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Sunday, September 20, 2009

Symbols and Substance: Lord Krishna (with flute)




The flute is called Venu in Sanskrit. Venu is the word for bamboo. Venu is an instrument made of bamboo reeds. Krishna and flute go together! Therefore another name for Lord Krishna is “Venugopal”.

Flute used in South India has nine holes. It represents human body with nine “openings” namely, nostril (1), mouth (1), skin (1), eyes (2), ears (2), two for excretion. Flute is hollow to represent the human being who is free of ego and arrogance. It represents human being with humility. Lord Krishna is asking us to become hollow just like the flute, hollow and free of ego.

The flute represents us. He is always holding the flute (us) in his hands. If He is to play His Divine music through us, we have to get rid of our ego, become humble, and let Him play His music through us. That is the teaching in this form of Lord Krishna as Venugopal.

Now, how do we explain the north Indian flute (bansuri) with only 7 holes? This is always a problem with trying to find meanings in art, music and symbols without some documentation from the originator of the idea. One of the modern artists (Mr. Walead Beshty) points out “……how meaning is produced after a work leaves an artist’s studio”.

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