The eighth avatar of god Vishnu, Lord Krishna, is one of the most popular gods worshipped in Hinduism. With a flute in his hand and a peacock feather crown on his head, he is considered the god of compassion, tenderness and love. Not just in this country, since the 1960s, the worship of Lord Krishna has also spread to the Western world, especially after being promoted through the International Society for Krishna Consciousness – ISKON. His life, as described by the ancient manuscripts, has been a journey comprising of power, miracles, humility, love and loyalty. Read on to known more about some of the interesting facts relating to Lord Krishna.
1. The Supreme God
Although he is the eighth avatar of Lord Vishnu, he is considered the Supreme God in his own right. He forms the central character of ancient epic manuscripts such as Mahabharata, Bhagavatam Purana and Bhagavat Gita.
2. Lord Krishna has around 108 names in various languages and regions.
He is known as Gopala, Mohan, Ghyansham, Laddu Gopal, Kanhiaya, Kanha, Shyam, Devakinandan, Hari, Govinda, Vasudeva and various other synonyms that have been traced to 1st Millenium BCE literature.
3. Meaning of the name Krishna
Krishna has been derived from the Sanskrit word ‘Krsna’ which is adjective for words ‘dark’ and ‘dark blue’. Also, in some texts, the color of his skin is poetically described as the color of ‘jambul/jamun’, the purple colored fruit. However, many a times the name ‘Krishna’ has also been interpreted as ‘all-attractive’.
4. Was the eighth son of Devaki and Vasudev and the only one to see the world, as all his siblings were killed by his uncle Kansa.
5. He was cursed to die
When the war at Kurukshetra lead to the death of hundreds of sons of Gandhari, Krishna visited her to offer his condolences for Duryodhan’s death. Gandhari held him responsible for letting all that happen and not attempting to stop the war at any point. In a fit of rage, she cursed him to die along with his Yadu dynasty in the next 36 years.
6. Krishna relationship with Pandavas
Krishna’s father Vasudev was a brother of Pandava’s mother, Kunti. Hence, Krishna was a cousin of the Pandavas.
7. Relationship with Eklavya
Krishna was a cousin of Eklavya as Eklavya’s father, Devshrava, was a brother of Krishna’s father. Eklavya’s father got lost in the woods and was adopted by the king of hunters Nishada Vyatraja Hiranyadhanus.
8. Lord Krishna had 16,108 wives
Lord Krishna once protected 16,100 women from demon Narakasura, however, since their families refused to accept them, the women turned to Lord Krishna, who in turn married each of them in order to protect their honour. However, in the ancient manuscripts, the Ashtabharya (eight brides) are mentioned as the primary wives of Krishna. They are Rukmini, Satyabhama, Jambavati, Kalindi, Mitravinda, Satya/Nagnajiti, Bhadra and Lakshmana.
9. Death of Lord Krishna
Once, sage Durvasa asked Krishna to apply kheer all over his body. Krishna obliged; however, he did not apply it on Durvasa’s feet as it disrespected the kheer. In rage, Durvasa cursed Krishna that his feet will bring upon his death. One day, while Krishna was sleeping, a hunter named Jara mistook him for a deer and struck an arrow which hit his feet and eventually led to Krishna’s death.
10. Radha not mentioned in most scriptures
Unbelievable as it sounds, Lord Krishna’s consort Radha has not been mentioned or strategically concealed in most of the ancient manuscripts such as the Mahabharata, Harivansham, Bhagvat-Gita, Rigvedas and various Puranas. Some believe that Radha came into knowledge after being mentioned by poet Jayadeva and Acharya Nimbark.
11. Radha-Krishna’s relationship helped legitimize live-in relationships
As per mythology, Radhan and Krishna used to live together without being married to each other. This example had been cited in order to change the law in 2010 when the Supreme Court legitimized live-in relationships and pre-marital sex.
12. Khrishna had 80 sons
As per mythology, all his eight wives, bore him 10 sons each, thereby making him a father of 80 sons.
13. Brought a person back to life
As a Guru Dakshina, Guru Sandipani Muni asked from Krishna and Balram for his son to be brought back to life who had disappeared in an ocean near Prabhasa. The son was trapped in a conch named Panchjanya by a demon Shankhasur, and Krishna took Yama’s help to restore the son back to life.
14. Panchjanya blowing began the war
The Panchjanya that Krishna had brought along from the deep sea by killing demon Shankhasur, was used by him thereon. The conch, whenever blown by Krishna, would foreshadow the death of his next opponent. The great war of Mahabharata began after the Panchjanya was blown by Krishna.
15. Eye for an eye in two births
Rama and Krishna, both were avatars of Lord Vishnu. In one of the avatars, Rama killed Bali and he assured Bali’s widow Tara that Bali would be able to take a revenge in his next birth. In his next birth, Bali was born as Jara and he was the person who killed Krishna mistaking him for a deer.
16. Krishna related literature has inspired several performance arts such as Bharatnatyam, Odissi, Kuchipudi, Kathakali and Manipuri dance.
17. During Raas Leela, Krishna danced with the Gopis, and it was such that each Gopis thought that she was dancing the Krishna alone.
18. Krishna’s favorite weapon was Sudarshan Chakra.
Some of the notable uses of Sudarshan Chakra was while killking Shishupala and was used to create the illusion of sunset, which led Krishna killing Jayadratha.
While most of us know about Lord Krishna and many worship him, only the die-hard devotees know these details. There is so much more to ancient manuscripts and mythology which is as vast as the universe!