And what is the significance for a devotee of Krishna.
Krishna is believed to be Vishnu’s eight incarnations. Vishnu represents the “preserver” status in the Trimurti but is more frequently appreciated in his incarnation as Krishna. Krishna appears in many mythological stories but is most famously remembered for his part in the Bhagvad Gita. This scripture is believed to have been spoken by Krishna himself. Krishna is seen as a king and a conqueror of demons but his followers appear particularly fond of his childhood and youth. His love affair with the beautiful cowherdess, Radha is immensely popular with his followers. In many Indian temples dedicated to Krishna, his followers visit (Darshan) his images and present water for washing, drinking, clothes, flowers, incense and offer praise during their puja. Chanting and singing the Hare Krishna mantra is a very popular activity found in temples. The maha-mantra is a transcendental sound vibration which awakens love of God in the heart and mind. As with all other activities, music is considered a sacred offering to God.
Murti’s of Krishna are ritually installed temples, as it is believed that it is actually full of divine spirit of Krishna. Krishna’s pictures often portray him as the young flute player, surrounded by cows, teasing the gopi girls, or occasionally as the mischievous friend and even as the charioteer who accompanies Arjuna. These different images illsurate the different forms of relations a Hindu can have with god, either as best friend, a lover or mischievous son.
To achieve an understanding of Krishna it important to be aware of the events in the Bhagvad Gita. Arjuna is preparing for a battle in which he will be fighting against his own members of the family. He feels that this is morally wrong and has conversation with his charioteer. His charioteer, Krishna is the supreme lord in disguise. It is here; Krishna explains the path to self liberation and to discovering the inner atman. Krishna points out that the soul does not die in battle, but moves into a new one.
“The soul can not be pierced, it can not be parched, it can not be wetted, it is everwhere, immovable…” He reminds Arjuna of his dharma and the effects of Karma. Krishna goes further on to state that is not action itself that should be avoided but the results of it. One should not think of particular rewards for their actions but offer selflessly to the Lord. This is the function of Karma yoga. Having taught this he goes onto mentioning different paths such as jnana and yoga and presentating the need for reaching a state of samadhi through knowledge and devotion.
The festival calendar varies region to region throughout India. The festival to celebrate the birth of Krishna is held between August and September and is called Janammastami. The bhagvad Purana which focuses on how to be yogi is often read out.
Krishna unlike some of the other supreme deities, acknowledged that there were those who were marginalized such as the low caste and women and therefore highlighted that there were many different paths for each Hindu to reach liberation in his own way.
Krishna is encompasses the perfect balance between performing his dharma in such a way that good karma is continually repeated. Through performing jnana and bhakti yoga, a devotee can offer selfless acts, which will be received with Krishna’s grace and blessings. Therefore Krishna’s love for Radha is the perfect example for any Hindu to achieve a harmonious union with the Lord and achieve moksha.