(Last Updated on : 23/04/2018)
Lord Krishna is the Avatar
of Lord Vishnu
whose influence on human lives far exceeds that of any other God
incarnate. Krishna is also depicted as Govinda, who is the principal cause of all causes, the embodiment of wisdom and selfless action as well as a human liberal and practical philosopher with foresight.
Etymology of Lord Krishna
Krishna is a Sanskrit
term whose literal meaning is black or dark and describes someone with a very dark skin. The Gaudiya tradition
explains the primary meaning of the name Krishna is "all-attractive". According to Adi Sankaras
, Krishna is the 57th name of Vishnu and means the "Existence of knowledge and Bliss".
Birth of Lord Krishna
Lord Krishna's birthday is celebrated as Janmasthami
, which is based on scriptural details and astrological calculations. Krishna took birth in the royal family of Mathura
and was the 8th son born to princess Devaki
and her husband Vasudeva. King Kansa
, Devakis brother, had ascended the throne by imprisoning his father, King Ugrasena. Afraid of a prophecy that predicted his death
at the hands of Devakis 8th son, he had the couple cast into prison where he planned to kill all of Devakis children at birth. After killing the first six children, and Devaki's apparent miscarriage of the 7th, Krishna took birth. As his life was in danger he was given to his foster parents Yashoda
. Two of his siblings also survived, Balarama
(Devakis seventh child, transferred to the womb of Rohini, Vasudevas first wife) and Shubhadra
(daughter of Vasudeva and Rohini born much later than Balarama and Krishna).
Legends of Lord Krishna
The stories of Lord Krishnas plays with the gopis in his growing days were romanticised in the poetry of Jayadeva, author of the Gita Govinda. Krishna as a young man returned to Mathura, killed his uncle Kansa, and made Ugrasena as the king of the Yadavas
. Meanwhile, he became a friend of Arjuna
and the other Pandava princes of the Kuru kingdom; living on the other side of the Yamuna
.He married Rukmini
, daughter of King Bhishmaka of Vidarbha. In Vaishnava traditions, Krishna's wives in Dwarka are believed to be expanded forms of the Goddess Lakshmi
In the Mahabharata
, Krishna was the cousin of both the Pandavas
and the Kauravas
. He asked the sides to choose between his army and himself. The Kauravas picked the army and he stayed supporting the Pandavas. He agreed to be the charioteer for Arjuna in the great battle of Kurukshetra. The Bhagavad Gita
is the advice given to Arjuna by Krishna before the start of the battle. In the Bhakti movement
, Krishna was the focus of attention and even with its end and is still an important and popular devotional and ecstatic aspect of Hindu religion
, particularly among the Vaishnava sector.
Teachings of Lord Krishna
Three great works in Hinduism enumerate Krishna's Teachings, namely the Bhagavad Gita, Anugita and Udhavagita. Bhagwad Gita is the sacred Book depicting 'Mahabharata' for Hindus. The advice Lord Krishna renders to discouraged Arjuna at Kurukshetra
, immortalized the Bhagavad Gita, influenced philosophers and continues to inspire millions of people worldwide.
Srimad Bhagavad Gita is the narrations about the relationship between the Supreme Lord and his devotees. In this narration, transcendental nature of the Supreme Lord and his devotees is fully described. Krishna always played the role of a defender of the oppressed. He killed Kansa
to unshackle his victims from cruelty. He befriended the poor; the character of Sudama is a legendary character whose berries he ate. He came to rescue of Draupadi
. Lord Krishna is also seen as a playmate to cowherds at Vrindavan
, a loving and giving soul.
Krishna defined dharma
(religion) as something that brought about the good of the individual and society. Krishna's conversations with Arjun are on transmigration of soul and aims at attaining liberation, descriptions of Karma
and effects of austerity. Devotion, meditation
and other religious disciplines reflect in Bhagavad Gita. Krishna also touches upon the psychic powers of yogic practices. The love of Gopis
is divine which says of the greatness and divinity of Lord Krishna. He is said to create an air of romanticism, enchanted the Gopis and impressed them with the tune of his 'bansuri'. Krishna responded by dancing with Gopis in Ras Leela. The mystical passage of Krishna's life with Gopis and love for Radha
is the most marvellous expansion of love expressed in that beautiful play at Vrindavan, which no one can understand yet, become perfectly chaste and pure.
of Mahabharata is an appendix to this epic and contains the earliest detailed version, starting from birth of Lord Krishna and leading to his childhood and youth. The scenes from the narrative are set in north India, mostly in the present states of Uttar Pradesh
. The events in the childhood of Lord Krishna
like Kaliya Daman
, Mountain lifting by Lord Krishna
and others are considered to be sacred by the Hindus.