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Lord Krishna

Lord Krishna appeared over five thousand years ago in Mathura, India to Devaki and Vasudeva in the jail cell of the tyrant Kamsa. The place of His birth is known as Sri Krishna Janmasthana. He appeared with His brother Balarama in response to the demigods’ prayers for protection from the widespread influence of demonic administration on earth.

Previously, the demigods and demons had been at war in the heavens. When the demons were defeated by the demigods, they decided to instead attack this planet earth. Thus, they invaded the earth by discretely taking birth as princes in powerful royal families of the time.

And as the earth became overrun by militaristic activities of these kingly demons, the demigods including the Earth goddess earnestly sought Lord Visnu’s protection. Seeing the deteriorating social and political conditions and hearing the prayers of the demigods, the all-compassionate Supreme Lord Sri Krishna decided to descend for the benefit of all.

The Supreme Lord descends from time to time in this material world to reestablish the teachings of the Vedas. In His Bhagavad-gita, Lord Krishna promises: “Whenever and wherever there is a decline in religious practice, O descendant of Bharata, and a predominant rise of irreligion–at that time I descend Myself. To deliver the pious and to annihilate the miscreants, as well as to reestablish the principles of religion, I Myself appear milleniumm after millenium.”

Although eternal the Lord appears in specific circumstances out of mercy for His devotees. In fact, His principal biography, the Srimad Bhagavatam states, “the learned men describe the births and activities of the Unborn and Inactive.” Therefore, although He appears within the material dimensions of time and space, He is most definitely not of it.

Historically, Lord Krishna appeared on the midnight of the 8th day of the dark half of the month of Sravana. This corresponds to July 19th 3228 BC. He exhibited His pastimes for a little over 125 years and dissappeared on February 18th 3102 BC on the new moon night of Phalguna. (His departure marks the beginning of the current age of corruption known as Kali.)

The great scholar Srila Vishvanatha Chakravarti neatly outlines Lord Krishna’s activities in this way: the first three years and four months were spent in Gokula, then equal lengths of time in Vmdavana and Nandagram, eighteen years and four months in Mathura, and finally ninety-six years and eight months in Dvaraka totalling 125 years of manifest pastimes. See the Krishna-lila chart.

Lord Krishna’s early pastimes are briefly summarized at the website Krishna’s Adventures in Vraja”During this childhood time , He grew up as the son of His foster parents Nanda and Yasoda in the midst of the idyllic beauty of Gokula, Vrindavana, and Nandagram. Not only did He destroy numerous demons, but also performed His famous rasa dance.

Krishna enjoyed the dance of love (rasa-lila) with the gopis many of whom are expansions of His own internal energies. The supreme gopi known as Srimati Radharani is the object of Krishna’s highest devotion. This beautiful dance would occur in the autumn season at night under a full moon when Lord Krsna would captivate the young gopis with the extraordinary music of His flute . These esoteric pastimes constitute the most confidential expression of divinity ever revealed.

Usually the conception of sprirtual perfection consists of overwhelming feelings only of awe and reverence at God’s majesty. However, in these pastimes each devotee loves God either as a master, a best freind, a mischievous son, or even as an intimate lover, thus revealing the infinite possibilities of divine love. These early pastimes of Lord Krsna in Vrindavana illustrate the extraordinary intimacy that one can have with God. These pastimes are described in detail by Sri Visvantha Chakravarti in his Sri Krishna Bhavanamrta Mahakavya

When Krsna and Balarama were older, They were invited to Mathura, where Karnsa, Their demonic uncle, was planning Their death in a wrestling match against two large and powerful wrestlers. When Kamsa saw his wrestlers defeated, he ordered his friends to drive the brothers out of Mathura, plunder the riches of Their cowherd friends, and kill Their fathers, Nanda and Vasudeva. However, Krishna immediately killed Kamsa and Balarama killed his eight brothers. Lord Krishna then established the pious King Ugrasena as the emperor of several kingdoms.

In Mathura, both Krishna and Balarama were initiated by Gargamuni in the Gayatri mantra> Later They went to live under the care of Sandipani Muni who instructed Them in all the Vedic arts and sciences in sixty-four days and nights especially in military science, politics and spirituality. As an offering (guru-daksina) to Their teacher, They recovered his son from death. Although God does not need instruction from anyone else, Lord Krsna and His brother set the perfect example : one must accept instruction from and serve a bona-fide spiritual master to advance in spiritual life.

For the next eighteen years, They continued to live in Mathura halting the impending threat of many demonic kings. Later in Their pastimes Lord Balarama married a princess named Revati. Lord Krsna married many queens, the foremost among them being the extraordinarily beautiftil Queen Rukmini. (See Sri Rukmini website for the story of Their marriage). Both Krishna and Balarama established Their palaces in Dvaraka off the coast of western India, where They enjoyed married life for many years. Although They were married, Lord Krsna and Lord Balarama exhibited the quality of detachment from material life perfectly.

When They were about ninety years old, the great world war of Kuruksetra took place. This climactic battle brought together all the major world leaders. Lord Krsna took the role of a charioteer on the side of the pious Pandavas, while Lord Balarama refusing to participate went on a pilgrimage tour thereby blessing the entire land of India.

At the start of the war, Lord Krishna displayed His stupendous Universal Form delivered His famous message known as the Bhagavad-gita, literally the Song of God. This Song contains the essence of all knowledge having been spoken by the Supreme Lord Sri Krishna Himself. This war concluded with the destruction of the demonic kings and the reinstatement of the righteous Pandava princes.

Having completed Their mission, Balarama and Krsna resumed Their life in Dvaraka where They spent some thirty-five more years before ending Their earthly manifest activities The foremost description of Lord Krishna’s activities occurs in the Srimad Bhagavatam, literally “the Beautiful Book of God.”

Lord Krishna
Krishna is a major Hindu god. Often called Lord Krishna, he is one of the most widely worshiped and popular Hindu deities. Krishna is the eighth avatar (or incarnation) of Vishnu. He was deified in the 5th century and since then has also been worshiped as the supreme god himself. Krishna is the Hindu god of compassion, protection, and love.

Also called the Dark One, Krishna is an important character in many Hindu sacred texts, including the Bhagavad Gita. He is portrayed in various ways in Indian mythology and art, from child-god to divine lover, prankster to hero. However, there are three main stages of incarnation within the story of Krishna: the baby, the lover, and the sage. These three stages are believed to symbolize key aspects of his significance and power within Hindu mythology.

Krishna is known by 108 different names and emanations, many of which reflect his attributes and mythological associations. The name Krishna itself means black or dark blue. Some of his more popular epithets are Mohan, the enchanter, Govinda, the chief herdsman, Keev, the prankster. Some epithets and names are used only in specific geographical locations. One example is Jagannatha, a name popular in the Odisha state region of India. The honorary title Sri is often placed before the name Krishna, meaning Lord.

Baby Krishna: Balakrishna
The Krishna Charitas tells the story of Krishna’s birth and childhood. In his incarnation as a baby, Krishna is called Balakrishna. Krishna’s mother was Devaki, and his father Vasudeva, both members of the Yadava clan. They lived in Mathura in Braj, a region in India south of Delhi. Mathura remains an important center of worship and pilgrimage to Indians today.

The story tells that Krishna’s mother, Devaki, was the sister of a tyrant called Kamsa. During Devaki’s wedding to Vasudeva, a fortune teller tells Kamsa that Devaki’s child will kill him. Kamsa kills all of Devaki’s children; however, when Krishna is born, his father carries him away in secret and exchanges him for another baby. When Kamsa tries to kill the baby, it transforms into the Hindu goddess Yogmaya and warns him that he will die as predicted. Krishna was raised by Yashoda and her husband, Nanda. Sri Krishna’s birthday is celebrated with a large religious festival called Krishna Janmashtami.


What is Krishna known for?
Lord Krishna is known for his varied iconography. He is sometimes shown as a baby and at other times as a young lover seducing milkmaids or Gopis. Krishna is worshipped across the globe by the Hare Krishna group.

What is Lord Krishna the God of?
Lord Krishna is the god of protection, love, compassion, desire, and passion. He is worshipped as the supreme deity by many Hindus.

What does Krishna symbolize?
Lord Krishna is believed to symbolize tenderness, patience, compassion, and love. He is an avatar, or incarnation, of the god Vishnu, the preserver. As such, he symbolizes the gods’ protection of humankind.



Lord Krishna – Hindu Gods and Deities
Who is Krishna?
Lord Krishna is one of the most popular Gods in Hinduism. Krishna is considered the supreme deity, worshipped across many traditions of Hinduism in a variety of different perspectives. Krishna is recognized as the eighth incarnation (avatar) of Lord Vishnu, and one and the same as Lord Vishnu, one of the trimurti and as the supreme god in his own right. Krishna is the principal protagonist with Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita also known as the Song of God, which depicts the conversation between the Royal Prince Arjuna and Krishna during the great battle of Kureksetra 5000 years ago where Arjuna discovers that Krishna is God and then comprehends his nature and will for him and for mankind. In present age Krishna is one of the most widely revered and most popular of all Indian divinities.

Each incarnation of Lord Vishnu on the Earth is with a purpose and to accomplish some definite tasks. Lord Krishna came to the Earth to kill king Kansa and to relieve the people of Braj from his torture and tyranny. Later Krishna participated in the events of the Mahabharata and Lord Krishna’s participation had profound effect on the Mahabharata war and its consequences.


Names of Krishna
The name Krishna originates from the Sanskrit word Kṛṣṇa, which is primarily an adjective meaning “black”, “dark” or “dark blue”. The waning moon is called Krishna Paksha in the Vedic tradition, relating to the adjective meaning “darkening”.

As a name of Vishnu, Krishna is listed as the 57th name in the Vishnu Sahasranamam. Krishna is also known by various other names, epithets and titles, which reflect his many associations and attributes. Among the most common names are Mohan “enchanter”, Govinda, “Finder of the cows” or Gopala, “Protector of the cows”, which refer to Krishna’s childhood in Braj (in present day Uttar Pradesh). Some of the distinct names may be regionally important; for instance, Jagannatha, a popular incarnation of Puri, Odisha in eastern India.

Krishna’s Family
Lord Krishna was the eighth son born to the princess Devaki and her husband Vasudeva in Mathura city. However Krishna raised by his foster parents Yashoda and Nanda in Gokul a small village in Mathura district.

Krishna had eight princely wives, also known as Ashtabharya: Rukmini, Satyabhama, Jambavati, Nagnajiti, Kalindi, Mitravinda, Bhadra, Lakshmana) and the other 16,100 or 16,000 (number varies in scriptures), who were rescued from Narakasura. They had been forcibly kept in his palace and after Krishna had killed Narakasura, he rescued these women and freed them. Krishna married them all to save them from destruction and infamity. He gave them shelter in his new palace and a respectful place in society. The chief amongst them is Rohini.

The Bhagavata Purana, Vishnu Purana, Harivamsa list the children of Krishna from the Ashtabharya with some variation; while Rohini’s sons are interpreted to represent the unnumbered children of his junior wives. Most well-known among his sons are Pradyumna, the eldest son of Krishna (and Rukmini) and Samba, the son of Jambavati, whose actions led to the destruction of Krishna’s clan.

Lord Krishna Iconography
Krishna is easily recognized by his representations. Though his skin color may be depicted as black or dark in some representations, particularly in murtis, in other images such as modern pictorial representations, Krishna is usually shown with a blue skin. He is often shown wearing a silk dhoti and a peacock feather crown. Common depictions show him as a little boy or as a young man in a characteristically relaxed pose, playing the flute. In this form, he usually stands with one leg bent in front of the other with a flute raised to his lips, in the Tribhanga posture, accompanied by cows, emphasizing his position as the divine herdsman, Govinda, or with the gopis (milkmaids) i.e. Gopikrishna, stealing butter from neighbouring houses i.e. Navneet Chora or Gokulakrishna, defeating the vicious serpent i.e. Kaliya Damana Krishna, lifting the hill i.e. Giridhara Krishna, so on and so forth from his childhood / youth events.

The scene on the battlefield of the epic Mahabharata, notably where he addresses Pandava prince Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita, is another common subject for representation. In these depictions, he is shown as a man, often with supreme God characteristics of Hindu religious art, such as multiple arms or heads, denoting power, and with attributes of Vishnu, such as the chakra or in his two-armed form as a charioteer.

Representations in temples often show Krishna as a man standing in an upright, formal pose. He may be alone, or with associated figures: his brother Balarama and sister Subhadra, or his main queens Rukmini and Satyabhama. Often, Krishna is pictured with his gopi-consort Radha.

Krishna is also depicted and worshipped as a small child (Bala Krishna), crawling on his hands and knees or dancing, often with butter or Laddu in his hand being Laddu Gopal.


Lord Krishna Stories
Krishna’s Childhood in Vrindavan
When Yasoda and Nanda found Krishna as their son, they performed all the religious ceremonies in secret, to avoid Kansa’s wrath. The family astrologer, Gargamuni, told the family, “Your son Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He will protect you from Kansa’s persecutions, and by his grace only, you will surpass all difficulties. Therefore raise him carefully, because many demons will try to attack him.”

This warning proved true because throughout his childhood, Krishna fought Kansa’s demons, along with all the other demons, jealous and misguided demigods who approached him.


Krishna Kills Putana
Kansa enlisted a demon named Putana to kill newborn babies. The demon dressed as a beautiful woman and flew on her broom to Krishna’s nursery, hoping to kill him with the poison she had smeared on her nipples. Krishna’s mother innocently let Putana pick the baby up and put it to her breast. Krishna closed his eyes and sucked out her life air, killing her, without taking her poison. When Putana’s soul departed, her body returned to its real form: a gigantic witch that smashed trees as it fell, stretching twelve miles across the landscape. Putana’s soul attained liberation due to the benevolent act of offering her breast milk to Krishna and the inhabitants of Vrindavana cremated the body.


Krishna Kills Aghasura, the Snake Demon
One day the cowherd boys were playing their games, such as imitating peacocks and running after birds’ shadows on the ground, when they came upon a mountain cave. This was actually a demon-brother of Putana’s, who had expanded himself into an eight-mile long snake to kill the boys. The opening to the cave was his mouth. The boys felt a hot wind blowing that smelled like fish, or the serpent’s intestines.

The scriptures say that when the boys walked into the cave Krishna became momentarily aggrieved because He knew it was one of Kansa’s tricks. He considered for a moment, then decided to enter the cave Himself. Demons all over the world became joyful when Krishna went inside. The demigods, who had been hiding among the clouds to see what would happen, became distressed. For a time it seemed as if the snake-demon had killed Krishna, but when Krishna heard the demigods’ pleas He grew larger and choked the demon to death. Aghasura’s life air burst through a hole in his skull and waited there for Krishna to come out, then it merged into His body. Krishna showed His benevolent nature by rescuing His friends and giving liberation to Aghasura.


Krishna Lifts Govardhana Hill
Vishnu in his many forms is an icon of protection and Krishna was (among other things) an avatar (incarnation) of Vishnu. It is said that the residents of Vrindavana were sometimes aware of this and at times depended on Krishna to protect them. A good example was when Krishna lifted Govardhana Hill. Every year the residents of Vrindavana worshiped Lord Indra for supplying rain. One year when Krishna was a youth, He asked Nanda to worship Govardhana Hill instead of Indra. Krishna argued, “We do not derive any special benefit from Indra. Our specific relationship is with Govardhana Hill and Vrindavana forest. Let us have nothing to do with Indra.”

King Nanda finally agreed with Krishna and prepared to offer the sacrifice to Govardhana Hill. This made Lord Indra angry and jealous. Forgetting the divine position of Krishna, Indra reasoned, “These cowherd men in Vrindavana have neglected my authority on the advice of this talkative boy who is known as Krishna. He is nothing but a child, and by believing this child, they have enraged me.” Indra then sent a storm to devastate Vrindavana. All the people and animals came to Krishna for shelter, and in a miraculous show of strength, Krishna lifted Govardhana Hill with one finger to make the mountain into a huge umbrella. Everyone crowded underneath it and remained safe until the rains stopped. Later, Lord Indra realized his mistake in attacking Krishna and apologized. This is an example of one of the demigods behaving like a demon. Krishna Book explains, “Indra became angry because he thought that he was all in all within this universe and that no one was as powerful as he.”


Krishna Kills Kansa
Kansa’s demons harassed children throughout the region for fifteen years. Magically, Krishna and Balarama killed them all as part of their divine play, or lila. Thus, the inhabitants of Vrindavana were thankful, remembering their guru’s prediction about Krishna. After Krishna killed the arista (bull) demon, the great sage Narada Muni went to Kansa’s palace and told him that Krishna and Balarama were the seventh and eighth sons of Vasudeva. Narada described the events that took place on the night of Krishna’s birth and confirmed that Kansa would meet his death at Krishna’s hands.

On hearing this news, Kansa imprisoned Devaki and Vasudeva again and renewed his vow to kill Krishna and Balarama. He called for the Keshi demon, and other great demons, and just in case that didn’t work, he planned to draw the boys into a wrestling match with two of his strongest wrestlers. He sent his servant Akrura to bring the boys back to Mathura. This would be Krishna and Balarama’s transition into adulthood, because they never again return to the lighthearted pastimes of their youth, playing in the pastures or dancing with the young gopis.

Kansa was delirious with fear waiting for Krishna to arrive, and unable to sleep through the night because of bad dreams. He saw his headless body in a mirror, everything appeared double, and he saw the covering of the sky as pierced. He saw holes in his shadow and left no footprints when he walked.

Krishna and Balarama entered the splendorous city with their friends. By and by they came to the wrestling ring and accepted the challenge to fight Kansa’s demons. After fighting for a few moments, Krishna and Balarama easily killed their opponents. Everyone except Kansa rejoiced at the wonderful defeat. The evil king stopped the celebration and shouted: “Drive the two wicked sons of Vasudeva out of the city! Confiscate the cowherds’ property and arrest that evil man Nanda! Kill that ill-motivated Vasudeva! Also kill my father, Ugrasena, along with his followers, who have sided with our enemies.”

Krishna jumped into the stands, seized Kansa, knocked off his crown and dragged him to the wrestling mat by his hair. There He easily killed Kansa, striking him with His fist. Kansa’s eight younger brothers attacked Krishna and Balarama, but Balarama easily killed them with his club. Krishna and Balarama met their parents, but Devaki and Vasudeva were struck with awe seeing the prophecy fulfilled, and because of a feeling of reverence they were afraid to embrace their sons. After that incident, Krishna and Balarama entered the gurukula and became princes in the court of Yadu.


Krishna in the Court of Dhritarashtra
In the time of Krishna, the blind King Dhritarastra headed the lunar dynasty in Hastinapur. His wife, Queen Gandhari, had one hundred sons called the Kauravas, the oldest of whom was Duryodhana. Also in the royal palace were Grandfather Bhisma, the king’s uncle, and Queen Kunti and her five sons. Kunti’s late husband, Pandu, was King Dhritarastra’s brother, so the Kauravas were her nephews.

Krishna was also Kunti’s nephew, because her brother, Vasudeva, was Krishna’s father. She grew up away from her family, in the palace of Kuntibhoja, her cousin. When she was a child, Kunti had pleased the powerful sage Durvasa Muni, who gave her a mantra that would allow her to conceive five sons from the demigods. She tested the mantra and the Sun God gave her Karna, whom she secretly set afloat in a river. Karna grew up to become a great warrior for the Kauravas, and Kunti later revealed that she was his real mother.

When Kunti married Pandu she used the mantra to have three more sons: Yudhistira, Bhima and Arjuna. Pandu was cursed to die if he ever tried to have sex with his wives, so he was glad Kunti could obtain sons from the demigods. He asked her to give the last chance to his other wife Madri, who subsequently had twins, Nakula and Sahadev. These five children were the Pandava brothers.

Eventually, Pandu attempted to have sex with Madri and immediately died from the curse. Madri killed herself in the funeral pyre but Kunti lived on to care for the children. She and her sons moved into the palace of Dhritarastra, provoking scorn and jealousy among the hundred Kauravas. Her son Bhima caused problems with the other children, because he was a bully. In retaliation, the Kaurava brothers once tied him up and threw him in the ocean, but Bhima returned with added siddhis (yogic powers), annoying them all the more.

At this time Grandfather Bhisma enrolled the Pandava and Kaurava brothers in archery training under the renowned archer, Drona. At the end of their lessons, Arjuna ranked first place in Drona’s tests, and this was another factor to incite jealousy in the Kauravas. As a final request to his students (guru-dakshine), Drona asked them to arrest a neighboring king, Drupada, and bring him there for justice. The Kauravas failed, but Arjuna succeeded, increasing the Pandava’s status.

When their training as princes ended, Dhritarastra acknowledged Yudhistira, Kunti’s oldest son, as the heir-apparent to the throne. Dhritarastra’s move was an indirect insult to his oldest son, Duryodhana, whom he considered a buffoon. This angered the Kauravas and moved the family deeper into conflict that would eventually erupt in the devastating war, which was the basis of the most fundamental books of the Hindu religion: Mahabharata and Bhagavad-gita.

Feeling angry and jealous of the Pandavas, Duryodhana made a plan to kill them. On a family pilgrimage, he built a house of lac for them, and then his servants set it on fire. The Kauravas thought the Pandavas were dead, but they had escaped through an underground tunnel and lived anonymously in the forest for a time. Finally, they heard about and engagement contest (svayamvara) for the hand of the Princess of Panchali, Draupadi, and went there in disguise. The object of the svayamvara was that the contestants had to string a heavy bow and shoot five arrows into the eye of a fish that was dangling on a target in a courtyard. Many princes had gathered, including the Kauravas, but Arjuna won the competition and brought Draupadi back to the forest retreat with him. The other princes were unhappy at losing Draupadi, but Krishna reasoned with them in Arjuna’s favor. When they arrived home with Draupadi, Arjuna told his mother that he had won a great prize that day. Without knowing what it was, Kunti instructed her sons to divide it equally among themselves, and thus they all shared Droupadi as their bride.

Everyone was joyful to find the Pandavas still alive, and married into a prominent ruling family, and so King Dhritarastra invited them to come back to Hastinapura and told his sons to give Yudhistira half the kingdom. Yudhistira built his palace and lived peacefully with his brothers, Droupadi and their other wives.

Reunion at Kurukshetra
On the occasion of a solar eclipse, all the royal families traveled to Kurukshetra to observe religious rites. Kurukshetra would later become the battlefield for the Great War, but for now it was known only as a holy place of pilgrimage. In a previous millennium, Parasurama, an ancient incarnation of God, had killed thousands of evil military kings there, and their blood formed a river at that spot.

When the royal families met their relations in Kurukshetra, there were great exchanges of love. The Krishna Book describes, “Meeting after long separation, they were all jubilant; their hearts were throbbing, and their faces appeared like freshly bloomed lotus flowers. There were drops of tears falling from their eyes, the hair on their bodies stood on end, and because of their extreme ecstasy, they were temporarily speechless.”

At this meeting, Vasudeva and Kunti, who were brother and sister, lamented their long separation. Kunti complained about all she had been through due to Duryodhana. Vasudeva reminded her that he loved her and would have been there to help, except that his life was also miserable due to Kansa’s persecutions.

Krishna and Balarama met the residents of Vrindavana and renewed their relationships with their foster parents, Nanda, Yasoda and Rohini, and the gopis, cowherd girls. The gopis were especially pleased to see Krishna again, since He had never fulfilled His promise to return to Vrindavana. While Krishna and Balarama met their childhood friends, Krishna’s parents from Vrindavana met with Vasudeva and Devaki. Vasudeva finally disclosed to Nanda the events surrounding Krishna’s birth, and they both felt grateful for their fate, having Krishna as their son. While Nanda and Yasoda sometimes thought of Krishna as their ordinary child, Vasudeva and Devaki had always remained conscious of Krishna’s divinity.


The Great War of Mahabharata
Duryodhana remained angry at the Pandavas and wanted to drive them from the kingdom. He challenged Yudhistira to a game of dice, in which Yudhistira lost everything including his brothers, Droupadi and himself. The Kauravas brought Droupadi to the arena to strip off her sari and humiliate her, but she prayed to Krishna and He mystically supplied an unending length of cloth.

King Dhritarastra came on the scene and gave everything back to the Pandavas and sent them home. Soon after that, despite warnings and protests from all sides, Duryodhana convinced Yudhistira to play dice again, and Yudhistira lost again. Thus to satisfy the terms of the wager, Kunti, the Pandavas and Droupadi went to the forest for twelve years, and spent a additional year incognito.

The Pandavas migrated as far north as Badrikashram in the Himalayas for some years, then back to neighboring regions. Toward the end of their exile, the fighting between the Pandavas and Kauravas heated up again. Duryodhana and his men occasionally visited the Pandavas in the forest to pick fights. Another mortal enemy, Jayadrath, kidnapped Droupadi, but the Pandavas rescued her. After satisfying the conditions of the dice game by living in exile, the Pandavas returned to Hastinapura to reclaim their kingdom, but Duryodhana refused to give them even a pinpoint of land. The situation between the Kauravas and Pandavas grew extremely tense. Krishna tried to make peace between the parties, but a war was destined to take place on the battlefield of Kurukshetra. Krishna became Arjuna’s chariot driver and spoke the Bhagavad-gita to Arjuna when the armies drew up to begin fighting. After eighteen days, the war was over.

All the great heroes of the Kaurava dynasty, along with millions of soldiers, lay dead on the battlefield. Only the Pandavas and a small handful of others remained. Asvatthama, one of the remaining warriors, killed Draupadi’s children in their sleep, hoping to end the royal lineage. Even though Prince Duryodhana wanted to find some last revenge, he was appalled by this atrocity and died of grief. The Pandavas arrested Asvatthama and brought him before Droupadi, but out of compassion she pleaded for his life. The shameless Asvatthama made one more attempt to kill the remaining heir, an unborn grandson in the womb of Uttara, Arjuna’s wife. He hurled a brahmastra (nuclear) weapon at Uttara, and when she saw the missile coming toward her, she ran to Krishna for protection. Krishna, who was preparing to leave for His own kingdom, defeated the missile with his Sudarshan-chakra. The child Pariksit grew up to inherit the kingdom.

When Gandhari came to Kurukshetra and saw the corpses of her sons scattered on the battlefield, she blamed Krishna for everything. She cursed Him that in thirty-six years He would also lose everything and die, so that the women in His family would cry, just as she was crying. Then King Dhritarastra, Gandhari, Kunti and their gurus Vidura and Sanjaya left for the forest.


Demise of the Yadava Clan and Death of Krishna
The Pandavas lived in grief due to separation from their relatives. After six years, Yudhistira saw his mother in a dream and they all went to the forest to see her. They took Vyasa, a sage and grandfather in the family, with them. Gandhari and Kunti told Vyasa they wanted to see their dead relatives. Vyasa advised them to dip into the Ganges, which they did, and when they came out they saw Karna, Duryodhana and all the others standing on the bank of the river. Even the blind king Dhritarastra saw the vision. After the Pandavas returned to Hastinapura, two days later a forest fire killed Dhritarastra, Kunti and Gandhari.

Yudhistira had become king after the Great War, but reigned for only a few years before the family crowned Pariksit, Arjuna’s son, as king. The Pandavas and Droupadi left their material engagements to prepare for the end of life (maha-prasthana). They departed for the Himalayas mountains where heaven is, walking in a line with Yudhistira first, then the other brothers, Droupadi, and finally Yudhistira’s dog. As they climbed the mountains, first Droupadi died, then each of the brothers died, until finally Yudhistira reached the gates of heaven, followed only by the dog. Lord Indra was there to meet him. When Yudhistira realized that his brothers and wife were dead, he didn’t want to go into heaven alone, but Indra said the others were already there waiting for him, thus Yudhistira and the dog entered heaven with Lord Indra.

Along with the curse of Gandhari, another curse befell Krishna’s dynasty that contributed to its annihilation. Once some of Krishna’s sons were playing around and they dressed Samba as a pregnant woman, and brought him before some visiting sages Visvamitra, Kanva and Narada Muni. In jest they asked the sages to predict what kind of child Samba would give birth to. Insulted, the sages said he would give birth to an iron rod that would become the instrument to fulfill the prophecy of their dynasty’s demise. Fearful and repentant, the boys asked Krishna what to do, but Krishna acknowledged the curse and said it was meant to be. When Samba delivered an iron rod the next day, the Yadavas (Krishna’s sons) filed it into powder and threw it into the sea. Krishna enforced a prohibition on liquor in Dvaraka, hoping to avoid what was destined to come. Still evil omens began: rats multiplied and attacked humans in their sleep, sheep howled like jackals, asses were born from cows, and cats from mules. Krishna’s Sudarshan-chakra weapon disappeared into the sky.

Eventually the powder from the iron rod washed up on the shore and grew into arrow-like grass. The Yadavas became drunk and used the rods to kill each other. Even Krishna beat people out of anger. In this fratricidal war all the descendents of Krishna killed each other. Krishna sent His messenger Daruka to Hastinapura to inform Arjuna of the demise of the Yadava race, then consoled the women in the palace. He told his wives that Arjuna would take care of them and left for the forest. Krishna’s brother Balarama sat down under a tree and his life air came out of his mouth like a white serpent and entered the sea.


How and Who Killed Krishna?
After the demise of the Yadava clan, Krishna roamed the forest for some time, then sat down to meditate. When a hunter named Jara came by, he mistook Krishna for a deer and shot an arrow into His foot. Krishna died at once and his spirit rose to heaven. Arjuna cremated Krishna and several of His principle queens died in the funeral pyre after Him. Arjuna left for Hastinapura with the remaining wives, but on the way, forest dwellers attacked and the women dove into the Satasvati River and died to escape.

Philosophers and scholars of the time knew that the death of Krishna marked the beginning of Kali-yuga, the present age of degradation. Thus, to preserve this heritage and the stories of Krishna for future generations, they held a convention in the Forest of Naimasharanya. The sages discussed all these stories and Vyasa, one of the sages present, later wrote everything down in what is now the Srimad-Bhagavatam.


Lord Krishna Festivals and Vrats
The Hindu festival Janmashtami marks the birth of Lord Krishna and is celebrated worldwide with lots of joy, enthusiasm and vigour.

There are many spiritual practices and customs that are followed during Janmashtami. For example, fasting is very common to observe this Hindu festival. Also known as Janmashtami vrat, fasting is observed for 24 hours by devotees of Lord Krishna. During Janmashtami fasting, people either eat fruits or do not eat anything and survive just on water till they offer prayers at midnight.

It is believed that Lord Krishna was born at 12 in the midnight. This is the time when devotees offer prayers to the naughty ‘mahan chor’ and then break their fast. Lord Krishna was known for his sweet tooth so, devotees make sure that they prepare lots of sweets and desserts. They offer it to the deity and then have it as ‘bhog’.

Fasting is mostly observed during Janmashtami to chant His name, remove impurities from body, mind and soul. Devotees spend their vrat day by chanting bhajans and taking name of Krishna. It is also done to celebrate the birth of Lord Krishna, and is also considered as an offering to Bal Gopal. There are 2 most common types of Janmashtami fasting that are observed by Lord Krishna devotees on this auspicious Hindu festival.

Types Of Janmashtami Fasting
Phalahar Fast: Also known as Phalahar vrat, it is one of the most common types of Janmashtami fasting. The person refrains from cereals, grains, salt and rice. Only buckwheat flour and potatoes are prepared once in the day. The phalahar is consumed midnight after offering prayers and bhog to Krishna. The person can eat fruits and drink milk before sunset.
Nirjal Fast: This is a strict type of Janmashtami fasting where the person refrains from water as well. The devotee doesn’t eat or drink anything until midnight Janmashtami Puja is performed, and the bhog is offered to the deity.

Krishna Mantra
” Hare Krishna Hare Krishna

Krishna Krishna Hare Hare

Hare Rama Hare Rama

Rama Rama Hare Hare”

This mantra is made from 3 words—Hare, Krishna, Rama, and their combination has different meaning depending on the meaning of Hare. Hare can be interpreted as “Hari” or “Hara”. Hari is another name of God meaning “he who removes illusion”, and Hara is another name of Radhaji (Krishna’s eternal consort or Shakti). Krishna and Rama refer to God himself, meaning “He who is All-Attractive and attracts everyone towards him.


Lord Krishna Temples
This temple is popular worldwide. The beautifully decorated and well maintained temples of Lord Krishna are visited by devotees of different caste and religion. ISKCON temples are there in Delhi, Vrindavan, Bangalore, Kolkata, Assam to name a few places.

Dwarkadish Temple
Built in dwaraka, a city named after the kingdom of shri krishna, which is now submerged under the sea, the Dwarakadheesh temple in gujarat is a 5 storey structure held by 72 pillars. Also known as Jagat Mandir, Dwarkadish is around 2,500 years old temple. The temple is situated along the Gujarat coast line which was once ruled by the yadava clan.

Dwarka is the place where Lord Vishnu slew the demon Shankhasura. Do not forget to visit the temple of Rukmini, Krishna’s wife who was believed to be an incarnation of Goddess Lakshmi.

Vrindavan Temple
It is believed that Lord Krishna spend his childhood in this city. After King Akbar visited the city, he ordered to build 4 temples of Lord Krishna (Madana-mohana, Govindaji, Gopinatha and Jugal Kisore). Located near Mathura, you can visit famous Lord Krishna temples like Banke Bihari Temple, Krishna Balaram Mandir, ISKCON, Govindaji Temple, Madana Mohana Temple to name a few.

Prem Mandir
Prem mandir, built in the holy town of vrindavan is one of the newest temples dedicated to shri krishna. The temple structure was established by spiritual guru kripalu maharaj. The main structure built in marble looks incredibly beautiful and is an educational monument that reflects the true history of sanatana dharma. Figures of shri krishna and his followers depicting important events surrounding the lord’s existence cover the main temple.

The nikunjavana is not a temple in the literal sense but a divine place once frequented by shri krishna. The lord spent time with his consort, radhika (radha) here. The nikunjavana is full of trees. Devotees do not visit the vana (forest) post sunset as it is believed that the lord comes to the spot every evening to spend time with gopis (cow-herd girls) symbolised by the trees.

Madana Mohan Temple
The madana mohan temple is one of the oldest temples built in vrindavan. Originally known as madana gopala temple, the madana mohan temple is situated on the banks of the yamuna. Constructed in the year 1580 at the foot of a hill called aditya tila, the original idol of madana mohan was discovered at the base of an old vata tree by aditya acharya.

Bankey Bihari Temple
The bankey bihari is dedicated to shri krishna who is seen standing in the tribhanga posture. Popular for jhoolan and janmashthami celebrations, the bankey bihari temple was built by swami haridas. Banke bihari is believed to be a late riser and doesn’t wake up before 9am. The mangal aarti in the temple is sung only during janmashtami.

Rangji Temple
The rangji temple situated in shri krishna janmabhoomi or mathura is built in south indian style. It is dedicated to ranganathan, a form of lord vishnu who rests on sheshnaag, the thousand headed serpent.

Jugal Kishore Temple
Situated near kesi ghat, in Mathura city (birthplace of Lord Krishna), Jugal Kishore Temple is one of the most popular and the oldest temples of Lord Krishna in Mathura. The construction of jugal kishore temple was completed in 1627. Shri krishna had killed kesi, the horse demon at this spot and took bath on this ghat. Hence it is also known as the kesi ghat temple. Mughal ruler akbar is said to have visited this temple in 1570. An aarti to Yamuna Devi is offered every evening here.

Radha Raman Temple
The deity at the radha raman temple is a swayambhu (self-manifested) from salagram-sila on the full moon day of vaisakha. Dedicated to radha raman (lover of radha), the temple was established over 600 years ago by gopala bhatta goswami.

Jagannath Temple
This is a famous temple in Puri (Orrisa) that is dedicated to the trinity of deities namely Jagannath, Balabhadra and the goddess Subhadra. Built by raja ananta varman chodaganga of the eastern ganga dynasty in the 11th century, the Jagannath temple in Puri is one of the most sacred places of worship. The temple is also hugely famous for its Annual rath yatra, which draws millions of tourist year on year.

Guruvayur Temple
Also known as the ‘bhooloka vaikunta’ or the abode of lord Vishnu on mother earth, the Guruvayur temple, dedicated to Shri Krishna is situated in Kerala. The Guruvayur temple is also known as dwarka of dakshin bharat (south india) as it is one of the most famous temples in India. It is said that the idol of Lord Krishna in this temple is even worshiped by Lord Brahma (Creator of the Universe). Located in Kerala, the temple owns 36 mighty elephants. Even brides and grooms visit Guruvayur temple to solemnize their marriage.