Through childhood, I have always been in intrigue of Indian mythology and history. My dad used to buy me Amar Chitra Katha, my knowledge of Indian culture was extracted from there. I used to sit mesmerised, reading each comic book till the pages tore. But no other personality has been so vibrant, dynamic, naughty, divine and scholastic than Lord Krishna. I wanted to be him, in every fancy dress competition or play. In Sanskrit Kṛṣṇa, is interpreted as “black”, “dark”, “dark blue” or “all attractive”.
One of the most widely revered and most popular of all Indian divinities, worshipped as the eighth incarnation of the Hindu god Vishnu. From his birth story, of Kamsa, the king of MATHURA, hearing a prophecy that he would be destroyed by Devaki’s child, he tried to slay her children, but Krishna was smuggled across the river Yamuna to Gokula, where he was raised by the leader of the cowherds, Nanda, and his wife Yashoda. Krishna’s youthful tryst with the Gopi’s is depicted in millions of paintings, where he plays the flute, and these beautiful women are in adulation. The peacock feathers his crown.
From loving freshly churned butter, lovingly called Makhan chor, to hiding clothes of the village women while they bathed, to dancing on a multi headed serpent and carrying a hillock on his bare hands. He saw it all and did it all. He was a romantic, from Radha to Rukmini to many other wives. He was attractive and charismatic.
But nothing is so striking than the Krishna in the Mahabharata, Krishna becomes Arjuna’s charioteer for the War at Kurukshetra, but on the condition that he personally will not raise any weapon. Upon arrival at the battlefield and seeing that the enemies are his family, his grandfather, and his cousins and loved ones, Arjuna is moved and says his heart will not allow him to fight and kill his own. He would rather renounce the kingdom and put down his weapon. Krishna then shows him his true avatar, then comes the famous sermon about the nature of life, ethics, and morality when one is faced with a war between good and evil, the impermanence of matter, the permanence of the soul and the good, duties and responsibilities, the nature of true peace and bliss. Motivating him to fight for justice.
The most fascinating is his death, At the end of the Kurukshetra battle when Gandhari is mourning the loss of her 100 sons. The Pandavas, accompanied by Krishna, arrive in her chambers to offer condolences but Gandhari is so distraught she curses that Krishna’s clan would meet a similar gruesome end as that of her sons. Krishna smiles and says tathastu, or so be it, setting into motion the final round of events that would bring an end of the Yadava clan, to which he belonged. Gandharis curse, is so dramatic and full of a mother’s anger, she says, if my years of Vishnu Bhakthi have been true, and if I have been true to my husband, then, may you die 36 years from today. May Dwaraka be flooded and may every one of your Yadava kin perish by killing each other, just as you made the kins of Kuru kill one another. May the Yadavas die out…. may the Yadavas die out….”
The story of the sages visiting the Yadavas, the pranks and the curse of the delivery of a mace by Samba. Crushed except a small triangular piece and thrown into the sea. The piece which ultimately was turned into an arrow, that turned out to be the curse unfolding. Krishna laid down under a tree and went into Yoga Samadhi. At that time a hunter Jara entered that forest. That hunter misunderstood the moving foot of Krishna as a lurking deer and shot a lethal arrow that pierced into Krishna’s feet. As soon as the hunter reached Krishna, he realised his mistake and pleaded the lord for forgiveness. Lord Krishna consoles him and tells him how his death was inevitable.
Krishna says that in his previous birth as Rama in the Tretayuga, Rama killed Vaali (Sugreeva’s brother) from behind. So, Krishna has now reaped the price for the same through Jara who was king Vaali in his previous birth. This story beautifully brings out the very important fact that, even for the Ruler of the Universe, the laws of Karma remain the same.
What an awesomely woven story, so many lessons to be drawn, from survival, empathy, forgiveness, fighting for justice, respect, and the most important KARMA. What goes around will come around. That even gods aren’t spared.
Yet we humans often forget about life being a journey, temporary in nature. That it needs to be lived and explored. In our yearning’s for being better, rich, and successful we forget LIVING.