Kṛṣṇa devotion in Western India

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The tenth-century Sanskrit text known as the Bhāgavata Purāṇa has come to occupy an important place in Hinduism as the source of the stories surrounding the exploits of Kṛṣṇa, one of Hinduism's most popular and beloved gods. The Bhāgavata Purāṇa recounts how Lord Viṣṇu takes human form to rid the earth of oppression by being born as Kṛṣṇa into the household of the cowherd chieftain Nanda and his wife Yaśodā in the region of Braj along the banks of the River Yamuna. The Bhāgavata describes Kṛṣṇa's idyllic childhood, during which time he tends to cows, engages in childhood pranks with his fellow cowherd friends, and performs superhuman feats such as killing demons and lifting a hill named Govardhan on one finger to protect the residents of Braj from a torrential rainstorm. The Bhāgavata also recounts Kṛṣṇa's amorous exploits with the village milkmaids (gopīs), and the intense pain and longing they feel for him when he leaves his home permanently to complete his earthly mission. The Bhāgavata, however, makes it clear that Kṛṣṇa is not merely a manifestation (avatāra) of Viṣṇu. Kṛṣṇa is the complete and fullest manifestation of the Divine, and it is only through him that one can attain spiritual salvation (mokṣa). There are many devotional communities (bhakti saṃpradāya) in India today that place Kṛṣṇa at the centre of their religious lives and make the Bhāgavata Purāṇa the foundation upon which to model their devotional lives.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationContemporary Hinduism
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9781844656912
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan. 2012


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