Krishnavatra series by K.M. Munshi were some of the earliest books that I read. My passion for reading was kick-started by these books. I borrowed them from my grandfather who was only too happy to lend them to someone who shared his own passion for reading.
Munshi has humanized Krishna as much as possible in these series but yet has maintained an aura of mystique that will make you adore his Godliness while it is juxtaposed with normal human-like behaviour.
The first part Magic Flute is where he gives you the wonderful background story of Krishna’s ancestors and we learn about Yadavas in general and their very many clans. Krishna and his elder brother Balarama are spirited away from Mathura right after their birth and the miraculous happenings that aid their escape are toned down.
Krishna grows up in Gokul and the so-called demons and asuras that Kamsa sends in to kill him turn out to be assassins. I was particularly touched by Putana’s death and her redemption and the guilt that she felt for killing scores of innocent children.
Krishna’s musings is a very cute chapter where you get a glimpse into a child’s world. His very many pranks and adorable behaviour will capture your imagination. The episode where he meets his soul-mate Radha is written beautifully and I was pleasantly surprised to see the cartoon version of Krishna in Vrindavan adapting the same in their screenplay!
Many of the so-called miracles are toned down to give as much a human touch as possible. Miracles like taming of Kaliya and lifting of Govardhan Mountain are brought about by Krishna’s clever and quick thinking.
Krishna and Radha grow up to realize their love for each other and when the summons from Mathura, she instinctively knows that he won’t be her Kanha anymore. The lovely poignant love scene that K.M. Munshi has scripted is so beautiful that it takes your breath away.
Yashoda’s characterization is also beautifully done. A true mother, she never did doubt the fact that Krishna was not her son. And I was touched by the way she denies the whole thing yet helplessly realizing that it must be the truth.
At Mathura, Kamsa is at the edge of paranoia attack even while he plots to kill Vasudeva’s sons. The curing of Trivakara the crooked misshapen woman seems a bit miraculous though faith scores bigger marks over there. And it does serve to increase Kamsa’s unease and paranoia even more than ever.
Krishna also meets the fiery princess of Vidharbha and her foolish brother, setting into motion the chain of events that would culminate in the next book.