Krishna is the eighth incarnation of Vishnu in Hindu mythology. I bring you some examples of how Krishna’s life leave a mark on ours with inspiration and valuable lessons.
- Birth is nothing but an accident. Krishna was born in jail to parents imprisoned for no fault of theirs. His life began with jail break and he was raised by foster parents. Though royalty, he lived his early childhood as a mere cowherd. He was deprived of his parent’s love and enjoyed no privileges as a prince.
- The scars of your childhood troubling you? Krishna survived attempts on his life, tamed venomous snakes and challenged norms that were considered sacrosanct. Moreover, he had no formal education till he reached his teens. Indra, the king of gods challenged Krishna’s ways, lost and apologised. Krishna granted him a boon – promising to protect his son Arjun.
- First love lost? That happened with Krishna too. Krishna’s first love with Radha, only became a legend and never resulted in wedlock. After he left the home of his foster parents, he got engrossed with the world in a way he never looked back. Krishna’s marriage to Rukmini was more of a rescue than a formal royal wedding.
- Get your own house in order first. To set his own parents free, to ensure his people are prosperous and his country enjoys peace, Krishna had to kill his only uncle Kansa. As the one to kill Kansa, Krishna had the right to the throne of Mathura. Instead he reinstated his grandfather as the King. Before venturing into helping others, Krishna ensured everything back home was good.
- With absolute power comes great responsibility. Krishna had the most powerful weapon of the time at his disposal. He could have ended battles in minutes and reigned the era himself. But, that’s not what he did for he was to be the kingmaker and not the king. He used his divine discus very sparingly and stated that not every enemy is worthy of a death caused by divine weapons. Krishna preached the same to Arjun.
- Right decisions are unpopular, unwelcome and make you infamous. Krishna made the bold proposal of leaving Mathura and shifting the kingdom to a safer Dwarka. His clan objected, his brother hated the proposal and his parents were shocked. But he did the convincing needed for he was confident about the choice he made. The Yadav’s eventually moved and were happier than ever before. Krishna was hailed as the catalyst of prosperity but also ended up being tagged as a coward.
- A promise is a promise. Krishna promised Indra he would stand by Arjun. Most of what we know of Krishna after he set his own house in order revolves around Arjun. He was the friend, philosopher and guide Arjun needed. Krishna felt indebted to Draupadi for she tore her robe to bandage his wound. Krishna put his mystic powers to use when needed most and ensured Draupadi’s honour was saved. Krishna kept his word. Always.
- Be prepared for the worst. Krishna did not encourage war and always encouraged the Pandav’s to solve issues with their cousins amicably. However, knowing the worst could happen, he guided Arjun into a quest for divine weapons. Krishna instilled the thought of “being safe than sorry” in Arjun and insisted the quiver full of divine arrows be treated as a deterrent.
- Peace should always be the first choice. When all attempts failed, Krishna himself assumed the role of a peacemaker. He spent months negotiating the peace process. Arguing, debating and trying to convince all stakeholders that peace was not a luxury but a necessity for a prosperous society. It was only after everything failed and peace was no longer an option, Krishna wore the strategist’s hat in the war.
- First come, need not be first served. When Duryodhan reached Krishna for help first, he was quick-witted in turning him down. Krishna stated that he saw Arjun first even if Arjun reached later than Duryodhan. On being given the first choice, Arjun chose Krishna instead of a powerful army. Krishna happily agreed to be the charioteer to Arjun in the biggest battle of his life.
- Ends justify means. In the battle, Krishna used tricks and half-truths. He bent and even openly flouted rules. Had it not been for Krishna’s ways of getting things done, the Pandavs would have never overcome the likes of Bhishma, Drona, Jayadrath, Karn and Duryodhan on merit alone. Convinced he was on the right side, Krishna did not shy away from using the wrong methods.
- Be prepared to be cursed. Krishna sought peace for one and all. When left with no choice he went into battle as a charioteer and not a warrior. He got his side to victory and saved the lineage of the Hastinapur clan. But in the end, he was cursed by Duryondhan’s mother. The curse came to life years after the war, when Krishna saw his own clan perish killing one another.
To know more, read the full story: The Many Shades of Krishna