Lord Krishna appeared over five thousand years ago in Mathura, India
to Devaki and Vasudeva in the jail cell of the tyrant Kamsa. The place
of His birth is known as Sri Krishna Janmasthana. He appeared with His
brother Balarama in response to the demigods' prayers for protection
from the widespread influence of demonic administration on earth.
Previously, the demigods and demons had been at war in the heavens.
When the demons were defeated by the demigods, they decided to instead
attack this planet earth. Thus, they invaded the earth by discretely
taking birth as princes in powerful royal families of the time.
And as the earth became overrun by militaristic activities of these
kingly demons, the demigods including the Earth goddess earnestly sought
Lord Visnu's protection. Seeing the deteriorating social and political
conditions and hearing the prayers of the demigods, the
all-compassionate Supreme Lord Sri Krishna decided to descend for the
benefit of all.
The Supreme Lord descends from time to time in this material world to
reestablish the teachings of the Vedas. In His Bhagavad-gita, Lord
Krishna promises: "Whenever and wherever there is a decline in religious
practice, O descendant of Bharata, and a predominant rise of
irreligion--at that time I descend Myself. To deliver the pious and to
annihilate the miscreants, as well as to reestablish the principles of
religion, I Myself appear milleniumm after millenium."
Although eternal the Lord appears in specific circumstances out of
mercy for His devotees. In fact, His principal biography, the Srimad
Bhagavatam states, "the learned men describe the births and activities
of the Unborn and Inactive." Therefore, although He appears within the
material dimensions of time and space, He is most definitely not of it.
Historically, Lord Krishna appeared on the midnight of the 8th day of
the dark half of the month of Sravana. This corresponds to July 19th
3228 BC. He exhibited His pastimes for a little over 125 years and
dissappeared on February 18th 3102 BC on the new moon night of Phalguna.
(His departure marks the beginning of the current age of corruption
known as Kali.)
The great scholar Srila Vishvanatha Chakravarti neatly outlines Lord
Krishna's activities in this way: the first three years and four months
were spent in Gokula, then equal lengths of time in Vmdavana and
Nandagram, eighteen years and four months in Mathura, and finally
ninety-six years and eight months in Dvaraka totalling 125 years of
manifest pastimes. See the Krishna-lila chart.
Lord Krishna's early pastimes are briefly summarized at the website
Krishna's Adventures in Vraja"During this childhood time , He grew up as
the son of His foster parents Nanda and Yasoda in the midst of the
idyllic beauty of Gokula, Vrindavana, and Nandagram. Not only did He
destroy numerous demons, but also performed His famous rasa dance.
Krishna enjoyed the dance of love (rasa-lila) with the gopis many of
whom are expansions of His own internal energies. The supreme gopi known
as Srimati Radharani is the object of Krishna's highest devotion. This
beautiful dance would occur in the autumn season at night under a full
moon when Lord Krsna would captivate the young gopis with the
extraordinary music of His flute . These esoteric pastimes constitute
the most confidential expression of divinity ever revealed.
Usually the conception of sprirtual perfection consists of
overwhelming feelings only of awe and reverence at God's majesty.
However, in these pastimes each devotee loves God either as a master, a
best freind, a mischievous son, or even as an intimate lover, thus
revealing the infinite possibilities of divine love. These early
pastimes of Lord Krsna in Vrindavana illustrate the extraordinary
intimacy that one can have with God. These pastimes are described in
detail by Sri Visvantha Chakravarti in his Sri Krishna Bhavanamrta
When Krsna and Balarama were older, They were invited to Mathura,
where Karnsa, Their demonic uncle, was planning Their death in a
wrestling match against two large and powerful wrestlers. When Kamsa saw
his wrestlers defeated, he ordered his friends to drive the brothers out
of Mathura, plunder the riches of Their cowherd friends, and kill Their
fathers, Nanda and Vasudeva. However, Krishna immediately killed Kamsa
and Balarama killed his eight brothers. Lord Krishna then established
the pious King Ugrasena as the emperor of several kingdoms.
In Mathura, both Krishna and Balarama were initiated by Gargamuni in
the Gayatri mantra> Later They went to live under the care of Sandipani
Muni who instructed Them in all the Vedic arts and sciences in
sixty-four days and nights especially in military science, politics and
spirituality. As an offering (guru-daksina) to Their teacher, They
recovered his son from death. Although God does not need instruction
from anyone else, Lord Krsna and His brother set the perfect example :
one must accept instruction from and serve a bona-fide spiritual master
to advance in spiritual life.
For the next eighteen years, They continued to live in Mathura
halting the impending threat of many demonic kings. Later in Their
pastimes Lord Balarama married a princess named Revati. Lord Krsna
married many queens, the foremost among them being the extraordinarily
beautiftil Queen Rukmini. (See Sri Rukmini website for the story of
Their marriage). Both Krishna and Balarama established Their palaces in
Dvaraka off the coast of western India, where They enjoyed married life
for many years. Although They were married, Lord Krsna and Lord Balarama
exhibited the quality of detachment from material life perfectly.
When They were about ninety years old, the great world war of
Kuruksetra took place. This climactic battle brought together all the
major world leaders. Lord Krsna took the role of a charioteer on the
side of the pious Pandavas, while Lord Balarama refusing to participate
went on a pilgrimage tour thereby blessing the entire land of India.
At the start of the war, Lord Krishna displayed His stupendous
Universal Form delivered His famous message known as the Bhagavad-gita,
literally the Song of God. This Song contains the essence of all
knowledge having been spoken by the Supreme Lord Sri Krishna Himself.
This war concluded with the destruction of the demonic kings and the
reinstatement of the righteous Pandava princes.
Having completed Their mission, Balarama and Krsna resumed Their life
in Dvaraka where They spent some thirty-five more years before ending
Their earthly manifest activities The foremost description of Lord
Krishna's activities occurs in the Srimad Bhagavatam, literally "the
Beautiful Book of God."