Making all things new

“Can you explain how we, in our present limited state of evolution and consciousness, can superimpose our ideas on Radha Krishna in regards to things like their age? Can you explain from the UCRK’s viewpoint how reinterpreting that in the scriptures can be justified.

Many understand how teachings and worn out ideals of older scriptures have a need to be reinterpreted for the modern world, whereas changes in the scriptural descriptions of God and his pastimes themselves may rattle a few feathers.

Can you please speak on this further..?”

First of all, why do you think we are in “a limited state of evolution and consciousness?” Bhaktivinode Thakur thought history was progressive and evolutionary. He saw Westerners as more advanced than Indians and thought devotion to Radha Krishna would evolve when indiginized in the West.

Regarding how we “can superimpose our ideas on Radha Krishna in regards to things like their age,” That’s exactly what previous generations of their devotees did. Why not us?

I’ll “explain from the UCRK’s viewpoint how reinterpreting that in the scriptures can be justified.” Being a post-modern church, we see such things from a relativistic perspective rather than “as eternal, unchangable, infallible ABSOLUTE TRUTH.” Each generation has to make the teachings relevant to their time and circumstance. Also, as a process theology church, we believe everything is in process, including Radha Krishna, The Divine Couple, the Origin of All Processes. Everything is being revealed through the grace of Radha Krishna today, just as it was hundreds of years ago. Why should God & Goddess suddenly stop speaking? The scriptures are not a closed canon but are still expanding.

You say,”changes in the scriptural discriptions of God and his pastimes themselves may rattle a few feathers.” That’s OK. Change always ruffles feathers. If Krishna is All Attractive, what is the harm in making him more attractive to Westerners? Don’t his servants dress and decorate him to make him most attractive to those he wishes to meet? Didn’t he say,”How so ever one approaches me, I reciprocate accordingly?” Haven’t such changes been going on constantly?

There’s an interesting essay in The Divine Consort which describes the evolution of Radha Krishna in the different layers of the Sur Sagar, a growing compendium of poems attributed to Sur Das. One may see which poems are earlier and later by comparing various editions. Then studying the asthetics of each layer, one can see developmental differences in understanding the Divine Couple.

I think changes are needed to update the myth and keep it alive and attractive for Westerners today and tomorrow.


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