The Plight of Lord Krishna
During a day in the middle of march of 1690 A.D. a local nayak ruler of madurai came to an interesting resolution. He decided that all the hindu families living in madurai which had been acquired by him, shall become adherents to “vaishnavite” religion. For much of the period between 13th and 17th centuries which may be termed as India’s equivalent of a dark age there was not any great literary activity and very less information is available on life during that period. The only sources available are the writings of obscure travellers. From one of these we are told that he employed a bunch of “scholars” to hold forceful debates and go about the task of “conversion”. We are also told that all of a sudden some incurable ailments engulfed him and was forced by the same to abandon his conversion project. Further, we are told that during that period a peculiar practice of not allowing into temples like srirangam and nangur, those who were not “vaishnavas” was also in vogue.
The above episode of other things is indicative of the nature of the society during that period. The vijayanagar and nayak rulers who came to colonize the territories of cholas, were neither great warriors nor rulers of exceptional merit who upheld truth and justice. To treat spirituality like trade is a mean activity. The foolishness of persons who attempted the same is matched only by the low grade of their charactar.
However this is not the first instance of attempting to use faith for selfish gains. Earlier, during the 13th century A.D, Ramanujacharya had some how succeeded in creating a “sectarian divide” for the first time within the ancient vedic system. Ramanujacharya who had started out as a “saint” and regarded himself a servitor of lord narayana in the line of illustrious alwar saints before him, is more remembered for his political activities, quite a few of which were very unbecoming of a noble man. The “srivaishnava” cult formed by him was a crude imitation of the buddhist and or jain sects with possible influence of semitic religions like Islam .
God chooses his servitors and it is upto him to do so. The pantheon of alwar saints was chosen by him and hence their experiences with the divine is true. There was no such event in the life of Ramanuja. He does not make any mention of the alwar saints in any of his eight works. He was instrumental in converting the a temple probably of subramanya (a temple in nearby tiruttani belongs to subrahmanya (skanda) and temples for lord subrahmanya following the story of his taking abode on top of a hill, are normally built there) in tirupati hills to a shrine of lord narayana(Vishnu).The hymns of alwars and sangam classics refer to another temple at tiruvenkadam near tirupati in tirumala hills. The name of god here is tiru vengalanathar, which literally means the lord who abides at tiruvenkadam. Whatever may have been the motives behind these actions, it is certain that he was not the kind of chosen servitor as the previous alwars.
It is ironic that the merciful Lord Krishna the purpose of whose incarnation was to rid the world of cunning and wicked be chosen by the same in another age as a cover up personality for their agenda. Evil conmen who pose as gentle saints often display their pseudo-devotion directed towards lord Krishna and repeatedly quote bhagavad geeta. They attempt to justify their mean activities and conceitedness by exploiting the ambiguity that is supposedly inherent in understanding his incarnations as vamana(the dwarf),Narasimha(the man lion), parasurama(the warrior sage) and Krishna(the shrewd counsellor).
Let us take a look at these incarnations one after the other and their misrepresentation. In his incarnation as vamana which took place during the first of epochal ages (krita age), he redeemed his devotee a demon king by name mahabali, who by the virtue of his flawless regime had threatened the position of king of gods, defeated him in successive battles and forced him to take refuge at the feet of Lord Vishnu. Acceeding to the request of Indra, Lord Vishnu descended down to earth as vamana or dwarfish brahmin and conned the demon king into giving away all his possessions including himself, even as he blessed his favourite devotee with salvation. Many pseudo-scholars have taken out the above story to justify mean acts of conning and treason.
The incarnation of Narasimha(man-lion) is interesting. This took place in the krita age and preceeded the previous one. The legend has it that after killing demon hiranya kashyapa and saving his devotee prahlada(who was also great-grand -father of mahabali), Lord not being able to control his anger went on rampage destroying everything that came upfront. Inorder that the world may not be destroyed, Lord siva descended down in form of sarabeswaran, a composite form with multitude of limbs carrying many weapons and head of a bird. He tamed Narasimha's anger after defeating him in a playful fight also blesses him to regain his form. For this reason many temples of Narasimha have sarabeswaran in the front as can be seen in the ancient temple at tirukoshtiyur near madurai. This story has also been utilized by pseudo-intellectuals to propogate that Lord Siva and Lord Vishnu are essentially rivals and that ones worshipping Lord Siva , should not be worshipping Lord Vishnu.
The legend of parasurama an incarnation of treta age has been used to create a feeling of rivalry between different groups, because the purpose of that incarnation was to annihilate the kings who did not adhere to the truth and abused power.
The personality that has been most favourably exploited for selfish gains has been that of his incarnation as Lord Krishna. His life as lord Krishna was longest, toughest and most tragic, for having been forced to watch without acting some of the most evil acts till the very end. Even after that incarnation his role has been used by wishful people in this age of kali to justify chicanery, manipulation, stealth, debauchery,oppurtunism, corruption and treason.
None of the above mentioned qualities characterized Lord Krishna. His stealing of butter and curds can be only be regarded as childish pranks. His indulgences were mild playful acts intended only to purify the minds of young women and enlighten them about the transcience of material world. They never ever descended down to acts of lechery and debauchery. His becoming messenger of pandavas carrying a request to duryodhana to cede five provinces can hardly be regarded as an act of opportunism and double speak. His use of unfair means in war was only to drive home the point that evil has to be destroyed at all costs and was not intended to legitimize terrorism, cunning and guerilla techniques. Thus in the midst of war he warns arjuna that if he goes soft on his enemies, he will have break his oath of not fighting and carry out the carnage himself.
Portraying him as a messiah of peace is most incorrect because the very purpose of his incarnation was to survey and then destroy the wicked men. Yet for a multitude of reasons in this age he has become the poster boy of those persons who are jealous, envious,greedy,corrupt and lecherous. That very race which was actually terminated by him in the previous age.
Author: K Sethu Madhavan
A management professional with eight years experience in telecommunications industry, I have written a lot of articles in subjects related to management and strategic information analysis.