Krishna Facts, Quotes and History (Hindu deity)


Krishna (meaning "dark" or dark-blue") is one of the most revered and widely worshipped of all the Hindu deities. Krishna born ca. 3200 and 3100 BC is supposedly the embodiment of love and divine joy, is the destroyer of all pain, sin and suffering; in Vaishnava Hinduism He is God Himself. Worshipped as both an avatar ("descent" or "embodiment") of the Hindu god Vishnu, as well as a complete god in his own right, Krishna is depicted alternatively as a mischievous child, a divine lover, and a spiritual master.


The great exponent of the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna is one of the most powerful incarnations of Vishnu, the Godhead of the Hindu Trinity of deities. Of all the Vishnu avataras he is the most popular, and perhaps of all Hindu gods the one closest to the heart of the masses. Krishna was dark and supposedly extremely handsome. The word Krishna literally means 'black', and black also connotes mysteriousness.

Krishna was born in the human form as one of the children of Devaki, sister of the cruel and harsh demon king Kamsa. The sage Narada had predicted that Kamsa would be killed by his nephew, so the king killed Devaki´s first six children. The 7th, Balarama escaped and the 8th, Krishna, was secretly exchanged for a cowherd's daughter.

Indian as well as Western scholars have now accepted the period between 3200 and 3100 BC as the period in which Krishna lived on earth. Krishna took birth at midnight on the ashtami or the 8th day of the Krishnapaksha or dark fortnight in the Hindu month of Shravan (August-September). The birthday of Krishna is called Janmashthami, a special occasion for Hindus that is celebrated around the world. The birth of Krishna is a phenomenon among Hindus that generates awe among the believers.

Krishna was brought up in that cowherd's family in the cities of Gokula and Vrindavana. As a child, Krishna had great love for His foster-mother Yashoda.

Stories about Krishna's exploits abound. Legends have it that on the very sixth day of his birth, Krishna killed lady demon Putna by sucking on her breasts. In his childhood, he also killed many other mighty demons, such as Trunavarta, Keshi, Aristhasur, Bakasur, Pralambasur et al. During the same period he also killed Kali Nag (cobra de capello) and made the holy water of river Yamuna poison free.

Krishna loved to play the flute and danced with the cowherd girls of the village known as gopis, the primary gopi being Radha. He stayed in Gokul, the legendary 'cow-village' in Northern India for 3 years and 4 months. As a child he was reputed to be very mischievous, stealing curd and butter and playing pranks with his girl friends or gopis. Having completed his Lila or exploits at Gokul, he went to Vrindavan and stayed until he was 6 years and 8 months old.

According to a legend, Krishna drove away the monstrous serpent Kaliya from the river to the sea. Krishna, according to another popular myth, lifted the Govardhana hill up with his little finger and held it like an umbrella to protect the people of Vrindavana from the torrential rain caused by Lord Indra, who had been annoyed by Krishna. Then he lived in Nandagram till he was 10.

Krishna then returned to Mathura, his birthplace, where Kamsa, his maternal uncle, made a series of murders and murder attempts with the intent of murdering Krishna and harassing the village in which He lived. For the protection of this village, during a final battle against Kamsa and his henchmen Krishna killed Kamsa along with all his cruel associates and liberated his parents from jail. He also reinstated Ugrasen as the King of Mathura. He completed his education and mastered the 64 sciences and arts in 64 days at Avantipura under his preceptor Sandipani. As gurudaksina or tuition fees, he restored Sandipani's dead son to him. He stayed in Mathura till he was 28.

Krishna then came to the rescue of a clan of Yadava chiefs, who were ousted by the king Jarasandha of Magadha. He easily triumphed over the multi-million army of Jarasandha by building an impregnable capital Dwarka, "the many-gated" city in an island in the sea. The city located on the western point of Gujarat, is now submerged in the sea according to the epic Mahabharata. Krishna shifted, as the story goes, all his sleeping relatives and natives to Dwarka by the power of his yoga (see Yoga and Dangers of Yoga). In Dwarka, he married Rukmini, then Jambavati, and Satyabhama. He also saved his kingdom from Nakasura, the demon king of Pragjyotisapura, had abducted 16,000 princesses. Krishna freed them and married them since they had nowhere else to go.

For many years, Krishna lived with the Pandava and Kaurava kings who ruled over Hastinapur. When a war was about to break put between the Pandavas and Kauravas, Krishna was sent to mediate, but failed. War became inevitable, and Krishna offered his forces to the Kauravs and himself agreed to join the Panadavas as the charioteer of the master warrior Arjuna. This epic battle of Kurukshetra described in the Mahabharata, was fought in about 3000 BC. In the middle of the war, Krishna delivered his famous advice, which forms the crux of the Bhagavad Gita, in which he put forward the theory of 'Nishkam Karma' or action without attachment (see Karma).

After the great war, Krishna returned to Dwarka. In his final days on earth, he taught "spiritual wisdom" to Uddhava, his friend and disciple, and ascended to his abode after casting off his body, which was shot at by a hunter named Jara. He is believed to have lived for 125 years. Whomever Krishna was, there is no gainsaying the fact that he has been ruling the hearts of millions for over three millennia.


Many scholars believe that the varied elements associated with Krishna (lover, child, spiritual master) indicate that he is a syncretic deity. However, these elements have proven difficult for scholars to separate. One prominent theory suggests that the Krishna figure originated with the combination of two deities: Krishna-Gopala and Vasudeva-Krishna. Krishna-Gopala was likely worshiped by the nomadic Abhira clan, a group of herdsmen. From this figure come the much-loved stories of Krishna's youth as a cowherd. Vasudeva-Krishna was likely the deity of the Vrishnis of the city of Mathura, Krishna's supposed birthplace. Vasudeva-Krishna was worshiped for defeating the evil king Kamsa and for serving as a counselor in the battle between the Pandavas and Kauravas, described in the Hindu epic, the Mahabharata. This theory posits that the two deities merged when the Abhira herdspeople came in contact with the Vrishnis, resulting in the combining of these elements, forming the modern conceptualization of Krishna.

Although Krishna is considered to be an avatar of Vishnu in modern Hinduism, some evidence suggests that Krishna and Vishnu were originally separate deities. In the Bhagavadgita, Krishna proclaims himself to be a supreme deity, rather than an incarnation of Vishnu. Additionally, Krishna appears primarily in Hindu epics such as the Mahabharata, whereas Vishnu appears primarily in the Vedas and Puranas. This suggests that initially Krishna was the deity of Kshatriyas (warrior caste) while Vishnu was worshiped by Brahmins (priestly caste), lending further evidence to their initial distinctiveness. The two deities appear to have merged during, or prior to, the fifth century A.D. The Vishnu Purana, written during this time period, is the first text to proclaim Krishna to be an avatar of Vishnu.

Folklore and Mythology

The legends of Krishna are of utmost importance to the religion, art, music, and literature of India. According to Vedic astrology, Krishna is believed to have been born during the thirtieth century B.C. Prior to his birth, a tyrannical prince named Kamsa overthrew his father, King Ugrasena, and usurped the throne of the city of Mathura (located in the modern state of Uttar Pradesh). On the wedding day of a nobleman named Vasudeva and Kamsa's sister, Devaki, it was prophesied that the eighth son born to Devaki would destroy Kamsa and reinstate a virtuous ruler to Mathura. Kamsa imprisoned Vasudeva and Devaki, and proceeded to murder every child of Devaki's the moment it was born. According to Hindu legend, Vasudeva and Devaki's seventh child, Balarama, was transferred to the womb of Rohini, Vasudeva's first wife who resided in the cowherd village of Gokul. When their eighth child was born, Vasudeva escaped from imprisonment, carrying the infant to Gokul. Vasudeva exchanged the infant for the newborn girl of his friends Yashoda and Nanda, assuming Kamsa would not harm a female child. Although Kamsa attempted to kill the child, it slipped from his grip and ascended toward the sky. At that moment, an oracle warned Kamsa that the one who was prophesied to destroy him was still alive.

Yashoda and Nanda raised Devaki's eighth child and named him Krishna ('dark one'). As a boy, Krishna became the darling of Gokul. Although he was constantly caught by the gopis for playing pranks and stealing butter and milk, his charm made it difficult for them to chastise him. Krishna is also believed to have performed many so called miracles as a boy. It is believed that Kamsa had discovered where Krishna had been hidden and sent demons in the form of animals to destroy him. The Harivamsa relates many stories of Krishna defeating demon-animals, such as Kaliya, the snake who repeatedly poisoned the village water supply, and Hastin, the mad bull.

As Krishna entered his youth, he became known as a lover of the gopis. The gopis, drawn by the sound of Krishna's famous flute, are said to have left their homes in the evenings to join Krishna in a Rasa Lila (joyful dance). During the dance, Krishna would multiply himself and dance with all the gopis, an action later interpreted to symbolize God's complete love for each and every human being. As a deity, Krishna has been criticized for encouraging the gopis to leave their husbands to dance with him. However, some worshipers believe that Krishna should not be judged according to moral standards of human beings, as Krishna is a "god," not a human. Thus, the purpose of these stories is to provide a model of devotion for Hindus: as the gopis held Krishna above all else, so too should humanity hold God above all else. One gopi in particular named Radha was extremely devoted to Krishna. Some believers consider Radha to be an incarnation of Lakshmi, Vishnu's consort. Radha serves as a model of complete devotion for modern believers. As a young man, Krishna fulfilled the prophecy by returning to Mathura, killing Kamsa, and returning the throne to King Ugrasena. King Jarasandha of Magadha (Kamsa's father-in-law) attempted to attack Mathura repeatedly to avenge Kamsa's death. For the safety of the residents of Mathura, Krishna moved the residents of the city to Dwaraka. Krishna later married Rukmini, the princess of Vidharbha, as well as several other wives.

Who is Krishna? An Examination

For generations, Krishna has been an enigma to some, but God to millions, who go ecstatic even as they hear his name. People consider Krishna their leader, hero, protector, philosopher, teacher and friend all rolled into one. Krishna has influenced the Indian thought, life and culture in myriad ways. He has influenced not only its religion and philosophy, but also into its mysticism and literature, painting and sculpture, dance and music, and all aspects of Indian folklore.

However, as one examines Krishna teachings, one will discover that he cannot have been a god. In the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna, the supposedly incarnated Godhead, says about himself:

"Those who are devotees of other gods and who worship them with faith actually worship only Me, O son of Kuntī, but they do so in a wrong way. I am the only enjoyer and master of all sacrifices. Therefore, those who do not recognize My true transcendental nature fall down. Those who worship the demigods will take birth among the demigods; those who worship the ancestors go to the ancestors; those who worship ghosts and spirits will take birth among such beings; and those who worship Me will live with Me. If one offers Me with love and devotion a leaf, a flower, fruit or water, I will accept it. Whatever you do, whatever you eat, whatever you offer or give away, and whatever austerities you perform — do that, O son of Kuntī, as an offering to Me. In this way you will be freed from bondage to work and its auspicious and inauspicious results. With your mind fixed on Me in this principle of renunciation, you will be liberated and come to Me. I envy no one, nor am I partial to anyone. I am equal to all. But whoever renders service unto Me in devotion is a friend, is in Me, and I am also a friend to him." (Bhagavad Gita 9:23-29)

Not only does Krishna say that those who worship other gods actually worship him (which is illogical in itself), but Krishna, who is supposed to be the incarnation of one of the supreme gods in Hinduism, even says that he is equal to all. But if that's the case, why then worship him? I would not want to worship someone as "God" unless I knew that he was superior to me, i.e., that he was my creator, the author of my life, the God of the universe and of me and the supreme good for everything, including me, and which all other good flows from.

The equality found in the teachings of Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita probably stems from the Hinduistic belief that all men can attain to godhood, or that all men can become "God". Hindus believe that, when a person dies, his spirit is given another earthly body, that of an animal, a person of another caste (social level), or a god, depending on how he lived his current life. This cycle of death and rebirth continues on and on until one is finally released. Hinduism explains that the soul reincarnates until all karmas are resolved and "God Realization" is attained. All souls according to them, without exception, will attain this highest spiritual summit, though it may take many lives until finally reaching the pinnacle of consciousness where man and God are forever one.

The Hinduistic view of God is ultimately an impersonal, eternal force, essence, or power of existence, having none of the attributes or characteristics of persons (such as knowing, thinking, loving, etc.). This force, called Brahman, is present everywhere in everything in nature, especially in all living things: every plant, every animal, and especially every man. The attributes of personality are believed to exist only in physical, material beings. But God, in pure form, is impersonal and has no personal characteristics. This impersonal essence, pervading all things, is also found within us. So, the "spirit" within us is Divine. It is part of God. The real inner you is "God". Your inner essence is the essence of Deity. The Bhagavad-Gita says our eternal souls are "part and parcels of God." "The soul is a small God" (Bhagavad Gita, Back - inside front cover and page 6).

Because Brahma is everything, Hinduism asserts that everyone and everything is divine. This view is called "pantheism," the belief that everything is God and that reality consists only of the universe and nature. Because everything is God, many Hindu philosophies makes no distinction between man and God. This desire of becoming god is what the devil's influence brings to the heart of those who refuse to obey God. The claim that man are evolving into gods—or are already gods—is merely the devil's age-old lie found way back in Genesis 3:4,5: "You will not surely die… you shall be like Gods…" And this most definitely is the path mysticism takes a person down. Mysticism brings worship with "spirit", but it is a counterfeit spirit because it is not derived from the truth or directed at the One and only God! Instead, it is directed at self and self-enlightenment and the so called attainment of "Godhood". It is little more than self-worship disguised as a high level of spirituality.

Jesus constantly warns people not to be deceived (Luke 21:8). In Luke 11:35 He says, "See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness." Indeed, "the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour" (1 Peter 5:8), but he (the devil) "masquerades as an angel of light" (2 Cor. 11:14), thereby deceiving his victims until it is too late. Krishna indeed "masquerades as an angel of light" to those who view him as "God," but it's a deception of the devil as with all other false religions. The next couple of quotes and facts about the Bhagavad Gita and Hinduism will make this even more clear. Krishna, the supreme god of the Hindus says:

"Even if one commits the most abominable action, if he is engaged in devotional service he is to be considered saintly because he is properly situated in his determination. He quickly becomes righteous and attains lasting peace. O son of Kuntī, declare it boldly that My devotee never perishes." (Bhagavad Gita 9:30-31)

Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita that even if one commits the most abominable action, like pedophilia, so long as one is "devoted" to him one is saintly and will never perish! But is this truly so? Definitely not. The above quote is a good example of the devil's deception through Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita. The devil loves to imprint a false hope or security in sinful people and to make them feel "comfortable" in their sin. Such evil messages will not encourage people to stop with sinning because so long as they are externally "devoted" to Krishna they are "good" or "saintly" and "saved" anyway. The kind of devotion that Krishna advocates is nothing but the "appearance" of a devotion that is completely devoid of all virtue and goodwill. A person who commits abominable actions cannot truly be devoted to the One and true God or be saintly as long as he continues in heresy or abominable actions. Only when a person embrace the true Faith and cease with committing mortal sin, along with having a will never again to commit a mortal sin, can he be considered as being devote. However, it doesn't mean that because a person stays away from sin that he is automatically devoted or that he will be saved. Many people are devoid of devotion even though they outwardly appear to be devote or good. Any person can practice prayers or good works, especially if one has made it a part of one's daily routine. Devotion is found first and foremost in the good life, intention, heart, will, and mind of man, and not in an outward (and many times habitual) practice or appearance.

Krishna's theology of being saintly and being assured of never perishing even though one commits the most abominable actions – just because one is devoted externally to him – much resembles the protestant heresy of Saved by Faith Alone and Once Saved Always Saved (or Eternal Security). In fact, they are so similar that there is no doubt that they come from the same source: the Devil. These doctrines contradict both the natural law and reason which says that every man shall be rewarded or punished for his deeds. It also contradicts, word for word, the teaching of James 2 in scripture, which teach that faith without works is dead, and that man is not saved by faith or devotion alone. A person who believes in faith alone or eternal security or that one is saintly even though one commits the most abominable actions is a heretic, because he rejects a truth he knows to be true from the natural law, that God is a rewarder and a punisher of our actions, and that faith alone or external practices does not justify a man only, but our deeds and intentions also.

Galatians 5:19-21 "Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are fornication, uncleanness, immodesty, luxury, Idolatry, witchcrafts, enmities, contentions, emulations, wraths, quarrels, dissensions, sects, Envies, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like. Of the which I foretell you, as I have foretold to you, that they who do such things shall not obtain the kingdom of God."

The message of Krishna in Bhagavad-Gita is inherently satanic. To begin with the simplest of criticism, in chapter 9: verse 32 of Gita, Krishna says that even women, vaisyas [merchants], sudras [low-level workers], or any people of sinful birth go to the supreme abode, if they take his shelter. In verse 9:33, he says then what to say about righteous brahmanas, devotees, and saintly kings! This means that women – alongside vaisyas, sudras, and people of sinful birth – are considered to be of lower birth/type than righteous brahmanas, devotes, and saintly kings, and that Krishna does not consider women to be in the category of "righteous brahmanas". So women are either unrighteous brahmanas or not brahmanas at all.

Here are two translations of Bhagavad Gita, chapter 9: verse 32-33:

"O son of Pṛthā, those who take shelter in Me, though they be of lower birth — women, vaiśyas [merchants] and śūdras [workers] — can attain the supreme destination. How much more this is so of the righteous brāhmaṇas, the devotees and the saintly kings. Therefore, having come to this temporary, miserable world, engage in loving service unto Me." (Bhagavad Gita, chapter 9: verse 32-33)

"O Arjuna, even those who may be born from the wombs of degraded women, merchants and menials; if they take full shelter of Me, they also reach the supreme goal. What then again of devotees, virtues brāhmaṇas and saintly kings; having achieved this transient world full of misery, engage in devotional service unto Me." (Bhagavad Gita, chapter 9: verse 32-32)

The following is a classic Hindu commentary on the above passage:

Kesava Kasmiri's Commentary (on Bhagavad Gita 9:32-33): "It has been established that bhakti or loving devotion to Lord Krishna exclusively purifies a devotee of the blemish of heinous and abominable practices due to unrighteous character and habits and that bhakti alone is capable of leading such a one directly to the supreme destination of the spiritual worlds and into Supreme Lords eternal association. Now Lord Krishna enumerates on this supreme destination even being accessible to those who are unworthy due to circumstances of birth. This includes those of vile birth such as untouchables, mleechas or meateaters, those born illegitimately, those without education, vaisyas or the mercantile class which is situated below women and above sudras which is the menial class. All these lack the qualification for Vedic knowledge and thus destitute of righteous conduct are only eligible to exist on the lowest path of existence; but if they somehow or other receive the mercy of a devotee of Lord Krishna. By this mercy taking sole refuge in the Supreme Lord then they also will verily reach the Supreme destination as well.

"After having explained the position of the lowly and unfortuante Lord Krishna follows the line of thought of how much more assured is the supreme destination attainable by the higher members of society like the Brahmins and Vaisnavas who are noble and righteous. If those of low birth and demerits can attain the supreme destination then how much more can those of high birth and much merit including the royal sages who are the best of the ksatriyas or warrior class as well as the seekers of truth. This goes without question."

Remember, Krishna considers people as "saintly" even if they commit the most abominable action so long as they are engaged in devotional services to him. This logically means that a pious woman is lower and more vile than a wicked king.

However, contrary to Hinduistic teaching, God does not consider anyone as vile, low or sinful by his birth because God looks into the heart of man and not on outward appearances or births. In Christianity, only those are vile, low and sinful that actually commits sin (both in deed and thought) and who does not repent and turn away from their sin.

Galatians 5:19-21 "Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are fornication, uncleanness, immodesty, luxury, Idolatry, witchcrafts, enmities, contentions, emulations, wraths, quarrels, dissensions, sects, Envies, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like. Of the which I foretell you, as I have foretold to you, that they who do such things shall not obtain the kingdom of God."

Luke 17:3-4 "Take heed to yourselves. If thy brother sin against thee, reprove him: and if he do penance, forgive him. And if he sin against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day be converted unto thee, saying, I repent; forgive him."

Proverbs 28:13 "He that hideth his sins, shall not prosper: but he that shall confess, and forsake them, shall obtain mercy."

God in His foreknowledge knew how sinful and rotten most of mankind would be, but He looked beyond our unworthiness and saw our need for redemption. Jesus Christ died, was buried and rose again from the grave to TAKE AWAY our sins through baptism. Jesus did this by the shedding of His own physical blood. 1st Peter 1:18,19, "Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold... But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot." Christ died for all men, because God loves His children.

John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

Romans 5:8 "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."

Krishna's teaching on lower birth probably stems from the Hinduistic belief in reincarnation and the caste system. The caste system in India is directly related to their religious beliefs. Hinduism teaches that anyone born into a lower caste is being punished for the sins committed in his past life. If such a person is calmly resigned to his fate and lives rightly, he will be elevated in caste in his next life. This premise tends to make the members of the lower castes and the untouchables submissive to the terrible economic and social conditions under which they live.

The castes became hereditary which meant that all sons are necessarily members of the same caste as their fathers and that he has to follow his father's occupation. The 25,000 modern castes even include a caste of thieves! If someone is expelled from his caste or has no caste by birth, he is known as an Untouchable or Dalit, a pariah, and such a person is in a hopeless and pitiable condition. There are currently more than 250,000,000 untouchables or Dalits worldwide with around 180,000,000 million of them living in India alone. Surely, only the devil could have come up with something this evil.

While the discrimination based on caste system (not the caste system itself) has been abolished under the Indian constitution since 1950, discrimination and prejudice against Dalits in South Asia still occur. According to a UN report, approximately 110,000 cases of violent acts committed against Dalits were reported in 2005. The report claimed 6.7 cases of violent acts per 10000 Dalit people. For context, the UN reported between 40 and 55 cases of violent acts per 10000 people in developed countries in 2005; and the total number of cases pending in various courts of India, on Dalit related and non-Dalit related matters were 31.28 million as of 2010.

Lastly, the Bhagavad Gita is full of contradictions and absurdities, Krishna being a sinner, and yet claiming to be holy and divine, and all that. And some of the verses are conspicuously false and stupid – e.g. Bhagavad Gita 3:14, which states that rains are produced because yajna (a ritual of sacrifice, worship, prayer, praise; offering, oblation etc.) is performed.

Contrary to Krishna who sinned, Jesus Christ was sinless! He was the perfect sin offering, for the sins of all humanity, because he was without the spot and blemish of original sin and personal sin. Although he was God manifested in flesh, he was also fully man. So, what does this mean for you? Jesus is the ultimate reality! Jesus was the perfect sacrifice for our sins. God offers all of us forgiveness and salvation through baptism if we will simply receive His gift to us (John 1:12), believing Jesus to be the Savior who laid down His life for us – His friends. If you place your trust in Jesus as your only Savior and die in state of grace (free from mortal sin), you will have absolute assurance of eternal bliss in Heaven. God will forgive your sins, cleanse your soul, renew your spirit, give you abundant life in this world, and eternal bliss in the next world. How can we reject such a precious gift? How can we turn our backs on God who loved us enough to sacrifice Himself for us?

If you are unsure about what you believe, we invite you to say the following prayer to God; "God, help me to know what is true. Help me to discern what is error. Help me to know what is the correct path to salvation." God will always honor such a prayer.

If you want to receive the faith and Jesus as your Savior, simply speak to God, verbally or silently, receive baptism (how to convert to the true Biblical Faith), obey His Church and His Law, and tell Him that you want to receive the free gift of salvation through Jesus, Our Lord and Savior. If you want a prayer to say, here is an example: "God, thank you for loving me. Thank you for sacrificing yourself for me. Thank you for providing for my forgiveness and salvation. I want to accept the gift of salvation through Jesus. I want to receive Jesus as my Savior. Amen!"

Further reading:

Spiritual Information You Must Know to be Saved

Biblical Information You Must Know to be Saved

Christian Dogma You Must Believe to be Saved

Baptism; the Steps to Convert to the Traditional Faith; the Steps for Those Leaving False Sects; and Conditional Baptism

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