Image by permission.
Basic Description: Krishna
is the eighth avatar of the god Vishnu. In the Bhagavad-Gita he appears
as a profound teacher. Furthermore, he is often depicted as a young cowherd
who loves the cow maidens. Other descriptions include Krishna
as a mischievous child, a heroic slayer of demons, and a king.
Alternate Names: Govinda
He is usually
depicted as being dark blue or black and as playing a flute. Often he is shown
with his mistress Radha.
are some of the central myths concerning Krisha:
Krishna growing up: Krishna was born into the Yadava clan. His uncle Kamsa
(sometimes written Kansa), the evil king of Mathura, heard that he would be
would be slain by one of his sister’s children. He therefore tried to kill them
all. However, Krishna was given to a peasant couple to be raised. As a child
Krishna played many pranks, especially on the gopis. He was also known for being
a lover and for playing his flute. After Kansa found that having
ordered all children to be killed hadn’t gotten rid of Krishna, he sent a demon
to kill the boy. When Krishna was walking in the woods, it came to him. However,
the boy caught its leg and smashed it against a rock, killing it. The demon
then tried to turn into a bird and fly away with him. However, he made himself
hot and the bird dropped him. Finally, the demon tried to eat his as a snake.
Krishna was nonetheless not defeated. He swelled until the beast’s stomach burst. As an adult, Krishna and his brother Balarama killed Kamsa. Then,
he led the Yadavas to another area and there became king of Dvaraka .
Krishna as charioteer/ Krishna's death: When war broke out between the Kauravas
and Pandavas clans Krishna would not fight. However, he gave stayed with the
Pandavas and gave the Kauravas his army. During the war Krishna served as charioteer
of the fighter Arjuna. When he got home, a fight broke out and Krishna’s son
and brother were killed. He went to the woods to grieve and there, sitting in
the woods, a hunter mistook him for a deer and fatally wounded him.
Even though Krishna had nine wives, including Rukmini, who was an avatar of Lakshmi, his true love was Radha, who also was married to someone else. Nevertheless, it is Radha who is always pictured with Krishna, and they are usually referred to as "Radhakrishna."
Other References on the Karma-to-Grace website:
Corduan, Winfried. Neighboring Faiths. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity,
Knipe, David M. Hinduism: Experiments in the Sacred. Prospect Heights, IL:
Waveland Press, Inc., 1991.
“Krishna” New Encyclopedia Britannica. Micropaedia Vol. 7. Chicago:
Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc., 2002.
Thomas, P. Epics, Myths and Legends of India. Bombay: D.B. Taraporevala Sons
and Co. Private. Ltd., 1989.
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