Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

2020 Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming


  • Lee W. BaileyEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-24348-7_9072

Krishna (“dark one, dark blue”) was the eighth avatar (incarnation) of Vishnu, the major Hindu deity who preserves and protects the world and comes to earth as avatars (incarnations) to help people. Krishna is multifaceted, a trickster, embodying divine love and joy, overcoming pain and evil, protecting cows, and bringing refined moksha – liberation from reincarnation. As a godchild, he was born to Devaki, and as a young (low-caste) cowherd, he played the flute for the cows, the other cowherds, and the young milkmaids. As a deity of humor, he teased the milkmaids, who adored him, even stealing their clothes when they were swimming. One moonlit night Krishna fulfilled the milkmaids’ yearning for union with him, dancing with and delighting them, which sounds a bit like ancient Greek Dionysian religion. This became the theme of much love poetry and, more spiritually, represents the divine play and love between Perusha (soul) and Prakriti (primordial nature).

When Krishna was grown, the...

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Philosophy and ReligionIthaca CollegeIthacaUSA