Five Names Of Krishna You Might Come Across In Bhagavad-gita

[Shri Krishna]“O Janardana, although these men, overtaken by greed, see no fault in killing one’s family or quarreling with friends, why should we, with knowledge of the sin, engage in these acts?” (Arjuna, Bhagavad-gita, 1.37-38)

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यद्य् अप्य् एते न पश्यन्ति
कुल-क्षय-कृतं दोषं
मित्र-द्रोहे च पातकम्
कथं न ज्ञेयम् अस्माभिः
पापाद् अस्मान् निवर्तितुम्
कुल-क्षय-कृतं दोषं
प्रपश्यद्भिर् जनार्दन

yady apy ete na paśyanti
kula-kṣaya-kṛtaṁ doṣaṁ
mitra-drohe ca pātakam
kathaṁ na jñeyam asmābhiḥ
pāpād asmān nivartitum
kula-kṣaya-kṛtaṁ doṣaṁ
prapaśyadbhir janārdana

Bhagavad-gita has been passed down through the ages in the disciplic succession, which has its origin in the original person, the first teacher [adi-guru]. The person who explains that supreme science to the devotees is most dear to Krishna. He states so to Arjuna, who is the direct recipient of that sacred wisdom one time on a battlefield, many thousands of years ago.

य इदं परमं गुह्यं
मद्-भक्तेष्व् अभिधास्यति
भक्तिं मयि परां कृत्वा
माम् एवैष्यत्य् असंशयः

ya idaṁ paramaṁ guhyaṁ
mad-bhakteṣv abhidhāsyati
bhaktiṁ mayi parāṁ kṛtvā
mām evaiṣyaty asaṁśayaḥ

“For one who explains the supreme secret to the devotees, devotional service is guaranteed, and at the end he will come back to Me.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 18.68)

In one hypothetical case a person may be a supporter of Krishna since birth. Due to inherited traditions within the family there is related imagery sprinkled throughout the house. The young child observes the parents worshiping in a specific place, at designated times throughout the day. For instance, immediately after showering in the morning, the father approaches the altar and lights incense sticks.

The mother may have a more elaborate presentation. She lights the same sticks, but also rings a bell. After waving the incense, she carries the sticks to every room in the house, as if to distribute the Divine mercy evenly.

[altar worship]A person growing up in such a culture may have a strong affinity for the all-attractive one, but not necessarily have heard any of His direct words, which are preserved within sacred texts in the original language of delivery, Sanskrit.

Thus when they are fortunate to hear from Krishna, through such works as Bhagavad-gita, they come across names that they may not have heard before. The different names are like beautiful embellishments to the wonderful portrait of knowledge, devotion and culture passed down through the ages.

1. Bhagavan

Many of the verses in Bhagavad-gita begin with, “shri bhagavan uvacha.” A translation in English would be, “The Supreme Personality of Godhead said.” This use of an honorific is intentional, as it distinguishes Krishna’s status from that of an ordinary friend or cousin. Though He was close to Arjuna in these relationships, sitting down in the chariot to be its guide, the person Krishna speaking to the disciple in that moment was much more.

Bhagavan describes Krishna as the Supreme Lord, but in a way that is understandable, identifiable, and partially quantifiable. You can know that you have found God by seeing that they have six opulences in full: beauty, wealth, strength, fame, wisdom and renunciation. Bhagavan possesses these attributes simultaneously, as well.

2. Govinda

This name references Krishna’s childhood years, spent in the farm communities of Gokula and Vrindavana. The people relied on cow protection for their livelihood. They were not interested in selling cows for slaughter or exploiting that sacred animal for personal gain.

Rather, from basic protection offered by the owners the amazing cow delivers so much. An abundance of milk products to fulfill a variety of needs. Krishna had a childhood duty of tending to the calves, which was a responsibility shared by the other children in the community, as well.

In taking the calves to the pasturing grounds every day, sometimes they would run astray. Not an issue, as Krishna would simply climb to the top of Govardhana Hill and start playing His flute. The sound would capture everyone’s attention, and they would return to the center of their lives, who was Nanda Maharaja’s son.

Govinda also references how the Supreme Lord gives pleasure to the senses. More than a cheap and temporary sensation provided by intoxicants, connecting with Arjuna’s teacher gives immeasurable pleasure to the senses; enough so that a person never wants to relinquish the connection afterwards.

3. Keshava

This name is due to a brave and heroic act of killing the Keshi demon. During Krishna’s time in Vrindavana, the agitator known as Kamsa, who was the king of Mathura, would regularly send bad characters to get rid of Yashoda’s son. Keshi was one such asura, in the form of a horse, who Krishna easily dispatched.

4. Janardana

This name means that God is the maintainer of the people. Though we appreciate what guardians and protectors do for us, there is someone higher up the chain. Shri Krishna is the seed-giving father, and in this land the material energy is the nurturing mother. Without the father we are nothing, and in Krishna we have the most loving, well-intentioned friend.

सर्व-योनिषु कौन्तेय
मूर्तयः सम्भवन्ति याः
तासां ब्रह्म महद् योनिर्
अहं बीज-प्रदः पिता

sarva-yoniṣu kaunteya
mūrtayaḥ sambhavanti yāḥ
tāsāṁ brahma mahad yonir
ahaṁ bīja-pradaḥ pitā

“It should be understood that all species of life, O son of Kunti, are made possible by birth in this material nature, and that I am the seed-giving father.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 14.4)

5. Hrishikesha

[Shri Krishna]This name describes how Krishna is the owner of all the senses. The senses are the conduit for interaction. On the other side are sense objects. These senses are meant for pleasing the Supreme Lord; there is no other purpose. If we work in such a way that Hrishikesha is pleased, we will be forever benefitted.

In Closing:

Vision of worship receiving,
So in God naturally believing.

Parents incense sticks to wave,
In general pious way to behave.

So as child Bhagavad-gita found,
Many names in it to sound.

To describe Shri Krishna the same,
Who to rescue of Arjuna came.

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1 reply

  1. Radhe Radhe oshriRadhekrishnaBole
    Hare Ram Hare Ram Ram Ram Hare Hare Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare

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