Sunday, July 18, 2010

Aesthetic Vedanta/ Rasa Lila; A Book Review

I was about six years old when I first saw a poster of a plump child with curly hair and almond eyes but his skin was purple. I could not understand why this child would have such skin but I know I was drawn to it. Years passed my curiosity for spirituality grew which lead me to the ancient Indian mysticism and religion. Not even knowing I was again drawn to another photo of the a young man playing a flute for a girl but what struck me again was this young man with the flute had the same purple skin. Years after I would know that this young man was Lord Krishna and Radha her beloved. Without knowing I was once again drawn to songs/mantra sang in Hindi and Sanskrit and has always been playing in my own temple, my home, songs about praising Krishna and Sri Radha.

The first Indian literature that I have read enthusiastically was the ”Ramayana”, later on I came across the “Bhagavad Gita” where I was finally introduced to Lord Krishna. Lord Krishna would be the equivalent to Jesus Christ or Buddha, Hindu’s incarnation of God himself. And on my quest to know more about spirituality better I came across the book “Aesthetic Vedanta” by Swami B.V. Tripurari. This would be my first time to know better Lord Krishna on why he is always pictured out with Sri Radha or with the Gopis. If Jesus Christ had 12 disciples Krishna had the Gopis. The book would take readers in to the deep and passionate love affair of Lord Krishna with the Gopis especially Sri Radha or the “Rasa Lila”. This love affair was misinterpreted by some people tying it up with exoticism or the Kama Sutra but that only makes the “Rasa Lila” limited for the love affair between Lord Krishna and the Gopis have a deeper spiritual connection as what the book explains.

This book is a challenge for me since I have no prior knowledge about the “Rasa Lila” or have limited knowledge about Lord Krishna but if there is one thing that resonates in the book it is pure devotion through passionate LOVE. If one devotes himself in passionate love (Krishna) one can find FREEDOM. This is also the ultimate commandment of Christ TO LOVE. This book is only meant for mature minds for there are a lot of verses in the “Rasa Lila” that would be misinterpreted by a young mind.

Growing up as a Christian I know by heart the stories told in the Bible now that I have grown I am drawn to know more about all other religion which is all tied up in pure spirituality.

Ponder and never stop being curios because it helps one to grow.
I give this book a three out of five stars.