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Meaning of the word KRSNA

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Hare Krishna,





58. krsHNah


a) One who is always in a state of Bliss (with His sport of creation etc.).

b) One who has a dark-blue complexion..


The first interpretation is supported from the following verse in MahAbhArata -


krshir-bhU-vAcakah Sabdo NaSca nirvrti vAcakah |

vishNus-tad bhAvayogAcca krshNo bhavati SASvatah || (MB Udyogaparva 5.68.5)


Approximately translated, this says: krishi means bhU, Na means nirvrtti or happiness and bliss, and BhagavAn is called KrshNa because He is the union of these two. Sri Sankara and Sri Bhattar interpret the name slightly differently with this same starting point. Sri Sankara interprets bhU to mean existence (bhU - bhav - to be), and Sri Bhattar interprets bhU to mean a receptacle or ground or container (e.g., bhUmi). So Sri Bhattar says that krshNa here means the receptacle of extreme joy because of His constant sport of creation etc. referred to in the previous nAma. Sri Sankara interprets the name to mean that He is the union of existence and bliss.


The second interpretation also has its support in the MahAbhArata -


krshAmi prthivIm pArtha bhUtvA kArshNAyaso halah |

krshNo varNaSca me yasmAt tasmAt krshNo'ham arjuna || SAnti parva 342.79


Note the words krshAmi, kArshaNa, and krshNa in the above. Each of these words leads to a new and different interpretation of the meaning of the nAma here. The meaning of the first line in the above sloka is "When the earth becomes shelled by its hard crust, I shall turn myself into an iron plough-share (black-colored), and shall plough the earth." The name krshNa can arise out of the fact that He is doing the act denoted by the word "krshAmi". Sri Chinmaya beautifully points out that this "ploughing" refers to His ploughing all the stupidities in His devotees and preparing the heart-field, weeding out all the poisonous growth of sin, and cultivating therein pure Bliss.


The second part of the verse means "O Arjuna! Because of my dark complexion, I am called KrshNa". The dark complexion referred to above could be because He is the (dark colored) iron plough, or because He is dark complexioned like the water-bearing cloud. Either way, because of His dark complexion, He is called krshNa. Notice that the dark complexion is associated with "kAr mugil vaNNan" or "nIla megha syAmalan" - One who has the color of the rain cloud loaded with His limitless mercy.


Sri Chinmaya points out that the inner meaning behind the "dark" complexion is that BhagavAn is not easily recognized (i.e., He is veiled behind some darkness) by those who aspire to reach Him except through single-minded devotion.


The nAma krshNa can also be interpreted in terms of the word "AkarshaNa" or magnetic attraction. He is krshNa because He irresistibly attracts all His devotees. Or He sweeps away (like a magnet drawing away the iron filings) the sins in the hearts of those who meditate upon Him.


This nAma occurs once more later as nAma 554 in "vedAh svAngo'jitah krshNo.....". Sri Bhattar gives the meaning b) for nAma 554, and gives the first explanation for the current nAma describing the paravAsudeva form.


554. kRshNah


a) One who is always in a state of Bliss (with His sport of creation etc.).

b) The Dark-hued.

c) He who irresistibly attracts His devotees to Him through His infinite kalyANa guNa-s.

d) He who cultivates the Earth like a plough and makes it suitable for life forms to form and nourish.

e) He who appeared as veda vyAsa or kRshNa dvaipAyana.

f) He who cultivates the minds of devotees by providing the veda-s in His incarnation as kRshNa dvaipAyana.

g) The Dark, Mysterious, and Unknowable except by deep devotion.


This nAma occurred earlier as nAma 58. Please refer to the detailed interpretation provided there as well. The first four interpretations were covered there. Some additional details are provided here. In support of interpretation (a), SrI v.v. rAmAnujan observes that unlike in rAma incarnation where bhagavAn went through enormous difficulties - nATTil piRandu paDAdana paTTu - nammAzhvAr tiruvAimozhi 7.5.2, in kRshNa incarnation it was "inbuRum iv-viLaiyATTuDaiyAnaip peRRu (tiruvAimozhi 3.10.7)", "kanRinai vAlOlai kaTTi (periAzhvAr tirumozhi 2.4.8)", etc. Another anubhavam of SrI v.v. rAmAnujan is that bhagavAn is laughing at us mockingly, seeing that we are not putting to good use the hands and legs and all the indriya-s He gave us to help us attain Him, but instead we are misusing these and getting into the cycle of birth and rebirth.


Under the current nAma, SrI ParASara BhaTTar gives one more of his anubhava-s of this nAma, and indicates that the Suddha sattva material which His body is made of has a fascinating complexion dark like the blue cloud. One of the grammar rules (uNAdi sutra 3.4) states that when the root kRsh - to plough is followed by affix nak, it means one of the colors - kRsher varNe. It is interesting to note that one name for grapes is kRshNA because of this connotation of color. So also, iron is called kRshNA because of its black color. This latter meaning is used to explain the significance of bhagavAn's nAma as kRshNa in mahAbhArata SAnti parva 143.49 -


kRshAmi medinIm pArtha! bhUtvA kRshNAyaso mahAn|

kRshNo varNaSca me yasmAt tena kRshNoham arjuna||


This is a slight variation of the Sloka also quoted from mahAbhArata under the explanation given under nAma 58. The two Sloka-s are too similar to each other to suggest that these are variants of the same reference. I do not have the original version of mahAbhArata to check the authenticity of the references.


In support of interpretation (b), SrI v.v. rAmAnujan gives references to the following: kaNNan enum karum daivam (nAcciyAr tirumozhi 3.1), kariyAn oru kALai (tirumozhi 3.7.), etc. SrI kRshNa datta bhAradvAj gives the following explanation along the lines of interpretation ©: karshati bhagavAn AtmAnam prati vayovarNa rUpaa lAvaNya madhurI rasotkarsheNa iti kRshNah, or kRshate AtmAnam prati bhaktAn sa-soundaryeNa iti kRshNah, based on (kRsha vilekhanam AkarshNam ca). SrI satyadevo vAsishTha and others also support this interpretation along with the other two.


SrI Sa'nkara interprets this instance of the nAma of kRshNah as referring to veda vyAsa (e), who is none other than an incarnation of bhagavaAn according to SrI vishNupurANa - kRshNadvaipAyanam vyAsam viddhi nArAyaNam prabhum | ko hyanayh puNDarIkAkshAn mahAbhAratakRt bhavet (VP 3.4.5).


The dharma cakram writer uses the concept of bhagavAn being like a plough (the basis of interpretation d), combines this with SrI Sa'nkara's interpretation (e), and offers a new interpretation (f). His anubhavam is that in the form of veda vyAsa, bhagavAn cultivates the minds of people by providing to us the veda-s, and so vyAsa, who is none other than nArAyaNa, is referred to by the nAma kRshNa here.


SrI cinmayAnanda uses the meaning "dark" for the word kRshNa, and suggests that this nAma of bhagavAn signifies the "unknown factor" that expresses through us - whose manifestations are all our physical, mental, and intellectual capabilities. Except by deep and sincere devotion, He cannot be comprehended, and so He is kRshNah - Dark and Mysterious.

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Excerpt from a lecture about the authorized biography of Sri Gauranga known as Sri Caitanya-caritamrita:<blockquote>The word caitanya means living force. As living entities, we can move, but a table cannot because it does not possess living force. Movement and activity may be considered to be signs or symptoms of the living force. Indeed, it may be said that there can be no activity without the living force. Although the living force is present in the material condition, it is not amrta, immortal. The words caitanya caritamrta, then, may be translated as "the character of the living force in immortality."



It is interesting that the biography of Sri Caitanya is called "the character of the living force in immortality."

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Hare Krishna,


I am not an expert. I am learning a lot of things here.


I think the word comes from the root "CHIT" which means consciousness or awareness as in human beings.


The meaning of the word "Chaitanya" denotes the source of all consciousness or the Supreme Being. I think the suffix "ya" is generally used in sanskrit to denote the source or one who possesses it or the one(it) from whom(which), it or him/her is born.

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Chaitanya= spirit soul


I am serious, my grandmother used to say in "higher vocabulary" in telugu, she used to say, "let chaitanyaraalu have something to eat" In other words, she does not really use the exact name of the person when speaking. Because, it is considered some sort of an offense.


so in telugu however, chaitanya or chaitanyaralu would be a spirit.


The higher telugu is very similar to sanskrit because it came from sanskrit, so chaitanya means spirit soul, yep very true.


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