Hatred, animosity, bad blood, a feeling of ill will arousing active hostility is a corrosive, debilitating emotion. However in Hindu epics and stories this feeling is also given redemption again and again.
Shishupala was the cousin of Lord Krishna. He hated Krishna who had carried off Rukmini, his intended wife.
In the great Mahabharata, it is said that Sisupala was born with three eyes and four arms. His parents wanted to abandon the child. A celestial voice warned them not to do so, as his time was not come. The voice continued to foretell that the child’s superfluous limbs would disappear when a particular person took the baby into his lap. Shisupala would also eventually die at the hands of that same person.
Krishna came to see his new born cousin. The baby was placed on his knees. The extra eye and arms immediately disappeared. The parents were delighted but at the same time they remembered that Shishupala was destined to die at the hands of Krishna. Shishupala’s mother was grief stricken until Krishna, her nephew, vowed that he would pardon his cousin Shishupala a hundred times before he had to kill him.
Shisuapla was good friends with Rukmi, a Prince who in return promised his sister’s hand in marriage. Rukmini wanted to marry only Krishna whose valour she had heard about. She sent word to him and Krishna came in time to stop the wedding and eloped with Rukmini and married her. Shishupala felt humiliated in front of all the great kings who were invited for the aborted wedding!
The insults that Shishupala heaped on Krishna were mounting up. Krishna was always on the side of Dharma, righteousness and he supported the five brothers Pandavas against their evil cousins, 100 of them called Kauravas, who wanted to destroy the Pandavas. The kingdom was divided up and the Pandavas built a new capital and their kingdom flourished. To celebrate this, Yudhishtra, the Pandava King decided to celebrate the Rajasuya Yagna ( a series of prayers and sacrifices done around the fire by Saints and priests) that proclaimed his sovereignty.
During this huge event, Shishupala insulted Krishna by calling him a cowherd and worthless to be honoured as a king. The epic Mahabaratha says:
“Tiger-hearted Sisupala spake in anger stem and high,
Calm unto him Krishna answered, but a light was in his eye:
“List, O chiefs and righteous monarchs! from a daughter of our race
Evil-destined Sisupala doth his noble lineage trace,
Spite of wrong and frequent outrage, spite of insult often flung,
Never in his heart hath Krishna sought to do his kinsman wrong!
This and more hath Krishna suffered, for his mother is our kin,
But the sickening tale appals, and he adds sin to sin!
One more tale of sin I mention: by his impious passion fired,
To my saintly wife, Rukmini, Sisupala hath aspired,
As the unlettered seeks the Veda, soiling it with impure tongue,
Sisupala sought my consort, and his righteous doom is Death!”
Krishna spake; the rising red blood speaks each angry hero’s shame,
Shame for Chedi’s impious actions, grief for Sisupala’s fame!
Loudly laughed proud Sisupala, spake with bitter taunt and jeer,
Answered Krishna’s lofty menace with disdain and cruel sneer:
“Wherefore in this vast assembly thus proclaim thy tale of shame,
If thy wedded wife and consort did inspire my youthful flame?
Doth a man of sense and honour, blest with wisdom and with pride,
Thus proclaim his wedded consort was another’s loving bride?
Do thy worst! Or if by anger or by weak forbearance led,
Sisupala seeks no mercy, nor doth Krishna’s anger dread!”
Lowered Krishna’s eye and forehead, and unto his hands there came
Fatal disc, the dread of sinners, disc that never missed its aim,
“Monarchs in this hall assembled!” Krishna in his anger cried,
“Oft hath Chedi’s impious monarch Krishna’s noble rage defied,
For unto his pious mother plighted word and troth was given,
Sisupala’s hundred follies would by Krishna be forgiven,
I have kept the plighted promise, but his crimes exceed the tale,
And beneath this vengeful weapon Sisupala now shall quail!”
Then the bright and whirling discus, as this mandate Krishna said,
Fell on impious Sisupala, from his body smote his head,
The interesting idea put forward by pundits is that Shisupala gained Moksha or freedom from rebirth for two reasons. First he indulged in ‘Ninda Sthuthi’ (praise of insults)—that is his thoughts were constantly engrossed in the Supreme Being, Krishna. Even though he bore animosity and hatred to Krishna, the fact that he repeated the Lord’s name and dwelt on him assured the evil King of Moksha. Secondly, the fact that he was killed by the sacred wheel of Vishnu also assured him of immortality.
I just thought I will relate this story for a new audience though Hindus would be familiar with it.
This is a post for the Friday Loose Bloggers Consortium where Akanksha, Anu, Ashok, Conrad, Delirious, Gaelikaa, Grannymar, Magpie11, Nema, Noor,Ordinary Joe, Paul, Rummuser, Maria the Silver Fox, Rohit, Will Knott, and I write on the same topic. Please do visit the linked blogs to get seventeen different angles of the kaleidoscope of the same topic. Today’s topic has been chosen by me.