(Overview): Krishna’s Role in Mahabharata
- When Sri krishna was having his rest or say midday sleep, both Duryodhana and Arjuna came to his place. Duryodhana came a few minutes earlier and, as he was full of pride, he stood beside Sri Krishna’s head. Arjuna, as he was full of humility and modesty, stood beside Sri Krishna’s feet. Both awaited Krishna’s waking.
- After a while, Sri Krishna woke up and his eyes fell on Arjuna. When he turned around he saw Duryodhana. He wanted to know why they were there at that hour. Arjuna said, “Now you know that the battle will take place. I need you.”
- Duryodhana said, “I have also come here to take help from you, and I have come before him so you have to fulfil my desire first.” So Sri Krishna said, “It is true that you came before Arjuna, but I saw him first, and he will I be given the first chance. Besides, he is younger than you. So he will have the first choice.
- Arjuna said to Krishna with great joy. “I want you!”
- Duryodhana thought: What a stupid fellow Arjuna is. He wants Krishna alone.
- Sri Krishna said, “You want me? But I will not fight. I will only be your charioteer. One of you will have me alone and the other I will have my vast army.”
- Duryodhana felt, what could Krishna do alone and unarmed? The best thing for him was to have Krishna’s army.
- But Arjuna, being an illumined person, said to himself, “What shall I do with his army? The best thing is to have the Lord with me. The Lord will be able to protect me and the Lord will bring me the victory.” Arjuna wanted Sri Krishna and Duryodhana wanted the entire army of Sri Krishna.
- Now the promise was that Sri Krishna would never, never fight. Unfortunately, he had to break his promise; he could not keep it. Twice he ran out of the chariot. To kill whom? Bhishma. On the third and the ninth day Sri Krishna found that Arjuna was not fighting properly against his grandsire. Arjuna found it extremely difficult to use weapons against his grandsire.
- Sri Krishna said, “Arjuna, you are not fighting. Why?” So he came out of the chariot with his discus. He wanted to kill Bhishma. And what was Bhishma’s reaction? Bhishma’s joy knew no bounds. He said, “Come, O my Lord, come! If I die in your hands then immediately I will go to heaven! I am the most blessed person because you are coming to kill me!”
- But, both times, Arjuna followed Sri Krishna and said “No, you have to keep your promise. I won’t let you fight, I shall fight. I won’t allow you to eat your words. You come, you sit in the chariot and drive me on. I shall fight.
- Here we learn that the Guru, the Master, can at any moment break his own promise in order to help, to save, in order to win a victory for the disciple. Sri Krishna was the Omniscient, Omnipotent, Omnipresent, and also the Just. But when the question concerns a most intimate disciple, the Guru goes against the ordinary light of morality. This was Sri Krishna’s heart for Arjuna.
- Victory is there where there is Dharma
Gandhari’s eldest son, Duryodhana, came to her for benediction. She did not say, “I pray for your victory!” or “Yours will be the victory!” She said, “Where there is Dharma, victory will be there.” She knew perfectly well that on the other side, in the other party, was Yudhishthira, the Son of Dharma, Dharma incarnate, who would win the victory. She could not bless her son saying, “Yours will be the victory.” So she said, “Where there is Dharma, there will be the victory.”
There are seven hundred verses in the Gita. Many in India can recite the whole of the Gita in an hour and a half, from the beginning to the end. However, reciting is one thing, repeating is one thing, but following the teachings of the Gita is something else. The man who recited the whole of the Gita by heart perhaps did not follow any of the teachings of the Gita. So, reading is not enough, follow the Gita because it is necessary to ponder upon what is read.