When I was a child, I remember my grandmother narrating the tales of this mischievous young lad. I would listen open-mouthed hanging on to every word, adoration oozing from every breath. The life stories of this charming kid managed to capture my imagination like no other. Time passed but my adulation failed to cease and I think I can say I’m not alone here. But through the years, what gained significance for me was the life lessons imparted through His life rather than the stories themselves. Here are some noteworthy lessons I gathered from the illustrious life of Lord Krishna.
- Never give up what you love
Lord Krishna, with a country to rule, a war to fight, and demons to conquer and through various other commitments, still managed to infuse the music he loved into his life. He enjoyed playing his flute, mesmerizing those around him with lively tunes. He never let his passion for music take a back seat on account of his commitments. Unfortunately in the modern world with our many commitments, we tend to lose sight of our hobbies. We forget the joy they bring to us in our lives, the balm that they become when our brains get fried. Setting aside time for our numerous interests can be an effective approach to kill the drudgery in life.
- Service to man is service to God
Once an arrogant serpent makes the river Yamuna its home and this results in the people of Vrindavan being poisoned. Concerned about the villagers welfare Krishna confronts it, albeit the risks involved for him and emerges victorious. On another occasion, Krishna’s affection for his village took form in another exploit. He delivered his village from torrential rains sent down from heaven by Lord Indra by holding the mountain Brindavan over the village on just his little finger! In life too, one needs to serve the society not through compulsion but from the goodness of one’s heart! Many may disagree when I say that man is a social servant, whose duty is serving humanity one way or another. Think about it, we serve our parents, our elders, our dear ones then why not the society which shaped us. And the satisfaction and inner peace gained through Jana Seva is worth our time and effort.
- Commitments first
Krishna was a cow herd who lived a comfortable life. Life looked all the more rosy with his beloved Radha by his side. But everything changed when Krishna realized the truth about his birth. He gave up his life as he knew it, the love of his life Radha, and the people he had grown up with to uphold his commitment to his parents, his kingdom and his people. In life as well, your commitments must always hold the highest priority.
- A true friend
The cut throat competition in this contemporary world has forced many into a marriage with their work. Relationships tend to take a backseat. Friendships formed during your youth soon begin to fade into oblivion. Lord Krishna valued his friendships and treated his friends, rich and poor, with a lot of love and genuine affection. Sudhama was Krishna’s childhood friend. He unlike Krishna was a poor man, whose family could hardly make ends meet. He once visited his friend hoping to ask for some assistance. But once there he hadn’t the heart to impose his problems on his friend Krishna. On returning home Sudhama was astonished by the palatial house, handsome clothes and wealthy jewelry. Lord Krishna being the genuine friend he was, understood Sudhama’s plight even without Sudhama uttering a word. That is the true meaning of friendship.
- Uphold dharma
The Kurukshetra war was going strong and the Kauravas were losing men at an alarming rate. Frustration filled Duryodhana’s being. This frustration soon turned into suspicion, a suspicion directed towards Bhishma. He accused Bhishma of fighting half-heartedly on the Kauravas’ behalf owing to his loyalty to the Pandavas. Infuriated at this accusation, Bhishma vowed to prove his loyalty. On gathering this information, an anguished Draupati approached Lord Krishna and urged him to give his word that no harm would befall the Pandavas. Krishna not only gave his word but also kept it and delivered the Pandavas unharmed from the war.
On another occasion when Draupadi was stripped of her clothes and humiliated in front of the entire court Krishna presented her with a saree. He acted to defend a woman’s dignity. He was also acknowledged for his active involvement in defending women’s rights and that’s probably why he continues to reside in the hearts of women till date. Keeping promises and earning the trust of those around us doesn’t seem a very bad idea in life, does it?
Ethics lend a direction to our actions. They determine our choice between the principled and the immoral. But there have been times when even the most magnificent among men have been known to contort the fine line between right and wrong to fit their purpose. Lord Krishna was one such man. During the Kurukshetra war, Lord Krishna knew that the Pandavas didn’t stand a chance against the mighty Kaurava army. He was aware that the Kauravas wouldn’t hesitate to stoop low if the situation demanded. He was also equally familiar with the Pandavas’ disdain for unethical methods. The strategist that he was, he never broke any rules but bent them to the Pandavas’ advantage. For example, Krishna was aware that BhishmaPitamah of the Kauravas would never harm a eunuch and so he asked Shikhandi to stand at the fore while Arjuna shot his arrows from behind. Similarly in our lives and more importantly at work a principled worker never breaks the rules of his society but he should be capable of proceeding with life while adroitly veering around rules to benefit his society.
Lord Krishna ruled over the splendid Dwarka, a king no less. This Supreme Being during the Kurukshetra war donned the role of a humble charioteer. Lord Krishna was the embodiment of simplicity and his role as a charioteer is testament to that. In our lives too simplicity can be liberating. How? Because by clearing up the clutter and unwanted elements in life one can identify what is really important in a much better way. It can change your very lifestyle for good and it also stops attracting people in love with your possessions rather than you, and helps you cultivate genuine relationships with genuine people.
- Duty to parents
Krishna, the baby was carted off from his birth parents to secure his safety from the evil king Kamsa. His parents underwent torture under the hands of Kamsa; their lives were steeped in misery. Once Krishna reached manhood, he defeated Kamsa and liberated his parents from his clutches. Lord Krishna did his duty by his parents; he gave up his carefree life as a cowherd and faced many dangers, and risking his own life, he saved his parents.
Unfortunately times have changed. Children digress from their duties towards their aged parents. Many fail to realize the time, money, effort and most importantly the love that parents invest in their children’s well-being and only acknowledge them as a source of burden. Maybe society needs to take a leaf from Lord Krishna’s life.
Through good and bad, joy and grief, praise and censure and be it friend or foe equanimity of the mind and attitude is important. Calmness and composure especially during the downs in our life is very important. Panicking or the like is not going to deliver us from unpleasant situations. The life of Lord Krishna was a whirlwind of varying circumstances but the one thing about Him that one cannot fail to notice is his equanimity. That internal balance could be the key to our survival.
- Always wear a smile
The troubles that Lord Krishna faced through life make our troubles appear miniscule in comparison. From the instant of his birth, his life was always at risk. From overcoming his uncle’s devious schemes to facing demons, devilish reptiles, and losing the love of his life, Lord Krishna faced a lot! But albeit all, his smile was a constant feature. Indeed a wonderful lesson to be learnt!