by Alo Shome
Krishna Charitra is a famous Bengali classic where Bankim Chandra endeavours to discover Sri Krishna, the real person, behind centuries of myths and legends. Written in 1886, this was the first instance where the character of Krishna is studied from a pragmatic and questioning perspective. Like his novel Ananda Math, Krishna Charitra originates from Bankim Chandra's passionate feeling of patriotism. He wanted to uphold Sri Krishna as not just a mythological figure, but an ideal Indian character, whom other Indians could look up to. Sri Aurobindo says, Bankim Chandra poured over the Bhagavad Gita and the Vedas striving to catch the deeper and sacred sense of those profound writings. To give that to his countrymen was the strenuous aim of Krishna Charitra. In this translation of Krishna Charitra, several passages of Bankim's academic discussions have been omitted, so as to make it easier for the common reader. Also deleted are the criticisms on the European people that Bankim Chandra includes in his book from time to time. Otherwise, the text strictly follows the structure and the content of the original dissertation.