Questions and Answers on Tilak, Gopis and Krishna’s Age

Question: It is said that all items of Krishna ‘s appearance, including His dress and ornaments, are parts of His sandhini shakti and are eternal. However, there are many different types of tilak of Krishna described in the Gosvamis’ books – kumkum, chandan, gorocana or musk (kasturI tilakaM lalATa paTale).

Flute / Vrindavan Art

Flute / Vrindavan Art

Tilak

Question: It is said that all items of Krishna ‘s appearance, including His dress and ornaments, are parts of His sandhini shakti and are eternal. However, there are many different types of tilak of Krishna described in the Gosvamis’ books – kumkum, chandan, gorocana or musk (kasturI tilakaM lalATa paTale). Does this mean that the sandhini shakti reveals different types of tilak, these svarupas of Krishna are all different, the tilaks are interchangeable or some of the acaryas were just wrong?

Answer: NO, the acharyas are not wrong. Bhagavan Krishna can have different types of tilak on different occasions. Different svarupas of Krishna can also have different tilakas.

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Samadhi of the Gopis

Question: I began reading “Krishna: The Beautiful Legend of God – Srimad Bhagavata Purana, Book X” translated by Prof. Bryant.  Could you please illuminate Part One, Chapter 30.16 where the gopis imitated the lila of Bhagavan.  “After changing herself into a demon, one gopi kidnapped another who imagined herself to be the child Krsna.”

The gopis were devoted to the Lord.  How can she turn herself into a demon to mimic his lila?

Answer: The gopi’s imitation of Krishna’s lila is a manifestation of a very high state of love, usually manifest in the state of separation. When a beloved intensely feels separated from the lover, as was the case with the gopis, the beloved becomes so intensely absorbed in the thoughts of the lover that she identifies with him. This imitation is not a conscious act i.e. with the awareness of the distinction between imitator and the imitated. It is a very high state of samadhi. If you recollect in the first pada of the Yoga Sutra there is a description of such a samprajnata samadhi state. The imitating gopis were in a similar state.

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Krishna’s Age at the Time of the Battle

Question: I understand that Lord Krishna was 89 years old at the time of the Mahabharata war and that this is mentioned in the Matsya Purana. I wish to have the reference such as the Chapter number and the verse number as to where in the Matsya Purana this fact is mentioned. I shall be grateful if you kindly send me this information in case you have seen that.

Answer: The Bhagavata Purana verse 11.6.25 says that Krishna lived for 125 years on earth. The first verse of Mausal Parva, Mahabharata says that Yudhisthira saw bad omens (because of Krishna’s departure from earth), after 36 years of ruling after they won the Kurukshetra war. So that means Krishna was about 89 years old at the time of war.

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