Krishna – the great tactical and strategic thinker

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There is a certain resistance in viewing Krishna as a human. In my humble opinion though, it is myopic. When you look at him as god, he is adorable. But when you humanise his actions, he becomes admirable. Let’s take an example of the Kurukshetra war. It is popularly said that Pandavas won because of Krishna, because God was on their side. But, Krishna’s appreciation in my life increased much more, when I analyzed his actions as a tactician and a strategist in the war.

But, his brilliance dates far before the Kurukshetra war. For instance, for killing Kamsa, Jarasandha wanted to extract revenge from Krishna. The latter made a brilliant tactical retreat to the steep Gomantaka mountains in the western ghats. This bought him time to rally his resources and impose an astounding defeat on Jarasandha. Read this interesting episode of his life here: How Krishna Defeated Jarasandha By Commanding The SeaIn this battle Balarama almost killed Jarasandha. But, Krishna arrested Balarama’s mace mid air and saved Jarasandha. One may argue why did Krishna do that? The simple reason was his strategic brilliance. Killing Jarasandha would have rallied all his vassal kings together. Certainly, it would have been disastrous for Mathura.

The Strategist

However, things went wrong yet again. Fumed by the humiliation at Gomantaka, Jarasandha allied with a foreign king called Kalayavana to destroy Mathura. Krishna got a whiff of this and made a Strategic decision. This time, he decided to abandon Mathura altogether and build a new Island City called Dwaraka. Here is a beautiful story of his greatness during this episode: Greatness Of Krishna

Moving to Dwaraka had the following advantages:

  1. The distance between Yadavas and Jarasandha increased, thus making invasion difficult.
  2. With peace and stability, Krishna could build a strong port, thus increasing trade and riches for Yadavas.
  3. Moreover, he could build a strong Navy that could guard the vast coastline of Bharatvarsha.
  4. With increased riches and power, Krishna’s heft increased in the politics of Aryavarta.

With increasing influence, Krishna was a sought after ally. Apparently, Drupada was looking for a son-in-law who could challenge Arjuna This led to his entry into the grander scheme of Mahabharata. Read this episode to know more: Krishna In Mahabharata: The Beginning

Krishna understood the root of all the political problems in those times. It was concentration of power in a few hands. With Draupadi Swayamvar, he laid a strategy to distribute power and make Pandavas more powerful. The details of Krishna’s brilliant powerful mind could be found here: Draupadi Swayamvar: Krishna’s Best Friend Uddhava.

Further, with increased wealth and influence, he made an emperor out of Pandavas. This strategic move ensured the Dharma ruled Aryavarta (although things went wrong. But it was Yudhishthira’s fault)

His goal was Dharma

Tactics compose strategy. Strategies compose a Goal. Krishna was a political genius, a brilliant tactician, a master strategist. However, he didn’t use his brilliance for Adharma. That makes him worthy of worship and invincible. Hence, it is said, Yatho Krishnah Tatho Dharmah, Yatho Dharmah taho Jayah! i.e. wherever there is Krishna, there is Dharma;wherever there is dharma, there is victory.

P.C. Late Anirudh Sainath a.k.a. Molee Art



Prasad Kulkarni is a Data and Analytics professional. At work, he analyses historical data and ponders over historical events otherwise.


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