BHAADRAPADA KRISHNA ASHTAMI
The Eigth day of the dark half of
No other God in the Hindu pantheon, or for that matter in any other religion,
is associated with so many romantic tales and so fully radiating with all the
divine attributes as Sri Krishna.
The life and message of Sri Krishna is the most stirring saga of one of the
greatest saviours and propounders of Dharma. Born in the dungeons of
Kamsa who was out to kill him at the very moment of his birth, Sri Krishna's
life is replete with many such mortal dangers which he successfully triumphs
over. He was the unchallenged hero of his times both in terms of his bodily
prowess and his intellectual brilliance. The story of how he killed, one after
another, all the demonic adversaries - Pootanaa, Shakata, Agha, Dhenuka, Baka,
Keshi and a number of others - even in his infancy, signalled the advent of a
peerless saviour of mankind. He also liquidated the wicked kings like Kamsa and
Shishupala and got vanquished the terrorizing Jaraasandha and Kaalayavana. His
role in the historic Kurukshetra war in humbling the arrogant and despotic
Kauravas and crowning the just and noble Paandavas, finally earned him the
unchallenged position of Dharma Samshaapaka - the establisher of Dharma.
A striking feature of his character was his supreme detachment to power.
Though he had personally destroyed many an evil ruler, he never coveted those
kingdoms for himself. He installed the next of king as the rightful heirs in
those places. And he himself remained utterly simple and unassuming till the
very last. After the killing of Kamsa, he chose for himself a menial task like
the receptionist at the court of Ugrasena whom he himself had installed as the
king of Mathura. Himself a king and known all over the land as the mightiest and
the wisest on the face of the earth, he however mixed freely with one and all.
He embraced his old, poor friend Sudaama and ate with extreme relish the dry
beaten rice offered by him and left him endowed with rich presents.
This was indeed a wonderfully rare, inborn trait with him. He mingled freely
with the cowherd boys and girls in the Nandagokula and they loved him more than
their life for his charming manners and heroic exploits. he subdued Kaaliya, the
dreaded seven-headed King Cobra. Once he protected the Nandagokula against the
wrath of Indra himself. Indra, growing jealous of Krishna's superiority, had
brought down rains in torrents and the entire area was threatened by deluge. Sri
Krishna called his cowherd playmates and asked them to apply their little
fingers to the adjoining Govardhana mountain and raise it up - he himself taking
the major burden. And lo, the mountain went up and acted as an umbrella over the
Nandagokula. Indra conceded defeat and Krishna's unchallenged superiority was
established. How beautifully the story depicts Krishna as a born organizer of
men who could inspire even boys with a high purpose and for superhuman efforts!
The towering genius of Sri Krishna lies in a particularly baffling aspect of
his personality. This relates to some of his apparently outrageous violations of
the prescribed code of conduct. A strange anecdote in his life helps us to
unravel this enigma. When all the children of Paandavas were killed by
Ashwatthaama and even the child in the womb of Uttara, the wife Abhimanyu, was
killed by him, Sri Krishna came forward to save the progeny of Paadavas by
breathing life back into that still born child. Sri Krishna's utterance at that
moment makes strange reading: "May this child come to life, if I have
observed brahmacharya, if I have stuck to truth and if my wealth of virtues has
never diminished." And of course, the child came to life and became the
future king of Bharatavarsha, Parikshita. Sri Krishna had indeed uttered
falsehoods so many times, had broken his pledges, had wives and even `married'
16,000 ladies! But still none of these actions violated the truth of his
statement. The inference is that he did all these actions in a spirit of supreme
detachment, motivated only with the highest goal of safeguarding Dharma.
Sri Krishna himself often affirms this role of his while he explains to
Arjuna the intricacies of the highest spiritual philosophy. At one place he says
that he was engaged incessantly in worldly actions only for the welfare and
sustenance of society, though he himself had no need or desire to be satisfied
by the society. On another occasion he assures that he would take birth whenever
Dharma declines and Adharma rises its ugly head. He declares his
role as the protector of the good and the holy and the destroyer of the unholy
and the wicked, and as the establisher of righteousness.
Sri Krishna personified in himself all the various Divine Paths - the Bhakti,
the Jnaana and the Karma to reach the highest goal of
God-realization. And his personal example gave authority to the great gospel he
preached to Arjuna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra. It is said of Bhagavadgita,
"The Upanishads are the Cow, Krishna the milker, Partha the calf, and
nectar of Gita, the milk." No other scriptural text propounds all the
various paths to Divinity in such a profound and yet so concise and easily
intelligible manner to the commoner as the Bhagavadgita. The setting of
the Gita is also wonderfully unique, Kurukshetra representing the eternal
battlefield in the human soul.
With all his superhuman qualities and achievements, Sri Krishna never
appeared distant to any of his fellow human beings. In fact he was dearer to
them than their own nearest kith and kin. He was ideal in all his human
relationships - a darling son to his parents, an endearing friend and comrade, a
devoted disciple, a loving husband and a trusted brother. The shadow of his
greatness never marred these bonds of the heart.
After preaching the sublime teachings of Bhagavadgita and manifesting
his awe-inspiring Vishwaroopa to Arjuna, he remained his bosom friend as
ever before. That was his unique trait even as a tiny tot. Once, Yashoda - the
foster-mother - learnt that her child Krishna had eaten mud. She was alarmed and
asked him to open his mouth. But when Krishna did so, she was stunned to see
illimitable universes dancing in the little cavity of his mouth. However, her
shock of coming face to face with Divinity Incarnate didnot last long. Again,
the child Krishna cast his spell with his mischievousness, and remained the
adored child of Yashoda as before.
Sri Krishna Jayanti, therefore, signifies not merely the birth of a
great and Divine Teacher of mankind in some distant past but the lighting of the
spark of the Divine Power in every one of us, which spurs us on to play our
dynamic part in this world of practical and hard realities with a sense of high