Faith

Two kinds of light

When Bhooma Devi told Brahma that She could not bear the burden of the Earth, Brahma, accompanied by Siva and the celestials, asked Lord Narayana for help. They went to the Lord, who was reclining on the milky ocean. The Lord assured them of help, and told them about the Krishna avatara, which He was going to take. Parasara, Vyasa and Suka have all described this. The story then goes on that the Lord shed two hairs — one white, one black, and that Balarama came from the white hair and that Krishna came from the dark hair. But is this the correct interpretation of the sloka describing the incident? Quoting from Engalazhvan’s commentary, V.S. Karunakarachariar explained that one should not interpret the word ‘kesa’ to mean hair. What the sloka indicates is that two kinds of light emanated from Lord Narayana.

One was a white light. The other was a blue light. The white light took the avatara of Balarama and the blue light took the avatara of Krishna. A similar interpretation of the word ‘kesa’ is offered by Sankara Bhagavadpada, in his interpretation of a Vedic mantra. He too gives the interpretation of radiance for the word ‘kesa,’ in that context.

In Srimad Bhagavatam, the Lord, after indicating to those gathered around Him, that He was going to take the Krishna avatara, also gave them the option of being born on the Earth during His avatara. They could either be with Him in Gokula, during His growing up years. Or, if they wished, they could serve the grown up Krishna. Some devas chose the latter option, namely serving Him after His years in Gokuka, and they came as the five Pandava brothers. And so, we have Yama being born as Yudhishthira, Vayu being born as Bhima, Indra being born as Arjuna, and the Ashvin twins being born as Nakula and Sahadeva.


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Printable version | Jun 17, 2021 9:45:32 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/faith/two-kinds-of-light/article34521951.ece

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