Bhakti in the Three Modes and Beyond

June 29, 2012 |

English with தமிழ் Translation; Studen, Seeland, Switzerland

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Question: I am sorry to bother you, but I have some questions about painting and drawing Krsna consciousness themes. 1) Srila Prabhupada said that Krsna is never alone, but some of the pictures in BBT books shows Krsna with flute (beautiful painting by Pariksit das,1981) with peacock, cow, calf, parrot, holding Govardhana, Damodara tasting butter etc. Should cow, flute etc. be considered… Expand>

Question:

I am sorry to bother you, but I have some questions about painting and drawing Krsna consciousness themes.

1) Srila Prabhupada said that Krsna is never alone, but some of the pictures in BBT books shows Krsna with flute (beautiful painting by Pariksit das,1981) with peacock, cow, calf, parrot, holding Govardhana, Damodara tasting butter etc. Should cow, flute etc. be considered as Krsna`s devotees, so actually He is not alone on painting, or such scene is not bonafide. I started to paint Lord Krsna holding Govardana hill, but composition of painting don`t allow me to paint no one else but peacock or cow.

2) You said once that early paintings, untill 1977, have much lighter tones then paintings made later. I am doing portraits of Srila Prabhupada in charcoal, and pastel, and I saw this drawing (made by Dridha Mataji). It`s rather dark, but i like it.I would like to try that white chalk on black paper. Is it too dark? http://www.drdhaarts.com/portfolio/images/port/sp9.jpg

3) Is it OK to put miniature clay dolls representing Krsna, gopis, cowherd boys, pecocks etc. on halava made Govardhana hill, during Govardhana puja celebration, or should that hill be made of rice with eyes and mouth (like traditionally).

4) Is it OK to let children play with such dolls representing Lord Nrisimhadeva, Prahlada Maharaja, characters from Krsna lila, although they might break them, throw them or step on them.

5) Sometimes when drawing Srila Prabhupada with charcoal or pastel I need to blow on the picture to remove extra charcoal dust. Should I use some small ventilator instead?

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Recently I was shocked to learn that few of ISKCON temples around the globe celebrated Christmas by dressing Sri Sri Radha Krishna deities Santa Claus styled outfits. Is it acceptable to dress the Lord in such a non-traditional style or it is just a speculation?

 

Answer by HH Bhakti Vikasa Swami:

So, I’ve been informed that some temples in Europe in the Christmas season dress Kṛṣṇa as Santa Claus, and that one temple, ISKCON temple (we are talking about ISKCON temples here), is dressing Kṛṣṇa as Santa Claus. And one temple in India also did this. And what do I think about this? 

Unfortunate…is one word I could use. Nonsense is another.

In one letter Śrīla Prabhupāda was informed that devotees sent some Christmas cards with a picture of Krsna. Śrīla Prabhupāda wrote that we are not for Christmas greetings. In another or several times, Śrīla Prabhupāda also spoke about speculation in Deity worship… So, there may be various reasons given. In India, the reason was given that Christians come to our temple. Well, in that case you can dress Kṛṣṇa as cricket star, maybe the cricket fans would come. Or you can dress Kṛṣṇa like some famous film star, then maybe people interested in movies, they would come. 

But the whole idea…Deity worship is to dress Kṛṣṇa as Rādhā likes Him, and dress Rādhā as Kṛṣṇa likes Her, according to the directions of great ācāryas. Getting mixed up with this Western culture…as far as possible we should try to avoid that. We have our own festivals. Why adopt this Christmas, which is supposed to be a birth of Christ, although they don’t actually know when Christ was born? The main feature of Christmas in the modern world is killing lots of birds, especially turkeys in England, drinking lots of alcohol…

Especially, dressing Deities like this, all I can say is- unfortunate. My saying so won’t stop it going on. There are so many great ācāryas in our movement who are introducing things that none of our previous ācāryas was doing…So, what to say? Whether to laugh or to cry?

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