Lord Krishna

Topics: Krishna, Vaishnavism, Vishnu Pages: 18 (6562 words) Published: December 1, 2010
Krishna (कृष्ण in Devanagari, kṛṣṇa in IAST, pronounced [ˈkr̩ʂɳə] literally "black , dark , dark-blue") is a Hindu deity, regarded as an avatar of Vishnu and in some traditions considered the Supreme Being. Krishna is often depicted as an infant or young boy playing a flute as in the Bhagavata Purana,[1] or as a youthful prince giving direction and guidance as in the Bhagavad Gita.[2] The stories of Krishna appear across a broad spectrum of Hindu philosophical and theological traditions.[3] They portray him in various perspectives: a god-child, a prankster, a model lover, a divine hero and the Supreme Being.[4] The principal scriptures discussing Krishna's story are the Mahabharata, the Harivamsa, the Bhagavata Purana and the Vishnu Purana. Worship of a deity or hero called Krishna, in the form of Vasudeva, Bala Krishna or Gopala, can be traced to as early as 4th century BC. Worship of Krishna as svayam bhagavan, or the Supreme Being, known as Krishnaism, arose in the Middle Ages in the context of the bhakti movement. From the 10th century AD, Krishna became a favorite subject in performing arts and regional traditions of devotion developed for forms of Krishna such as Jagannatha in Orissa, Vithoba in Maharashtra and Shrinathji in Rajasthan. The Gaudiya Vaishnavism sect of Krishnaism was established in the 16th century, and since the 1960s has also spread in the West, largely due to the International Society for Krishna Consciousness.[5] Contents [hide]

1 Name and titles
2 Iconography
3 Literary sources
4 Life
4.1 Birth
4.2 Childhood and youth
4.3 The prince
4.4 Kurukshetra War and Bhagavad Gita
4.5 Later life
5 Worship
5.1 Vaishnavism
5.2 Early traditions
5.3 Bhakti tradition
5.4 Spread of the Krishna-bhakti movement
5.5 In the West
6 In the performing arts
7 In other religions
7.1 Jainism
7.2 Buddhism
7.3 Bahá'í Faith
7.4 Ahmadiyya Islam
7.5 Other
8 References
9 Further reading
10 External links
[edit]Name and titles

Krishna as Jaganatha in a typical Oriya style, shown at the far right, with sister Subhadra in the center and brother Balarama on the left. Main article: List of titles and names of Krishna
The Sanskrit word kṛṣṇa is primarily an adjective meaning "black", "dark" or "dark-blue". It is cognate with Slavic čьrnъ "black". As a feminine noun, kṛṣṇā is used in the meaning "night, blackness, darkness" in the Rigveda, and as a demon or spirit of darkness in RV 4.16.13. As a proper noun, Kṛṣṇa occurs in RV 8.85.3 as the name of a poet. In the Lalitavistara Sutra, Krishna is the chief of the black demons, the enemies of the Buddha.[6] As a name of Vishnu, Krishna listed as the 57th name in the Vishnu Sahasranama. Based on his name, Krishna is often depicted in murtis as black or blue-skinned. There are a number of mystical speculations surrounding the name. In the Brahmasambandha mantra of the Vallabha sampradaya, the syllables of the name Krishna are assigned the power to destroy sin relating to material, self and divine causes.[7] Mahabharata's Udyoga-parva (Mbh 5.71.4) divides kṛṣṇa into elements kṛṣ and ṇa, kṛṣ (a verbal root meaning "to plough, drag") being taken as expressing bhū (meaning "being; earth"), and ṇa being taken as expressing nirvṛti "bliss".[citation needed] Mahabharata verse 5.71.4 is also quoted in Chaitanya Charitamrita and Srila Prabhupada in his commentary, translates the bhū as "attractive existence", thus Krishna is also interpreted as meaning "all-attractive one".[8][9] This quality of Krishna is stated in the atmarama verse of Bhagavatam 1.7.10.[10] The name is glossed as "Existence of Bliss" in Adi Sankara's interpretation of the Vishnu sahasranama.[11] Krishna is also known by various other names, epithets and titles, which reflect his many associations and attributes. Among the most common names are Govinda, "finder of cows", or Gopala, "protector of cows", which refer to Krishna's childhood in Vraja.[12][13] Some of the distinct names may be regionally...
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