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Krishnashtami – Janmashtami – Appearance/Birth of Krishna

It is the month of August, 2022. Krishnashtami is approaching. We don’t call it Lord Krishna’s birth day. Let us see the reason behind this. We need to understand that Krishna is ajah which means He is unborn. He does not take one body and then quit it, to take another body. He is spiritual. His appearance on this earth is also spiritual. His body and activities are also spiritual.
As students of Bhagavad Gita, let us try to understand these concepts from the Gita itself.
In Bhagavad Giat 4.6, Krishna says,

अजोऽपि सन्नव्ययात्मा भूतानामीश्वरोऽपि सन् ।
प्रकृतिं स्वामधिष्ठाय सम्भवाम्यात्ममायया ॥ 

ajo ’pi sann avyayātmā
bhūtānām īśvaro ’pi san
prakṛtiṁ svām adhiṣṭhāya
sambhavāmy ātma-māyayā

Although I am unborn and My transcendental body never deteriorates, and although I am the Lord of all living entities, I still appear in every millennium in My original transcendental form.

  • Lord Krishna is unborn.
  • Lord Krshna’s body is divine.
  • Lord Krishna’s body does not deteriorate.
  • Lord Krishna is the Lord of all living beings.
  • Lord Krishna comes in this world in His original divine form.


In this sloka, the Lord has spoken about His birth: although He may appear like an ordinary person, He remembers everything of His many, many past “births,” whereas a common man cannot remember what he has done even a few hours before. The Lord is conscious of all of His previous appearances and disappearances, but a common living entity forgets everything about his past body as soon as he gets another body. 

This is because the Lord’s does not change bodies. He always comes in His transcendental body. 

Factually, His appearance and disappearance are like the sun’s rising, moving before us, and then disappearing from our eyesight. When the sun is out of sight, we think that the sun is set, and when the sun is before our eyes, we think that the sun has risen. Actually, the sun is always in present, but owing to our defective, insufficient senses, we calculate the appearance and disappearance of the sun in the sky. Sun does not take birth or die nor rise or set. Similarly, Lord Krishna is never born nor does He die. He only appears and disappears from our vision.

In the material world, the living entity has no fixed body but transmigrates from one body to another. The Lord, however, does not do so. Whenever He appears, He does so in the same original body, by His internal potency. 

When He comes to earth, He is exactly as He is in His abode Goloka Vrindavan, in His original eternal form, with two hands, holding a flute.

vamshi vibhushita karaan nava-neera daabhaat 
pitaambaraat aruna bimba phalaadaroshtaat 
purnendu sundara mukhaat aravinda netraat 
krishnaat param kim api tattvam aham na jaane
krishnaat param kim api tattvam aham na jaane
krishnaat param kim api tattvam aham na jaane


And although His body does not deteriorate like a material body, it still appears that Lord Kṛṣṇa grows from childhood to boyhood and from boyhood to youth. But astonishingly enough He never ages beyond youth. 

At the time of Kurukshetra war (Mahabharat), Lord Krishna was around 70 years old yet He looked like a young man. 

Question: So if Lord Krishna does not take birth like us human beings, then why does He come to the earth?

This is explained in slokas 4.7 and 4.8 of Bhagavad Gita, which are couple of the most popular slokas from Bhagavad Gita.

In BG 4.7 Krishna says,

यदा यदा हि धर्मस्य ग्लानिर्भवति भारत ।
अभ्युत्थानमधर्मस्य तदात्मानं सृजाम्यहम् ॥ 

yadā yadā hi dharmasya
glānir bhavati bhārata
abhyutthānam adharmasya
tadātmānaṁ sṛjāmy aham

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.

Although the Lord appears on schedule, namely at the end of the Dvāpara-yuga of the twenty-eighth millennium of the seventh Manu in one day of Brahmā, He has no obligation to adhere to such rules and regulations, because He is completely free to act in many ways at His will. He therefore appears by His own will whenever there is a predominance of irreligiosity and a disappearance of true religion.

He can manifest Himself anywhere and everywhere, and whenever He desires to appear. In each and every incarnation, He speaks as much about religion as can be understood by the particular people under their particular circumstances. But the mission is the same – to lead people to God consciousness and obedience to the principles of religion. Sometimes He descends personally, and sometimes He sends His bona fide representative.

In BG 4.8 Krishna says, 

परित्राणाय साधुनां विनाशाय च दुष्कृताम् ।
धर्मसंस्थानार्थाय सम्भवामि युगे युगे ॥

paritrāṇāya sādhūnāṁ
vināśāya ca duṣkṛtām
sambhavāmi yuge yuge

To deliver the pious and to annihilate the miscreants, as well as to reestablish the principles of religion, I Myself appear, millennium after millennium.

Here, Krishna gives the further reasons for appearing in this material world. He comes to protect/deliver the pious people and to annihilate the impious people. He appears in this world to re-establish Dharma.

Ultimately, why is it important for us to know the transcendental nature of Lord Krishna? This is explained by Krishna in BG 4.9,
जन्म कर्म च मे दिव्यमेवं यो वेत्ति तत्त्वतः ।
त्यक्त्वा देहं पुनर्जन्म नैति मामेति सोऽर्जुन ॥ 

janma karma ca me divyam
evaṁ yo vetti tattvataḥ
tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma
naiti mām eti so ’rjuna

One who knows the transcendental nature of My appearance and activities does not, upon leaving the body, take his birth again in this material world, but attains My eternal abode, O Arjuna.

The devotee, simply by understanding the transcendental nature of the body and activities of the Lord, attains the abode of the Lord after ending this body and does not run the risk of returning to this material world.

It may not be easy to digest the fact that Lord Krishna who appears like in a human form has a Transcendental body. His appearance and activities are also transcendental.

To understand why His appearance and activities are transcendental/ divine, we will have to dive into the Krishna leelas.

Appearance of Lord Krishna is transcendental

Once upon a time, Mother earth, Bhumi devi, came to Lord Brahma with a complaint that the demons were dominating the earth and the burden was unbearable. All the devatas led by Brahma approached and prayed to Lord Vishnu. Vishnu assured them that Krishna would appear on earth, to remove adharma and to establish dharma.

In Mathura, there was a creul king Kamsa. When his sister Devaki got married to Vasudeva. He himself drove the chariot to take his sister to Vasudeva’s house.

At that time, a voice was heard from the sky. Kamsa was told by akashvani or ashareeri (voice in the sky) that he would be killed by the 8th child of his sister Devaki. Deciding to kill his sister, at once he drew his sword. His brother-in-law Vasudeva, pleaded for Devaki’s life. He made a better offer of handing over all his sons to Kamsa in exchange. So, Kamsa spared her life but imprisoned both of them. They both were chained and put under constant vigil.

The child Krishna was born-on a dark night to Devaki and Vasudeva in Kamsa’s prison. At that time, Krishna gave darshan in His four-handed form to the parents and blessed them. As per astronomical calculations, that time was a very auspicious one. The child appeared, shining with great effulgence. It was a thrilling moment for the proud parents, who were staring with unbelieving eyes, the new-born baby boy was having four hands with conchshell, club, disc(Sudarshan chakra) and lotus flower, one in each of the hands. Both the parents bowed down before the divine child.

When baby Krishna was born, He instructed Vasudeva as to what he should do. Then, the ever-watchful guards were put to sleep. This way, they missed the major plot happening in the prison, much against Kamsa’s orders. Soon, the chains of Vasudeva broke apart magically. All these can be called miracles. You know, for a mission as important as this, Krishna had to perform many miracles and these were just the beginning. Vasudeva carrying the baby Krishna in a basket out of the cell, walked in the midst of darkness and heavy rains. He had to cross the flooded river Yamuna which was flowing with great force. He was being protected from rain by Adisesha, the multi-hooded snake. Suddenly, river Yamuna parted and gave way. Yet, the river’s waters were rising higher and higher. The divine child could understand the intention of the Yamuna:  she wanted to touch His feet. So He stretched His feet out of the basket for her convenience. Right after that, the water level came down, in spite of the heavy rains.

Once he reached Gokulam, he headed straight to the house of Nanda Maharaja, the chief of the cowherd tribe. There, mother Yashoda was sleeping after delivering a baby girl. Vasudeva laid Krishna in the place of that baby girl and took the baby girl in his basket. Nobody had noticed this exchange of babies. He took that baby girl and walked back to the prison in Mathura where he had been imprisoned.

The baby girl who was brought to Mathura was Mayadevi herself. When Kamsa knew about the birth of the 8th child of Devaki, he came rushing to the cell to kill the baby. He picked the baby and threw it against the wall to smash, but the baby showed her true form of Yogamaya and informed Kamsa that the baby born to kill him was already born and was elsewhere.  

Next morning, Nanda Maharaja celebrated the appearance of Krishna. This is called Nandotsav. 

  • Human beings are normally born with two hands. Lord Krishna when He first appeared, showed His 4 handed form to His parents.
  • All new born babies cry as soon as they are born. Baby Krishna spoke! In fact, He instructed His father to take Him to Gokul and exchange Him with the baby girl born to mother Yashoda.
  • By Lord Krishna’s maya shakti, the chains tying His parents fall apart.
  • By Lord Krishna’s maya shakti, all the gate-keepers and soldiers fell asleep when Vasudeva had to carry the baby Krishna outside the jail.

The activities of Lord Krishna are transcendental. In the next blog, we will try to see how some of His Leelas how they happen. You can read the next blog here: Seven selected Krishna leelas in short

Hare Krishna

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