Questioner: Please explain the special circumstances in which Krishna was born. And is there some analogy between Krishna and Christ in regard to their births?
Whether it is the birth of Krishna or Christ, or anybody else, it does not make a great difference. But we have always made a distinction between one birth and another, because of our failure to understand the meaning of some symbols of birth as given in mythology. So it is necessary to understand them.
It is said that Krishna was born on a dark night, on the night of the new moon. In fact, everything is born in the darkness of night, in the dark of the moon. The phenomenon of birth takes place in darkness: everything is born in darkness; nothing is born in daylight. Even as a seed opens and sprouts, it does so in the dark recesses of the earth. Although a flower blooms in light its birth takes place in the dark.
The process of birth is so mysterious it can only happen in darkness, it can only happen darkly. An idea, a poem, is first born in the dark recesses of the poet’s mind, in the darkness of his unconscious. A painting takes root in the dark depths of the painter’s mind. Similarly, meditation and ecstasy are born in the dark where the light of intellect cannot reach, where every process of mentation comes to a stop, where even knowledge ceases to be.
Legend has it that the night of Krishna’s birth was one of total invisibility. But is there anything that is not born in the dark? It is the very ordinary process of birth. There is nothing extraordinary about it.
Another thing associated with Krishna’s birth is that he was born in prison, in bondage. But who is not born in prison? Everyone is born in bondage. Maybe one is released from bondage before he dies, but it is not always necessary. By and large we are born in fetters and we die in fetters. The truth is that every birth binds us, limits us; entering a body is tantamount to entering a prison. It is a confinement. So whenever and wherever a soul comes to be born it is always born in jail.
It is unfortunate that this symbol has not been rightly understood. A highly poetic expression has been misinterpreted as an historical event. In fact, every birth takes place in prison; so also, every death – with a few exceptions – takes place in prison. Very few deaths happen in freedom; they are really rare. Mostly we are born in shackles and we also die in shackles. Birth is inescapably linked with bondage, but if one can become free before he dies he will be fulfilled, he will be blessed.