A Protagonist
Shri Krishna is a protagonist, whereby His philosophy is very clear. He says that when righteousness wanes in society, when anti-social elements are on the rampage, when the bullies harass the innocent and the weak people of society then the righteous suffer hardships and the vile and villainous partake in all pleasures and benefits. When villainy is at its peak and righteousness has become ineffective, at such times what use is God if He does not intervene in support of the righteous elements in society?

If an anti-social person is attacking an innocent person in the presence of an onlooking crowd in a public place, it is the duty of the people with strength and power to stand up and defend the weak. What use are strength and power if they cannot protect the weak and innocent? Strength and power are subservient to righteousness (dharma). This is the message of the Mahabharata. In the Mahabharata, there are only five Pandavas, whereas there are 100 Kauravas. In all societies the righteous are always outnumbered by unlawful elements. The numerical strength of righteous people (Pandavas) is always five per cent of the unlawful (Kauravas). This is true even in today’s context. The Kauravas of today are a hundred strong, while the Pandavas are just five strong. In other words, the strength of Kauravas is twenty times that of the Pandavas.

Why does Bhagavan Krishna want the Pandavas to fight the Mahabharata war? He does so in order to crown Yudhishthira as king and why does He wish so? Is it because Yudhishthira is the son of Kunti who is Krishna’s aunt? No, this is not the reason, but rather because Yudhishthira is ‘dharma’ (righteousness) personified. Bhima is ‘bala’ (might) personified, Arjuna is the ‘ atma’ (soul), and Nakula is ‘rupa’ (form) and Sahadeva ‘gyana’ (knowledge). Thus when it is said that Krishna wishes that Yudhishthira’s rule should prevail in society it means that Krishna wishes that righteousness should triumph over lawlessness in society.

Yudhishthira has been dethroned by deceit and injustice and forced to retire to the forests. In such a situation Krishna cannot remain neutral and passive. He asserts Himself and activates His godly qualities.

The purpose of an incarnation is ‘dharma sansthapanarthaya’, to establish righteousness. The simple meaning of being born as an avatara is to actively join the war in support of righteousness, implying taking up a position. Deviating from the apparent neutrality of godly people He becomes a party in the fight between good and evil seeking to establish righteousness. We see this happen in the Mahabharata. Lord Krishna helped the Pandavas to destroy the Kauravas and establish the rule of dharma by making Yudhishthira the king of Hastinapura, which in effect meant establishing the rule of dharma in almost the whole of India. The purpose of all of the incarnations has been to prevail the rule of dharma on earth. Incarnations of the Divine fight against injustice, lawlessness and anarchy and facilitate the establishment of righteousness.

Therefore, if the strong and powerful are harassing the weak and innocent and if we merely look on as neutral spectators not heeding to the call of the weak, then we, in effect, become supporters of the intimidators and bullies. If, in the process, the weak person gets killed then we as neutral observers are responsible for the death of the weak and innocent. Krishna does not favour such neutrality, He is not neutral. He is neither unattached nor uninvolved. He is a great anuragi. He loves us and is deeply involved with us, however, He advises us to give up our cravings to become anasakta, unattached.

Once we have renounced our cravings then we will be happy wherever we are and in whatever we do. Even when we are deeply engaged in some worldly pursuit, if we have awakened to our spiritual existence we will not be bound by anything. Even if we create a golden Dvaraka, we will not be entangled by it, but we have to create it on the foundation of righteousness and in this way we can remain unattached. No individual or object can bind us. One is bound by one’s own cravings, and such cravings may be for some individual or object. People who run away from their worldly obligations fearing that the worldly affairs will bind them get entangled in some other chains. The nature of entanglement may change but the people remain bound.

War of Righteousness
The war of Kurukshetra was not fought between the Gods and the demons. It was a war between righteousness and unrighteousness, between justice and injustice. Lord Krishna tells Arjuna that he has to wage this war not only for the purpose of attaining the Kingdom of Hastinapura but to fight injustice. Krishna says this because Arjuna refuses to fight against his relatives. Arjuna tells Krishna, that even if he were to rule Heaven, he would not kill his kith and kin, so the prospect of fighting with them for sovereignty over Hastinapura was simply out of the question. Krishna counters Arjuna’s argument, saying “Arjuna have you come to this battlefield with a desire to win Hastinapura? No, Arjuna your fight is against injustice. One who carries out injustice is definitely wrong, but one who suffers injustice quietly is equally responsible for it.” That is the lesson we learn from the Bhagavad-Gita.

Best Musician
If one has to name the best musician in the world, then it is Lord Krishna. In our country music has been defined as a confluence of instrumental, vocal and dance. Just as our nature is a confluence of the three gunas – sattva, rajas and tamas. Therefore, a person who is proficient in all the three streams of dance, vocal and instrumental can be called a musician. Lord Krishna was a proficient singer. The divine song which He sang in the midst of Kurukshetra is sung all over the world even today. It provides solutions to all the problems of human beings even today, thousands of years later. Lord Krishna is also proficient in the supreme art of playing the flute. When He plays the flute, it causes inanimate objects to move and renders animate beings immobile. Krishna is also an accomplished dancer. The divine rasa that He played with the gopis in Vrindavana constitutes the core aspect of the Shrimad-Bhagavat. Therefore Shri Krishna is the greatest musician of all time.

Manifestation of Love
Lord Krishna is the manifestation of the supreme Lord who prevails everywhere. He manifests Himself. Similar to the existence of butter, which is already there in the milk but has to be brought forth by converting the milk into curds and then into buttermilk. Similarly divinity is present everywhere, in every being and every object, it merely has to be manifested. The Ramacharitamanasa states: hari vyapaka sarvatra samana, prema te pragata hoi me jana. “God is present everywhere and is in everything. It is love that can manifest God.” The Shrimad-Bhagavat says: satvam vishuddham vasudev shabdidam. “The heart that is full of pure divinity is Vasudeva.” The intellect that is full of godliness is Devaki. When these two unite the Lord that resides in our heart manifests.

Shri Krishna – A Lotus in the Pond
You may live in a house costing 50 lakh rupees. You may drive a car worth eight lakh rupees. You may wear expensive clothes, have precious ornaments, wrist watches and an endless list of possessions. Despite possessing such material luxuries let me assure you that you don’t have to be labelled as materialistic. For if that were the criteria then the greatest materialistic person should be Lord Krishna Himself, because He lived in a golden palace, in a golden city, ate from golden plates and wore the costliest clothes and ornaments.

Can we say that Lord Krishna was materialistic? Our traditional thinking says that one can be totally spiritual even while enjoying all the luxuries of life such as living in a palace, driving a fancy car and wearing expensive clothes and jewellery. The only condition is that all of these objects should be for our use rather than due to our cravings for them. This is a very fine line of distinction and it must always be kept in mind since it is capable of converting a life from heaven to hell or vice-versa. Objects are necessary for human beings but human lives should not be meant for objects. A person who believes that people are meant for objects is truly materialistic. Where objects are meant for people, I would not call it a material existence no matter how luxurious they may be, I would still call it spiritual living.

Love’s Ecstasy
If we love and at the same time express the reason for our loving then we would be reducing the importance of love. Someone asked Radha “Why is Krishna so dear to you? Why do you love Him so much?” What reason could Radha give? People kept asking her again and again, and the gopis also insisted, “Radha tell us why is Krishna so dear to you? Why do you love Him so much?” Radha explained “I love Him because He does whatever I like; therefore He is dear to me.” If someone does all that we like then he will definitely endear himself to us and we will love him. Similarly God gives us all that we want: I ask for a son and He gives me a son, I wish to become a multi-millionaire and God makes me a multi-millionaire, thus would I not love God? The gopis asked Radha once again, “What does Krishna do that makes you love Him so much?” Radha replied, “Whatever Krishna does, I like all of that.” This is the charm and beauty of love. In love one does not insist that only if my beloved does such and such a thing then I would like that person; the lover likes each and everything that the beloved does, whatever the beloved does has to be natural. If you love and then also explain the reason for loving, the charm of love diminishes and the importance or the glory of love will vanish. Longing for Krishna’s love, the gopis do not want Krishna; all that they want is a longing for Krishna’s love, and this love continuously manifests from their eyes in the form of tears.

A saint in Vrindavana keeps the doors and windows of his cottage closed. Someone asked him why he keeps them closed. He replied, “He keeps on coming, without being called He comes and harasses me. Who has called Him? Sometimes He comes through the door, other times through the windows.” When asked “Who keeps coming?”, the saint replied, “Kanhaiya keeps on coming, so often I tell Him not to please come here. O Kanhaiya when You come here Radharani has to suffer separation. If You come to bless us with Your darshana, then for that period Radharani experiences the pangs of Your separation. We cannot be happy when Radharani is grieving, therefore please shower Your kindness on us and do not come here, we shall wait here for You. We will keep longing for You and cry in Your remembrance; that alone is the ultimate joy of our living. We do not want anything else.”

Feast of Love
There is a beautiful incident in the Shrimad-Bhagavat. One day Vidura and his wife Sulabhadevi were singing songs of the Lord’s glory. Just at that time Lord Krishna came and knocked at their door. “Uncle, open the door, I am Dvarakanath.” Imagine how blessed and prosperous would the home where the Lord Himself goes and knocks on the door be. Imagine opening the door and seeing right before your eyes the Lord Himself. Vidura could not believe his ears, and thought to himself: “Did I hear correctly?” Both Vidura and Sulabha rushed to open the door and they saw the Lord standing in front of them. They both fell at His feet, and were ecstatic with great joy.

Krishna was hungry and it would take some time to get the vegetables and prepare the meal. Sulabha thought to herself that should she offer Him bananas while Viduraji gets the vegetables from the market. Sulabha brought the bananas to offer the Lord, but seeing the Lord’s enchanting face Sulabha lost her senses. She threw away the bananas and simply offered the banana peel to the Lord. The Lord smiled at her benignly and lovingly ate the banana peel. When Vidura returned with the vegetables he berated her saying “What are you doing?” She replied “I am offering bananas to the Lord.” Vidura remarked stating “Are you offering bananas or their peels?” Sulabha wiped the tears of joy from her eyes and found that the Lord was chewing the banana peel. She folded her hands and said to Krishna “O Lord, I lost my senses in the joy of Your coming, but at least You should have told me that I was giving You the peel instead of the bananas.” Smilingly, Krishna replied “Mother I did not even notice that they were not bananas but that they were the peels. You gave them to Me and I ate them and that is all that matters.” Hereafter, Vidura offered a simple cooked meal, the taste of which Lord Krishna relished forever.

Krishna: A Question Mark
While it is not difficult to understand Lord Rama, it is difficult to understand Lord Krishna. Even learned scholars have failed to understand Him. Krishna is one big question mark, while Rama is a huge full stop. If we follow Rama we will find rest and peace in life. His life is like a full stop after a statement, where everything is simple and clear. But Krishna’s life is a difficult proposition. It is like an unsolved riddle. Born in a prison and yet He works for our liberation. He advises Arjuna “Do not be a coward and leave the battlefield, get up, be brave and get ready for the battle.” Yet, He Himself runs away from the battlefield when Jarasandha comes in His pursuit. He participates in the divine rasa dance with the gopis in Vrindavana and also rules over the Kaliya cobra by dancing on his head. Krishna’s life is absolutely wonderful. Many people say that the Shrimad-Bhagavat is written in Sanskrit and is difficult to decipher. However, I always say that the Bhagavat is not a complex scripture, it is a delightful scripture. If you want to enjoy it then you will have to probe into its depth and savour its fullness.

I Love you Krishna
I do not endeavour to know or understand Krishna or try to explain His life. I can only sing His glory. I just love Him and praise Him because He is truly worthy of my love. Why do I sing His praise? The response to this question is that He is worthy of being praised, I believe Him to be the object of my total adoration and besides that He is my goal. The constructive aspect in Lord Krishna’s life is wonderful and that is why His stories are so dear to everyone, they please everybody.
Wherever Yogeshvara (Lord of Yoga) Shri Krishna and Partha (Arjuna) are there, victory is a must. Partha means purushartha (endeavour), and Yogeshvara Krishna symbolises God’s grace. If you become like Partha then the Lord is ever ready to become your sarathi (charioteer), always eager and keen to be with you. It is Arjuna who has to be prepared for the fight and Krishna will always be with him.

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