By David V. Mason (auth.)
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Extra info for Theatre and Religion on Krishna’s Stage: Performing in Vrindavan
39. Seeing in the body, nay in the gaping mouth of her child, this marvellous universe consisting of a variety of organisms . . she was seized with terror. . 32 Theatre and Religion on Krishna’s Stage 43. The Omnipotent Supreme Lord cast over the Gopa-lady who had thus realized the truth, his deluding Vaisnava (divine) charm which filled her with maternal affection for (her) son. 44. Instantly the Gopa-lady lost her memory (regarding the real nature of the Lord). She placed her son on her lap.
16 We might distinguish between the physical Krishna avatar and the divine Krishna by adopting for the former the name “Krishna-Gopal,” by which name devotees commonly refer to the child Krishna. The gopis who, in the Vrindavan forest, imitate Krishna-Gopal and act out his mythology, represent Krishna-Gopal’s equally representational imitation of Krishna’s divine activity. In the râs lila, then, we see actors playing at being gopis playing at being Krishna-Gopal playing at being Krishna. At the least, this is an example of a play-within-a-play-within-a-play-within-a-play.
Only, soon after freeing his homeland of Kamsa’s rule and instituting a golden age in the land of his birth, Krishna again abruptly packed up and moved to Dwarka to live as a warlord. As an adult with a full compliment of soldiers under his command, Krishna participated in the battle between cousins, which forms the core of The Mahabharata, ceding, in classic Krishna style, his armies to one side of the fight while committing himself to the other. Krishna’s revelation of his divine identity during the battle provides the theological moment of the Bhagavad Gita, and Krishna’s participation in the battle otherwise is marked by lying and cheating.