Krishna - An Avataar Of Vishnu

Krishna is a very important part of the Indian religious tradition, one of the most revered deities in India and the source of some of the most sophisticated philosophies developed in human civilization. He is also one of most interesting and enduring characters of Indian mythology, one that will grow on you and become a part of you, irrespective of whether you have anything to do with India or not....
Krishna - An Avataar of Vishnu
Source - Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AIndischer_Maler_um_1640_001.jpg)

Krishna, the eighth incarnation of Vishnu in Hindu tradition, is also the originator of some of the most fascinating philosophies ever conceived by mankind. These include the philosophy of Karma, enunciated in his sermons during a war and which has been universally adapted by all subsequent Indian philosophies including Buddhism. He also originated Yoga which also spread across the world.

 

The Three Forms of Lord of the Universe

The three primary forms in which god is conceptualised in Hindu tradition are BRAHMA, the creator, VISHNU, the preserver and SHIVA, the destroyer. Together, they form the holy trinity. Among them, VISHNU is the

most revered form of the Lord in India, along with Lord Shiva. He is said to preserve the universe and all its entities including human beings and other forms of life on earth. Thus, he is said to be involved with most aspects of life and its preservation.

Avataar: The form in which Lord Presents himself to Mankind

INCARNATION is an important aspect of Hindu religious philosophy. There is a firm belief that whenever there is too much of anarchy and destruction, whenever the human values are lost in the society, the Lord himself takes a mortal form and joins the world to get rid of the evil, save the world and create an example that the lesser mortals can follow. Vishnu is said to have done this nine times till date, since the beginning of life on earth, in the current cycle of the universe.

Krishna – The Eighth Avataar of Vishnu

The eighth avataar or incarnation of Vishnu came to this world in the form of KRISHNA, who was the eighth child of VASUDEV and DEVAKI. Devaki was the sister of King of Mathura, KANS, who was the biggest perpetrators of human suffering of his times. Once there was an AKASHVANI or divine sound from sky which said that Kans will be killed by the eighth son of Devaki. On hearing this, Kans wanted to kill her, but was convinced by her husband, Vasudev, that instead of killing her sister, she should imprison her, and kill her eighth son. Kans agreed and allowed Devaki to live in a prison on the condition that all her children will be immediately killed.

One by one, Kans killed seven of her children. Then one day, when Devaki was pregnant again, Lord Vishnu appeared in the cell where Devaki and Vasudev were imprisoned and blessed them. A few days later, when she gave birth to her eighth child, all of a sudden, all guards of the prison got unconscious, and all gates of the prison opened miraculously. Vasudev took the child out of the prison to a close by village called GOKULA, where the wife of the headman of the village, YASHODA, had also given birth to a girl child just about that time. Vasudev exchanged his baby boy with Yashoda’s girl child, whom he carried back to prison to her wife. Later, Kans came to know about the eighth child of Devaki, and tried to kill it, but the girl slipped out of his hand and disappeared. Simultaneously, another divine announcement said that the eighth child of Devaki is safe elsewhere and will kill Kans one day.

Kans tried his best to identify Krishna, and finally located him. As Krishna was growing up, he sent many killers to kill him, but miraculously, they were all killed by Krishna. At a very young age, Krishna tamed the eight headed serpent that had caused scare all around. There were many signs of child Krishna being an extraordinary child. Finally, Kans invited Krishna for a wrestling competition, where he had plans for killing him. Instead, Krishna killed Kans, and thereby provided relief to the people of Mathura from his tyranny.

Krishna killed and destroyed many tyrant Kings. Thus, he saved people from evil – one of the main reasons for which

the Lord has taken an incarnation in human world time and again. However, Krishna did much more than destroying evil alone. He indulged in different human activities with a detachment and purity that has became an ideal to be followed by ordinary mortals. He was loved widely by his peers. The tales of his love with RADHA, a girl in Gokul has been the centre of all folklore associated with him, as the ideal and pure selfless love.

Krishna & the Philosophy of Karma

Krishna’s sermons on the philosophy of karma, delivered during the battle of Kurukshetra between the PANDAVAS and KAURAVAS for the right to the throne of HASTINAPUR, is the cornerstone of many an ancient Indian philosophies. This sermon, recorded as BHAGVADA GITA, a part of the mega epic, MAHABHARAT, is one of most read Indian religious scriptures.

Krishna had announced that he will not take to arms in the battle of Kurukshetra. He was requested by Pandavas, who were very close to him because of his righteousness, to side with them even without arms. As the two armies gathered, ARJUNA, the third of the five Pandavas and the greatest warrior of his times, on seeing all his relatives and teachers on the opposite side, refused to fight with them as he was not ready to kill his relatives and acquaintances. Seeing Arjuna losing the battle because of his confusion and dilemma, Krishna gave him a lecture on the battle-field itself. The essence of his lecture was that in this battle, every person would die or be killed not by any other person, but because of his own karma. Just like a person on a death sentence is killed not by the judge or the executioner, but by his own crime, similarly, every person’s fate is bound by his own actions or karma. This lecture of Krishna is the origin of the concept of karma, which is an essential ingredient of the Hindu-Buddhist philosophy. The same lecture also gave rise to the concept of YOGA, or union with god, which has become a very popular form of meditation and alternative therapy in the whole world today.

Karma: The Greatest Philosophy of Human Life

Krishna removed many confusions of life by emphasizing on the larger good and the final aim, instead of the narrow rule bound approach. By doing so, he introduced many revolutionary concepts too. The era in which he came is described in scriptures as the DWAPAR YUG – an era where two pillars of dharma (Hindu word for religion, literally meaning duty) are damaged, meaning people have lost three fourth of their morality or values. His actions created revolutionary examples of detachment. When his own kith and kin, who had become too powerful, gave up a life of discipline and fairness, he allowed them to be destroyed, as a result of their karma.

Because of the many facets of his personality, Krishna is almost an incomprehensible entity in ancient Indian religious history. He is an example of complete human being, and his various activities in his incarnation have set up an example of a complete human being, following who is one of the aims of Hindu faith and tradition.
 



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