Saturday, August 16, 2014

Gokulashtami | Sri Krishna Jayanthi - The Story of Lord Krishna

Wishing you all a very happy Gokulashtami !! Jai Shri Krishna !!
 This was my first reverse-glass painting which I painted in 2010, which I gifted my MIL on her anniversary.

Sri Krishna Jayanthi is also called as Krishna Janmashtami / Gokulashtami. This day marks the birth of Lord Krishna. This is one of the most celebrated festivals for Hindus. Gokulashtami (Sri Krishna Jayanthi) falls on 8th day after Avani Avittam function.             
He is the blue-skinned God, the eighth incarnation of Vishnu, Preserver of the World. He is the Cosmic Cowherd, the mischievous deity that Hindus love the most for his pranks, for his butter-thievery, for his melodious flute, for his romantic interludes with Gopis, the milkmaids. He fought demons, danced on the mighty serpent’s head and lifted Govardhana Hill with his little finger, using it as an umbrella to protect the people from torrential rains.

I wanted to post something about Lord Krishna, so started surfing. It was exciting to read the story of Lord Krishna. Growing up, the only thing I'd learned about Lord Krishna was that he was mischievous as a child. I did not know much about his birth, why he was born on this earth or what the story was. It was wonderful to read the story, So wanted to share with you all. Here it goes...

Story of Lord Krishna :-
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Kamsa is an evil king, the ruler of Mathura (in northern India). He had ascended the throne by imprisoning his father, King Ugrasena. Kamsa's sister Devaki was married to Vasudeva. On the day of her marriage, an akashvani or voice from the sky was heard prophesying that Devaki's 8th son would be the destroyer of Kamsa. 
The frightened Kamsa immediately unsheathed his sword to kill his sister but Vasudeva intervened and implored Kamsa to spare his bride, and promised to hand over every new born child to him. Afraid of a prophecy that predicted his death at the hands of Devaki's eighth son, Kamsa relented but imprisoned both Devaki and her husband Vasudeva.
Krishna was the 8th son of Devaki and Vasudeva. After Kamsa killed the first six children, and Devaki's apparent miscarriage of the seventh (which was actually a secret transfer of the infant to Rohini as Balarama), Krishna was born.  
Even before her 8th child was born, Devaki and Vasudeva started lamenting its fate and theirs. Then suddenly Lord Vishnu appeared before them and said he himself was coming to rescue them and the people of Mathura. He asked Vasudeva to carry krishna to the house of his friend, the cowherd chief Nanda in Gokula right after his birth, where Nanda's wife Yashoda had given birth to a daughter.

Lord Krishna's Birth :-
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Vasudeva was to exchange his boy and bring Yashoda's baby daughter back to the prison. Vishnu assured them that "nothing shall bar your path".  At midnight on ashtami, the divine baby was born in Kamsa's prison. 
Remembering the divine instructions, Vasudeva clasped the child to his bosom and started for Gokula. Vasudeva  found that his legs were in chains. He jerked his legs and was unfettered! The massive iron-barred doors unlocked and opened up. He took Krishna with him and crossed Yamuna to reach Gokul, where he can live safely, away from his evil Uncle Kamsa. 
While crossing river Yamuna, Vasudeva held his baby high over his head. The rain fell in torrents and the river was in spate. But the water made way for Vasudeva and miraculously a five-mouthed snake followed him from behind and provided shelter over the baby.

When Vasudeva reached Gokula, he found the door of Nanda's house open. There everyone was asleep, so he quietly exchanged the babies and hurried back to the prison of Kamsa with the baby girl. As he entered, the doors of the prison closed themselves and the doors was locked again. The watchmen were awake, they realized that a baby girl was born.

 Yogamaya :- 

When Kamsa came to know about the birth, he rushed inside the prison and threw her on a stone. But this time it skipped from his hand and reaching the sky. She rose in air and transformed into Yogmaya(who is Vishnu's helper). 
She was transformed into the goddess Yogamaya, who told Kamsa: "O foolish! What will you get by killing me? Your nemesis is already born somewhere else." 
       
Infant Krishna :-
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The birth ceremony of the Lord was celebrated with great pomp at Gokul. All of the residents of Gokul were very excited and enchanted by Lord Krishna. 
Later, Sage Garga, the priest of the Yadus, came to visit Nanda. He requested Garga to conduct Krishna's naming ceremony. Anticipating Kamsa's suspicion, the naming ceremony was secretly conducted in a cowshed. The Lord was named Krishna because of his bewitching, dark complexion and his brother was named Balarama, because of his great strength. 
Putana Vadham :-Kamsa wanted to somehow destroy his infant enemy before he himself would get destroyed. He enlisted a ferocious demon named Putana, to kill all the babies born on the same day when Devaki gave birth to the baby. She dressed as a beautiful woman, smeared poison on her breasts and flew on her broom, around the town of Gokula to breast-feed the babies born in the month of Bhaadrapada.     
She reached Nanda's house and lovingly asked Krishna's mother, Yashoda, to give the baby to her to love and fondle. Putana took baby Krishna on her lap and pushed the nipple of her breast in the mouth for suckling. Krishna closed his eyes and sucked out her life air, killing her, without taking her poison. 
Hearing her loud shriek during her death, everyone came running to the courtyard and found to their surprise the dead body of Putana lying on the floor while Krishna was smiling and kicking. When her soul departed, her body returned to its real form, a gigantic witch that smashed trees as it fell, stretching twelve miles across the landscape. People now knew that Krishna was not an ordinary boy. 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.  
Shakatasura(Cart demon) Vadham :-
Kamsa was shocked when he heard of Putana's death. So he sent another demon named Shakaatsura. He disguised himself as a cart and went to Gokula. At the age of three months Krishna rolled over, to commemorate this event Yashoda observed a special ceremony. 
 All the cowherd women gathered in front of her house and sang festival songs. Yashoda was busy receiving the guests and performing various scared ceremonies for safe and longer life of Krishna. In all those activities, she forgot about Baby Krishna who had been placed underneath a hand driven wooden cart. Shakataasura positioned himself over Krishna. He tried to lean and crush the Lord. 
Krishna felt hungry and started weeping. When mother Yashoda did not pay attention to his crying, Krishna kicked his feet on the wheel of the cart. The cart collapsed with a great noise. All the people rushed to the site and saw Krishna lying safely below the cart and crying. Immediately, Yashoda lifted the child and hugging her dearly started feeding her milk to the child. 

Vision of Universe :-
When Balram, elder brother of Krishna, complains mother Yasodha that Krishna is eating mud. Yashoda grew very anxious and chided Krishna to open his mouth. Yasodha asked Krishna to open his mouth. 
Yashoda Maiya was wonder-struck by what she saw. She saw the whole universe in his mouth, the sun, the moon and all the stars, the sky, mountains, rivers, islands, oceans, all the continents, all living as well as non living beings.  

Trinavarta (Whirlwind-demon)  :-
Trinavarta (whirlwind demon) was sent by Kansa to kill Krishna. He took baby Krishna on his shoulders and went high in the sky from where he planned to drop the baby and kill him. But, baby Krishna made himself so heavy that he could not carry him any further.
Krishna then caught hold of his neck and killed him. He fell on the ground making a great noise. Feared and tired of the daily troubles in Gokula, the elderly people of the cowherd decided to shift to Vrindavana forest on the bank of river Yamuna.
 Butter Krishna :- 
As Krishna grew older his pranks increased. Tales of his love for milk and butter had spread in every household. Whenever the milkmaids crossed the fields, Krishna and his friends shot pebbles at them to break the milk pitchers.
The family always had a lot of milk and butter around. Krishna was very fond of both. Krishna and Balarama engaged in stealing butter and milk from the neighborhood houses in many ways.  
Knowing Krishna's love for milk products, Yashoda kept the butter jars tied together and hung them from a high ceiling where Krishna's hands could not reach.
One day, seeing Krishna fast asleep, she went to fetch a bucket of water from the nearby well. Krishna jumped up and whistled aloud. A group of boys and monkeys came running into their home. They quickly huddled together to help Krishna stand on their shoulders and get down jars.  Then they sat down to eat the butter. They were so absorbed that the did not see Yashoda enter the house. When Yasoda came home she was dismayed and reprimanded him. 
Furious, she chased them with a stick. The monkeys and friends ran away but Krishna got a good spanking from his mother. Yashoda wrapped the rope around Krishna but every time she tried to tie a knot, she discovered that the rope was too short. Krishna smiled and made the knot himself. So she tied him to a grinding mortar.
Krishna tried to crawl and the mortar stuck between two Arjuna trees in the courtyard. The trees fell and two splendorous demigods emerged and offered prayers to Krishna. Narada Muni cursed and had the souls to stand as trees for one hundred years and Krishna freed them. 
  Bakasura Vatham(the demon of deceptiveness) :-
Kamsa never gave up on his idea of killing Krishna. One day as young Krishna and his cow heard friends lazed and grazed their cattle by the Yamuna. They use to satisfy their thirst from the waters of River Yamuna.


One day they saw a huge white duck strolling in the waters of Yamuna. This was the demon Bakasura, who was a friend of Kansa. He attacked Krishna with his sharp beaks and engulfed Him. Krishna simply got hold of its beak in his hands and ripped them apart as a child would do to a blade of grass thus ending Bakasura’s life.

Krishna Lifts 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, 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.  

Aghasura Vadham (The Snake Demon ):-
One day the cowherd boys were playing their games, they came upon a mountain cave. This was actually a demon-brother of Putana's, who had expanded himself into the shape of a big fat serpent 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.
When the boys walked into the cave Krishna became momentarily aggrieved because he knew it was one of Kamsa's tricks. He considered for a moment, then decided to enter the cave Himself. Krishna 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.
Kaliya Vadham :- 
Within the River Yamuna, there was a great lake in which the black serpent Kaliya used to live with its family.Because of its poison, the whole area was contaminated. The trees and grass near the bank of River Yamuna had dried up and the water of River Yamuna was also not palatable. Krishna decided to end this menace forever. 
One day when he along with his friends was playing with a ball along the bank of River Yamuna, Krishna deliberately threw the ball in the contaminated water and dived in the river to bring back the ball.At the bottom of the river, he saw Kaliya, the black serpent. After a fierce battle, Krishna tamed the serpent and dancing on its hood, he wanted to kill Kaliya. 
But on request of wives of Kaliya, he left it on the condition that they would immediately evacuate the waters of River Yamuna and find for themselves another shelter.
Krishna also assured Kaliya that as it came to this place out of fear from Garuda (the vehicle of Lord Vishnu/Krishna), now after seeing the marks of his lotus feet on its hood, Garuda would never disturb Kaliya. Then, obeying the orders of Krishna, all of them left the lake within the River Yamuna and went to the ocean. 
Aristasura Vadham :- 
One day, a demon named Aristasura entered the village of Vrindavana in the form of a great bull. The body and horns of the bull were gigantic and it was digging up the earth with his hoofs while walking. He entered the village and roared fiercely. Hearing its forceful roar the villagers and the cows fled the village. 


When Krishna saw them running, he stood before the bull. The bull began to proceed towards Krishna in anger. Krishna immediately caught his horns and tossed him away. After recovering from the trauma, the bull again charged Krishna with great force. Krishna once again caught hold of his horns and wrung his neck as if it had been a piece of wet cloth, and at last tearing off his horns beat him to death with them. The demi-gods in the celestial planets began to shower flowers on Krishna for this wonderful achievement.

The End of Kamsa ~ Kamsavadham :-
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Kamsa's demons harassed children throughout the region for fifteen years. Magically, Krishna and Balarama killed them all as part of their divine play, or leela. After Krishna killed the arista (bull) demon, the great sage Narada Muni went to Kamsa'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 Kamsa would meet his death at Krishna's hands. 
Kamsa 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. 
Krishna and Balarama accepted the challenge to fight Kamsa's demons. After fighting for a few moments, Krishna and Balarama easily killed their opponents. Everyone except Kamsa 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 Kamsa, knocked off his crown and dragged him to the wrestling mat by his hair. There he easily killed Kamsa, striking him with His fist. Kamsa'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.
He completed his education in Mathura and is known to have gained mastery over 64 arts and sciences in a span of 64 days under the tutelage of saint Sandipani. After that incident, Krishna and Balarama entered the gurukula and became prince in the court of Yadu.  
He built an island in the sea, called Dwaraka, which submerged in the sea, as per the epics of Mahabharata. With his power of Yoga, he shifted all the natives to Dwaraka.

Krishna is the prime character of Mahabharata, where he became the charioteer of Arjuna in the great war that broke between the Pandavas and the Kauravas. He advocated the theory of ‘Nishkam Karma’ to Arjuna during the war, which is also kown as Bhagavad Gita.
After the war, he returned to Dwaraka, where he spent few years in teaching wisdom to his friend and disciple, Uddhava. He is believed to have left for his abode after ruling on the earth for over 125 years.  Krishna has an profound impact on the hearts and souls of millions of Hindu people. 


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