Krishna and the Peace Mission

It’s well known that Krishna tried for peace with Kouravas before the war. I would like to explain the real intention behind the peace mission of Krishna. There are lots of misconception around that.

Krishna clearly defined his intention while going for negotiation in Hastinapur. This is based on Krishna’s discussion with Yudhisthira prior to the peace mission.

Fact -1 First Krishna gave a lesson of true duty of a warrior to Yudisthira-

  • Krishna’s explanation of true righteousness –
    • “Thy heart inclineth to righteousness, whereas their inclination is towards enmity. That which is obtained without war is of great value to thee. A long-life Brahmacharya is not, O lord of earth, the duty of a Kshatriya. Indeed, men of all the four orders have said that a Kshatriya should never subsist on alms; victory or death in battle, hath been eternally ordained by the Creator; even that is the duty of a Kshatriya. Cowardice is not applauded (in a Kshatriya). Subsistence, O Yudhishthira, is not possible by Cowardice, O thou of mighty arms. Display thy prowess, and vanquish, O chastiser of foes, thy enemies.
  • He simply asked Yudisthira to behave like a proper Khastriya.
  • He asked him to display prowess and kill enemies.
  • Victory or death they should fight.
  • The words were spoken because Yudisthira was still looking for a peace and co-existence with Kouravas.

Fact – 2 Krishna explained why Duryodhana would not give back the kingdom –

  • The explanation of Krishna –
    • “As long, O king, as thou, O grinder of foes, wilt behave with them mildly, they will withhold thy kingdom. Neither from compassion, nor from mildness, nor from a sense of righteousness, will the sons of Dhritarashtra, O chastiser of foes, fulfill thy wishes. This, O son of Pandu, is another proof that they will not make peace with thee. Having pained thee so deeply by making thee put on a Kaupina, they were not stung with remorse.”
  • He asked Yudisthira not to behave with Duryodhana mildly. As long as he does that they would withhold the kingdom.
  • They don’t have compassion, sense of righteousness or sense of mildness.
  • They don’t have any remorse for their deeds.

Fact -3 Krishna explained how Pandavas and Draupadi had suffered in hand of Duryodhana-

  • Krishna pointed out the cruel deeds done by Kouravas –
    • “Do not, O monarch, show any compassion for that wretch of such disposition. They deserve death at the hands of all, how much more then of thee, O Bharata? O Bharata, with what improper speeches did Duryodhana with his brothers, filled with gladness and indulging in many a boast, afflict thee with thy brothers! He said, ‘The Pandavas now have nothing of their own in this wide earth. Their very names and lineage are extinct. In time, which is never-ending, defeat will be theirs. All their virtues having merged in me, they will now be reduced to the five elements.‘ While the match at dice was in progress, the wretched Dussasana of most wicked soul, seizing that weeping lady by the hair dragged princess Draupadi, as if she had no protectors, to the assembly of kings, and in the presence of Bhishma and Drona and others, repeatedly called her–cow, cow! Restrained by thee, thy brothers of terrible prowess, bound also by the bonds of virtue, did nothing to avenge it; and after thou hadst been exiled to the woods, Duryodhana having uttered such and other cruel words, boasted amid his kinsmen.’”
  • He reminded Yudisthira how Duryodhana mocked them in front of whole assembly.
  • He reminded him how Dussasana dragged Draupadi in assembly and insulted her.
  • He told Yudhisthira not to show any compassion for them and they deserve death and nothing else.
  • He squarely told Yudisthira that restrained by him, his brothers of terrible prowess, bound also by the bonds of virtue, did nothing to avenge it.

Fact -4 Krishna explained What he is going to explain at the court of Hastinapur-

  • Krishna explained what he is going to do at Hastinapur –
    • “It behoveth thee, O sinless one, and I like it too, that thou shouldst pay homage unto thy father Dhritarashtra and also unto Bhishma. Going thither I will remove the doubts of all men who are still undecided as to the wickedness of Duryodhana. Thither in the presence of all kings I will enumerate all those virtues of thine that are not to be met in all men, as also all the vices of Duryodhana. And hearing me speak beneficial words, pregnant with virtue and profit, the rulers of various realms will regard thee as possessed of a virtuous soul, and as a speaker of truth, while at the same time, they will understand how Duryodhana is actuated by avarice. I will also tell the vice of Duryodhana, before both the citizens and the inhabitants of the country, before both the young and the old, of all the four orders that will be collected there. And as thou askest for peace no one will charge thee sinful, while all the chiefs of the earth will censure the Kurus and Dhritarashtra; and when Duryodhana will be dead in consequence of his being forsaken by all men, there will be nothing left to do.”
  • He is going to tell all people of Hastinapur the virtues of Yudisthira and the vices of Duryodhana.
  • No body would charge Yudisthira since he asked for peace and every body would censure Kurus.
  • He would make all people understand that Duryodhana was actuated by avarice.
  • He would clear the doubts of all men who are still undecided on the wickedness of Duryodhana.

Fact -5 Krishna advised what Pandavas should do now-

  • Krishna asked Pandavas to prepare for war –
    • “Do then what should now be done. Going unto the Kurus, I shall strive to make peace without sacrificing thy interests, and marking their inclination for war and all their proceedings, I will soon come back, O Bharata, for thy victory. I think war with the enemy to be certain. All the omens that are noticeable by me point to that. Birds and animals set up frightful screeches and howls at the approach of dusk. The foremost of elephants and steeds assume horrible shapes; the very fire exhibiteth diverse kinds of terrible hues! This would never have been the case but for the fact of the world-destroying Havoc’s self coming into our midst! Making ready their weapons, machines, coats of mail, and cars, elephants, and steeds, let all thy warriors be prepared for battle, and let them take care of their elephants and horses and cars. And, O king, collect everything that thou needest for the impending war. As long as he liveth, Duryodhana will, by no means, be able to give back unto thee. O king, that kingdom of thine which, abounding in prosperity, have before been taken by him at dice!'”
  • War is certain according to him.
  • He would strive for peace without sacrificing Yudisthira’s interest and he would mark their inclination for war and all their proceedings.
  • He asked him to be ready with with all warriors with their cars, elephant, coats of mail etc.
  • Duryodhana is not going to give back any kingdom.

Summary of Analysis –

  • Here is why Krishna is the greatest – he tried for peace without sacrificing the call of duty and justice.
  • He was not in a mood of negotiation – he asked for right at minimal cost. He didn’t asked for charity of peace – he asked for right with respect.
  • He was sure Duryodhana would never give such thing so he asked Yudisthira to be prepared for war.
  • He reminded Yudisthira of Khsatriya duty and the harm caused by Duryodhana on them.
  • He told he is going to speak out all the evil deeds of Duryodhana in front of Hastinapur assembly so that no body blames Yudisthira for war.
  • According to Krishna Duryodhana and his companions deserves death and nothing else.
  • He asked Yudisthira not to behave with Duryodhana mildly. As long as he does that they would withhold the kingdom as they don’t have compassion, sense of righteousness or sense of mildness or remorse for their deeds.
  • So Krishna didn’t went there for pure purpose of peace – He went in Hastinapur for cause of Justice – to show who is right and who wrong. To show who deserve what. To ask the right with respect to ensure peace.
  • He knew fully well that there would be no peace and war was actual solution.
  • This shows us we should never beg for peace at the cost of justice, righteousness, duties and self respect. It’s lesson of humanity.

My entire analysis is based on KMG Translation
[Ref – Udyoga Parva: Bhagwat Yana Parva: Section LXXIII]

Post Author: Arnab Gosh

Trying to analyze logically the greatest epic ever told -> Software Engineer by profession, I love photography, traveling. Interested on thriller, mythology, crime, war (specially 2nd world war), historical films/books.

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