Mother Nature became abnormally quiet and silent. There was no chirping of the birds. Butterflies were behaving erratically. The galactic movement of planets and stars showed that they were getting ready for transmigration of a great era. There was no breeze of wind.
The place was the forest on the banks of river Hiran in Prabhas Patan theertham (the junction point where Gomati River joins the sea).
He decided that it was time for pay off the Karma to take effect and so he sat down to meditate while exposing his left foot. He knew what was going to happen.
For, he was Shri Krishna Vasudeva, the resplendent one, the one who lacked nothing, the one who gave magnificently.
As he was resting by a tree, a hunter mistaking his foot for a deer shot an arrow through it. Krishna got shot in his left foot.
When he neared what he thought was his kill, the hunter, named Jara, was shocked to find Krishna, dressed in yellow robes, lying there. On realizing his grave error he was filled with remorse and grief.
He was horrified and fell at Krishna’s feet, begging for mercy.
The dying Krishna told him in a compassionate voice: “It is not your fault, it was destined to happen. Don’t be scared or sorry as these are the ways of destiny.”
These were the great man’s last words on earth.
For, Krishna knew the law of Karma is universal. Even gods and avatars are subject to it. As a magic, Krishna’s voice told Jara from inside: “You need not repent, because you were Bali in your previous birth and I as Rama had killed you in Tretayuga. Now, I have to leave this body and was waiting for an opportunity to end my life. I was waiting for you so that the karmic debt between you and me is finished. Since all acts in this world are done as desired and designed, you need not worry for this”.
Blessing him, Krishna then breathed His last at 14 hours, 27 minutes and 30 seconds.
His death marked the end of Dwapar Yuga (Era). The period after his disappearance has great significance in the history of earth – it marks first day of Kali Yug.
-Incidentally, Krishna was born (See Secret of Krishna’s Birth) the 22nd day of the fourth month of the 863,874th year of Dwapar Yug, which was the eighth day of the second half of the Hindu calendar month of Shravan, the day Janmashtami, or the birth of Krishna – it was 19 July 3228 BCE (When adjusting with current English Calendar, Janmashtami date differs)
Krishna had predicted that exactly seven days after his disappearance, the Golden city of Dwarka, founded by Krishna, in Gujarat will drown in the sea. Indeed Dwarka city had been merged in sea owing to torrential rain.
Just before that most of Yadus (Yadavs – the clan of Krishna) had already died in the war of Prabhas. 36 years prior to that, Gandhari, wife of Dhritarasta, had cursed Krishna that his clan would also finish like Kauravas, her 100 sons who were totally wiped out in the great Kurukshetra war.
After Dwarka sank, rest of the Yadus children and pregnant women went back to Mathura.
Krishna lived for 126 years and 5 months. The first ten years of his life were spent in the towns of Gokul and Vrindavan, in Northern India. From 11th year till the age of 28 were spent in Mathura. Krishna later established Dwarka and lived the rest of his life there with his wife Rukmini and sons.
For those who do not know about Gandhari’s curse: After the end of Mahabharata war Krishna visited Mother Gandhari to offer his condolence. On seeing him she cursed Krishna “Just as these Kshatriyas (warriors) slew one another, so would your Yadua race perish, killing one another. As for you, you would meet with an inglorious end in the wilderness. This is my curse on you.”
Krishna happily accepted the curse. He replied, “Your curse will certainly take its course since you are endowed with great virtue.”
The Yadavas were in eternal bliss in Dwaraka. So much bliss, that they forgot good conduct, morals and the importance of discipline and humility. Nobody could touch Yadavs fearing Krishna’s presence there. Yadus had become very strong and they had been into gambling, drinking and fighting. They became arrogant and egoistic.
Krishna told Gandhari: “Mother, but you have wasted your energies on this curse. I am not going to leave Yadus too, because my purpose is to end Adharma. Even if they are my kith and kin I won’t spare any of them.”
Yes- Krishna’s fight was against Adharma. And there was no room for nepotism or attachment. And as he predicted, Yadu clans, including Krishna’s own sons, fought each other and died….
Arjuna (Krishna’s cousin and friend) reached Dwaraka hearing Krishna’s disappearance and the in-fight of Yadus out of ignorance, greed and arrogance. He couldn’t do anything. Meanwhile, the hunter Jara approached Arjuna, Krishna’s charioteer Daruka and the priests (who came to perform last rites of dead Yadus) lead them to the place where the body of Krishna was lying.
Beholding the mortal body of Krishna, Arjuna fell down with great grief. He hugged the body of Krishna and began to cry loudly. He lost all his courage and was crying like a child. He was not able to bear that fact that his great friend left him.
Arjuna cremated the mortal body of Sri Krishna in the deep forest as per traditions and he went back to Dwaraka.
“O Daruka! I believe what I did is correct. Otherwise, we cannot control the grief of wives of Krishna. If I am engaged in consoling them, entire Dwaraka will be inundated. The entire world will accuse me for not saving Dwaraka. Hence I took such a decision to cremate the dead bodies of Krishna in the forest itself,” said Arjuna. He tried to save remaining Yadu women and children.
Arjuna took all the women and children with him and started for Hastinapaura, the capital city of his country.
On the way robbers seeing so many women with a single man attacked and took the women and wealth away. Arjuna’s all powers of archery and the knowledge of astras (bow and arrow) failed.
After each and every living being of Dwaraka moved away to other places, the ocean came about and engulfed the city, thus leaving no trace of the land of Lord Krishna.
In despair Arjuna went back to his eldest brother and emperor Yudhisthira and told him all about the Yadus and Krishna.
The Pandavas couldn’t tolerate the grief of Krishna’s death. They lost interest in earthly matters after hearing about the destruction of Dwaraka and the death of Krishna. They crowned Parikshit, grandson of Arjuna and left for a pilgrimage to various places in India.
Philosophers and scholars of the time held a convention in the Forest of Naimasharanya for preserving this heritage and the history and stories of Krishna for future generations.
Those seers foresaw the present age of degradation and foreign invaders destroying our culture. So the sages discussed all these stories and Vyasa, one among them, wrote everything down. The work is known as Srimad-Bhagavatam. If you really want to know about Krishna, this is a must read. Dwarka has been recently re-discovered in sea, by NASA satellites.
Even after 5117 years of Krishna’s bodily departure he is living in the heart of billions of devotees. Whoever comes to know about Krishna will immediately worship him.
The Sanskrit word Krishna has the literal meaning of “black”, “dark”. Its explained like this: Karshathi-ithi Krishna = Because he attracts, he is Krishna, Krushyathi-ithi Krishnah = Because he imparts bliss, he is called Krishna.
Krishna always appears young and attractive. He can attract all living entities all over the universes by playing on His flute. He has a wonderful excellence of beauty which cannot be rivalled anywhere in the creation.
He did not make himself king. He was a king without a crown. He was the king of kings. He had no kingdom of his own. But he ruled over the hearts of the millions. It is this profound truth that is proclaimed by the Krishna principle (Krishna thathwa). (See Krishna Reloaded)
Krishna’s bodily departure or death proves that there is nothing permanent in this universe. Or the only permanent thing is change. Nothing lasts for ever. Any establishment will perish. The beauty of the universe is that everything is perishable. But the energies of Krishna are still there, and can anybody access through deep meditation or penance.
My apologies – I have written this article based on my limited understanding, childhood reading, personal experience and things revealed in meditation. (See also: Interview with Krishna). There are chances that leaned pundits would contest me in some aspects. I always remember the last words of Krishna: “Don’t be scared or sorry about anything as these are the ways of destiny…” Even his last words – lovely, divine and blissful – will bring us solace. (I have writen this article sometime ago and published in my website. Some of you might have read or shared this)
© Uday Lal Pai. Please contact the author for re-posting or publishing at firstname.lastname@example.org