(H H Kadamba Kanana Swami, 30th March 2012, Cape Town, South Africa) Lecture: SB 7.15.25
Devotee: Is it bonifide to say that the pictures which they see of Krishna aren’t the artist’s rendition?
Maharaja: They are artists who have renditioned themselves, but how much transcendental are these artists? And how often are they just painting a picture from their mind? It depends on the artist. Many of these paintings are obviously not revelations. It’s not that the artist is looking into the spiritual world, unlike many of our Iskcon paintings.
The artists for a while had a school in Italy where they were all together and studied Italian art because it was voluptuous with kind of little angels, and nicely round little young boys, which were all nice forms. Then they used these Italian paintings and turned them into camera pose. They are artists and they can only draw so much. We are musicians, so what else can we play? It’s not that all these paintings are necessarily what Krishna looks exactly like in the picture. It doesn’t, but Krishna manifests Himself in the pictures. So with the picture it works as being transcendental!
You know when you are in the a temple and the deity of Krishna is black. You go to the next temple and He has a round face. You go to another one and the deity of Krishna is black but the face is slimmer. Which one is Krishna? Is His face round? In all the other temples Krishna’s face is white! Crazy black and busy white – the artist’s concept. The other one is made of brass and gold, so what does He look like? All of these things, because He manifests through these things. But the day you see Krishna in the spiritual world then He may look a little different compared to that picture!
The colour of Krishna is not blue. The colour of Krishna is ‘sham’ which is blackish bluish, because in the rainy season there are rain clouds. Just before the rainy season it is the hot season when the sun is extremely bright (with the effulgence you can hardly see) then the clouds come in front of the sun and because of the bright light it takes on some bluish reflection of the sky. So the two combined together is called ‘sham’ and that is the colour! So it’s about effulgence and it isn’t the same. Therefore sometimes they say:
‘He’s white’. Because the effulgent is so bright!
Sometimes they say:
‘He is black’,
And other times they say:
’He is white and so bright.’
That is what you get, and some see only the white light and it’s so bright! The Upanishad says that behind the white light is His personal face. When you see it all then it all adds up together. The Old Testament also describes how God’s personal feature is extremely effulgent. He is whitish and very effulgent, since it’s all the same that connects to us all!