By: Lalit Garg
Shri Krishna is a wonderful and unique national hero of our culture. The character of Shri Krishna is the popular character of a folk hero. He is also the ruler of Dwarka estate, but never addressed as ‘King Sri Krishna,’ instead, he is Brajnandan. Symmetry in society and the national system was his duty, that’s why he never shirked away from his duty, and then religion became his self-discipline, that’s why he never rejected it. He remained conscious in the combination of both Pravritti and Nivritti. Only the ideals of Shri Krishna will pave the way for establishing peace in our nation and the world. This mystery has to be understood as to how Shri Krishna implemented the ideal politics, practical democracy, social harmony, integral humanism and disciplined military and war operations. What kind of policy and intentions are required for the all-round development of any nation? The answers to all these questions are found in the life-story of Shri Krishna.
The entire life of Shri Krishna is synonymous with the cultural nationalism of India. The world has come to know India only through his ideals. With the re-establishment of his ideals the world will know and respect India again. Politically astute vision, suppression of evil people, traitors, criminals and corrupt people, determination to keep promises, vow of surrender for the national interest, liberation of innocent people, elimination of disparities, harmony among differences, prevention of mutual enmity, self-accepted self-restraint, everyone’s involvement in the national work. Cooperation, control of religious power on royal power and renunciation of power to fulfill all these etc. qualities of Shri Krishna are the national life and cultural values of India. In fact, Shri Krishna was a thinker of that order, which transcends the limits of time, and reaches the eternal and infinite. Whenever injustice increases, a national leader like Shri Krishna has to incarnate, as Shri Krishna Himself has said in the Geeta – Yada-yada hi dharmasya glanirbhavati bharatah, abhyutthanam dharmasya tadatmanam srijamyham.
That is, a national leader needs to be born only to counter injustice.
One who arouses the consciousness of the entire public in such a way that the entire society moves like a flood in the desired direction in which he wants to take the entire society and not even the highest mountain peak can stop its strong flow. Shri Krishna was also such a national leader, on whose instructions all the Gop-Gopis left Braj and united against the Demon King Kansa. Even though Goshwami Tulsidas was far away from power in the medieval period, his great work Ramcharitmanas still remains a favourite among the masses and even today Tulsi’s name is resonating in most parts of India; more than that of any ruling king, king or emperor.
Similarly, recently Mahatma Gandhi was completely away from power. He did not hold the post of Congress President even once. But during his lifetime, he had given direction to the Congress and to the then society and to the entire nation. Jayaprakash Narayan had changed the government by calling for a complete revolution in the country; not because he was in power, but he had public power and that is why he was called ‘Loknayak’. He had won immense trust of the people. Today world’s largest organization Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh and its Sangh- Director Shri Mohan Bhagwat are also such folk heroes. Loknayak or Jannayak is actually a national leader. Shri Krishna was such a hero during his era. At that time, the rulers of the world used to hover around him in such a way, as if there was a ring of his quadrilateral cycle. Shri Krishna handed over the power to other people, and remained detached from the power. In fact, Shri Krishna could become our national hero only because he played an important role in mobilizing the people’s power.
Shri Krishna’s personality and his works are multi-faceted and multi-coloured, covering all the characteristics of leadership, i.e. political skill, intelligence, tact, war strategy, personal charm, political charisma, love, gravity, happiness, sorrow and whatnot? For a patriot, Lord Krishna is not only God, but also a teacher who teaches the art of living life as a successful citizen. Due to various characteristics of his personality, he attained the status of a superhero in Indian culture. On one hand, he was a knower of politics, and on the other hand, he was a great scholar of philosophy. Taking leadership in the religious, political and social spheres, he promoted the syncretic religion of knowledge-action-devotion. On the basis of his qualifications, he was a Yugapurush, who later on was accepted as Yuvavatar. We remember Him as a great revolutionary hero. He was a philosopher, a thinker, a messenger of Karma and Sankhya Yoga through Geeta and a policy director of the Mahabharata war, but for the simple Brajvasis, he was a music maker, a butter thief, the mischievous Kanhaiya who broke the pots of the Gopis and befooled Gopis. This is the expression in the Gita – “O Arjuna! The devotee who worships me with the same feelings, I also worship him in the same way. We see the same characteristics in our Prime Minister Narendra Modi also, because by assimilating the life ideals of Shri Krishna, he is creating a strong India – a new vibrant India!
There was such a beautiful coordination of different types of qualities in the life of Shri Krishna that on one hand, he could enjoy the common people; on the other hand, he could uproot and throw away the teeth of an intoxicated elephant like Kuvalaya Peed with his own hands. This coordination of amazing abilities puts Shri Krishna in a completely different league from other heroes. The significance of Shri Krishna encompassing ideological and practical ground, which flowed uninterruptedly in the Indian society, was implemented by Chanakya through diplomacy, Tulsidas through devotion, Gandhi through service, Jayaprakash Narain through the public awareness, Mohan Bhagwat through organizational skills proved the practical usefulness of thinking. Shri Ram, despite being in power, always remained unattached to it in the same way as a lotus leaf remains unattached to it even though it lives in the intoxicating water. Shri Krishna took this tradition of Shri Ram even further. Shri Ram was in power for some time in his life, but Shri Krishna always remained away from political power. He placed other people in power, but continued worshiping himself. His humility was to such an extent that when everyone was assigned work in Rajsuya Yagya, Shri Krishna himself took the responsibility of making people pick up used utensils! Such was his humility! The result of this humility was that the crown jewels of all the kings kept falling at his feet. Because of these qualities, even today we consider him the master-practitioner of sixteen arts. No other person in the whole of India from ancient times to the modern times could receive this honour!
The person who stays away from power, and gives direction to the entire nation, despite being away, is a true national leader. The life of a national leader is one of sacrifice. There is no desire for wealth in his life. Lord Shri Ram was handed over the throne by his father Dasharatha. He could have remained on that throne. But he was detached from power. Shri Krishna also joins the same tradition. Three qualities were especially present in Him – sacrifice, detachment from power and amazing ability to organize people’s power. Due to these three qualities, Shri Krishna succeeded in bringing about the change in the era as per his wish. The ideological level of Shri Krishna was much higher than the practical level. However, he coordinated his ideological and practical plans in such a way that it was not even known where the two streams merged into each other.
The character of Shri Krishna as a national leader is also very divine. Everyone gets drawn towards them. The one who attracts everyone towards himself, paves the path of devotion, removes the sins of the devotees, he is Shri Krishna. He is an ideal character who is a psychologist while diagnosing Arjun’s mental distress, an incarnation of Dharma, while killing demons like Kansa, an ideal politician while countering self-interested politics, the best musician in the form of Vishwa Mohini Bansi Bajaiya, the Brijvasi. In front of Sudama, he is Premavatar, an ideal friend; in the form of Sudarshan Chakradhari, there is a warrior and pioneer of social revolution. Even the smallest incidents of His life prove that he was blessed with omniscience. He was the embodiment of religion and a skilled politician.
The administrative and political character of Shri Krishna is very super- natural; in short his overall thought philosophy has only one message – Karma. It is only through karma that it is possible to suppress the harmful tendencies of the society, and replace them with noble tendencies. Shri Krishna’s personality is full of infinite compassion. But it is rare to find somebody else tougher than Him who opposes injustice and oppression. The same Shri Krishna who used to run barefoot for the sake of the one who loved him, the same Shri Krishna also became extremely harsh and ruthless in punishing the wicked. While preaching Geeta, Shri Krishna had told Arjun that there is no benefit in living under the influence of attachment. All these relatives are worth saying, but you have to emphasize on the delivery of knowledge, action and devotion to achieve your objective. Many legends and myths are prevalent about Shri Krishna. But there is a need to make a proper and rational historical evaluation of them in the contemporary context.
Shri Krishna has become the nurturer of rural culture. He gave unprecedented respect to cows in his time. He was conscious about the health and eating habits of cows and cowherds. While he revered the butter, milk and curd extracted from the hard work of cowherds as health protectors, he also prevented these priceless things from being given to Kansa as ‘tax’. They wanted these things to be consumed in villages only. The form of Shri Krishna as a butter thief was not only a direct challenge to the autocratic power, but at the same time, it was also an encouragement to rural culture. Today, on the birth anniversary of Shri Krishna – Janmashtami, India is expected to be built on his teachings, life ideals and principles, only then Hindus will be strong, only then India will be able to become a Hindu nation in the true sense. (The author is a journalist, columnist who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)