Perhaps one of the most exciting adventures of Krishna’s youth is among the least told ones. He hijacks a pirate ship and sets sail along the coast of India to the land of the nagakanyas, looking for Punardutta, his Guru’s kidnapped son. Here’s the first part of the story.
Sadhguru: Krishna, this glorious being who grew up knowing life as play and celebration, went through the austere life of a brahmachari with great intensity. For six years, he was there along with a few more disciples of Sandhipaani’s traveling school, including Udhava his cousin brother and very dear friend, and Balarama. Balarama struggled with his brahmacharya. He just wanted to eat well, when he feels like shouting he wants to shout out, when he gets angry he wants to hit someone once in a way. Balarama was always looking for a fight. He was a big man and if he did not have a fight at least once a week, he would lose his appetite for life – but not for food though. To keep up his zest he needed a fight. So, when he became a brahmachari with a shaven head, he was not supposed to fight, shout or abuse anyone. Nothing is allowed. He had to beg for his food and eat whatever came; he had to chant, recite and discuss many things which were all beyond his capabilities. It was not him. But he had to go through this education because wherever Krishna is, he was always there.
Krishna saw his struggle and very graciously reached out to him. He knew Balarama’s pride. If he were to reach out to him openly, his pride would be too hurt. He wouldn’t like to acknowledge that intellectually, he was far below Krishna. So, Krishna used many methods to make sure that Balarama also learned. He always pretended as if he had forgotten something and would ask Balarama to correct him. Then, somehow he would help Balarama remember and learn what he had to. Balarama knew that Krishna was going out of his way to make him comfortable and ensure that he would not be offended, but he also maintained the drama and went on. When two people have very close and dear relationships, they can do a certain drama without ugliness to it. They can do the act well. This went on and six years passed.
Sandhipaani was tremendously impressed with Krishna’s discipleship – the way he gave himself to the guru and served him, and the way he was eager to learn everything that could be taught. Sandhipaani taught him the Vedas, the Upanishads, the various arts and crafts, and above all the usage and making of arms and weapons. Krishna learnt to use every kind of arms, but he became an expert in using his discus. It was here that he first learnt the art of making the discus from Sandhipaani. They made the discus in such a way that if they threw it, it would hit its target and come back like a boomerang. Sandhipaani’s nephew Svethakethu was a great expert in this but Krishna took the discus to a new dimension altogether. Later, he would learn to make the discus in a more powerful way from a certain sage, and Krishna would use this weapon with such devastating impact as had never been done before.
Towards the end of these six years, one day, in a place called Brighu on the coast, which today is known as Broche, Krishna found Sandhipaani walking on the beach in a very distressed condition. Krishna slowly approached his guru and asked him, “Master, what is distressing you like this?”
Sandhipaani looked at him and said, “This is not a time for you to come to me. I need to be alone.”
Krishna saw that there were tears in his eyes and said, “No Master. You must tell me what is disturbing you like this. What is causing this pain to you? I noticed that you neither slept nor ate properly the last three days. You just look across the ocean and there is pain in you.”
Then, Sandhipani opened up and told Krishna his story, “A few years ago when I came to this place, my son Punardatta, who was just a year older than you at the time, was kidnapped by a certain tribe called the Punarjanas. The leader of this tribe was called Panchajana.”
The Punarjanas were an ocean-going pirate tribe whose way was plunder and stealing. They even dealt with human cargo. If they found a man or a woman attractive enough, they picked them up and sold them in another part of the world. They had taken Sandhipaani’s son and disappeared, and Sandhipaani had no means to follow them because he had no idea where the pirates had gone. He was not well-versed in the ways of the sea.
Sandhipaani said, “I’ve never been able to forget that day. You probably do not understand what I am saying. You are a young man still. You will probably only understand when you have a son and miss him.” He poured his heart out to Krishna.
Krishna said, “Master, as my gurudakshina to you, as my tribute, I would like to restore your son to you. Please release me from brahmacharya for a year. I will see what I can do.”
Sandhipaani replied, “What can you do? He has gone across the oceans to we don’t know where. We know life only to the coast. We don’t know what’s beyond. And Panchajana is out and out evil. I don’t want you to take such a risky endeavor for my sake.”
Krishna was insistent, “Please allow me one year’s break from brahmacharya. I will make my best effort. This is a gurudakshina that I want to offer to you.”
Sandhipaani would not agree. “If something happens to you in this endeavor, how am I going to explain this to your parents? What will I tell them? I cannot allow this.”
Krishna replied, “That is not a problem. They know I am the deliverer and savior of dharma. You can just tell them that I have gone to establish dharma and bring justice. They will be fine with it.” Sandhipaani gave in because the boy was so convincing, and even he wanted to see his son again, so he gave Krishna permission.
Editor’s Note: Watch the Leela series, for more of Sadhguru’s talks on Krishna.