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कहानियाँ Kahaniyan of South Asia

Krishna can be found on Level 5 in the Traditions in Sculpture gallery at the National Museum of Scotland.

Lord Krishna - symbol of empathy, understanding, social justice and love

An exquisitely carved cast bronze figure of the Hindu deity Krishna (Sanskrit: Kṛṣṇa) (Hindi: कृष्ण) captivated the group instantly. Standing on a pedestal with his flute pointed to the right and his right leg crossing over onto his left, Krishna is accompanied by two little figurines of cows at the bottom of his feet.

Bronze figure of Krishna, standing playing the flute.

Figure of Krishna, standing playing the flute on a square pedestal, cast bronze: India, probably 19th century (A.1934.8).

NKS members encounter small statues of various deities, including Krishna.

NKS members encounter small statues of various deities, including Krishna.

The eighth incarnation (avatar) of the god Vishnu, Krishna is a supreme god in his own right.

Krishna’s flute is an integral part of him and his personality. His togetherness with the flute made Radha, Krishna’s lover and best friend, jealous. She saw his flute as her enemy as it stays perpetually attached to him and touches his lips constantly. Nonetheless, when Krishna plays the flute it sweeps Radha off her feet, and she is bewitched by its sound and immerses herself in enthralling dancing.

The Sanskrit term ‘krsna’, or Krishna means black, dark, or dark blue but also ‘the all attractive’. Black is considered beautiful. His name points to the complexion of his skin which is usually shown as black, dark, or dark blue.

Illustration of Krishna playing his flute.

Krishna playing his flute. ©Wikimedia Commons

Krishna is also called by other names like Mohan, Gopal, Govind, Vithoba, Jagannath, Bankey Bihari, Dwarkadhseesh, Vasudeva and many others.

Widely revered and one of the most popular deities, he inspired the Bhakti movement of medieval Hinduism (circa 6th century CE), a movement that sought to bring religious reforms via devotion, of which he is the central character. This became the starting point of a vibrant tradition in art including poetry, music, and painting. This bronze figure radiates the many noble attributes of Krishna, such as guardianship, kindness, empathy, understanding and wisdom, social justice and love.

Anecdotes of Krishna’s childhood pranks are a source of delight to his devotees. He also performed many miracles and slew dragons. Hindus around the world celebrate Krishna’s birthday. The date of Krishna Janmashtami falls in late August/early September (Gregorian calendar) according to the lunisolar Hindu calendar. Beautiful little houses are crafted from paper, wood, branches, and leaves, and built in people’s homes to welcome him. He is born at 12 o'clock at night amongst great fanfare, music, and dance. Delicious food and sweets are prepared to share with family and friends.

The main sources of Krishna’s mythology are found in the epic poem, the Mahabharata.

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