Puranic Picture Gallery
Krishna Joo Razdan's "Maharaja Mahadevun Che Chhui
Saal" is a superb
Puranic picture gallery. In this devotional lyric cosmos is the studio-cum-exhibition
hall, Lord Vishnu is the model and Krishna Joo Razdan, incognite as Narada,
is the inspired literary painter. The bard's devout imagination, telescoping
Lord Vishnu's variegated associated exploits, objectified them on literary
canvas. Like impressionistic painters, Krishna Joo paints diverse fleeting
associations conjured up by his unique model. Each quatrain in the lyric
is a picture-frame exhibiting two or more pictures. Here the model remains
unaltered but there are constant changes in the perspective.
through the vast cosmic expanses, informs Lord Vishnu about developments
in the celestial regions. He invites Lord Vishnu to Lord Mahadeva's marriage.
Krishna Joo Razdan, incognite as Narada, paints ingratiating memories associted
with his unique model. In the incarnation as Lord Rama, Lord Vishnu showers
bounteous love upon Mother Sita. By quickening up the associated memories
of the readers, Krishna Joo conjures up the picture of Lord Rama and Mother
Sita enjoying perfect conjugal bliss.
with it a picture depicting deep love between Lord Krishna and Mother Radha.
In the same frame he fits in the portrait of Lord Krishna lifting the Goverdhan
mountain to protect the cows, cowherds and calves against the torrential
rain sent by jealous Lord Indira to lash the Gokul landscape. Next Krishna
Joo paints Lord Krishna enjoying butter offered with love by Ma Jessuda.
He conjures up infant Krishna with butter-besmeared mouth and face playing
pranks about Jessuda. Alongside with this picture is placed the picture
of Kubza whose hunch is set right as she unhestitatingly applies sandal
paste to Lord Krishna's forehead meant especially for Kans, the king of Mathura. This is followed by a suggestive painting of Sudama offering Lord
Krishna rice chaff to eat.
mentions that Sudama was one of the dearest boyhood friends of Lord Krishna.
One cold rainy evening he was munching some grains. On enquiry he attributed
chattering of his teeth to intense cold. This false statement subjected
him to perpetual penury in his later life. Once he is directed by his wife,
Sushila, to seek help of his boyhood friend who is now the king of Dwarika.
In the royal place, Sudama is received very warmly. Lord Krishna himself
washes clean his tired feet. Sudama has brought for Lord Krishna some chaffy
rice. The Lord enjoys a handful of the offering of love. He is prevented
from enjoying more by Rukmini. She fears that the kind Lord will bestow
everything upon Sudama rendering his own person and family impecunious.
This incident too is the content of a picture in Razdan Sahib's picture
& Ramayana Juxtaposed
king of Kishkindha, is driven out of his capital city by his unrighteous
brother Bali. Along with his faithful lieutenants, he retires to a hilly
eminence where Bali is destined to die under a curse pronounced by a sage.
Lord Rughvir befriends Sugreve and, after killing lascivious Bali, he places
upon his head the crown of Kishkindha. Vibhishana, deserting the camp of
his demoniacal brother Ravana, joins Lord Rughvir in Kishkindha. He is
enthroned in exile as the king of Lanka. Bali Dhaanav, the demon king,
is bestowed the underworld for his generosity. These three Puranic episodes
are held by a single picture-frame forming the fourth quatrain of the poem.
Feeling envious of the tremendous popularity of Lord Krishna, Lord Brahma,
the god with three heads, hides away all his calves and cowherd companiuns
in a cave. Lord Krishna creates all the stolen creatures himself. This
abashes Brahma. Lord Krishna forgives Brahma's insolence. Krishna Joo paints
this episode without going too deep into its ontological implications.
He feels ecstatic while painting Lord Krishna dancing with the gopis. Devki,
the dear sister of Kansa, is married to the Yadhava prince Vaasudev. When
the newly wedded couple are driven towards Vasudev's country, the elements
predict Kansa's death at the hands of Devki's offspring. Thereupon, Kansa
imprisons Devki and her husband. He assassinates Devki's six babies in
succession and Lord Krishna, the seventh, is spared by divine intercession.
As Lord Krishna grows up, he kills Kansa for the restoration of moral order.
Leaving his foster mother, Yashodha, in Gokul, he comes to Mathura. At
the request of Devki, he brings to life the six children which she has
lost. These children later become Gandharvas. This Puranic episode forms
the sixth picture-frame in Razdan Sahib's picture gallery.
On the completion
of his education at Sandipini's hermitage, the guru asks his illustrious
disciple to bring to life his son drowned in a naval tragedy. Lord Krishna
jumps into the sea and retrieves alive the son of his guru. Krishna Joo
paints this episode in the seventh and the eight quatrains which run into
each other In shrimad Bhagvatam there is mention of Shankhasur. This demon
unleashes terror and unrighteousness all around. When pursued by superior
righteous strength, he hides himself in the vast conch shell which forms
his abode. Lord Krishna jumps into the sea and challenges to a battle the
demon who has been perpetrating horrible atrocities upon the devout. Shankhasur
is killed and his conch shell, called Panch Janya, becomes a coveted possession
of the yaadavas. This episode too is the content of one of the pictures
lightly sketched by Krishna Joo.
As the Pandavas
are befriended by Lord Krishna during their exile, they recognize the essential
divinity of their kinsman. They start supplicating before him in deep devotion.
This is resented by a contemporary prince, Shishupal, who regards Krishna
nothing better than a common cowherd. Shishupal nourishes grudge against
Krishna also for eloping away with his sister Rukmini, Lord Krishna, the
merciful, forgives Shishupal's impertinence a number of times. He cuts
off Shishupal's head with his rotating disc (Sudharshan Chakra) as the
latter persists in pouring forth abusive language. This cpisode too forms
one of the painted canvases in Krishna Joo's vast picture gallery.
With his carnal
passions perfectly under control, Lord Krishna dallies with 16108 ladies
and maidens. Razdan Sahib paints this fact with light verbal strokes. Lord
Krishna's separate dalliance with each gopi is an objectification of the
essential oneness of God. Lord Krishna sows rubies from a string which,
first changing the sapling, develop into sizeable trees bearing rubies
on boughs and branches. Collecting these rubis the messenger from Radhika
grows quite rich. In this picture-frame, Razdan Sahib also includes the
spectacle of a pearly shower sent by Lord Shiva to lash the Kashmir landscape.
At the end of the frieze, Razdan Sahib juxtaposes the portraits of Lord
Vishnu and Lord Mahesh with their divine consorts Laxmi and Gauri.
enjoins an arduous effort. Spiritual bliss and enlightenment are realizable
only through constant meditation and assiduous observance of high psycho-physical
discipline. This is manifest from Krishna Joo Razdan's all devotional lyrics.
We observe him as a seeker constantly seeking to realize Brahman. Sometimes,
he is a dualist with an impersonal concept of God. Soon he becomes a dualist
with a personal concept of God. Again he feels that Advaita Vedantic monism
is the highest truth. The bard's imagination, surcharged with devotional
ecstasy, keeps shifting constantly from one point of view to the other.
He is obviously living the experiences which he is communicating through
his devotional lyrics. Being a true devotee of God, he feels divine contemplation
an existential indispensability. He is painfully conscious about the dwindling
numbers of Kashmiri Pandit community. He fears its complete extirpation
due to the prevalence of numerous social evils.
is proud of Kashmiri language which is the principal medium of his poetic
expression. He regards it dearest to the Mother Goddess. He is convinced
that salvation for Kashmiris is attainable only by singing praises of the
Mother Goddess in Kashmiri language. Razdan Sahib's poetry objectifies
his perpetual struggle for comprehending the mysterium tremendum enveloping
man all around.
the school of philosophy which regards God or Brahman as the ultimate reality.
This Philosophy is the bed-rock of all religions of the world. Some philosophers
believe that man and God are essentially one. God is attainable by directing
sense perceptions inwards towards the self. This is the cardinal viewpoint
of subjective idealists. Essential Brahminism too is subjective idealism.
There are other idealists who, recognizing the existence of God, consider
Him an entity separate from man. For them, God directs the course of nature.
He is an entity outside man. Man is answerable for his actions to God on
the day of resurrection. This type of idealism is called objective idealism.
It is the main philosophic content of the religions like Islam and Christianity.
In some of
his lyries, we observe Razdan Sahib marshalling the basic postulates of
objective idealism. There are others in which subjective idealism is the
poet's predominant philosophical preoccupation. He discerns greater rectitude
in the subjective philosophical postulates. In one of his poems, he advocates
observance of Islamic practices for the enjoyment of spiritual bliss. Razdan
Sahib's lyrics objectify the great bard's patient perpetual struggle for
comprehending the mystery of existence. He perpetually investigates the
validity of polytheistic and monistic religious concepts. He is sometimes
a polytheist objectifying his devotion separately for Brahma, Vishnu and
Mahesh. In such moods, Rama and Krishna are two different incarnations.
But at the same time, he regards all the principal gods of Hindu pantheon
a single entity. God appears to him permeating every cosmic object around.
In the concluding couplets of Maharaja Mahadevun Che Chuui Saal, he reveals
his belief in the essential monistic nature of God. He longs for the realisation
of the eternal truth of advaita vedantic monism and desires to realise
his essential oneness with God.