In the previous post I talked about śabda-vṛtti and rasa. Now in fact this was a preamble to a response to those who are confused about metaphorical interpretations of Radha and Krishna and the lila. In another earlier post (The Two Rasa Lilas, Again), I made a statement to the effect that Krishna was both bhagavān and the archetypal man.
Shivaji said that calling Krishna the archetypal man was a metaphoric interpretation. That is wrong. It is the direct statement of the shastra, even though many devotees turn a blind idea to this.
To again clarify: The idea of Krishna as bhagavān is the Bhāgavata version. If there is a metaphorical version of Krishna lila, it is there in what the Goswamis called and rejected as the ādhyātmika interpretation. In fact, however, they cannot entirely reject the metaphorical version. It is just that they would not take the metaphorical version exclusively at the price of the literal one which the Bhāgavata makes clear, especially in the verse 10.33.36:
In order to show mercy to the devotees Krishna appears in a human form and performs such pastimes [as the rāsa-līlā], hearing which one becomes attached to him.The intimate connection between the the divine and the human in Krishna is what is enchanting (madhura) about him. And the most enchanting līlā of all, the līlā-śiromaṇi, is the rāsa-līlā.
Though the Bhāgavata's idea seems prima facie to be that Krishna's taking of a human body is only to help us remember him. But that develops into something completely different in later texts. The Brahma-saṁhitā directly calls Krishna "the original man" (ādi-puruṣa) and the Chaitanya Charitamrita says:
Of all Lord Krishna’s diversions, his human pastimes are the most excellent, for the human form is his actual identity. In this form He dresses as a cowherd boy, plays the flute, blossoms with ever fresh youthfulness and dances expertly. His activities resemble those of a human being. (Madhya 21.101)The last words are particularly interesting, because it seems to place the humanity as prior to his divinity, reviving the old chicken or egg question about projection rather openly.
Anyway, the point is: By the direct statements of shastra, Krishna is presented as an archetypal man. When the Gita says avajānanti mam mūḍhā mānuṣīṁ tanum āśritam, etc., that is to remind us that his humanity is archetypal, not entirely human in its limitation.
The problem then is to understand what is the relation between the Deity and the human archetype, where one imposes an attitude of devotion and the other an exemplary code of behavior. Even though the Bhāgavatam warns about not imitating the rāsa-līlā, it also states that one becomes free from lust or material sexual desire through hearing this specific pastime.
In order to understand how this works we have to take a bit of assistance from modern archetypal psychology, but I think that rasa theory will, from the Indian vantage point, offer sufficient material to help understand how this is meant to work. I wrote about this before here, so you can look there. This article probably needs to be looked at by me again, too, but not today...
The point is that the more one humanizes God, the more the forms of bhakti also change. But, at the same time, it also has the effect of humanizing your human relationships and investing them with love. Sexuality is fraught with difficulties because it is the locus where the modes of nature most powerfully exhibit themselves. Because of that, it is also the most significant arena of spiritual practice. But people try to destroy desire, which is the Mayavadi approach to spirituality, instead of transforming it. That is what Sahaja is all about.