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Muchukunda’s Weird Wish and Kala Jabana’s Death

Prince Muchukunda, son of King Mandhata, was a warrior par excellence. When there was a battle between the gods and the demons (that is, asuras), there were none to take up the role of commander-in-chief in the war from the gods’ side. Lord Indra, therefore, requested Muchukunda to assume that role. Muchukunda conceded to the request and kept himself busy in that war for quite some time. Later, when Lord Kartikeya proved himself eligible to lead the gods in the war, Muchukunda was freed from his responsibilities.

Lord Indra, pleased at Muchukunda’s selflessness, integrity and industriousness wished to grant him a boon. At that, Muchukunda thought that he would need to have a satisfying sleep for a long time, maybe a few years, to get rid of his fatigue in the war. When Lord Indra found such a wish to be weird, Muchukunda justified that since there would be neither his kingdom nor his home on earth after those many years, he had nothing to do, and hence, the wish. Lord Indra happily granted his wish, and added that whoever would wake him up before he did have a satisfying sleep would be burnt to ashes at his first look.

Even though Muchukunda longed to win ‘liberation from birth’ (that is, moksha) as a boon, which Lord Bishnu only could grant one, he was satisfied with his long sleep wish being fulfilled. He chose to sleep inside a cave in Mathura where there was less disturbance, and slept there for years together.

Many years later, after Kamsa was killed by Lord Krishna, his two queens, Asti and Prapti, returned to their paternal home and requested their father Jarasandha to take revenge for their husband’s murder.

Therefore, Jarasandha attacked Mathura for seventeen times, but Lord Krishna defeated him on all occasions. As a last resort, Jarasandha persuaded his friend Kala Jabana to attack Mathura. Kala Jabana was blessed by Lord Shiva not to be killed by any weapon. Lord Krishna knew this. So, when Kala Jabana attacked Mathura, Lord Krishna feigned fearfulness and fled from the place. Kala Jabana followed Lord Krishna wherever he went. Lord Krishna led him to the cave where Muchukunda was in deep sleep, covered his body with his own clothes, and hid himself in a corner. As it was too dark inside, Kala Jabana assumed Muchukunda to be Lord Krishna by the clothes and started kicking him. Muchukunda woke up and looked at Kala Jabana in anger. In a fraction of second, Kala Jabana was burnt to ashes. Then, Muchukunda could see Lord Krishna, who is an avatar of Lord Bishnu. Lord Krishna narrated the incident to Muchukunda, and then, granted him ‘moksha’ that he was longing for.

This was just one of the numerous instances when the omniscient and omnipotent Lord Krishna didn’t have to use a weapon to win a battle.

Lesson learnt:

  • Even if you are divinely blessed with rare skills and have no fierce competitors to challenge you, never take the liberty to misuse your skills. And, never challenge the Almighty.
  • At times, if you can explore the power of your ‘mind’, you can forgo the ammunition in a battle field.
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Lord Krishna and His Modest Friend Sudama

Lord Krishna brought an end to His maternal uncle Kamsa’s evil acts by scripting his death in a unique manner. Afterwards, Ugrasena, Kamsa’s father, was made the King of Mathura. But Lord Krishna and His elder brother Balarama were declared as the princes of Mathura. And as princes, they did have to complete their formal education for which both of them were sent to the ashram of Sage Sandipani. They completed their academics as well as war art in a year alone. There, in the ashram, Lord Krishna befriended a Brahmin boy, Sudama.

As part of the Gurukul system of education, the disciples in the ashram had to take exams to prove their learning progress. Sage Sandipani was known for his novel way of examining the all-round skills of his disciples. He used to expose his disciples to various tests in course of their daily activities rather than having formal tests.

On one occasion, Lord Krishna and Sudama were sent to deep forest to collect firewood required for holy fire (yajna). Anticipating any untoward challenges in their mission, the Sage’s wife tied a handful of rice fry (khuda bhaja) in one end of Sudama’s robes. As anticipated, there came a sudden heavy downpour while both of them were deep inside the forest. They had to take shelter atop a huge tree throughout the rainy night. Morning after, when rain subsided and they returned to the ashram, Sage’s wife wanted to know the experience of the dreadful dark night inside the dense forest. During the conversation, Sudama fell on her feet and confessed to have eaten the rice fry all alone without sharing a portion with Lord Krishna. Lord Krishna was surprised to know of that episode.

Sage Sandipani, after analyzing the incidents, showed his displeasure with Sudama and said, “Poor fellow, that was a test of your loyalty to your friend. That was ‘treated rice fry’. You owned up poverty for the rest of your life by gulping the rice fry all alone.” Lord Krishna was shocked at this and prayed the Sage to forgive Sudama’s mistake. But the Sage expressed his helplessness in that and suggested to accept the sorry fate and live on.

Few years later when Lord Krishna was ruling over Dwaraka as a prince, Sudama was struggling hard to make both ends meet. Many a time, Sudama’s wife suggested him to meet Lord Krishna and ask for his help, but he would not listen to the counsel due to his self-respect. But his respect and loyalty for his friend Lord Krishna was intact. When things became really tough, Sudama persuaded himself to meet Lord Krishna in Dwaraka. Coincidentally, Sudama had nothing other than a handful of rice fry to offer his old friend when they would meet.

A handful of rice fry for the King of Dwaraka! Sudama wasn’t at peace with himself after thinking about that. After reaching Dwaraka, he was astonished to see the riches there and was desperately trying to hide his gift that he brought for his friend. But the omniscient Lord Krishna came to the scene and warned Sudama not to repeat a past mistake. He snatched the handful of rice fry from Sudama and ate that all with happiness, sharing a portion with his queens.

Sudama’s self-respect did not allow him to reveal anything about his abject poverty before his childhood friend Lord Krishna. So what he treasured before he left for his village was Lord Krishna’s friendship and hospitality. But there happened a miracle in Sudama’s village in his absence: his modest hut was transformed into a palace with riches galore. When Sudama reached home and got to see all that, he could realize that those were the deeds of Lord Krishna. As he thanked him for getting him out of the abyss of poverty, Lord Krishna appeared in his mind’s eye and told, “There’s nothing to thank me for. You had eaten up my share of rice fry and had owned up my share of poverty too. And today when you returned my share of rice fry, I returned you your share of riches. That is the ruling of Providence. I was only waiting for an opportune moment when I could make you debt-free.

Lesson learnt: The ability to forget and forgive is a true measure of the depth of friendship. Unless you are ‘you’ with your friend, there are a few more tests to pass to approve your relation as friendship.