Krishna the Dark One
The term Krishna in Sanskrit means "black" or "dark". It is related to similar words in other Indo-European languages meaning black. The name is often translated as 'the dark one' or as 'the black one'.
In depictions, Krishna often appears as a black or dark-skinned figure, for instance in the modern murtis (statues) and pictorial representations of Lord Jaganatha at Puri (Krishna as Lord of the World). In the same representations, his brother and sister are shown with a distinctly lighter complexion. Early pictorial representations also generally show him as dark or black-skinned. Rajasthani miniature paintings of the 16th century are often of a brown or black-skinned figure. However, by the 19th century, he is almost always shown as blue skinned.
Other meanings of the name
The name is sometimes said to mean dark blue, rather than black. This may be connected to the common modern practice of representing many Hindu deities with blue skin. The blue is meant to represent the deities' holy aura.
Mahabharata, Udyogaparva 71.4, gives this analysis of the word 'Krishna':
krishir bhu-vacakah sabdo nas ca nirvriti-vacakah
tayor aikyam param brahma krishna ity abhidhiyate
"The word 'krish' is the attractive feature of the Lord's existence, and 'na' means 'spiritual pleasure.' When the verb krish is added to na, it becomes krishna, which indicates the Absolute Truth."
According to the Vishnu sahasranama, Krishna is the 57th name of Vishnu, and also means the "Existence of Knowledge and Bliss".
There are 108 Names of Krishna
Other names of Krishna
He is known by numerous other names or titles. The most commonly used of these include:
Gopala - cowherd; protector of cows
Govinda - protector of cows
Hari - the fawn (or yellow or gold) coloured one
Hrshikesha - master of the senses
Jaganatha - lord of the universe (see also Juggernaut).
Keshava – long haired; in some accounts, the killer of Kesi
Madhava - bringer of springtime
Vaasudeva, Krishna Vaasudeva - son of Vasudeva
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