Gokula Ashtami, the birth-day of Lord Sri Krishna
Amma and I are well and we wish all our children all the very best in life and at all times.
Tomorrow is Gokula Ashtami, the birth-day of Lord Sri Krishna, the last Avatar of God amongst us the mortals. We - each one of us - should have been Krishna's contemporaries, in our previous lives, whatver they were, animals, birds, trees or even as men and women. The fact is, we were all there as witnesses to his life on earth. The only thing is, that we cannot remember our past lives, while God remembers ( and recalls at will) whatever happened to Him in earlier lives. He says this in so many word at the beginning of the 4th Chapter of the Bhagavad Gita.
What is Krtishna's relevance to mankind, especially now. And that is what I want to discuass to-day. He taught mankind the manual of lifeand that is what the Gita is. When we buy even a mechanical toy from a Dollar shop, we are given along with it a User's Manual. This happens when you buy almost any contraption these days, mechanical or electronic. These manuals state at the outset and in bold letters, that before you use the equipment, read and understand the manual first. It even carries a diagram showing the various parts, their names, functions and what to do with them. Every detail of consequence is stated there, also how to use the equipment, step by step. Problems are anticipated, and clues given on how to solve them. These user manuals are so simple to read and learn, and once you have read them, the operation of the equipment becomes so simple, effective and beneficial. You get the anticipated joy from its use and you are happy.
However, with regardto the Gita - the manual of our precious lives - how many of us care to use it the way we use the other less important manuals? The answer is that we have no time for it at all. We wreck our lives,can't do a thing more about it, and then start looking for teachers and Gurus who would tell us how to reconstruct the past.
The Gita contains elaborate tips on every aspect of human life and how to enjoy it and get the best out of it. It is not at all a religious or sacred book. If it can be considered sacred, it is only for the reason that the blessed Lord himself has authored it and spoken it. Krishna has, truly, poured his heart into it. One seldom comes across a person who is so totally concered about human welfare as Krishna, and his manner of speaking is so friendly, non-condescending and utterly truthful. He never tries to, push ideas down your throat, even as lesser mortals like me try to do. After waxing eloquent over eighteen chapters of the Gita, it is amazing to see him tell the fallen Arjuna: " I have told you my views on various things. Now you may conyemplate on these in deail and do exactly what you like todo. His exact words are "YADECHHASI THATHAA KURU'.
Krishna not only preached the Gita ideals at the Kurukshetra battle-ground , he also lived it for all of us to see. His entire life was there for all to see, an open book. He was not born like a God should be born. He was born in Kamsa's jail, where his parents had been kept ever since their marriage. He was the eighth child of his parents, and all the previous ones had been brutally disposed off by Kamsa.
Krishna was born at mid-night, no midwife in attendance. Minutes after birth, he was carried away by his father, clandestinely, to Mathura, where he was swapped for another girl-child. He grew as Yashoda's son, suckling her milk and not being able to see his own mother until he had become an adult.
Even his naming and other ceremonies are done secretly, in the cow-shed, in order not to attract Kamsa's attention. Everyday, he escaped death from the missionary rakshasas sent by Kamsa to kill him. It was a struggle for life, day after day for several years, until Krishna killed Kamsa.
Every one of his marriages was an unanticipated event, almost an accident. He had to marry Rukmini, because she fell so deeply in love with him - without their ever meeting even once - that if he had not done so, she threatened to end her life. Satyabhama was given to him by Satrajit, who had scandalised him to the worst level.. The 16000 wivescame to him as destitutes, when he saved them from the harem of Narakasura. If you read Krishna's life one fact will strike youintensely, and that is that he never - not even once - did anything for personal benefit. He became Charioteer for Arjuna in the Kurukshetra batte. He was an emissary of the Pandavas in the Kaurava court, pleading for a peaceful settlement, even ready to accept one house for the Pandavas to live in peace. And the Duryodhana gang tried to tie him down with ropes and kill him. Vidura gave him the banana skins which he relished and ate, so as to plase him and accept his devotion, At Darmaputra's Rajasooya sacrifice, he allotted to himself two jobs. One was to wash the feet of the guests, the other was to remove the leaves on which the Guests had eaten lunch (Echil elai eduthaar). And how did he die? Of titanus poisoning, caused by an arrow with a steel edge which pierced his foot, while he was lying on the beach. He spent more time with the Pandavas, wherever they were, than with his own family. With all this you never find him complaining about his pitiable lot. He was angry with the bad ones, and shwed it on occasions, but he always sympathised with the afflicted and good, who could not defend themselves. He showed by example, how excellence has to be the only pursuit of man, also hownot to be affected by the results of one's efforts whatever they are. Krishna tells us: there is only one way of doing anything and that is the correct and EXCELLENT way. If you did that, you do not have to worry about the result, you will also not be affected by it. The language he uses is different and involved, but I have the summary of it for you.
So, Go on, think of Krishna always, as often as you can, keep his picture handly to be able to see him and gather hope and, most important, celebrate his birthday tomorrow. He lives even now for those who are confused in life and about it. He is waiting to give guidance for our fulfilment.
OM NAMO BHAGAVATHE VASUDEVAYA