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KRISHNA

Indians are not as mesmerized with any god in the Hindu pantheon as much as they’re with Krishna. He’s the mischievous little boy, whose pranks won the hearts of everyone in Gokul, where he was raised. Krishna’s stories have a lot to tell the world and each comes with a message.

As a child, he was the apple of everyone’s eyes-a natural leader of his gang. He’s Lord Rama’s incarnation and also the former’s exact opposite in disposition. Where Ram was the fair handsome kid, Krishna was the dark, handsome one. Where Ram was obedient, Krishna was the naughty, disobedient kid. Where Ram was a one woman’s man, Krishna was one man whom all women wanted to marry! Where Ram ruled as a just ruler, being the perfect role model by setting an example of wise living, Krishna lived life on his own terms, making laws only to break them and bending rules with ease. Where Ram was the ideal man, Krishna was the sorcerer, the magician!   

Where Ram warned his enemies and struck them straight, Krishna was crafty in identifying his opponent’s strengths and weaknesses and used them against themselves!

Krishna painted the whole of Gokul red with his colorful childhood, and was the terror kid, who stole butter from the milkmaids, who minded the shepherds, who protected the villagers from harm! Ram’s and Krishna’s personality traits suggest how each child is different!

Even in youth both personalities were poles apart. Ram was loyal and devoted to his consort Sita. But, it was Krishna’s mission to run to the rescue of any damsel in distress. Krishna is supposed to have had 24,000 wives! According to mythology, Ram’s devotion to Sita causes many women’s love being unrequited. In order to appease the many besotted women, Ram in his incarnation as Krishna, courted all the women who had reincarnated themselves only to unite with the same soul! Both men were stark opposites in looks. “Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder”, goes the ancient adage and there were women who fell for the fair and handsome Ram and there were those who fell for the dark and handsome Krishna!

Among the many stories, the most endearing one is the love story of Radhika and Krishna. Radhika was older to Krishna and was supposed to be his true love, although he never married her. She was a much married woman too. Without seeking any commitment whatsoever, she found her way to not only his heart, but also into the many books and paintings even today. Their union symbolizes nothing but the union of Paramathma (Supernatural forces) with the Jeevatama(living organisms). God is as eager to unite with us, as much as we are!

Krishna is the Indian ‘pied piper’, who made the whole cosmos dance to his tunes. As a shepherd, he played his flute to gather his cattle which went to graze daily. He played many enchanting tunes on his flute, which mesmerized the women, especially Radha or Radhika.  Whenever they had a tiff Krishna placed his flute at her feet and sought her forgiveness. There’s a message to lovers here. This today is translated as, “Never get angry simultaneously.” Ego never comes in the way of true love.

Krishna’s loyalty as a friend is reflected in Sudhama’s story. Krishna who was of a royal lineage was admitted to the Gurukul (school), where several other children hailing from different backgrounds studied. Krishna’s best friend was Sudhama a poor Brahmin boy.

Having completed schooling, both parted ways, till Sudhama who could never make ends meet was suggested by his wife that he seek Krishna’s help. Armed with a humble sweet dish that Krishna loved, Sudhama met Krishna at the latter’s palace. Fearing ridicule, he entered the palace, only to be greeted and hugged by Krishna, who went to the extent of washing Sudhama’s care-worn feet with milk. Here, the essence is, Krishna a prince bestowed the respect due to an erudite scholar, Sudhama whose feet he worshipped.  It’s imperative to mention his role as a friend, philosopher and guide to his friend Arjuna. The conversation between Krishna and Arjuna form the crux of the Hindu gospel-the Bhagvat Geeta!  

Arjuna the great archer had to fight a long battle against his own first cousins to acquire the justified share in the property that he, his four brothers and mother had a share in. When negotiations and reasoning failed, and when the former’s wife Draupadi was molested, Krishna advised Arjuna to wage a war. Upon seeing Arjuna’s reluctance to strike at his own relatives and elders in the battlefield, Krishna standing behind Arjuna guided him when to strike, dispenses a long discourse on justice, worldly desires, duties, the meaning of existence, the results of one’s actions and the subsequent consequences.

While Ram was straight forward and honest, Krishna was shrewd and wise and being so shows that acumen pays when it’s for the common good. Krishna’s valuable advice here is, “Knowing your enemies is half the battle won!” He knew about the egoistic opponent Duryodhan and about the boon he received that none would be able to slay him if his mother’s sight fell on his whole naked body. Krishna teased Duryodhan how stupid he was to allow his mother to see him naked as a grown man, although she was his mother! Thus, Duryodhan tied a loin cloth and allowed his mother to view only the parts that were exposed, barring his thighs and loins. And after knowing this secret, Krishna advised Bhim to strike Duryodhan below his waist, which killed Duryodhan instantly.

Similarly, he also used Shikhandi the eunuch knowing fully well that Bheeshma who was   on the opponent side, would never fight with a eunuch. Thus, when Shikhandi marched towards Bheeshma, the latter had to drop his weapons and thus was wounded. In this way, Krishna demonstrated the superiority of ‘intelligence’ over physical strength. While the epic Mahabharata recognizes that ‘All’s fair in love and war’, Krishna in the Bhagwat Geeta emphasizes the need for us to do our duty and leave the fruits of our labor to God. Doing one’s duty and having implicit faith in the Almighty is the fundamental teachings of Krishna! 

From a naughty carefree child to an enchanter of sorts, to a loyal friend, to the dispenser of justice, Krishna played it all, to the hilt. His message in the Geeta is, “To sin is bad, but to tolerate a sinner and the sin is the worst.” 

Can you find a better child, lover, friend, liberator, teacher and dispenser of justice than Krishna?


 

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