“Oh Krishna! The eternal Lord of the Universe, thou art the Director and the chief performer of this entire gory drama happened in the name of Kurukshetra war. Millions of men were slain, their spouses and children now weep inconsolably. Listen to their saddening screams, oh! Gopala! Once there were cuckoos gleefully singing in this beautiful country but now dogs and wolves happily howl after filling their stomachs by feeding on the rotting carcasses that are indistinguishable whether these are that of the warriors or of the horses and elephants.
You drank Kshatria blood of 21 generations as Parasurama. Are you still thirsty for more? Behold ! Our entire clan is obliterated. I lost all my hundred sons and my many beloved grandsons. Pandavas too lost all of their siblings and children. O Kesava, our entire vamsa vruksha (family tree) was burnt down to ashes. Let me ask you why did you let this gruesome war happen in the first place? Why?
You know everything and you could have prevented this carnage, for you have the inimitable power to do so. You could have brokered peace with your full potential but you failed to do, Oh! the mighty, miraculous, omni-potent son of Nandagopa! can you ever get to understand a mother’s pain of losing her children? Indeed you took birth after killing six of your elder siblings in the guise of Karma (fate). Ask your mother about the pain.
Now you watched the brothers of the same family slay each other with vengeance but you took side unjustifiably to annihilate only my sons. Now if I have acquired my deserving merit and power owing to my pathivratha (being a truthful wife to my husband) dharma, I shall curse thee! Just how I happened to bear the grievous burden of watching my entire family and relatives perish in the war, in 36 years from today, your Vrishni clan will also be destroyed by infighting and you will die in great pain watching it happening right in front of your eyes. Just as the mothers, wives, and sisters of the warriors died in Kurukshetra, women in your country, Dwarka, will have to weep, scream and cry over the huge piles of dead bodies!”
yelled Gandhari at Krishna, the ever-smiling, eternally shining savior of the worlds.
Krishna was just standing watching all these and listening to Gandari’s curse with his usual captivating smile in His face that even beats the glow of a lotus that just bloomed. He seemed to be neither surprised nor disappointed. Rather he seemed as if he was waiting for this occasion. However, listening to Gandari’s curse, the rest of the people in the great Emperor’s court stood dumbfounded like rocks whose face have gone aghast and pale in utter grief and pain owing to the severity of her words. She returned to her palace after venting out her anger but still deep in her mind the pain loomed large. She tried to justify her anger on Krishna. Nice and soothing breeze peacefully caressed her to make her think about the periods of unending happiness prior to the war and slowly nudged her to go to sleep.
Suddenly she woke up to a strange sound and felt the room was filled with divinely aroma and noticed a dark figure holding flute and smiling like a lightning. She immediately realised it was Krishna and her anger erupted again like a volcano.
G: “Oh! the slayer of Madhu, the great artist, have you come to check who else is alive and who can be killed next? What else is left in this country for you to destroy?”
Krishna smiled and replied “Gandhari, why don’t you stay calm? I thought you vented out your anger completely by cursing me?”
G: “No! How can I stay calm when my hundred sons were killed brutally in the war. Why didn’t you attempt to prevent this war from happening? Why?”
K: “Gandhari, I know you. You are my beloved follower and an ardent devotee. So, I am bound to your question. Yes, I could have stopped the war or I could have just obliterated everything in a flash of a second with my power of sankalpa (determination).”
G: “Then why did you remain a mute spectator to it and even directed it as you wished?”
K: “My beloved Gandari! The yuga (era) ends as the war ended as I mentioned in my Gita. Kaliyuga starts from the day the great war ended. Everything is happening as per the rules of the universe so don’t let your mind get clouded by worldly issues and try to understand my words.”
“In this grand palace that is filled with darkness of ignorance, Vithur is the only string of light with his true divine wisdom of knowing who I really am.”
G: “Krishna! Indeed, I came to know about both you and Vithur today and became fully aware of your cruel and ostensible benevolence.”
K: “Dear Gandari! Don’t ever imagine even for a second bad mouthing about my true followers. It is perhaps the greatest of all sins that has not even the slimmest possibility of redemption for thousands of births. Now, I will surely answer your question but let me ask a few to you and try if you can answer them.”
G: “Go ahead, Krishna”
K: “Why didn’t you curse your husband? He is the root cause of all of Duryodhan’s sinful behavior and hatred towards Pandavas. Had he wished, he could have fostered better relationships between the brothers by duly giving the Pandavas what they truly deserve – their share of the rajya (country). Rather he chose to be oblivious to the enmity Duryodhan and his brothers cultivated from their young age towards the sons of Pandu.
“Then, why didn’t you curse Bheeshma, Krupa and Dronacharya? These great men hath let Duryodhan insult the queen of Pandavas by pulling her clothes off in front of thousands of spectators. All these saintly men are respected and the most educated but eventually became puppets at the hands of merciless Duryodhan and even fought against the Pandavas conveniently ignoring their own conscience questioning them. Vithur was the only one who paid heed to his own conscience and dharma and chose not to participate in the war. Just like Vibheeshan in my previous Rama avatar”
“Why didn’t you curse your son for he is the most sinful creature of all. He perhaps did the most heinous crime of ordering the Pandavas’ queen; who must be respected as equal to you (mother); and also as the spouse of his own brothers to sit on his lap as a slave. Thus he became the inimitable testimony for the greatest punishment that one – who insults women of purity and righteousness – can ever get in all the three worlds.”
“Lastly, why didn’t you curse your own brother, Shakuni? He, with his criminal mind and cruel instincts, indeed laid the foundation of your sons’ demise.”
G: “Oh Krishna, stop! He is my brother and all those who you mentioned were my relatives and kinsmen.”
K: “Poor Gandhari! Then who am I for you, your family and the whole world? Pandavas considered me one among them. Actually, they completely surrendered unto me and were protected.”
G: “Krishna! Don’t try to fool me. Kunti is your maternal aunt. So it’s natural for you to be on their side.”
K: “Poor ignorant Gandhari! I am the closest friend of all those who are righteous, benevolent and honest in the world. I always reside in the hearts of all those good people who don’t even think of harming others by words or deeds. Understand this well before even trying to understand me!!”
K: “Fine Gandhari! Let’s assume Pandavas were defeated and killed by your sons. Your son would have become the emperor. And that would have made you happy, correct? Wouldn’t it be called selfishness?”
G: “Madhusudhana! Any mother will be happy about good things happening to her children.”
K: “Yes, Gandhari. Am the mother of this vast universe. I created everything in this world and hence why shouldn’t I be selfish in my thinking of destroying the evil and nurturing the good for my children?”
G: “Then why I only should suffer by losing my children, my Lord?”
G: “Priyeh! (Oh my beloved!) everything in the universe is bound by karma, the actions and consequences that people have to go through during their endless cycles of births and deaths. Even though I am beyond all the karma and its results, I don’t interfere in one’s karma. That’s why I have created humans with the sixth sense to judge by themselves and distinguish the wrong and the right.”
“Just ask yourself, if I am the omni potent, then why in my earlier Rama avatar, struggle to that extent to get the help of monkey herd to kill Ravana and rescue Sita?”
“Am the primordial substance, the peerless preceptor and the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who doesn’t have any need whatsoever to put my prowess on display by doing cheap miracles or black magic. Neither I need any advertisement for my endless powers. But it’s my primary responsibility to glorify my truthful followers, my beloved bhagavathas.”
Krishna paused a while and said,
“Without the war, how could the world have come to know about the greatest of the Warriors – Abhimanyu; Bhishma’s integrity and determination, which is stronger than the mountain Sumeru; the unmatchable glories of Karna- who is the personification of magnanimity by donating everything including himself to others.”
“On the other hand, the world needs to learn from the gory endings of the most cruel, malignant, and sadistic humans to walk on the earth such as Ashwatthama, Jayathradha and your beloved brother Shakuni. These are the ultimate goals of me stewarding the war.”
G: “That’s fine Krishna. I can understand but you were on the side of the Pandavas, right?”
K: “Wrong Gandhari! I was, am and will always be on the side, which is of ‘Dharma’. Nevertheless it’s your son who shunned me – as I vowed not to touch any weapon in the war – and instead preferred my army when he got an opportunity to choose. I can only laugh at his ignorant mind, which believed that one’s strength lies in his weapons. Anyway, I was always with you and your spouse in the guise of Vithur and his truthful words. It’s you who didn’t care to understand my presence. I am present wherever there is dharma.”
K: “Even today, I might not have come in your dreams, but I rush to help those who care to think about me even for a second. Moreover, you are my beloved bhakthai (follower) so I wanted to speak to you through your dreams. In fact, I saved you from another greatest sin, had you cursed any of the Pandavas instead of me.”
Now Gandhari speaks with tears welling up in her eyes.
G: “Oh! Dear Govinda! How do you still show such boundless mercy and love on me?”
K: “Priya Gandhari! This is my style and habit to recognize true devotees and be at their service.”
G: “Oh graceful Vanamaali! I realized now the deeper manifestations of our karma. Can you be merciful to show me the ways and means of eternal bliss? The one that transcends the yugas and helps me attain your golden feet in Sri Vaikuntam?”
K: “Dear Gandhari! You asked the right question at the right time. Let me tell you in simple words what I narrated Arjuna in 18 detailed chapters.
Ananya-s-chintayanto Maam Yae Janaah Pary-upaasatae
Taesham Nithya-abhi-yuktaanaam Yoga-kshemem Vahami-aham
“I reside in those who think about me all the time and when one has complete trust upon me, I take the complete and absolute responsibility to assure everything needed in his/her life in this mortal world and the blissful life beyond.”
G: “Oh Parama Dayala! (One with boundless mercy) forgive me for my curse and other sins and help me reach your lotus feet as soon as I can.”
K: “Don’t worry!! Even your curse is a means and a trick in my game that I dictate. When the time comes, my staunch enemy from my previous avatar – Vaali – will take life as a hunter and let me leave this world in the same way I killed him. Hence, keep chanting my sahasra (1000) namas (names) and you will reach me in time.”
Then suddenly she regained her senses and started wondering whether the experience and the conversation was a dream or happened really.
Nevertheless she realized the underlying message that she and her husband need to relinquish their worldly material lives and head to the jungle to do penance in order to attain moksha (eternity). So she slowly started walking towards her husband’s palace.
A dark figure with an enchanting aura billion times brighter and glorified than the Sun, was standing behind her and smiling at His just enlightened devotee.
Humble prostrations at the golden feet of acharyan