Subhas Chandra Pattanayak
Krushna was not a God. He was a character conceived and created by the revolutionary poet – Muni Vyasa – in his epic Mahabharata, epitomizing his concept of revolution against tyranny and exploitation.
He was generated by Vyasa’s thinking elites – represented by Devaki and Basudev – who, because of their opposition to oppressive autocrat Kansa, were being incarcerated time and again. And in the prison, they were giving shape to their concept of revolution, which again, every time, was being crushed within the prison compounds, before reaching the public.
In fact, it is the elites – persons of erudition, knowledge, ability to analyze socio-economic phenomena – that create revolutions against oppression and exploitation, against machinations in use by rulers to keep the people suppressed and subjugated.
Devaki and Basudev, the sister and brother-in-law respectively of Kansa, were, thus, symbolic of the then elite, who had tried to create a revolution against patriarch autocracy practiced by Kansa. All their attempts to create a revolution against the oppressive system were violently crushed by the tyrant Kansa. Yet, while perishing in his prison, they were giving shape to their revolutionary concept.
Amidst the masses
After seven such attempts failed, they felt that unless the people in general were involved with the revolution of their concept, they will not succeed in their endeavor.
So they decided to take their revolutionary concept into the midst of the common toiling masses.
On the eighth attempt, they succeeded in putting their concept at the disposal of the masses, symbolically projected as the cowherds.
This concept was christened Krushna, meaning the one that attracts everybody (Akarshayati Iti Krushnah) and when this Krushna grew up, it gave birth to such a massive mass upsurge that the tyrant Kansa died in fear, absolutely unable to face the challenge.
The same practice of crushing progressive revolutions by the rabid reactionary capitalists by implicating the revolutionaries in false cases, by incarcerating them and torturing them in the prisons, is galore everywhere including India.
If emancipation is essential, one is to understand the tricks of misleading the people aboub Krushna through concocted legends, to understand what Krushna really was and and address oneself to what he stood for in Mahabharata, instead of staying misguided by exploitive machinations that willfully and mischievously project Krushna as a God.
Before that, a difference
Before understanding Krushna, it is essential to know the background of his creator.
Vyasa, the creator of Krushna, was a Muni, not a Rushi.
When a person known for the brags that he has seen the God and the Veda being delivered by the God was called a Rushi (linked to ‘Drush’ – a seer), a person who was known for his views based on deep analysis was being called a Muni (linked to ‘Manana’, literally meaning ‘deep study’).
Vyasa was a Muni
Vyasa was a Muni. He was born out of rape of his mother Satyavati belonging to boatsman tribe by a Rushi namely Parasara, while she was ferrying him across a river.
The Vedic society was patriarch and in that society, under Vedic provisions claimed to have been ordained by the Almighty, any Arya male was entitled to rape any woman he desires, to beget a son; and when a son was born, to take away that son from that woman.
So, when Vyasa was born, Parasara had taken him away from his mother and given him education in the Vedic system.
But Vyasa had never forgotten the injury caused to his mother and to his own childhood by the patriarch system perpetrated by his father – a Rushi – in the name of Vedic privileges and hence he had refused the Vedic system pivoted on and preposterously contributing to blind belief.
He had emerged as an epoch making socio-political scientist whose works and words were based on practical analysis of discernible phenomena and intelligent interpretation of ancient wise words, if any, coined by the few progressive elements even in the Vedic system. He was therefore revered as Muni Vyasa.
An epic of war against oppression
As he had never forgotten the rape of his mother by Parasara, whom the Vedic system had projected as the grand son of Brahma, the greatest of the Gods whom creation of the universe was credited to, he created his Mahabharata as an epic of extermination of patriarchy and socio-economic oppressions it had legitimized.
Begins at Nahusa
In the first event placed in his epic is the episode of Nahusa. Nahusa was a man who was chosen by the Gods to rule over them, as their king Indra had been banished from the throne for his brutality and no God was capable of ruling over the rest.
In placing this matter before the public, Vyasa showed that human beings are better than the Gods.
He then proceeded to show how power corrupts.
Nahusa was chosen by the Gods to be their king, because he was a man of all humane virtues. But after occupying the most powerful position, he became too proud not to indulge in corruption. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely, as they say.
Being consecrated as the king of the Gods – Indra, Nahusa wanted the queen of the Gods – Sachi – in his bed, which Sachi refused.
Then Nahusa tried to rape her. She ran in panic and besought refuge at citadels of all leading Gods including Brahma. But none of them dared to come to her rescue in fear of Nahusa’s wrath.
Only a Muni like Vyasa – Muni Narada – came to her rescue and bravely obstructed Nahusa. He castigated the new Indra – Nahusa – for the sin he was committing and dissuaded him from chasing Sachi, saying him that he should stay away from the wife of the dethroned Indra as that would be the worst of the sins. “Nibartaya Manah Papat Para Dara Vimarsanat” is what Vyasa uttered in the mouth of Narada. And, Nahusa, understanding the mistake he was going to commit, repented and prostrated before Sachi by accepting her as a mother.
Ends at Jaduvansha
Begun from this major episode, the Mahabharata ended with extinguishment of the clan of Krushna (Jaduvansha), who acquiring privileged positions that the popularity of Krushna had given them, had plunged themselves into enjoyment of sex to the extent of fetching by force any daughter of any king they liked.
By exterminating the entire Jaduvansha, Vyasa mercilessly punished the misusers of revolution.
And, in between the Nahusa episode and the Jaduvansha episode, he depicted a class war between the patriarch Kaurava autocracy and the matriarch Pandava democracy and made the patriarch autocracy – epitomized by Dhrutarastra and his son Duryodhana – obliterated in a war called ‘Mahabharata”, wherein classes were distinctly polarized.
In what is called Bishwarupa of Krushna, he showed how his revolution called Krushna was a synonym of everything best in the Universe.
His Krushna was the society in its entirety, in whose mouth, Vyasa had called upon human beings to extricate themselves from the labyrinths of religions as every religion was an obstacle to emancipation. “Discard all the religions (Sarva Dharman Parityajya) and accept me as the final refuge” (Mamekam Sharanam Braja), he – the epitome of the society – had said.
This word “Mamekam” was not difficult to understand in the context of Krushna’s Vishwarupa. Yet, it was further annotated when the supreme projection of Matriarchy – Devi Durga – declared “Aham Rastri Sangamani” – I am the collective power of the people that form the State.
We, the people of Orissa
And, on this perception only, we the people of Orissa have rechristened the greatest son of our soil – Gurudev Buddha, the first founder of world outlook beyond all mischiefs of sectarianism – as our national deity Sri Jagannatha and equated him with Vyasa’s Krushna.
When to us, “Nilachale Jagannatha Sakshat Dakshina Kalika” (In Nilachala Puri, Jagannatha is Dakshina Kalika), we also equate Krushna with Kali the most powerful symbol of matriarchy, by saying, “Kalou Kali, Kalou Krushna, Kalou Gopala Kalika”.
So the combined force of the people – Kali, as announced in “Aham Rastri Sangamani” – is Krushna, the revolution, as annotated in “Akarshayati Iti Krushnah”, gets sharpened by being adopted by the masses in the grassroots, as symbolized by the word “Gopala”.
And, such a revolution takes birth in the pernicious prisons of oppressive rulers.
Wish, it takes birth in every prison
To us, therefore, Krushna is the revolution that a poet of India – Muni Vyasa – had conceived of, against politics of tyranny and exploitation, that had given the clarion call to discard dilly-dally in matters of class war (“Kshyudram Hrudayadaurbalyam Tyaktotishtha Parantapa”) and to fight the class enemy come what may (“Hato Ba Preapsyasi Swargam Jitwa Ba Bhokshase Mahim“) and to achieve emancipation by exterminating the enemy (“Tasmaduttishtha Kaunteya Yuddhaya Kruta Nishchayah”). Under his scheme, everybody has a right to work (“Karmanyebadhikaraste“) sans any selfish claim on the result thereof (“Ma Phalesu Kadachana”), because such claim would help individual avarice spread to the detriment of societal collectivism and defeat the cause of emancipation. Thus, Vyasa’s Krushna was for a society where everybody works to the best of his/her ability for the Society and the Society fulfills his/her essential necessities for fair living.
We, therefore, celebrate the birth of Krushna and wish this Krushna to take birth every day in every prison of tyrants in every nation.