Lord Krishna with flute.jpg
AffiliationSvayam Bhagavan, Paramatman, Brahman, Narayana, Vishnu, Dashavatara, Radha Krishna[1][2]
AbodeGoloka, Vaikuntha, Vrindavan, Gokula, Dwarka
WeaponSudarshana Chakra
BattlesKurukshetra War
TextsBhagavata Purana, Harivamsa, Vishnu Purana, Mahabharata (Bhagavad Gita), Gita Govinda
FestivalsKrishna Janmashtami, Holi, Gopastami, Diwali (Govardhan Puja)
Personal information
ParentsDevaki (mother)
Vasudeva (father)
Rohini Devi (step-mother)
Yashoda (foster mother)
Nanda Baba (foster father)
SiblingsBalarama (brother)
Subhadra (sister)
Satyabhama, Jambavati, Kalindi, Mitravinda Satya, Bhadra, Nagnajiti and 16,000–16,100 other junior queens[4][note 1]

Krishna (ə/,[6] Sanskrit pronunciation: [ˈkɽɪʂɳɐ]; Sanskrit: कृष्ण, IAST: Kṛṣṇa) is a major deity in Hinduism. He is worshipped as the eighth avatar of the god Vishnu and also as the supreme God in his own right.[7] He is the god of compassion, tenderness, and love in Hinduism,[8][9][10] and is one of the most popular and widely revered among Indian divinities.[11] Krishna's birthday is celebrated every year by Hindus on Krishna Janmashtami according to the lunisolar Hindu calendar, which falls in late August or early September of the Gregorian calendar.[12] In Krishna Charitas, Krishna is born to Devaki and her husband, Vasudeva Anakadundubhi of the Yadava clan in Mathura. Krishna is usually depicted with a flute in his hand. The current tradition of the monotheistic cult of Krishna, is the result of the amalgamation of several ancient traditions, particularly the originally independent cults of Vāsudeva-Krishna, Gopala-Krishna and Bala-Krishna, as well as Bhagavatism.[13][14]

The anecdotes and narratives of Krishna's life are generally titled as Krishna Leela. He is a central character in the Mahabharata, the Bhagavata Purana and the Bhagavad Gita, and is mentioned in many Hindu philosophical, theological, and mythological texts.[15] They portray him in various perspectives: a god-child, a prankster, a model lover, a divine hero, and as the universal supreme being.[16] His iconography reflects these legends, and shows him in different stages of his life, such as an infant eating butter, a young boy playing a flute, a young boy with Radha or surrounded by women devotees, or a friendly charioteer giving counsel to Arjuna.[17]

The synonyms of Krishna have been traced to 1st millennium BCE literature.[18] In some sub-traditions, Krishna is worshipped as Svayam Bhagavan, and this is sometimes referred to as Krishnaism. These sub-traditions arose in the context of the medieval era Bhakti movement.[19] Krishna-related literature has inspired numerous performance arts such as Bharatanatyam, Kathakali, Kuchipudi, Odissi, and Manipuri dance.[20][21] He is a pan-Hindu god, but is particularly revered in some locations such as Vrindavan in Uttar Pradesh, the Jagannatha aspect in Odisha, Mayapur in West Bengal,[22] Dwarka and Junagadh in Gujarat, in the form of Vithoba in Pandharpur, Maharashtra, Nathdwara in Rajasthan,[23] Udupi Krishna in Karnataka[24] and Guruvayur in Kerala.[25] Since the 1960s, the worship of Krishna has also spread to the Western world and to Africa, largely due to the work of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON).[26]

Names and epithets

The name "Krishna" originates from the Sanskrit word Kṛṣṇa, which is primarily an adjective meaning "black", "dark", or "dark blue".[27] The waning moon is called Krishna Paksha, relating to the adjective meaning "darkening".[27] The name is also interpreted sometimes as "all-attractive".[28]

As a name of Vishnu, Krishna is listed as the 57th name in the Vishnu Sahasranama. Based on his name, Krishna is often depicted in idols as black- or blue-skinned. Krishna is also known by various other names, epithets, and titles that reflect his many associations and attributes. Among the most common names are Mohan "enchanter"; Govinda "chief herdsman",[29] Keev "prankster", and Gopala "Protector of the 'Go'", which means "Soul" or "the cows".[30][31] Some names for Krishna hold regional importance; Jagannatha, found in Puri Hindu temple, is a popular incarnation in Odisha state and nearby regions of eastern India.[32][33][34]