Krishna however remained magnificently unperturbed. He lovingly held the queen, ‘Now that you have vented all your anger, do you feel better? And I am glad that you spoke your curse to me....Now my Pandavas are safe!' The Pandavas stood mute, overwhelmed by the love of the dark Lord.
Krishna took the queen and once she finished sobbing, spoke to her gently. 'Mother! You said I was the cause of this war! Was I?' Krishna's voice was laced with sadness. 'Draupadi who is like your own daughter was shamed in your royal court by your sons! What were you doing then?' Gandhari stiffened when she heard Krishna's words. Krishna continued, 'The Pandavas, whom you should have loved like your own sons were cheated out of their rightful kingdom! What were you doing then? Your son Duryodhana tried to kill the Pandavas by burning them in a lac palace, what were you doing then? I came to your court and begged your sons to give me five villages to stop this very war! What were you doing then?' Gandhari let out a cry as she started trembling, unable to bear the words of Krishna. Every word of Krishna hurt her more than if Krishna had hit her. Krishna spoke quietly, 'You blindfolded yourself to the behaviour of your sons. Do you expect others to do the same?'Gandhari closed her ears unable to hear anything more from Krishna.
What had she done? Krishna had so desperately came to Hastinapur and asked for just five villages one for each Pandava to avert the war...Gandhari still remembered Duryodhana's haughty laugh as he scorned Krishna's offer. Oh my son! Why did you have to be so foolish? Look how much suffering you have caused by your hatred for the Pandavas. Why?
Gandhari stumbled and she would have fallen. But Krishna caught her. 'Your words will come true, mother! My clan would be destroyed just the way you wanted it to!' Gandhari shook her head unable to speak, words chocking her voice. 'I willingly accept your curse. All your sons...' Krishna said pointing at the battlefield, 'who have died here, have gone to the warrior's heaven. Be at peace now!' Gandhari did not have the courage to talk again. She desperately wished she could take back her words. But words like arrows once shot could not be taken back....
Gandhari's curse came true to devastating efficiency. The people in Krishna's clan, thinking that they were invincible, started becoming proud and arrogant. They did not respect elders or even sages.
On one such occasion, the great sages Vishwamitra, Vasishta, Vamadeva and a few others came to Krishna's city. As they were resting there, Krishna's people thought of an elaborate ruse to fool the sages. They dressed up Samba, one of Krishna's sons as a woman and presented him before the sages. 'My Lords! This woman is carrying a child. Could you please tell us whether the woman would give birth to a girl or a boy?'
As the warriors were sniggering, they missed the venomous look of the sages. A sharp voice came, 'This person shall give birth to a mace and that mace shall be the cause of the destruction of your race!'
The warriors were so drunk with their power and arrogance that they laughed not realizing how they had invited their own doom....
Much to the surprise of Krishna's men, the very next day Samba complained of stomach pain. Soon the pain was so terrible that Samba could not even stand up. His stomach was cut and much to the horror of everyone there, a mace was found inside the stomach. The warriors were in a fix. They were afraid to approach Krishna, afraid of what he would do if he realized how they had insulted the sages. So instead they went to Balarama.
Balarama yelled at all the warriors. But he knew that what was done was done. So in order to solve the problems, he had the mace ground into a fine powder and dissolved it in the sea. However no matter what he did, one small piece refused to be ground. Deciding that one small piece could not harm anyone, Balarama threw that piece into the sea....
The area where the mace was dissolved started developing a strange sort of grass around it, the likes of which had never been seen till date....The small piece of mace was swallowed whole by a fish.
Thirty-six years later, Krishna and his men had seen plenty of bad omens in their city. They knew that Gandhari's curse was coming to pass. It was at this time that Krishna suggested that they visit some temples so that the effect of Gandhari's curse would be reduced.
So all of them set out of Dwaraka. At night, the warriors suddenly started engaging in a drunken brawl. None of them realized that they were very near the place where the powdered mace was dissolved. Fighting and hitting each other, they fell on the grass. They pulled the grass out. In their drunken stupor they could not even figure out that the grass had suddenly turned into a mace!
Armed with the maces, the warriors started attacking each other. By morning, all of them had killed one another....Not one of them left alive. The only two exceptions were Krishna and Balarama.
As soon as Balarama saw the fight, he walked away from there. He sat in the ground near the sea in a cross-legged position, deep in meditation. He knew his time was up and by his meditation gave up his body. Balarama merged with Aadisesha, the thousand headed snake on which Lord Vishnu rests in Vaikunta.
In the morning Krishna saw that the entire place was bloody and horrific. He walked away from there....he kept walking alone with no friends and no one to talk to....Finally he found a low shrub and there he lied down in a yoga stance.
Krishna smiled sadly. He knew it was now the time to repay the debt of a very long time. He waited....Jara was coming....
The author thanks Mr. A. Narayan for his review
The author thanks Mr. A. Narayan for his review