1970 Edition, Two Volume Edition
- Hardbound; 752 pages; 17.8 x 26.7 (centimeters); 7 x 10.5 (inches)
- Volume One: 32 Color Plates; Volume Two: 24 Color Plates ISKCON art circa 1965-1970; no index
- Publisher: The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust; First issue: 1970; Reissue: 2002
- Suggested Audience: Introductory
Hardbound, Two Volume Edition
- Hardbound; 724 pages; 13.3 x 21 (centimeters); 5.25 x 8.25 (inches)
- 32 color illustrations; no index
- Publisher: The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust; First issue: 1970; Reissue: 2002
- Suggested Audience: Introductory
Words from George Harrison
Chapter 1: The Advent of Lord Krishna
Chapter 2: Prayers by the Demigods for Lord Krishna in the Womb
Chapter 3: The Birth of Lord Krishna
Chapter 4: Kamsa Begins His Persecutions
Chapter 5: The Meeting of Nanda and Vasudeva
Chapter 6: Putana Killed
Chapter 7: The Salvation of Trinavarta
Chapter 8: Vision of the Universal Form
Chapter 9: Mother Yashoda Binds Lord Krishna
Chapter 10: The Deliverance of Nalakuvara and Manigriva
Chapter 11: Killing the Demons Vatsasura and Bakasura
Chapter 12: The Killing of the Aghasura Demon
Chapter 13: The Stealing of the Boys and Calves by Brahma
Chapter 14: Prayers Offered by Lord Brahma to Lord Krishna
Chapter 15: The Killing of Dhenukasura
Chapter 16: Subduing Kaliya
Chapter 17: Extinguishing the Forest Fire
Chapter 18: Killing the Demon Pralambasura
Chapter 19: Devouring the Forest Fire
Chapter 20: Description of Autumn
Chapter 21: The Gopis Attracted by the Flute
Chapter 22: Stealing the Garments of the Unmarried Gopi Girls
Chapter 23: Delivering the Wives of the Brahmanas Who Performed Sacrifices
Chapter 24: Worshiping Govardhana Hill
Chapter 25: Devastating Rainfall in Vrindavana
Chapter 26: Wonderful Krishna
Chapter 27: Prayers by Indra, the King of Heaven
Chapter 28: Releasing Nanda Maharaja from the Clutches of Varuna
Chapter 29: The Rasa Dance Introduction
Chapter 30: Krishna’s Hiding from the Gopis
Chapter 31: Songs by the Gopis
Chapter 32: Krishna Returns to the Gopis
Chapter 33: Description of the Rasa Dance
Chapter 34: Vidyadhara Liberated and the Demon
Chapter 35: The Gopis’ Feelings of Separation
Chapter 36: Kamsa Sends Akrura for Krishna
Chapter 37: Killing the Keshi Demon and Vyomasura
Chapter 38: Akrura’s Arrival in Vrindavana
Chapter 39: Akrura’s Return Journey and His Vision of Vishnuloka Within the Yamuna River
Chapter 40: Prayers by Akrura
Chapter 41: Krishna Enters Mathura
Chapter 42: The Breaking of the Bow in the Sacrificial Arena
Chapter 43: The Killing of the Elephant Kuvalayapida
Chapter 44: The Killing of Kamsa
Chapter 45: Krishna Recovers the Son of His Teacher
Chapter 46: Uddhava Visits Vrindavana
Chapter 47: Delivery of the Message of Krishna to the Gopis
Chapter 48: Krishna Pleases His Devotees
Chapter 49: Ill-motivated Dhritarashtra
Chapter 50: Krishna Erects the Dvaraka Fort
Chapter 51: The Deliverance of Muchukunda
Chapter 52: Krishna, the Ranacora
Chapter 53: Krishna Kidnaps Rukmini
Chapter 54: Krishna Defeats All the Princes and Takes Rukmini Home to Dvaraka
Chapter 55: Pradyumna Born to Krishna and Rukmini
Chapter 56: The Story of the Syamantaka Jewel
Chapter 57: The Killing of Satrajit and Shatadhanva
Chapter 58: Five Queens Married by Krishna
Chapter 59: The Deliverance of the Demon Bhaumasura
Chapter 60: Talks Between Krishna and Rukmini
Chapter 61: The Genealogy of the Family of Krishna
Chapter 62: The Meeting of Usha and Aniruddha
Chapter 63: Lord Krishna Fights with Banasura
Chapter 64: The Story of King Nriga
Chapter 65: Lord Balarama Visits Vrindavana
Chapter 66: The Deliverance of Paundraka and the King of Kashi
Chapter 67: The Deliverance of Dvivida Gorilla
Chapter 68: The Marriage of Samba
Chapter 69: The Great Sage Narada Visits the Different Homes of Lord Krishna
Chapter 70: Lord Krishna’s Daily Activities
Chapter 71: Lord Krishna in Indraprastha City
Chapter 72: The Liberation of King Jarasandha
Chapter 73: Lord Krishna Returns to the City of Hastinapura
Chapter 74: The Deliverance of Shishupala
Chapter 75: Why Duryodhana Felt Insulted at the End of the Rajasuya Sacrifice
Chapter 76: The Battle Between Shalva and Members of the Yadu Dynasty
Chapter 77: The Deliverance of Shalva
Chapter 78: The Killing of Dantavakra, Viduratha and Romaharshana
Chapter 79: The Liberation of Balvala, and Lord Balarama’s Touring the Sacred Places
Chapter 80: The Meeting of Lord Krishna with Sudama Brahmana
Chapter 81: The Brahmana Sudama Blessed by Lord Krishna
Chapter 82: Lord Krishna and Balarama meet the inhabitants of Vrindavana
Chapter 83: Draupadi Meets the Queens of Krishna
Chapter 84: Sacrificial Ceremonies Performed by Vasudeva
Chapter 85: Spiritual Instruction for Vasudeva, and the Return of the Six Dead Sons of Devaki by Lord Krishna
Chapter 86: The Kidnapping of Subhadra, and Lord Krishna’s
Visiting Shrutadeva and Bahulashva
Chapter 87: Prayers by the Personified Vedas
Chapter 88: The Deliverance of Lord Shiva
Chapter 89: The Superexcellent Power of Krishna
Chapter 90: Summary Description of Lord Krishna’s Pastimes
Sanskrit Pronunciation Guide
After extinguishing the devastating fire, Krishna, surrounded by His relatives, friends, cows, calves and bulls and glorified by His friends’ singing, again entered Vrindavana, which is always full of cows. While Krishna and Balarama were enjoying life in Vrindavana in the midst of the cowherd boys and girls, the season gradually changed to summer. The summer season in India is not very much welcomed because of the excessive heat, but in Vrindavana everyone was pleased because summer there appeared just like spring. This was possible only because Lord Krishna and Balarama, who are the controllers even of Lord Brahma and Lord Shiva, were residing there. In Vrindavana there are many falls which are always pouring water, and the sound is so sweet that it covers the sound of the crickets. And because water flows all over, the forest always looks very green and beautiful.
The inhabitants of Vrindavana were never disturbed by the scorching heat of the sun or the high summer temperatures. The lakes of Vrindavana are surrounded by green grasses, and various kinds of lotus flowers bloom there, such as the kahlara, kanja and utpala, and the air blowing in Vrindavana carries the aromatic pollen of those lotus flowers. When the particles of water from the waves of the Yamuna, the lakes and the waterfalls touched the bodies of the inhabitants of Vrindavana, they automatically felt a cooling effect. Therefore they were practically undisturbed by the summer season.
Vrindavana is such a nice place. Flowers are always blooming, and there are even various kinds of decorated deer. Birds are chirping, peacocks are crowing and dancing, and bees are humming. The cuckoos there sing nicely in five kinds of tunes.
Krishna, the reservoir of pleasure, blowing His flute, accompanied by His elder brother Balarama and the other cowherd boys and the cows, entered the beautiful forest of Vrindavana to enjoy the atmosphere. They walked into the midst of newly grown leaves of trees whose flowers resembled peacock feathers. They were garlanded by those flowers and decorated with saffron chalk. Sometimes they were dancing and singing and sometimes wrestling with one another. While Krishna danced, some of the cowherd boys sang and others played on flutes; some bugled on buffalo horns or clapped their hands, praising Krishna, “Dear brother, You are dancing very nicely.” Actually, all these boys were demigods descended from higher planets to assist Krishna in His pastimes. The demigods garbed in the dress of the cowherd boys were encouraging Krishna in His dancing, just as one artist encourages another with praise.
Up to that time, neither Balarama nor Krishna had undergone the haircutting ceremony; therefore Their hair was clustered like crows’ feathers. They were always playing hide-and-seek with Their boyfriends or jumping or fighting with them. Sometimes, while His friends were chanting and dancing, Krishna would praise them, “My dear friends, you are dancing and singing very nicely.” The boys played at catching ball with fruits such as bael and amalaka. They played blindman’s buff, challenging and touching one another. Sometimes they imitated the forest deer and various kinds of birds. They joked with one another by imitating croaking frogs, and they enjoyed swinging underneath the trees. Sometimes they would play amongst themselves like a king and his subjects. In this way, Balarama and Krishna, along with all Their friends, played all kinds of sports and enjoyed the soothing atmosphere of Vrindavana, full of rivers, lakes, rivulets, fine trees and excellent gardens filled with fruits and flowers.
Once while the boys were engaged in their transcendental pastimes, a great demon of the name Pralambasura entered their company, desiring to kidnap both Balarama and Krishna. Although Krishna was playing the part of a cowherd boy, as the Supreme Personality of Godhead He could understand everything—past, present and future. So when Pralambasura entered their company, Krishna began to think how to kill the demon, but externally He received him as a friend. “O My dear friend,” He said, “it is very good that you have come to take part in our pastimes.” Krishna then called all His friends and ordered them: “Now we shall play in pairs. We shall challenge one another in pairs.” With this proposal, all the boys assembled together. Some of them took the side of Krishna, and some of them took the side of Balarama, and they arranged to play in duel. The defeated members in duel fighting had to carry the victorious members on their backs, as a horse carries its master. They began playing, and at the same time tended the cows as they proceeded through the Bhandiravana forest.
The party of Balarama, accompanied by Sridama and Vrishabha, came out victorious, and Krishna’s party had to carry them on their backs through the Bhandiravana forest. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna, being defeated, had to carry Sridama on His back, and Bhadrasena carried Vrishabha. Imitating their play, Pralambasura, who appeared there as a cowherd boy, carried Balarama on his back. Pralambasura was the greatest of the demons, and he had calculated that Krishna was the most powerful of the cowherd boys.
In order to avoid the company of Krishna, Pralambasura carried Balarama far away. The demon was undoubtedly very strong and powerful, but he was carrying Balarama, who is compared to a mountain; therefore he began to feel the burden, and thus he assumed his real form. When he appeared in his real feature, he was decorated with a golden helmet and earrings and looked just like a cloud with lightning carrying the moon. Balarama observed the demon’s body expanding up to the limits of the clouds, his eyes dazzling like blazing fire and his mouth flashing with sharpened teeth.
At first, Balarama was surprised by the demon’s appearance, and He began to wonder, “How is it that all of a sudden this carrier has changed in every way?” But with a clear mind He could quickly understand that He was being carried away from His friends by a demon who intended to kill Him. Immediately He struck the head of the demon with His strong fist, just as the King of the heavenly planets strikes a mountain with his thunderbolt. Stricken by the fist of Balarama, the demon fell down dead, just like a snake with a smashed head, and blood poured from his mouth. When the demon fell, he made a tremendous sound, and it sounded as if a great hill were falling upon being struck by the thunderbolt of King Indra. All the boys then rushed to the spot. Astonished by the ghastly scene, they began to praise Balarama with the words “Well done! Well done!”
All of them then embraced Balarama with great affection, thinking that He had returned from death, and they offered their blessings and congratulations. All the demigods in the heavenly planets became very satisfied and showered flowers on the transcendental body of Balarama, and they also offered their blessings and congratulations for His having killed the great demon Pralambasura.
The Advent of Lord Krishna
Once the world was overburdened by the unnecessary defense force of different kings, who were actually demons but were posing themselves as the royal order. At that time, the whole world became perturbed, and the predominating deity of this earth, known as Bhumi, went to see Lord Brahma to tell of her calamities due to the demoniac kings. Bhumi assumed the shape of a cow and presented herself before Lord Brahma with tears in her eyes. She was bereaved and was weeping just to invoke the lord’s compassion. She related the calamitous position of the earth, and after hearing this, Lord Brahma became much aggrieved, and he at once started for the ocean of milk, where Lord Vishnu resides. Lord Brahma was accompanied by all the demigods, headed by Lord Siva, and Bhumi also followed. Arriving on the shore of the milk ocean, Lord Brahma began to pacify Lord Vishnu, who had formerly saved the earthly planet by assuming the transcendental form of a boar.
In the Vedic mantras,
there is a particular type of prayer called Purusha-shukta.
Generally, the demigods offer their obeisances unto Vishnu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, by chanting the Purusha-shukta.
It is understood herein that the predominating deity of every planet can see the supreme lord of this universe, Brahma, whenever there is some disturbance on his planet. And Brahma can approach the Supreme Lord Vishnu, not by seeing Him directly but by standing on the shore of the ocean of milk. There is a planet within this universe called Svetadvipa, and on that planet there is an ocean of milk. It is understood from various Vedic scriptures that just as there is the ocean of salt water on this planet, there are various kinds of oceans on other planets.
Somewhere there is an ocean of milk, somewhere there is an ocean of oil, and somewhere there are oceans of liquor and of many other types of liquids. The Purusha-shukta
is the standard prayer which the demigods recite to appease the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kshirodakashayi Vishnu. Because He is lying on the ocean of milk, He is called Kshirodakashayi Vishnu. He is the form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead through whom all the incarnations within this universe appear.
After all the demigods offered the Purusha-shukta prayer to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, they apparently heard no response. Then Lord Brahma personally sat in meditation, and there was a message–transmission from Lord Vishnu to Brahma. Brahma then broadcast the message to the demigods. That is the system of receiving Vedic knowledge. The Vedic knowledge is received first by Brahma from the Supreme Personality of Godhead, through the medium of the heart.
As stated in the beginning of Srimad-Bhagavatam, tene brahma hrida ya adi-kavaye:
1.1.1) the transcendental knowledge of the Vedas was transmitted to Lord Brahma through the heart. Here also, in the same way, only Brahma could understand the message transmitted by Lord Vishnu, and he broadcast it to the demigods for their immediate action.
The message was this: The Supreme Personality of Godhead would appear on the earth very soon, along with His supreme powerful potencies, and as long as He remained on the earth planet to execute His mission of annihilating the demons and establishing the devotees, the demigods should also remain there to assist Him. They should all immediately take birth in the family of the Yadu dynasty, wherein the Lord would also appear in due course of time. The Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself, Krishna, would personally appear as the son of Vasudeva. Before His appearance, all the demigods, along with their wives, should appear in different pious families in the world just to assist the Lord in executing His mission.
The exact word used here is tat-priyartham, which means the demigods should appear on the earth in order to please the Lord. In other words, any living entity who lives only to satisfy the Lord is a demigod. The demigods were further informed that Ananta, the plenary portion of Lord Krishna who is maintaining the universal planets by extending His millions of hoods, would also appear on earth before Lord Krishna’s appearance. They were also informed that the external potency of Vishnu (Maya), with whom all the conditioned souls are enamored, would also appear by the order of the Supreme Lord, just to execute His purpose.
After instructing and pacifying all the demigods, as well as Bhumi, with sweet words, Lord Brahma, the father of all prajapatis, or progenitors of the universal population, departed for his own abode, the highest material planet, called Brahmaloka.
The leader of the Yadu dynasty, King Surasena, was ruling over the country known as Mathura, wherein lies the city of Mathura, as well as the district known as Surasena, which was named after him. On account of the rule of King Surasena, Mathura became the capital city of all the kings of the Yadus. Mathura was also made the capital of the kings of the Yadu dynasty because the Yadus were a very pious family and knew that Mathura is the place where Lord Sri Krishna lives eternally, just as He also lives in Dvaraka.
Once upon a time, Vasudeva, the son of Surasena, just after marrying Devaki, was going home on his chariot with his newly wedded wife. The father of Devaki, known as Devaka, had contributed a sufficient dowry because he was very affectionate toward his daughter. He had contributed hundreds of chariots completely decorated with gold equipment. At that time, Kamsa, the son of Ugrasena, in order to please his sister, Devaki, had voluntarily taken the reins of the horses of Vasudeva’s chariot and was driving.
According to the custom of the Vedic civilization, when a girl is married, the brother takes the sister and brother-in-law to their home. Because the newly married girl may feel too much separation from her father’s family, the brother goes with her until she reaches her father-in-law’s house. The full dowry contributed by Devaka was as follows: 400 elephants fully decorated with golden garlands, 15,000 decorated horses, and 1,800 chariots. He also arranged for 200 beautiful girls to follow his daughter. The kshatriya system of marriage, still current in India, dictates that when a kshatriya is married, a few dozen of the bride’s young girlfriends (in addition to the bride) go to the house of the king. The followers of the queen are called maidservants, but actually they act as friends of the queen. This practice is prevalent from time immemorial, traceable at least to the time before the advent of Lord Krishna 5,000 years ago. So Vasudeva brought home another 200 beautiful girls along with his wife Devaki.
While the bride and bridegroom were passing along on the chariot, there were different kinds of musical instruments playing to indicate the auspicious moment. There were conchshells, bugles, drums and kettledrums; combined together, they were vibrating a nice concert. The procession was passing very pleasingly, and Kamsa was driving the chariot, when suddenly there was a miraculous sound vibrated from the sky which especially announced to Kamsa: “Kamsa, you are such a fool! You are driving the chariot of your sister and your brother-in-law, but you do not know that the eighth child of this sister will kill you.”
Kamsa was the son of Ugrasena, of the Bhoja dynasty. It is said that Kamsa was the most demoniac of all the Bhoja dynasty kings. Immediately after hearing the prophecy from the sky, he caught hold of Devaki’s hair and was just about to kill her with his sword. Vasudeva was astonished at Kamsa’s behavior, and in order to pacify the cruel, shameless brother-in-law, he began to speak as follows, with great reason and evidence.
He said, “My dear brother-in-law Kamsa, you are the most famous king of the Bhoja dynasty, and people know that you are the greatest warrior and a valiant king. How is it that you are so infuriated that you are prepared to kill a woman who is your own sister at this auspicious time of her marriage? Why should you be so much afraid of death? Death is already born along with your birth. From the very day you took your birth, you began to die. Suppose you are twenty-five years old; that means you have already died twenty-five years. Every moment, every second, you are dying. Why then should you be so much afraid of death? Final death is inevitable. You may die either today or in a hundred years; you cannot avoid death. Why should you be so much afraid?
Actually, death means annihilation of the present body. As soon as the present body stops functioning and mixes with the five elements of material nature, the living entity within the body accepts another body, according to his present actions and reactions. It is just like when a man walks on the street: he puts forward his foot, and when he is confident that his foot is situated on sound ground, he lifts the other foot. In this way, one after another, the bodies change and the soul transmigrates. See how the plant worms change from one twig to another so carefully! Similarly, the living entity changes his body as soon as the higher authorities decide on his next body. As long as a living entity is conditioned within this material world, he must take material bodies one after another. His next particular body is offered by the laws of nature, according to the actions and reactions of this life.
“This body is exactly like one of the bodies which we always see in dreams. During our dream of sleep, we create so many bodies according to mental creation. We have seen gold, and we have also seen a mountain, so in a dream we can see a golden mountain by combining the two ideas. Sometimes in dreams we see that we have a body which is flying in the sky, and at that time we completely forget our present body. Similarly, these bodies are changing. When you have one body, you forget the past body. During a dream, we may make contact with so many new kinds of bodies, but when we are awake we forget them all. And actually these material bodies are the creations of our mental activities. But at the present moment we do not recollect our past bodies.
“The nature of the mind is flickering. Sometimes it accepts something, and immediately it rejects the same thing. Accepting and rejecting is the process of the mind in contact with the five objects of sense gratification—form, taste, smell, sound and touch. In its speculative way, the mind comes in touch with the objects of sense gratification, and when the living entity desires a particular type of body, he gets it. Therefore, the body is an offering by the laws of material nature. The living entity accepts a body and comes out again into the material world to enjoy or suffer according to the construction of the body. Unless we have a particular type of body, we cannot enjoy or suffer according to our mental proclivities inherited from the previous life. The particular type of body is actually offered to us according to our mental condition at the time of death.
“The luminous planets like the sun, moon or stars reflect themselves in different types of reservoirs, like water, oil or ghee. The reflection moves according to the movement of the reservoir. The reflection of the moon is on the water, and the moving water makes the moon also appear to be moving, but actually the moon is not moving. Similarly, by mental concoction the living entity attains different kinds of bodies, although actually he has no connection with such bodies. But on account of illusion, being enchanted by the influence of maya, the living entity thinks that he belongs to a particular type of body. That is the way of conditioned life. Suppose a living entity is now in a human form of body. He thinks that he belongs to the human community, or a particular country or particular place. He identifies himself in that way and unnecessarily prepares for another body, which is not required by him. Such desires and mental concoctions are the cause of different types of bodies. The covering influence of material nature is so strong that the living entity is satisfied in whatever body he gets, and he identifies with that body with great pleasure. Therefore, I beg to request you not to be overwhelmed by the dictation of your mind and body.”
puman virajyeta vina pashu-ghnat
In the Western countries, when someone sees the cover of a book like Krishna, he immediately asks, “Who is Krishna? Who is the girl with Krishna?” etc. The immediate answer is that Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. How is that? Because He conforms in exact detail to descriptions of the Supreme Being, the Godhead. In other words, Krishna is the Godhead because He is all-attractive. Outside the principle of all-attraction, there is no meaning to the word “Godhead.”
How is it one can be all-attractive? First of all, if one is very wealthy, if he has great riches, he becomes attractive to the people in general. Similarly, if someone is very powerful, he also becomes attractive, and if someone is very famous, he also becomes attractive, and if someone is very beautiful or wise or unattached to all kinds of possessions, he also becomes attractive. So from practical experience we can observe that one is attractive due to (1) wealth, (2) power, (3) fame, (4) beauty, (5) wisdom and (6) renunciation. One who is in possession of all six of these opulences at the same time, who possesses them to an unlimited degree, is understood to be the Supreme Personality of Godhead. These opulences of the Godhead are delineated by Parashara Muni, a great Vedic authority.
We have seen many rich persons, many powerful persons, many famous persons, many beautiful persons, many learned and scholarly persons, and persons in the renounced order of life unattached to material possessions. But we have never seen any one person who is unlimitedly and simultaneously wealthy, powerful, famous, beautiful, wise and unattached, like Krishna, in the history of humanity.
Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is a historical person who appeared on this earth 5,000 years ago. He stayed on this earth for 125 years and played exactly like a human being, but His activities were unparalleled. From the very moment of His appearance to the moment of His disappearance, every one of His activities is unparalleled in the history of the world, and therefore anyone who knows what we mean by Godhead will accept Krishna as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. No one is equal to the Godhead, and no one is greater than Him. That is the import of the familiar saying “God is great.”
There are various classes of men in the world who speak of God in different ways, but according to the Vedic literature and according to the great acharyas,
the authorized persons versed in the knowledge of God in all ages, like acharyas
Sankara, Ramanuja, Madhva, Vishnu Swami, Lord Chaitanya and all their followers by disciplic succession, all unanimously agree that Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. As far as we, the followers of Vedic civilization, are concerned, we accept the Vedic history of the whole universe, which consists of different planetary systems, called Svargaloka, or the higher planetary system, Martyaloka, or the intermediary planetary system, and Patalaloka, or the lower planetary system.
The modern historians of this earth cannot supply historical evidences of events that occurred before 5,000 years ago, and the anthropologists say that 40,000 years ago Homo sapiens had not appeared on this planet because evolution had not reached that point. But the Vedic histories, such as the Puranas
relate human histories which extend millions and billions of years into the past.
For example, from these literatures we are given the histories of Krishna’s appearances and disappearances millions and billions of years ago. In the Fourth Chapter of the Bhagavad-gita
Krishna tells Arjuna that both He and Arjuna had had many births before and that He (Krishna) could remember all of them but Arjuna could not. This illustrates the difference between the knowledge of Krishna and that of Arjuna. Arjuna might have been a very great warrior, a well-cultured member of the Kuru dynasty, but after all, he was an ordinary human being, whereas Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is the possessor of unlimited knowledge. Because He possesses unlimited knowledge, Krishna has a memory that is boundless.
The knowledge Krishna possesses is so perfect that He remembers all the incidents of His appearances some millions and billions of years in the past, but Arjuna’s memory and knowledge are limited by time and space, for he is an ordinary human being. In the Fourth Chapter Krishna states that He can remember instructing the lessons of the Bhagavad-gita
some millions of years ago to the sun-god, Vivashvan.
Nowadays it is the fashion of the atheistic class of men to try to become God by following some mystic process. Generally the atheists claim to be God by dint of their imagination or their meditational prowess. Krishna is not that kind of God. He does not become God by manufacturing some mystic process of meditation, nor does He become God by undergoing the severe austerities of the mystic yogic exercises. Properly speaking, He never becomes God because He is the Godhead in all circumstances.
Within the prison of His maternal uncle Kamsa, where His father and mother were confined, Krishna appeared outside His mother’s body as the four-handed Vishnu–Narayana. Then He turned Himself into a baby and told His father to carry Him to the house of Nanda Maharaja and his wife Yashoda. When Krishna was just a small baby the gigantic demoness Putana attempted to kill Him, but when He sucked her breast He pulled out her life. That is the difference between the real Godhead and a God manufactured in the mystic factory. Krishna had no chance to practice the mystic yoga process, yet He manifested Himself as the Supreme Personality of Godhead at every step, from infancy to childhood, from childhood to boyhood, and from boyhood to young manhood. In this book, Krishna, all of His activities as a human being are described. Although Krishna plays like a human being, He always maintains His identity as the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Since Krishna is all-attractive, one should know that all his desires should be focused on Krishna. In the Bhagavad-gita
it is said that the individual person is the proprietor or master of his own body but that Krishna, who is the Supersoul present in everyone’s heart, is the supreme proprietor and supreme master of each and every individual body. As such, if we concentrate our loving propensities upon Krishna only, then immediately universal love, unity and tranquility will be automatically realized. When one waters the root of a tree, he automatically waters the branches, twigs, leaves and flowers; when one supplies food to the stomach through the mouth, he satisfies all the various parts of the body.
The art of focusing one’s attention on the Supreme and giving one’s love to Him is called Krishna consciousness. We have inaugurated the Krishna consciousness movement so that everyone can satisfy his propensity for loving others simply by directing his love toward Krishna. The whole world is very eager to satisfy the dormant propensity of love for others, but the various invented methods like socialism, communism, altruism, humanitarianism and nationalism, along with whatever else may be manufactured for the peace and prosperity of the world, are all useless and frustrating because of our gross ignorance of the art of loving Krishna. Generally people think that by advancing the cause of moral principles and religious rites they will be happy. Others may think that happiness can be achieved by economic development, and yet others think that simply by sense gratification they will be happy. But the real fact is that people can be happy only by loving Krishna.
Krishna can perfectly reciprocate one’s loving propensities in different relationships called mellows, or rasas. Basically there are twelve loving relationships. One can love Krishna as the supreme unknown, as the supreme master, the supreme friend, the supreme child, the supreme lover. These are the five basic love rasas. One can also love Krishna indirectly in seven different relationships, which are apparently different from the five primary relationships. All in all, however, if one simply reposes his dormant loving propensity in Krishna, then his life becomes successful. This is not a fiction but is a fact that can be realized by practical application. One can directly perceive the effects that love for Krishna has on his life.
In the Ninth Chapter of the Bhagavad-gita
this science of Krishna consciousness is called the king of all knowledge, the king of all confidential things, and the supreme science of transcendental realization. Yet we can directly experience the results of this science of Krishna consciousness because it is very easy to practice and is very pleasurable. Whatever percentage of Krishna consciousness we can perform will become an eternal asset to our life, for it is imperishable in all circumstances. It has now been actually proved that today’s confused and frustrated younger generation in the Western countries can directly perceive the results of channeling the loving propensity toward Krishna alone.
It is said that although one executes severe austerities, penances and sacrifices in his life, if he fails to awaken his dormant love for Krishna, then all his penances are to be considered useless. On the other hand, if one has awakened his dormant love for Krishna, then what is the use in executing austerities and penances unnecessarily?
The Krishna consciousness movement is the unique gift of Lord Chaitanya to the fallen souls of this age. It is a very simple method which has actually been carried out during the last four years in the Western countries, and there is no doubt that this movement can satisfy the dormant loving propensities of humanity. This book, Krsna, is another presentation to help the Krishna consciousness movement in the Western world. This transcendental work of literature is published with profuse illustrations. People love to read various kinds of fiction to spend their time and energy. Now this tendency can be directed to Krishna. The result will be the imperishable satisfaction of the soul, both individually and collectively.
It is said in the Bhagavad-gita that even a little effort expended on the path of Krishna consciousness can save one from the greatest danger. Hundreds of thousands of examples can be cited of people who have escaped the greatest dangers of life due to a slight advancement in Krishna consciousness. We therefore request everyone to take advantage of this great transcendental literary work. One will find that by reading one page after another, an immense treasure of knowledge in art, science, literature, philosophy and religion will be revealed, and ultimately, by reading this one book, Krishna, love of Godhead will fructify.
Everybody is looking for Krishna. Some don’t realize that they are, but they are.
Krishna is God, the source of all that exists, the Cause of all that is, was, or ever will be.
As God is unlimited, He has many names.
Allah-Buddha-Jehovah-Rama: all are Krishna, all are one.
God is not abstract; He has both the impersonal and the personal aspects to His personality, which is supreme, eternal, blissful, and full of knowledge. As a single drop of water has the same qualities as an ocean of water, so has our consciousness the qualities of God’s consciousness… but through our identification and attachment with material energy (physical body, sense pleasures, material possessions, ego, etc.) our true Transcendental consciousness has been polluted, and like a dirty mirror it is unable to reflect a pure image.
With many lives our association with the temporary has grown. This impermanent body, a bag of bones and flesh, is mistaken for our true self, and we have accepted this temporary condition to be final.
Through all ages, great saints have remained as living proof that this non-temporary, permanent state of God consciousness can be revived in all living Souls. Each soul is potentially divine.
Krishna says in Bhagavad Gita:
“Steady in the Self, being freed from all material contamination, the yogi achieves the highest perfectional stage of happiness in touch with the supreme consciousness.” (VI, 28)
Yoga (a scientific method for God (self) realization) is the process by which we purify our consciousness, stop further pollution, and arrive at the state of Perfection, full knowledge, full bliss.
If there’s a God, I want to see Him. It’s pointless to believe in something without proof, and Krishna Consciousness and meditation are methods where you can actually obtain God perception. You can actually see God, and hear Him, play with Him. It might sound crazy, but He is actually there, actually with you.
There are many yogic paths—Raja, Jnana, Hatha, Kriya, Karma, Bhakti—which are all acclaimed by the masters of each method.
Swami Bhaktivedanta is, as his title says, a Bhakti Yogi following the path of devotion. By serving God through each thought, word and deed, and by chanting His Holy Names, the devotee quickly develops God-consciousness. By chanting
Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare
Hare Rama, Hare Rama
Rama Rama, Hare Hare
One inevitably arrives at Krishna consciousness. (The proof of the pudding is in the eating!)
I request that you take advantage of this book, Krishna, and enter into its understanding. I also request that you make an appointment to meet your God now, through the self-liberating process of yoga (union) and give peace a chance.
All you need is Love (Krishna) Hari Bol.
George Harrison 31/3/70
This is a one-volume edition without an index.
This is the original account of the extraordinary activities of Sri Krishna, who appeared on earth 5,000 years ago. Find out why He has enchanted people for centuries.
Always remember Krishna, God. That was the goal of the rich spiritual culture that flourished in India for thousands of years. Even today Lord Krishna is remembered and glorified through monumental achievements of art, architecture, drama, music, dance and philosophy.
Fifty centuries ago Krishna descended from the transcendental world to show us His eternal spiritual activities. His acts reveal the fullest concept of God and attract us to join Him again. They are tangible subjects upon which to meditate.
Sri Krishna's life is fascinating and highly entertaining—even children love the stories. His life is full of deep philosophical wisdom and spiritual insight, and is a window into the personality, thoughts, and feelings of God.
Krsna is a summary study of the Tenth Canto of the Srimad-Bhagavatam. Without the Sanskrit of the Bhagavatam it's an easy way to read yourself into the spiritual realm.
“Krishna has been too transforming a figure for too many people to remain confined to India or known only through the Bhagavad-gita.
Here we have the rounding out of His story that has proven so fruitful for Indian art, song, dance, and devotion.”