Why Krishna took birth on earth?

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Why Krishna took birth on earth?

If Krishna is the Supreme Lord as per the Vedic scriptures then why he took birth on earth? What was the need for him to come on earth?  If you refer the Vedic scriptures then you will come to the conclusion that Krishna is the undisputed Supreme Lord.

For example, Brahma Samhita says, īśvaraḥ paramaḥ kṛṣṇaḥ/sac-cid-ānanda-vigrahaḥ, which means “Kṛṣṇa who is known as Govinda is the Supreme Godhead. He has an eternal blissful spiritual body.”

Srimad Bhagavatam 1.3.28 says, kṛṣṇas tu bhagavān svayam, but Krishna is the original personality of Godhead.

Understanding Krishna’s birth with the analogy of sun

So, now the question is, if Krishna is God and is eternal then why he has to appear or take birth on earth?  We can understand this by the analogy of the sun. When early in the morning we see sun in the eastern horizon we say that sun has appeared (or is born) and when it sets in the evening, we say the sun has disappeared.

But the sun is always there in the sky. Based on our seeing it or not seeing it, we say, it appeared or disappeared. Similarly, Krishna is eternal. When we see him on earth, we say that he has appeared and when he finishes his pastimes and returns to the spiritual world, we say he has disappeared because we cannot see him.

Janmashtami is the day when Krishna appeared in this world. He appeared on the eighth day of dark fortnight (Krishna Paksha) in the month of Bhadrapada (August–September).

Krishna tells us why he takes birth on earth

But why God, Krishna, takes birth in this world? What was the reason? Krishna answers this in Bhagavad Gita 4.7 & 4.8.

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.” Bhagavad Gita 4.7

To deliver the pious and to annihilate the miscreants, as well as to reestablish the principles of religion, I Myself appear, millennium after millennium.” Bhagavad Gita 4.8

So, Krishna is saying that he comes here to establish religious principles and to teach people like you and me how to live righteously.

Krishna does not just come to earth to kill the demons. He can kill them from his spiritual abode only. But he comes here because he cares for us, he loves us and he does not want to us to suffer here.

He comes to lead us from darkness to light – tamaso ma jyotirgamaya. And to tell us that as our eternal father, ahaṁ bīja-pradaḥ pitā, Bhagavad Gita 14.4, he is always with us and loves us unconditionally.

Krishna comes to invite us to his spiritual kingdom

The Supreme Lord Krishna, our father, personally comes from the spiritual abode to earth to invite us to return back to the spiritual kingdom which is our original home. Krishna assures that his abode is free of all the sufferings and once we go there then we do not have to come to this world where misery is at every step.

Our eternal father, Krishna explains about his supreme abode in Bhagavad Gita 8.21,

“That which the Vedāntists describe as unmanifest and infallible, that which is known as the supreme destination, that place from which, having attained it, one never returns – that is My supreme abode.Bhagavad Gita 8.21

Krishna for our benefit informs us that this world is temporary, full of miseries, where everyone has to undergo the repeated cycle of birth and death. So, the Supreme Lord is advising us to return back to his kingdom in Bhagavad Gita.

“After attaining Me, the great souls, who are yogīs in devotion, never return to this temporary world, which is full of miseries, because they have attained the highest perfection.Bhagavad Gita 8.15

From the highest planet in the material world down to the lowest, all are places of misery wherein repeated birth and death take place. But one who attains to My abode, O son of Kuntī, never takes birth again.” Bhagavad Gita 8.16

And Krishna gives complete assurance that once we purify ourselves and return to the spiritual world then we do not have to come to this world again.

“That supreme abode of Mine is not illumined by the sun or moon, nor by fire or electricity. Those who reach it never return to this material world.Bhagavad Gita 15.6

Krishna took birth on earth in a unique way

Krishna took birth in a unique way. He appeared in a pitched dark prison cell in the middle of the night to Devaki and Vasudeva who were bound by iron shackles and were living in constant fear of Kamsa. As soon as Krishna appeared, the dark prison cell got illumined.

Krishna did not take birth just like any ordinary child. But in the prison cell he manifested in the form of the Supreme Lord.

Krishna appears in four-handed form of Lord Vishnu

Vasudeva then saw the newborn child, who had very wonderful lotuslike eyes and who bore in His four hands the four weapons śaṅkha, cakra, gadā and padma. On His chest was the mark of Śrīvatsa and on His neck the brilliant Kaustubha gem. Dressed in yellow, His body blackish like a dense cloud, His scattered hair fully grown, and His helmet and earrings sparkling uncommonly with the valuable gem Vaidūrya, the child, decorated with a brilliant belt, armlets, bangles and other ornaments, appeared very wonderful. Srimad Bhagavatam 10.3.9-10

As soon as Devaki and Vasudeva saw Krishna in his four handed form, their heart became free from all fear.

Srimad Bhagavatam explains that when Krishna was to appear in this world then all men and women who were suffering because of demons like Kamsa felt peace within the core of their hearts. The denizens of the higher planets like Kinnaras, Gandharvas and Apsaras began singing auspicious songs and they danced in jubilation.

Prayers by Devaki & Vasudeva and Krishna appears as human child

Devaki and Vasudeva offered their heartfelt prayers to Krishna.

Devaki said, “My Lord, because You dispel all the fear of Your devotees, I request You to save us and give us protection from the terrible fear of Kaṁsa. Your form as Viṣṇu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is appreciated by yogīs in meditation. Please make this form invisible to those who see with material eyes.”  Srimad Bhagavatam 10.3.28

Krishna gave the reason to Devaki and Vasudeva as why he appeared in his four handed form of Lord Vishnu.

“I have shown you this form of Viṣṇu just to remind you of My previous births. Otherwise, if I appeared like an ordinary human child, you would not believe that the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Viṣṇu, has indeed appeared.Srimad Bhagavatam 10.3.44

After giving the reason,  the Supreme Lord transformed himself into a human baby so that Devaki and Vasudeva can experience vatsalya bhav, parental affection. Moreover Krishna also had to perform many wonderful childhood pastimes in Vrindavan.

Why Krishna took birth on earth as eighth son of Devaki & Vasudeva?

But before Krishna appeared, Kamsa had killed six sons of Devaki immediately after they were born. When Devaki and Vasudeva had just got married, a celestial voice had predicted that the eighth child of Devaki will be the cause of Kamsa’s death. 

Upon hearing this ominous voice, Kamsa wanted to kill Devaki, his own sister. To save his wife’s life, Vasudeva promised Kamsa that he will deliver all the child of Devaki to him. And then Kamsa can do whatever he wants to do with the child. So, one after another Kamsa mercilessly killed the six children.

The seventh child was mysteriously transferred to the womb of Rohini, Vasudeva’s another wife who was living in Vraj, from the womb of Devaki. That child was Balarama.

Krishna appeared as the eighth child and as predicted, he killed the atrocious demon, Kamsa.

The six sons of Devaki who were killed by Kamsa represents six rebellious proclivities of the mind – kama (lust), krodha (anger), lobha (greed), moha (envy), mada (pride), matsara (illusion). As long as we allow these six enemies to reside in our heart, Krishna will not appear in our heart.

If we analyse our life, we will find that we suffer in this world because of these six vices. Vices are called anarthas in sanskrit. In Bhagavad Gita 16.21, Krishna says, lust, greed and anger are gateway to hell. So, the Supreme Lord says, “every sane man should give these up for they lead to the degradation of the soul.” As soon as we succumb to these lower nature trouble begins in our life. Our mind remains out of our control because of these impurities.

Balarama the competent guru

So, it is important that we cleanse our heart of these six enemies which brings inauspiciousness in our life.  But it is not easy to fight these powerful enemies all alone. For that we need help. We need a competent guide, a guru who can show us the right path.

Balarama who appeared as the seventh child of Devaki and Vasudeva is the adi guru, the original guru. He always takes care of the suffering souls and takes them towards Krishna.

Krishna, our best well wisher

Because who can help us better than Krishna?  He is our best friend, best well-wisher and most importantly, he is always there for us. He helped Arjuna when Arjuna was in great trouble at the battlefield of Kurukshetra.  The Supreme Lord, Krishna, never disappoints anyone. In Bhagavad Gita 18.66 he says that “if we take his shelter then he will deliver us from all sinful reactions and will free us from all fear.”

Chaitanya Mahaprabhu teaches how to take shelter of Krishna?

But how to seek Krishna’s shelter? This has been beautifully explained by Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the founder of Gaudiya Vaisnavism and the pioneer of Bhakti Movement. He says that the best way to take Krishna’s shelter is by chanting his holy names like the Hare Krishna Mahamantra.

In his Siksastakam prayers, he writes that chanting cleanses the heart of all the impurities and inundates our heart with unlimited transcendental bliss for which we are always anxious.  Once our heart is cleansed our mind will come in our control. And when the mind is under our control then it will become our best friend, and then we can always live in peace and bliss.

Krishna took birth on earth for you and me

We can alleviate our life if we invite Krishna to reside in our heart. Let us constantly offer our heartfelt prayers to Krishna and chant his names fervently. When Krishna’s name will enter our heart then the holy name will destroy the impurities lurking in our heart since ages.

Our heart will become pure and soft like butter. Krishna, the butter thief, will then happily appear in our heart to steal our heart just like he would steal butter from the houses of the gopis, who were his great devotees.

The most important reason why Krishna took birth on earth is to remind you and me that we are his eternal parts and parcels and if we sincere desire and seriously practice devotion to him then we will return back to him in his spiritual kingdom.

Why Krishna took birth on earth?
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