Vedic literatures describe Lord Krishna as an attractively dark (described as black or dark blue) that resembles rain clouds, along with long beautiful hair. He wears a head-dress made of peacock feathers, plays the flute, and wears an orange silk dhoti. He is known to have an exquisitely beautiful face with eyes like lotus petals, a beautiful highly raised nose, an exquisite and enchanting smile, a beautiful forehead and fully decorated ears with golden earrings. His voice is sweet, and a divine gem called Kaustubha hangs around his neck. He is often shown wearing a long garland of ever-fresh flowers around his neck. There are believed to be nineteen auspicious markings on the bottom of the feet of Lord Krishna, which distinguish Him from others, including a flag, thunderbolt, umbrella, disc, half moon, plough, conch, lotus, and instrument to drive an elephant.
Lord Krishna is an avatar of Lord Vishnu therefore doesn’t have a specific vehicle, but in several stories His vahana is also Garuda. Garuda as mentioned in the various Vedic literatures especially Vishnu Purana has always been regarded as the personal servitor of Vishnu. Lord Krishna carries an image of Garuda on His banner. It is believed that He rode Garuda along with His consort Satyabhama to kill Narakasura, and also used the help of Garuda to save Gajendra – His elephant devotee.
Favourite Fruits or Food
BalKrishna (Baby Krishna) was fond of butter and has a sweet tooth, which is why He is often also depicted with a laddoo in his hand. He is known to love Maakhan Mishri – a dish made with fresh white butter sprinkled with sugar. There is another story where Sudama brought Lord Krishna poha – a dish made with flattened rice flakes, and the Lord claimed that it was his favourite food. On the occasion of Janmasthami (Lord Krishna’s birthday), the devotees offer Him sweets made with milk products and sugar, like rabri, kheer, kalakand, peda, misti doi, gopalkala, kesar peda, basundi, phirni, Bal Bhog and coconut laddoos.
Mentions in the Vedas and Puranas:
Lord Krishna is central to many of the legends mentioned in the epic Mahabharata. The Eighteenth Chapter of the Sixth Book constitutes the Bhagavad Gita – the highest philosophical discourse Lord Krishna gives to Arjuna on the Battlefield of Kurukshetra. The Harivamsa section contains various stories of the Lord’s childhood and boyhood. The Lord (Purusha) also mentioned in the Rig Veda as the Infallible Truth. Several Puranas especially Bhagavata Purana talks about His incarnations in various Yugas and His pastimes before the advent of His most sought-after incarnation as Krishna. This Bhagavata Purana was written by Vyasadeva that has 18,000 verses in 12 cantos, making it one of the most significant Puranas.
Legends of Lord Krishna:
While there are several scriptures narrating the pastimes of the Lord helping the Pandava princes win the Battle of Mahabharata through His astute wisdom, planning and intelligence. One such heart-warming story tells of Sudama who went to meet Lord Krishna. Sudama, a Brahmin, was Krishna’s childhood friend and staunch devotee. A man of meagre means, he wished to go meet his friend Lord Krishna, who was the king of Dwarka at the time. Sudama was too honest and humble to ask for Krishna’s help and didn’t want to go meet his long-lost friend empty-handed. Since he had no means to buy expensive gifts for the king, he took with his a handful of puffed rice as a gift.
Radha: The Lord’s most faithful Companion and Friend
The Lord greeted Sudama warmly, as the latter was awed by the splendour of Dwarka. Krishna's hospitality humbled him, and he felt embarrassed to give his friend the simple gift he carried. Seeing a small bag in Sudama's hand, Krishna promptly asked him whether His gift was inside the bag. Sudama unwillingly took it out and Lord Krishna happily accepted the gift as if it was the most precious thing.
When Sudama reached his home, his old hut had been replaced by a huge mansion filled with food and his family was adorned in new clothes. Without uttering a word, his humble gift of puffed rice told the Lord of his pitiable financial state, and the Lord showered him with blessings in return of the humble, honest gift.
Another intriguing story tells of Lord Krishna as Govardhan Dhari. A young Krishna once questioned the devotion of the people in Brajdham towards Lord Indra, and advised the milkmen and shepherds to stop praying to the arrogant god. Insulted by this act, Lord Indra decided to send Samvartak – dark clouds that rained torrents and caused floods to Brajdham. Soon Brajdham was flooded and the torrents uprooted trees as well as houses. To save the people, Lord Krishna placed the Govardhan Parvat upon His Sudarshan Chakra and lifted the mountain, hence creating underneath it a safe place for the people of Brajdham to wait for the storms to pass. He stood for seven days and nights, holding up the mountain, keeping the people safe. Lord Indra gave up and felt ashamed of his acts at the end of seven days, and the Samvartak were recalled. That’s how Lord Krishna came to be known as Govardhan Dhari, or The One who lifted Govardhan.
The name Radha is always associated with Lord Krishna. Many devotees pray to Radha-Krishna, as She is perceived as His affectionate lover and devotee. Krishna without Radha is unthinkable, yet Radha never married Krishna. While Krishna is believed to be married to the Ashtabharya, or the Eight Queens, as well as sixteen thousands other maidens he rescued from Narakasura.
Some legends say that when Krishna, Balarama and Akrura left Vrindavan to go to Mathura to fight Kansa, Radha knew that Krishna will be victorious and will hence lead the Yadu Clan. A simple cowherd village woman, she was unable to picture Herself as the Queen, and did not wish to leave Vrindavan, a place where She spent Her pastimes with the Lord. She was afraid that power and responsibility will change the Lord. She wanted to stay forever immersed in the thoughts of Krishna She completely devoted Herself to. She stayed back to take care for Krishna’s parents, and asked for His flute as a gift. The Lord gave it to Her and never returned then.
It is believed that years later, after Krishna assumed the statesmanship of Dwarka and married His princely wives, He saw Radha once again at Kurukshetra where people from all the kingdoms came to bathe in the holy waters of Syamantapanchaka after a total solar eclipse. His parents (Devaki and Vasudeva) wanted to meet and thank Krishna’s adoptive parents who kept Him safe for many years, and who were accompanied by Radha. No words were spoken between the two. Hence, Vrindavan is believed to have been enshrined forever because of Radha's selfless love and sacrifice.
Another story which is rarely narrated is that Arjuna was not the only one who heard the narration of Bhagavad Gita first-hand. It is believed that the Bhagavad Gita was also heard by Lord Hanuman, who was perched atop Arjuna’s chariot throughout the battle to come to aid when the time called, and Sanjaya, who was blessed by Veda Vyasa with divine vision so he could narrate the events of Mahabharata to the blind king Dhritharashtra.