The Story of Krishna’s Birth from Srimad Bhagavata Purana

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Krishna- the name that turned Queen Meera into a Bhaktin and transformed Sudama into Kubera on Earth, in Indian culture is synonymous with Prema (love) and Bhakti (devotion). Established in Hindu households as Baal-Gopal, Laddu-Gopala, Thakurji, and Jugal Jodi (with Sri Radha), Krishna to his Bhakta is a friend in childhood, son in adulthood, and salvager in old age.

Amongst all the celebrated stages of his life, Krishna’s birth and his childhood are undoubtedly the most endearing and beloved ones. An ode to his Avataran (incarnation) is the festival of Janmashtami, a remembrance of Vishnu’s descent in the jail of Kamsa, in the womb of Maa Devaki, and his voyage to Gokula, to the home of Maa Yashoda. This sacred legend of Krishna’s arrival to protect Bhudevi (goddess Earth) has been narrated in a heavenly vocabulary in the Tritiya Adhyaya (third chapter) of the Dasham Skandha of Srimad Bhagavatam. It is an enchanting account of the conversation between King Parikshit and Shukadeva, in which the latter tells the monarch about Nature preparing herself in anticipation of the arrival of the Lord and the awe of Devaki and Vasudeva while welcoming their divine child.


Ananda (Bliss) on Earth: Nature Readied to Welcome Devakinandana

With the news of Sri Vishnu’s eighth incarnation reaching the human realm, Kaal (time), Disha (directions), Prithvi (earth), Jal (water), Agni (fire), Vaayu (air), Aakash (sky), Man (mind), and Aatma (soul)- these nine “Dravya” (substances) were cleansed.

Kaala (Time)

Lord Krishna is beyond time. Upon hearing about the incarnation of Vishnu as Krishna, Kaal or time was filled with joy and virtues and became prepared to welcome the god. Disha (directions), evoked as goddesses were joyed with the hope of meeting their lords, who will be freed from the clutches of Kamsa by Krishna, and decked up beautifully.

Bhu (Earth) and Rivers

Vishnu is Bhupati- the Lord of Bhu (earth). When goddess Earth heard about the coming of Vishnu as Krishna, she was ecstatic with the thought of being in proximity to her beloved. River goddesses were also contented with the idea of witnessing the Lilas of Krishna.

Agni (Fire) and Vaayu (Wind)

With the knowledge of being the tool of Krishnavatara in the purging of Earth, Agni (fire) was filled with happiness. The advent of Sri Krishna meant the commencement of auspicious functions such as Yajna, and Agni who was hitherto kept away from sacrificial offerings, which are his food, would get a renewed flow of ritual offerings. Vaayu or air rejoiced in having the chance to do the Seva (service) of the Lord, by drying the sweat off his Srimukha, when He will be tired after performing his herculean tasks.

Aakasha (Sky) and Mana (Mind)

Aakasha (sky), with whom the Lord’s blissful blue form and expansiveness are compared, was joyous with the thought of witnessing the divine Lilas. The stars, planets, and celestial bodies took fortunate positions as soon as they heard of the arrival of Krishna, thus creating a divinely fortunate moment.

Mana or the mind too found elation in the news of Vishnu’s incarnation as Krishna, imagining the nectar of seeing the Lord perform his Lilas and immersing in Bhakti-rasa, transcending the worldly ties while staying in the world, with the blessings of Murlidhara.


The Birth of Krishna: The Four-Armed Son of Devaki and Vasudeva

On the Ashtami Krishnapaksha of Bhadramasa, Sri Krishna was born. When the darkness and silence of night were at their peak, and the ambiance was brimming with fortuitous signs, Vishnu came to the womb of Devaki as the full moon, dispelling the Andhakara (darkness) with his aura.

Vasudeva witnessed a divine vision- an awe-inspiring boy, lotus-eyed, holding Shankah, Chakra, Gada, and Padma. He had the Srivatsa (the triangle-shaped symbol of Sri Lakshmi) on his chest and, the Kaustubha gem around his neck, which along with his Pitambara (yellow garment) glistened brilliantly against his nimbus cloud-toned Shyama skin. Seeing the heavenly child, Vasudeva realized that he was blessed by Narayana(नारायण), and chanted heartfelt Stuti (prayer), offering his devotion to Vishnu.

Standing in front of the child Lord, Vasudeva evoked him as “Purushottama”, who is the source of the Srishti (creation’s) origin, preservation, and annihilation. Maa Devaki, upon seeing her baby, feared the vow of Kamsa (who was bent on killing the children of Devaki and Vasudeva, under the fear of the prophecy that their eighth child would be his Kaala or death), but as she understood the true nature of the child, she too was filled with reverence.

Devaki addressed Bala Krishna with the knowledge of him being Param Brahma of the Vedas, who alone remains at the end of Pralaya, which is why he is known as Shesha (that which is remaining). She requested the Chaturbhuja Lord to leave his celestial form and appear in the human aspect so that he could remain hidden from Kamsa and the human beings who are fixated only on bodily qualities (and thus can not understand the profound truth of Narayana).

The Previous Births of Devaki and Vasudeva and the Boon of Sri Vishnu

One of the lesser-known tales about Krishna-avatar in the Srimad Bhagavatam goes back to the previous births of Devaki and Vasudeva. Sri Bhagwan himself narrates the story to Devaki, of her birth as Prishni and Vasudeva’s birth as Sutapa. With immense control over their Indriya (senses), the couple performed Tapasya (तपस्या), eating leaves and consuming air. Pleased with their austerities, Sri Narayana appeared in front of them and gave them the boon of parenting Him. Vishnu was born as “Prishnigarbha”, and in the following births as “Upendra” and “Vamana”.

The words that come out of Narayana’s mouth hold such potency, that in every birth, due to their Putrabhava (paternal emotions) and Brahmabhava (devotion to the supreme truth as Narayana), Devaki and Vasudeva were blessed with Vishnu as their child.


From Mathura to Gokulaa

Having narrated the story of their previous lives to them and blessing them, Sri Vishnu took the form of a newborn. Seeing his child, Vasudeva was inspired to take him away from the jail of Kamsa. Yogamaya (the Shakti of Sri Vishnu) opened the heavy iron doors of the prison, broke the chains of Vasudeva, and put the guards to sleep. Thus, carrying the Lord of the Universe in a basket, protected by Yogamaya and Adi-Shehsa, Vasudeva reached the banks of Yamuna, who was overjoyed and flooded with water which was sprinkled from the sky by the clouds, on the occasion of Krishna’s arrival.

Seeing her Lord, Yamuna was pleased and gave way to Vasudeva, who reached Gokula and found the residents in deep slumber. He placed Krishna next to a sleeping Yashoda Maa and took her newborn daughter, back to the prison of Kamsa.


In the darkness of Krishnapaksha (कृष्ण पक्ष), fortune shined on Mathura, Vrindavana, and the three realms. The seed of Kamsa’s end was sown, and Prithvi was purified by the touch of Hari’s lotus feet. This is the story of Sri Krishna Janmashtami, the beginning of Sri Krishna Lila- the legends that are Amrita for the souls of Indians, the muse of its artists, and the path to Moksha for devotees.


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|| जय श्री कृष्णा ||



1.  Srimad Bhagavata Purana

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