Krishna told Arjuna to kill but Narada told Mrigari to not kill?
Transcriber: Suresh Gupta
Edited by: Keshavgopal das
Question: Krishna told Arjuna to kill but Narada told Mrigari to not kill?
Answer: There are different kinds of dharmas. Mrigari would not kill the animals directly but would instead slit their throats and leave them half-alive, to die a painful death. Killing, in itself, is painful but half killing is much-much more painful and Mrigari was causing such unnecessary pain to the animals.
As far as dharma is concerned, we need to understand that the word dharma has different meanings in different contexts. Some duties are essential for the maintenance of society. For example – sometimes the military kills because that is required to keep aggressors under control which is essential for the maintenance of the society. Arjuna was a kshatriya who are the marshall guardian of the society, so for him, it was essential to kill the aggressors.
Duryodhana was such a brutal person that he tried to disrobe Draupadi publicly in the royal assembly. Even today when some sex crime is committed against women, it creates a big furore in the media. Usually when some animalistic person violates a woman, he will probably abduct her, drag her somewhere in private and do something with her. However, if somebody tries to molest and violate a woman in public, in front of everyone, that person is certainly brazen. What to speak if such horrible act is done in a police station or a court. That would mean that the person has no fear of law at all. Duryodhana was an example of such kind of a person. He never expressed any remorse for his act. If at all he had any regret, it was because he could not humiliate Draupadi.
If such a person is given unrestricted power over a kingdom, then one can imagine what kind of havoc he could have created. Although he ruled around thirteen years when the Pandavas were in exile, but he was always afraid that one day the Pandavas might come back. Therefore, he was at his best trying to win over the citizens. If there was no danger to the Pandavas then he would have been brutal to everyone. Hence, a person like Duryodhana had to be punished. The Pandavas tried everything possible to avoid war and when all other alternatives had failed, finally war was chosen.
Before the war, Krishna himself went to Duryodhana as a peace messenger on behalf of the Pandavas. The position of Krishna in the Mahabharata was the greatest and he was offered the first respects at the great rajasuya sacrifice, yet he went as a peace messenger to Duryodhana. It is like, if India and Pakistan have some tension and to mitigate those tensions, the Prime Minister of India goes to Pakistan as a peace envoy. The highest person going to the opposite camp like this shows how seriously he considered peace. However, imagine Pakistan tries to arrest the Indian Prime Minister. The whole of India would erupt in fury saying how dare they do this. Similarly, Krishna went as the peace messenger but Duryodhana tried to arrest Krishna. This showed that he had no remorse, no interest in reconciliation and hence, when all options failed then war was fought. In this case, the person was brutal and not reform able at all. Hence, there was no option but war because it was essential for society’s well-being.
In the case of Mrigari, it is very different. He was causing unnecessary pain but importantly, sometimes people might get caught in some situations that they are involved in doing something bad just to run their living. For example, I met an Indian in New Zealand who had started a hotel there and he was primarily selling non-vegetarian food but later became a devotee and decided to give up meat eating (even onion and garlic). Eventually he felt what should I do now. He thought of turning it into a vegetarian hotel but somehow that was a place where there were not many vegetarians. Gradually he decided to shift to a new place and start something new and eventually rented out his shop to somebody else. Sometimes circumstantially we are put in a profession where we are doing something wrong, but we cannot say that this is my duty and I will have to do it. Of course, we might not be able to give it up immediately since we have other responsibilities which we cannot neglect but we need to come out gradually. We cannot say that since we have been doing this as a source of livelihood, we will be immune from the consequences. We also need to see the ethical aspect of what we are doing as well.
Hence, in the case of Mrigari, he became a devotee by the mercy of Narada Muni and eventually people provided for him and that is how he was able to deal with the situation. So, the two situations are not at all analogous, they are very different.
End of transcription.