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Mahabharat & Bhagvat Portrayal of Krishna

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Rehanism

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Posted: 09 May 2011 at 8:57am | IP Logged
Hello friends..
, I wished to ask you something about RS Krishna. Do you think that Krishna was portrayed in a proper manner in this show?

Firstly, the Krishna in this series never behaved as Krishna. Krishna was modest and humble with His elders, cool and casual with His friends and siblings and often cracked jokes and quips and at the same time, He was an astute politician. Krishna was defined by His smartness and subtlety. But the Krishna of the series behaved more like Vishnu than Krishna. This Krishna hardly bowed before his elders or spoke to them modestly. Infact, His elders like Gurus, Kings etc. actually bowed to him and he gave them blessings. In one place it was shown that His Kulguru, Rishi Garg was seeking his blessings. I always found a streak of arrogance in his dialogues and he was always busy self-praising and declaring his supremacy in every other scene to almost every other person. Will a shrewd and diplomatic politician like Krishna ever do that?

Secondly, on multiple occasions, you'll find the Kings and the commoners alike, shouting slogans like "Bhagwan Shri Krishna ki Jai". How did the multitude know that He was Bhagwan? Was it in public knowledge that He was God incarnate? In those days people having supernatural powers were neither unheard of nor unusual. So how can these people call Him Bhagwan so matter of factly? I don't think Krishna actually revealed His divine Self, but on two occasions - first in Hastinapur after Duryodhan attempted to arrest Him (even then only 3 people saw Him - others called Him Mayavi) and Second on the Kurukshetra (where only Arjun, Hanumaan, Barbareek and Sanjay saw Him). Few people like Bhishma, Drona, Vidura and Satyaki guessed that this man might be Divine. Some say that Bhishma knew it from Ganga or Parashuram but was told to seal his lips. Otherwise I don't see anyway of the whole world knowing about this unless Krishna Himself divulged it.

On the whole, I feel, they paid too much attention on Krishna's Godliness and ignored his Human qualities almost completely. As I said, I found no difference between Vishnu and Krishna in this series.


Edited by lola610 - 11 May 2011 at 8:48pm

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lola610

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Posted: 09 May 2011 at 11:41am | IP Logged

Rehan - There is indeed a difference in characterization, but it's due to a difference in sources and their purpose. I can speak for it upto the Sudama track cuz that's as far as I ever watch. Krishna is portrayed differently in different sources, depending on whether they are karm pradhaan or bhakti pradhaan. In the Mahabharat, he certainly is that astute politician whose divinity wasn't known to all, as you described. In the Bhaagvat (SK's primary source) as well as tons of other Vaishnav literature, he is deified and almost universally recognized as God, just as it is depicted in the show. Not totally improbable because even if supernatural powers were common in those days, the fulfillment of a public aakashwani might've tipped people off. And if they know, than his Vishnu-esque behavior isn't arrogant, it's expected. Shri Ram also gets deified in Adhyatma Ramayan, unlike most other sources. I don't think I'm qualified to make an absolute judgment on which portrayal is right or wrong, but as far as my beliefs both can be since these avatars are said to have occurred multiple times and may have had these slight variations in different cycles. And as far as my preferences go, as long as the text and/or show based on it are reasonably consistent in the portrayal they choose, and more importantly as long as that portrayal doesn't make a positive character look like a villain, it's cool with me.

Edited by lola610 - 11 May 2011 at 8:49pm

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Posted: 09 May 2011 at 1:17pm | IP Logged
Hi Rehan,
 
In terms of characterization of the adult Krishna, I have to agree with you a bit. Sarvadaman Banerjee was a good actor and my intention is not to criticize him, but I not only found characterization of adult Krishna a bit off, but he was also a bit rude sometimes. So far in the serial, I saw upto Pradyumna Haran and towards the end of the track, when Krishna and Rukmini appear to Bhanumati and convince Pradyumna to let her return to her divine abode, Krishna makes a comment like, "The mother who rears and brings a child up is greater than the mother who gives birth." That just totally put me off the character of Krishna in that part, because that would be like a direct insult to Devaki Devi, and that too by Krishna himself.Ouch Krishna, who considered both his mothers equal and never insulted either of them even once, would never have made such a comment. It was also an insult to Rukmini, because she was Pradyumna's birth mother while Bhanumati (or Mayavati in other sources) reared him.
 
Also, I've noticed that Krishna in the adult phase of SK is not very active. He just sits back and watches while others do the work, while Krishna was supposed to be a very active person who performed many leelas even while he was older. Again, this is not a criticism of SDB since he had to act what he was given, but I was unsatisfied with the characterization of adult Krishna in SK.
 
That's why in SK, I prefer Krishna from birth-adolescent, because he was very active, humble, friendly, and mischievous at the same time. If I had to show preference for adult Krishnas, I too would go with BRC's MB's adult Krishna. This is not meant to compare shows or actors (since both SDB and Nitish were great actors), but just that the characterization was better in that show.
 
As for Krishna being blue, that is not only a problem in SK, but every other mytho show. Not only Krishna, but Ram was also supposed to be dark (or blue-hued). Neither Ramanand Sagar, Anand Sagar, Meenakshi Sagar, nor BR Chopra showed their Rams or Krishnas blue in any of their shows. It is always Vishnu who is blue, but never Ram or Krishna. However, this does not really bother me, because color is the least of my worries when characterization goes wrong. As long as Ram and Krishna behave like a Ram and Krishna, I don't care whether they are shown dark, light, blue, pink, orange, etc.LOL
 
As for Krishna displaying his divinity to all, that is very much evident in Shrimad Bhagwat Puraan. That is one difference between Ram and Krishna. Ram never displayed his divinity to anyone, and even when Lord Brahma revealed his divinity to all after Ravan's death, he humbly claimed that he was only Dashrath's son Ram, and that's all. Shri Krishna on the other hand made it very much evident that he was an avatar of Shri Hari, because it was necessary for him to in order to carry out the purpose of his avatar. Starting from lifting the Govardhan Parvat on his pinky finger, killing Kans and making the prophesy come true (the prophesy everyone knew about), and etc. According to Bhagawatham, everyone in Mathura knew that only Shri Hari was destined to rid them of Kans's tyranny, and that the eighth son of Devaki was that very Hari. After Krishna killed Kans, the news spread and almost everyone knew that an avatar of Vishnu was residing on Earth, but there were others who did not believe that, and the Kauravas were some of those people. But yes, for the most part everyone knew that Krishna was Bhagwan.


Edited by lola610 - 11 May 2011 at 8:50pm

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Rehanism

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Posted: 09 May 2011 at 8:12pm | IP Logged
@Lola and Lalitha.
Since I have not read Bhagwad Puran or Harivamsa, my knowledge is limited to Mahabharat. But I think that to convince people he need not have exposed his divinity. Krishna was a highly skilled orator and had deep political understanding. He could scheme grand strategies, foil the plan of his enemies, and make a route for his friends and followers by hook or by crook. People revered him, sought him for advice but did not hail/worship him as God in Mahabharat atleast. In Mahabharat, only Bhishma knows of his divinity and that is why he asks Yudhishtir to pay homage to Krishna in Rajsuya Yagya. But here almost everybody, including Kunti, Vidur, Pandavas, and even the common citizens of Mathura and Dwarka know that he's Paramatma!!
 
One more thing - if everybody knew that he was God then do you think he would have had enemies or opponents? Everyone would have agreed to his words without arguing. People like Duryodhan, Karna, Shakuni, Jarasandh might have been Adharmis, but they all prayed to God dutifully. Karna prayed to Narayan everyday after Surya Snaan. Duryodhan too offered prayers to Vishnu and even performed Vaishnava Yagya after Karna's world conquest. Do you thing they would have attempted to capture Krishna or even disagree to his proposal if they knew he was Vishnu?

I sensed arrogance in his words because it is clearly written in Mahabharat that Krishna was extremely modest while addressing his superiors. You see the Krishna's peace proposal of BRC MB and see the peace proposal of SK. In MB, Krishna humbly folds his hands, bows before Bhishma, Drona and Vidura, does Pranam to everybody present in the Sabha, beseeches the king and politely requests him to return the Pandava kingdom. That was a sign of a true Diplomat and an Ambassador. However in SK, Krishna sits like an emperor before Dhritarashtra, instead of doing Pranam, he gives blessings to others and he doesn't request - he makes statements and declares his proposal. There's absolutely no humility in his voice.


Edited by Darklord_Rehan - 09 May 2011 at 8:25pm

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Posted: 09 May 2011 at 8:46pm | IP Logged
In Bhagwad Gita, Krishna himself says that He's the supreme creator, he creates Karma chakra, and nothing is impossible for him - everything can happen just if he wishes and he doesn't even need to wink an eye. But still he binds himself in that Karma chakra and takes birth as a human, behaves like an ordinary human and does Karma so that others can emulate his example. If he displays his Godliness openly then how will people learn anything from Him? We can never learn anything from God because God is omnipotent and perfect in all aspect. Man can learn from God only if God brings Himself down to a common man's level. That is why I think portraying Avatars as equal to Vishnu is not quite appropriate - it kills the essence of Karma and the purpose of the concept of Avatar.




Edited by Darklord_Rehan - 10 May 2011 at 7:17am

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Posted: 09 May 2011 at 9:54pm | IP Logged
^^ What you're saying makes sense yaar, but again it's a subjective preference thing, to each their own. Some want to see these avtaars as examples they can relate to and follow, some want to see them as omnipotent and all-powerful so that their faith is strengthened and their devotion rekindled. Jaaki rahi bhaavna jaisi, prabhu murati tin dekhi taisi. Or in other terms, some want to take the path of karm and some wish to engage in bhakti, a different image of Krishna is suitable for each (at least in early stages). I myself am a windmill in this matter, some days I dwell on a humanized Ram/Krishna, imagining that they actually feel pain and stuff so I can learn from their example, and some days I need that deified image of somebody who is aware every person's every move, always in control, and has a 0% failure rate - that can assure me that all is ultimately well in the world, regardless of how chaotic it seems at the moment.

Vidur did know of Krishna's divinity as per both texts, but that aside, your point about the irrationality of keeping enmity with him after knowing who he really is real solid. If only those who kept the enmity were rational, they would also realize it. But they weren't, that's why even after the ultimate confirmation of divinity that he himself provides - the Vishwaroop darshan he gives at the end of that peace mission you mentioned - still doesn't change Duryodhan and Shakuni's mind. Ravan is said to have known of Ram's divinity through not one but multiple warnings/prophecies, but they all went to vain because... well I don't know why! How scary would it be if I knew how a villain's mind works Stern SmileLOL

So yes your points make sense, but so might the alternative depending on one's approach to mythology/spirituality/devotion... many paths lead to the same end. That being said, such direct comparisons cannot be made in this thread so kindly move the description of BRC's peace mission scene and the Gita vids to the BRC Palace thread (unless you'd like to open an epi-by-epi journal thread for it as this one is intended to be, then you can put it there)... you can feel free to leave the commentary on SK's version here, and we will join you in discussing the other one in a BRC thread. See you there!

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Posted: 10 May 2011 at 7:09am | IP Logged
Originally posted by Darklord_Rehan

@Lola and Lalitha.
Since I have not read Bhagwad Puran or Harivamsa, my knowledge is limited to Mahabharat. But I think that to convince people he need not have exposed his divinity. It was not really need, for Krishna could have done anything the 'normal' way had he wished too, but more to speed up the events. He displayed his divinity many many times during his childhood and adolescence, and though he used Maya to make half those events forgotten in people's minds, the other half he had remained. For example, he made Yashoda Maiyya forget seeing the whole universe in his mouth, but he did not erase the Govardhan incident in people's minds. And when it was revealed to Nand and Yashoda later on that Krishna was not their real son, but the eighth son of Devaki and Vasudev who was prophesied to kill Kans, the fact that he was the avatar of Shri Hari came to light. From then on everyone knew he was Krishna, and in Bhagawatham, they did address him as 'Bhagwan Shri Krishna' many times. Krishna was a highly skilled orator and had deep political understanding. He could scheme grand strategies, foil the plan of his enemies, and make a route for his friends and followers by hook or by crook. People revered him, sought him for advice but did not hail/worship him as God in Mahabharat atleast. In Mahabharat, only Bhishma knows of his divinity and that is why he asks Yudhishtir to pay homage to Krishna in Rajsuya Yagya. But here almost everybody, including Kunti, Vidur, Pandavas, and even the common citizens of Mathura and Dwarka know that he's Paramatma!! In Bhagawatham, Shri Krishna reveals his divine form to Kunti much before anyone else, through Akrur (who also received the divine sight before taking Krishna to Kans), and through Akrur, Vidur, Kunti, and the Pandavas also know. The Pandavas especially always knew Krishna to be Lord Vishnu's avatar.
 
One more thing - if everybody knew that he was God then do you think he would have had enemies or opponents? Everyone would have agreed to his words without arguing. People like Duryodhan, Karna, Shakuni, Jarasandh might have been Adharmis, but they all prayed to God dutifully. Karna prayed to Narayan everyday after Surya Snaan. Duryodhan too offered prayers to Vishnu and even performed Vaishnava Yagya after Karna's world conquest. Do you thing they would have attempted to capture Krishna or even disagree to his proposal if they knew he was Vishnu? That's because they were fools. And also, how many people today would believe that someone was the avatar of God? Yes, Krishna revealed his divine identity to all, but that did not mean everyone believed it till they saw his Vishva Roop with their own eyes. Even today, if someone who performs miracles claims he is an avatar of Shri Hari, would we believe him? A very little number would, and so yes, Krishna did have enemies, who claimed that he was spreading a false rumor that he was God. And like Lola said, even after his Vishva Roop was displayed in Hastinapur, Duryodhan still attempted to capture him claiming that he was doing 'magic tricks'. So a fool will always be a fool, whether or not God reveals himself in front of him.

I sensed arrogance in his words because it is clearly written in Mahabharat that Krishna was extremely modest while addressing his superiors. You see the Krishna's peace proposal of BRC MB and see the peace proposal of SK. In MB, Krishna humbly folds his hands, bows before Bhishma, Drona and Vidura, does Pranam to everybody present in the Sabha, beseeches the king and politely requests him to return the Pandava kingdom. That was a sign of a true Diplomat and an Ambassador. However in SK, Krishna sits like an emperor before Dhritarashtra, instead of doing Pranam, he gives blessings to others and he doesn't request - he makes statements and declares his proposal. There's absolutely no humility in his voice. I haven't yet gotten to the peace proposal in SK, for I am currently in the Hanuman/Pondrak track and still have a long way to go before I get to the Hastinapur peace proposal, but I can imagine what you say. I felt that way too in the beginning epis of adult Krishna, which is why I am still not too much a fan of this phase. There were some episodes that were taken really good, like Rukmini Haran, Satyabhama Garva Bhangam, Sudama (in this episode you really see the humility of Krishna come alive), but others were not so good, like the Pradyumna track which started out really well but then went down towards the end. They dragged it sooo much and then added that one line for Krishna which made me cringe.
 
However, one thing I request is please do not bring BRC's Mahabharat into discussion here. I know it's hard, since our minds naturally compare and contrast mytho serials when we watch them, but from my past experience, comparisons only cause fights and bitter feelings to arise, and I do not want that to happen in this forum. So in a thread that is specified to pertain to only one show, only discussions on that show are allowed. So in this thread, bringing up any Krishna show other than SK is against the rules.Embarrassed

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Posted: 10 May 2011 at 7:20am | IP Logged
Originally posted by Darklord_Rehan


In Bhagwad Gita, Krishna himself says that He's the supreme creator, he creates Karma chakra, and nothing is impossible for him - everything can happen just if he wishes and he doesn't even need to wink an eye. But still he binds himself in that Karma chakra and takes birth as a human, behaves like an ordinary human and does Karma so that others can emulate his example. If he displays his Godliness openly then how will people learn anything from Him? We can never learn anything from God because God is omnipotent and perfect in all aspect. Man can learn from God only if God brings Himself down to a common man's level. That is why I think portraying Avatars as equal to Vishnu is not quite appropriate - it kills the essence of Karma and the purpose of the concept of Avatar.

 
I guess that all depends on which source one believes. I believe we can still learn a lot from a God's avatar who proclaims himself to be God, because the discources he gives and the rules he lays out to us are what we should follow. And even when God brings himself down to a common man's level, he is still pretty much perfect because he does not make the same mistakes a common man does or display the same feelings like unrighteous anger, jealousy, pride, etc. Even Shri Krishna was pretty much an ideal man (like Shri Ram was) for Dwapar Yuga's standards, because he was not like the common man. And for me, it's easier to emulate a Godly person than a faulted person, because I don't find it necessary to relate to God's avatars as I do other human beings. Ideal human beings are meant to teach humanity how to live, and if we consider them faulted simply for being humans, what is there to learn from them? That's why I believe even Shri Ram knew he was God. Only thing is, unlike Krishna, he never proclaimed himself to be God so that humanity believed him to be an ordinary man like them...just an ideal one.
 
It all depends on which source one goes by and his/her interpretation of them.Smile

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