What Does Krishna Look Like?
In the previous newsletter we established that Krishna means ‘the all-attractive person’. That means Krishna possesses all six attractive qualities (wealth, strength, beauty, knowledge, fame and renunciation) in full. Krishna is a person. The difference between Krishna and us is that Krishna is unlimited in every way whereas we are limited in every way. Krishna is infinite and we are infinitesimal. So in quality we are very different from Krishna. Krishna is unlimitedly great and we are unlimitedly small. To understand this we can consider the situation of a drop of ocean water and the entire ocean. In quantity there is a huge difference between a single drop and the entire ocean. But in quality the drop of ocean water and the ocean are the same. If you analyze the drop of ocean water you will find a certain composition, a certain percentage of salt, and so on. So this composition of the drop is the same as the composition of the ocean. So we are qualitatively the same as Krishna but quantitatively there is a vast difference between us and Krishna.
Is Krishna Like Us?
So now you are perhaps thinking that Krishna is like us, only much bigger, much more powerful, much more intelligent, much more wealthy, much more famous, etc. And that is true to a certain extent but there is one big difference between Krishna and us here in the material world. In the material world we have accepted a material body made of earth, water, air, fire and ether. This material body is a covering of our real self. Really we are all spirit souls. All eternal spiritual entities whose nature is full knowledge, eternal youthful life and ever-increasing transcendental bliss. This is called, in Sanskrit, sat-cit-ananda-vigraha, it means we have a spiritual form that is eternally youthful, full of knowledge and ever-increasing transcendental pleasure.
So when we think that Krishna is like us we make a big mistake. Because we are generally in the material concept of life, so when we think of ourselves we think of our material body. We identify with our material body, thinking, “I am an American man,” or “I am an Indian woman,” or “I am a dog,” etc. But we are not the material body. This identification with the material body is false identification. We are actually not the material body, we are the eternal blissful spirit soul who is currently trapped in this material body. So Krishna does not have a material body like us. Krishna, even when He appears in this material world, appears in His original sat-cit-ananda-vigraha spiritual body.
The Material World as a Reflection:
The problem with the material world is it is a perversion of the spiritual world. This material world is a reflection of the spiritual world. So the original pure form of everything we experience here in the material world exists in the spiritual world. Because this material world is a reflection. So if something exists in the material world it must be a reflection of some actual factual thing that exists in the spiritual world. You can understand this by thinking of the reflection of a tree on water. If the water is still and clear then you can see the tree quite clearly in the water. Still the reflection of the tree is not the same as the actual tree. If it is a mango tree for example you will be able to see the reflection of the mangoes in the water but if you try to grab those reflected mangoes and eat them you will only end up with a handful of water… The actual substance you want, the tasty mango, is not in the reflection, it is on the original tree. That is the way with everything in this material world. We see the reflection of the thing, but we can not get the actual substance. For example love. Love is real and love is between us and Krishna. But here in the material world that love is reflected in a perverted way and we are trying to experience love in a different way. So we can not actually taste the real love in the material world but we can get the idea of what love is.
If you imagine the water that the mango tree is reflected on becomes disturbed by a strong wind then because there are many disturbances and waves on the water the reflection of the original tree becomes unclear. So the reflection of the mango tree is becoming perverted or distorted due to the movement of the water. Similarly this material world is a reflection of the spiritual world on our desire. So as the reflection of the mango tree is perverted and distorted by the movement of the water, in this material world the reflection of the reality of the spiritual world is perverted and distorted by our desires. The reflection of the tree is on the water, the reflection of the spiritual world is on our desire. So the more disturbed the water is the more unclear the reflection of the original tree becomes, and the more our desires are diverted from the service of Krishna, the more perverted and distorted the reflection of the spiritual world appears in the material world…
So something which is originally pure like the love Krishna has with Radha is reflected in this material world in a perverted way and the original pure thing becomes contaminated in the reflection.
So I have explained these points to give some background to understanding “What Does Krishna Look Like?” So I think you can understand that what we see here in the material world can give us some idea of what is in the spiritual world, but you know that the real substance is not here because what we are seeing here is only a perverted reflection. Still we can understand something from the reflection of the mango tree in the water, particularly if it is a calm day and the water is still. Similarly we can understand something of the spiritual world by seeing its reflection here in the material world particularly if our mind is peaceful and our desires are pure.
We are Made in the Image of God:
So Krishna looks like us, you know even in the Bible it says “We are made in the image of God.” So if we are made in the image of God then God must look something like us. And in fact He does. Krishna is like us in that He has two arms, two legs, a head, etc… Krishna has a human form because humans are made in the image of Krishna. But Krishna’s body is completely spiritual, Krishna does not have a material body, and Krishna has all the six opulences (wealth, strength, beauty, knowledge, fame and renunciation) in full. So in that regard we can not compare with Krishna. So Krishna is the most beautiful eternally youthful person, He is the strongest person, the wealthiest person, the most famous person, the most intelligent person and He is completely unattached.
There are many nice descriptions of Krishna in Srila Prabhupada’s books and I encourage you to read them for yourself. Particularly I encourage you to read Krsna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead. There are so many wonderful descriptions of Krishna in that book. There are also many other nice descriptions of Krishna. There is a prayer called Damodarastaka which we sing every day during the month of Damodar that very beautifully describes Krishna as the butter thief. Krishna is wonderful because everything that Krishna does is wonderful and glorified by the devotees. If an ordinary man was stealing butter then that would be criminal, but when Krishna steals butter and feeds it to the monkeys of Vrindavan the devotees very much enjoy the transcendental pastimes of Krishna.
Also Brahma-Samhita has a nice description of Krishna:
“I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord, who plays on His transcendental flute. His eyes are like lotus flowers, He is decorated with peacock plumes, and His bodily color resembles the color of a fresh black cloud, although His bodily features are more beautiful than millions of Cupids.” This beauty of the Supreme Lord can be seen by devotees who are in love with Him, devotees whose eyes are anointed with love of Godhead.” [Bs. 5.38]