Implicit Religion, Vol 19, No 1 (2016)

Krishna’s Frolics with the Milkmaids: Humanizing Divinity or Sacralizing Profanity

Israel Selvanayagam
Issued Date: 2 Mar 2016

Abstract


The story of the sporting experience of Kṛṣṇa with a group of milkmaids is most popular in the Hindu Vaiṣṇava tradition. It portrays Kṛṣṇa as both a kinsman of the shepherd community in Vṛndāvana (Vraj) and the supreme God, synonymous to Viṣṇu. The story starts with Kṛṣṇa playing his flute and milkmaids rushing to meet him. They leave their dear ones at home and it shows their unswerving love for their Lord. While the pleasant conversation and amorous behaviour reach a climax, Kṛṣṇa disappears and the young women become remorseful and are caught up in the fever of love. Kṛṣṇa reappears blossoming and after explaining that separation intensifies love, the culmination happens in a whirlpool circle dance in the moonlight. Passion and compassion, individuality and plurality, and erotic and divine mix and mingle, which is both liberating and unifying. The picture is stimulating for a creative discussion on sex and the sacred.

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DOI: 10.1558/imre.v19i1.30010

References


Bryant, Edwin F. 2003. Krishna: The Beautiful Legend of God, Śrīmad Bhāgavata Purāna. Book X. Chapters 1, 6 and 29–31 from Book XI.


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