Indo-American Interconnected Overtones: Krishna and Kokopelli

When I visited Phoenix, AZ for the first time last October, first thing to caught my attention was the saguaro cacti that are standing taller than me. It is not that I’m tall standing at 5’3” but was deeply fascinated by those giants. When I called my brother after reaching hotel, I blurted out “America means ‘big’ – even the cactus is big here”. Shortly after that Kokopelli, one of the most easily recognized figures found in the petroglyphs and pictographs as early as 800 AD, walked into me playing flute. Kokopelli symbolizes American Southwest, usually depicted as a humpbacked flute player with eagle feathers on his head. He is a trickster god, representing the spirit of music and presiding over both childbirth and agriculture. He is often depicted with animal companions like rams and deer. His dominion over agriculture is brought by chasing away winter and brings spring with his flute music. He dances with women all night and gives babies to them.

Krishna worship in India can be traced back to 4th century BCE. Krishna, the very name in Sanskrit means “black”, is often portrayed as a kid, a prankster, romantic hero, and the Supreme Being by Hindu scriptures. He wears peacock feathers in his head and plays flute that could entrance every living being on earth and above. He is depicted in art with cows. Another famous Krishna art is rasa-leela, where He dances and makes merry with the gopikas or shepherd women. He had saved the entire village from wrath of God Indra, who unleashed heavy monsoon rains. Krishna protected all living beings in His village by lifting a mountain as a shelter to protect everyone. In the form of Santana Gopala, He is the giver of children. He spread happiness around him and wherever he went.





Apparently, even today occasional visitors may be referred as ‘Kokopelli’ when they bring news, stories, and trinkets from the outside world to share with the villages. Maybe Krishna travelled all the way up to America and fell in love or He could have reached America thru early human migrations. Jay’s mom introduced me to early human migrations theory and my profound connection to America begins with her. It is thrilling to make these connections that boggles our mind and ignites passion in our hearts. It is Krishna who led me to Kokopelli and they are one and the same to me.

“I am seated in everyone’s heart, and from Me come remembrance, knowledge and forgetfulness. By all the Vedas, I am to be known. Indeed, I am the compiler of Vedānta, and I am the knower of the Vedas.” ~ Bhagvad Gita 15.15

Krishnam Vande Jagadgurum!

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