We have not tended to post much Krishna content over the years. Partially because He hardly seems to need the help ! But since we’re doing this ‘leaning into Thor’s Day’ thing …
We have previously set out at some length our identification that Krishna, too, appears to be expressive of the Indo-European Striker / Thunderer deific complex.
This starts ‘at the beginning’ with the origin mythology of Krishna. Just as with Perseus, we find the consistent elements – a Prophecy that induces fear in a regent, leading to a Mother ‘shamed’ and imprisoned by a male relative the deific is a ‘nepots’ to [Kamsa / Acrisus], a perilous crossing of water, the subjugation of a water-dragon, the wielding of a ‘striking’ weapon (whether Harpe (‘Sword’ – in a manner of speaking) or Gada (Mace)), etc.
Particular attention should be paid to the parentages. Zeus & Danae in the case of Perseus, with ‘Danae’ seemingly being a semi-euhemerized expression of the archaic PIE ‘Waters’ form of the Mother Goddess (ref. the “Danu” of the Indo-Iranic sphere; or, for that matter, Who is eponymous to the famed ‘Tuatha De Danann’ of the Irish mythic perspective)’; and the parents of Krishna being Vasudeva & Devaki.
Given ‘Vasu’ would translate as ‘Light’, ‘Controller’, the ‘Light God’, the ‘Controlling Deity’ (of the World), should seem a rather telling sign for the archaic underlying typology to Krishna’s paternity. Rather akin to Zeus, we may say. Appearing, even, as Light.
Devaki, meanwhile, has a name that expressly means ‘Celestial’ or ‘Divine’ … and is directly identified as an ‘incarnation’ of sorts of Aditi.
That Aditi being the Mother Goddess, also of Indra. (And, in case you were wondering, the situation of Indra in RV IV 18 also should seem to resonate with the ‘waters’ involvement in the tale).
There is more we can say upon all of this (and, indeed, have elsewhere).
But it is a nice beginning to a ‘corrective’ of the sorts who keep turning up to insistently try and proclaim that Krishna is somehow ‘foreign’ to the Indo-European sphere when they endeavour to speak against Hinduism.
Also, I am not a Vaishnava – but this portion of the Mahabharat I have often found rather nice.
The context is of Arjuna’s son having been slain immediately prior in the devastating Kurukshetra war – leading to Arjuna undertaking a death-vow:
Either he’ll kill the guy who did it before the next day is out, or he’ll self-immolate.
Now .. this is .. a rather rash thing to do, but vows are vows and Arjuna is honourable / crazy enough to go through with it.
So Krishna … effectively declares “right I’m going to make this happen.”
The miraculous event that can enable His dear friend to avoid the self-sacrificial pyre, I mean.
“I, therefore, will do that tomorrow by which Arjuna, the Son of Kunti, may slay Jayadratha before the Sun sets. My wives, my kinsmen, my relatives, non amongst these is dearer to me than Arjuna. O Daruka, I shall not be able to cast My Eyes, even for a single moment, on the Earth bereft of Arjuna.
I tell thee, the Earth shall not be reft to Arjuna. Myself vanquishing them all with their steeds and elephants by putting forth my strength for the sake of Arjuna, I will slay them with Karna and Suyodhana. Let the Three Worlds tomorrow behold My prowess in great battle, when I put forth My valour, O Daruka, for Dhananjaya’s sake.
Tomorrow thousands of kings and hundreds of princes, with their steeds and cars and elephants, will, O Daruka, fly away from battle. Thou shalt tomorrow, O Daruka, behold that army of kings overthrown and crushed with my discus, by Myself in wrath for the sake of the Son of Pandu.
Tomorrow the (Three) Worlds with the Gods, the Gandharvas, the Pisachas, the Snakes, and the Rakshasas, will know Me as a (True) Friend of Savyasachin. He that hateth Him, hateth Me. He that followeth Him, followeth Me.
Thou hast intelligence. Know that Arjuna is half of Myself. When morning comes after the expiry of this night, thou, O Daruka, equipping My excellent car according to the rules of military science, must bring it and follow Me with it carefully, placing on it My celestial mace called Kaumodaki, My dart and discus, bow and arrows, and every other thing necessary.
O Suta, making room on the terrace of My car for my standard and for the heroic Garuda thereon, that adorns My umbrella, and yoking thereto My foremost of steeds named Valahaka and Meghapushpa and Saivya and Sugriva, having cased them in golden mail of the splendour of the sun and fire, and thyself putting on thy armour, stay on it carefully.
Upon hearing the loud and terrible blast of My conch Panchajanya emitting the shrill Rishava, thou wilt come quickly to Me.
In course of a single day, O Daruka, I shall dispel the wrath and the diverse woes of My Cousin, the Son of My Paternal Aunt. By every means shall I strive so that Vibhatsu in battle may slay Jayadratha in the very sight of the Dhartarashtras.
O charioteer, I tell thee that Vibhatsu will certainly succeed in slaying all these for whose slaughter He will strive.”
“Daruka said, ‘He is certain to have victory whose charioteership, O Tiger among men, hath been taken by Thee. Whence, indeed, can defeat come to Him? As regards myself, I will do that which Thou hast commanded me to do. This night will bring (on its train) the auspicious morn for Arjuna’s victory.'”
[Mahabharata VII : Drona Parva – 79, Ganguli Translation]
As I say, i am not a Vaishnava – but i do rather like the sentiment.
Here we have a God with a Capital G, effectively declaring that He values the life of His friend so greatly that He will literally move Heaven and Earth so that the human will not perish, and attain his (vengeful) goal.
We have often observed that the Striker / Thunderer deific is a ‘Friend to Man’ (indeed, if memory serves, this is quite expressly an epithet in various of the other expressions throughout the IE sphere) – in the circumstance of Krishna and Arjuna, it would appear that it is meant with quite some personal emphasis.
It is also why, when the famed ‘Vishvarupa Darshan’ occurrence unfurls, where Krishna reveals Himself in ‘Universal’ form in order to make a point about causality, inevitability, and why Arjuna should go ahead with charging forth against his cousins even though they are kin … despite the marvels of that presentation, I am told that Arjuna is supposed to have found it a greater wonder still that Krishna the God was also Krishna his friend here in human shape beside him.
Of course, speaking of such ‘humility’ – it is intriguing to note that, despite what some modern people will chant at you, in the course of the Mahabharat we find Krishna pointedly urging Arjuna to hail other Gods: Durga, for Victory, and in this particular excerpt I have quoted above, Krishna and Arjuna are about to personally pay a visit to that “Supreme Lord of Unfading Glory” – Lord Rudra in order to worship Him and ask for His bestowal of a most mighty boon indeed.
But more upon that, perhaps, some other time.