Rama and Krishna – a comparison
Sri Rama and Sri Krishna are the two most widely worshipped Gods in Hinduism. Both are considered to be “Poorna” avatars of Lord Maha Vishnu.
The main purpose of the Rama avatar was to destroy Ravana, the Asura (Demon) King, while the principal aim of Krishna’s avatar was to convey the supreme message of the Bhagavad Gita, to vanquish evil and bring back justice and righteousness to humankind.
Rama is seen as an epitome of righteousness and the most sought-after virtues in life, while Krishna is shown as mischievous and romantic as a youngster. Rama personifies the characteristics of an ideal person (purushottama) who is to be emulated. He had within him all the desirable virtues that any individual would seek to aspire, and he fulfils all his moral obligations (maryada). Rama’s purity and piety in his intentions and actions inspires affection and devotion for him from a variety of characters from different backgrounds.
1. Rama was born in the palace while Krishna in the jail.
2. Rama was born during midday and Krishna at midnight.
3. Rama was born on Navami, (number 9) while Krishna was in Astami (Number 8).
4. Rama was born in Ayodhya while Krishna in Mathura.
5. Rama belongs to solar dynasty and Krishna in Lunar dynasty.
6. Rama was born in Treta Yuga as the seventh avatar of Rama while Krishna was born in Dwapara yuga as the eighth avatar and eighth son of Devaki and Vasudeva.
7. Rama is the first son of his father while Krishna is the eighth and last son of his father.
8. Rama is the eldest and Lakshman, an avatar of Sheshnag was his younger brother whereas Krishna is the youngest and Balarama, the avatar of sheshnag is his elder brother.
9. Rama had an elder sister while Krishna had a younger one.
10. Rama’s childhood was in the palace while that of Krishna was that of a cowherd.
11. Rama had only one wife while Krishna had eight.
12. Rama had to win a challenge to win his wife while Krishna married comparatively easily except his first wife Rukmani whom he had to abduct which was followed by a war.
13. Rama never had a happy married life while Krishna celebrated his married life equally with all his wives.
14. Rama had to go to forest for 14 years with his wife while Krishna went to forest to see his cousins who were destined to live there for 12 years.
15. Rama lived a king and ruled the kingdom for many years while Krishna was never the king but always the kingmaker.
16. Rama killed Bali while Bali killed Krishna in his next birth.
17. In Ramayana Sri Ram asks Lakshmana to visit the dying Ravana to get his wisdom in politics and Dharma while Krishna asks Pandavas to visit the dying Bhishma to get his wisdom before death.
18. Sri Rama had 2 sons while Krishna had 80, ten each from his eight wives.
19. When Rama was dejected Guru Vasishta gives him moral advice in the form of “Yoga Vasishta”. Whereas it is Krishna who advices the dejected Arjuna by way of “Bhagavad Gita”.
20. Rama kills Rakshasas as Guru Dakshina while Krishna brings back to life the dead children of his Guru as his dakshina.
21. Rama never displayed any divine powers while Krishna displayed it on many occasions. (like lifting Manthara mountain, etc)
22. Rama fought the war himself to kill Ravana but in Mahabharata Krishna was the charioteer to Arjuna.
23. Tara, wife of Bali, cursed Rama that he will never live with his wife peacefully and will lose her soon after gaining from Ravana as well as her husband will be responsible for his death in his next life. Gandhari cursed Krishna that in 36 years he and his family will be destroyed. Krishna was killed by a hunter who actually was the rebirth of Bali.
24. Rama never killed any of his relatives while Krishna killed his uncle.
25. Rama is depicted generally with a bow and arrows indicating that he is a king while Krishna is generally depicted as a cowherd.
26. Lord Rama sends Angad as the peace envoy before the war while Krishna himself went as the peace envoy before the Mahabharata war.
27. Rama’s Weapon is Bow and Arrow while Krishna’s is sudharsana Chakra
28. Lakshmana participated in the war while Balarama went on a pilgrimage during the war.
29. Krishna is always smiling and one can hardly see him crying. While there were many occasions where Ram cried like when Sita was abducted or Lakshmana was nearly killed in the war.
30. Kuni (Manthara) is the base for Ramayana while Sakuni is for Mahabharata.
31. Rama always followed Dharma, even in war while Krishna made his own interpretation of Dharma and twisted it on many occasions during the war.
32. The incident in which Rama allowed the disarmed and helpless Ravana to go home, take rest and come again the next day to continue the fight instead of seizing the opportunity to do away with him instantly shows the magnanimity and dharmic traditions of Rama. Whereas killing of Bhishma, Drona, Karna and Duryodhana were all not as per the strict moral and dharmic code prevalent in those days.
33. Rama destroyed ‘ARISHADVARGA’ the demons representing the inner six-fold enemies of: kaama, krodha, lobha, moha, madha and maathsarya (Anger, Lust, Greed, Infatuation, Pride and Jealousy).
34. Krishna stands for the HARISHADVARGA the six-fold divine qualities of spiritual Wisdom, supreme detachment, great valour, forgiveness, righteousness and incomparable fame.
35. Both Ram and Krishna shows extreme selflessness when it comes to material possessions. Rama easily gave up his throne to honour his father’s words. He could have easily taken over Lanka and kishkinda as he won the war but installed Vibhishana and Sugriva as kings. Krishna won many wars including the Mahabharata war but never became king anywhere. He installed rightful persons each time including when he killed his uncle Kansa.
36. Rama’s father died while he was young while Krishna’s father lived beyond Krishna.