A long time ago, the world was oversaturated by useless fights between various kings, which were in fact demons pretending to have royal blood. The entire world was troubled. Then, Bhumi, the goddess of this earth, went to Brahma to tell him about the sufferance she endured due to the demoniac kings.
Brahma told her: “The great Vishnu will come on the Earth soon, endowed will all his supreme powers and he will stay here until he will fulfil his mission of destroying the demons and re-establishing faith.”
In Hinduism, Krishna has an important place, being considered a manifestation of God (Bhagavan). For his worshipers he is the symbol of divine love (Prema), divine beauty (Rupa) and detached, fascinating action (Lila).
Along time, Krishna has been worshipped under various forms. The playful child Krishna is the one that fulfils beneficial desires and offers protection, young Krishna is the divine, cosmic lover and the wise warrior Krishna is the defeater of demons, the one removing all limitations. According to Hinduism, Krishna is Vishnu’s eighth avatar. According to all standard dictionaries, the Sanskrit word “krishna” means “black”. In Indian iconography, the great avatar appears often with black or blue skin, compared to other mythical characters, which are depicted with light coloured skin.
Many writings reflect his life and teachings. Krishna is first mentioned in the poem Mahabharata, which contains the famous Bhagavad Gita. The cult of Krishna had later on spread, being described in different Puranas, such as Vishnu Purana, reaching a peak with the 1000 verses of Bhagavata Purana and the poem Gita Govinda.
Krishn is easy to recognize in his representations: In the Murti-s he appears with black or dark skin, while modern images present him having dark blue skin. He is often represented wearing a yellow silk Dhoti and a crown made of peacock feathers. The most known descriptions depict him as a little or a young boy, playing the flute, in a relaxed posture. In this hypostasis, known as Tribhangi Mudra, he keeps one leg bent in front of the other, lifting the flute to his lips, in the company of his cows, as he is the divine shepherd, Govinda. He is often depicted also together with his beloved Gopi-s, the shepherdesses.
In the temples, Krishna is often depicted in a formal, vertical position. He is either alone or together with his brother, Balarama, and his sister, Subhadra or his main queens, Rukmini and Satyabhama. There are many images in which Krishna is depicted together with his favourite lover, Radha. The Manipuri Vaishnava-s worship not only Krishna, but also Radha – Krishna, a representation that combines Krishna’s and Radha’s features.
Krishna is also worshipped in his hypostasis of a child (Bala Krishna), represented as crawling or dancing, with a piece of butter in his hand.
The date of his birthday is not certain, although in Bhagavata Purana there is an indication – the midnight of Rohini Nakshatra (the eighth day after the new moon of the Sanskrit month Shravana). Therefore, according to these dates, the period of his birth was established to be july 3227 BC or, according to other dates, 3112 BC. A famous astrologer, Arun K. Bansal, encourages the idea of the year 3228, which is approximately 125 years before February 18th, 3102 BC, date traditionally considered as the starting of Kali Yuga, the age of spiritual decadence of human kind.
Krishna and Uddhava
Uddhava (also known as Pavanayadhi) is a character from Hindu Purana-s, Krishna’s friend and adviser. He plays a significant role also in Bhagavata Purana, where we hear that he learned yoga and Bhakti from Krishna directly. According to certain texts, Uddhava was Krishna’s cousin, the son of Devabhaga, who was Vasudeva’s brother, Krishna’s father. His physical appearance resembles Krishna’s so much that sometimes he is mistaken with him.
Krishna offers Uddhava many teachings, in the forms of the advices he was giving him when he was sending him in different missions. The dialogue between them is rendered in Uddhava Gita. In the following we present a few significant fragments from this work.
Krishna teaches Uddhava
The Lord said: “Great and fortunate Uddhava, you have perceived very well My wish to withdraw the Yadava dynasty from the Earth and to return to my home in Vaikuntha. Brahma, Shiva and other celestial leaders are asking me to return to my home in Vaikuntha (in Heavens).”
Answering Brahma’s prayer, I descended into this world together with Baladeva (Balarama), who is a complete manifestation of Me, and I did various actions in the name of the gods. Now I have accomplished my mission here.
Now, due to the Brahmans’ curse, the Yadava dynasty will certainly perish, because its members will fight against each other, and in the seventh day starting with today, the ocean will rise and will flood the city of Dwaraka.
Devoted Uddhava, soon I will abandon this earth. Then, overwhelmed by Kali’s age, the earth will forget any piety.
Dear Uddhava, you should not remain her on earth after I abandon this world. My dear devoted one, you are without sin, but in Kali Yuga people will become dependent on all kinds of bad activities; because of this, do not stay here.
Now you should give up completely any attachments to your friends and relatives and focus your mind upon Me. In this way, being always in communion with me, you should look upon all things with detachment. The material universe you perceive with your mind, speech, eyes, ears and other senses is an illusionary creation that you imagine as being real due to the influence of Maya. In fact, you should know that all the objects of material senses are ephemeral.
The one whose consciousness is affected by illusion perceives many differences regarding the value and meaning of material objects. In this way, he acts constantly from the perspective of material good and bad and is influenced by these concepts. Absorbed in material duality, such a person makes a distinction between fulfilling obligatory duties, not fulfilling these duties and performing forbidden activities.
For this, bringing your senses under control and thus controlling your mind, you will look at the entire world as being in the Self, which is expended all over. You will also perceive this individual Self in Me, the Lord.
Because you have achieved complete knowledge of the vedas, and have accomplished practically the ultimate goal of such knowledge, you will be able to perceive your Self pure and thus your mind will be satisfied. Then, you will be loved by all living beings and restlessness will never affect your life.
The one who transcended material good and bad will automatically act according to religious principles and will avoid forbidden activities. A perfect being does this spontaneously, like an innocent child, and not because he or she thinks in terms of material good or bad.
The one who wants the good of all beings, who is filled with peace and is firmly established in knowledge and self-realization, sees Me in all things. Such a being never enters the cycle of births and deaths.”
“Lord, Supreme Soul, for those whose mind is attached to satisfaction of senses and especially for those who lack devotion towards You, it is very difficult to attain such a renunciation of material joys. This is my opinion. I myself am very ignorant, because my consciousness is united with the material body and the relationships of the body, which are all produced by Your illusory energy. Therefore, I think: <I am the body and all these are my relatives.> This is why, Lord, please teach your poor servant. Please tell me how to easier apply Your teachings. Lord, you are the Absolute Truth, the Lord that You reveal Yourself to Your worshippers. Besides You, I see nobody else able to explain to me knowledge in a perfect way. Such a perfect teacher does not exist not even among the gods in heaven. They are conditioned souls, accepting their material bodies and the expansions of the body as being the Supreme Truth.
For this, Lord, feeling myself tired of material life and tormented by sadness, I surrender now to You, because You are the perfect teacher. You are the unlimited Supreme God, omniscient, whose spiritual home in Vaikuntha is not affected by any disturbances. In fact, You are known as Narayana, the true friend of all living beings.”
The Supreme Lord answered:
“In general, those human beings that can analyse with lucidity the current situation of the material world are able to rise above a life focused only on gross material satisfaction.
An intelligent person, able to perceive attentively the world around his or her and having a healthy logic, can obtain real benefits due to his or her intelligence. This is why, sometimes such a person acts as his or her own spiritual master.
In the life as a human form, those who master themselves and who know very well the spiritual science Samkhya can see Me directly, together with all My powers.
In this world there are many created life forms – some with one leg, others with two, three, four or more legs, and other without any legs. But, out of all these, human being is the dearest to Me.
Although I, the Supreme Lord, can never be perceived through ordinary senses, people can use their intelligence and other perception abilities in order to search for Me directly, through visible signs, as well as indirectly.”