Kanhaiya, Makhan Chor, Govind, Govardhan, Shyam and Lord Krishna - the names of Vishnu’s ninth reincarnation are plenty and each plays a significant part in the story of Krishna’s journey from Gokul’s Prankster to Vrindavan’s Charmer to the Charioteer of Mahabharata. Lord Krishna has been depicted as the Supreme Being in Indian Mythology. The verses of Lord Krishna as recorded in Bhagvad Gita offer worldly counsel as much as spiritual and are relevant even today.
Krishna is first depicted as a God-sent miracle child who comes on earth to win over evil. As the legend goes, the earth was burdened with the evils of King Kansa and an aakashwani described how he is destined to be killed by Vishnu’s ninth re-incarnation that will take birth as his sister Devaki’s eighth child. Kansa immediately imprisoned Devaki and her husband Vasudev, killing their children, one after the other. On the intervening night of ashtami, the eighth child of Devaki was born, but Kansa could not come and kill him, because he was the Lord Himself.
Time was paused and Vasudev was able to take the newborn out of the prison and safely transport him to his friend Nanda. The little Nand Kishore or Kanhaiya grew up with foster parents Yashoda and Nand, and the infant Krishna killed devil Pootna and many others who were sent by Kansa.
The divine love of a mother and child is best described by the childhood stories of Kanhaiya when even after listening to all his mischief and complaints, mother Yashoda would just bend with utmost love for her child and let him go unpunished.
The naughty little boy came to be known as Makhan Chor, when he would go with his friends Sudama and others to steal butter and curd from high hung dahi handis.
As he grew, he became a hero in Gokul by saving children from the serpent Kalia, by lifting the Govardhan hill and safeguarding the cattle and people from an angry Lord Indra and so on. He was also known for the sweet flute he played while pasturing cattle in Gokul and playing with his friends.
The journey of Sri Krishna is incomplete without Radha, Rasleela, his love for music and dance. The young Shyam gave the best version of the friendship between Shyam-Shyama, a relationship that is comprehended as pious and divine.
Sri Krishna then presented a totally changed version of himself in the Mahabharata, wherein he counseled a confused Arjuna, gave answers to his worldly questions and led him to a great victory at Kurukshetra.