The miracles attributed to Krishna in Hindu tradition offer a captivating perspective on the divine intervention in human affairs. While the stories of Krishna’s extraordinary feats stand as profound examples of his divine nature, some scholars and thinkers have explored the possibility that these miracles, recorded circa 1500-1200 BCE, might actually be prophetic in nature, foreshadowing the miraculous acts later attributed to Jesus of Nazareth. This notion suggests that the accounts of Krishna’s supernatural deeds could be metaphorical representations of the literal miracles that Jesus is recorded to have performed during his earthly life. By delving into this hypothesis, we can explore the fascinating interplay between two distinct cultural and religious narratives, while contemplating the deeper, universal truths they may collectively embody.
While there are many stories about Krishna’s miracles, below are 15 well-known ones, along with references to their sources in various Hindu scriptures. These miracles and stories are primarily found in the Bhagavata Purana, which is a dedicated scripture to the life and deeds of Lord Krishna. Some references are also from the Mahabharata. Keep in mind that interpretations and retellings of these stories can vary across different texts and traditions within Hinduism.
1. Krishna’s Birth and Vasudeva Crossing the Yamuna River
– Bhagavata Purana (10th Canto, Chapters 3-5)
To protect him from the tyrannical King Kamsa, who sought to kill him, Krishna’s father Vasudeva carried him across the flooded Yamuna River from Mathura to Gokul. Lord Krishna’s divine intervention made the turbulent waters recede, and the serpent Adishesha provided shelter, creating a celestial canopy to shield the newborn. This event exemplifies Krishna’s divine presence and his ability to overcome adversities from his earliest moments.
2. – Krishna Lifts Govardhan Hill to Protect His Devotees
– Bhagavata Purana (10th Canto, Chapter 24)
When the residents of Vrindavan sought protection from torrential rains caused by Lord Indra’s wrath, Krishna lifted the massive Govardhan Hill with a single finger and held it aloft for seven days. This act showcased Krishna’s divine power and his close connection to nature. It symbolized his preference for devotion over ritualistic offerings and emphasized the importance of caring for one’s community and environment.
3. Krishna Subdues Kaliya, the Poisonous Serpent
– Bhagavata Purana (10th Canto, Chapter 16)
After Kaliya polluted the Yamuna River with his poison, Krishna fearlessly danced on the serpent’s many hoods. Despite Kaliya’s attempts to harm him, Krishna subdued him and ordered him to leave the river. This narrative highlights Krishna’s bravery and his role in protecting both his devotees and the natural world. It also underscores his ability to conquer evil forces and restore harmony to the environment.
4. Krishna’s Rasa Lila with Gopis
– Bhagavata Purana (10th Canto, Chapter 29)
On a moonlit night in Vrindavan, Krishna played his divine flute, drawing the gopis into a mesmerizing dance. Each gopi felt Krishna’s presence exclusively, symbolizing his omnipresence and the individual’s unique relationship with the divine. This story embodies the spiritual union between Krishna and his devotees, highlighting the ultimate goal of devotion and the blissful connection that transcends the physical world.
5. Krishna’s Defeat of the Demoness Putana
– Bhagavata Purana (10th Canto, Chapter 6)
Disguised as a beautiful woman, Putana attempted to poison the infant Krishna by breastfeeding him with her toxic milk. However, Krishna overpowered her and sucked out her life force, vanquishing her malevolent intentions. This narrative showcases Krishna’s divine potency from a very young age, protecting his devotees from harm and conquering evil forces. It underscores the theme of good prevailing over evil and highlights Krishna’s role as a guardian of righteousness.
6. Krishna’s Liberation of Nalakuvara and Manigriva, Trapped Devotees
– : Bhagavata Purana (10th Canto, Chapter 10)
The tale of Krishna liberating Nalakuvara and Manigriva is recounted in the Bhagavata Purana’s 10th Canto, Chapter 10. These two demigods, cursed to become trees due to their arrogance, were redeemed when Krishna, as a young boy, upturned the mortar to which he was bound. The mortar toppled two arjuna trees, and their true forms were revealed. This story highlights Krishna’s compassion and his ability to free individuals from their past mistakes. It signifies his role as a redeemer and emphasizes the importance of humility in the path of devotion.
7. Krishna Restores the Dead Son of Sandipani Muni
– Bhagavata Purana (10th Canto, Chapter 80)
In gratitude for their Gurukula education, Krishna and Balarama pledged to fulfill any request from Sandipani Muni. When the sage’s son died tragically, they journeyed to the realm of Yamaraja, the god of death, to retrieve him. Their fearlessness and determination moved Yamaraja, who granted the son’s return. This narrative exemplifies Krishna’s profound commitment to his teachers and friends, showcasing his divine authority over life and death, and his willingness to aid his devotees in their times of need.
8. Krishna Lifts Shiva’s Bow and Wins Rukmini’s Hand
– Mahabharata, Adi Parva (Book of the Beginning), Section 200
During a swayamvara (a choosing of a husband) held by Rukmini’s brother, Krishna, effortlessly lifts and strings the divine bow of Lord Shiva, a task considered impossible by many mighty warriors. Impressed by Krishna’s strength and devotion, Rukmini places a garland around his neck, choosing him as her husband. This episode symbolizes Krishna’s divine prowess, his irresistible charm, and his devotion to his devotees, highlighting his role as a protector and beloved deity.
9. Krishna Provides Infinite Cloth to Protect Draupadi’s Honor
-Mahabharata, Adi Parva (Book of the Beginning), Section 192
During the dice game in the court of the Kauravas, Draupadi was humiliated and disrobed in front of the assembly. In response to her fervent prayer, Krishna intervened and ensured that her attire never ran out. No matter how much cloth was pulled, it remained unending, preserving her dignity. This event exemplifies Krishna’s timely intervention in times of distress and his commitment to upholding justice and righteousness.
10. Imparting the Bhagavad Gita Wisdom to Arjuna
-Mahabharata, Bhishma Parva (Book of Bhishma), Section 25
Set on the battlefield of Kurukshetra, Arjuna is overwhelmed by moral dilemma and doubt about fighting in the war. Krishna imparts profound wisdom, addressing Arjuna’s concerns and teaching him about duty, righteousness, and the nature of life and death. This discourse covers a wide range of philosophical concepts, including the paths of devotion, knowledge, and selfless action. It’s a timeless dialogue that provides guidance on living a purposeful and ethical life.
11. Krishna Resurrects the Elephant Kuvalayapida
-Bhagavata Purana (10th Canto, Chapter 16)
The elephant, sent by the wicked king Kamsa, attacked Krishna with its tusks. Krishna effortlessly defeated the elephant, and in a display of compassion, he resurrected it with his divine touch. This event underscores Krishna’s divine power, his role as a protector of all creatures, and his willingness to show mercy even to those who posed a threat. It emphasizes his embodiment of compassion and his capacity to bring life and healing.
12. Krishna Diverts the Course of the Yamuna River
– Bhagavata Purana (10th Canto, Chapter 20)
As a mischievous child, Krishna once played with his friends by climbing atop a large kadamba tree on the riverbank. The tree was uprooted and fell into the Yamuna. Krishna, using his divine strength, dragged the tree and the Yamuna river followed him, changing its course. This act is a testament to Krishna’s divine authority over nature and his playful yet powerful nature. It showcases his boundless capacity to perform miraculous feats for the joy and welfare of his devotees.
13. Krishna Kills the Demon Bakasura
-Bhagavata Purana (10th Canto, Chapter 11)
Bakasura, sent by the envious Kamsa, took the form of a giant crane and terrorized the village of Vrindavan. Krishna, with his unparalleled strength, engaged in a fierce battle with Bakasura. Eventually, Krishna forced his beak open, tearing the demon apart and liberating the village from his menace. This tale showcases Krishna’s valor, his role as a protector of the innocent, and his determination to eliminate evil forces. It reflects his commitment to maintaining balance and safeguarding his devotees from harm.
14. Krishna Restores Eyesight to the Blind Poet Surdas
-Bhagavata Purana (10th Canto, Chapter 40)
In this story, the blind poet Surdas, who was a devoted follower of Krishna, prayed fervently to have a glimpse of the deity he loved so deeply. Touched by his devotion, Krishna blessed Surdas with the gift of sight, allowing him to witness his divine form. This narrative emphasizes Krishna’s compassion towards his devotees and his ability to grant them their heartfelt wishes as a reward for their unwavering faith. It highlights the personal and intimate connection that can exist between a devotee and their chosen deity.
15. Krishna Liberates Shishupala and Forgives His Offenses
– Bhagavata Purana (10th Canto, Chapter 74)
Shishupala, a king with deep-rooted animosity towards Krishna, harbored envy and hatred due to an ancient curse. At the Rajasuya Yagna, Shishupala repeatedly insulted Krishna. When he exceeded a certain number of offenses, Krishna used his Sudarshana Chakra to end Shishupala’s life. However, the Chakra didn’t kill him but merged him back into Krishna, symbolizing his ultimate liberation. This narrative highlights Krishna’s role as the upholder of righteousness and his ability to transform even a lifelong antagonist into a recipient of divine grace, illustrating the power of forgiveness and the ultimate aim of spiritual liberation.
The parallels between the miracles attributed to Krishna and those attributed to Jesus have led some to speculate about the possibility of a shared divine archetype or a common spiritual essence that transcends cultural boundaries. More obviously, Krishna and Jesus are said to have performed extraordinary acts, such as healing the sick, restoring the blind’s sight, and displaying power over nature. These resemblances in their miraculous deeds raise intriguing questions about the universality of spiritual truths. While Krishna’s narrative originates in Hindu scriptures (1500 – 1200 BCE) and Jesus’ story in the Christian Gospels (40 – 60 AD), the similarities suggest a shared source of divine origin and a shared symbolic language that underscores fundamental human experiences. The idea that Krishna could be the prophetic foretelling of the literal person of Jesus Christ whose story is interpreted through distinct cultural and religious lenses opens up discussions about the interconnectedness of faith and the potential unity of diverse belief systems.