Lord Krishna, the eighth incarnation of Lord Vishnu, is the central character in one of Hinduism's most sacred texts—The Bhagavad Gita as well as the longest epic ever written—The Mahabharata.
The Krishna Chalisa, which is also known as the Krishna mantra, is dedicated to this avatar of Lord Vishnu. Krishna’s life story and eventual exit from the mortal world coincides with the ending of the Dwapara Yug and the beginning of the Kal Yug.
The bhakti (devotional) movement in India was spurred by Lord Krishna devotees and this, in turn, has resulted in the rich creation of art, music, and poetry surrounding Krishna, with Krishna Chalisa being one of them.
Among Hindus, worshipping Krishna is believed to bring peace, success, and happiness. He is also among a handful of Gods whose childhood has found representations in many art forms.
According to a recent Pew Survey, Lord Krishna was among the top five most popular deities among Hindus. The Krishna avatar represents emancipation and liberation from sin.
While Krishna Chalisa is sung regularly by many Krishna devotees, it is the go-to hymn during Janmashtami—the festival that celebrates the birth of the Lord under unusual circumstances.
About Krishna Chalisa
The Chalisa recounts the exploits of the flute-playing god. It makes several references to incidents from god’s life including his childhood, youth and his role in helping the Pandavas. It is perhaps the only one Chalisa to refer to instances from a god’s childhood.
जय नट-नागर नाग नथैया। कृष्ण कन्हैया धेनु चरैया॥
(Glory to the most accomplished player, the slayer of Naag (cobra), you are Kanhaiya, the cowherd.)
The Krishan Chalisa also makes a mention of some well-known Krishna devotees including Mirabai.
...मीरा थी ऐसी मतवाली। विष पी गई बजाकर ताली॥
(So devoted was Mira to Lord Krishna that she happily drank poison)
The Chalisa compares the physical attributes of the god to many aspects of nature—since Krishna is considered an avatar of Lord Vishnu, the sustainer, among the Trinity in Hinduism.
God’s eyes are compared to the lotus flower while the ethereal glow that surrounds him is compared to that of the full moon.
…...अरुण अधर जनु बिम्बा फल, नयन कमल अभिराम॥
…...पूर्ण इन्द्र, अरविन्द मुख, पिताम्बर शुभ साज।
Why is Krishna Chalisa recited?
As per astrology, reciting the Krishna Chalisa can help alleviate the ill effects of Ketu. It is believed that those who are childless can benefit from reciting the Chalisa. Reciting the Krishna Chalisa can also help overcome rough patches in marriage. It is also recommended for those who seek the peace of mind.
The Chalisa itself mentions the benefits of its recitation. It says—
यह चालीसा कृष्ण का, पाठ करै उर धारि।
अष्ट सिद्धि नवनिधि फल, लहै पदारथ चारि॥
(Those who recite the Krishna Chalisa with faith and devotion can acquire eight siddhis (powers) and nine types of nidhis (treasures))
As with most hymns, the Krishan Chalisa’s effect is maximised when it is recited in the early morning following a bath in front of a Krishna idol.
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