| Where Recherche duTemps Perdu
---- meets Kirchliche Dogmatik
It's been a weird day. I tried to implement some of Dr. W's recommendation a little too fast, I think; I spent the night mostly reading Owen Chadwick's book on the reformation, which really should have put me to sleep. But then I was able to write on the monotheism manuscript most of the day, though I felt quite shaky.
We know very little about Jesus from the time of his birth until around age thirty, when he began his public ministry. We do know that the various claims that during this time he visited India, lived with the Essenes at Qumran, worked at McDavid's in Tel Aviv, or whatever, have no credibility. Joseph, his legal father, was a carpenter, and so was he. From all that we know, Jesus lived in Nazareth most of that time (he may have moved to Capernaum), learning and plying his trade.
We have one glimpse of Jesus as a twelve-year old, carrying out pilpul with the Pharisees at the temple and astounding everyone with his acumen. He referred to the temple as his father's house. As strange as it is to say this, Jesus was a very religious adolescent.
But it's no longer a strange observation when we contrast Jesus and Krishna at that time of life. Krishna, along with his older brother Balarama, grew up in the company of cowherds and milkmaids, the celebrated gopis. Well, that's stretching the meaning of "growing up" a bit. It would seem that he set records for immature behavior. From early age on the gopis loved little Krishna, and he paid them back by playing tricks on them. He would steal their milk and butter and enjoy himself immensely. When questioned, he would accuse other people. Even as a child he already played with the gopis in unseemly ways. For example, at one time, while the young women were bathing in the river, he took all of their clothes. The only way he would return them was if they came out of the water to him naked, which they wound up doing eventually. Still, they enjoyed the tingle of playing along with him. Krishna also destroyed the occasional demon, so his existence was not entirely devoted to pleasure.
With all of that notoriety, his Uncle Kamsa, the evil king, decided it was time to put an end to Krishna once and for all. He sent an invitation to Krishna and Balarama to come back to his town for a sports festival. They agreed, much against the advice of both the messenger and the gopis, who accompanied them tearfully, fearing that they were walking into a trap. Needless to say, they were. Kamsa set up a wrestling match for the boys with two men who were supposed to cheat and kill the boys, and, if they were unsuccessful, then an elephant was supposed to smash them.
Balarama and Krishna walked to their destination. Along the way, Krishna dispensed of a demon who, in the form of a horse, tried to destroy him. As the two avatars grew near to the city, they became aware of the bad shape their clothes were in. Luckily, they happened across the man whose duty it was to launder Kansa's clothes, carrying out his job by the river. They asked him if they could borrow two of the outfits. The laundry man declined, so Krishna killed him, picked out clothes suitable to their taste, and the two boys walked into Kansa's town wearing Kansa's own clothes.
When it came time for the wrestling match, the two crooked wrestlers had no chance against the two avatars; neither did the elephant, and, while they were busy doling out death, Krishna finally fulfilled the prophecy and executed Kamsa, the mission for which he had actually come to the world.Krishna and Balarama did not return to Nanda and Yasoda, but to their birth parents, Vasudeva and Nanda.
To be continued . . .