Mahabharat Episode 58: One Act that Changed Krishna Forever
“Then Krishna came out of the room. He was unsteady on his legs; his face was pale, he was like half a life. No one had ever seen him like that.”
What happened so far:After Ashwatthama found out that the Pandavas had lied to his father about his death and thus killed the unarmed Dronacharya, he sought revenge. Along with Kritavarma and Kripacharya, he sneaked into the Pandava camp at night. Thinking he found the five Pandavas lying there asleep, Ashwatthama cut their throats, only to find out later that actually, he killed the Pandavas’ children.
The Brahmastra – A Nuclear Weapon?
Sadhguru: The Pandavas pursued Ashwatthama because he had killed their five children. They found him, and a duel ensued between Arjuna and Ashwatthama. Ashwatthama, a desperate, almost deranged man by now, pulled out a Brahmastra. We do not know what exactly it was, but Vyasa’s description of the Brahmastra is very close to the description of a nuclear weapon today. He said if someone lets it out and it finds its full effect, the whole world would be destroyed. Because Ashwatthama released a Brahmastra, Arjuna also released a Brahmastra. Then Vyasa and Krishna interfered and said, “Whatever may be your anger, your hatred, or your cause, you cannot use a Brahmastra, because everyone will be destroyed; the planet will be destroyed. Withdraw it!”
Arjuna withdraws his astra, but Ashwatthama did not know how to withdraw his. They order him to neutralize it, but he says, “I cannot neutralize it; I can only redirect it.” And because of the meanness of his heart, he adds, “I will redirect it to the future Pandavas who are yet to be born, so that their clan will cease to exist.” The only Pandava offspring who was still in the mother’s womb, was the child of Uttara, Abhimanyu’s wife. Because of the way Ashwatthama redirected his Brahmastra, it would have affected not only that child; no other children would be born in the Pandava lineage after this. It is like they diffused the bomb, but they could not stop the radiation.
Krishna Saves the Pandavas’ Progeny
When Ashwatthama uttered this curse, Krishna cursed him, “May you wander with a deranged mind for the full length of the Kali Yuga; may you not die. The relief of death will come to all of us – it will not come to you. With a deranged mind, you will roam this planet,” because he killed unborn children. Then Uttara gave birth to a stillborn child, and there was a big cry of distress. They called Krishna because this was the only child left in the Kuru lineage. No other Kuru woman could ever get pregnant because of Ashwatthama’s curse. Krishna took the just born infant and put his hand over his body. He spent a certain amount of time, transferring his own life energy into the stillborn child, and within a few minutes, the child came alive and cried. A cry of jubilation erupted. Then Krishna came out of the room. He was unsteady on his legs; his face was pale, he was like half a life. No one had ever seen him like that.
Satyaki, his cousin and a close assistant, who knew him right from his childhood, had never seen Krishna like this – tottering on his legs, weak, pale, without spirit. Krishna sat down on a stone bench. After giving him some time, Satyaki asked, “What is this? Why are you like this? It is just a child. You even fought the battle effortlessly!” Krishna said, “Bringing someone to life is far more difficult than fighting a war. It is far more difficult than killing a million people. For this, I had to pour out my life.” No one had ever seen him like that, without energy, liveliness, and joy. Then he closed his eyes and sat in meditation, in a samadhi state, for a period of time. He came back revived, but after that, he was generally a quiet man, not the exuberant Krishna that people had seen before.
To be continued..
Editor's Note: A version of this article was originally published in the Forest Flower magazine, April 2020. To subscribe online, click here.
The Mahabharat series is based on Sadhguru’s talks during the one-time Mahabharat program that took place in February 2012 at the Isha Yoga Center. Through the lives and stories of the varied characters, Sadhguru takes us on a mystical exploration into the wisdom of this immortal saga.