(mythology), in Hinduism and
Indian mythology, the eighth avatar, or incarnation, of
the god Vishnu. According to
tradition, Vishnu appeared as Krishna to rid the world
of a tyrannical king named Kamsa, the son of a demon.
legends describe Krishna's miracles and heroic exploits.
Advertisement He slew or defeated scores of evil demons
and monsters. He appears prominently, sometimes as a deity,
in the epic poem Mahabharata, in which he sides with the
Pandavas, one of two contending families, and acts as
the charioteer of the hero Arjuna. It is to Arjuna, troubled
on the eve of the decisive battle, that Krishna delivers
the celebrated discourse on duty and life known as the
his part in the struggle between the Pandavas and their
enemies, the Kauravas, Krishna and all his race were cursed
by Gandhari, the mother of the slaughtered Kaurava brothers.
Thereafter, Krishna's people quarreled among themselves,
ultimately exterminating one another in a single day by
fighting with uprooted reeds grown from a magical iron
powder. Krishna and his brother Bala-Rama
alone survived. They retired into a nearby forest, where
a serpent crawled out of Bala-Rama's mouth, leaving him
dead. The solitary Krishna was then killed by a hunter
who mistook him for a deer and shot him with an arrow
tipped with the same magical iron that had destroyed Krishna's
Krishna was earlier celebrated primarily as a heroic figure,
in recent centuries he has been adored as a mischievous
child and as the lover of the girls who live in the cowherd
settlement where he began his earthly career.
and Krishna in a Pavillion (1760?) is an example
of the style of Indian miniature painting that was
popular from the 16th to the 19th century. This
piece, from India's Punjab Hills, is an illustration
of a traditional story of Krishna, a Hindu god,
and his lover, Radha. Krishna, left, the eighth
incarnation of the supreme Hindu god Vishnu, serves
as one of the central deities in Hinduism.
Art Library, London/New York
Victoria and Albert Museum, London/Bridgeman Art
Library, London/New York
Bhagavad-Gita attempts to reconcile the two types
of Hinduism (worldly and renunciatory) by offering
a third way. This third way entails worshiping lesser
gods, who emanate from the Supreme Brahman. An example
of a lesser god is Krishna, the human hero who is
worshiped as an avatar, or earthly descent of the
god Vishnu. He is depicted here in Krishna with
His Maidens, a 17th-century painting in the book
Rasamanjari by Indian writer Bhanudatta.
(mythology)," Microsoft® Encarta® Online Encyclopedia
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