Pankajnath Tiwari :
The Krishna Lila refers to the divine play and pastimes of Lord Krishna, a prominent deity in Hinduism. Krishna is considered the eighth avatar of Lord Vishnu and is revered as a supreme being, the epitome of love, wisdom, and charm. His leelas (playful activities) are an integral part of Hindu mythology and have been narrated in various sacred texts, particularly in the Bhagavata Purana.
Here is a brief overview of some popular Krishna leelas:
Krishna’s Birth: Krishna was born in the city of Mathura to Devaki and Vasudeva. Due to a prophecy that he would be killed by Devaki’s brother, the wicked King Kamsa, Krishna was secretly taken to Gokul, where he was raised by Yashoda and Nanda.
Childhood Leelas: Krishna’s childhood was filled with charming and mischievous leelas. He would often steal butter from the houses in his village and play pranks on the cowherd girls (Gopis) and his friends. The most famous episode is the “Butter Theft” or “Makhan Chor” leela.
Killing of Demons: Krishna is known for his role in protecting the righteous and destroying evil forces. He engaged in many battles with demons, such as Putana, who disguised herself as a breastfeeding woman, and Kaliya, the venomous serpent. Krishna emerged victorious in all these encounters, symbolizing the triumph of good over evil.
Rasleela: The Rasleela is one of the most enchanting leelas of Krishna. It describes how Krishna would play the flute and the Gopis, mesmerized by the divine music, would leave everything behind to join him in a joyous dance. This leela represents the eternal bond between the soul and the Supreme.
Govardhan Puja: When the people of Vrindavan were preparing to worship Lord Indra, Krishna convinced them to worship Govardhan Hill instead. Angered by this, Indra sent heavy rains to flood the village. However, Krishna lifted the entire Govardhan Hill on his little finger to protect the people and their cattle from the deluge.
Bhagavad Gita: The Bhagavad Gita is a significant part of the Mahabharata, where Krishna imparts profound wisdom to Arjuna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra. This discourse covers various aspects of life, duty, and spirituality, emphasizing the path of devotion and self-realization.
Killing of Demoness Putana: As an infant, Krishna defeated the demoness Putana, who attempted to kill him by breastfeeding him with her poisoned milk. Krishna sucked out her life force along with the poison, liberating her from her evil ways.
Govinda Gopala: Once, young Krishna and his friends would steal butter from the houses in their village. In one incident, the villagers tied Krishna to a wooden mortar as punishment. Undeterred, Krishna dragged the mortar between two trees, known as the Yamala-arjuna trees, causing them to collapse and reveal the divine forms of Nalakuvara and Manigriva, two demigods who had been cursed to live as trees.
Killing of the Demon Trinavarta: When Krishna was a toddler, a demon named Trinavarta came in the form of a whirlwind to carry him away. Krishna held onto the demon’s neck tightly, causing him to lose his strength and ultimately die. The incident showcased Krishna’s divine power and protection.
Krishna and the Gopis: The love between Krishna and the Gopis is a central theme in Krishna’s leelas. The Gopis, deeply devoted to Krishna, would often engage in playful interactions and pastimes with him. One notable episode is the “Raas Purnima” or “Raas Leela,” where Krishna expanded himself into multiple forms and danced with each Gopi, fulfilling their desire for divine union.
Liberation of Nanda Maharaja from Varuna: Krishna once protected his foster father, Nanda Maharaja, from the wrath of the demigod Varuna. When Nanda Maharaja and the cowherd community were caught in a heavy rainstorm, Krishna lifted Govardhan Hill with his little finger to provide them with shelter.
Killing of the Bull Demon Arishtasura: Arishtasura, a demon in the form of a bull, terrorized the residents of Vrindavan. Krishna courageously confronted the demon, caught him by the horns, and killed him, saving the village from his atrocities.
Liberation of the Serpent Kaliya: The poisonous serpent Kaliya had polluted the waters of the Yamuna River. Krishna fearlessly danced on the serpent’s hoods, forcing Kaliya to surrender. After Krishna chastised him, Kaliya left the Yamuna, and the river waters became pure again.
Stealing the Clothes of the Gopis: During the spring season, Krishna and his friends, known as the Sakhas, would playfully steal the clothes of the Gopis while they were bathing in the Yamuna River. Krishna would later return the clothes in exchange for their devotion and love.
Lifting the Govardhan Hill: When the residents of Vrindavan were preparing to perform a sacrifice for Lord Indra, Krishna advised them to worship Govardhan Hill instead. Angered by this, Lord Indra sent a severe rainstorm to punish the villagers. In response, Krishna lifted the massive Govardhan Hill on his little finger, providing shelter for the entire community for seven days until Indra realized his mistake.
Killing of the Demon Bakasura: The demon Bakasura took the form of a gigantic crane and terrorized the people of Vrindavan. Krishna, accompanied by his cowherd friends, engaged in a fierce battle with Bakasura. Eventually, Krishna grabbed the demon’s beak and tore him apart, freeing the village from his menace.
Liberation of the Elephant Demon Kuvalayapida: Krishna encountered a fierce demon named Kuvalayapida, who took the form of an elephant. Krishna skillfully wrestled with the elephant, eventually killing him and liberating him from his demonic existence.
The Syamantaka Gem: Krishna was accused of stealing a precious gem called the Syamantaka. To prove his innocence, Krishna embarked on a quest to find the gem and discovered that it was actually taken by Jambavan, the king of bears. Krishna engaged in a wrestling match with Jambavan, and after a long battle, Jambavan recognized Krishna’s divinity and returned the gem.
Killing of the Demoness Dhenuka: Krishna and his cowherd friends would often play in the forests of Vrindavan. Once, they encountered Dhenuka, a demoness in the form of a donkey, who tried to attack them. Krishna effortlessly killed Dhenuka by uprooting her and throwing her into a tree.
The Killing of the Demoness Poothana: Poothana, a demoness, disguised herself as a beautiful woman and attempted to kill baby Krishna by breastfeeding him with her poisoned milk. Krishna, with his divine powers, absorbed her life force, causing her to assume her true form and die.