Today is Krishna Janamashatami. At 12 in the night, all the temples will declare the birth of Krishna and the fasting public will take ‘prasad’ and food. Surprisingly, the north India celebrates the occasion in temples with dances, songs and rituals, while west, Maharashtra and Mumbai in particular, celebrates it in its lanes, roads, and other public places with Gobindas and dhahi-handi competitions offering prizes up to Rs 10 million.
I was surprised to see an opinion poll on NDTV-India on the programme Khabardar. Which Krishna is relevant in today’s context- ‘makhan chor’ (butter thief), Divine dancer with gopis and Radha with music of his flute, or destructor of devils? More than 95% voted for the last option suggested. However, among the celebration that is getting telecast on all news channels, the whole nation in busy in the first two ways of remembering him. Is it not contradictory?
Krishna is one of the most colourful characters from our mythologies. Many believe him as historical figure too. I have been to Mathura where he was born in a prison of his maternal uncle, Kansa, Gokul where he grew and Vrindavan where he played his flute and danced with gopis in his divine dance. I had been to Kurukshetra too where Mahabharat was fought and where he recited the wonderful Gita. Delhi itself was Indraprashtha. Hastinapur is also near by in Uttarpradesh. He kept on shifting between Indraprastha and Hastinapur before the Great War Mahabharat carrying out the negotiation to avoid the war.And then Krishna retreated to Dwarka to ddistance the clan from the enemies. Last February, we visited Dwarka.
Krishna has three clear characters. As a child, he was brave and skilled enough to kill many who were sent to kill him. The kids of the country can emulate the child Krishna. He can be a good character for animations film such Hanuman or Ganesh. As a young man, he set an ideal model of romancing and enjoying the divine music and dance through flute and ras. And a matured adult, Krishna is great strategist who gets the respect of even the intelligentsias of the time. In one way he is the hero of Mahabharat. Without using any weapon, he led Pandavas to the final victory in the war. Gita remains the inspiration for the whole world. He is very much relevant even today, perhaps more than even Gandhi. India can’t win the war on terror following Gandhi. Perhaps Krishna and his Gita have answer to deal with the terror and the terrorists.
Krishna is relevant, as each age group can find in Him an inspiration, if it seeks that with positive approach. India needs a Krishna for its police community too. A Krishna only can eliminate the rampant corruption and criminality in the political class that is holding back the country to become prosperous and poverty free.