In the Canto CXIX.: Glory To Vishnu of the Yuddha Kāṇḍa of the Valmikí Rāmāyaṇa, after Rāvaṇa has been defeated, all deities appear in the sky and eulogize Shri Rāma, as Lord Vishnu himself and the word Krishna is made reference to.

Thou all-pervading Vishnu Lord Who wears the ever-conquering sword; Thou art the Guide who leads aright, Thou Krishna of unequalled might. Thy hand, O Lord, the hills and plains, And earth with all her life sustains; Thou wilt appear in serpent form When sinks the earth in fire and storm. Queen Sítá of the lovely brows Is Lakshmí thy celestial spouse

The Sanskrit version

अक्षरं ब्रह्मसत्यं च मध्ये चान्ते च राघव।
लॊकानां तवं परॊ धर्मॊ विष्वक्सेनश चतुर्भुजः ॥13
शार्ङ्गधन्वा हृषीकेशः पुरुषः पुरुषॊत्तमः।
अजितः खड्गधृग विष्णुः कृष्णश चैव बृहद्बलः॥14॥

akṣaraṃ brahmasatyaṃ ca madhye cānte ca rāghava ।
lokānāṃ tvaṃ paro dharmo viṣvaksenaś caturbhujaḥ ॥13॥
śārṅgadhanvā hṛṣīkeśaḥ puruṣaḥ puruṣottamaḥ ।
ajitaḥ khaḍgadhṛg viṣṇuḥ kṛṣṇaś caiva bṛhadbalaḥ ॥14॥

So, my question is, here Krishna is to be taken as the adjective which means - "The most attractive one / the one who's all attractive / the one who's of dark complexion". Or it is to be taken in the proper noun form, i.e., the incarnation of the Lord - "Shri Krishna"? Also, considering time is cyclic, it doesn't matter whatever form the Lord incarnates, the trikāladarśin seers, must be knowing everything, I guess? In that way, the proper noun interpretation seems more logical to me. I'd appreciate some supportive commentaries by competent sanksrit acharyas or gurus on this word meaning interpretation dilemma posed in here.

  • 2
    Once again an interesting question, and I think this one has a definite answer.
    – Surya
    Mar 25, 2021 at 8:05
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    Krishna means black / blue, the colour of Bhagwan Vishnu. Also since gods and the incarnations repeat Vishnu can be called by names of Krishna also. For example in Balakanda they say for Sita : केशवाङ्कच्युता - separated from Vishnu’s lap. Keshava is used for both Krishna and Vishnu. So you can think of it from these two perspectives.
    – Adiyarkku
    Mar 25, 2021 at 8:13
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    @Archit, yeah, I forgot that to mention. Thanks!
    – Vivikta
    Mar 25, 2021 at 8:16
  • @Surya, Thanks. yeah, This one is definitely not opinion based, I guess! :P
    – Vivikta
    Mar 25, 2021 at 8:17
  • 1
    @Could you maybe split that as a separate question, like "Which avataras of Vishnu are mentioned in the Ramayana?" That way this question can remained focused on the Krsna line.
    – Surya
    Mar 26, 2021 at 4:05

2 Answers 2


So, my question is, here Krishna is to be taken as the adjective which means - "The most attractive one / the one who's all attractive / the one who's of dark complexion".

Or it is to be taken in the proper noun form, i.e., the incarnation of the Lord - "Shri Krishna"?

It appears most translators of Rāmāyaṇa consider kṛṣṇa to be a proper noun i.e., Kṛṣṇa, the avatāra of Viṣṇu, given the context, whereas the traditional commentators treat it as an adjective mainly to resolve the contradiction that how could the author of Rāmāyaṇa or the assembled devas have known about a future incarnation of Viṣṇu.

Here's how Robert P. Goldman et al., translate those verses:

Sarga 105

1–3. Then King Kubera Vaiśravaṇa; Yama, dragger of his foes; great Indra of the thousand eyes; Varuṇa, scorcher of his foes; the great god, majestic Śiva, with his half-six eyes and the bull on his banner; and Brahmā, foremost of those who know the vedas, the creator of the entire universe—all these assembled in their flying chariots as radiant as the sun, and, coming to the city of Laṅkā, they approached Rāghava.

  1. Then, raising their broad arms covered with bracelets, the foremost of the thirty gods addressed Rāghava, who stood before them, his hands cupped in reverence.

  2. "How can you, the creator of the entire universe, the most ancient one, and foremost among those possessing supreme knowledge, stand by and watch as Sītā falls into the fire, eater of oblations? How can you not realize that you are the foremost among the hosts of the gods?"


  1. "You are the imperishable Brahman, existent in the beginning, the middle, and the end. You are the highest governing principal of all the worlds, the four-armed Viṣvaksena."

  2. "You are the wielder of the horn bow, you are Hṛṣikeśa, the primal person, the Supreme Spirit. You are Viṣṇu, the invincible wielder of the sword, and you are Kṛṣṇa of immense strength."

  3. "You are the leader of the hosts. You are the leader of all beings. You are intelligence, strength, forbearance, and self-control. You are the origin and the dissolution. You are Upendra, Indra's younger brother, and Madhusūdana, slayer of the asura Madhu."


  1. "Your body is this world; your steadfastness, the earth. Agni is your wrath; Soma, your gentleness, O bearer of the Śrīvatsa mark."

  2. "In ancient times, you spanned the three worlds with as many strides. After confining the great asura Bali, you made great Indra king."

  3. "Sītā is Lakṣmī; you are the god Viṣṇu. You are Kṛṣṇa. You are Prajāpati, the lord of creatures. It was in order to slay Rāvaṇa that you entered a human body here."

  4. "Thus have you accomplished our purpose, foremost of upholders of righteousness. Rāvaṇa has been slain. Now, Rāma, in your delight, please return to heaven."



14. ... "and you are Kṛṣṇa of immense strength" kṛṣṇaś caiva bṛhadbalaḥ: Roussel (1903, vol. 3, p. 389) and Pagani (1999, p. 1187) understand bṛhadbalaḥ as a separate proper name. Dutt (1893, p. 1511) and Shastri (1959, vol. 3, p. 339) render it separately as an adjective. Raghunathan (1982, vol. 3, p. 340) and Gita Press (1969, vol. 3, p. 1855) appear to translate as we do. Most commentators understand the term bṛhadbalaḥ, "of immense strength," to refer to the Lord's great power to sustain or uphold (dharaṇasāmarthyam—so Cg). Ct and Ck take it to mean that he has the ability to hold up the entire universe as if it were a ball to play with (aśeṣabrahmaṇdasya līlākandukavaddhāraṇakṣamaḥ—so Ct). Cm, however, takes the epithet to be to the Rāmāvatāra, understanding bala in its sense of "army," and glossing, "he who has great armies of monkeys (bṛhanti vānarabalāni yasyeti tathā)." On the name Kṛṣṇa, see note to verse 25 below.


25. "You are Kṛṣṇa" kṛṣṇah: Literally, "Kṛṣṇa." The commentators generally agree that this term should be taken in its adjectival sense of "black, blue-black, or of a dark color (kṛṣṇavarṇaḥ)." This is probably because they wish to avoid the apparent anachronism of mentioning an avatāra who will not appear until the next cosmic age. Nonetheless, in the context of this thoroughgoing Vaiṣṇava stotra, like all translators consulted, with the exception of Raghunathan, we believe that the reference is probably to the name of the other major avatāra of Viṣṇu. Raghunathan (1982, vol. 3, p. 341), reading the adjective with devaḥ, "the god," renders, "the Lord that has assumed a dark form." See note to verse 14 above.

"You are Prajāpati, the lord of creatures." prajāpatiḥ: Literally, "Prajāpati." The epithet is most frequently used of the speaker, Brahmā himself. See note to verse 6 above.

  • 2
    your answer make my head spin :-)
    – S K
    Mar 25, 2021 at 19:38
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    'other (non-Indian maybe) says, it's proper noun' - even Indian translators translate it as Kṛṣṇa. Here's M. N. Dutt's translation: "thou art Vishnu holding dagger, Krishna and of incomparable strength" @Vivikta Mar 26, 2021 at 14:12
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    Quite interesting, @Surya, if interpreted proper noun way then it adds up for another addition as an answer to my THIS question
    – Vivikta
    Mar 26, 2021 at 14:50
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    @Vivikta it sure does, but one is not sure whether the reference is to Ajita or to the Unconquerable One.
    – Surya
    Mar 26, 2021 at 16:05
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    That's why I love sanskrit, @Surya. I have always thought, all kinds of interpretations can generally considered equally valid for any sanskrit verse. That's its beauty. And thus, it serves everyone as per their own leanings and samskaras. In many ways, kind of a Universal language of the Divine, if you'll. :))
    – Vivikta
    Mar 26, 2021 at 16:54

There is mention of word Krishna in Ramayana several time but that should be taken as adjective which means "the most attractive one / the one who's all attractive / the one who's of dark complexion" etc.

To clarify, see this shloka from 119 Sarga of Yudhaa Kanada:

सीता लक्ष्मीर्भवान् विष्णुर्देवः कृष्णः प्रजापतिः || ६-११७-२८

वधार्थं रावणस्येह प्रविष्टो मानुषीं तनुम् |

"Seetha is no other than Goddess Lakshmi (the divine consort of Lord Vishnu), while you are Lord Vishnu. You are having a shining dark-blue hue. You are the Lord of created beings. For the destruction of Ravana, you entered a human body here, on this earth."

  • I remember reading long ago somewhere it translated it as a Noun. Maybe it was error then. Thanks for the answer though!
    – Vivikta
    Mar 25, 2021 at 13:34

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