Wednesday, April 30, 2008

“Bal Gopal”

Here is the photograph of another sample of my creativity while I was in Guwahati. This one is a glass painting of “Bal Gopal”.

Why another Krishna? Well, “Dwarkadeesh-ji” happens to be our family/ancestral deity. We even have our own temple in Kanpur, which was built by my great-great-great-grandfather. As the legend goes, he was apparently “given instructions in his dream” to go and look for the idol at a particular place, and then build a temple and “establish” it there!

This is one temple that I have always loved visiting, although I’m an extremely nonreligious person as a general rule! The reason is that this is one temple which, no matter what time of the day you visit it, you’ll find it perfectly clean! And the “prasadam” which is served to the deity is just yummy!

(Oh btw, unlike other Gods and Goddesses, there are apparently no restrictions on what to serve as “Prasad” to Dwarkadeesh-ji. Whatever we have for b’fast/lunch/dinner, the same is served to the God as well!)

We also have our family tree in that temple, and all records of births, deaths and marriages in our family can be found there at any time. Of course, this data is only available to the members of the family though!

(Btw, this temple is not to be confused with the famous “J.K. Temple” (also in Kanpur), which was built by a different branch of my ancestors.)

So there… if you ever happen to be in Kanpur at the time of Janmashtmi, let me know… and I’ll give you the address of this temple. You don’t want to miss the “Jhaanki” they set up in the temple at that time!

Coming back to the painting now - well, I might not be a very religious person, but, the rest of my family sure is! And my Chacha-Chachi can be thought of as the religious leaders of the entire “Kutumb”! Hence, I made another “Lord Krishna” for them!

There wasn’t enough time to get it framed, so we simply spread a white cloth under the glass and took the photograph.

And in return for these 2 paintings, my Chacha-Chachi gifted me a copy of the “BhagvadGita - As It Is”.

I have been thinking of getting myself a copy for several months now… been wanting to read for myself what it's all about, because I’ve heard so much about it… but there are so many different translations available in the market today, that I just couldn’t figure out which one would give me an un-biased translation of the Sanskrit literature.

The one that my Chacha-Chachi gifted to me has the original Sanskrit Shlokas, as well as the direct meanings of the Sanskrit words… and after that, it contains the translation of the Shlokas in English. The author’s understanding of the Shlokas, with reference to other Vedic texts, is given separately… so I don’t necessarily have to read it if I don’t want to!

I haven’t yet completed it, but, from whatever I have read of it till now, I will highly recommend it to anyone who has a logical bent of mind, and has no qualms in questioning the senseless religious dogmas that are being practiced today!


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10 comments:

Assman said...

Hey nice painting Kaddu, Bal-Krishna is one of the most beautiful godly images...
I read the Bhagwad gita As it is and I thought the Geeta press books are sort of better. I find the repeated use of Supreme personality of Godhead and such words, which though I do not object to, I feel that simple words like "deva" should not be translated so literally.
Other thing is that in the new face of Hinduism and religion as such, I feel there is a decreasing space for absolutism which some religions and the group which the author represents also display.
Anyway that apart, this does not take away at all from the wonderful shlokas of Bhagwad geetha.
And it is one of the best gifts I think.

Kaddu said...

Thanks Rahul for appreciating the painting! :) Did u see the other painting too, the one of Radha-Krishna?

And yeah, those phrases are typical of the ISKCON group - that's the one this author is related to.

Initially, I read through the author's personal opinions about the text... wherein he has also tried to relate it with other texts, which to me felt a bit biased! I also got a strong feeling of an attempted conversion into their theology!

Hence, I decided to skip through all those extra references to sources I've never heard of, and his own personal interpretations.

I'm just reading the original Shlokas, the word-meaning section and then the verbatim translations. It's basically just the conversation between Krishna n Arjun that I'm interested in - and more specifically "What Krishna said to Arjun that day"!

Fortunately, I had Sanskrit till class 8th in school, and I was really good at grasping it, so I'm getting the hang of it pretty comfortably! :D

Shreesh said...

Not many people know about this,but when when BG come to them and person starts to read it,its a very typical time in their evoloution. I can in my terms say thats its when you reach a intersection point of many lines. and the point of intersection may be looked upon as termination point of many paths or the point when all the paths start.
So typical is this scrpiture,so multidimensional,that one may find objective truth as well as subjective.One may find bhakti ..as srila prabhupada or karma as Bal Gangadhar Tilak or meditation as paramhansa yogananda.
And i agree with Assman when he said about books of geeta press gorakhpur. I too find their translations very good. ENJOY READING.
shreesh

Kaddu said...

"when BG come to them and person starts to read it,its a very typical time in their evoloution"

Yupp... I hv known this deep inside for several months now... tht the BG will help me in some major way!

Like I said, currently I'm only interested in reading the verbatim translation of the conversation... I'm skipping everything else... but once I complete the first reading, I'll see if I can find the Geeta Press one somewhr.

Actually, the truth is that I don't want to read anyone else's understanding... I just wanted the direct Sanskrit to English meanings, so I cud relate the Shlokas to my life!

Anonymous said...

Hi kaddu, another nice painting too. I found the eyes a bit too large (maybe it is just me !!) but it is lovely. Reminds me of my another friend who was an ardent Krishna devotee. I bought her a Krishna painting when I went to ISKCON Bangalore but did not get a chance to give it to her (Actually the painting I bought was so cute I did not find the heart to give it to her !!) Nice to know that you are reading the Gita. I found Yogananda's commentary on it very uplifting.

- Mahesh Nayak

Kaddu said...

Yupp they r a bit large... but we didn't notice it in the original painting... realized it only after the colors were filled in! :(

And yeah, I got a poster from ISKCON B'lore too... n I also usurped the one my old school frnd Gaurav had bought! He happened to be in B'lore at the same time for some audit... so he also went with us to ISKCON. I convinced him tht his poster wud not be able to withstand his lengthy travel itenary, so he shud give it to me! :D

Anonymous said...

In my case (previous comment), after I came to US I told my friend I bought the Krishna painting for her. She kept on asking me for it and told me to mail it to her on her birthday. I evaded saying I will give it to her ONLY when I meet her (I even secretly planned on some excuse in the case that I happen to meet her !!) Well, finally she left to India and she is in India now. If she is gonna ask for it now, I am planning to say to her - "you might as well get it yourself as you are in India !!" ;) I only hope she doesnt get to read this comment entry though ;)

Anonymous said...

The previous comment was mine. Forgot to mention my name.

- Mahesh Nayak

Kaddu said...

I gathered it was you... no one else leaves comments on my blog as "Anonymous"! [rolling eyes]

Why don't u post ur comments using ur google id btw? U do hv a gmail account! So why don't u use it? No need to actually create a blog here u know.

Anonymous said...

Just lazy enough kads, thats all. And by the way since you figured out I am the only one leaving anonymous comments on your blog I dont need to sign my name below hereafter, I guess. Good, you are making my job easier :D

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