The basic idea of the Gita was to convince Arjuna to fight the war and kill his enemies. Krishna tells Arjuna without mincing any words that he has to face his enemies and march ahead. And in the course of this persuasion, he uses various lines of argument (see for example, BG 2.31-33, 11.34). But this is not an empty exhortation. Krishna himself has killed others. He has killed his own people too. He killed his own maternal uncle Kamsa because the latter was not adhering to dharma and was ruling over the kingdom as a tyrant.
If you grew up in India or if you were associated with Indian culture in any form – literature, music, dance, or films – you would have heard the word dharma. Most Indian languages have this word as is or at least have the concept (for example, in Tamil, we use the word aram, which is similar to dharma).
The difference in meanings of ऋत and सत्य is unequivocal in the following mantra of the Vedas:
ऋतं त्वा सत्येन परिशिञ्चमीति सायं परिषिञ्चति |
सत्यं त्वर्तेन परिशिञ्चमीति प्रात:|
अग्निर्वा ऋतम् |
अग्निमेव तदादित्येन सायं परिशिञ्चिति |
अग्निनाsदित्यं प्रात: स: |
Krishna gives a wonderful formula for peace in the Gita. He says that when a person overcomes desires, lives without craving, and is rid of ego and a sense of ownership, he attains peace (BG 2.71). But this is precisely what Krishna has done in his own life in order to attain peace.
With reference to this topic, we need to understand three more words: ऋतु, ऋजु, and ऋण.
What should we do in this ‘materialistic’ world where sensual delights are alluring our minds all the time? Irresistible is money with its myriad avatars. A beauty-conscious world that scratches its head for days to make a nail tip beautiful is equally seductive. Tasty foods are aplenty and hard to ignore. Sensual pleasures are inviting and mocking our resistance. The mind is oscillating here and there and it seems to be at the edge of its surrender to these hyperactive senses. What should I do? Should I surrender or should I resist? Here we bow down to D. V.
Krishna led a simple life, possibly due to his humble beginnings. While much has been made of his expensive clothes by latter day scholars, the texts don’t give any indication of it. His clothes were yellow in color (पीताम्बर) – perhaps he wore that as a contrast to his dark skin. His ornaments were minimal; he adorned himself with a garland of wild flowers and a peacock feather on his diadem.
It appears the concept of rta is multifold:
Krishna grew up in Gokula with cowherds and was a true ‘son of the soil.’ From his earliest days, he developed a close connection with nature. He learnt to respect the environment even as a child. There is an episode in the Bhagavata Purana where he paid respect to the great Banyan tree (BP 10.22). He respected a tree, a cow, a human being. He respected the whole of creation. Even when he fought against the great snake Kaliya, Krishna didn’t kill him; instead he rehabilitated him (BP 10.16-17). He played the flute with great virtuosity.