Krishna — One Who is Always ‘satyavAk’

Those well versed in shAstras will tell you that paramAtma always says satya — truth. He never goes back on his words — he never lies — he never fails to keep his promise.

The entire second adhyaya of the brahmasutras, as Sri Madhwacharya has elucidated — highlight this single quality of the paramatma — that he is ‘निर्दोष’ — without any defect. Therefore, if he did not keep his words — he would become a liar — a big defect in even ordinary humans. That is why shAstra declares paramatma is satyavAk.

The vishnusahasranAma declares him as personification of truth — satya.

The krishna-ashtottara-shatanama stotra calls him speaker of truth — satyavAk.

However, when we go through the itihAsa and purAnas — one encounters a few situations where a question about paramatma’s satyavAktrutva (quality of being speaker of truth) arises. How does one reconcile parashurAma’s assurance to ambA that he will get her married to bhIshma? How does one reconcile krishna’s words that he will never lift an ayudha in the great war?

(I won’t go into the explanations of those two episodes here — except stating that Sri Madhwa has beautifully explained them in his tAtparya nirnaya)

A similar scene faces us when we study the udyOga parva of mahAbhArata. As soon as the failed attempt of the kauravas in exposing pAndavas in virAtadEsha ends, preparations for war begin on a large scale. Both sides are keen on gathering as many warriors as possible. Arjuna is appointed by the pAndavas to (formally) approach Lord Krishna and seek his, and the yadavas’, help.

Duryodhana who has his spies all over the pAndava camp gets to know that Arjuna has started his journey towards Dwaraka and sets out himself — for the same purpose. He infact makes it to Dwaraka faster than Arjuna! Krishna — the eternal कपटनाटकसूत्रधारी— acts as if he is sleeping. Duryodhana enters the chambers first and, due to his massive ego, goes and sits near paramatma’s head. Arjuna then arrives and humbly places himself at bhagavanta’s feet.

After a while, Krishna wakes up and, upon seeing Arjuna first, greets him. He then sees Duryodhana and greets him too. After honouring both of them, he asks them why they have come there. Duryodhana replies that he must be attended to first since he arrived there before Arjuna.

Lord Krishna replies in the following way

तव पूर्वाभिगमनात् पूर्वं चाप्यस्य दर्शनात् |

साहाय्यमुभयोरेव करिष्यामि सुयोधन ||

“O Suyodhana! You came first and (but) I saw him (Arjuna) first; Therefore I shall *help* both of you”

Lord Krishna declares that he will help both of them! He then decides Arjuna gets to choose first — since shastras declare younger ones must get the first chance. He offers himself — unarmed — on one side and the entire nArAyaNi sEna — an army consisting on 10 lakh, fully armed, sons of his — on the other side.

Sri Madhwa, in his mahAbhArata tAtparya nirnaya explains this further and says Krishna actually promises to help both of them equally!!

*समं* करिष्ये युवयोरेकत्राहं निरायुधः |

अन्यत्र दशलक्षं मे पुत्राः शूराः पदातयः ||

It is of course well known that Arjuna chooses Lord Krishna and Duryodhana chooses the 10 lakh warriors. Both of them return happily.

One question naturally arises in this episode. It is a no-brainer that victory is always on that side where paramatma stays. He is also infinitely more capable than the 10 lakh warriors.

How then is this offer an help to Duryodhana?

Is it not an unfair offer to Duryodhana and completely favourable towards Arjuna?

Did Krishna, therefore, lie?

How is he still ‘satyavAk’?

The explanation to this riddle can only be had from the tattvavAda siddhanta of Sri Madhwacharya.

Jeevas are of three types — mukti-yOgya, nitya-samsAri and tamO-yOgya.

mukti-yOgyas reach mOksha eventually.

nitya-samsAris keep looping in samsAra.

tamO-yOgyas reach andhan-tamas in the end.

They reach these states due to their inherent (natural) ‘yOgyata’.

The only fair way to deal with all three kinds of jivas is to facilitate the manifestation of their inherent jiva-swaroopa. Blessing mukti-yOgyas with opportunities for satvika sadhana so that their puNya increases is help for them. Similarly, creating enough situations for the evil in tamO-yOgyas to manifest so that their pApa increases enormously is the real ‘coming-to-their-aid’.

In other words, the real meaning of the word सम is to be fair and appropriate as per each jiva’s स्वरूप योग्यत.

At the end of meeting Krishna, Arjuna went back immensely happy — his भक्ति increasing manifold as he managed to get Krishna as his charioteer.

At the same time, Duryodhana also returned from Dwaraka with a great sense of victory. He actually though he had successfully deceived Krishna into granting him 10 lakh warriors.

सहस्राणां सहस्रं तु योधानां प्राप्य भारत |

*कृष्णं चापहृतं* ज्ञात्वा संप्राप परमां मुदम् ||

Misunderstanding the attributes- गुण — of paramatma is one of the important causes for sin-accumulation. Duryodhana was the avatara of kali — the most tamasic jiva in every brahma kalpa. Hence he naturally has to develop the deepest misunderstanding about paramatma. Here he goes back greatly excited thinking Krishna can actually be deceived! Such a wrong understanding of bhagavanta’s ability is sure path to andhantamas.

In addition to this, the grant of 10 lakh warriors also built a sense of over-confidence in Duryodhana leading him to make aggressive preparations for the great war — in which he and his entire clan got eliminated.

Fairness is in eliminating the adharmic. By that count, Krishna indeed *helped* Duryodhana by facilitating the execution of his destructive designs.

Thus, the correct interpretation of these incidents — with the aid of Sri Madhwa’s nirnaya — helps us in re-affirming to ourselves the satya-sankalpatva and satya-vAktrutva of paramatma.

श्री कृष्णार्पणमस्तु

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