Images of the Divine Child

Eros is closely related by nature to Hermes. Greek mythology always preserved Eros in his child-form, and the mythologem of the primordial child was also referred to him. He is pictured as a child, even an irresponsible child shooting his dart with mischievous delight. No one could escape from his power; even the mighty Zeus became victim of the power of Eros.
While Eros and Krishna are always the young god, the focus of the Krishna stories is different from those of Eros, for Krishna loves his devotees and satisfies them with his presence. In contrast Eros is the god who engenders love in others for good or ill without coming into a relationship with them except for the tale of Cupid and Psyche.
As a child Krishna was a delight and a mischief-maker. He accomplished many extraordinary feats contesting with the gods themselves sometimes. He subdues the giant snake, Kaliya, and dances on his head, with a step as light as a feather for the presence of the god himself controls the evil one.7 He inspires the affection of all the gopis (the cowherd girls) who so grieved at his preference for Radha that manifested himself to each of the gopis and dances with each of them and loved them. One story tells of a man who found Krishna so attractive that he prayed to be reborn as a woman in his next lifetime so that Krishna could satisfy him.

[aras-image:3Ja.007,,10,,,Figure 27 Bacchic vase with image of Dionysus.]

A series of Roman terra cotta friezes show the infant Dionysus growing out of the roots of a grapevine which establishes his relationship to intoxication. His devotees tramping out the grapes welcome the little god.8 In the view of Jane Harrison, "Dionysus by his tree shape and bull-shape is clearly shown to be not merely a spirit of intoxication, but rather a primitive nature god laid hold of, informed by a spirit of intoxication. Demeter and Kore are nature goddesses. They have their uprisings and down-goings but to the end they remain sedate and orderly. Dionysus is, as it were, the male correlate of Kore, but changed, transformed by the new element of intoxication and orgy (Figure 27).9