Wishing you all a
Joyous & Enlightening Gokulashtami!
Notes excerpted from my book, Prarthana: A Book of Hindu Psalms;
© Arun Shanbhag 2007
Krishna Vandana – Tribute to Krishna
Krishna is the most beloved of Hindu Gods and a popular avataar of Vishnu, the eternal soul of the Universe. While other incarnations of Vishnu crystallize divine traits in ordinary beings, Krishna’s life and experiences on earth symbolize the humanness of the divine.
Krishna takes a human birth in a prison cell in the city of Mathura, as the son of Devaki and Vasudeva. Spirited away, Krishna was raised in Vrindavan by foster parents Yashoda and Nanda. His childhood antics endear him to his friends and later devotees, even earning him the epithet of makhan chor – stealer of butter! A baby Krishna digging into a pot of freshly churned butter is commonly depicted in devotional art. At a young age, Krishna subdues the vile snake Kaliya; humbles the Vedic God Indra; defeats his evil uncle Kamsa and liberates his parents.
As a skilled strategist, Krishna plays a central role in the epic Mahabharata; helping the Pandava brothers win the war of dharma. His advise to Arjuna at the beginning of the battle is encapsulated in the Bhagvad Gita (Song of the Blessed One) – one of the most important and popular Indian philosophical treatises. It is in the Bhagvad Gita that Krishna succinctly explains the diverse paths to eternal salvation and harmonizes their ultimate goal of spiritual union with God.
When a young Krishna in Vrindavan plays his flute, the gopikas (milkmaids) are maddeningly drawn by the magical notes and forget their daily chores. Radha in particular, even goes against social norms and secretly pines for union with Krishna. Their ability to intensely love Krishna and be forever devoted to him, even sacrificing other relations, is the exemplary centerpiece of bhakti.
In the Bhagvad Gitā, Krishna reveals that bhakti – reverent devotion to God, is the easiest path to enlightenment. He implores Arjuna, “Fix your mind on me; be forever devoted to me and you shall come to me. I promise you this, for you are dear to me.” (18:65)
- Krishna Janmashtami 2012
- Shri Krishna Muth, Udupi
- RadhaKrishna painting in the Madhubani style.
- Krishna Mandap at Mammallāpuram
- Tiny Krishna Statuette