By Neeraj Mahajan
Lord Krishna --is one of the most loved Gods in Hindu religion. According to legend he was the eighth incarnation of Lord Vishnu and was born in ‘Dwapur Yug’ as the eighth child of Devki and Vasudev but was brought up by Mata Yashoda and Baba Nand.
The issue is what makes him relevant even today? Why is it that even today, every mother in India, wants to be devki/yashoda and every child want to be a krshna. Why is it that people consider Krishna their leader, hero, protector, philosopher, teacher and friend? What is the magic behind his image as a cult figure-- god-child, prankster, model lover, divine hero and Supreme Being? Some of his most endearing titles include Mohan the enchanter of women, Gopinath - lord of the the gopis, Shyama sundara - meaning dark & beautiful, Govinda—the finder of cows and Gopala the protector of cows.
I am their beginning, their being, their end
I am the mind of the senses,
I am the radiant sun among lights
I am the song in sacred lore,
I am the king of deities
I am the priest of great seers…"
This is how he describes himself, the Supreme Being or the Purna Purushotam.
He was born in prison but promises to liberation from the circle of life and death. Indeed, it's very difficult to find any another Krishna -- the Lord of all Lords!!
Quality # 1: Simplicity
The foremost quality that Lord Krishna stand’s for is his simplicity. The word, “Krishna” itself means “dark complexioned”. He spent his early childhood in Gokul – a 'cow-village' in Northern India before moving to Vrindavan. It was his weakness for butter which earned him the nickname “Makhan Chor”. Another aspect of his simplicity was his great friendship with Sudama – a poor Brahmin whom he remembered even as a king.
He was very naughty as a child and is believed to mischievously hide the clothes of Gopis. This is cited as an example of divine Love. Possibly this was another of his ways of sending the message that God is full of Love and only He is worth loving. As he himself said:
"O Uddhava, the Gopis have dedicated their heart & soul to me, snapping for my sake all their physical ties. I sustain those who renounce for my sake all worldly enjoyments and their means. A devotee who has thus surrendered his whole being to Me covets not the position of Brahma, the position of Indra, the position of an Emperor, sovereignty over the nether regions, the eight Siddhis (mystic powers) of Yoga, nay, not even salvation, where there is no return to this world, apart from Me."
Equally important is what he had to say about this kind of devotees:
"To sanctify myself with the dust of their feet, I constantly follow the footsteps of such devotees. I bow again & again to the sacred feet of these Gopis who are merged & lost in this divine Love of Shri Krishna."
One more example of his simplicity was how he formed relationships or bonds of love with ordinary human beings. As a son he loved both Devki and Yashoda. He regarded Arjun as a friend. There are hardly any such parallels from the lives of other Avtars including Lord Rama.
Quality # 2: Protector of the masses
Right from early childhood he did many things to protect the people. According to legend, even as child, Lord Krishna killed demoness Putana who tried to poison him, drove away the monsterous Kaliya Nag and lifted the Govardhana hill up with his little finger to protect the people of Vrindavana from the torrential rain. This earned him the title Girdhari and Banwari - one who stays in the forests of Vrindavan.
Quality # 3: Mr Dependable-- A friend in need
A significant aspect of Lord Krishna’s role is the manner in which he saved the dignity of Draupadi from the Kaurvas.
Right from the time he was born till the end of his avthar, Lord Krshna was in the limelight for whatever he did. He showed the people how to fight injustice and perform their duty. He was always willing to do everything for his bhakthas and followers. As a dependable friend, he helped his friend Sudama to overcome his penury and helped Draupadi, the wife of Pandavas, who had immense faith in him.
Krishna was a personal god, always accessible and unfailingly responsive.
Quality # 4: Ocean of knowledge
Lord Krishna is regarded as "Solah Kala Sampoorna” and “Poorna Purushottam”. He had great knowledge of all the forms and arts of fighting and defence—yet he tried to negotiate peace and said war was the last option. He acted as a cowherd, teacher, protector, friend, guide and philosopher of Arjuna. was an unparalleled statesman, an accomplished charioteer, a master flute player and master musician. He gave lessons to Narada in the art of playing the Vina. His flute thrilled the hearts of the Gopis and made all the cows gather at one place.
As the God of Devine Love -- Lord Krishna showed the path of devine love. His love for Radha was both immortal and pious. Even though he married Rukmini till date his name is always taken with his childhood love Radha. Similarly his love for the Gopis and Meera is part of folk lore till date.
Quality # 6: Role in Mahabharata
Lord Krishna shall always be remembered for his role played in the epic battle fought between Pandavas and Kauravas in Kurukshetra. Gita - Literally meaning 'Song of God', contains his teachings to Arjuna during Mahabharata. Lord Krishna's famous words “karm kar phal ki chinta mat kar” have been the basis of modern society.
Quality # 7: Philosophy of Karma
As the divine messenger Lord Krishna stressed on the importance of Dharma (Righteousness) and good Karma (Deeds) as a way to attain Moksha (salvation). According to him joy, sorrow, grief, happiness are all maya (illusion); and only the love between God and the devotee is real.
He defined four kinds of actions or karma that a human can perform – these included Kamya Karma- actions performed for selfish gains, Nishiddha Karma- or actions forbidden by holy texts and scriptures, Nitya Karma or actions that must be performed daily and Naimittika Karma-Actions that must be performed on certain special occasions.
Quality # 8: As Guru/ Teacher as well as Student
But above all as students one of the most spectacular aspect of his personality is his role as a student and a Guru or teacher.
Do you know Lord Krishna and Balrama mastered 64 sciences and arts in 64 days just by hearing everything once from Rishi Sandipani. Upon completion of their studies – as a gurudaksina or tuition fees, Sri Krishna and Balarama fought with demon Shankhasur and Yamaraj to being Sandipani's dead son to life. How many disciples in this age may go to such extent for sake of their Guru of his family?
As a teacher Lord Krishna taught the supreme truths of Yoga, Bhakti and Vedanta to Arjuna and Uddhava.
Quality # 9: Tactful Communicator
From his early childhood onwards Lord Krishna displays superior communication and negotiation skills to deal with people – both friends and enemies. Early on he spins a tale – main nahim makhan khayo – to convince his mother and escape punishment. There are other instances where he influences friends to take part in mischief and mesmerize ‘gopees’ with his sweet talk. Later as an ambassador of Pandavas in the court of Kauravas he uses his communication, negotiation and diplomatic skills to avoid war. But, deep inside his heart he wants the war to happen so that good can prevail over evil thus uses propaganda skills to make Duryodhana afraid of the Pandava’s strength and fighting skills.
In this sense Lord Krishna is one of the greatest corporate communicators who know exactly what to communicate when and how with every one of the stakeholders and Mahabaratha is a great communication treatise. Lord Krishna’s presentation style, non verbal or verbal communication, interpersonal skills, mass communication is relevant even today and should be a model for modern Management and Communication practitioners.
Lord Krishna is an excellent politician – always concerned about his people. As a King with a mighty army he never invaded any kingdom. Even though his Narayani Sena could defeat Jarasandh when he attacked Mathura, Krishna fled to Dwarka. This earned him the title of "Ranchhod Das" meaning a coward, who fleas the battlefield – but he fled to avoid unnecessary loss of lives.
The story goes that Krishna and Balaram faced Jarasanth the father-in-law of Kansa in battle eighteen times but allowed him to run away each time. But Krishna was worried that even though he was winning battles, he was losing men. And people of Mathura couldn’t sustain under a constant state of attack. Krishna did not want Mathura to suffer. Besides this was not the right time to end Jarasanth's life. So he decided to flee to Dwaraka – which was an island and hence impossible to attack. Even today tactical retreat is an accepted military strategy.
Quality # 10: As a Manager & Leader
Ask any modern CEO about the importance of management, leadership and communication to make men do things they did not wish to do initially. This is the essence of Management – the art of getting things done through people, efficiently and effectively. When it comes to that Lord Krishna comes out as one of the greatest Manager, the greatest planner and crisis Manager of all times. He is a master strategist and tactful leader adopting who adopts different leadership styles according to situation and people he has to deal with. But above all the manner in which he manages to brainwash Arjun and get him to do the job expected of him – is exemplanary. What is equally noteworthy is that unlike many CEOs today – he is not hands on – in the sense does not pick up weapons himself but instead makes his team perform their respective task. Isn’t this what management is not to do everything yourself but to get others to achieve their goals.
Controlling an army of 1.53 million soldiers and warriors of the Pandava Army to fight and win against a bigger army was not an easy task. But Lord Krishna’s Command and Control strategy was based on delegation of responsibility – under a unified command. The 1.53 million soldiers were divided in seven divisions each led by a Commander. They were controlled by a Supreme Commander who himself was guided by the Pandavas and Krishna. According to Management Guru Henry Fayol no team or organization can achieve desired results without appropriate allocation of role and team spirit. This is exactly what Lord Krishna’s role as a coordinators was to determine what Yudhishtir would do, where Arjun would be and what exactly Bhim would do at what stage of the battle.
Being God Lord Krishna could have accomplished everything himself singlehandedly and taken all the credit. But probably that’s what leadership all about not to hog the limelight yourself but to make everything a participatory task. A leader is not the one who walks, but the one who leads walking ahead of others.