Dwarka had reached the apex of its glory under Shri Krishna’s wise tutelage. But owing to its location, the city was always threatened by the sea. Shri Krishna then led his people to a safer location, where another city was founded.
Suman K Sharma
The Yadus happily adapted themselves to the new surrounds. Soon enough, great sages and learned pundits also made the nearby forests their habitation. It seemed the merry times in Dwarka would never end. Wealth the Dwarkaians had in plenty and there was no other clan, no tribe, nor a kingdom that could challenge their supremacy. The Rakshasas and their likes had long been suppressed. The mighty kings such as Jarasandh had bitten the dust. The Kauravas and the Pandavas who could have rivaled them had also been annihilated in the Mahabharata war, as were their allies. Shri Krishna’s kinsfolk had good reason to feel mighty proud of themselves. They became arrogant, even supercilious. In their hubris they broke the code long established by their ancestors not to trifle with the learned Brahmins who exercised a salutary control over the society.
A band of Yadu boys wantonly thought of pulling a prank on the hermits living outside the city limits. They prevailed upon Prince Saamb, Shri Krishna’s son from Queen Jambvati, to dress up like a pregnant woman and went with him to the ashram of a Brahmin reputed for his knowledge of the shastras. ‘Venerable Sir,’ said one of them to the Brahmin with false courtesy, ‘we have with us this lady who is at an advanced stage of pregnancy. Would you be so kind as to tell us whether she is going to deliver a son? Will the one to be born bring us luck?’ The Brahmin gave the disguised Saamb a chilling look and thundered at the pranksters, ‘The one that lies there shall bring you nothing but doom and death! Wait and see!’ With that, the angry Brahmin banged his door shut on them.
The louts came to their senses. Saamb cried out that he was feeling something heavy by his stomach. It turned out to be an iron pestle. Nobody knew what to do with the accursed object. Shri Krishna was not consulted for fear of inviting his rage. Instead, the elders of the community decided to grind the pestle to fine particles to ensure that it did not harm anyone. And while that iron piece was being strenuously ground, its dust fell into water and was carried to the coastal area. In time, a particularly sharp and prickly type of weed, called ‘Airak’, sprang up from the soil where the iron-dust had got deposited. The pestle, reduced to a pointed bit of iron, was flung out of sight into the sea.
But the Brahmin’s curse could not be cast away so easily. The bit of iron was swallowed by a fish, which in turn was caught by one Jara. This man cut up the fish and with the pointed iron bit that he found in its belly, he made an arrow. That was the arrow which killed Shri Krishna as he sat alone in the forest.
Shri Krishna was gone, and gone with him were the temperance and bonding that had held together the mighty Yadus. The saner voices were mocked at. The young as well as the old indulged in orgies. They were out at each other’s throats at the slightest provocation. What to say of the commoners, even Shri Krishna’s own sons and close followers fought among themselves ferociously. Pradyumana attacked Saamb; Akrur struck Bhoj; Aniruddh pounced at Satyiki and so on. They used every weapon they could manage and when left with nothing, they struck each other with spikes made out of the Airak weed. The bloodshed lasted till every one of them was maimed and killed. Then the twin cities of Dwarka were submerged in water in a cataclysm.