Years after the Krishna experience I had in Delhi at the Qutub Minar (see my previous post, here is the direct link to it: https://labofevolution.wordpress.com/2014/07/03/my-ardent-prayer-to-honor-sri-krishna-and-sri-krishnas-answer/), my mind intervened and started questioning the half-seen scenes of the past, related somehow to Sri Krishna, that my consciousness in its trance had become aware of:
“Come on”‘, I told myself sternly, “this was pure imagination! That whole area was under Muslim rule anyway, as the very name ‘Qutub Minar’ showed clearly enough.”
I was simply forgetting that this whole area hadn’t always been under Muslim rule: there had been long centuries, millennia even, before, when Hinduism had been prevalent everywhere, and before that too, more ancient forms of what could be called Early Hinduism, on the way back to Vedic times.
As usual with all the names of the countries and the cities everywhere having changed in the most confusing manner since antiquity, I had never taken the trouble to check where exactly in India had been the places where Sri Krishna had lived. I did know that at least such places as Mathura and Vrindavan were still existing and still had the same names, but where were they, in which part of India, I had no idea.
Well, googling has become nowadays the easiest and fastest way I know to acquire information, so after about half-an-hour of intense googling, I had discovered with quite a shock that Mathura, Vrindavan and all the other places of Krishna’s youth were actually all in a region quite close to the present Delhi area!!!
And the Qutub Minar itself was revealed to have been built actually on the site of more ancient Hindu temples, deliberately destroyed by the new rulers, to use their bricks for erecting the tower, whatever purpose it may have been built for, and the mosque nearby that strangely it is not connected to.
Totally bewildered, I decided to let the matter rest at that for some more time, reassured enough, and quite wonderfully so, that indeed the whole area where now stands the Qutub Minar could quite well have been in the far forgotten past witness to Sri Krishna’s presence, as the vague memories seen in my trance had made me wonder with awe…
But a few days ago I happened to have again a strong and deep experience with Krishna, which brought my questioning back to the surface of my consciousness, and led me to do some more intense googling all over again on the same subject of, let’s say, Krishna and the Mahabharata war, including this time the past history of Delhi itself.
Again, some stunning revelations came out just now from this renewed research, most of all the fact that Delhi might have been built and rebuilt a number of times, precisely on and later around the original spot where the legendary Indraprashtha, the magnificent city of the Pandavas. might very well have been standing long, very long ago.
But it would seem that the archeological research going on since a few years in the places inside Delhi suspected to be the right spots, is until today only reaching down to what would be about 1000 years back… while by now the estimations for dating the “Mahabharata” and the events it refers to, is more like 5000 years… So the archeological digs will have to go much deeper if they are to reach the level corresponding to 5000 years back!… The present findings may be interesting in themslves, but they are likely to have nothing to do yet with the real thing waiting down below.
Yes, all this supposedly legendary far past of India, according to calculations that have had to push it more and more back in time, was happening around an astounding 5000 years ago, it would seem.
Our historical knowledge of such remote times anywhere is hazy at best, but here in India from the massive epic poem called ‘The Mahabharata’ the kind of details we get attest to a very profound culture then, still influenced by the even more remote Vedic period with its enlightened Seers, the Rishis.
I love Sanskrit. I don’t really know it, except for a few beloved slokas learnt long ago at the Auroville school along with the younger students. I cannot read the letters, but just hearing it spoken puts me at once in a strange condition of suspended animation, my entire consciousness focused on those sounds with total fascination, as if they had some inner magic in them.
At the time. maybe twenty years ago, when the Indian television produced a filmed series version of the ‘Ramayana’ and, more important yet for me, of the ‘Mahabharata’, during the whole long time of the year when the series went on, I was every week waiting eagerly for the Sunday, when the next episode would be shown, and I always would be the first in front of the TV to watch it. As soon as the wonderful sound of the conch-shell would blast, followed by the series title song, I would be mute and transfixed, listening with pure rapture, even though I didn’t understand a thing of what was being said – still, I somehow understood, and my whole being loved it.
The presence often of Sri Krishna, the Divine Incarnation, outwardly the Yadava prince cousin to both the Pandavas and the Kauravas, entranced me every time, to the point that afterwards I would find tears on my cheeks.
I know that among my far ancestors I have black people from Africa, white people from Europe, and red Amerindians from America, but also Indian people from North India, one of my grand-mothers looking still just like one of the typical older beauties I found in Delhi when I landed first there in 1972, on my way to the South and Auroville. It was quite a shock for me to see the striking, unmistakable resemblance: that grand-mother of mine, in spite of her short size, had even the very long braided hair and the proud, regal bearing that I admired so much, and I discovered is a characteristic of almost every woman all over India.
To have India present right down in my genes for this lifetime might have been a way for me to re-awaken my inner link with this country, but it is not enough to explain the downright fascination I have had for the ‘Mahabharata’ ever since I read the story, as I have explained, thanks to the Amar Chitra Katha comics.
While finishing my studies in France, the ‘Iliad’ by Homer of ancient Greece had already awed me, with its larger-than-life, powerful characters, the like of whom you don’t meet any more in our times; but those princes and kings and warriors in the ‘Mahabharat’ were even greater, because at least in some of them spirituality too was there, bringing their personality to an altogether higher level than even that of Achilles or Hector.
The only real equivalent I have found from Europe, significantly read in Auroville during April 1975, at about the same time when my inner contact with Sri Krishna was resumed, is “The Lord of the Rings”, by JRR Tolkien. But this will be for another post, this one is already long enough!…
But one thing I will still add to it, in order to finish on a note giving its full importance to the correct dating of the ‘Mahabharata’, a note written by Sri Aurobindo himself at the beginning of the much more extensive comments he wrote about a certain article published in a newspaper:
“It was hinted in a recent article of the Indian Review, an unusually able and searching paper on the date of the Mahabharata war, that a society is about to be formed for discovering the genuine and original portions of our great epic. This is glad tidings to all admirers of Sanskrit literature and to all lovers of their country. For the solution of the Mahabharata problem is essential to many things, to any history worth having of Aryan civilisation and literature, to a proper appreciation of Vyasa’s poetical genius and, far more important than either, to a definite understanding of the great ethical gospel which Sri Krishna came down on earth to teach as a guide to mankind in the dark Kali Yuga then approaching.”
(Sri Aurobindo, ‘The Problem of the Mahabharata – 1’)