Krishna’s death is the most random thing I’ve ever seen or read in a mythological story. Like what the hell. That guy just goes into a random forest like “Fuck, no one loves me and my whole clan just murdered each other to find out who’s more powerful and my bro just turned into Nagini and went away to chill at the bottom of the sea,” (Yeah, I’m not kidding, Balram was an avatar of Shesh Naag like OH, I DON’T KNOW, BUT IF KRISHNA IS VISHNU’S INCARNATION AND YOU’RE HIS FAVORITE COBRA THEN MAYBE YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO STICK WITH HIM AND NOT DISAPPEAR INTO THE FUCKING SEA LIKE THAT).
So anyway, Krishna goes and sits under a tree in the forest- or, in some interpretations, lies down; it’s pretty unclear and Vyas has conveniently sufficed with saying that he assumes some sort of yogic Asan, which could mean anything from a cross-legged squat to a peeing dog posture (Read: coping mechanisms). So yeah, he’s just lying down or whatever, and this completely clueless hunter’s just passing by like ah, I suddenly got this craving for deer’s eyes and HE MISTAKES KRISHNA’S TOE FOR A GODDAMN DEER’S EYE.
Where do I begin. We’ve already been brainwashed into believing every version of Vishnu has been doused in blue paint, or that Ram’s eyes really reached all the way up to his ears and his hands reached all the way down to his knees, or that Hanuman smeared himself with vermillion because Sita was like ek chutki sindoor se Ram ka attention milta hai. But this just made me swallow my spit. And the laziest part- Krishna dies!! Just like that! Because someone pierced his fucking toe!! Like if I died everytime something stabbed my toe I’d be in my 1029291010101101037890^Avagadro’s number-th life right now, not counting ant bites. That’s how an avatar of Vishnu dies?? Well sorry but Vishnu’s a dick to his avatars. And just to put that in perspective, Krishna remains the only avatar of Vishnu to actually have a well-explained death. All the others just idk disappeared with their deep quivers and ice-cream hairstyles. Oh wait, that was Shiva. Blue gods, I tell you.
To be honest, it looks like Vyas just made up this god’s death cuz the real deal was either too boring or even more stupid, and cuz he hated Krishna with every grey hair in his beard. Seriously, even I’m not particularly fond of Krishna, like he’s a manipulator par excellence and all, but somehow I feel he’d finish his game of chess up there before taking a look at the shit I’m going through on earth. I really really love Ram. He is the one guy I’d come to with the smallest thing that bothers me in life.
The Dashavatars in general are a really vague piece of narration; in most cases the avatar seems to draw more oomph than solve the problem. (Read: Boar just came out of my nostrils, oh wait it’s Vishnu, tweets Brahma). I know myths are myths for a reason, and don’t get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed reading the Dashavatar and the Ramayan and the Mahabharat (look ma, no ‘A’s at the end cuz it’s fucking wrong), but I think there’s a really strong reason why Vishnu didn’t just apparate on earth and bust some villain balls himself. He created miniatures of him, human miniatures, because he wanted to beat the bad guys at their own game. It just wasn’t fair pitting his own godlike near-omnipotence against the human boundaries and shortcomings of his evil counterparts. And well, it’s also so much more fun holding the reins of a horse than being the horse yourself.
That’s why he created the Avatars. That’s why he put them on earth- strengths, weaknesses and all- and saw how they used their substantial qualities to their advantage and fulfilled the reason they were sent there. I believe all of them were aware of their identity as a piece of one of the greatest gods that’s ever lived, and that realisation fed them with the fury and moral fibre required to grit their teeth through the frightening tasks they were up for. But at the core of their success was the fact that they weren’t some freakishly powerful being in disguise. They were human.
And I think it was this fact that made all the people rally around them, and more so around Krishna because he was the most human of the lot, and follow them through fires and hailstorms and fat, laughing maniacs. Mutilating their human-ness with far-fetched accounts of their deaths is the last thing you want to do for preserving their legacy through the generations. I mean, isn’t death the primary characteristic that differentiates a soul that takes a dump up there from one that does down here? You screw that up, and you might as well say Kurma was Oogway in disguise, or that Varaha eventually got an existential crisis and wandered off into an ancient gaulish village where he was killed by another fat, ahem, well-covered laughing maniac called Obelix.
The Dashavatars, or any mythological story for that matter, are fantastic enough already. Let’s keep them real where we can.
I just read up a new article on Krishna’s death, and as it so happens he did have a legit reason to die. Check out my next post. Thanks 🙂