For me this is true of the stories of the Hindu Lord Krishna. According to the Hindu tradition Krishna is an incarnation of the Lord Vishnu and there are many stories of his exploits in Vrindaban where he grew up with foster parents. He is depicted as a flute player who entices the young women of the village with his music. Attracted by his flute, the story goes, they leave their homes, their families, their husbands to dance the night away with Krishna who multiplies himself so that each one feels herself totally loved. Hearing his call, they have no option but to follow even if to do so is to break convention and tradition. For these women the love of God, manifest for them in the melody of Krishna’s flute, is the heart of their faith. It is a call to love and devotion which they cannot ignore. The poet Kabir expresses it beautifully,
I hear the melody of his flute and I cannot contain myself;
The flower blooms, though it is not spring; and already the bee has received its invitation.
The sky roars and the lightening flashes, the waves arise in my heart,
The rain falls and my heart longs for my Lord.
Many religious people have heard and felt this call and it’s at the heart of my own vocation. Deep within religious faith there is an attraction to that which is transcendent, a desire to respond to what life offers, to grow in love and service, to become all that we are meant to be. I recognise this call when I hear the story of Krishna, I recognises similar attitudes in my own religion and in the poetry and prayers of the Christian mystics. But I also recognise it in some people who claim not to be religious. One such person is the scientist Professor Brian Cox who amazes many of us with his television programmes on the universe. What comes across is his awe and wonder at the majesty and mystery of this universe of which we are a part. He delights in it all. At the end of a recent programme he commented that he expected to continue to be so amazed by the universe that the only adequate response would be silence. There are many mystics within all the religious traditions who have responded in a similar vein.
It would seem to me that this call, this attraction to the fullness of life could be a human and natural one as well as a religious one. Is this the essence of evolution as life has responded and adapted to new possibilities? It might be called gravity, a magnetic force by some, the call of a God who may be named as Allah or Krishna by others but is it not the same call, a call to a love and wonder that will express itself in compassion and care for others and the world we live in. Is this not the heart of religion, is this not what the earth is crying out for as we see and experience the effects of climate change and the need for healing and reconciliation among the nations? It would be good if religion could take us beyond externals to help us see and hear the possibilities that are open to us. It would be good if it could help us look beyond the pointing finger to see the moon itself and to respond accordingly. But so too for science. I can resonate with Brian Cox’s wonder and awe. I understand his rejection of a Creator outside of time. I have difficulties with it myself. But I do feel that we both hear a similar melody at the heart of life and in that have more in common than might be obvious at first sight.