Sunday, July 23, 2017

Is There Symbolic Meaning To Krishna’s Flute

[Krishna with flute]“As far as His flute is concerned, it is said that the vibration of this wonderful instrument was able to break the meditation of the greatest sages, and Krishna was thus challenging Cupid by advertising His transcendental glories all over the world.” (The Nectar Of Devotion, Ch 26)

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Friend1: I must say, the image of the deity in the temple is quite beautiful.

Friend2: Which deity, which temple, and I hope you realize that a lot of it is due to the decoration.

Friend1: Shri Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, any temple, and isn’t it the other way around?

Friend2: Which specific manifestation, okay, and what do you mean?

Friend1: Alright, this is getting ridiculous. I am going to break up the pattern. Let’s address one question at a time. By manifestation, I’m assuming you’re referring to different time periods in His appearance on this earth. Otherwise, isn’t the Supreme Lord known as nava-yauvanam? He never ages beyond the teenage years.

Friend2: Exactly. But some temples worship Him in the childhood form.

[Radha-Krishna]Friend1: Oh, I see. Of course they are all beautiful, but the one I was recalling is the standing form, with one leg bent, smiling, holding the flute in His hands, with Shrimati Radharani to His left.

Friend2: Got it.

Friend1: For the last question, I’ve heard it said that the ornaments on Krishna’s body actually become more beautiful; not the other way around. That is one amazing aspect to God and His transcendental features.

Friend2: For sure. The thing is in the temple the decorations are there so that people will see God with the proper respect and attention. It’s the Lord’s mercy to appear in the statue, which becomes the deity based on authorized methods of worship done by qualified persons. The atheist sees only stone, and so they get no benefit. God is never limited in size. He is the entire universe and more, so how is it possible to keep Him in the home?

Friend1: It’s His kindness.

Friend2: We don’t have the eyes to see the entire universe and more. We can’t see the smallest of the smallest, either. We can’t even see the individual soul within, animating the living being. How are we going to see God, then? The only way is if He helps us.

Friend1: Great explanation. Here’s a question I get sometimes. Is there any symbolic meaning to the flute?

Friend2: As in?

Friend1: Does it represent some higher concept? It is there to teach about the power of sound or how God is expert at handling musical instruments - something along those lines?

Friend2: I see. He is, of course, expert at everything. He plays the most beautiful music on the flute. In Vrindavana, the people mostly take care of cows. In Krishna’s family the father puts the son in charge of the calves. Krishna and His friends go out to the fields. Sometimes when the cows start scattering here and there, the Supreme Lord, in His beautiful, youthful form, climbs to the top of Govardhana Hill and begins to play His flute. That immediately gets everyone’s attention.

Friend1: And this happens for real?

Friend2: Of course. Vyasadeva and others were not fiction writers. They were after self-realization, so they didn’t waste time in fantasy land. Vedic literature uses allegory in certain sections, which are obvious to anyone reading. Krishna’s pastimes are described by so many people, with varying levels of detail. It would have to be the biggest conspiracy in the world for so many people to talk about someone who never existed.

Friend1: For sure. No symbolism to the flute, then?

Friend2: This idea of everything being symbolic is based on mental speculation, on personal experience, which is always limited. Krishna has a flute in His hands because that is what He carries. His complexion is shyama, which is dark blue, like the cloud about to pour rain, because that is what His complexion is. If you want to take any sort of deeper meaning from the flute, understand that only in the Krishna form is the Supreme Lord completely uninhibited.

Friend1: What do you mean?

Friend2: He has many incarnations, and those incarnations are always God Himself. The difference is that sometimes many of the features are hidden. There is specific focus for a specific task. Vishnu creates the universes and then expands to travel as the Supersoul with every living being. Narasimhadeva has a unique look so as to not violate the boons of protection offered to the evil king Hiranyakashipu. Shri Ramachandra pays great respect to dharma as righteousness and the duties of a king.

Friend1: And Krishna is the complete everything?

[Krishna with flute]Friend2: In Vrindavana especially. He has nothing to do. He simply enjoys. There are different kinds of interaction, but there is no duty on Krishna’s part. He is free to play His flute, run with the cows, wrestle with His friends, eat wonderful food prepared by the mother, and rendezvous with the most beautiful women, who love Him purely.

In Closing:

In pictures Krishna with flute to see,

Symbolic or higher meaning to be?


Known to produce most amazing sound,

Attracting cows from pasturing ground.


Factual image, with impact far reaching,

At same time valuable lessons teaching.


For only in that form with nothing to do,

Carefree with family, friends, and lovers too.