Ahirs and Yadavs, who are today classified as OBCs, consider Krishna to be their ancestor. Krishna is the hero of the people of this caste, so much so that Yadavs have become synonymous with Krishna.
In the Hindu religious scriptures, Krishna is variously addressed as Shyam, Gopal, etc, names which describe the complexion and the prime occupation of the Yadavs. A majority of Yadavs have wheatish or even darker complexion – which is the colour of the skin of the original non-Aryan inhabitants of this countrys. Then who else can be the hero of these people except Krishna or Shyam, which literally means ‘black’ or ‘dark-skinned’? The Varna system of India and of the Hindu religion is based on Savarna or Avarna, ie dark or fair skin.
The following excerpt from historian Ramsharan Sharma’s famous book Arya Sankriti Kee Khoj (Discovery of Aryan civilization) makes this clearer:
Around 1800BC, Aryans started entering India in small groups. The word Arya is found in two of the most ancient books of the world: the Rigveda and the Avesta. The word Iran is also related to the Aryans. In the Rigvedic times, those who worshipped Indra were called Arya. Some Rigvedic hymns say that Aryans were a distinct community and those they fought against were dark-complexioned. Aryans have been described as Manushi Praja (humans) who worshipped Agni Vaishvanar (fire) and occasionally set the houses of the dark-skinned people afire. The Aryan god Som was a slayer of the dark-skinned people. The post-vedic literature gives an impression that there were three Varnas of Aryans, which were collectively called Dwij. Shudras were not included among Aryans. The Aryans were considered free while Shudras were not.
Krishna versus Indra
The key deity of the Rigveda is Indra. Of the 10,552 hymns in the Rigveda, 3,500 – exactly one-third – are devoted to Indra. The dispute and battle between Indra and Krishna is well known. In the famous epic Mahabharata, Ved Vyas has declared Krishna as the winner and Indra as the loser in this battle. The battle between the two, however, was not fought face to face. Krishna opposed worshipping Indra, so an angry Indra unleashed torrential rains that threatened to wash away Mathura. But Krishna uprooted the mountain, Gowardhan, and held it aloft on his little finger, providing shelter to all the residents of Mathura. Thus, Krishna protected his people from the ire of Indra and ultimately, the latter conceded defeat. In this version of the battle, Krishna and Indra never came face to face but in other scriptures, including the Rigveda, Indra is shown to be victorious in the battle after a lot of bloodshed.
The eighth verse of Book 1, Hymn 130 says: “Indra in battles helps his Aryan worshipper, he who hath hundred helps at hand in every fray, in frays that win the light of heaven. Plaguing the lawless, he gave up to Manu’s seed the dusky skin; Blazing, ’twere, he burns each covetous man away, he burns, the tyrannous away.”
In the first verse of Book 1, Hymn 101 it is said: “Sing, with oblation, praise to him who maketh glad, who with Rjisvan drove the dusky brood away. Fain for help, him the strong whose right hand wields the bolt, him girt by Maruts we invoke to be our friend.” (Ralph TH Griffith, The Hymns of Rigveda, 1896)
To understand the hostility between Indra and Krishna, see the verses 13, 14, 15 and 17 of Book 8, Hymn 96 :
Verse 13: “An Asur called Krishna lived on the banks of river Anshumati. He moved fast and travelled along with ten thousand armies. Indra located that shouting Asur using his intelligence and in the interest of humanity, destroyed his murderous armies.”
Verse 14: “Indra said, I have seen the Krishna Asur who roams around the caves on the banks of river Anshumati. He is stationed in water like the shining sun. O’ Maruts, the fulfiller of wishes, I want you for the battle, you kill him in battle.”
Verse 15: “Fast-moving Krishna Asur lived on the banks of river Anshumati. He was shining. Indra slew the black, invading armies with the help of Vrihaspati.”
Verse 17: “O’ wielder of the bolt, Indra, you have done this. As a matchless warrior, you destroyed the power of Krishna using your bolt. With your weapons, for the welfare of the people, you killed Krishna Asur by lowering your face and you obtained cows from the enemy using your power.” (Hindi translation ved, Vishwa Book, Dilli Press, New Delhi)
Were Krishna and Yadavs Asurs?
The descendants of Krishna probably never noticed these verses of the Rigveda. Otherwise, they would have become a subject matter of debate long ago. Some people may well argue that Krishna, the vedic demon, may be different from the Yaduvansh Shiromani (the crown of the Yadu clan) Krishna. However, if we analyze the description closely, we will realize that there is no doubt that the two persons are the same. The Yadukul Shrestha (the eminent member of the Yadu clan) was dark-complexioned, he owned cows, and his armies were stationed near the river Yamuna. Krishna, the vedic demon, also had armies. He lived near the Anshumati or Yamuna, was dark-complexioned and was associated with cows. He lived in the Gowardhan cave. Both Yyaduvanshi Krishna and Krishna, the demon, were in conflict with Indra. Both were against yagnas and worshipping Indra. The description in the Rigveda of the Indra-Krishna battle on the banks of the Yamuna, of the slaying of Krishna’s pregnant wives, of the slaughter of his entire army, of peeling off of his dark skin, of beating up and burning him after hanging him upside down, of capturing his cows – all this is a part of the struggle between the Aryans and the non-Aryans, which this country witnessed and which saw glorification of the deceitful murder of Mahishasur, Ravana, Hiranyakashyap, Raja Bali, Banasur, Shambuk and Vrihadrath. The Puranas were written to mislead the original inhabitants of this country and they were projected as history by the Brahmins. The outcome of this falsification of history is that, today, the Bahujans consider their own ancestors to be villains and worship those who killed them deceitfully.
There are many instances in the Aryan history of this country that show that Yadhuvanshi Krishna was a non-Aryan. Puranas, Smriti, etc were written by the Aryans to strengthen their vedic or Brahmin religion. The Padmapuran refers to the marriage of Krishna’s grandson Aniruddh and Raja Bali’s granddaughter Usha. The father of Usha was Banasur. Now Banasur’s family history went like this. ‘Demon king’ Raja Diti’s son was Hiranyakashyap, whose son was Virochan. The son of Virochan was Bali and Bali’s son was Banasur. The son of Yadukul Shreshtha Krishna and Rukmani was Pradyumna, whose son Aniruddh fell in love with Usha. Aniruddh once went to the palace of Banasur to meet Usha. When Banasur came to know of it, Aniruddh was captured, tied up and flogged. This was followed by a fierce battle between Banasur and Aniruddh’s father Pradyumna. When Banasur came to know that his daughter Usha and Aniruddh were in love, he ended the hostilities and got the two lovers married. Thus, Krishna and Bali and Banasur and Pradyumna became relatives. The question that now arises is, if Krishna did not belong to the Asur clan, ie if he was not an original inhabitant of the country, then how could an Asur woman become the daughter-in-law of his family? Indra and Upendra Arya was the common enemy of both Krishna and Raja Bali. While Krishna battled Indra, Bali fought against the Vamana avatar of Upendra (Vishnu).
The story that has been concocted by the Aryans regarding Raja Bali was that he was both valiant and magnanimous. Aryan hero Vishnu was unable to defeat Raja Bali in battles. Therefore, he decided to kill him through deceit. Vishnu took the form of Vamana and sought as much land from Bali as he would cover in three footsteps. The great and munificent king readily agreed. According to the Puranic story, Vamana, who was Vishnu in disguise, covered the entire Earth in the first step, the sky in the second step and Bali’s body in the third. He made Bali his slave and killed him. Some scholars say Vamana covered Raja Bali’s throne in two steps and told the king that as the throne was symbolic of the regal power, the kingdom had become his. His last step landed on Bali’s body. As Raja Bali was bound by his promise, he surrendered his kingdom and body to Vamana. Vishnu, disguised as Vamana, tied a red thread on the Bali’s wrist and took him to his camp, where Bali was killed. While tying the red thread, Vishnu told Bali: “You are very strong. This thread is a symbol that you are my hostage. If you want to keep your promise, do not remove this thread.” Even now, thousands of years later, the red thread is tied to the wrists of the original inhabitants of this country. It is called Rakshasutra or Kalawa. While tying it, the Purohit recites that ancient story in the form of a sloka: “Yen Baddho Bali Raja, Danvendro Mahabalah, Ten Tyami Pratibhami Rakshe, Ma Chal, Ma Chal” (Just as we bound Bali, the mighty Asur king, we bind you. Be still, be still! )
Proof from Puranas
These Puranic stories prove that Vishnu assumed different forms and fought against Krishna, Raja Bali, Raja Mahishasur, Raja Hiranyakashyap, etc to impose his Aryan culture on the original inhabitants of the country. Vishnu and Indra were the pivots of the Aryan civilization, and Krishna and Bali of the non-Aryan civilization.
Those who believe that Krishna was an Aryan or a Kshatriya should spare a glance on the era of Ram-Ravana, which predated Krishna’s era. Great poet Valmiki, in his Ramayana, has described Yadavs as sinners and marauders and how Ram destroyed the kingdom of Yadav king Durumkulya.
Chapter 22 of the Yuddhakand of Valmiki Ramayana describes the coversation between Ram and the sea god. Ram wants to cross over to Lanka and requests the sea to dry up. When the sea expresses its inability to do so, Ram gets angry and readies himself to shoot an arrow at the sea. The sea god then appears before him and suggests that he can get a bridge built with the help of Nal-Neel. However, Ram tells him: “O, abode of water, once I have taken out an arrow from my quiver, I can’t put it back. I have to shoot it. Now tell me, in which direction should I send it flying.” The sea god replies, “My Lord, You are famous all over the universe and are a great soul. In contrast, towards my north is a sacred and infamous land known as Durumkulya. The land is populated by a large number of people of Abhir, etc castes. Their looks and their deeds are very horrible. They are also sinners and looters. They drink my water. I have to tolerate the touch of those sinners. Shriram! You direct your great arrow towards them.” On hearing this, Ram shoots his fiery arrow in the direction indicated by the sea god. The place where the arrow lands turns into a desert.
That the sea god described the Yadav kingdom Durumkulya as sacred but the Yadavs residing there as sinners and looters proves that Yadavs are neither Aryans nor Kshatriyas. Otherwise, Valmiki and the sea god would not have described them as sinners. In this country, Dalits were not allowed to drink water from lakes and wells and Dr Ambedkar had to launch the Mahad Tank agitation to secure that right for them. But this was nothing in comparison with what the Yadavs had to face in Durumkulya. In the Ramchatimanas, too, Tulsidas writes in Uttarkand 129 (1) that Aabhir Yavan, Kirat Khas, Swachadi Ati Adhroopje, ie Ahirs, Muslims, Baheliyas, Khatiks and Bhangis were communities of the sinners. Similarly, in Vyas Smiriti, the writer says in one sloka: “Badhai, Nai, Gwala, Chamar, Bania, Chidimar, Kayastha, Mali, Kurmi, Bhangi. Kol and Chandal – they all are polluters. If one happens to even see any of them, he should have a darshan of the sun. Only then a person of Dwij castes would become pure.”
Historians also agree
That is why the great historian, D.D. Kausambi, in his book Culture and Civilization of Ancient India , writes :
In the Rigveda, Krishna has been described as a demon and an enemy of Indra. His dark complexion indicates that he was a pre-Aryan inhabitant of India. Krishna was a valiant fighter and the god of the Yadu tribe. But due to persistent hostilities between various tribes in the Punjab, the different hymnologists, as per their loyalties, have either condemned the Yaduvanshis or blessed them. Krishna is eternal but at the same time, he was brought up in Gokul to keep him safe from his maternal uncle. This brought about his association with Ahirs, who were the cattle rearers of the early centuries of the Christian era ¬– the ancestors of the present-day Ahirs. Krishna is a protector of the cows and he was never invoked in the yagnas in which animals were sacrificed but Indra, Varun and other vedic gods were. They might have been sacrificing anything while worshipping their ancestral deity but there was no reason for other tribes to adopt their practice. On the other hand, for the cattle rearers, who were gradually taking to farming, it was logical to accept Krishna, rather than Indra, as their god.
The upper-class people inhabiting the border areas were fair-complexioned and their view was that dark-complexioned people were like a heap of blackened seeds that could never be mistakened for Brahmins by anyone. The easterners saw the practice of paying bride money, prevalent in the northwest, as foreign to their culture. Then, there was the practice of abducting girls for marriage, which, according to the Mahabharata, was prevalent also in Krishna’s tribe and was perpetuated by the Ahirs. This was also considered foreign by the easterners. Ultimately, in the Brahamanas, both these kinds of marriages were proscribed, describing them as non-Aryan.
In his book, Kausambi makes it clear that “Krishna was an ardent opponent of animal sacrifice, ie he was a protector of cows.” There is also a mention of Arjun abducting Krishna’s sister Subhadra to marry her. Thus, Kausambi says, Krishna was a non-Aryan, ie Asur.
In his Khoon Ke Chhete, Itihaas Ke Pannon Par (Blood Spattered on the Pages of History), historian Bhagwatsharan Upadhyaya says: “The Kshatriyas gave Indra, the god of Brahmins, and Krishna, who was the enemy of the yagnas of the Brahmins, a place in their pantheon. He, who was not a Kshatriya but was trying to become one, was considered an avatar of Vishnu even though only Kshatriyas were considered fit for that status.”
Upadhyaya has made it clear that Krishna was a firm opponent of Indra, the god of the Brahmins, and their yagnas and other rituals and that he was not a Kshatriya, though he was “trying to become one”. The evidence that has been unearthed so far indicates that Ahirs and Krishna were not Aryans. They were the dark-complexioned original inhabitants of the country who were in conflict with the Aryans.
The Rigveda says, “The squeezed, dynamic, fast-moving, shining Som goes around, slaying those with black skin. You should worship him” [Book 1, Hymn 43]
There are many such verses in the Rigveda that prove how bitterly the Aryans hated the original inhabitants of India and how they slayed them because of the colour of their skin. Yadavshrestha (the eminent Yadav) Krishna was dark-complexioned, and being opposed to Indra and yagnas, his clash with Agri, Som, Indra, etc was natural.
Those you can’t conquer, assimilate
The Rigveda and other scriptures describe the Ahirs and Ahir hero Krishna as non-Aryan. , Despite that the original inhabitants of the country did not give up their love and admiration for Krishna. So the Aryans, who behaved cruelly with Krishna, made him into one of their gods and the brave community that was descended from Krishna was assimilated into the Sanatan Panth.
The question that now arises is, if Krishna was a non-Aryan, where does the Gitopadesh fits in? In Gitopadesh, Krishna describes himself as a god and talks about the superiority of Brahmins and the Varna system, which are difficult to swallow. The Rigveda rebutts the claims made in the Gita. If, according to the Rigveda, Krishna was an Asur and Indradrohi (enemy of Indra), how could he have advocated the Varna system? Whatever Krishna supposedly says in the Gita in support of the Brahmanical system is false. The dark-complexioned, Asur Krishna can never be a proponent of the Varna system. So great was the influence of Krishna among the original inhabitants of the country that the Aryans were forced to include him in their pantheon. This was exactly the same technique that was adopted centuries later vis-à-vis Gautam Buddha, who was an opponent of Brahmanism. The Brahmins pronounced him to be an avatar of Krishna in the Garudpurana and thus appropriated him.
Just as the Asur Krishna was assimilated into the Indian Aryan culture, the scientific teachings of Buddha were lost in the maze of Hindu rituals and customs. Thanks to Dr Ambedkar’s embracing Buddhism, we can find some Buddhists in the country. Otherwise, the Aryans had simply gobbled up Krishna and Buddha by declaring them incarnations of Vishnu and Krishna, respectively. How ironical it is that Krishna, who is described as an avatar of Vishnu, is battling against Indra ¬– from the Vedas to the Mahabharata!
Another question that can be raised is that if Krishna was not Aryan or Kshatriya, then why does the Srimadbhagwadgita say that “all one’s sins are washed away merely by taking the name of Yaduvansh [Skand 9, Adhyaya 23, Lok 19].” I would only say that Asur Krishna was very popular. He was a people’s hero. He was so popular that even the Aryans could not ignore him.
All said and done, I have collected some facts from different sources regarding Krishna and Yadavs and presented them before the discerning readers. I leave it to them to decide who Krishna was and to which varna do the Yadavs belong. Personally, I don’t think this question is now unanswered.
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