Janmashtami Who Is Lord Krishna?

In a previous blog last year I told the story how Krishna was born, a lovely story to share with your children today.  You will find this in our blogs link in bio or on website. Indian as well as Western scholars have now accepted the period between 3200 and 3100 BC as the period in which Lord Krishna lived on earth. Krishna took birth at midnight on the Ashtami or the 8th day of the Krishnapaksha or dark fortnight in the Hindu month of Shravan. The birthday of Krishna is called Janmashtami.

Lord Krishna is  the eighth avatar of Vishnu and is one of the most widely known deities in Hinduism. Krishna is depicted in a variety of forms because there are so many stories surrounding him. The most common story describes Krishna as a divine lover who plays the flute. Krishna. Krishna is the central character in the epic Mahabharata, the epic story including many of topics such as war, love, brotherhood, and politics. It is essentially the story of two warring groups of cousin brothers, the Pandavas and the Kaurvas. Krishna was the charioteer to Arjun in the battlefield.  The famous poem, the Bhagavat Gita, is spoken by Krishna to Arjuna on the battlefield. 

This is how Lord Krishna describes God in the Holy Gita. And to most Hindus, he is the God himself, the Supreme Being.

"I am the conscience in the heart of all creatures,
I am their beginning, their being, their end,
I am the mind of the senses,
I am the radiant sun among lights,
I am the song in sacred lore,
I am the king of deities,
I am the priest of great seers…"


Krishna's Childhood Days

Krishna made cowherdesses happy by the bliss of his cosmic dances and the soulful music of his flute. He stayed in Gokul, the legendary 'cow-village' in Northern India for 3 years and 4 months. As a child he was reputed to be very mischievous, stealing curd and butter and playing pranks with his girl friends or gopis. Having completed his Lila or exploits at Gokul, he went to Vrindavan and stayed until he was 6 years and 8 months old.

According to a famous legend, Krishna drove away from the monstrous serpent Kaliya from the river to the sea. Krishna, according to another popular myth, lifted the Govardhana hill up with his little finger and held it like an umbrella to protect the people of Vrindavana from the torrential rain caused by Lord Indra, who had been annoyed by Krishna. Then he lived in Nandagram till he was 10.

Krishna's Youth and Education

Krishna then returned to Mathura, his birthplace, and killed his wicked maternal uncle King Kamsa along with all his cruel associates and liberated his parents from jail. He also reinstated Ugrasen as the King of Mathura. He completed his education and mastered the 64 sciences and arts in 64 days at Avantipura under his preceptor Sandipani. As gurudaksina or tuition fees, he restored Sandipani's dead son to him. He stayed in Mathura till he was 28.

Krishna, the King of Dwarka

Krishna then came to the rescue of a clan of Yadava chiefs, who were ousted by the king Jarasandha of Magadha. He easily triumphed over the multi-million army of Jarasandha by building an impregnable capital Dwarka, "the many-gated" city on an island in the sea. The city located on the western point of Gujarat is now submerged in the sea according to the epic Mahabharata. Krishna shifted, as the story goes, all his sleeping relatives and natives to Dwarka by the power of his yoga. In Dwarka, he married Rukmini, then Jambavati, and Satyabhama. He also saved his kingdom from Nakasura, the demon king of Pragjyotisapura, had abducted 16,000 princesses. Krishna freed them and married them since they had nowhere else to go.

Krishna, the Hero of the Mahabharata

For many years, Krishna lived with the Pandava and Kaurava kings who ruled over Hastinapur. When a war was about to break out between the Pandavas and Kauravas, Krishna was sent to mediate but failed. War became inevitable, and Krishna offered his forces to the Kauravas and himself agreed to join the Pandavas as the charioteer of the master warrior Arjuna. This epic battle of Kurukshetra described in the Mahabharata was fought in about 3000 BC. In the middle of the war, Krishna delivered his famous advice, which forms the crux of the Bhagavad Gita, in which he put forward the theory of 'Nishkam Karma' or action without attachment.

Krishna's Final Days on Earth

After the great war, Krishna returned to Dwarka. In his final days on earth, he taught spiritual wisdom to Uddhava, his friend, and disciple, and ascended to his abode after casting off his body, which was shot at by a hunter named Jara. He is believed to have lived for 125 years. Whether he was a human being or a God-incarnate, there is no gainsaying the fact that he has been ruling the hearts of millions for over three millennia. In the words of Swami Harshananda, "If a person can affect such a profound impact on the Hindu race affecting its psyche and ethos and all aspects of its life for centuries, he is no less than God."

Ref: Das, Subhamoy. "Who Is Lord Krishna?" Learn Religions, learnreligions.com/who-is-krishna-1770452.

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