Aarti Natarajan Sharma
Lord Krishna is one of the most widely worshipped and popular Hindu deities. His example is given as a friend, a mentor and a teacher. He is often portrayed as being a mischievous god and stories of his tricks abound in Hindu mythology.
However, what a lot of people don’t know is that Lord Krishna also performed a number of miracles. Let’s take a look at some of these.
Revelation to Yashodha Ma
Krishna was born as the 8th child to Devaki and Vasudev. He was born when his parents were in prison. They had been thrown into prison by his mother’s evil brother, King Kansa. In light of a prophecy that his sister’s son would kill him, King Kansa had ordered all of her children to be killed as soon as they were born. When Krishna was born, through divine power, Vasudev found himself out of prison. He then smuggled the baby to Gokul and exchanged him with a baby girl born to cowherds Yashodha and Nanda. Krishna grew up with them.
As a child, Krishna was fond of eating soil and dirt. Once, Yashodha caught him in the act. Krishna said he had not eaten any dirt and if she didn’t believe him, she could look in his mouth. Saying this, he opened his mouth wide and Yashodha ma saw the entire universe (brahmand) inside Krishna’s mouth. She immediately realised his divine powers. Krishna knew that if she looked upon him as a divine being, she wouldn’t be able to love him like a son. By his powers he made her forget what she had seen, keeping intact her maternal affection towards him.
Lifting Govardhan Parvat
This is an interesting story in the Puranas about when Krishna was a child. Once the elders in Braj were planning a pooja for Lord Indra. Krishna asked them why they were doing so. The elders replied that each year a special pooja was performed to appease and please Lord Indra so that he would give the city of Braj rains and ensure that the livelihood of the people was maintained. Little Krishna argued that the farmers need only to do their duty or karma towards their crops and cattle instead of performing sacrifices and prayers for something that is a natural phenomenon. Convinced by Krishna, the prayer was cancelled.
Lord Indra was furious. He decided to unleash the Samavartaka clouds of upon the people of Vrindavan. Torrents of rain and thunder lashed the city. The people appealed to Krishna who immediately understood what was happening. He lifted the Govardhan Parvat on his little finger and held it up like an umbrella. It is said that this hill was 26 miles in perimeter. For seven days the inhabitants of Vrindavan, along with their cattle and possessions, took shelter under this hill. Lord Indra, stunned by this turn of events, recalled the clouds and normalcy was restored.
Lord Krishna effortlessly held up the entire hill on his little finger, that too when he was just a child.
This is by far one of the most famous and widely known miracles of Lord Krishna and an event which changed the course of the great epic the Mahabharata. When Draupadi, wife of the five Pandavas was staked and lost in a game of dice in the great court of Hastinapur, Duryodhana ordered his brother Dusshashan to disrobe her. Realising that there was no one in the court whom she could count on for help, Draupadi closed her eyes and prayed to Lord Krishna. Dusshashan kept pulling at her saree which turned out to be endless and kept piling up in a huge heap, till his arms could pull no more.
This is considered to be one of the greatest leelas of Lord Krishna. He was very fond of Draupadi who thought him to be her saviour. In fact, because of her dark skin, Draupadi was often referred to as Krishnaa.
Curing Kubja the Hunchback
Lord Krishna is known as the god of compassion and kindness. He couldn’t bear to see anyone suffering. There was once a hunchback in Mathura called Kubja. According to the Bhagwat Purana, Krishna and his brother Balaram were walking the streets of Mathura when they encountered Kubja, who was also known as Trivarka (one who is bent in three places). Kubja had once been beautiful but was now deformed and in pain. She had been told of Lord Krishna who was known to perform miracles. When she heard that Krishna was roaming the streets of Mathura, she went to meet him, hoping he would help her. It is said that when Krishna met her, he put three fingers under her chin and forcefully straightened her. Thereafter, Kubja was rid of her deformity.
The Taming of Kaliya
In the river Yamuna, there lived a terrible serpent called Kaliya. He was a 110 headed serpent, full of hatred because of which the waters of the river were poisoned. No one dared to go near the banks of this river because of the black poison that continuously bubbled on its surface.
Once little Krishna was playing ball with his friends on the banks of the river when the ball went into the river. Everyone was afraid but Krishna jumped into the river fearlessly. Kaliya rushed to attack him. He filled the water with venom which Krishna dashed away with one stroke of his hand. Kaliya then attempted to wrap his body around Krishna and crush him but Krishna grew to a huge size and the serpent was forced to release him.
Soon Kaliya became tired. Krishna then assumed the weight of the universe in his feet and playing the flute, started dancing on the serpent’s head who began vomiting blood and venom. Seeing him dying his many wives came and begged Krishna to spare him. Krishna relented and spared Kaliya with a warning to leave the river and never return.
Lord Krishna is considered to be an avatar of Lord Vishnu. His numerous leelas serve as inspiration even today.
One of his most revered dictums given in the Bhagvad Gita is:
“Whenever righteousness wanes and unrighteousness increases, I send myself forth. For the protection of the good and for the destruction of evil,
and for the establishment of righteousness, I come into being age after age.”
— Bhagavad Gita 4.7–8