Krishna Charitra is a classic literature. It is a trimmed English version of the original book written in Bengali. Krishna, who is worshipped by Hindus as a God, has been an enormous Indian icon for over 3000 years, represents compassion, care, and wisdom. The author has distilled out, from various sources, the human component in Krishna’s character and not his godliness.
The materials for the book were, in a way, elicited from the rebuttals he had published to press criticisms mounted on Hinduism, during early 1880s, by one Scottish missionary Reverend Hastie.
Bankim Chandra wondered how Hindus in Bengal and elsewhere in India could accept the insinuation hurled that their god was a butter-stealer as a child, a womanizer in his youth and deceiver of eminent men like Dronacharya as an adult. To get acquainted with the true nature of Krishna, he studied Puranas and Itihas.
Interpolations and distortions in the Mahabharata have been seen from the historical point of view. Chapters on Krishna’s birth, childhood, adolescence, gopis of Vraja, Vrindavan lila, slaying of Kansa, life in Dwarka, his consorts, Draupadi’s swayamvara, fire in Khandwa, exile of Pandavas, Sanjay’s mission, his visit to Hastinapur, his meeting with Karna, Bhishma in the battle, fall of Drona, Karna, Duryodhana, last days of war, last meeting of Pandavas, annihilation of Yadus and sermons on desire make for an interesting and absorbing reading.
Two separate chapters, which greatly add literary value to this volume, have been earmarked to Rabindranath Tagore’s criticism of Krishna Charitra and Bankim Chandra’s defence against Tagore’s criticism.
The book is first a lucid commentary where the author attempts to justify why the character of Krishna has no parallel in history. The other being why the author rates Krishna as the greatest of all Indian personalities.
About the book:
Author: Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyaya
Translator: Alo Shome
Price: INR 195
Publisher: Hindoology Books
Edition: November 2008
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