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If you know Tamil, you can hear noted Srivaishnavite preacher Velukkudi Krishnan say exactly that

4:42 "Krishna went as a messenger only to incite the war".

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4E1DrfqdAKk

Many western commentators say that the war was a sacrifice conducted by Krishna and Siva, using people as the oblation.

The Mahābhārata war itself is compared to a sacrifice, or if we can believe Danielle Feller (1999: 99), this war is presented as “a full-fledged, albeit peculiar sacrifice”.

Are these views supported?

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  • How difficult is to figure out the motive behind actions of a smart politician? It is much more hard to figure out for God. Krishna was an ambassador in this situation. A smart ambassador would try to stop the war but if the other party does not agree, he would do all things that would lead to winning the war.
    – Kaushik
    Commented Apr 17, 2022 at 19:55

1 Answer 1

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I don't think so.

Krishna told Duryodhan after the war that his refusal to give Pandavas their share led to the war. The implication is that if Duryodhan had agreed to Krishna's proposal then there would have been no war. There is no need to unnecessarily give complicated explanations of Krishna's motive.

Krishna’s admonition to Duryadhana

Duryodhana began to afflict Vasudeva with keen and bitter words, "O son of Kansa's slave, thou hast, it seems, no shame, for hast thou forgotten that I have been struck down most unfairly, judged by the rules that prevail in encounters with the mace? It was thou who unfairly caused this act by reminding Bhima with a hint about the breaking of my thighs! Dost thou think I did not mark it when Arjuna (acting under thy advice) hinted it to Bhima? Having caused thousands of kings, who always fought fairly, to be slain through diverse kinds of unfair means, feelest thou no shame or no abhorrence for those acts? Day after day having caused a great carnage of heroic warriors, thou causedst the grandsire to be slain by placing Shikhandi to the fore! Having again caused an elephant of the name of Ashvatthama to be slain, O thou of wicked understanding, thou causedst the preceptor to lay aside his weapons. Thinkest thou that this is not known to me! While again that valiant hero was about to be slain this cruel Dhrishtadyumna, thou didst not dissuade the latter! The dart that had been begged (of Shakra as a boon) by Karna for the slaughter of Arjuna was baffled by thee through Ghatotkacha! Who is there that is more sinful than thou? Similarly, the mighty Bhurishrava, with one of his arms lopped off and while observant of the Praya vow, was caused to be slain by thee through the agency of the high-souled Satyaki. Karna had done a great feat for vanquishing Partha. Thou, however, causedst Aswasena, the son of that prince of snakes (Takshaka), to be baffled in achieving his purpose! When again the wheel of Karna's car sank in mire and Karna was afflicted with calamity and almost vanquished on that account, when, indeed, that foremost of men became anxious to liberate his wheel, thou causedst that Karna to be then slain! If ye had fought me and Karna and Bhishma and Drona by fair means, victory then, without doubt, would never have been yours. By adopting the most crooked and unrighteous of means thou hast caused many kings observant of the duties of their order and ourselves also to be slain!' "'Vasudeva said, "Thou, O son of Gandhari, hast been slain with thy brothers, sons, kinsmen, friends, and followers, only in consequence of the sinful path in which thou hast trod! Through thy evil acts those two heroes, Bhishma and Drona, have been slain! Karna too hath been slain for having imitated thy behaviour! Solicited by me, O fool, thou didst not, from avarice, give the Pandavas their paternal share, acting according to the counsels of Shakuni! Thou gavest poison to Bhimasena! Thou hadst, also, O thou of wicked understanding, endeavoured to burn all the Pandavas with their mother at the palace of lac! On the occasion also of the gambling, thou hadst persecuted the daughter of Yajnasena, while in her season, in the midst of the assembly! Shameless as thou art, even then thou becamest worthy of being slain! Thou hadst, through Subala's son well-versed in dice, unfairly vanquished the virtuous Yudhishthira who was unskilled in gambling! For that art thou slain! Through the sinful Jayadratha again, Krishna was on another occasion persecuted when the Pandavas, her lords, had gone out hunting towards the hermitage of Trinavindu! Causing Abhimanyu, who was a child and alone, to be surrounded by many, thou didst slay that hero. It is in consequence of that fault, O sinful wretch, that thou art slain! All those unrighteous acts that thou sayest have been perpetrated by us, have in reality been perpetrated by thee in consequence of thy sinful nature! Thou didst never listen to the counsels of Brihaspati and Usanas! Thou didst never wait upon the old! Thou didst never hear beneficial words! Enslaved by ungovernable covetousness and thirst of gain, thou didst perpetrate many unrighteous acts! Bear now the consequences of those acts of thine!"

Mahabharata Shalya Parva Section 61

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