Krishna is a major Hindu deity worshiped in a variety of different perspectives. Krishna is one of the most widely revered and most popular of all Indian divinities, worshipped as the eighth incarnation of the Hindu god Vishnu and also as a Svayam Bhagavan (supreme god) in his own right.
Some religious scholars have tried to calculate the precise dates for the birth of Krishna, and believe that Krishna, under the name of “Vasudeva Govinda Krishna Shauri”, flourished as the ruler of Shuraseni and Vrishni tribes on the now-submerged island of Dwaraka (off the coast of Gujarat, India) sometime between 3200 and 3100 BCE.
Krishna’s birthday is celebrated every year by Hindus on the eighth day (Ashtami) of the Krishna Paksha (dark fortnight) of the month of Bhadrapad in the Hindu calendar.
Krishna is also called by several other names such as Govinda, Mukunda, Madhusudhana, and Vasudeva. He is often portrayed as an infant eating butter; a young boy playing a flute, and as in the Bhagavata Purana; a young man along with Radha; or a young man surrounded by women devotees; or as an elderly gentleman giving direction and guidance, as in the Bhagavad Gita.
The stories of Krishna appear across a broad spectrum of Hindu philosophical and theological texts. They portray him in various perspectives: a god-child, a prankster, a model lover, a divine hero, and as the Supreme Power. The principal scriptures discussing Krishna’s story are the Bhagavata Purana, the Mahabharata, the Harivamsa, “Krishnacharitmanas” and the Vishnu Purana.
The anecdotes and narratives of Krishna, in topic, are generally titled as Krishna Leela. Worship of Krishna, either in the form of a deity or in the form of Vasudeva, Bala Krishna or Gopala can be traced to as early as the 4th century BCE.
Worship of Krishna as Svayam Bhagavan, or the Supreme Being known as Krishnaism, arose in the Middle Ages in the context of the Bhakti movement.
From the 10th century CE, Krishna became a favorite subject in performing arts and regional traditions of devotion developed for forms of Krishna, such as Jagannatha in Odisha, Vithoba in Maharashtra and Shrinathji in Rajasthan.
Since the 1960s, the worship of Krishna has also spread to the Western world and to Africa largely due to the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON).