Sri Krsna Janma Astami, Wednesday, August 12, 2020 [Mayapura, West Bengal, India time] Srila Prabhupada explains the appearance of Lord Krishna

August 10, 2020 in Articles by Laksman dasa

Sri Krsna Janma Astami, Wednesday, August 12, 2020 [Mayapura, West Bengal, India time]Srila Prabhupada explains the appearance of Lord Krishna

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As stated in the Bhagavad-gītā, the Lord says that His appearance, birth, and activities, are all transcendental, and one who understands them factually becomes immediately eligible to be transferred to the spiritual world. The Lord’s appearance or birth is not like that of an ordinary man who is forced to accept a material body according to his past deeds. The Lord’s appearance is explained in the Second Chapter: He appears out of His own sweet pleasure. When the time was mature for the appearance of the Lord, the constellations became very auspicious. The astrological influence of the star known as Rohiṇī was also predominant because this star is considered to be very auspicious. Rohiṇī is under the direct supervision of Brahmā. According to the astrological conclusion, besides the proper situation of the stars, there are auspicious and inauspicious moments due to the different situations of the different planetary systems. At the time of Kṛṣṇa’s birth, the planetary systems were automatically adjusted so that everything became auspicious.

that time, in all directions, east, west, south, north, everywhere, there was an atmosphere of peace and prosperity. There were auspicious stars visible in the sky, and on the surface in all towns and villages or pasturing grounds and within the minds of everyone there were signs of good fortune. The rivers were flowing full of waters, and lakes were beautifully decorated with lotus flowers. The forests were full with beautiful birds and peacocks. All the birds within the forests began to sing with sweet voices, and the peacocks began to dance along with their consorts. The wind blew very pleasantly, carrying the aroma of different flowers, and the sensation of bodily touch was very pleasing. At home, the brāhmaṇas, who were accustomed to offer sacrifices in the fire, found their homes very pleasant for offerings. Due to disturbances created by the demoniac kings, the sacrificial fire alter had been almost stopped in the houses of brāhmaṇas, but now they could find the opportunity to start the fire peacefully. Being forbidden to offer sacrifices, the brāhmaṇas were very distressed in mind, intelligence and activities, but just on the point of Kṛṣṇa’s appearance, automatically their minds became full of joy because they could hear loud vibrations in the sky of transcendental sounds proclaiming the appearance of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

 The denizens of the Gandharva and Kinnara planets began to sing, and the denizens of Siddhaloka and the planets of the Cāraṇas began to offer prayers in the service of the Personality of Godhead. In the heavenly planets, the angels along with their wives, accompanied by the Apsaras, began to dance.

The great sages and the demigods, being pleased, began to shower flowers. At the seashore, there was the sound of mild waves, and above the sea there were clouds in the sky which began to thunder very pleasingly.

 When things were adjusted like this, Lord Viṣṇu, who is residing within the heart of every living entity, appeared in the darkness of night as the Supreme Personality of Godhead before Devakī, who also appeared as one of the demigoddesses. The appearance of Lord Viṣṇu at that time could be compared with the full moon in the sky as it rises on the eastern horizon. The objection may be raised that, since Lord Kṛṣṇa appeared on the eighth day of the waning moon, there could be no rising of the full moon. In answer to this it may be said that Lord Kṛṣṇa appeared in the dynasty which is in the hierarchy of the moon; therefore, although the moon was incomplete on that night, because of the Lord’s appearance in the dynasty wherein the moon is himself the original person, the moon was in an overjoyous condition, so by the grace of Kṛṣṇa he could appear just as a full moon.

 In an astronomical treatise by the name Khamāṇikya, the constellations at the time of the appearance of Lord Kṛṣṇa are very nicely described. It is confirmed that the child born at that auspicious moment was the Supreme Brahman or the Absolute Truth.

Vasudeva saw that wonderful child born as a baby with four hands, holding conchshell, club, disc, and lotus flower, decorated with the mark of Śrīvatsa, wearing the jeweled necklace of kaustubha stone, dressed in yellow silk, appearing dazzling like a bright blackish cloud, wearing a helmet bedecked with the vaidūrya stone, valuable bracelets, earrings and similar other ornaments all over His body and an abundance of hair on His head. Due to the extraordinary features of the child, Vasudeva was struck with wonder. How could a newly born child be so decorated? He could therefore understand that Lord Kṛṣṇa had now appeared, and he became overpowered by the occasion. Vasudeva very humbly wondered that although he was an ordinary living entity conditioned by material nature and was externally imprisoned by Kaṁsa, the all-pervading Personality of Godhead, Viṣṇu or Kṛṣṇa, was appearing as a child in his home, exactly in His original position. No earthly child is born with four hands decorated with ornaments and nice clothing, fully equipped with all the signs of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Over and over again, Vasudeva glanced at his child, and he considered how to celebrate this auspicious moment: “Generally, when a male child is born,” he thought, “people observe the occasion with jubilant celebrations, and in my home, although I am imprisoned, the Supreme Personality of Godhead has taken birth. How many millions of millions of times should I be prepared to observe this auspicious ceremony!”

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When Vasudeva, who is also called Ānakadundubhi, was looking at his newborn baby, he was so happy that he wanted to give many thousands of cows in charity to the brāhmaṇas. According to the Vedic system, whenever there is an auspicious ceremony in the kṣatriya king’s palace, the king gives many things in charity. Cows decorated with golden ornaments are delivered to the brāhmaṇas and sages. Vasudeva wanted to perform a charitable ceremony to celebrate Kṛṣṇa’s appearance, but because he was shackled within the walls of Kaṁsa’s prison, this was not possible. Instead, within his mind he gave thousands of cows to the brāhmaṇas.

 When Vasudeva was convinced that the newborn child was the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself, he bowed down with folded hands and began to offer Him prayers. At that time Vasudeva was in the transcendental position, and he became completely free from all fear of Kaṁsa. The newborn baby was also flashing His effulgence within the room in which He appeared.

Vasudeva then began to offer his prayers. “My dear Lord, I can understand who You are. You are the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the Supersoul of all living entities and the Absolute Truth. You have appeared in Your own eternal form which is directly perceived by us. I understand that because I am afraid of Kaṁsa, You have appeared just to deliver me from that fear. You do not belong to this material world; You are the same person who brings about the cosmic manifestation simply by glancing over material nature.”

 One may argue that the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who creates the whole cosmic manifestation simply by His glance, cannot come within the womb of Devakī, the wife of Vasudeva. To eradicate this argument, Vasudeva said, “My dear Lord, it is not a very wonderful thing that You appear within the womb of Devakī because the creation was also made in that way. You were lying in the Causal Ocean as MahāViṣṇu, and by Your breathing process, innumerable universes came into existence. Then You entered into each of the universes as Garbhodakaśāyī Viṣṇu. Then again You expanded Yourself as Kṣīrodakaśāyī Viṣṇu and entered into the hearts of all living entities and entered even within the atoms. Therefore Your entrance in the womb of Devakī is understandable in the same way. You appear to have entered, but You are simultaneously all-pervading. We can understand Your entrance and nonentrance from material examples. The total material energy remains intact even after being divided into sixteen elements. The material body is nothing but the combination of the five gross elements–namely earth, water, fire, air and ether. Whenever there is a material body, it appears that such elements are newly created, but actually the elements are always existing outside of the body.

 Similarly, although You appear as a child in the womb of Devakī, You are also existing outside. You are always in Your abode, but still You can simultaneously expand Yourself into millions of forms.

 “One has to understand Your appearance with great intelligence because the material energy is also emanating from You. You are the original source of the material energy, just as the sun is the source of the sunshine. The sunshine cannot cover the sun globe, nor can the material energy–being an emanation from You–cover You. You appear to be in the three modes of material energy, but actually the three modes of material energy cannot cover You. This is understood by the highly intellectual philosophers. In other words, although You appear to be within the material energy, You are never covered by it.”

We hear from the Vedic version that the Supreme Brahman exhibits His effulgence, and therefore everything becomes illuminated. We can understand from Brahmasaṁhitā that the brahmajyoti, or the Brahman effulgence, emanates from the body of the Supreme Lord. And from the Brahman effulgence, all creation takes place. It is further stated in the Bhagavad-gītā that the Lord is also the support of the Brahman effulgence. Originally He is the root cause of everything. But persons who are less intelligent think that when the Supreme Personality of Godhead comes within this material world, He accepts the material qualities. Such conclusions are not very mature, but are made by the less intelligent.

The Supreme Personality of Godhead is directly and indirectly existing everywhere; He is outside this material creation, and He is also within it. He is within this material creation not only as Garbhodakaśāyī Viṣṇu; He is also within the atom. Existence is due to His presence. Nothing can be separated from His existence. In the Vedic injunction we find that the Supreme Soul or the root cause of everything has to be searched out because nothing exists independent of the Supreme Soul. Therefore the material manifestation is also a transformation of His potency. Both inert matter and the living force–soul–are emanations from Him. Only the foolish conclude that when the Supreme Lord appears He accepts the conditions of matter. Even if He appears to have accepted the material body, He is still not subjected to any material condition. Kṛṣṇa has therefore appeared and defeated all imperfect conclusions about the appearance and disappearance of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

 “My Lord, Your appearance, existence and disappearance are beyond the influence of the material qualities. Because Your Lordship is the controller of everything and the resting place of the Supreme Brahman, there is nothing inconceivable or contradictory in You. As You have said, material nature works under Your superintendence. It is just like government officers working under the orders of the chief executive. The influence of subordinate activities cannot affect You. The Supreme Brahman and all phenomena are existing within You, and all the activities of material nature are controlled by Your Lordship.

 \”You are called śuklam. Śuklam, or ‘whiteness’ is the symbolic representation of the Absolute Truth because it is unaffected by the material qualities. Lord Brahmā is called rakta, or red, because Brahmā represents the qualities of passion for creation. Darkness is entrusted to Lord Śiva because he annihilates the cosmos. The creation, annihilation and maintenance of this cosmic manifestation is conducted by Your potencies, yet You are always unaffected by those qualities. As confirmed in the Vedas, Harir hi nirguṇaḥ sākṣāt: the Supreme Personality of Godhead is always free from all material qualities. It is also said that the qualities of passion and ignorance are nonexistent in the person of the Supreme Lord.

 “My Lord, You are the supreme controller, the Personality of Godhead, the supreme great, maintaining the order of this cosmic manifestation. And in spite of Your being the supreme controller, You have so kindly appeared in my home. The purpose of Your appearance is to kill the followers of the demonic rulers of the world who are in the dress of royal princes but are actually demons. I am sure that You will kill all of them and their followers and soldiers.

“I understand that You have appeared to kill the uncivilized Kaṁsa and his followers. But knowing that You were to appear to kill him and his followers, he has already killed so many of Your predecessors, elder brothers. Now he is simply awaiting the news of Your birth. As soon as he hears about it, he will immediately appear with all kinds of weapons to kill You.”

 After this prayer of Vasudeva, Devakī, the mother of Kṛṣṇa, offered her prayers. She was very frightened because of her brother’s atrocities. Devakī said, “My dear Lord, Your eternal forms, like Nārāyaṇa, Lord Rāma, Śeṣa, Varāha, Nṛsiṁha, Vāmana, Baladeva, and millions of similar incarnations emanating from Viṣṇu, are described in the Vedic literature as original. You are original because all Your forms as incarnations are outside of this material creation. Your form was existing before this cosmic manifestation was created. Your forms are eternal and all-pervading. They are self-effulgent, changeless and uncontaminated by the material qualities. Such eternal forms are ever-cognizant and full of bliss; they are situated in transcendental goodness and are always engaged in different pastimes. You are not limited to a particular form only; all such transcendental eternal forms are self-sufficient. I can understand that You are the Supreme Lord Viṣṇu.

 “After many millions of years, when Lord Brahmā comes to the end of his life, the annihilation of the cosmic manifestation takes place. At that time the five elements–namely earth, water, fire, air and ether–enter into the mahattattva. The mahattattva again enters, by the force of time, into the nonmanifested total material energy; the total material energy enters into the energetic pradhāna, and the pradhāna enters into You. Therefore after the annihilation of the whole cosmic manifestation, You alone remain with Your transcendental name, form, quality and paraphernalia.

 “My Lord, I offer my respectful obeisances unto You because You are the director of the unmanifested total energy, and the ultimate reservoir of the material nature. My Lord, the whole cosmic manifestation is under the influence of time, beginning from the moment up to the duration of the year. All act under Your direction. You are the original director of everything and the reservoir of all potent energies.

 “Therefore my Lord, I request You to save me from the cruel hands of the son of Ugrasena, Kaṁsa. I am praying to Your Lordship to please rescue me from this fearful condition because You are always ready to give protection to Your servitors.” The Lord has confirmed this statement in the Bhagavad-gītā by assuring Arjuna, “You may declare to the world, My devotee shall never be vanquished.”

 While thus praying to the Lord for rescue, mother Devakī expressed her motherly affection: “I understand that this transcendental form is generally perceived in meditation by the great sages, but I am still afraid because as soon as Kaṁsa understands that You have appeared, he might harm You. So I request that for the time being You become invisible to our material eyes.” In other words, she requested the Lord to assume the form of an ordinary child. “My only cause of fear from my brother Kaṁsa is due to Your appearance. My Lord Madhusūdana, Kaṁsa may know that You are already born. Therefore I request You to conceal this four-armed form of Your Lordship which holds the four symbols of Viṣṇu–namely the conchshell, the disc, the club and the lotus flower. My dear Lord, at the end of the annihilation of the cosmic manifestation, You put the whole universe within Your abdomen; still by Your unalloyed mercy You have appeared in my womb. I am surprised that You imitate the activities of ordinary human beings just to please Your devotee.”

 On hearing the prayers of Devakī, the Lord replied, “My dear mother, in the millennium of Svāyambhuva Manu, My father Vasudeva was living as one of the Prajāpatis, and his name at that time was Sutapā, and you were his wife named Pṛśni. At that time, when Lord Brahmā was desiring to increase the population, he requested you to generate offspring. You controlled your senses and performed severe austerities. By practicing the breathing exercise of the yoga system, both you and your husband could tolerate all the influences of the material laws: the rainy season, the onslaught of the wind, and the scorching heat of the sunshine. You also executed all religious principles. In this way you were able to cleanse your heart and control the influence of material law. In executing your austerity, you used to eat only the leaves of the trees which fell to the ground. Then with steady mind and controlled sex drive, you worshiped Me, desiring some wonderful benediction from Me. Both of you practiced severe austerities for 12,000 years, by the calculation of the demigods. During that time, your mind was always absorbed in Me. When you were executing devotional service and always thinking of Me within your heart, I was very much pleased with you. O sinless mother, your heart is therefore always pure. At that time also I appeared before you in this form just to fulfill your desire, and I asked you to ask whatever you desired. At that time you wished to have Me born as your son. Although you saw Me personally, instead of asking for your complete liberation from the material bondage, under the influence of My energy, you asked Me to become your son.”

 In other words, the Lord selected His mother and father–namely Pṛśni and Sutapā–specifically to appear in the material world. Whenever the Lord comes as a human being, He must have someone as a mother and father, so He selected Pṛśni and Sutapā perpetually as His mother and father. And on account of this, both Pṛśni and Sutapā could not ask the Lord for liberation. Liberation is not so important as the transcendental loving service of the Lord. The Lord could have awarded Pṛśni and Sutapā immediate liberation, but He preferred to keep them within this material world for His different appearances, as will be explained in the following verses. On receiving the benediction from the Lord to become His father and mother, both Pṛśni and Sutapā returned from the activities of austerity and lived as husband and wife in order to beget a child who was the Supreme Lord Himself.

In due course of time Pṛśni became pregnant and gave birth to the child. The Lord spoke to Devakī and Vasudeva: “At that time My name was Pṛśnigarbha. In the next millennium also you took birth as Aditi and Kaśyapa, and I became your child of the name Upendra. At that time My form was just like a dwarf, and for this reason I was known as Vāmanadeva. I gave you the benediction that I would take birth as your son three times. The first time I was known as Pṛśnigarbha, born of Pṛśni and Sutapā, the next birth I was Upendra born of Aditi and Kaśyapa, and now for the third time I am born as Kṛṣṇa from you, Devakī and Vasudeva. I appeared in this Viṣṇu form just to convince you that I am the same Supreme Personality of Godhead again taken birth. I could have appeared just like an ordinary child, but in that way you would not believe that I, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, have taken birth in your womb. My dear father and mother, you have therefore raised Me many times as your child, with great affection and love, and I am therefore very pleased and obliged to you. And I assure you that this time you shall go back to home, back to Godhead, on account of your perfection in your mission. I know you are very concerned about Me and afraid of Kaṁsa. Therefore I order you to take Me immediately to Gokula and replace Me with the daughter who has just been born to Yaśodā.”

Having spoken thus in the presence of His father and mother, the Lord turned Himself into an ordinary child and remained silent.

jaguḥ kinnara-gandharvās

tuṣṭuvuḥ siddha-cāraṇāḥ

vidyādharyaś ca nanṛtur

apsarobhiḥ samaṁ mudā


jaguḥ—recited auspicious songs; kinnaragandharvāḥ—the Kinnaras and Gandharvas, inhabitants of various planets in the heavenly planetary system; tuṣṭuvuḥ—offered their respective prayers; siddhacāraṇāḥ—the Siddhas and Cāraṇas, other inhabitants of the heavenly planets; vidyādharyaḥ ca—and the Vidyādharīs, another group of inhabitants of the heavenly planets; nanṛtuḥ—danced in transcendental bliss; apsarobhiḥ—the Apsarās, beautiful dancers in the heavenly kingdom; samam—along with; mudā—in great jubilation.


 The Kinnaras and Gandharvas began to sing auspicious songs, the Siddhas and Cāraṇas offered auspicious prayers, and the Vidyādharīs, along with the Apsarās, began to dance in jubilation.


mumucur munayo devāḥ

sumanāṁsi mudānvitāḥ

mandaṁ mandaṁ jaladharā

jagarjur anusāgaram

niśīthe tama-udbhūte

jāyamāne janārdane

devakyāṁ deva-rūpiṇyāṁ

viṣṇuḥ sarva-guhā-śayaḥ

āvirāsīd yathā prācyāṁ

diśīndur iva puṣkalaḥ


mumucuḥ—showered; munayaḥ—all the great sages and saintly persons; devāḥ—and the demigods; sumanāṁsi—very beautiful and fragrant flowers; mudā anvitāḥ—being joyous in their attitude; mandam mandam—very mildly; jaladharāḥ—the clouds; jagarjuḥ—vibrated; anusāgaram—following the vibrations of the sea waves; niśīthe—late at night; tamaḥudbhūte—when it was densely dark; jāyamāne—on the appearance of; janārdane—the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Viṣṇu; devakyām—in the womb of Devakī; devarūpiṇyām—who was in the same category as the Supreme Personality of Godhead (ānanda-cinmaya-rasa-pratibhāvitābhiḥ); viṣṇuḥ—Lord Viṣṇu, the Supreme Lord; sarvaguhāśayaḥ—who is situated in the core of everyone’s heart; āvirāsīt—appeared; yathā—as; prācyām diśi—in the east; induḥ iva—like the full moon; puṣkalaḥ—complete in every respect.


The demigods and great saintly persons showered flowers in a joyous mood, and clouds gathered in the sky and very mildly thundered, making sounds like those of the ocean’s waves. Then the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Viṣṇu, who is situated in the core of everyone’s heart, appeared from the heart of Devakī in the dense darkness of night, like the full moon rising on the eastern horizon, because Devakī was of the same category as Śrī Kṛṣṇa.


As stated in the Brahmasaṁhitā (5.37):

tābhir ya eva nijarūpatayā kalābhiḥ
goloka eva nivasaty akhilātma-bhūto
govindam ādipuruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi

This verse indicates that Kṛṣṇa and His entourage are of the same spiritual potency (ānanda-cinmaya-rasa). Kṛṣṇa’s father, His mother, His friends the cowherd boys, and the cows are all expansions of Kṛṣṇa, as will be explained in the brahmavimohanalīlā. When Brahmā took away Kṛṣṇa’s associates to test the supremacy of Lord Kṛṣṇa, the Lord expanded Himself again in the forms of the many cowherd boys and calves, all of whom, as Brahmā saw, were viṣṇu-mūrtis. Devakī is also an expansion of Kṛṣṇa, and therefore this verse says, devakyāṁ devarūpiṇyāṁ viṣṇuḥ sarvaguhāśayaḥ.

At the time for the Lord’s appearance, the great sages and the demigods, being pleased, began to shower flowers. At the seashore, there was the sound of mild waves, and above the sea there were clouds in the sky which began to thunder very pleasingly.

When things were adjusted like this, Lord Viṣṇu, who is residing within the heart of every living entity, appeared in the darkness of night as the Supreme Personality of Godhead before Devakī, who appeared as one of the demigoddesses. The appearance of Lord Viṣṇu at that time could be compared to the rising of the full moon in the sky on the eastern horizon. The objection may be raised that since Lord Kṛṣṇa appeared on the eighth day of the waning moon, there could be no rising of the full moon. In answer to this it may be said that Lord Kṛṣṇa appeared in the dynasty which is in the hierarchy of the moon; therefore, although the moon was incomplete on that night, because of the Lord’s appearance in the dynasty wherein the moon is himself the original person, the moon was in an overjoyous condition, so by the grace of Kṛṣṇa he could appear as a full moon. To welcome the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the waning moon became a full moon in jubilation.

Instead of devarūpiṇyām, some texts of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam clearly say viṣṇurūpiṇyām. In either case, the meaning is that Devakī has the same spiritual form as the Lord. The Lord is sac-cid-ānandavigraha[Bs. 5.1], and Devakī is also sac-cid-ānandavigraha. Therefore no one can find any fault in the way the Supreme Personality of Godhead, sac-cid-ānandavigraha, appeared from the womb of Devakī.

Those who are not in full knowledge that the appearance and disappearance of the Lord are transcendental (janma karma ca me divyam [Bg. 4.9]) are sometimes surprised that the Supreme Personality of Godhead can take birth like an ordinary child. Actually, however, the Lord’s birth is never ordinary. The Supreme Personality of Godhead is already situated within the core of everyone’s heart as antaryāmī, the Supersoul. Thus because He was present in full potency in Devakī’s heart, He was also able to appear outside her body.

One of the twelve great personalities is Bhīṣmadeva (svayambhūr nāradaḥ śambhuḥ kumāraḥ kapilo manuḥ prahlāda, janako bhīṣmaḥ [SB 6.3.20]). In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (1.9.42), Bhīṣma, a great authority to be followed by devotees, says that the Supreme Personality of Godhead is situated in the core of everyone’s heart, just as the sun may be on everyone’s head. Yet although the sun may be on the heads of millions and millions of people, this does not mean that the sun is variously situated. Similarly, because the Supreme Personality of Godhead has inconceivable potencies, He can be within everyone’s heart and yet not be situated variously. Ekatvam anupaśyataḥ (Īśopaniṣad 7). The Lord is one, but He can appear in everyone’s heart by His inconceivable potency. Thus although the Lord was within the heart of Devakī, He appeared as her child. According to the Viṣṇu Purāṇa, therefore, as quoted in the Vaiṣṇava-toṣaṇī, the Lord appeared like the sun (anugrahāsaya). The Brahmasaṁhitā (5.35) confirms that the Lord is situated even within the atom (aṇḍāntara-sthaparamāṇu-cayāntara-stham). He is situated in Mathurā, in Vaikuṇṭha and in the core of the heart. Therefore one should clearly understand that He did not live like an ordinary child in the heart or the womb of Devakī. Nor did He appear like an ordinary human child, although He seemed to do so in order to bewilder asuras like Kaṁsa. I he asuras wrongly think that Kṛṣṇa took birth like an ordinary child and passed away from this world like an ordinary man. Such asuric conceptions are rejected by persons in knowledge of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Ajo ’pi sann avyayātmā bhūtānām īśvaro ’pi san (Bg. 4.6). As stated in Bhagavad-gītā, the Lord is aja, unborn, and He is the supreme controller of everything. Nonetheless, He appeared as the child of Devakī. This verse describes the inconceivable potency of the Lord, who appeared like the full moon. Understanding the special significance of the appearance of the Supreme Godhead, one should never regard Him as having taken birth like an ordinary child.

TEXTS 9–10

tam adbhutaṁ bālakam ambujekṣaṇaṁ

catur-bhujaṁ śaṅkha-gadādy-udāyudham

śrīvatsa-lakṣmaṁ gala-śobhi-kaustubhaṁ

pītāmbaraṁ sāndra-payoda-saubhagam


tviṣā pariṣvakta-sahasra-kuntalam


virocamānaṁ vasudeva aikṣata


tam—that; adbhutam—wonderful; bālakam—child; ambujaīkṣaṇam—with eyes resembling lotuses; catuḥbhujam—with four hands; śaṅkhagadāādi—bearing a conchshell, club, disc and lotus (in those four hands); udāyudham—different weapons; śrīvatsalakṣmam—decorated with a particular type of hair called Śrīvatsa, which is visible only on the chest of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; galaśobhikaustubham—on His neck was the Kaustubha gem, which is particularly available in Vaikuṇṭhaloka; pītaambaram—His garments were yellow; sāndrapayodasaubhagam—very beautiful, being present with the hue of blackish clouds; mahāarhavaidūryakirīṭakuṇḍala—of His helmet and earrings, which were studded with very valuable Vaidūrya gems; tviṣā—by the beauty; pariṣvaktasahasrakuntalam—brilliantly illuminated by scattered, fully grown hair; uddāmakāñcīaṅgadakaṅkaṇaādibhiḥ—with a brilliant belt on His waist, armbands on His arms, bracelets on His wrists, etc.; virocamānam—very beautifully decorated; vasudevaḥVasudeva, the father of Kṛṣṇa; aikṣata—saw.


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.


To support the word adbhutam, meaning “wonderful,” the decorations and opulences of the newborn child are fully described. As confirmed in the Brahmasaṁhitā (5.30), barhāvataṁsam asitāmbuda-sundarāṅgam: the hue of the Lord’s beautiful form resembles the blackish color of dense clouds (asita means “blackish,” and ambuda means “cloud”). It is clear from the word caturbhujam that Kṛṣṇa first appeared with four hands, as Lord Viṣṇu. No ordinary child in human society has ever been born with four hands. And when is a child born with fully grown hair? The descent of the Lord, therefore, is completely distinct from the birth of an ordinary child. The Vaidūrya gem, which sometimes appears bluish, sometimes yellow and sometimes red, is available in Vaikuṇṭhaloka. The Lord’s helmet and earrings were decorated with this particular gem.


sa vismayotphulla-vilocano hariṁ

sutaṁ vilokyānakadundubhis tadā

kṛṣṇāvatārotsava-sambhramo ’spṛśan

mudā dvijebhyo ’yutam āpluto gavām


saḥ—he (Vasudeva, also known as Ānakadundubhi); vismayautphullavilocanaḥ—his eyes being struck with wonder at the beautiful appearance of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; harim—Lord Hari, the Supreme Personality of Godhead; sutam—as his son; vilokya—observing; ānakadundubhiḥVasudeva; tadā—at that time; kṛṣṇaavatārautsava—for a festival to be observed because of Kṛṣṇa’s appearance; sambhramaḥ—wishing to welcome the Lord with great respect; aspṛśat—took advantage by distributing; mudā—with great jubilation; dvijebhyaḥ—to the brāhmaṇas; ayutam—ten thousand; āplutaḥ—overwhelmed, surcharged; gavām—cows.


When Vasudeva saw his extraordinary son, his eyes were struck with wonder. In transcendental jubilation, he mentally collected ten thousand cows and distributed them among the brāhmaṇas as a transcendental festival.


Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura has analyzed the wonder of Vasudeva upon seeing his extraordinary child. Vasudeva was shivering with wonder to see a newborn child decorated so nicely with valuable garments and gems. He could immediately understand that the Supreme Personality of Godhead had appeared, not as an ordinary child but in His original, fully decorated, four-handed form. The first wonder was that the Lord was not afraid to appear within the prison house of Kaṁsa, where Vasudeva and Devakī were interned. Second, although the Lord, the Supreme Transcendence, is all-pervading, He had appeared from the womb of Devakī. The third point of wonder, therefore, was that a child could take birth from the womb so nicely decorated. Fourth, the Supreme Personality of Godhead was Vasudeva’s worshipable Deity yet had taken birth as his son. For all these reasons, Vasudeva was transcendentally jubilant, and he wanted to perform a festival, as kṣatriyas do to celebrate the birth of a child, but because of his imprisonment he was unable to do it externally, and therefore he performed the festival within his mind. This was just as good. If one cannot externally serve the Supreme Personality of Godhead, one can serve the Lord within one’s mind, since the activities of the mind are as good as those of the other senses. This is called the nondual or absolute situation (advaya jñāna). People generally perform ritualistic ceremonies for the birth of a child. Why then should Vasudeva not have performed such a ceremony when the Supreme Lord appeared as his son?

Srimad Bhagavatam 10.3.6-11


Books : The Nectar of Devotion – 1970 Edition : NoD 26: Stimulation for Ecstatic Love : Special Days for Remembering Krsna :

There are many statements about the festive days in connection with Kṛṣṇa’s different activities. One of these festive days is Janmāṣṭamī, the day of Kṛṣṇa’s birth. This Janmāṣṭamī Day is the most opulent festival day for the devotees, and it is still observed with great pomp in every Hindu house in India. Sometimes even the devotees of other religious groups take advantage of this auspicious day and enjoy the performance of the ceremony of Janmāṣṭamī. Ecstatic love for Kṛṣṇa is also aroused on the days of Ekādaśī, which are other festive days in connection with Kṛṣṇa.

Books : KRSNA, The Supreme Personality of Godhead – 1970 Edition : Volume 1 : KB 1-7 / Salvation of Trnavarta :

When Kṛṣṇa grew up a little more, He began to turn Himself backside up; He did not merely lie down on His back. And another function was observed by Yaśodā and Nanda Mahārāja: Kṛṣṇa’s first birthday. They arranged for Kṛṣṇa’s birthday ceremony, which is still observed by all followers of the Vedic principles. (Kṛṣṇa’s birthday ceremony is observed in India by all Hindus, irrespective of different sectarian views.) All the cowherd men and women were invited to participate, and they arrived in jubilation. A nice band played, and the people assembled enjoyed it. All the learned brāhmaṇas were invited, and they chanted Vedic hymns for the good fortune of Kṛṣṇa. During the chanting of the Vedic hymns and playing of the bands, Kṛṣṇa was bathed by mother Yaśodā. This bathing ceremony is technically called abhiṣeka, and even today this is observed in all the temples of Vṛndāvana as Janmāṣṭamī Day, or the birthday anniversary of Lord Kṛṣṇa.

Books : On the Way to Krsna : OWK 2: The Way of Chanting and Knowing Krsna :

In this verse Kṛṣṇa also points out that His descent into the material world is transcendental. The word divyam means transcendental. His activities are not in any way ordinary. Even today, in India, at the end of August the people are accustomed to celebrating Kṛṣṇa’s birthday, regardless of sect, just as in the Western world Jesus Christ’s birthday is celebrated at Christmas. Kṛṣṇa’s birthday is called Janmāṣṭamī, and in this verse Kṛṣṇa uses the word janma in referring to “My birth.” Because there is birth, there are some activities. Kṛṣṇa’s birth and activities are transcendental, which means they are not like ordinary births and activities. One may ask how it is that His activities are transcendental. He is born, He takes part in a battle with Arjuna, he has a father by the name of Vasudeva and a mother Devakī and a family—what can be considered transcendental? Kṛṣṇa says, evaṁ yo vetti tattvataḥ—we must know of His birth and activities in truth. When one knows of Kṛṣṇa’s birth and activities in truth, the result is: tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma naiti mām eti so ’rjuna [Bg. 4.9]—when he leaves this material body, he is not born again but goes directly to Kṛṣṇa. This means that he becomes a liberated soul. He goes to the eternal spiritual world and attains his constitutional position full of bliss, knowledge and eternality. All this can be obtained simply by knowing in truth the transcendental nature of Kṛṣṇa’s birth and activities