The name Krishna literally means “all-attractive.” So, not only is Krishna/God all-powerful and all-knowing, He’s also the most beautiful Person.
Why should that matter to us? We’re all parts of Krishna—as drops of ocean water are tiny samples of the ocean. The more we know about Krishna, the better we understand ourselves, and the easier it is to see what our ultimate purpose is.
Lord Krishna – Best example of a leader
The Ramayana and the Mahabharata are two great masterpieces of ancient Indian literature presenting two philosophies of life. Valmiki’s Rama represents idealism and Ved Vyas’ Krishna, realism.
Ram is a character. Krishna is an actor; he involves himself without being involved. He is a catalyst energising others into action. He refuses to circumscribe his life with ideas and ideals. For him life is larger than all ideas and ideals put together. They are for life; life is not for them. It’s the same mind that gives rise to both good and evil, virtue and vice. Both aspects are different transformations of one and the same energy. Krishna doesn’t deny these dualities. A mirror reflects everything that appears before it, but unlike a camera, it doesn’t retain impressions. A man of mirror-like consciousness will relate with people and things, but he won’t enter into relationships involving attachment. Rama is a doer; he acts for his ideals and is therefore called marayada purshottam. Krishna on the other hand, is an incomparable actor; he turns the whole world into his stage. He plays a friend and a foe without being involved in friendship and enmity. Krishna is called leela-purshottam. He accepts all contradictions and ambiguities of life. He isn’t afraid of them. That is why he’s called complete or purnavatar. Krishna’s mission of life was to uphold dharma. His whole life is like an open book. He wears no mask. Whatever he is, he is. He doesn’t deny anything; he is transparent. It’s true that life is full of contradictions and absurdities. To Krishna all that doesn’t justify escapism. He does what is situationally appropriate. Since it’s not possible to remain a mere witness, it’s better to act with complete self-knowledge and moral courage.
Creative destruction – There’s one event in Mahabharata, which generally doesn’t catch popular attention: the burning of the Khandava forest. After the plan to kill Pandavas failed, Dhritarashtra was forced to give them a share of the kingdom. Keeping Hastinapur to himself and his sons, he gave a little-known town Khandavaprastha to the Pandavas. On a hot summer day, younger members of the Pandava family with Krishna’s family went for a picnic to the nearby Khandava forest. There they drank, sang and danced. Suddenly everyone saw that the forest caught fire and Krishna and Arjuna together guarded all sides so tightly that no creature fleeing from the blaze could escape. Furiously driving their chariots, the two slaughtered everything in sight. Fire consumed almost all vegetation and life. It’s not known how the fire really started. But, the question remains: why Krishna and Arjuna acted so ruthlessly and so mercilessly? Of course, the Pandavas were planning to build Indraprastha, a city bigger than Hastinapur, which they did. And, they may also be trying to fulfil the duty of a ruling king to provide more land for cultivation. Forests had to be cleared for human settlement and entire region made rich and fertile.
Swadharma as ordained by swabhava Krishna makes a distinction between ends and means. Ends can be idealistic but if means are absolutely pure, they will soon become ends and the distinction between ends and means will disappear. Is a pure end ever fully achieved? It’s always there as an ideal. Often at times the problem is to choose between greater evil and lesser evil. If it’s found necessary Krishna breaks his own vows. Violating the kshatriya code, he once even ran away from the battlefield because discretion could sometimes be a better part of valour. His elder brother, Balarama, decided to remain neutral in the battle at Kurukshetra. Krishna knew great issues were at stake. He was also aware that both sides looked at him as a friend. Neither side was totally right nor totally wrong. The way he divided himself is extraordinary. He told them they had two options: he or his army. It’s obvious if one is anxious for victory he wouldn’t choose Krishna without his army and, more so when he says, he wouldn’t fight. The Pandavas chose him because they knew he was a great strategist, at one moment a sober statesman, but very often also the shrewd manipulator bent upon achieving his purpose irrespective of means employed. He manipulated killings of all outstanding warriors of the Kauravas’ army. They knew his presence was more important than his participation.
Krishna is perhaps the best example of a leader as a catalyst available in world literature. He has no interests, no position and no power. Yet on almost all important occasions when great events occur in Mahabharata He is present. He does nothing, his presence makes things happen. The word Krishna means centre. He is the centre of attraction. He stands for certain values of life and wants to destroy all those who make others suffer. Unlike Rama he doesn’t try to walk on a straight line. He deviates when it is situationally appropriate.