KriShNa avatAr

कृष्णाय वासुदेवाय देवकी नन्दनाय च ।
नन्दगोप कुमाराय गोविन्दाय नमो नमः ॥

कस्तूरीतिलकं ललाटपटले वक्षःस्थले कौस्तुभं
नासाग्रे नवमौक्तिकं करतले वेणुं करे कङ्कणम् ॥
सर्वाङ्गे हरिचन्दनं सुललितं कण्ठे च मुक्तावलिं
गोपस्त्री परिवेष्टितो विजयते गोपाल चूडामणिः ॥

Sankha chakra gadA pAne dwArakA nilayAchyutA govinda
punDareekAkshA rakshamAm SaranAgatam.

 KriShNAvatAram, a joy to all who wants to know. The most favorite childhood stories. All of us have had the pleasant experience of listening to KriShNa Leela as our bed times stories from our grand parents. Unfortunately, many of our children don’t have that luxury. But then, they have other sources to enjoy. Provided they give it in the pure form, without adding their own dramatics. Anyways, let’s now see the essence of KriShNa AvatAram.
There are several reasons for a person to do something.  For KriShNa it is only one. To protect his bhaktha. As we chant the last verses of SahasranAmam,
ParitraNaya sAdhunAm, vinashaya cha dushkridam..”. He clearly says, He takes birth, to protect SAdhus and destroy the evil. We take births due to our KarMA. But the lord takes birth because he desires. Iccha is the reason for his birth.

Once, a king by name Suthapa and his wife Prishni were living peacefully. Around that time, world population was depleting. Worried about it BrahmA chose them and requested them to take the responsibility of increasing the population in the world. But, the couple were observing severe penance art that time. It was a tapas of controlling their senses. In that case there was no question of propagation. Not wanting to break their penance, They refused to accept BrahmAs proposal. Hearing this an angry BrahmA, caused them lots of trouble by using natural forces like rain, cyclone, for etc., but nothing could shake them from their determination. They continued their tapas like this for 12,000 years. Their minds were filled with only viShNu. Pleased with their determination, viShNu appeared before them and offered a boon. He was expecting them to ask for a place in Vaikutam. But to his surprise, Prishni revealed her desire. She said, she wanted the lord himself to be born as her child. Immediately he gave them the boon. After that, the couple stopped their penance and started grhasta life. viShNu was born to them in the name of Prishnigarbha.

In the next birth, the same couple were born as, kashyapa and Atithi. To them he was born as Upendra or VAmana. Now in their last birth, they were born as VAsudeva and Devaki. To them lord viShNu was born as KriShNa.

Why did he take birth in Yadhu kulam ?

King Nahusha had six sons. Out of them Yayati became the heir and ruled the kingdom. Yayati married,  his Guru Shukracharya’s daughter, Devayani. To be of help to her, he also married, Vrishaparva’s daughter, Sarmishta. However he started treating her also as his wife and had children through her. When Shukracharya came to know about this, he cursed Yayati to become an old man. Yayati begged to be  forgiven and his youth retuned to him. Shukracharya had mercy on him and said, if someone is ready to take your old age and give you their youthfulness, then it is possible. Excited by the option given, Yayati asked every one of his sons through devayani to exchange. They all refused to do so. No one was willing to lose their young age and become old and invalid. Hearing this, Yayati cursed his sons, Not to have Rajya , (kingdom). Therefore Yadu kula people lost their kingdom. KriShNa was born in Yadhu kulam to release them from their course and help them get back their kingdom. ( just in case you want to know, sarmishtas’s son Puru, agreed to become old. Yayati got back his youthfulness, he enjoyed it to the fullest extent until he naturally grew old and realized he had wasted his entire life on entertainment and non- athmic activities. He then controlled his senses and attained Brahmam )Let’s now see the birth story of KriShNa.

We all know that, BhagvAn took birth to destroy evil and relieve mother earth of her burden. One such evil was Kamsan. King Shurasena of Mathura had a daughter Devaki. She was given in marriage to VAsudeva. ( were have already seen who they are). Shurasenan’s elder brother Ugrasenan’ son was Kamsan. On the day of the wedding, he heard an ASARIRI saying that the Eighth child born to this couple was going to kill him. Soon he imprisoned both of them and one by one killed 6 children by smashing them against a rock. 7 th was BalarAma who we saw was transferred to Rohini’s womb. After this yoga mats was born to Yashoda, and KriShNa was born to Devaki n the prison.
While being born, in all the confusion, he forgot that he was supposed be born like a human. He was born with four hands, shankh and chakram. VAsudeva enjoyed this divine vision for sometime and then politely asked KriShNa to conceal his true form. Immediately the just born baby changed itself into an ordinary looking human baby. Though the tejas could not be hidden. After all the exchanging was over Kamsan sent a queue of Asuras to kill the little baby, but the mighty lord finished them one after the other. Starting from Puthana, ending with Kesi. If we were to list them it will become a Asura SahasranAmam..His Leela with the gopika stris are ever mesmerising episodes.But personally, I prefer the stealing butter stories. You know why. There is an explanation. Please read carefully.
Butter and Gopikas were said to be the representation of our Atma. It is said that we have to immerse our souls in KriShNa like how the gopikas did. 60,000 of them each enjoyed krishna as if he were only hers. They couldn’t stay away from him neither mentally not physically. This is the ideal status of our mind which is advised through the Gopikas. Wonderful, if it works.But the problem is, I am like the butter. My Atma is just like that butter sitting inside the pot. I have no motivation not initiative in joining the lord. Like the gopika stri I don’t express my love for him. First of all I doubt if I have any love for him, seeing the things I am engaging myself in. When that is the case, it only makes sense that the lord himself should go through all the trouble, take all the pains, find us from our hidden place and steal our heart and soul like he stole the butter. To us this appeals more. Next, once Nandagopa, arranged for Indra yagnya. Krishna was puzzled. So Nandagopa explained to him that, the country is prosperous because of the periodic rains. And lord Indra is the devata for all natural sources. So it is a tradition to offer puja and homam for Indra.
To this KriShNa answers, that everything in this world happens due to the laws of nature. Rajas ( one of the 3 qualities) is the cause of rains. Therefore we should only pray to the trees, mountains and the cattle. He further urges Nandagopa to feed  the cattle and the poor people. Nandagopa agreed to this and everything happened as planned by KriShNa. They all circumambulated the Govardhana mountain. With all the gopikAs singing the praises of KriShNa.
When Indra came to know this, is anger knew no bounds. He created huge clouds pregnant with waters like the Pralaya time, and made it rain. All the people surrendered to KriShNa and asked him to protect them. Smiling KriShNa said it was his duty to protect the ones who have surrendered to him. Saying this, he lifted the entire mountain and held it like an umbrella, balancing it on his little finger. He brought all the people of Gokulam under the mountain. The harsh rain continued for 7 days. At the end Indra realised the yogic powers of BhagvAn and surrendered to him. People rejoiced this moment and named KriShNa Govindan and bathed him with milk.Thought it was appropriate to read the story of Govardhana Giri Dhari today and pray for him to protect people in Chennai.

नमो ब्रह्मण्य देवाय गोब्राह्मण हिताय च ।
जगत् हिताय कृष्णाय गोविन्दाय नमो नमः ॥मूकं करोति वाचालं पङ्गुं लङ्घयते गिरिं ।
यत्कृपा तमहं वन्दे परमानन्द माधवम् ॥

As KriShNa was busy performing his Raas Leela, NArada thought it was a right time to pay a visit to kamsa. After enjoying the warm welcome given by Kamsa, he slowly started conveying the valorous deeds of KriShNa and BalarAma and suggested that it might be a good time for kamsa to invite the brothers to his palace. Hearing this kamsa got a good idea of finishing the duo. He sent Akrura, to bring both BalarAma and KriShNa to Mathura, in the pretext of inviting them for a big mela, Dhanur Yagnya and Malla Yuddha (wrestling matches).

Akrura left for Brindavana and invited KriShNa-BalarAma to Mathura to attend the  Yagna and Celebrations; their parents were grieved; Vrajavaasis were saddened; Gopaas were upset; Gopikas were alarmed at the news of KriShNa leaving. But like a yogi, KriShNa never liked to stay in one place for long. He was excited about the trip. Moreover, it was time for the main part of his play to be enacted. Therefore taking leave from a wailing city, both the kids left for Mathura. As BhagavAn KriShNa and BalarAma entered Mathura, they asked Akrura to leave them alone as they preferred to walk up by the ‘Raja Maarga’ to enjoy their interaction with the public.

Their first encounter was with a Rajaka or Washerman who happened  to be from the Royal Palace of King Kamsa. As the brothers were attracted to the colourful dresses, they asked the Rajaka to give them a few nice dresses but  the haughty washerman talked rudely and arrogantly which provoked KriShNa to beat him and pulled him down on the ground and helped themselves a few dresses of their choice.

A little ahead, another person kept on staring at the boys and asked them nicely as to where were they coming from. He said that he was a Maali or a flower seller and invited them to his home nearby and offered them nice flower garlands. KriShNa was pleased at his pleasant  conduct and gave him the boon that all along his life, the Maali would be happy, prosperous and well-contented.

The next encounter was with a Kubja  or a short and deformed girl and KriShNa asked her as to where was she going and what was she carrying. As she said she was carrying Gandha or sandal wood paste, KriShNa wished to provide the fragrant paste to him and in turn, he lifted up by her chin and straightened her up by pressing her feet and she was made straight and shapely at once.

At the end of the Raja Marga,  there was a massive Deva Dhanush and KriShNa broke it playfully as the thundering sound was heard all over. Hearing the loud sound, Kamsa realised that the boys had arrived and that they would have  broken the Dhanush. The next day as they entered the yaga Shaala, they saw the royal rogue elephant waiting to lift them up. KriShNa-BalarAmas on arrival understood the intention of the elephant and as it lifted them up they landed on its back and pounded it with their fists, twisted its tail and trunk and felled the animal down with a thud  and it breathed its last. The entire audience especially the Yadavas cheered up the boys.

Meanwhile Kamsa announced that the duo of KriShNa and BalarAma would participate in friendly wrestling matches with the fearful wrestlers like Chanura and Mushtika. Initially, the wrestling bouts looked funny and comical, but as Chanura and Mushtika looked serious, the boys also thought, enough of fun now let’s finish them. BalarAma shouted to Govinda, Victory be with you KriShNa: Kill Chanura at once. KriShNa sat on his shoulders and gave a mighty blow on his head which was smashed and the tall and powerful Chanura lost his balance and crashed on the ground with a thud and died instantly.  It was then the turn of BalarAma to hit on Mushtika’s head , stomach and knees and the latter too was shattered. In succession, they defeated and killed many more packs of Asuras and mallas. The people of Mathura now realised, the time is up for the tyrant Kamsa. Even after seeing the strength of the young boys, (KriShNa was only 12 years old, at that time) it didn’t strike Kamsa. His mind clouded by anger and AhamkAra. He proceeded towards the arena, hoping to squash the boys with his mighty arms. But in no time KriShNa pushed him down and sat on his chest.  Kamsa could not breath. His eyes were fixed on the lord. His mind was only thinking about this boy who was sitting on his chest. At that moment KriShNa gave a huge blow on his chest and Kamsa lost his life.  As he was shouting , KriShNa, and as his mind was completely engrossed in the beautiful appearance of KriShNa he was directly taken to Vaikunta. It means no matter, whether you think about bhagvAn with his knowledge or without, no matter whether you like him or not, if a person, at the moment of death, thinks about Lord KriShNa, he attains Mukti. IT IS LIKE FIRE. WHEN TOUCHED,  IT BURNS BOTH THE INTELLIGENT AND THE IGNORANT THE SAME WAY. After this KriShNa has a very short Gurukula vaas. In just 64 days, they mastered all the 64 arts, the Vedas , Upanishads etc.
Later KriShNa requested, his friend and bhakta, Uddhava, to go as his messenger to Gokulam and narrate all the events till kamsa’s death. Uddhava did so and returned took KriShNa carrying different kinds of souvenirs and live for KriShNa from Gopikas. Next it was Akruras turn to become a messenger for KriShNa. He sent Akrura to visit HASTINAPURAM and find out the status of pandavas. He tried to do justice to his role and used the opportunity to put some sense into DhritarAshtra’s mind. But he only got one reply from DhritarAshtra. That, what is destined to happen will happen. Taking the same as a message for KriShNa, he returned and narrated the essence of his trip.
After Kamsa’s death, his two wives, Asti and Prasti, complained to their father, Jarasandan. He waged war 17 times against KriShNa and was defeated every time. 18 the times, he brought an ally, kAlayavanan, whom KriShNa tricked into coming in front of an Asura Musukundan. This guy has boon, that the first person to be seen by him after being woken up will burn to ashes. Now KriShNa brought kAlayavanan, to do the honors. He was burnt to ashes. Then to protect, the people of Mathura he ordered Vishwakarma, to build a beautiful city on the sea which is 120 miles approx in area. He established it as a strong city, well guarded. He asked BalarAma to take care of the city. At a later time, jarAsandha invited bhIma for a duel. But even after many days of fight, he was not getting killed. KriShNa hinted bhIma by tearing a twig into two and dropping in such a manner that both halves end up falling in opposite directions. BhIma did the same and jarAsandha was killed finally. (jarAsandha’s story is that his father gave a blessed fruit in two halves to two wives. They have birth to half baby each. The halves were put together to make a full jarAsandha. Imagine science those days !!!!). There are so many other interesting incidents and stories that may take ages to narrate.  As we are all aware of the major details of KriShNa AvatAram, there are a few very important messages. KriShNa rendered 700 slokas, called The GItA, through which he tried to put some sense into Arjuna. The message that he kept repeating in GItA , to be put in concise form is 3 things.
NisPruhaha. Which means , RENOUNCE THE FRUIT OF ALL YOUR ACTIONS.
NirMamaha.  which means , RENOUNCE THE THOUGHT THAT THIS BELONGS TO ME.
NirAhankAraha. which means RENOUNCE THE THOUGHT THAT I AM THE DOER.
The soul which realises all the above is the one that is peaceful, said Arjuna to KriShNa. Once the purpose of his AvatAram was over, and all the yadhavas were also completely erased from the face of earth, KriShNa decided to get back to his abode. KriShNa retired into the forest and started meditating under a tree. A hunter by name Jara mistook ( was supposed to mistake , as it was all preplanned by KriShNa), KriShNa’s toe to be the ear off a deer and shoot a poisonous arrow at him. Later when he realized his mistake he pleaded for forgiveness. KriShNa tells him not to worry, as the hunter was none other than Vali from RamAyaNa who got killed by RAma.) At the same time, BalarAma returned to Vaikunta as Adisesha, and after watching him go, KriShNa also returned to his abode. Though the story is a great to all our senses, though it has every kind of emotion in it to satisfy our ever impulsive mind, we must try not to be distracted by them. And take the essence of KriShNa’s actions. Realise that he is the cowherd and our souls are his cows.This Atma belongs to KriShNa. I am stealing it away from him. That way Iam committing a great crime which is called, atmapaharanam. Stealing of the soul from its owner.

Hare KriShNa Hare KriShNa
KriShNa KriShNa Hare Hare….

Temples of Krishna Avatar

TBD

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