After the 999th abuse by Shishupal, Krishna killed him, as he had been warned not to go that far with his tirade. It was not because Krishna liked to kill others or he lacked patience. He was fine with going to Hastinapur to meet the Kauravas one last time and suggest an end to war, if they gave the Pandavas just enough to live a peaceful life. He was humiliated and asked to leave. And this was after the incident of attempt to rape Draupadi in full court view. He knew the evil of Kauravas before his last trip to Hastinapur before Mahabharat started. Yet, he wanted to give the evil one last opportunity to turn itself around. It did not. Beyond that, being lenient on such evil would be unrighteous in the most fundamental sense.
Shishupal’s death was not a result of Krishna losing his cool or paitence with him. He had enough to listen to 999 abuses, one more was easy to take. Yet, he had set the limit of how far evil could go. No more. Shishupal’s abuses were a culmination of his entire chain of evil behavior prior to that.
Krishna is rare in his being. He is a ruthless warrior, a compassionate being, a lover of the highest order, a Saint who begged the streets when he was in spiritual school, a teacher of the highest wisdom, and a friend of the poorest and the weak. Of all Spiritual beings ever to grace this planet, Krishna stands apart. No one – apart from Shiva – has manifested as complete a life as his. He was not confined and he had no discipline to live up to. He could critique the three Vedas in his Gita and yet install the fourth (Atharva) as worthy of the highest order.
Dharma is the Cosmic Law. Cosmic Law looks for Balance in Creation and Nothingness in Dissolution. The Universal Consciousness can exist in only one of two states – Equality or Equilibrium. Universal Equality is only in dissolution. In Creation there is no equality. At best there can be equilibrium. Dharma is the balance of all energies – Creative and Destructive, Survival and Flowering, Good and Evil – such that the Creation can remain so. For Creation to move to Dissolution, it will have to exhaust its ability to remain in balance by moving itself to a level that is higher than mere balance.
Krishna’s actions didn’t look for justification or others’ nod. In a war, where he refused to pick arms himself and yet going through the entire battle sitting in front of the most marked man in the entire milieu, he made sure that things didn’t get to a point where the utter and unrepentent evil of Duryodhana and his ilk could be victorious.
Story of mankind is written by those who are victorious.
The future of human race, therefore, is directly dependent upon outcome of every war. The evil of Islamic invaders that ultimately ended up creating a level of violence in this area to where it has reached in the last 1000 years can be directly linked to loss of one battle. Today, we are told that pre-Islamic Arabs were bad and useless. But that is because the history has been written by victorious Islamic writers and not by those who were exterminated. Today, Hitler is bad because he lost. Had he won, Americans and British and the rest would have been the worst type of people alive and Jews wouldn’t have walked the earth. Of course, historic take on Jews would have been no different from pre-Islamic Arabs. Would this world have been better of? Is Persia without its Zoroastrian population and culture better off today than it was before the advent of their exterminators? One can hypothesize on this question because some of the Parsis survive and the answer is not charitable for Islamic Persia.
The law of every battle is death and mayhem. One who tries to establish Dharma doesn’t quiver about fighting or killing, but his sole aim is to make sure that the victorious of the battle doesn’t perpetuate more battles. Battle is an evil thing, but if someone whose mindset and ideology is of intolerance and acquisition, and that is what he brings to the battlefield, then such an ambition will not stop with this battle. It will continue further. This battle should be stopped before one enters it. If this battle with such an ideology and mindset has been entered and forced upon, as was on Pandavas, then there is no point in wasting time on “Coulda-woulda-shoulda” debate. The sole goal should be to make sure that post-war, the situation should be such that no more battles take place.
Humility of a Violent is a virtue, but humlity of a victim is a sin.
When a violent turns around and changes his ways, then there is a ray of hope for the mankind. But when a victim of violence takes his state on for too long without retaliation, then it is a harbinger of evil. Very few in the recent history have grasped this point. In my view, the only Spiritual beings who got this clearly were the SIkh Gurus. As much punditry and Guru-ism our country has seen, the entire procession of Spiritual Beings have failed at this altar of facing the ultimate test of Spiritual engagement.
if the freedom of man to express himself vanishes and the ecosystem for him to explore the ultimate truth has been contaminated to a point where no spiritual progress is possible – because only one ideology is to be followed – then Dharma or the Cosmic Law has been hurt in a bad way.
The situation in India is also at a point where we all are Arjuns. There is an evil of politics that is trying to exterminate everything on the altar of its desires. A fight has been taken up that will be opposed by appealing to “morality” and “goodness” of all of us to save the immoral. It would be no different that Karna’s appeal to Arjun when his chariot’s wheel was stuck and Arjun had a clear shot. Karna appealed the laws of the battle and conduct in a war. Arjun realized that as per laws of the battles in that era, Karna could not be killed. But it took someone with clarity of Krishna’s vision to remind Arjun the death of Abhimanyu and the complete mockery of the laws of the battle at every point at that time and going forward.
Those who have consciously and determinedly broken the back-bone of every law of a civil society, cannot take the refuge of the same laws when the tide has turned. When India’s PM Manmohan Singh appeals to the values of India’s “Representative Democracy”, he is doing a Karna. Because it doesn’t even prick his conscience that despite being the Leader of a Representative Democracy that he extols so much, he has NEVER been elected by people himself!
The hypocrisy of politicians starting from Manmohan Singh is so stark and yet so deceptive, that many don’t question the validity of its claim – specially from where it is being spoken. One cannot sit on a mountain of skeletons and talk of forgiveness appealing to non-violence as a virtue. That ground was lost long back.
That is precisely the reminder that Krishna sends Arjun’s way when he is despondent on the Battlefield. The time to think of Sanayas and avoiding the war was long back. Not now. You can’t live in imaginary and hypothetical situations. You are where you are. If asceticism was your aim and self-negation was your wont, then the time to act was before the war. Not when you are in it!
If Manmohan Singh’s (and his masters’) seemingly benign appeal to goodness cloud the clarity of the anti-corruption group, and ends up hurting the finality of the war, then we would have ensured a victory for the evil and a perpetuating of more evil.
Contrary to what people naively believe, the choice in real life is never between Good and Evil, but between Greater and Lesser Evil. It is important to understand, where the collective consciousness is going. In the last 60 years of India’s Independence, has the collective consciousness become conducive to freedom of every man and woman to pursue his or her life in its entirety? If it has not, which is true (look at the entire East corridor of Maoist movement), then we have by our collective forgiveness only promoted Adharma or anti-Cosmic Law. When the 6th Sikh Guru took up the sword, it is not because he wasn’t a Saint anymore. But because he had realized this basic principle of Spirituality. It was enough to subject five Gurus to the evil of Moghuls, any more forgiveness will mean strengthening it. That in itself would be Adharma.
Today, on the day of Janmashtami, the birth of Krishna himself, I send my prayer and hope to the Universe that the consciousness of the Greatest Spiritual Being to walk this planet may touch us in a way to impart clarity to us. Even if in a small way, may He manifest in all of us, just as he had promised in Gita.
यदा यदा ही धर्मस्य ग्लानिर्भवति भारत, अभ्युथानम् अधर्मस्य तदात्मानं सृजाम्यहम् |
परित्राणाय साधुनाम विनाशाय च: दुष्कृताम, धर्मं संस्थापनार्थाय सम्भावामी युगे युगे ||
Whenever there is decline of Dharma (righteousness)..and rise of Adharma (unrighteousness);
To protect the virtuous..to destroy the wicked and to re-establish Dharma,
I manifest myself, through the ages.