Krishna is one of enigmatic God in the Sanatan Dharma. Unlike Lord Ram, who is known to be Maryada Purushottam (an adherent follower rules & loyal to elders), Krishna is more practical. He is known for his bold moves, which many may see as unethical, but would ensure victory at the end. This has made him quite popular among the young generation, who are already enthralled by the quote “All is fair in love & war”.
This piece aims to highlight some life lessons inspired by a couple of incidents that took place in Lord Krishna’s life.
Revenge might be necessary sometimes. Yes, you heard it right!
Duryodhana was responsible for Cheer Haran (attempt to rape) of Pandava’s wife Draupadi. It was then, that the second eldest brother of the Pandavas – Bhima, vowed to revenge this act by breaking Duryodhana’s thigh when he gets the opportunity.
On the 18th day of the war of Mahabharata, Bhima gets into a furious one-on-one fight with Duryodhana. Being a great warrior himself, Duryodhana is overpowering Bhima. Krishna, who has been silently watching the whole fight, now signals the exhausted Bhima to attack Duryodhana’s thigh bone, even after knowing that attacking below the waistline is against the rules of the fight. Bhima constantly targets Duryodhana’s thigh and brings him to the ground, eventually killing him. Thus completing his revenge.
Balrama, who personally coached both Bhima & Duryodhana in warfare, is enraged after hearing that Bhima broke the rules of the war. Furious Balrama now tries to attack Bhima in order to punish him but is stopped by none other than Lord Krishna. Krishna consoles Balarama and reminds him of all the bad deeds done by Duryodhana, supporting Bhima with his revenge. Some days later, the Pandavas wins the war of Mahabharata.
Rules need to be manipulated. And if needed, broken.
Incident 1 – Death of Abhimanyu
On the 13th day of the war, Jayadratha, an allied king from the Kaurava’s side kills Arjuna’s son Abhimanyu. Arjuna now vows to kill Jayadratha before sunset. According to the ancient war rules, all battles will come to a pause as soon as the sun sets so that the warriors can rest. The battle will start again the next day as the sun rises.
Arjuna is now furious as he cannot reach Jayadratha due the heavy protection provided by the Kaurava’s army. As always, Krishna is watching the whole scenario silently. And fearing than Arjuna might not be able to kill Jayadratha before sunset, he decides to take things in his own hand. Using his celestial weapon – Sudarshan Chakra (most deadly weapon of that era) as a shield, Krishna hides the sun rays making it look like a sunset. Believing that the sun has set and war has come to a pause, Kauravas start to retreat. That’s when Jayadratha loses his protection and Arjuna shoots and kills him with an arrow, manipulating another rule and completing another revenge. As soon as Jayadratha dies, Krishna removes his chakra and the sun comes up again, resuming the war.
Incident 2 – Karan Arjun
On the 17th day of the battle, Arjuna & Karna are face-to-face for a fight. Everyone including Devas, Rishis, Apsaras, Gandharvas and other celestial beings are present to witness the fight between the two greatest warriors and blood brothers.
By using celestial weapons like Bhargavastra ( a weapon that fires a Million arrows), Karna seems to be winning the fight. Suddenly, Karna’s chariot wheel gets stuck in the mud. Karna asks Arjuna to pause as he gets down from his chariot to free the wheel. He reminds Arjuna of the etiquette of war. But Arjuna keeps attacking him. Karna now fires another weapon at Arjuna’s chest making him unconscious. Following the rules of the war, Karna did not try to kill unconscious Arjuna but instead uses this time to lift the wheel. While Karna is trying to lift the wheel, Arjuna recovers. It is now that Krishna encourages Arjuna to attack Karna, knowing that he is weaponless. Arjuna fires the Anjalika weapon at Karna, already knowing that it is prohibited to attack a weaponless warrior, leading to Karna’s death & breaking another rule.
Not everyone is your true family; not every family member is your enemy.
Even after being the first cousins of Pandavas, the Kauravas always tried to deceit them in greed of acquiring the whole kingdom & wealth. While at the same time, there was Bhishma Pitamah. Son of King Shantanu of Hastinapur and Goddess Ganga, Bhishma Pitamah was a step-grandfather to both Pandavas & Kauravas. The eldest and the last of Kuru race, he earned the title of Pitamah. Bhishma loved all his grandkids equally but had to fight from Kauravas side as Kaurava’s father Dhritarashtra was still the king and he had pledged an oath to protect the king.
Nonetheless, his love for Pandavas never dwindled. In fact, before the war was about to begin, Pandavas came to Bhishma to ask for his blessings to be victorious in the war. Bhishma Pitamah blessed them and even said: “Vijay Bhawa” (may victory be on your side)! He was killed by Arjuna during the war but still remained the most revered family member to the Pandavas.
Just like every Arjuna needs a Krishna, every Krishna needs an Arjuna too!
Krishna was not only Arjuna’s best friend but his God, his Charioteer in the war and his all-time guide. In fact, Arjuna was unwilling to fight in the war, haunted by the fact that he will have to kill his own family members & even his beloved Bhishma Pitamah. It was only after Lord Krishna took his divine form and spoke the most sacred verses of Hinduism – The Bhagavad Gita, that Arjuna agreed to fight in the war.
Similarly, there were times when it was Arjuna who stopped Krishna from getting into trouble. One of the most infamous incidents of Mahabharata goes like this. Krishna had vowed that he will not fight in the war, but will only guide the Pandavas and be a charioteer to Arjuna. Bhishma, who was fighting from the Kaurava’s side, tries to play a little trick to make Krishna break his vow. On the 10th day of the war, Bhishma gets into a furious verbal battle with Krishna. Up until now, Krishna is afraid of the fact that Bhishma alone is killing a large number of men in the Pandava army, as he himself is a fierce warrior. Through his verbal jibes, Bhishma finally manages to offend Krishna to an extent that Krishna picks up a chariot wheel and paces towards him with the intention of killing him once & for all. It was only after Arjuna fell down on his feet in front of Krishna pleading him to stop and not break the vow, that Krishna stopped.
Lastly, you might not end up with the girl you love! And it’s ok.
Krishna never got to marry his eternal love Radha. Different Vedic scriptures present different reasons on why they never ended up together. But all these scriptures agree on one thing, Radha and Krishna’s love can never be compared to earthly definitions and explanations. But Krishna never let his unrequited love obstruct him from fulfilling his duties with utmost passion and dedication. That’s why he is known as Aniruddha ( One Who Cannot Be Obstructed).
All this happened more than 6000 years ago. Fascinating, isn’t it?