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Krishna was

  • a great warrior(war before marriage with Rukmini),
  • a diplomat (his peacemaking before Mahabharata) and
  • in fact packed with a ton of other qualities.

But I seldom find any material (a bhajan,a book etc.) praising Him for all those qualities. All praises for Him are monotonic in nature only describing in deep details his relationships with gopis (most of them are fake ones). See this article.

Why have we romanticized Krishna?

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  • 1
    Because Krishna was not just a man, he was an incarnation of Vishnu. And the appropriate response for Man when dealing with the supreme lord of all the worlds is love. And so we focus on those aspects of Krishna's life that involve the love that others had for Krishna, and the love that he had for them. For ultimately that is the sort of relationship with Sriman Narayana that we too ought to aspire to. Jan 17, 2017 at 6:25
  • @Keshav Srinivasan But then Lord Rama was depicted as the valiant Kshatriya. I don't want to compare Lord Krishna with Lord Rama but if Lord Krishna chose to be born as a Kshatriya we should not neglect His functions as a Kshatriya
    – Raghav
    Jan 17, 2017 at 6:51
  • I heard scholars state that Narayana decided that his Rama avatara shall establish dharma and his Krishna avatara shall spread love. Hence the additional emphasis on these aspects of the various avataras. To wit, Rama was also a great romantic, albeit monogamous. His romance inspired Kalidasa's Meghasandesam. Other examples of the lover-like angle of Rama are the incidents narrated by Sita to Hanuma in Sundarakanda.
    – user1195
    Jan 18, 2017 at 7:07
  • @moonstar2001 I am not trying compare Rama and Krishna. Anyways, can you elaborate the first 2 lines of your comment into an answer also stating the sources ?
    – Raghav
    Jan 19, 2017 at 13:57
  • 1
    Bankim Chandra Chatterjee was a materialist. He was mentioned as such upon his visit to Ramakrishna Paramahamsa in 'The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna'. Any analysis of Sri Krishna is tainted by his myopic worldliness. Lord Krishna's divine play with the gopis was not tainted by beastly love but rather was the Lord's divine love. Jan 19, 2017 at 14:08

1 Answer 1

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First understand what is a leela (लीला).

In this question -

What exactly is a leela (लीला)? Is there a scriptural definition of leela (लीला)?

Now, the romanticized part of Krishna has been depicted in the scriptures, and therefore it's talked about much. These accounts form the part of bâla-leela (बाल-लीला) of the Lord.

For instance, here's an excerpt which describes Krishna's "romanticism" from the Padma-Purāṇa

Chapter 245, Uttara-Khaṇḍa, Padma-Purāṇa

कामाद्भयाद्वा द्वेषाद्वा ये भजंति जनार्दनम् । ते प्राप्नुवंति वैकुंठं किं पुनर्भक्तियोगतः ॥ १६८ ॥ तस्य वेणुध्वनिं श्रुत्वा रजन्यां बल्लवांगनाः । शयनादुत्थिताः सर्वा विकीर्णांबरमूर्द्धजाः ॥ १६९ ॥ त्यक्त्वा पतीन्सुतान्बधूंस्त्यक्त्वा लज्जां कुलं स्वकम् । जगत्पतिं समाजग्मुः कंदर्पशरपीडिताः ॥ १७० ॥ समेत्य गोप्यः सर्वास्तु भुजैरालिंग्य केशवम् । बुभुजुश्चाधरं देव्यः सुधामृतमिवामराः ॥ १७१ ॥ ताभिः सर्वाभिरात्मेशः क्रीडयामास गोव्रजे । तेनापि ताः स्त्रियः सर्वा रेमिरे निर्भया व्रजे ॥ १७२ ॥ इत्येवं रमयामासुरहन्यहनि केशवम् । वृंदावने मनोरम्ये कालिंदीपुलिने तथा ॥ १७३ ॥

  1. to 173. Those who betake themselves to Viṣṇu (even) through lust, fear or hatred reach Vaikuṇṭha. Then what to say of those who do so through devotion! Having heard the sound of his flute at night the wives of the cowherds all got up from their beds with their garments and hair dishevelled. Tormented by Cupid’s arrows, they left their husbands, sons, relatives, so also sense of shame and their own family; they came to the lord of the world. All the cowherdesses, having approached Govinda, embraced him with their arms, and enjoyed (i.e. kissed) his lower lip as the gods enjoy nectar. With all those, the lord of the self sported in Govraja. All those fearless women also sported with him in Vraja. Thus day after day they sported with Keśava in the charming Vṛndāvana and the bank of Yamunā.

There's very subtle meanings behind such actions of the Lord, which from the gross understanding level, might look and sound lewd and unworthy.

A similar doubt was raised by goddess Parvati to god Shiva too, on the actions described above.

पार्वत्युवाच-

धर्मसंरक्षणार्थाय जगत्यामवतीर्य सः । परदाराभिगमनं कथं कुर्याज्जनार्दनः ॥ १७४ ॥

Pārvatī said:

  1. How would he, Janārdana, who had descended on the earth for the protection of Dharma, approach others’ wives?

Shiva beautifully answers the amorous actions of the lord, as seen from the transcendental perspective as follows -

रुद्र उवाच-

स्वशरीरे परेष्वंगभेदो नास्ति शुभानने । सर्वं जगच्च तस्यांगं पृथगत्र न विद्यते ॥ १७५ ॥ स्त्रीपुंभेदो न वै तस्य पुरुषस्य महात्मनः । नैसर्गिकस्य भर्तृत्वादात्मेशत्वाज्जगत्पतेः ॥ १७६ ॥ तथापहृतपाप्मत्व सामर्थ्याद्व्यापिनः प्रभोः । दोषोऽत्र नास्ति सुभगे देवस्य परमात्मनः ॥ १७७ ॥

Rudra said:

  1. to 177. O you of an auspicious face, he does not differentiate between his own body and those of others. The entire world is his body. There is nothing different from it. Due to his naturally being the lord, the master of the soul and the lord of the world, the noble one does not recognise the difference between a male and a female. So also due to his power of removing sins the (all-) pervading lord, the highest soul, the god, is not at a fault, O fortunate one.

English Translation by N.A. Deshpande




So, Krishna is depicted as a "lovemaker" because it has been described so in the scriptures. But on account of him being Brahman, those are just his divine past times, a sport, a play, without any purpose attached on his volition. It just meant for the spiritual upliftment of the ones in the material world.

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