Lord Krishna – an enlightening personality
DR SATYAPAL SINGH
I am experiencing mixed feelings of ecstasy and awareness of my own limitations while writing this article on the most illustrious and enlightened man of the era – the Lord Krishna. In the long history of almost last 5000 years there has been no equivalent to such a great Householder soul like Shrikrishna in India or even elsewhere on this Earth. The myth goes that before the birth of Shrikrishna, his parents ( Devaki and Vasudeva ) were kept behind the bars at Mathura by King Kansa. But the moment Shrikrishna was born, the doors of the jail suddenly (automatically) opened and was safely shifted to Gokul. It is entirely needless to probe into this myth for its veracity. But one can easily imagine that when the jail shackles were all of a sudden got cut asundered at the time of the birth of this superhuman, how many miserables must have been rescued by him throughout the lifespan of this divine towering figure ! It is so stunning that this child born in the walls of the prison grows into a savior later in his life and relieves the entire world from the jail of engulfing unrighteousness and sins. The baby deprived even of the privileges of his mother’s milk right from the moment he was born, anchored the salvation of innumerable mothers.
Historically Shrikrishna belongs to the end of Dvapara Yuga. The position he occupies and the role he plays in the great war of Mahabharata, is extremely important and significant. The Mahabharata war itself gave birth to Gita, the divine celestial speech (Devavani). The Indologists in the light of available historical records and literary documents, astronomical references (the positions of constellations) have concluded that the war of Mahabharata broke out on 12th November 3143 B.C, which means almost 5152 years back. Now any historian or any research worker should have no doubt or prejudice of any order in this regard. Before the British Rule in India, in the pre-historic period, time was measured astronomically in terms of Kalpas and Yugas. (aeonic temporal cycles) The beginning of the new era was called Yugabda. Astronomically speaking the present Kaliyuga started 5109 years ago. Shrikrishna lived till the initial few years of Kaliyuga.
The Childhood of Shrikrishna was spent in Gokul, Vrundavan area. The foster parents Nanda -Yashoda nurtured him with great zeal, love and care. It is said that Nanda had the herds of 10000 cows in his possession. Even if we consider it to consist only of 1000 cows for a time being, why should then their beloved son go to others’ houses and that too for stealing and enjoying the butter stolen ? Nanda and Yashoda were so pure-hearted couple that they would have never hesitated and would have easily agreed to give away their baby-girl to replace and save the sibling of their friend Vasudeva, so how was it possible that they would allow any bad habits like that of stealing and telling lies to get inculcated in the exceptional child of their bosom friend? This is nothing but an utopia or wild imagination of poets like Surdasa and others, – and factually there is no substance in all such stories.
Granted that there could be some childhood anecdotes associated with Shrikrishna, natural to the age under the caption Balalila (Childhood amusements).But these poets and followers went to the extreme by converting them into Rasalila(amorous youthful sports.) – an act of spiritual distortions of Krishnalila.
Radha and Gopis
Some poets from rhetoric school and bhakticult accepted Lord Shrikrishna as a God, worshiped him, adorned him as blind devotees and followers on one hand, and on the other the Western scholars and their self esteemed, the so called Indian scholars, following their footsteps merely depicted him in various ways with low level intentions and sensual impulses. Shrikrishna to them was one who played in the group of Gopis under the sacred name Rasalila, as one stealing the garments of the women, the one engaged and indulging in youthful activities with the damsel by name Radha, making uncourteous hideous gestures with dwarfed maiden Kubja.
The rhetoric school poets wanted to hide their sensual impulses and writings from the indignation of common people in the society. The blind and self titled devotees wanted to escape themselves from the scornful attitude of common man towards them, their selfish and voluptuous behavior or actions and their luxurious and lavish life style made under the pretext of divine justification and conformation. The Western scholars and others belonging to different religions than that of Hindus, and not to speak of other pseudo scholars wanted to devaluate and bring down the supreme Indian culture and Indian religion – a sort of burning example for all. Thus they mutilated the very noble character of Lord Krishna into an ignoble and scandalous one.
In the whole of Mahabharata, there is no mention even of the name Radha. We first get glimpses of her, in Gita Govinda of Jayadeva, in the Bhagvat of Bopadeva, his real brother and also in other literary description in the works like Brahma Vaivarta Purana, etc. One comes across in Brahma Vaivarta Purana the illicit love affairs of Radha with Krishna. In the same Purana also many contrary types of relations are alluded regarding the relations between them. Somewhere she is depicted as the daughter of Shrikrishna. Some where she is related as Shrikrishna’s aunt (wife of Rayana, brother of Yashoda), sometimes as his daughter-in-law and sometimes as the sister of Shrikrishna. (If some one has any doubts, or wants to know any further details, then all references can be made available).
Bankimchandra Chattopadyaya, the author of “Anand math” who carried out research on Mahabharata continuously for about 36 years and also composed thereafter the biography of Shrikrishna, states that according to Mahabharata Shrikrishna had only one wife namely Rukhmini – neither two nor four and of course not at all 16000. According to Mahabharata immediately after getting married both Rukhmini and Shrikrishna went to Badrikashrama and led a pious life there for 12 years. They used to sleep on ground, ate only roots, tubers and fruits and observed strict celibacy. Thereafter Rukhmini gave birth to the first child named Pradhumna. It is sheerly disgusting to stigmatize this noble character shown indulging in love-affairs with and in romance with Radha and Gopis.
Bankimchandraji has stated ” Bhagwan Shrikrishna in all respect was free from all blemishes and was of very pure conduct. Such an ideal character endowed with all virtues, free from all sins never did exist and would hardly exist at anytime, anywhere, neither in this country nor any where in the world. He was a multi-faceted, accomplished and pure soul. (Krishnacharita).” Swami Dayananda states that Shrikrishna was the best of all the characters in the epic Mahabharata. His qualities, deeds, nature and character all are similar to those of accomplished persons(apta or siddha), and were simply magnanimous. He never committed any sin or any impious act right from his birth till his death. Whatever aspersions, thrown on Shrikrishna are all just because of Bhagvata only (Satyarthprakash).
There is a clear and categorical statement in Maharabhata (Sabha-parva) that in Indraprastha at the time of Rajsuya yagna, performed by Yudhisthira amongst all the invitees like hundreds of Kings, Monarchs, Rishi – Munis and scholars Shrikrishna by all means was considered and reckoned as the wisest, strongest, most valorous and the most distinguished figure of the world and was honoured by Agrapuja ( foremost felicitation ) and was offered in Arghya(respect) . But behold his unassuming gentle nature! At the time of yajna, he modestly offered himself to welcome the Rishi – Munis and scholars by washing their holy feet – the highest token of selflessness. The real wisdom can be so simple and so modest. He was just the role – model.
When Krishna completed his studies in the Sandeepanee Ashrama at Ujjayani Guru Angiras Ghora gave him a final instruction: “O Krishna! when you will reach the last moment of your life, when the death will be knocking at your door, recite the following sentences” 1) Tvam akshitamasi – Hey Almighty thou art eternal, non decayable 2) Tvam achyutamasi -Thou art infallible /non-deviating 3) Tvam prana sanshitamasi – Thou art the minutest and life infusing, similar to the prana. And the author of Upanishads says that Krishna was fully contented and appeased on getting this message. There is then no need of any instruction or advice, as Krishna was knowing that one can remember at the last moment only that which one follows or observes throughout his life.
And this is exactly why Krishna used to get up early at 3 am – the Brahma-muhurta (auspicious time) and used to repeat the Gayatri mantra thousand times. The Author of Mahabharata (the Vyasa Muni) writes that when Krishna went to Hastinapura as a messenger of peace, at the sunset, he would stop his chariot, take a pause, release the horses from chariot and sit for meditation on the way. During the war, when Abhimanyu was killed, Arjuna was in deep sorrow in the evening. Krishna was also very much grieved as Abhimanyu, the only son of his sister Subhadra and his bosom friend Arjuna was killed. But behold the stable – minded (sthitaprajna i.e. unification of grasping sustaining and recollecting faculties of knowledge – dhi, dhirti & smriti ) Krishna. He instructs Arjuna to join him in evening prayers after which they could come back to this issue as well as the plan for next day’s war.
In Gita, for great happiness and serenity,(Prasannatva) Krishna again and again invites you to seek shelter and protection of that which is perfect and unchangeable Almighty, free from the shackles of birth and death, with His abode in the heart of every being, who controls everybody like the parts of a machine and bestows us the fruits and rewards of our deeds. He advises us to pray, repeat and recite Omkar for worshipping that Almighty who is praised by all Vedashastras and whom all the Rishimuni’s try to attain by penance and austerity.
And even when death (Lord Yama) in the form of an arrow of a hunter (Vyadha), approached and knocked his door, Shrikrishna was engrossed in meditation of the Almighty. Wasn’t it totally and completely following the last instructions given to him at the end of his studies by his Guru.
Throughout his life, Bhagvan Shrikrishna kept on awakening and evoking everybody against injustice. His birth itself is known for breaking off the shackles of jail. Shrikrishna who was born in the filth of injustice kept on fighting for it throughout his life. Even his childhood was not so easy and comfortable like other children. On the contrary he grew up bearing all atrocities of Kansa. Right in the adolescent stage Shrikrishna took some strategic steps like organizing people from Gokul, Vrindavana and Mathura and gave them training in arms. He did all this not only to liberate his parents from jail but also for opposing and fighting the injustice and to end up the pitiable conditions and cries of people. Even after killing Kansa, as he was fighting with the other cruel kings like Jarasandha and that was the strategic action and mission of his life. Doing all this, though he had to flee from the land of Mathura and Vrindavana, had to go very far and had to establish and settle down in Dvaraka, but he never and no where compromised with injustice.
The entire great war of Mahabharata, the whole sermon of the Gita, is nothing but the veritable invitation to get armed to fight against injustice. If we win while fighting the injustice then only we can enjoy the riches of this planet Earth and if we meet death on the battle field then we will win the Heaven this is what Shrikrishna says.
“hato va prapyasi svargam jitva va bhoksyase mahim”
When and while he was being prevented by the situation from participating in the war with his arms and weapons he even accepted to become the charioteer of brave archer (Dhanurdhari) Arjuna only for ending the injustice. He never wanted to get away from the war against injustice. To fight against the injustice and profanity and finish it from this world was the mission and goal of his life. All advices and sermons he laid down in Gita, every word that he uttered, whether he was talking of Yoga or of stable genius (sthitaprajna), wisdom, always gave inspiration to fight and propelled them against the injustice. The perishability of the body, immortality of the soul, concentration of the mind, and undisturbed equanimity, calm and peaceful disposition of mind – all was to be described and explained in detail by Krishna so that Arjun, caught in the bewitching trap and completely at his wit’s end should pick up his arms and pounce upon injustice, otherwise all these utterances were unnecessary right at the beginning of the war of Mahabharata, certainly not so important as to attract the attention of an magnanimous personality like Krishna.
Shrikrishna did not become Lord Krishna just because he was the son of Vasudeva, Devaki or not even because he was brought up in the riches of Yashoda mata and father Nanda. He was laid to the position of the Lord because directly or indirectly his Sudarshana-chakra,(Divine beautiful disc or wheel) his special weapon, kept on defeating injustice. Years ago a statue of Shrikrishna in stone was found during the excavation at Gorakhpur (Uttar Pradesh). The English version of Sanskrit write up found on it was as below.
When there are clouds of hypocrisy and when the sins turn into the storm, then – my melodious flute takes a form of small spear.
The whole life of Shrikrishna was like a roaring sound of a conch. The vow he took for wiping out the profanity and injustice from this Earth and the establishment of religion and justice instead.
There is always something very special about every eminent personality of the society and this world. Some of them were the founders of new religion or religion reformists, some were profound scholars or scientists laying bare the secrets of nature, some dispellers of ignorance, some were worshippers of gallantry, or visionary of independence, freedom or even liberty, some unattached Yogi or some discriminative statesmen, some destroyer of social injustice and some ardent proponent of justice. But in the history of the whole world, Shrikrishna is the only greatest personality whose character encompasses together all these diverse ideals. Dear readers, devotees of Krishna, let us take a pledge today, let us make a resolution that we will not allow even advertently any blemish to defame the noble life of that spotless, innocent, virtuous and realized soul. Let us follow the footsteps of the ideals of great people. Following are the words of Krishna
yad yad acarati shresthasthat devetaro janah
sa yat pramam kurute lokas tadanuvartate
This is thus the preaching of life and the simple solution of finding happiness, peace and prosperity in life.
Dr. Satyapal Singh
The Police Commissioner, Pune.