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Kṛṣṇa as Divine Child Author(s): Charles S. J. White Reviewed work(s): Source: History of Religions, Vol. 10, No. 2 (Nov., 1970), pp.

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Charles S. J. White





Devotion to Krsna came to be the most popular form of Vaisnavite religion in the Indian Middle Ages in northern India. Among many poets who wrote in honor of Krsna, the blind Sfrdas stands out both for the number of verses attributed to him and the variety and subtleness with which he handled the themes relating to Krsna's incarnation. In the background of the Krsnite movement we call to mind the general history of the cult of Visnu, and particularly that element of the early cult in the sect of Vasudeva which produced the Paiicaratra system. But the growth of Krsna bhakti was a function of the clarification of certain modes in the overall morphology of bhakti.

For example, there is no absolute certainty that Vasudeva and Visnu were always interchangeable names for the same deity, or indeed that Krsna was merely an epithet of Visnu. The Mahdbhdrata speaks of both a "false" and "true" Vasudeva, the true being Krsna. On the other hand Sir R. G. Bhandarkar is of the opinion that, "Vasudeva and Krishna were originally names of distinct individuals.... Vasudeva was a Kshatriya belonging to the Yadva, Vrishni, or Satvata race who founded a theistic system. Later on 'he was identified with Krishna whose name had
I wish to express my thanks to the American Institute of Indian Studies and the American Philosophical Society for sponsoring my research in India and at the British Museum, London, respectively. This article in its present form is indebted to their assistance. 156

a very Indian counterpart of the Grecian Odysseus. See Richard M. "The Child Krishna. 2 J. 36. J.' "1 Other theories about the early Krsna include the assertion that he was merely a "sectarian" god. who is as fair as a field of wheat ready for the harvest. that relates to a more or less authentic "folk hero" type. Christianity and the Gujars.. in which the author points out the criticisms leveled against the use of solar mythology by students of history of religions in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. As Kennedy notes. or atmospheric god is evidently connected with the dark sun and the storms of the rainy . he is clearly no Aryan. .. no marriage at all. ed. a rather unsavory character. pp. Berriedale Keith. . semi-solar.. "This semi-agricultural. p. Balarama. 311 ff. although it at least shows the aspect of the Krsna legend. Thomas A. but a dark-skinned indigenous hero of the Lower Indus.. Krsna in a second category is always found together with his brother. His townsfolk of Dwaraka are drunken and dissolute.. Kennedy." Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland (1907). "The Eclipse of Solar Mythology" in Myth: A Symposium. Kennedy.. This heroic Krishna. Also see A. Materials for the Study of the Early History of the Vaishnava Sect (Calcutta: University of Calcutta Press. Krsna in his dark raiment takes over from his brother. wherein he disagrees with J.. is famous for his "policy.. and they live surrounded by Ahira and robber tribes. p.. He is also a solar hero who goes under the sea to kill Kesi and Madhu. ." Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society. Sebeok (Bloomington: Indiana University Press. Dorson. appearing at an early period. N.. Grierson appends his further rebuttal. George Grierson's "Modem Hinduism and Its Debt to the Nostorians. . In a similar manner. he marries the daughter of the Bear King. He shares honors with the latter as a god of the harvest. who was "foisted" upon "Vedic believers" through identification with the Vedic Visnu." a policy which consists in breaking every law of honour in force among tih Kshatriyas.3 1 Hemchandra Raychaudhuri. and perish in a drunken brawl. 1965). 3 Kennedy. 1936). especially in comparison with the Krsna of the Bhagavad Gitd. is refuted by Kennedy with comments by Keith and G. and with another wife he contracts a Rakshasa marriage-that is. "The Child Krishna.2 He speaks first of all of the chief of Dwaraka. Great Britain (1907). particularly on the precise character of Krsna's solar affiliations as discussed below. Pope in the same journal in the following year. Kennedy gives a convenient summary of the contrasting views of Krsna held both in Indian and non-Indian sources. 157 This seems an exaggeration out of context. 961. although the bards of the MIahdbhdrata have bestowed on him the complimentary rank of a Yadava. The dark-hued Krsna symbolizes the rain and storm that follow the harvest in the cycle of Indian seasons.History of Religions been handed down as that of a holy seer. famous for his culnning and his craft rather than his prowess. perhaps a vegetation deity of the non-Aryan people." in the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland (1908).. an Asura is his cousin.

and Govinda (the herdsman of the fertilizing rain clouds).E. the slayer of Asuras. p. was also god in those regions. and his shrine is at Dwaraka on the seashore. It was perhaps not until the end of the fourth century c. 968 ff. and the Bacchanalian customs of the kings" of northwestern India signs which led them to believe the god.C. 6 Ibid.. Visnu was completely synonymous with the hero-god of the 4 Ibid.. allegedly semidivine heroes Krsna and Rama.6 The worship of 8iva. where the sun dips into the boundless ocean. devotion to Siva was noted by the Greeks. 962.Krsna as Divine Child * ? o season.E. the crowds of women. which was widespread in the third century B. as well as with Buddha. Alexander and his forces discovered in the "wild vine and the ivy."5 Krsna is also known as a folk hero of the Indus valley who has affinities with various members of the Vedic pantheon. the center of Visnu's cult. "This elder Krishna is [very ancient]. who thought such worship was for the god known to them as Herakles. More specific evidence for worship of Krsna at this early period comes from the Greek accounts of an Indian group that migrated to Armenia in the period 149-127 B. and is associated with certain other personages. he is at times closely related to Indra. one might argue that Krsna is not really a solar god in his own right but rather that he acquires this characteristic through combination with Visnu. respectively.-only long after Visnu had achieved ascendency as personal god over the Krsna assumes final identification impersonal Absolute-that with him as his embodiment. The Greeks contribute theories about the Lord Krsna. Among his epithets are Upendra (the little Indra). the home of Krsna. he is always the son of Devaki and Vasudeva. 158 ."4 However. Dionysus.E. a derivative and epithet of Krsna.: they worshiped Kisen or Damodara. By the fourth or fifth centuries C. Daityas and Demons of every kind. Through syncretism with elements of Buddhism and Jainism. Visnu came to be the outstanding savior god in the Indian pantheon. One of the particular features of Visnu's cult was his identification with the historic. pp. gradually had to compete with influences coming from the Indus valley and the mountains of Kabfl. and the younger brother of Balarama. On the other hand. Besides his identification with Visnu. Kennedy goes on to say... and from the upper Doab and Rohilkhand.E.C. 5 Ibid.

they were pastoral people who entered India from the northwest where. R. and so on. 1935]). there are supposed similarities between particular elements in the legend and their Christian counterparts in the story of the Christ Child. Other authors have identified the source of the Child Krsna story as another wandering tribe. R. a baptism by Balarama. Krsna's birth in a stable. a massacre of male children by an evil king. E. a city formerly a citadel of Siva and later the center of Buddhist and Jain cults. the Religion of the Masses [Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. In an earlier work by William Crooke.7 BACKGROUND AND KRSNA DEVELOPMENT OF THE CULT OF CHILD The Child Krsna receives the first extensive discussion in the Visnu-Purdna and the Harivamsa. Their chief deity was a boy-god who was a herdsman. 976. for example the names Yasoda and Nanda. 9 The modern name for the Abhiras is Ahirs.History of Religions northwest regions. who came eastward from Syria or Asia Minor into India somewhere aroung the beginning of the Christian era. the flight of his foster father with the infant. Bhandarkar is of the opinion that they came into India at the beginning of the first century C. ed.8 Certain elements in the legends of the child probably come from Buddhist sources. it is chiefly Kennedy who supports the thesis of Christian influence. The home of the divine child was Mathura. into religious categories: hence hero cults pass easily out of history and the profane world into the sacred world of India (cf. Early in this century these resemblances to the Christian material led to a strong controversy over the possible Christian origins for parts of the Child Krsna legend. mythic remembrances. Rites and Attitudes (Honolulu: East-West Center. S. it is unlikely that the Abhiras would have had knowledge of Christian materials. prior to the sixth century C.E. 1965). namely. L. G. the appearance of a star. according to Fa-hian and others. Popular Hinduism. the Abhiras.. O'Malley.9 7 Various approaches to the study of Krsna by contemporary scholars appear in a work edited by Milton Singer. in chap. 159 . Enthoven (London: Oxford University Press. Krishna: Myths. However. animals. Religions and Folklore of Northern India. they might have acquired a smattering of the Christian myth from Nestorian or other missionaries operating in Central Asia. p.. Krsna's foster parents. persons.. 6 the author speaks of the "rephasing" of events. S. etc.E. who had formerly been an ecstatic god of Dionysian character. 8 Kennedy. the special honors paid to Krsna's mother. In either case. and later in the BhagavataPurdna." the modern Gujars of the Panjab Valley. Krsna of Dwaraka. On the other hand. One scholar's theory was based on the supposed connection of the Child Krsna with the "nomads of Braj. Raychaudhuri believes they predate the Christian era by several centuries. 1926).

thus linking the gods in question directly with herds of cattle. now let us turn to a more careful analysis of the mythic ideas concerning Child IKrsna and their use in literature. Likewise. 160 . He painstakingly discusses similarities with the Christian story with reference to their Hindu counterparts either near the beginning of the Christian era or earlier. 10 Raychaudhuri. however. in the case of Krsna.11 Such a refutation. 1959) is scientific. trans.. In the Rg Veda it is further There is an earlier author who is interested in Christian influences: Albrect Weber in Uber Krishna's Geburtsfest (Berlin. 145. F. Rama's birth is described in detail.12 With these preliminary ideas in mind. Krsna is mentioned together with his mother Devaki. a motif supposedly of Christian origin also occurs here. fails to explain the peculiar ensemble of these stories. by the Middle Ages. 328. the Christian nativity narrative is itself known to have outside influences. India and Christendon (La Salle. Krishna and Orpheus.. In the Rg Veda it says. pp.: Open Court Publishing Co. cf. and India is a possible candidate along with the more accepted Greco-Roman world. 3. "May the seven times seven all-potent Maruts . ? While it is not our place to treat each theory. After all. 1868). Singer.. The story of the enmity of the evil king Kamsa toward Krsna is referred to in Patinijali's Mahdbhdsya. and in other works of varying quality.E. Ill. 146 ff.Krsna as Divine Child ? . paralleling those in the Christian narrative. may also be elaborations from the stem Go. 12 Richard von Garbe.. renowned upon the [banks of] the Yamuna. ordinarily applied to Krsna but formerly attributed to Visnu in his identification with Indra. written in the second century B.10 He refers to the relevant Indian literature and shows that. has made the child-god the focus of a widespread movement of devotion and philosophy within the bhaktic mode. 13 Rg Veda. a part of which is pre-Christian.C. The notion that he rested on his mother's lap. and concludes that the theory of "plagiarism" is a weak one. bestow upon me hundreds of cows. The enthusiasm of the Aryan pastoralists for cattle followed very naturally from their dependence upon herds as food and symbols of wealth in the community. p. we might make reference to Raychaudhuri's refutation of supposed Christian influences. in the Rdmayana. mystical connections are outlined in E.. Schure. Rothwell (London: Wellby. yet as early as the Cdndogya Upanisad. influence is no reflection upon the final uniqueness of the Indian religious expression which."13 It has been suggested that the epithets Gopala and Govinda. 1904). 11 Ibid.

4 161 14 Ibid. In any case. Balarama.C. In this second case there is some evidence for the influence of Christian ideas having come either from contacts made in Central Asia. either the Abhiras or the Gujars. Hence. p. Krsna. was miraculously transferred to the womb of Rohini. Stories of the early years of Krsna's life make reference to the fact that Kamsa. 154. that there is very little information concerning the Child Krsna at the earliest period of the sources. p.. 6. Yasoda.E. We have referred to the function of the solar myth in respect to Visnu. who was a Rsi and a priest of the sun. murdered Devaki's first six sons because of a prophecy that one of her male children would kill him. however. Because of his mention in the Cdndogya Upanisad.15 on the other there are the later influences coming with the entry of new tribes into India. the relating of Krsna to the sun cult may be a "historical" necessity. it would have been necessary that he lived before 600 B. 17 Ibid."14 Two streams of Indian tradition coalesce to provide the context for the imagery of the myth of the Child Krsna in the later literature. King of Mathura. was given to the herdsman Nanda and his wife.. On the one hand there is the tradition which views Visnu together with the herds of the early Aryan community. . 55. as he grew 15 Raychaudhuri. p. the seventh. or as a result of indigenous Christian influence from the south.17 We learn in the Cdndogya Upanisad that the young Krsna received his education from Ghora Angirasa. 71. 73. Vasudeva's second wife. he spent his youth sporting with Gopis. Afterward. and if Krsna were a historical personage. before entry into India proper. 16 Ibid. his amorous sports. who was born naturally. 1.History of Religions written that Visnu's highest dwelling place is filled with "many horned swiftly moving cows. do not enter the literature until the Harivamsa and the Purdnas. and of the that was the son he royal family of Buddhist-agree that he had a brother and was Devaki his mother that Mathura. named Baladeva or Samkarsana or Balarama.16 Various traditions-Hindu. Beyond this. Jain. The particular relations of the youthful Krsna with Gopis.. who raised him at Gokul and Vrndivan. some Indian and Western writers criticize the sexual aspect of the legend of Krsna and would rather not assign it to the earliest period of the scriptures. We must admit.

pointing. and with songs upon our lips. Hooper. look at my son Govinda's play. Among Saivites the play of the Lord is projected to his 8akti. See how he calls thee. or Maya. Wilson'srepublishedtranslationof the VishnuPurdna (Calcutta:Punthi Pustaks. if thou wishest to play with this little black one. disregard not my lord. 1961). Hinduism and Buddhism (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul. My little one. 162 20 19 Eliot. This use of the theme of the child has likewise influenced the medieval concept of Rama. J. the child of Northern Mathura. is calling thee. It is as though Yasoda were speaking: 1. S. but run hither joyously! 9. childhood is associated with the sport or lila of the transcendent form of the deity. 160. In her Tiruppavai she describes the hastening of the Gopis to rouse Krsna from his sleep. who filled his hands full from the pot.Krsna as Divine Child older. Periyalvar describes the infant Krsna. He rolls around in the dust. 18 Sir Charles Eliot. big Moon. 37-38.20 The famous woman Alvar. A detailed account of all essential mythic elements is found in H. strewing fair flowers. In his collection of hymns called the Tiruppalldndu. There he assumed the kingship of the Yadavas and continued to kill tyrants and monsters. .18 Sir Charles Eliot points out that the infant Krsna is most commonly adored under the guise of Makhan Chor. with his little hands! O big Moon. pointing. if thou hast eyes in thy face-and then. expressed her devotion in ecstatic lines. 1954). Hymns of the A. And meditating in our hearts on himMaya. 2:154. my blessing. In the story of Krsna. or the Butter Thief. Among the earliest literary uses of the Child Krsna material we find that the poems of some of the A. my Lord. 1929). be gone! 2.lvrs show detailed knowledge of its leading motifs. who was Periyalvar's adopted daughter. hide not thyself in the clouds. Anidal. pp.lvrs (London: Oxford University Press. Adoring. big Moon. so that the jewel on his brow keeps swinging and his waist-bells tinkle! Oh. he is the little one who of old slept on the banyan leaf! If he be wroth. run hither joyously."19 The waywardness of childhood becomes an effective image for the divinity in one of its aspects. Krsna killed Kamsa and thereafter transported the inhabitants of Mathura to DwIraka. When thus all pure we come. Despise him not because he is a child. H. p. he will rise up and leap on thee and seize thee. precious to me as nectar. and gorged himself with ghi! There is no doubt that he will slay thee with his discus. but come rejoicing! 7. M. "This represents him as a crawling child holding out one hand full of curds or butter which he has stolen. so if thou wouldst live.

Although they were the protectors of the entire universe they were born. like to cotton that within the fire flames into dust. began to assume the same form. clad in blue raiment prepare clarified butter and accordingly there blows sweet-scented air. O sinless one. The ground there was saturated with the leavings of curd and it was filled with the play-ground of milkmen and abounded in boys wearing feathers of crows. From today. it is the Bhagavata Purana. chaps. Harivamsha(Calcutta:Elysium. Elorombavay! Lo. 59. living in the forest. 62. for this. bk. p.. will be a refuge of the milkmen in their perils and a protector of the kine in the cow-shed. the same person in two bodies. bk.24 However. seen by Nanda and Yasoda as they bring the child home. Krsna is eulogized for his heroism in these phrases: After the king of serpents had thus fled away vanquished.. trans. who brightly lit His mother's womb-faults past and faults to come Cease. delightedly said to Nanda: "Indeed thou art fortunate and a favorite of the gods since your son is [so powerful]. wilt thou not arise ?21 In the Harivamsa we find scenes and events that inspire the medieval conception of the Child Krsna.History of Religions The Ruler of great jumna's sacred stream: The shining lamp which in the shepherd caste Appeared...23 The Child Krsna was capable of the greatest deeds on behalf of the herdsmen of Braj. chaps. These two great energies. although of one body. as if turned out by one mould. 22 ManmathaNath Dutt.. They thus sported there like boys. to live on the same food and to put on the same dress. It was filled with the sound of churning. identical with the witness of the worlds. All through the circumference there were stakes fixed on the ground and ropes for the calves. The youthful damsels of milk-men. the powerful Krishna. assumed two human forms for the destruction of the demons and for accomplishing the only great work of the resuscitation of sacrifices. 23 Ibid. On one occasion he drove away the king of serpents Kalya who had made a large lake in the Yamuna River dangerous for the citizens of Braj. 1-5. 24-28. having large eyes. 24 Ibid.. 163 . the Lord came out from the water and stood on the bank. Thereupon these milkmen.. bk. 51. probably written in the period of the tenth to the twelfth centuries. Damodaran.22 Krsna is described together with Balarama in an exalted manner: Those two beautiful boys... pp. Thus we read of the Village of Braj. Filled with surprise the milkmen chanted his glories and circumambulated him. 67. as cow-herds. to lie down on the same bed. birds are singing! and has thou not heard? Heard the white shell's deep sounding in the shrine Of the bird's Lord? Child. 44-46. 1897). that was a constant 21Ibid. Ah.. resembling the rising sun.

Hence in the Bhagavata Purdna. 1. 10. 5.While Yasoda was busily engaged in caring for her guests.). bearing a conch. Balarama. Carrying presents. and with his flowing locks shining with the rays of the invaluable lapises embossed in his crown and the gems constituting his pendants. she noticed that he was falling asleep.Krsna as Divine Child * *. chap. She gently placed him under a cart where he would be shaded and unmolested. vol. trans. is actually born from the womb of Rohini. milk. n. the kingdom erupts in a frenzy of rejoicing: The wives of the cow-herds having heard that a son had been born unto Jashoda.26 The writers of the various Krsnite narratives take particular pleasure in revealing the miraculous strength hidden within the form of the child.. with bracelets. Sanayal. armlets. 1-10. sprinkling curd. having the sign of Sribatsa. Srimad-Bhagbatam (Calcutta:OrientalPublishing Co. The cow-herds were greatly delighted. chap. a simple event at the celebration of his first birthday helps to reveal his true character. bk. Vasudeva saw him [the boy] with his person set off with a beautiful Zone. 164 .. were greatly delighted and began to decorate their persons with garments. armed with a mace and other weapons. and other garments. clarified butter and water on one another and smearing one another with butter they tried to throw one another down on the slippery pavement. among his other marvelous feats. But the baby boy awoke and began to cry out for food and in his distress wiggled his arms and legs in the air. having four arms. and with neck adorned with the Kaustabha gem. Due to the fall it had crushed the pots containing various kinds of delicious liquids.. with a complexion beautiful like that of dense raincloud. He saw the boy clad in a blue garment. The cart sufferedthe consequences: Being struck with the little feet of the baby. on his breast... and the wheels. that was lying under it. delicate like unto the coral. The seventh son of Devaki.27 25 J. ornaments and collyrium. after the baby Krsna had been anointed and the various benedictions given by the priests. they speedily arrived at their king's palace. source of inspiration to Vaisnavites of various sects and schools in the Middle Ages.. the cart was thrown off at a distance with its upside down.. 7. and with their moving breasts and round hips. pole and yoke of the cart were all shattered. 27 Ibid.25 When Krsna is taken by his adoptive parents Nanda and Yasoda to Braj. 26Ibid. bk. then Visnu incarnates as Krsna: Vasudeva saw that wonderful boy [the new bor baby] having eyes like lotus-petals. 10. M. Their lotus-like faces were beautiful with filaments of lotuses and with fresh saffrons. 1. bk.d. In it the sequence of traditional events associated with the birth of Krsna is followed. chaps.

E.. For suggestive statements regarding the interpretations of episodes in the Krsna myth. or sages proud of the discontinuance of worldly acts as he is by the devotees. as free from all changes. the whole universe "in extenso. the Zodiacpresidingover the senses."28 As the supreme being.)29 One day Krsna's companions came crying to Yasoda. see Enrico G.. the oceans and the mundanesphere. who is "all that is effulgent. the heavenly quarters. W. "The Divine son of the Gopi is not so easily obtainable by the ascetics proud of their body. 10. he holds within his own body. Literature.30 This experience filled Yasoda with terror." Yasoda is an exemplary type of the devotee who obtains from the Supreme a special knowledge of himself that cannot be obtained in other ways. 1900). Ward. . the objects of perceptionand the three principles. Krsna's superhuman character is sometimes described in detail. 30 Srimad-Bhagbatam. bk."31 29 Charlotte Vaudeville.the granddivisionsof the earth with the mountains. 23. The author refers to principal European studies of the Krsnite material in the introduction. M. and she became as infatuated as before. 1955)." (This image also appears in the Bhusuundi Rdmdyan of Tulsi Das's Rdmcaritmdnas. and Religion of the Hindoos (Madras: Higginbottham.History of Religions Amazed at this demonstration of strength. bk. "Instantly. Etude sur les sources et la composition du Rdmdyana de Tulsi Dds (Paris: Librarie d'Amerique et d'Orient. 15. 31. Yasoda seized the boy and ordered him to open his mouth: The Almighty Hari . Publishing House. J. the Gopi lost her knowledge of the self and under the influence of Maya took her son on her lap. his foster parents and the assembled priests and guests recited mantras. 1934). He is related to the "elementary cause. 13. and sought to invoke good omens out of the threatening performance.. Hunter. as something real. chanted spells. bk. 1863). 8.the atmosphere. A View of the History. as all consciousness. the ethereal dome. Quattro Note Sul Krishnaismo (Bologna. W. The use of the Krsna legend in Hindu rites is described in S. the whole universe. pp. 31 Ibid. as transcending the principles. the sense organs. 10. Natesa Sastri. 1903)." the Brahman of the Vedas. opened his mouth. H. vol. A Short Description of Hindoo and Muhammedan Public Holidays (Poona: Commercial Printing Works. who had in his sport assumedthe form of a human child. Hindu Feasts. Carpani. but Krsna took pity on her and overwhelmed her with his personal energy.. chaps. Fasts and Ceremonies (Madras: M. Then her heart overflowed with increasing affection. even though he is born out of the womb of Devaki. chap. Yashoda then saw inside the mouth of Krishna. Die Berner Tafeln zur Krishna-Legende: Separat-Abdruck aus dem Jahrbuch des Bernischen Historischen Museums in Bern (1935).the fire and lightning. and yet as one perfoming no actions. the mobile and immobile creation. chap. They said that Krsna had eaten earth.the mind. 165 28Ibid. 10. Another significant Continental document regarding the Krsna legend is Emil Abegg. 271 ff.

msa and the Bhagavata Purdna. 1929]). and being seated in the midst of his friends.. n.35 There he developed his philosophy."34 Vallabha spent most of his life in North India in the region of Vrndavan and Mathura. "The Path of Acquiring Grace of the Almighty..d. he [Krishna] made all laugh with jokes. 2:250-51. 16 ff. there are allusions to Krsna's waywardness. 35 Bhai Manilal C. he will strike holes in the pots. Shah. 34 Sir CharlesEliot. for whom Krsna inspired the feeling of Vdtsalyabhdva Bhakti.E. In Hindi. etc. making the jewels of his person to serve the purpose of lamps.). For a more elementary introduction to the teaching of the Vallabha sectarians. He [Krishna] kept the flute between the belly and the cloth thereon.33 Beyond these and a few other similar incidents in both the Hariva. too. . consult Lallf-Bhai Prana-Vallabha Dasa Parekh. he laughs out. Inventing novel means of pilfering. 32 Ibid. When he does not find anything. . Again knowing these to be concealed in pots hanging in swings. 1943). a morsel of food mixed with curd in his left hand and Bilva [Bell] fruits in his fingers. [The cowherd boys] take meals in company with Krishna.) (also see Jethalal G. the traditional sources soon depart from the story of the Child Krsna and pursue the amorous sports of the adolescent with the Gopis. he creates expedients by piling wooden seats and mortars. Sri Vallabhacarya: Life. At times when the wives of the cow-herds will be occupied in the performance of household duties..Krsna as Divine Child * *oC In the early period of his life. Krishna steals away and drinks tasteful curd and milk. AND HIS SAMPRADAY VATLLARHACARYA The growth of the cult of Child Krsna among bhaktas in the Middle Ages is attributable to the teaching of the sect leader (Acdrya) Vallabha (1479-1531 c. Krsna and the other cowherds gathered together with their cattle in some distant place in the forest and played games and had their meals. 10. bk. as the butter thief and so on: The wives of the cow-herds see the beautiful boyish pranks of Krishna. Astchdp aur Vallabh-Sampraddy (Prayag: Hindi-Sahitya Samelan. Teachings and Movement (Rajkot: Shri Bhagavata Dharma Mission. pp..32 Then. 33 Ibid. When these things such as milk. consult Dindayalu Gupt. are placed beyond the reach of his hands. he will finish the works of theft in dark rooms. And if someone out of anger says anything unto him. curd. Parekh. being angry on the household he goes away after having made the infants cry aloud. 8.. Otherwise Called the 166 . Krsna appeared to him in a vision and asked him to "promulgate his worship in the form of the divine child known as Bala Gopala. chap. the love for God which is like that of a parent for a child. A Primer of Anu-Bhashya [Nadiad: Shree Pushtimargiya Library. the horn and rod on his left side. etc..

God manifests his Sacciddnanda character in different proportions both in the heart of the Godhead and in the manifested world. A." The Pushti Marga (Nadiad: Krishna Bhavan. 88 ff. see Pranshankar Shastri. Allen. are the same. forms and aspects. awareness. pp. 1910). Malabari. A difficulty arises in understanding the nature of the jiva or Nirguna-Bhakti Marga or the Path of Pure Love towards the Almighty. 37 Ibid.36 He rejected the latter's teaching of the doctrine of Mdyd which he thought set up a false antithesis between the real and the illusory. In Visuddhddvaita the Supreme is known as Krsna." God thus creates the world out of his very own being. (1) principle that dwells in individual souls."37 There is no essential difference between God and his creation. He creates it with different qualities. Radhakrishnan. "The cause. Another interesting work is N. "He is not sa-guna or possessed of qualities for the simple reason that the qualities do not stand against him depriving him of his independence. In this system God is both agent and non-agent.. The Vaishnavas of Gujrat (Being a Study in Methods of Investigation of Social Phenomena) (Nasanvan: Ardshe Thoothi. He is both sa-guna and nirguna. and the effect. 1865). (3) Aksara-Brahman. Gujarat and the Gujaratis (London: W. The Brahma Sfitra (New York: Harper & Bros. The reason for the creation of the world is the delight of the Supreme in the act of creation itself.. p. and The History of the Sect of Maharajas or Vallabhacaryas (Triibner. For the ceremony of initiation in the Vallabha sect. 1960). This author also speaks defensively concerning the Vallabhites in light of the so-called Maharaja libel case. but though the world thus appears to be very diverse. the world.d.History of Religions styled Visuddhddvaita. The prefix viMuddhameans "pure. 1915). Malabari paints the Maharajas in lurid colors. H. 1882). as or Para-Brahman Krsna. (2) Antaryamin. Thoothi. a concept that encompasses both the phenomenal world and its cause. Brahman. two works that contain much useful information about general Krsnite practices in the midnineteenth century as well as that pertaining to the Vallabhite sect and the Maharaja libel case are: The Maharajas (Bombay. the aspects. Mdyd is a convenient term that expresses the power of Brahman. 36 S. n. Finally.). but Brahman is not in any sense distinct from his power. being. 167 . Another work on the same subject is Behraniji M. it is harmoniously one. He is the same as the Brahman of the Upanisads-the embodiment of and He bliss has three modal (Sacciddnanda). 90. 1861)." and we have in Vallabha's thought the peculiar situation of the postulating of "Pure Non-Dualism" as the complete antithesis of gamrkara's Advaita. He is the controller of the qualities and so their existence and non-existence depend on him. Brahma-Sambandha Kavya (Ahmedabad.

Srng r. However. that Krsna enjoys in the forest with his companions. The bhakta is transported to Vrnddvan where he may become a tree or a bird. 168 . This has sometimes led to criticism by outsiders. the attained and the attainer. love and service. became the founder of the dynastic hierarchy that leads the sect until today.Krsna as Divine Child * o.39 A corollary of this teaching was the life of the "church" or Sampraddy. the daily services in the Havelis (house temples) and the great respect shown toward the hierarchy have certainly contributed to the continuing strength of the movement. represented by a beautifully clothed image and honored by daily ceremonies. Vallabha holds that the jgva and Pdra-Brahman are coexistent. without whom they could not exist. Gwdld.40 Under Vitthalnath.E. The next. Rajbhog. Utthdpan. the soul is admitted to the eternal sports of Krsna. his second son. The consecrated image of Krsna is thought to be the God itself and is worshiped according to a pattern derived from the details known about Krsna's life. having no connection with Vallabha 39 Bhandarkar. However. There is always a distinction between the giver and the receiver. His image is then shown in a third action. whose chief deity was the Child Krsna. give special emphasis to identification with Radha. The nature of their relationship may be summed up this way. In attaining the highest form of bhakti. soul. There are eight sections or darsanas in the worship. "The Supreme who is dnanda-maya gives bliss to the jwvas and cannot itself be the jiva." The state of bhakti when we enjoy God with all our senses and mind is even better than moksa. The fifth. enthusiasm grew among the sect members for the esthetic aspect of their devotion to Krsna. a cow or a beast. The fourth at noon reenacts the meal. p. displays Krsna clothed in his beautiful robes. leading the cows to graze in the meadow.). Through intense attachment to the Supreme one perceives him in all things. After Vallabha's death. 40 An analogous sect. hence not the same. who is their supporter. Bhakti for Vallabha is prema and sevd. for Vallabha bhakti is the "only means to salvation. celebrates 38 Ibid. suddha-pusti-bhakti (pure-sustenance bhakti). 114."38 Finally. founded by Vallabha. Vitthalnath (1516-86 C. for they are all manifestations of God. or he may become a cowherd or Gopi and join Krsna's dance. the jivas are under the control of Brahman. himself. The first of these. Mangala. takes place in the morning as an act of awakening. the Radha Vallabhas. through his sons. succeeded him as head of the Sampraday and.

SURDAS. 169 . as soon as they rise. Krishna is worshipped with a rare pomp. which would have enabled him to know Vallabha as well as come under the influence of his son. 3. 1934). he is very careful. [sic] and says. illusory and unworthy of consideration. anoints it. that the image should be laid down to rest. or twilight. The strange ecstatic imagination of the devotee weaves an atmosphere of concreteness and reality around the object of worship out of elements-his overwhelming love and self-surrender-which to the outsider may seem insubstantial.. expresses his views of the cult (Thoothi.. the sixth. 1967). following the impulse of feelings enkindled by their own." A more modern observer. Songs in praise of Krishnu are very common amongst this sect. vii ff. W. He is talked of as the darling of the family. and he therefore makes an offering of sweetmeats to him early in the morning. only at the appointed hours. During Bhoga. he is respected as the keeper of the conscience of the household. Krsna brings the cows home. but they repeat the name of Krishnf. The last depicts him retiring for the day and is called Sayan which means "going to sleep. AND KRSNA According to the usual authorities. p.E. Krsna takes a light meal with his friends."41 Thus. omitting the usual purifications and ablutions before morning worship. The Religious Poetry of Surdds (Inaugural Dissertation zur Erlangung der Doktorwurde der Hohen Philosophischen Fakultat der AlbertusUniversitat zu K6nigsberg. The Rev. VALLABlA. save me!' Others. the man's image is that of the infant Krishnfi: he imagines it necessary that the god should be honored as a child. too. 'Oh. the friend of the friendless: I am destitute. more fervent in their attachment. pp.. and sometimes an enthusiast falls to the ground while singing. Surdas was born around 1484 C. and observe the national festivals in his honor. he bathes. and exhibits all the symptoms of superstitious frenzy. 251 ff. and raised up again. in this case a Hindu devotee. Such a worshipper presents himself before the image of Krishnu.42 However. the present reality seems not too distant from the time and places recorded in the Purdnas and Sfir's writing." in Understanding in History of Religions (Chicago: University of Chicago Press..History of Religions the awakening from his midday nap. T'hakoorfu! Thou art God. there is no irrefutable 41 Parekh.) has this to say about the worship of the Child Krsna: "Another class of Hindoos place a greater reliance on Devotion than on divine knowledge." For a description of contact with contemporary Vallabha devotees consult my "A Note toward Understanding in Field Method: The Vallabhasampraday. Ward (pp.. 93): "So whatever the image of Krishna might be. splendour and devotion. aged and balanced men and women to join in the games of the Divine Babe Krishna and take a genuine living interest in the many comforts he desires of them and the many discomforts he wants them to remove.. In the seventh action at Sandhyd. imaginations. Some individuals are directed in their religious duties by the Hindoo writings: but the great body are enthusiasts. as the details of the life of the child are vividly reenacted and made the object of meditation. For instance. he is made so much of that one sometimes really wonders how at all it can be possible for wise. He probably lived to be eighty years of age. hasten.. and adorns it with the utmost fondness. the maker of the world. Vitthalnath. 42 Janaradan Misra. proclaiming the name and reciting the praises of Krishni. he is considered so sacred. These persons reject many of the Hindoo ceremonies.. I am thy servant. to pay all those marks of respect and attention to the image which belong to the character under which they worship it. p. worship the common images of this god. Some of them wander from village to village. the saviour.

What little we can say about him historically can be summed up in the thesis that he lived largely in or around Braj where his religious temperament. He does not mention Vallabha's conception of Pusti bhakti nor make use of any technical terms of the Visuddhddvaita. current in other vernacular writings and influenced by the Bhagavata Purdna. There is no other means in this Kali age. which can save. as well as the poet's own remarks on the subject of his blindness. it had often been said that he had been a court poet of Akbar. It is more or less in the form of hints. 32-33." And also: "[I have] firm hope of these feet [of the Guru]. coupled with a gift for song and poetry. It is alleged that he met Vallabha at an undetermined date in his career and from him received the inspiration for his poetic works. The secret was revealed by the Spiritual Guru [Sat Guru]. etc.. In discussing his life. These hints have been wonderfully developed by Vallabhacarya. The traditions. Misra tries to describe the nature of the relationship of Vallabha and Surdas and the common tradition that produced them both: "The Bhagavata gives an ordinary description of passionate Divine Love. but his general disdain for the things of the world would tend to suggest that his name had been confused with that of another poet with the same name. it is said.. In the whole world it is darkness without the light of the moon of the nails of Shri Vallabha. however. 49-50."43 Vitthalnath. To express his feelings of gratefulness to Vallabha for his initiation into the bhakti of Krsna tradition has it that he composed the following lines: "I found the self within my own self. conflict. Nrsimha and other avatars of Visnu. Surdas wrote more or less exclusively on the theme of bhakti. particularly honoring the Child Krsna. was at his side when he died. he tended in addition to follow the wider tradition of Krsnite bhakti. 170 .. his poetry has been adapted to sectarian use. in any case. he seems to have lost his eyesight rather late in life. The sound and sound alone shone forth everywhere. 44 Ibid. Gopi. 43 Ibid. Flute. pp. led him to write eulogies of Lord Krsna. ways and a slave unpaid for.Krsna as Divine Child evidence for Surdas's relationship with these men or the sect they founded.44 Surdas was educated in Sanskrit literature and perhaps knew the philosophical writings of Vallabha. What will Sur say: He is blind in both . We accept its possibility from the tradition maintained in the Sampraday and because. Rasa. pp.. He also wrote in honor of Rama.

171 . The object of the work is to point out (1) the origin and structure of Brajbhasa. Most known. 46 Ibid. or stanzas. he wrote. The woman looks with pleasure at the crooked nail of the lion at the chest of Hari. is a composition of mixed themes. 1957). intended to be accompanied by musical instruments."46 but it is. Sur ki Bhdsd (Lucknow: Hindi Vibhag. 47 Misra. "ek laksh pad band"-"I wrote a lakh of padas!" Present estimates run around 10.. enormous figures are usually advanced on the number of padas. p. Suir is the Arjuna of Vallabha through whom he finds his expression. rather. p. number.History of Religions and what was impossible for Vallabhacarya was made possible by Sfurdas.000 fantastic number in itself. 58. It appears that Mahadeva has taken down the moon and kept it [at his breast]. p. "It is not a poetical work written in particular metres after the manner of a Mahakavya. In a line in the Sursardvali he says. The relevance of Sfr's poetry to the history of Hindi language is discussed in Premnarayan Tamdan. Surdas wrote in a dialect of Hindi called Brajbhasa. blue diamond and a garland of lotuses decorate his neck.."47 45 Ibid. Lucknow University. The philosophic majesty of Vallabha flowed through the music and poetry of Sfirdas into the heart of those who could understand Hindi. and that after Sfrdas one might say that the development of Brajbhasa was related to Sfrdas's poetry."45 Respecting his poetic compositions. but on account of Sfirdas he is greater. the Sirsdgar. In Surdas. In one section of the Suirsdgar Krsna is described with the symbols of Siva: "red lines appear as if the third eye is burning the enemy [Kama]. covering the various aspects of bhakti familiar in the development of Hinduism. The principal work of Surdas. Vallabhacarya was great. the terms of monistic philosophy are reinterpreted to conform with the several nuances of the nonmonistic world view. composed of songs in the classical Raga and Ragini modes. various motifs of Hinduism exert their influence on one another: Saivism provides a certain background for the predominantly Vaisnavite understanding of the personal deity. 40. 58. attributed verses-a a critical edition of the future will greatly reduce this likely. and (2) the fact that as a language it was shaped by the Hindi poetry prior to Sirdas. [As if] with poison and skull in his neck and serpent on his breast he has become the enemy of Madana. The philosophy of Passionate Love reached its climax in the poetry of Surdas. A Kathula. The dust of the court yard at the body of Shyam appears beautiful as if the body of Shambu were decorated with ashes.

complains of the erotic enthusiasm shown by the Gopis toward her child.Krsna as Divine Child Surdas attempts to reconcile Krsna and Rama because they are both aspects of Visnu. On the other hand their identification receives metaphysical sanction: "Rama and Krishna are the two charming appearances of Brahma for the sake of his servants." Vallabha's teaching centered upon Krsna.. She is the mistress of Shesa. Listen. Yagoda. Mahesha. In one poem Devaki exclaims. 'What did you hear of our fame.. as the child deity.. they obtain the feet of Krishna. It has been declared by the Vedas and Upanishads. O! Venerable Brahma! They are the essence of the world."'50 CHILD KRSNA THEMES IN SURDAS I."48 But even with these and other divergent themes for his art. his foster parents. Seeing her. On the one hand they are made compatible through making their legends meet at certain common points. "On earth or water. as well. Uma and Shaci and Arundhati come every day to see her. who are the worshipers of your feet. but general Krsnaism emphasizes not Krsna alone but his relationship with Radha. as when Suirdas tells of Krsna's hearing the story of Rama's fight with Ravana and desiring to go to help him." And Surdas writes: "The lady [Radha] has worn blue cloth and shines like the flash of lightning on the cloud.. Our business is to play and move among boys." Speaking of Radha. p. Rma. . Surdas is thought to be at his best when he writes about the Divine Child-often transposing other themes to this purpose. "Shyam and Rama smiled and said. for example. 50 Ibid. I do not live without you. . p. first among the Gopis. 68. . 172 . "Such a beautiful face has never been seen before! With a crown 48 Ibid. wherever I live. 49 Ibid. 151.. Suirdas says. the gods shower down flowers and out of joy sing her praise. "My Hari is only ten years old and yet you are mad about him!"49 Even when Krsna is fighting alongside other chiefs and warriors he still remains a child. "The Beautiful Radhika and Shyam form the highest limit of the three Gunas and joy. p. masters of the different parts of the world. 150. but some of them give emphasis to his being an incarnation and the son of Devaki and Vasudeva. Nativity and Infancy: These refer particularly to the flight and the early days with Yasoda and Nanda. the poet has Krsna say. 0! Shyama..

"51 Kr.' to my son.. my little. Yasoda is constantly glad to see the baby teeth of Krsna. "There is a crowd of milkmen and women at Mahari's doors: this glory is beyond description. Then Vasudeva on hearing this stood up." "Yasoda got up. Why not caressing him." Simple scenes inspired by infancy are chosen by the poet for development." He continues. "Surdas says that Nand sees Krsna's teeth as lightning flashing in a lotus flower. He had the four arms [of a perfect Visnu]. "Yasoda [holds these] questions in her heart: When will my darling son crawl? When shall I see his two milk teeth? When will he call to Nand his father? When will he grab the borders of my sari ? When I am eating a little bit. "and quench the thirst of your eyes. when will he take some of that and put it in his mouth?" The poet does not fail to describe Krsna's first steps: "he sets his toddling feet on the ground. 173 . "on his head. saw the face of the boy and was beside herself with happiness. saw his son's face and his pleasure was beyond description." Another poem tells of the arrival of Vasudeva at Nanda's. singing. lovely Gopal. Nand came running. 12 ff. ed. oh sleep. . "Why don't you grow up quickly? . Yasoda sings lullabies to her pretty baby: "Moving [him gently] 'Come. Samvat 2015). "Having spoken this." In another poem Suirdas says.History of Religions on his head and wearing a yellow shawl he has the mark of the foot of Bhrgu on his chest. and they are spilling milk on the mud.. pp. and they went happily to Nanda's house.." The poet describes the response of others to the infant. her words were choked... This is the strongest desire of my heart if God would but fulfill it. "Come husband. "Oh.." These lines recall the passage from the Bhagavata Purana. There is great joy in Gokul and the whole land is sprinkled with jewels.. Dhirendra Varma (Ilahabad: Sahitya Bhacan.sna explains the reasons for his having been born and asks to be taken to Gokul. that Kanh (Krsna). his mother beholds this 51 These and the following lines in quotation marks. quoted previously. "See them. Being overjoyed. unless otherwise indicated. The old men are dancing and so are the young men and children.. should set his two feet on the ground in this yard and that he should play with Balram with joy and enthusiasm." She cried out." the poet says. he assumed the child form." she says. come and grant him sleep ? Why don't you come quickly ? Krsna is calling you. the gods are happy that a child is born." In other verses she hopes that Krsna will soon begin to show the marks of developing abilities. The Lord brings Krsna. describing Child Krsna. are my translations from an edition of The Suirsdgar-Sdr.

You talk of fruit and Padwans. Has he abandoned responsibility for the worlds? "8iva grew worried. as the boy grows older. "I wish 8yam could come to my house to eat butter. Going to the threshold. the earth. [But suddenly] in his mouth he showed the three worlds and Nand's wife was amazed.] Becoming distraught." A Gopi heard Krsna say this and thought. Going from house to house. in Sfirdas's writing." The Gopi came back. Sirdas has the Child Krsna watch his own reflection in a mirrored pillar in a Gopi's house." III. the forests and the mountains in his mouth. the lords of the four directions have alerted the elephants of the directions. and she hung an amulet at Krsna's throat. He opened to her heavens. it was indescribable. with the infant. "Mother. They left the pot empty and came out laughing. and leaned out of the window and shouted angrily. she had them look at Krsna's palm. Krsna and his friends entered and "ate up all the butter and curd. When the girl had gone to fetch a pot of butter." This leads us to a second theme. etc. but I don't like them. Krsna revealed to her the centers of the three worlds on the pretext of showing the clay in his mouth. "It's the first day that I've come here 174 . "He is pleasant to look at with the butter in his hand. Brahma wondered in his mind. "Hari was [playing] happily near Yasoda. In one poem Krsna declares flatly." Krsna went to a Gopi's house and watched secretly through the window while she churned the milk." At that moment a cowherd seized the child and ran away with him and the milkmaid was left insensible at the vision she had seen. Krsna called back to her: "My friends and I were playing. He says to it. [A reference to a sign relating the cosmic tree to the dissolution of the world. In a moment he makes a million universes and destroys them without delay." In a third poem the baby lies contentedly in his cradle and plays with his toes. his body adorned by dust. He thinks that his reflection is another boy. curd is smeared upon his lips. crawling. the Banyan having grown hangs down to the waters of the sea. The Cosmic Krsna unites." Another line says of Krsna.." In the movement of the divine child there is an evocation of his transcendent power. He falls. knowing of the great dissolution. The Butter Thief is a third theme we encounter.Krsna as Divine Child and points it out to others. he returns to his place again... the nether world. he fails to get across. I like butter. "The gods and sages reflect on this [his infant falling]. She was astounded to see rivers and Mount Sumeru there. II.

. bursts into laughter. His beautiful deeds are beyond words... Yasoda says: "The day has dawned. The butter-stealing theme contributes to the devotional mood.." In a poem of invocation to the child. [and] wishes to seize it within his hand. curd and butter together and puts it in his mouth. when will my hair grow out? How many times have I drunk milk. The women of Braj stand with garlands in their hands to get your darsan... "Sfirdas says that the sports of the Lord are resplendent and that Nand enjoys them." Afterwards. .. wake up. Surdas says. [are like golden] lotuses.Hearing these words." He tries to feed the butter to the "other boy" but the butter falls again and again to the ground." When the two brothers play together. Growing Up Pains: In one of these poems Yasoda tries to wean Krsna. 'Who is your mother ? Who is your father?' . He eats some himself and some he puts between Nand's lips. has grown dim and the young Tamal trees have flowered." IV.. again and again he asks me.. and you are such good company for me.." One day Krsna complains bitterly. V. The moon. "Daii has teased me very much. the children of Braj see you suckling and laugh at you. The people of Braj are happy that Krsna is stealing butter. It will reach the ground as long as a female serpent." Krsna says." but Yasoda warns Krsna that if he wanders far away the bogeyman will get him. and the children of Braj are calling you. "Oh Mother. mixes sugar cake." Another poem shows us the youthful Krsna of the Raslil of Vrndavan: "Be175 . the lord of stars. "Listen." she says... Snapping their fingers. Syam.. He tells me you have bought me.. . They will see Krsna eating butter and suddenly he will touch their hearts. Krsna smiles and hides his face in the folds of his mother's sari. The reflection of his hands and feet upon the golden earth .History of Religions to steal.. Oh Gopal! The young maidens have come. the cowherds make me dance and winking at one another they laugh at me. "Krsna . They strongly desire this. and still my hair is short! You say that it will become long and thick like Baldev's long hair. A milkmaid.. The sun has risen.. "because of this 8yam will come to their homes. The Transcendent Beauty of the Divine Child: Sfirdas describes Krsna crawling over Nand's golden yard where he sees his reflection in the jewels that adorn it: "Hari at times [beholds] his own image. ." Another time Krsna sulks because his half brother and the cowherds tease him: "Mother. "You are now grown up. who returns at that moment.

Archer. the sun has hidden itself in the sky. B. Obscure Religious Cults (Calcutta: K. Caitanya et sa theorie de l'amour divin (Paris: Les Presses Universitaires. K. De. M. as do Kangra Paintings of the Gita Govinda and Kangra Paintings on Love. His lips are red and his nose is aquiline and delights his people. 176 . the eldest son of Rana Sanga of Rajasthan. L. Kennedy. . respectively). enticing the chaste Gopis to leave their husbands to come and dance with him in a circling chain in the moonlight. His knee has slighted the elephant's and stolen away its beauty. M. Bose.. The Early History of the Vaisnava Faith and Movement in Bengal (Calcutta: K. M. For a recent study of the Bengali Vaisnavas.52 EXCURSUS By way of contrast with the mood of devotion in the poems of Surdas. 1957). 1930). but it was not until after the death of her husband in battle that she was fully subjected to the calumny and persecution of her in-laws and forced to flee from their home." We may leave Surdas's Divine Child at the moment when he is about to step forward into the role of the amorous provocateur of the forest where he whiles the scented nights away. Mukhopadhyaya. including The Loves of Krishna (London: Allen & Unwin. Randharva (New Delhi: National Museum. the poems of Mirambai (Mirabai). both edited by M. 1925). 1961). Dimock. E. The excess of her religious practices aroused the displeasure of her husband's family. playing upon his flute. Works by W. C. Mirabai became devoted to Krsna in her early childhood and continued her devotion after her marriage to Bhojraj. show the power of devotion for Krsna the Divine Lover. 1966). holding the beauty of his feet.. The Place of the Hidden Moon (Chicago: University of Chicago Press. G. in Marwar. In certain versions it is her husband who drives her from his home because of the jealousy he feels toward her divine "lover. also see Shashibhushan Dasgupta. His unshorn curls are like bees that swarm to the beauty of his bud-like face. L. 1963 and 1962. Diresh Chandra Sen. Sukumar Chakravarti. Caitanya and HisAge (Calcutta: University of Calcutta Press. also treat of this theme. 1922). The Post-Caitanya Sahajiya Cult of Bengal (Calcutta: University of Calcutta Press. see E.Krsna as Divine Child ?*.. T. the Rajput woman saint of the sixteenth century. (The details of Mira's early life vary with the is that of the Caitanya cult in Bengal. Jr. 1962). A garland of pearls adorns his breast and evokes a simile: as if the sky were full of stars in the night..E. as though a parrot had bent to nibble on a bimba fruit. disregarding the code of behavior of her class.") Since Mira preferred to associate with S&dhus and devotees.. she was accused 52 Possibly the most exalted and influential type of Bhakti growing from the erotic aspect of the myth of Krs. the lion feels shy and prefers to live in the thick forest. The Chaitanya Movement (Oxford: Oxford University Press. 1933). Born in 1547 C.. Other works include S. R. Beholding his waist. Mukhopadhyay.

" History of Religions 5 (Summer 1965): 54-73. who disappeared into an image of Visnu when she was presented to him in marriage. S. Bunkey Behari. A Monograph on Mirabdi (Bombay: S. Andal. For a time she went to Vrndavan where she seemed to the devotees around her to be an incarnation of the Gopi Radha. and also in S. An exile from her class and family.History of Religions of actual immorality as well. In this she reminds us of the Avair. she spent a long life in composing poems on the subject of Krsna.d. 1921). S. Mehta. 1961). Meht.53 53 Examples of her poetry and further material on her life can be found in English in: S. She traveled in different sections of northern India and at the end is supposed to have been absorbed into a statue of Krsna she had worshiped throughout her life. 177 . S. A Monograph on Mirdbdl (Bombay: Fort Printing Press. Mehta. S.). M. Bhakta Mira (Bombay: Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. n. Pandey's "Mirabai and Her Contributions to the Bhakti Movement. Bhatwadi Girgaon.