Today is Krishna Janmaashtami - the birthday of the Lord Krishna. Lord Vishnu (the 'maintainer') took human form in order to overcome a resident evil upon the earth. Indian and Western scholars are now generally in agreement that Sri Krishna's lifetime was somewhere between 3200 and 3100 BC. It is important to remember that all the 'different gods' of India are but all the facets of the One Truth, manifested. There are said to be 330million in the shruti (Hindu scripture)... at the time of that being written, it is quite possible that this was considered to be the entirety of earth's population - for, you see, every face to be found upon this planet is considered to be the face of God. It is this which is inferred in the greetings; नमस्ते /namaste = I prostrate to the divine (in thee); and हरिः ॐ /Hari Om = (prostrations) to the many and The One ... (actually, whole treatises can be written on the mantra Hari Om, but let's keep it simple here!)
All the main devataas ('personal gods' such as Rama, Ganesha, Hanuman etc) are present to act as mirrors and guides, showing us the perfection of life and the consequences of not paying attention. Much symbolism is used for this purpose. Let us look at one such example. "Murali", the Lord's flute.
The flute of Sri Krishna is of special significance. It is Sri Visnu's way of
demonstrating that He is Supreme Lord and capable of playing mankind in many
ways. The flute represents the body of a human and has the same 'nava golakaaH'
- nine gates through which the spirit in a man connects with the world… two
eyes, two nostrils, two ears, mouth, anus and reproductive organs. By placing His mouth against the 'body's mouth, the Lord provides praana, the very essence of life by which all the other golakas operate. If we allow the breath of the
Lord to blow through us cleanly, surrendering to His will on our behalf, our life will play well and according to correct order. If we resist, considering
ourselves to be separate from Him, the lack of His breath causes us to fall short of our potential.
Knowing this, praying to the Lord and asking to 'become an instrument of His peace' takes on a whole fresh meaning!