Everyone has their own favorite among the many Krishna stories. Here are a few of the more popular ones mixed in with some of the lesser known stories, told by Sadhguru. Before the stories begin, Sadhguru sets the stage by giving us a glimpse of the multifaceted nature of Krishna, and speaks about what it takes to explore Krishna’s path – the path of the playful.
Sadhguru: When we say Krishna, the essence of who he is, he is an irrepressible child, a terrible prankster, an enchanting flute player, a graceful dancer, an irresistible lover, a truly valiant warrior, a ruthless vanquisher of his foes, a man who left a broken heart in every home, an astute statesman and kingmaker, a thorough gentleman, a yogi of the highest order, and the most colorful incarnation.
Krishna has been seen, perceived, understood and experienced in many different ways by different people. For example, in Duryodhana’s words, Krishna is a “smiling rogue if there ever was one. He can eat, he can drink, he can sing, he can dance. He can make love, he can fight, he can gossip with old women, and play with little children. Who says he’s God?” That was Duryodhana’s perception.
Krishna’s childhood lover Radhe, who became so big that you cannot talk of Krishna without Radhe – we don’t say “Krishna Radhe,” we say, “Radhe Krishna” – she said, “Krishna is with me. He is always with me wherever he is. Whoever he is with, he is still with me.” That was her perception.
Shikandin, who because of a certain situation within himself was an absolutely tortured soul right from his childhood said, “Krishna never gave me any hope. But when he is there, the breeze of hope touches everybody.”
I could go on like this. Different people saw different facets of who he is. For some, he is God. For some, he is a crook. For some, he is a lover. For some, he is a fighter. He is so many things. If we want to taste an essence of what it means when we say Krishna, if we want to be touched by the consciousness that we refer to as Krishna, we need Leela. Leela means, it is the path of the playful – we explore the most profound and the most serious aspects of life, but playfully. Otherwise Krishna won’t be there. The reason why the most profound dimensions of life have been missed by a vast population of the world is because they do not know how to be playful.
To explore this path playfully, you need a heart full of love, a joyful mind, and a vibrant body. Only then there is Leela. To explore the most profound dimensions of life in a playful way, you must be willing to play with your awareness, with your imagination, with your memory, with your life, with your death. If you are willing to play with everything, only then there is Leela. Leela does not mean just dancing with somebody. It means you are willing to dance with life. You are willing to dance with your enemy, you are willing to dance with the one whom you love, you are willing to dance at the moment of your death. Only then there is Leela.
Krishna the playful child
The Birth of Krishna
Sadhguru recounts how Krishna was born, and explains how he was a remarkable being right from the outset.
Krishna is famous for his butter thieving activities as a child, and constantly kept the Gopis on their toes. Sadhguru recounts how organised and skillful Krishna was in his endeavors!
The loveable thief
Sadhguru looks at how the very essence of Krishna as a child was his mischievous and playful pranks, and yet, his joyful nature melted everyone’s heart.
Krishna the cowherd
Gopala: Understanding the essence of Krishna as a cowherd
Sadhguru looks at what it means to call Krishna, Gopala, and the explains the meaning of the Gopala chant.
Krishna and the women in his life
Sadhguru describes Krishna’s relationships with the many wonderful women in his life, including Yashodha, Radhe and Putana herself – who became his devotee at the last moment.
Sadhguru looks at why Radhe (or Radha) is such a huge part of Krishna worship in the country, and how her devotion went beyond all boundaries.
Raas Leela – The dance of passion
The Raas was the Gopis’ incredible, ecstatic dance that revolved around Krishna, as he played his flute on the banks of the Yamuna.
Krishna and the raging bull
One of the most well-known stories of Krishna’s childhood exploits was how he tamed Hastin, the angry bull. Sadhguru explains how this was not a miracle, but an ingeniously planned and executed strategy by Krishna.
Krishna and the Gopotsav
When Krishna was about 15, he convinced his community to celebrate the Gopotsav, a celebration of life. This was the point when he began to be looked up to as the leader of his community.
Gopala to Govinda
Sadhguru explains the circumstances that resulted in Krishna realizing the mission of his life, and how he spent a few hours atop Mount Govardhan, during which he had his moment of enlightenment and reminder.
Krishna and the miracle at Mount Govardhan
Sadhguru explains the miraculous situation surrounding the rising of Mount Govardhan, and how Krishna saw this as the final conformation of his purpose in life.
Krishna the warrior
Krishna meets Akrura
Akrura, Kamsa’s uncle comes to invite Krishna to attend a bow sacrifice, where Kamsa plans to kill off Krishna.
A larger slice of life
Sadhguru explains why it appears that Balarama and Krishna went through much hardship at a time in their life when they were pursued by Jarasandha, and looks at how Krishna did not experience these as problems.
Duryodhana’s Big Mistake
This story relates a situation when Krishna was approached to become an ally, by both Duryodhana and Arjuna, as they were building up great armies before the battle at Kurukshetra. Duryodhana‘s attitude and choice cost him dearly, though he doesn’t immediately realize his folly.
No Black and White in Life
Sadhguru looks at Krishna’s offer to Duryodhana to illustrate dharma and adharma, and that there is no black and white in life.
Treachery at Kurukshetra
Of the many aspects of Krishna in Mahabharata, one of the most confusing is his use of deceit during the war. In this story, we look at the basis behind these actions through some vividly narrated incidents from the battle.
Krishna’s Game of War
Among the lesser known of the many Mahabharata stories, this short South Indian tale is also a unique Krishna story, featuring a king from Udipi and Krishna’s penchant for peanuts.
Krishna the teacher
The Bhagavad Gita and the yoga of devotion
Sadhguru explains the nature of devotion and how bhakti can be a means towards ultimate liberation or mukti.
Bhagavad Gita: From action to yoga
Sadhguru explains how action can be a means to mukti, and how one we perform action without expectation, it can open tremendous possibilities for us.
What is Dharma?
Sadhguru tells us a story that illustrates what Dharma is.
Krishna – Magical blue
How grace works
Sadhguru explains how grace works, and tells us how Krishna could come to Draupadi’s rescue despite not having been physically present at Hastinapur when the Kauravas attempted to disrobe her.
Why is Krishna blue
Sadhguru looks at the science behind why Krishna is depicted as blue-skinned, and how this is a consequence of an enlightened being in the midst of great activity.
Even Krishna is governed by the laws of the physical
Sadhguru explains how even an enlightened being is governed by certain laws, once they choose to work with a physical body.
Krishna meets Trivakra
Sadhguru talks about how Krishna met Trivakra, a deformed woman, in Mathura, and miraculously cured her of her ailments with just a hug.
The divine lover
Sadhguru tells us about Mirabai, the saint who took Krishna as her divine lover.