Vishnu, Krishna, and Shiva



1.    Vishnu

a.    Traditional representation with discus, lotus, mace, and conch shell

b.    10 Avatara, including:

                                     i.     Krishna

1.    As youth

2.    As child

                                    ii.     Rama: of the epic Ramayana

c.    Saving the world from disorder, maintaining dharma

2.     Krishna

a.     On the nature of the divine as manifest in the world

b.     On the devotional relationship with the divine

c.     As Divine Child

                                      i.     Mischievous: spontaneous and tumultuous

                                    ii.     Combat as Play: slayer of demons, protector of the people.

                                   iii.     Stories:

1.     The demoness Putana: disguised as a woman, poisoned nipples

2.     Slaying the Multi-headed Serpent Kaliya:: lives in nearby stream, poisoned the waters, K humors him, then jumps onto heads and dances, grants him his life.

                                   iv.     The Theology of Lila: Divine Play.

1.     The divine as spontaneous, free, unrestricted, wild, playful

2.     A devotional attitude/relationship: approach like an adoring parent.

d.     As Divine Lover

                                      i.     Krishna's unsurpassed beauty and powerful attraction

                                    ii.     Poetic descriptions: every characteristic to be relished, otherworldly grace, fragrant smell, nails, face, etc.

                                   iii.     The call of Krishna’s flute

1.     A summons to Krishna. Breaks monotony, shatters ordinary life. Intoxicating, irresistible, echoes through the forest and causes chaos in the heart

2.     Affects all of creation: rivers slow to hear, clouds hover overhead, astonishes and distracts the gods

                                   iv.     The theology of Ananda = Bliss.  Universe shudders with delight, Krishna fills the world with bliss

1.     Krishna as lover of the Gopis. Ringmaster of a festival of love. Sports with hundreds of Gopis in the forest of Vrndavana

2.     Krishna and Gopis' love play = reciprocal, making each other dance and sing, feel their love, ecstasy.

3.    Shiva

a.    A paradoxical god: mythology cycles between two central modes of being

                                     i.     Lord of yoga, ideal world renouncer, celibate

                                    ii.     Householder: family, active sexually, maintaining the world