There is much confusion about
Shri Krishna and what He sometimes stood for. Mostly, this is because none of
us bother to read the original scriptures.
For example, Janmastami is often used as a convenient excuse for drinking and gambling. This despite the fact that throughout his life, Shri Krishna opposed the twin evils of drinking and gambling !! Having seen what alcohol and gambling did to his brother and his cousins, Shri Krishna always avoided both of these throughout His life. So why do people continue to use “His” birthday for such excesses ?
Since the time of Jayadeva, in popular culture, Shri Krishna is constantly associated with Shri Radha. There is no mention of Radha or any such gopi and her escapades with Shri Krishna in any scriptures written at the time of Shri Krishna – namely Shri Maada Bhagvatam (SMB), Mahabharat and HariVausham. Veda-Vyasa wrote about the tinest details of everyone's lives. If there was any Radha or any gopi associated with Krushna, surely, Vyasji would have written about them. Though Shri Krishna never harassed any gopi on any paan-ghat, or asked them to share out their curds and butter, countless poets have written about it and we have all silently accepted it as “true” without ever checking it for its authenticity. Indeed, often enough countless unrequited lovers have used
If Krushna had a girlfriend(s) that he abandoned later in life, surely Shishupal, Krushna's most ardent foe, would have used that against him. Shishupal never missed a chance to insult Krushna. He used every real or imaginary incidence in Krushna's life to speak ill of Him. Yet, even he did not speak of Radha or any childhood girlfriends. How do later writers know what Shishupal and Vyas, who were contemporariesof Krushna, did not know ?
In the SMB, the episode of Krushna stealing butter is confined to 4 verses. It clearly states that he did this whilst a toddler and after Yashodamaiya's punishment of tying him up, Krushna never stole butter again !
Despite this being the fact, countless poets and kathakars go on and on about the "butter stealing" as if that is what defines Krushna ! Worse still, the butter stealing episode is extended by these poets and kathakars into Krushna's youth. They sing about how Krushna harassed the gopies on their way to
A much shorter version of Krushna asking Brahmin women for food is extended to Dana lila. Brahmin women are replaced by gopies and the lila is transferred from the suburbs of
Holi, the most popular festival in Vraj today, and one which is now closely linked to Krushna, is not mentioned in any of the original scriptures !!
Once again, a popular festival is attributed to Krushna but it is impossible to find any evidence that Krushna played holi in his own lifetime.
A popular regional / local festival is adopted on a national level and a national icon like Shri Krushna is associated with it.
Chirharan is considered to be one of the most controversial episodes in Krushna's young life. Poets, painters, supporters and detractors of Hinduism have used this one incidence to either support or oppose Krushna's divinity. They all forget that in SMB, it clearly states, when Krushna went to get the clothes of the gopies, he went with all the gopas of Vraj ! He wasn't alone. It was no private attempt at peeking. All the gopas were there ! Sadly, most commentators do not mention this. Painters do not paint other gopas. This clearly gives a wrong impression of the actual situation.
Shri Krishna was born in the Vrushni dynasty of Yadavas. Born in one of the premier Lunar dynasties of ancient
This is evidenced by the way Kansa makes a great show of marrying off his sister with all the pomp and ceremony, but draws his sword the moment anyone makes an obscure prediction that Devki’s 8th son may kill him.
In the Kuru family, it was the same. Though cousins by blood, Pandavs and Kauravs fought blood feuds that involved the entire nation. They insulted their sister-in-law in public and no one spoke out at the time - not even the elders.
It was the same in all the royal families across
Shri Krishna came to re-establish the correct relationships between people. By His own example, He showed how brother, father, cousin, son, husband, leader etc should behave. When needed, he praised and admonished those who needed to have these facts reassessed. Even Kuru elders like Bhishma and Drona were given strong talking to by Krushna. He never shrieked his responsibilities as an advisor to the good and great of the world.
After growing up in Vraj, Shri Krishna studied near
Too many "world leaders" compromise their principles on the false premise of "political realities". They often use Shri Krushna's example without knowing the realities of the time. Sadly, as we (vaishnavs) don't know it either, we never question these corrupt politicians or challenge them for hiding behind Krushna's examples.
Shri Krushna aspired to a
strong Bharat that was internally, externally, spiritually, militarily,
financially and politically stable. All His actions worked towards this
eventual goal. As a true leader, He worked towards a holistic goal for
During the time of Shri
Krishna, the “leaders” of society had all the power, but none of
“responsibility” that went with it. Using various excuses, like “dharma”,
“karma”, rajya, parivar etc, they all abandoned the very people they were
suppose to lead. Leaders like Bhishma, who was a caretaker of a great heritage,
had the respect of all royals of
Shri Krishna worked towards getting leaders to accept the responsibility of their actions. Honours for honour sake is useless. Shri Krishna wanted people to review what they did, why and consequences of their actions. He also wanted the people to realise that they can’t devolve all responsibilities to their “leaders” either. We all have responsibility for what happens to us. For this reason, when Emperor Yudhisthir claims he had no choice but to gamble away his empire because his elders invited him to the game, Shri Krushna rightfully admonishes him and reminds him “he” is responsible for what happens to “him”. Taking responsibility for your life is a key message of Shri Krishna’s life and SMB Gita as well.
© Bhagwat Shahh
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