WHEN THE WATER AND SUFFERING SEEMS TO RISE UP TO YOUR CHIN:
My spiritual teacher wrote a great discourse on Krishna’s birth symbolism and it is very inspiring for these troubled times. When Krishna’s mother escapes and crosses the river and the water comes up to her mouth, it reminds us that even when life is very challenging and we are almost drowning in suffering, the Divine is there protecting us even in the most troubled times. With many people seriously challenged now we have to remember that we are taken care of even when the challenges in our life are rising up to an unbearable level. The Divine is looking out for us and protecting us even when our karma seems like it will overtake us.
Here is the rest of his analysis of his birth details: Devaki (Lord Krishna’s mother) represents the physical body, while Vasudeva (Lord Krishna’s father) represents the Prana (the vital life-force). When prana rises in the body, joy (Krishna) is born. That’s why Krishna is called Nandalala – one who is the embodiment of bliss. Within this small body you are able to experience the infinite space (through spiritual practices).
Kamsa represents the ego. Kamsa is Devaki’s brother which indicates that the ego is born along with the body. The biggest adversary of ego is joy. Ego cannot survive and has to bow down where there is joy and love. A person can hold a very high position in society, but he melts in front of his own little child. When the child falls ill, however strong the person is, he feels a little helpless. Ego simply melts when confronted with love, simplicity and joy. This is why there is a war between ego (Kamsa) and love. Krishna is the epitome of joy, the quintessence of simplicity and the very source of love.
As the story goes, when Krishna was born, the prison guards fell asleep. The guards here represent the five senses which protect the ego because they are turned outward when awake. When there is no happiness and joy (Lord Krishna), the body feels like a prison. When Lord Krishna (joy) was born in this prison (body), all the senses (symbolized by the prison guards) fell asleep. The five senses – the eyes, ears, nose, tongue and skin – are the guards of the ego that keep you so engaged on the outside so that you don’t see the infinite sky within. When one turns inwards towards the source of joy, bliss is born within, that is, Lord Krishna.
Lord Krishna and the Mother Divine were both born on the same day of Ashtami (also a day of special significance during the Navratri celebrations). The Mother Divine took a physical form, but when the evil King Kamsa tried to grab hold of her, She freed Herself from Kamsa’s hands and disappeared into the skies. The essence here is that the ego cannot capture Shakti – the Divine energy (represented here by the Mother Divine). It may appear that the ego can trap Shakti, but it is not so.
Ego can neither capture bliss (represented by Lord Krishna), nor can it capture Shakti. This is the message of Janmashtami. So where should you look for Lord Krishna? Everywhere!
Lord Krishna says, ‘One who sees Me everywhere, in everyone, and sees everyone in Me is truly intelligent’. Everything has emerged from one divinity – this is the special message of Janmashtami.
You can realize Lord Krishna only through deep rest. You cannot realize Lord Krishna through struggle and effort. And when can you get that deep rest? Deep rest happens when your mind is not restless and entangled with feverish desires; when it is not caught up in cravings and aversions. It is in those moments of deep rest that one witnesses the birth of Lord Krishna (here meaning the feeling of bliss).
All blessing to the wisdom of my spiritual teacher.