“Krishna was spontaneous. He was a complete avatar. A person who can be identified in every level of existence” – Mohanji
Krishnam Vande Jagadgurum! Lord Krishna!
Lord Krishna, his life, his message and what he stood for has influenced thousands of generations. Almost every generation is influenced by the presence and the message of Lord Krishna. We do not see many personalities who have influenced mankind so much, so deeply and still influencing in the same way. Krishna has all the dimensions possible in human existence. At the same time, Krishna lived as another human being; just another ordinary man with extraordinary powers, talents, determination, and also as an enigma. Apart from the usual stories which we talk about from the life of Krishna, I remember a couple of stories which made me think or made me realize certain realities. I have explained this before; but now, I am telling for the sake of the new audience.
Krishna was getting ready to go out to meet somebody. His chariot was ready, his charioteer was ready, and everybody was waiting. Krishna usually would dress up very fast. He did not take much time. He could get ready in no time. But this time – half an hour, one hour, two hours, three hours – he still hadn’t dressed up completely. The charioteer was surprised, “This is unnatural. Why is Krishna taking so much time to dress up?”
So, he decided to go and check what was happening. He found Krishna dressing up, making himself look good. He asked Krishna, “Krishna, why are you dressing up so well, so much?” Krishna said, “I have to go and see an important person.” Then the charioteer asked, “Who is this important person?” Krishna said, “It’s Duryodhana.” He was the eldest of the hundred Kauravas who were in the enemy camp of the Pandavas whom Krishna supported.
The charioteer was confused. Kauravas are known to be adharmic; they were doing all sorts of things which were against dharma, and Krishna is the epitome of dharma. Why should somebody who lives dharma, dress up so much to meet somebody who practices adharma, the opposite of dharma? It did not make any sense. So, he asked Krishna again, “Can you please tell me, why you are dressing up so much? And why are you even going to meet an adharmic? He should come to you.”
Krishna said, “Tell me one time in history when the darkness has ever come to light? Light has always gone to darkness.” Then he (the charioteer) said, “But why are you dressing up so much? You can go as you are. And people will accept you because you are Krishna.” Krishna said, “You know, he does not have the capacity to see who I am. So, let him at least see me in my costume.” When a person does not have the capacity to understand the other, they will only see what is external. We all do that. We see the external and we take a decision; we see the form, we see the expression, we see the complexion, and then we take a decision. We do not have the power or we do not take enough time to see what’s inside, ‘the real person’. When we start seeing the real person, we will see Krishna in everyone. So, this is a story.
It means darkness never goes to the light. Light always comes to darkness. So, when you become the light, you have to go to darkness. And light can never be diminished. A small tiny candle can light up the whole room; a small light. Like that, we can be light and we can brighten up the world around us. This is what Krishna said. When we try to see the third dimension of the person, try to understand the person; then we can never, ever hate anybody. It is because we see ourselves in everybody. We are all the same; we are all one. This is one of the stories which I always remember when I think about Lord Krishna; there are so many stories but one of them is this.
Then there is another story that was during the Kurukshetra War; the war was happening between the Pandavas and the Kauravas. The Kaurava army was much larger than the Pandava army, but Krishna was with the Pandavas. He was playing the role of a charioteer for Arjuna, one of the Pandavas. One evening, as this is a dharmic war, and they fight only between sunrise and sunset; (After sunset, nobody takes up any arms. There’s no fight, they stop exactly when the sun sets. But still, there is light, there is native light.), the eldest of the Pandavas, Yudhisthira and Krishna, decided to go into the battlefield to see what happened on that day. How many people were injured or had died? People were busy removing the dead bodies and the injured; all those things were going on and they went to see what had happened.
So, while they were standing and supervising, overseeing what’s going on; a beggar came to Yudhishthira and said, “I have not eaten anything, I’m hungry. Can you give me some money?” Yudhisthira checked his pocket; it was empty because he didn’t expect to use any money at that time. He casually said to the beggar, “I don’t have anything with me now. Come tomorrow, I’ll give you something.” Hearing this, Krishna started laughing and Yudhishthira did not understand the joke. After a while, he asked Krishna, “Why are you laughing? I didn’t crack a joke now. I don’t have money. That’s why I didn’t give it. That’s why I told him to come again tomorrow, I’ll give.” So Krishna said, “Look at the irony. We’re standing on a battlefield. We stopped this battle only because the sun has set. Tomorrow, again in the morning when the sun rises, we have to fight. We do not know for sure whether we will be alive at this time tomorrow to give some money to this beggar; because tomorrow we have to fight a battle. Anything can happen in the battle. So, to me, it does not make any sense. You are very sure, you will be alive and you will be in the same place tomorrow to give money to the beggar; while I’m not too sure whether I’ll be alive tomorrow to be with you.” Listening to that, Yudhishthira understood his grave mistake.
A promise is a promise. You must deliver. If you do not deliver, it will become a pending matter; a matter which needs to be fulfilled at another point in time. It might be a very small thing like promising a beggar where there is no contract, but a word is a word. It amounts to the integrity of a personality or a person. So, you must give. If tomorrow, you are not able to give, you may have to come back in another body to fulfill that promise. In short, if we promise, we must deliver. Avoid promising things which you are not sure of delivering. This is the moral of the story which Yudhishthira understood.
A great master, Jagat Guru like Krishna was unsure, whether he’ll be at this place, at this time tomorrow with Yudhisthira, to witness this contract being executed between Yudhishthira and this beggar. But a person who is not as wise as Krishna, he’s very sure, “Tomorrow you come, and I’ll give you money.” Are we like this? This is the question. This story is for us to introspect; to understand for ourselves, how many promises we make on Earth during our lifetime which we do not fulfill. Maybe the one who promised and the one to whom he promised may not remember, but it’s written in ether. That’s a contract.
Before you promise, think again. Can you fulfill it? If you are not able to fulfill it with your life, somebody else should fulfill it on your behalf. It’s important that we remain dharmic, truthful and fully aligned to ourselves. Deliver what you can deliver within your capacity at the given point in time. If there is another time, we don’t know. We have no idea.
I have no idea whether I’ll be available tomorrow to talk to you. So, what I have to talk to you, I’ll talk now. Tomorrow if I am available, if I’m alive, I can talk more. But there’s no guarantee. Life has no rehearsals, life has no reversals. Life is as it happens every moment. Krishna gave a very valuable lesson there. This is why we call him Jagat Guru.
Transcribed by Ulla Bernholdt
Proofread by Rekha Murali