Question: Was the Vishma of the Mahabharata a bad person for fighting against Sri Krishna?

Sri Chinmoy: The Vishma of the Mahabharata was the greatest hero in those days, plus the grandsire of the Kauravas and the Pandavas. To please his father he remained unmarried. To please his stepmother he did not accept the throne. So in every case he was extremely great. Also, he was extremely close to Lord Krishna. Only four or five human beings knew extremely well in the inner world who Krishna was, and Vishma was one of those. Inwardly, he worshipped Krishna most powerfully.

Vishma felt miserable that the Pandavas suffered so much in spite of the fact that Krishna was on their side. He taught the Pandavas secretly how they could kill him. Now look at this! If you fight against someone, will you tell that person how to kill you? This was Vishma. His heart was all the time with the Pandavas, but he was morality-bound to the Kauravas. In India they say that if you take salt from someone, then you have to be grateful to that person and take his side. The Kauravas assisted him in his own life; they met with his expenses and did many things for him. That is why he took their side, but his heart was all the time for the Pandavas.

Here the philosophy is complicated. Real spirituality will be always for God, for the Supreme. No matter how much you have got from this world, no matter how much help you have received from an individual or from a group of people, when the Hour strikes, you have always to take God's side. It was God who all the time was helping you in and through these individuals at a particular stage in your life. If God changes His Will and wants you to serve Him in a different way, then you have to do it. So Vishma should have taken the Pandavas side when he saw that Krishna was on their side.

Vishma was so great; he kept all his promises. He even told his so-called enemies how to kill him. But at the last moment he did not take God's side. That was his only short-coming. Otherwise, his compassion, his love for truth, his promise-keeping will always remain unparalleled in the history of the world.