Centuries ago, on a tempestuous midnight in the Hindu month of Shravan was born a dark-skinned boy whose charm was such that he is, to date, revered and loved by a million devotees. He, Lord Krishna, was born to Devaki and Vasudev but due to the heinous activities of his maternal uncle, Kamsa, he grew up in the care of Nanda and Yashoda in the beautiful village of Gokul.
Throughout his journey on earth, he portrayed superhuman qualities along with being kind, smart and a great strategist. He is thus referred to as an enigma by some and a God and incarnation of Lord Vishnu himself by many.
As a kid, he defeated and slayed quite a few demons and performed activities that were otherwise very unusual for a boy his age. He however was also very mischievous and kept causing trouble to local folk. Nevertheless, he always stood by their side and stepped in to protect them whenever in need. The story goes that once, he filled his mouth with mud. When his mother came by and asked him to open his mouth, he obliged, and the whole universe appeared to her. It is testimony to Yashoda’s maternal instinct that she could look at this God, and still treat him as her beloved child.
On another fine day in Vrindavan, he lifted the mighty Govardhan parvat atop his little finger to provide shelter when a severe storm hit the villages surrounding the mountain and drenched them as a result of a curse by Lord Indra.
One oft-spoken incident in his life is the epic Raas Leela. Once, Lord Krishna began playing his flute on the banks of a river when the villagers and gopikas to be precise got enchanted by the melody and walked towards him leaving behind their daily chores. The gopikas here are not mere girls but jeevas, i.e., pure souls irrespective of gender and the occurrence in itself a symbolic representation of the ultimate unification of god and man.
After defeating his uncle Kamsa, he went on to rule Dwaraka in present-day Gujarat, and was crowned the king of Yadavs. It is said that he prayed to Samudra Devi to provide him with some land and later ordered Vishwakarma to build a city which he completed in a short span of just 2 days. Dwaraka is now submerged. However, underwater archaeological excavations suggest the existence of the Lord and a mythical city in a bygone era.
He is also the central character in the Mahabharata, and in many ways spun the story itself as its chief architect. As he reveals to Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita, he is the doer, the event and the consequence. That the Kurukshetra war would take place was inevitable- it was only a question of who would play which role. At one point, he travels to the Kuru kingdom as an envoy and Duryodhana in his folly tries to capture him. At this point, he reveals his celestial form. That destiny is written in stone is a recurring theme in the epic, because even the appearance of God himself does not deter mankind from fighting an ill-fated battle.
In his lifetime, he played the role of a guru, a friend, a son, a brother, preacher, king, guide and more. His preachings which are listed in the Bhagavad Gita are to this date followed by many and looked up on as guiding parameters on how to overcome and deal with a situation.
It is for these reasons that Lord Krishna is considered by some as a physical representation of the conscience that dwells in the soul of every living creature that reminds them of right and wrong.
This coming Janmashtami, bring in idols and paintings of Lord Krishna and live by his teachings to lead yourself to a better and fulfilled life.
Find them in our ‘Glimpse of Krishna’ collection.