From age to age, the Supreme Brahman manifests on earth for various reasons. Chapter Four, verses 7&8 of Srimad Bhagavad Gita outlines the chief causes of manifestation. These are:
1) For the protection of the virtuous.
2) To destroy unrighteousness.
3) For the restoration of righteousness.
In the age of Dwaapar, Shri Krishna appeared on earth to fulfil these objectives, thereby maintaining sustenance of the world. This form of the Divine, the eighth major manifestation of Lord Vishnu is Vyuha Avataar, a transcendental emanation where the Lord exercises different cosmic functions and controls activities of living beings. He is also considered to be ‘Poorna avataar’ – the one who is complete, possessing all sixteen digits. As ‘Leela avataar, the Lord came to perform the dramas on the world’s stage so man could elicit the many lessons of spiritual evolution, as he progresses on the road to self-realization.
According to Shri Bhagavat Puraan, a Hindu scriptural text, Shri Krishna appeared in the city of Mathura, as the child of Devaki and Vasudev. He was transported across the River Yamuna to the village of Gokula, to the home of Yashoda and Nand who became his foster parents. Growing up in this rustic village among the cow herd families, the child Krishna performed countless leelas or transcendental pastimes on the world’s stage. These leelas created ecstasy in the hearts of the pure and devoted residents with whom he interacted. At the same time, He used every opportunity to fulfil his mission of destroying unrighteousness, of protecting His devotees and championing their cause. He brought an end to the reign of evil that was perpetuated by the evil King Kans and his cohorts. With the end of Kans at the hands of Bhagavan Krishna, Vasudev was handed rulership of the state and righteousness replaced evil.
Shri Krishna made an indelible impression upon man’s consciousness. He is the central figure in Srimad Bhagavat Gita, in which He educated the world on one’s duty and other facets of a righteous life. Prescribed injunctions and prohibitions are outlined for spiritual development. He guided man on the path of spiritual progress. His example on earth is a model for individuals of all walks of life, the modern world and surely for those in ages to come.
More than a mere allegory, the scriptural episode that outlines the Divne’s manifestation and time on earth, has deep metaphysical implications, bearing much relevance to our lives and empowering us to achieve our true purpose of self-realization. A brief outline of some of its symbolical representations is as follows:
Shri Krishna -symbolizes the essence of the Vedas; cosmic harmony.
Devaki- the cosmic embryo, the manifestation of Om, a representation of the five-fold functions of Brahman
Vasudev- Vedic literature.
Nand- delight borne out of Supreme Bliss.
Yashoda- ultimate state of bliss borne out of Supreme Delight.
Mathura- the abode of wisdom.
Kans- the age of strife, wickedness and evil.
Gokula- seventh heaven where Shri Krishna sports, a veritable paradise.
Yamuna- the stream of karma or disinterested action.
Cows-thousands of verses that are in the Vedas.
As the Hindu world marks the auspicious occasion of Shri Krishna Janam Ashtmi on August 14, 2017, it is hoped that everyone who celebrates would be drawn closer to the experience of cosmic harmony, borne out of delight and Divine ecstasy.