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Icons and Symbols of Other People

Krishna mentions I am the source of all spiritual and material worlds . . . The thoughts of my pure devotees dwell in me . . . I, dwelling in their hearts . . . I am the Self . . . seated in the hearts of all creatures . . . of vibrations I am the supernatural OM (Aum) . . . among men I am the monarch . . . Among women I am fame, fortune, speech, memory, intelligence, faithfulness and patience . . . [etc.] - Bhagavad Gita, samples from Chapter 10 [Link]

In other passages he says to Arjuna that he is Arjuna himself, and so on. Note the selection above.

What guarantee do we have that all these assertions are true to fact? It should pay to inspect well. While you are at it you may also ask for conclusive truth and truths, for Krishna says, "I am the conclusive truth (10:32)". Ask for evidence that is not insignificant, for he asserts, "I am the Himalayas (10:25)", and they stand tall.

Bhagavan Krishna statements There are many bodies, created before man's, having one, two, three, four, or many legs, or no legs at all; but of all of them I love the human body best. Men who cultivate awareness look for me, the Supreme Lord, (who am different from what can be grasped by the senses), directly in the human body. - Krishna, Uddhava Gita 7:19-23. [Link]

These verses highlight another side to Krishna. What stands out is that some verses in the Bhagavad Gita are attributed to him, yet are found in Upanishads also. One should regard the Bhagavad Gita as a synthesis of old lore. It seems rather futile to be engaging in debates and arguments for or against such wide claims. A narrow and bigoted mind and lots of wide claims do hardly go along well together.

A sane person's attitude is worth fighting for in the face of great claims, "Maybe yes, mayby no, I don't know." In short, "Well-well -" By that attitude, severe roadblocks are put aside, at least for a while. And how to find out of it? By meditating into Self-Knowledge and to go on from there, and living a virtuous life. Laymen or top-notch, unprejudiced scholars should all try and become the better for it if the work goes well. Learn something from an eminent psychologist:

If a person is capable of rectifying his erroneous judgments in the light of new evidence he is not prejudiced. - Gordon Allport, in The Nature of Prejudice, chap. 1 [Npr].
"What sweet lore!"

Is there comfort and encouragement in the idea that God (Vishnu) once became a boar to save the world from lying at the bottom of the sea, and that Krishna/Vishnu found it so good to be a sow and let piglets suck him much and long that he nearly forgot who he was? It depends at times on interpretations, on how tales are understood, and what meanings a tradition connects them with - what they illustrate.

Some myths and folk tales are good for persons because we learn to align through them. And we may also learn to think our own thoughts by studying enigmas.


Many seem to form affective thoughts by some of their deep-set urges and wishes or motivations. One may have to confront various layers of deep urges or wishes in order to feel well, see clearly and handle this and that expertly.

If persons who live together have much similar problems without and within, and similar conditions in general, they may form ideas that resemble one another, because their deep-set problems block some idea-associations, favour others, and then the conditions may allow and even call for others. Thus patterning may set in and become fixed. Shared "block" prejudice can be one outcome.

Consequently, suspect that some ideas that appeal to you, relate to inner problems, and that other ideas ensnare "birds of a feather" who group together and share cultural stereotypes, common prejudices, social climates (attitudes), and so on. Where opinions rule the day instead of rational inquiry, conditions are not ideal. Opinionation may work milder than brainwaishing and counter-brainwashing; yet it is not fully humane. [Cf. Sop]

Staunch persons who can investigate things rationally without too much prejudice and opinionation, may be found in the arts, the sciences and in everyday life. There are persons who dare to look into themselves or into the world quite free from bias. Some of these culture-enhancers may come up with ideas that scare others for a long time, and yet prove handy. Charles Darwin did, for example.

The noted psychologist Abraham Maslow found that persons with much self-knowledge (self-realized ones) had a clearer view than others, were better (more unbiased, less emotionally tinged) witnesses, and tended to be better exemplars of human beings. [Link]

Sigmund Freud considered that id - and deep associations - may get blocked if the culture is openly repressive, and worked out a body of insightful ideas from that. Once again, we think by mental associations and should work tactfully to free ourselves - understand ourselves too - in order to view persons and happenings freely and as clearly as can be. Defence mechanisms may set in and do havoc for the lack of it, and finer health aspects could be undermined. That is not an unfounded opinion, for mental and social repressions often take their toll and make a lot of people ill. Partially in line with this, it is estimated by medical expertise that at least half of all common bodily diseases are psychocomatic, in that emotional stress is involved in over half of them. [Ams 461-7; Hi 505; cf. Pusb].

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Art and Its Products

- have good sides and drawbacks

If children are sound as they should be, they love funny stories that transcend or go beyond the habituated. In not a few cases good narratives also help to correct the minds of little darlings. [Dus; Coe].

Iconography and Krishna

Krishna icon Artist-made icons and images of Krishna and other icons in the East very often contain culturally decided-on and gradually fixed symbols. [Ids]

As for the uses and non-uses of religious imagery and symbols among Christians, the practice of having images in the churches has wavered to and fro, and it still differs among denominations.

For example, the Trullan Synod (692) of the Third Council of Constantinople approved of the use of images, but the Protestant Reformation was iconoclastic by comparison. Puritans were especially hostile to the use of religious images of saints, the holy Mary and so on. Some Protestants still consider their use idolatrous.

For all that, tne is also faced with this: Careful imagery is attuned to development of higher thinking, Rudolf Steiner asserts in many places. Well done imagery can be good for man, and not stultify or reduce one's power of higher thinking.

[Cf. The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition, 2001, s.v. "Iconoclasm", and the Catholic Encyclopedia, s.v. "Iconoclasm"]

"Who's your Daddy, Protestant? Beer?"

In most versions of his smaller cathecism Martin Luther left out the commandment against imagery: "You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below". Luther left out a commandment! He did so because he too found Yahweh's commandment to be not good enough (!) "Who's your Daddy now?"

Earlier, the Western Roman Church had said that images of Mom Mary, saints and so on - images and statues - were all right. They still say so. The question has been: which saints and golden-hued ones to include in the group?

Proper measures in handling art, imagery, symbols and emblems should be largely educative, and thereby helpful for gaining significant wisdom. Eventually the process of going into mankind-fit materiel helps self-esteem. There are also reasons to get well entertained.

The greater the god is said to be, the smaller and more insignificant his adherents may feel. There may be that little danger for many. But it depends on how we view Krishna. Scriptures say he is one with our innermost soul, Narayana, that is, Brahman, so there imay be good in store and blessings to be had from daily, sound and good meditation - it depends on how well it is done, and for how long also.

How you react is also a function of how developed or cultivated you are, and in whose shoes (read: mind-sets) you are walking.


Sri Krishna, Krsna, Bhagavan Krishna, Hare Krishna, Sri Krisna, Literature  

Ams: Atkinson, Richard, et al. Introduction to Psychology. 9th ed. San Diego: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, 1987.

Clh: Dimmitt, Cornelia, ed., and J. A. B. van Buitenen, tr. Classical Hindu Mythology. Philadelphia: Temple University, 1978.

Coe: Bruner, Jerome. The Culture of Education. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1996.

Dus: Brudal, Paul. Det ubevisste språket (The Unconscious Language). Oslo: Universitetsforlaget, 1984.

Hi: Smith, Carolyn D., ed, et al. Hilgard's Introduction to Psychology. 14th ed. Belmont: Thomson Wadsworth, 2003.

Ids: Hall, James Illustrated Dictionary of Symbols in Eastern and Western Art. Paperback ed. Boulder, CO: Westwood Press, 1996.

Npr: Allport, Gordon Willard. The Nature of Prejudice. Boston: Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, 1979 (1954).

Pusb: Maslow, Abraham. Motivation and Personality. 3rd ed. New York, HarperCollins, 1987.

Sop: Smith, Eliot R., and Diane M. Mackie. Social Psychology. 2nd ed. Hove: Psychology Press, 2000.

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