August 20, 2003
Des Plaines Mandira

Lord Krishna was born about five thousand years ago in the town of Mathura to Vasudev and Devki. Celebrated as Janmashthami, Lord Krishna chose Shravan vada 8 (the dark half of the rainy Indian month of Shravan) at midnight to take manifestation, and even chose a dark complexion. Also, as related in devotional songs, Lord Krishna assumed a "bent" form: he had curly hair, he crossed one leg over the other, and held his flute crooked with his head tilted! Devotees fast on the day of Janmashthami (and Holi) signifying a prayer for the protection of baby Lord Krishna (and Prahlad).

Given in Bhagavat canto 10, After their marriage, Vasudev and Devki returned to Vasudev's home on a chariot driven by Kansa. (Kansa was the brother of Devki, and Jarasandh's son-in-law.) At that time, an aakaashavaanee (omnipotent voice from the sky) warned Kansa that the newlywed couple's eighth child would kill him. Kansa decided to kill his sister immediately, but Vasudev and Naradji convinced him to instead kill all the children born of the couple. Thus, Kansa imprisoned Devki and Vasudev and began killing every child they subsequently had. He had also usurped the throne and imprisoned his father Ugrasen (whom Lord Krishna reinstates as the king after killing Kansa). After six children were murdered, the seventh child's soul was divinely transported to the womb of Rohini, Vasudev's first wife. Rohini's son grew up to be Balaram. When Lord Krishna was born as the eighth child, all of the guards magically fell unconscious and the jail doors began opening, giving way for Vasudev to escape with the child. When Vasudev reached the Yamuna River, it was overflowing and impossible to cross. However, the river settled and parted by the touch of baby Lord Krishna's toe. Vasudev exchanged Lord Krishna for the girl born to his friend Nand and his wife Yashoda in the town of Gokul, and returned to the jail in Mathura. When Kansa came to know of the eighth child's birth, he immediately tried to kill the baby, but she assumed her original 8-armed form of Yogamaya and flew away, resounding that Kansa's divine killer had already been born! Hearing this, Kansa ordered his demons to kill any child born within the past ten days.

Lord Krishna displayed His strength and grace by killing demons such as Putna, Trunavart, Vrikasur, and many others, but at the same time bestowing liberation upon them as well. After giving bliss to devotees in Gokul, Vrundavan, Nandgam, and Mathura, Lord Krishna settled in Dvarka, on the west coast of today's Gujarat.

Lord Krishna brought many revolutionary changes to spirituality, the foremost in revealing the glory of God's devotees. Lord Krishna would do anything for devotees! So that Arjun's emotional oath to kill Jaydrath before dawn would be realized, Lord Krishna brought about an eclipse halting the day's war and bringing out Jaydrath from hiding. In order to fulfill Bhishma's desire to see Lord Krishna pick up a weapon, during the Mahabharat Lord Krishna picked up a chariot wheel as a chakra (disc weapon). To save Bhim and ensure the Pandav's victory, Lord Krishna chided Duryodhan such that he did not become totally invincible from the blessings of his mother Gandhari.

Lord Krishna also taught devotees the glory of fellow devotees. For example, Lord Krishna taught Uddhavji the glory of the Gopis by sending him to visit them in Vrundavan. Witnessing their elevated state, Uddhavji prayed that he be born as the shrubs, vines, or herbs in Vrundavan so he could be graced by the touch of the dust of the Gopis' feet [Bhagavat 10/47/61].



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