A 100 Abuses
It is said that the son born to Lord Krishna’s paternal aunt looked like a monster. He had four arms and three eyes. His voice was akin to an ass braying. A voice from the sky (Aakaashvani) proclaimed that the child’s third eye would vanish when he saw the person who would eventually slay him. Further the voice said that the two extra arms would fall off when the child was placed in the lap of the said person. The child Shishupala as he was called was placed in the laps of many, but nothing happened. Months later, Krishna visited his aunt. As soon as the maidservant brought the baby to Krishna, his third eye vanished! The moment she put the baby into Krishna’s lap, the extra arms fell off. The mother was exhilarated to see her son look like a normal child! But the exhilaration was only momentary. Soon she realized that it was Krishna who would one day slay Shisupala. So she asked Krishna for a boon. She said, “Krishna my dear, promise me that for my sake, you shall pardon the mistakes of this son of mine.” Krishna smiled knowingly and said, “For your sake, dearest Aunt, I shall pardon his misdeeds, a hundred times.”
When Shisupala grew up, his wedding was fixed with princess Rukmini, but on the day of the wedding, Rukmini eloped with Krishna and married Him. For that reason, Shishupala hated Krishna and always thought of ways and means to avenge his disgrace.
When Yudhistara did the Ashvamedha yajna, there was a great assembly of eminent people. The elders of the family, Bheeshma Pitamaha, Guru Drona and many kings and sages were present. The officiating priests asked Yudhistara whom he would like to honour first of all, in this great assembly of sages and kings. On the suggestion of Sahadeva (the youngest pandava) they decided to honour Krishna first of all. So the “Agra Thamboolam” (the first offering of pan supari or betel leaves and areca nut) was given to Lord Krishna. Dharmaraja Yudhistara washed Krishna’s feet and as was the custom, sprinkled the water in which Krishna’s feet had been washed, on the heads of his brothers and wife Draupadi. Shisupala was livid with rage. He started abusing Krishna, saying that Krishna was a thief who stole butter; who robbed the cow-herd girls of their clothes and outraged their modesty and misbehaved with them. Why should Krishna be the recipient of so much reverence?
Krishna listened quietly while Shishupala raised hue and cry about the issue. All of a sudden Krishna said, “Shishupala, I promised your mother, that I would pardon you a hundred times. I have overlooked ninety nine abuses. If you go any further, I shall have to kill you.” Shishupala abused him again. It is commonly believed that at this time, Krishna threw His Sudarshan Chakra at Shishupala and beheaded him.
But, Bhagwan Baba tells us that it was actually not the Sudarshan Chakra. Enraged by the vituperative abuses hurled by Shisupala, Krishna hurled the plate bearing the Agra Thamboolam towards Shisupala and that severed his head from his body!
Dharmaraja Yudhistara was very happy that Krishna had slain the wicked Shishupala. But within a few seconds, his happiness gave way to shock and bewilderment when he noticed that the blood from the severed head of Shisupala was falling on Krishna’s sacred feet. He was even more dumbstruck to witness that the Atma-jyoti (life flame) from Shishupala’s body emerged and then merged into Lord Krishna.
A totally confused Dharmaraja asked Narada how such an evil person like Shishupala could have such a glorious end; one that the great sages yearn for and perform life times of penance to achieve. Narada explained thus, “Hatred and vilification pertain to and are confined to only the body. The Atma is beyond their reach. The blood of Shishupala was saturated by the constant repetition of the name of Krishna. Even if each repetition was saturated with hatred and envy it still amounted to Nama-smarana. Shishupala had Krishna in his mind at all times whether he was sleeping or waking, eating or talking… Because of this ceaseless remembrance of the Lord, Shishupala’s soul merged into Him.”
This does not mean that we should also remember God with hatred! It only means that if we want to merge into Him, we should spend each moment of our lives in His remembrance. Each breath of ours should be for Him, because each breath of ours is actually from Him and Him alone!