Shri Krishna had nearly fulfilled his mission of ridding the Earth of oppressors and other demoniac forces. He had also put behind him the great war of Mahabharata. Now his flourishing clan of the Yadus held sway over the entire land. If the Yadus had become puffed up with the immense power and pelf they enjoyed, Shri Krishna had divined their end as well. Having lived a fulsome life of 125 years – tasting all its triumphs and travails; challenges and conquests; love and animosity; absolute faith and blind acrimony; Shri Krishna thought it was time for him to leave the world of the mortals.
Suman K Sharma
Deep in a jungle and all by himself, he sat meditating on a ledge. His right foot was placed on his left thigh and its sole shone red like a rakta-kamal, the blood-red lotus. Somewhere close-by, a hunter named Jara espied Shri Krishna’s red sole from behind thick greenery. Thinking that it was the nose of a young deer, Jara took aim and shot with full force. The arrow struck home, wounding Shri Krishna fatally. It was pre-ordained. The arrow-head had been made out of a sharp bit of iron which carried the curse of annihilating the Yadu clan.
As Jara the hunter ran to the spot to claim his prey, he was aghast to see it was not a deer but Shri Krishna himself whom he had wounded grievously. But compassionate as ever, Shri Krishna absolved him of his blunder, telling him that it was none of his fault. The disconsolate hunter, however, wailed piteously at the enormity of the deed he had committed. It was then that Daruk, Shri Krishna’s charioteer, who was wandering in the jungle looking for his master, reached the place. He too was appalled at the sight that met his eyes. Shri Krishna, however, told him to calm down and take the news back to his kinsfolk.
As Daruk and Jara watched with tearful eyes, Shri Krishna ascended heavenwards in his everlasting aspect of Narayana.
Was Shri Krishna killed by the hunter,Jara, or did he pass away of old age (‘Jara’ in Sanskrit also means old age) – a point to ponder because the ancients quite often speak in metaphors.
But more to the point, was Shri Krishna a historical person? There are many naysayers. Leave aside British historians who seem to have been inspired by proselytizing Christian missionaries, our own scholars such as RomillaThapar, R.S. Sharma and Irfan Habib consider him a myth. Nonetheless, evidence as to the historicity of Krishna is also there. Dr S.R. Rao, emeritus scientist at the marine archeology unit of the National Institute of Oceanography, Goa, carried out twelve archeological explorations during 1983-1990 and established that, as related in the Bhagwat Purana, there was not one but two ancient cities, Dwarka and Bet Dwarka. So if there was Dwarka, there must have been Shri Krishna as well, who founded it. DrNarhariAchar, Professor of Physics at the University of Tennessee, USA, on the basis of co-relating the astronomical data culled from the Mahabharata, places Krishna’s birth at 3112 BC. It has also been held that he was 89 when the Kauravas and Pandavas fought the war of Mahabharata at Kurukshetra and lived for another 36 years at Dwarka after the 18-day war was over.
Suffice it to say, Shri Krishna comes out as more real to us than any historical personage when we read SrimadBhagwad Gita or wonder at his exploits as described in the Mahabharata or the BhagwadPurana. The departure of Shri Krishna from the mortal world signifies the end of the Dwapar Yuga.
A new world of Kali Yuga – the Age of Kali – with its own mores and manners would emerge in time to come.