to be.
Girish: Exactly. And He’s all-powerful too, no?
Shankar: Of course.
Girish: That being established, why would anyone worry if a witch named Putana is coming to Vrindavana to administer poison to Krishna? Why is there interest over a torrential flood devastating the land?
Shankar: I’m not sure I follow.
Girish: Anyone with a brain can guess the outcome. It’s all fixed. I mean, it has to be. Krishna has to know that these people are coming. He has to know how to deal with them also.
Shankar: Okay. Yeah, that’s true. I see where you’re going with this. Are you saying that since it involves God, the incidents aren’t so important to remember?
Girish: Yeah. What is anyone getting out of these stories? We all know what’s going to happen. I mean, I like hearing about them; don’t get me wrong. It’s really great, in fact. I’m just thinking about what the critics might say.
Shankar: You have friends who watch television shows?
Shankar: And movies?
Girish: Oh boy, some of my friends watch movies ALL the time. They download them onto a server they have at home and then they binge-watch.
Shankar: So these friends of yours talk about these shows and movies?
Girish: Yes. Too much in fact.
Shankar: What were to happen if the next time they brought up one of these movies you responded with skepticism? “Hey, that’s all fake. Why are you telling me about it?”
Girish: Oh, that’s a good one. I like it.
Shankar: Well, it is fake. It’s acknowledged to be so. The stories take birth in the mind of a writer or many writers. Yet no one questions the interest shown in these fictional works.
Girish: And Krishna’s stories are not fictional. They actually occurred.
Shankar: Yes. Even if you don’t believe in them, there is no reason not to take an interest. If you’re already giving so much attention to the fictional, why should you have a problem with stories about Krishna’s life? You must think it’s real; otherwise there wouldn’t be an objection.
Girish: That’s a good point.
Shankar: And like the maya you brought up previously, our entire existence here can be thought of as unreal. The nonfictional is that which takes place in our lives, but everything changes. I’m worried who will win the championship this year, but next year’s champion will erase this year’s memory. Thus the event is sort of unreal; its significance is temporary.
Girish: Krishna’s stories carry through time. They happened five thousand years ago and we’re still talking about them to this day.
Shankar: Exactly. From hearing these stories you get some appreciation for Him. That appreciation lasts. This makes the incident with the Putana witch very important. The killing of the whirlwind demon is worth remembering. Even Krishna’s speaking the Bhagavad-gita to Arjuna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra is a kind of pastime. It is a story to study and remember. The outcome is known for sure, as whoever has Krishna on their side will always succeed. The stories of His life and pastimes bring Him close to the consciousness, and that consciousness of Him is the only one that can last forever, transcending time.
Putana, Trinavarta, and others come,
But demons leaving alive none.
Though in body of boy small,
Krishna defeating enemies tall.
To the heart these stories endearing,
Though outcome guessed while hearing.
Fictional stories belonging to a temporary land,
But Krishna lila time’s test to stand.