The scriptures of the Hindu religion say that there are over 33 crore Gods and Demi Gods worshipped by the Hindus. A single Hindu can be devoted to more than one God. He has a hierarchy of Gods that he believes in. First comes the God or Goddess of the family, then he prays to the God or Goddess that preside over the area; and in the end, he would have one or more Gods or Goddesses that he may personally like to worship.
There is a prescribed way to worship eachdeity and the devotees follow it religiously. For example, Lord Shiva is most commonly and widely worshipped in his Linga form. Lord Ganesha is always depicted as an elephant-headed god. The Goddesses too have a set form and even attire.
Lord Sri Krishna is unique in this sense. He has many forms and is called by many different names. His forms have different characteristics and personalities. The devotees pray to him in ways that pleases him and this helps them better their devotion.
Today, we shall take a look at the various forms of Lord Sri Krishna and the unique characteristics of each. Listed below are different places of worship in India where Lord Krishna is worshipped in different forms from the other. Take a look.
Lord BadrinathaOf Badrinath, UP
As per a story, Vrinda (a devotee) cursed the Lord to become a black stone. He turned into a Shaligrama stone and was in the hot sun. His wife, Goddess Lakshmi, wanted to protect him and appeared as a Bel tree. Bel tree is also known as Badari and hence the Lord is known as Badrinatha here.
Sri NathjiOf Nathdwara, Rajasthan
Sri Nathji stands the way he did while lifting the Govardhanamountain. His Left hand is raised and the right hand is fisted. His head is bowed, looking at the devotees, he protects at his feet.
This form of the Lord is known as the celestial bower.
The Lord is worshipped here as Balagopal, which is Lord Sri Krishna in his childhood form and also as Radhanatha, or the master of Radha.
Most devotees try to entertain the Lord by gifting him toy animals and spinning tops. Some devotees also gift him a herding stick, as he was a cowherd in his childhood.
Udupi Krishna Of Udupi, Karnataka
Krishna's childhood was spent with his adoptive mother Yashoda. His birth mother, Devaki, missed all of his childhood leelas. Once while in Dwaraka, Devaki was lamenting her misfortune as a mother.
Knowing her mind, Lord Sri Krishna transformed himself into a toddler. As Devaki sat churning curd for butter, Krishna went and broke the churn and ate up the butter. He then proceeded to take the churner and the rope from Devaki's hand and play with it. He then frolicked on his mother's lap. With this, Devaki was pleased and fulfilled as a mother.
Rukmini, the Lord's wife, stood watching all of this leela. She was enthralled by her husband's form. She got a statue made that showed Krishna as a baby holding the churner and rope. She worshipped this statue every day.
After the death of Lord Sri Krishna, Arjuna had it installed in Rukmini Vana. There, it stayed for centuries till it was taken to Udupi and discovered.
Ranachor Raya Of Dakor, Gujarat
Ranachor means the one who escapes from a battle. The name was derogatory when used by Jarasandha and his companions. It meant that the Lord was afraid of them and ran away. The Lord chose to move away from Magadha, as Jarasandha and his friends repeatedly attacked his city and innocent lives were taken in the battle on both sides. This was not the only time that Lord Sri Krishna avoided fighting to save numerous lives.
The story of Ranachor Raya of Dakor is the story that tells us how the Lord himself escorted an old devotee to Dakor when he was unable to pay the yearly visit to meet the Lord.
Lord VitthalaOf Pandharpur, Maharashtra
It is said that onceRadharani visited Dwaraka to meet Lord Sri Krishna. His wife, Rukmini saw that the Lord was paying more attention and love to Radharani than he did to her. Upset, she went away to stay at a place near Pandharpur.
It is said that there was a devotee Pundarika who lived in his ashram at Pandharpur. When Rukmini refused to forgive the Lord, he decided that he may as well meet Pundarika. When he reached the ashram, he saw that Pundarika was taking care of the elderly there. The Lord was given a brick to sit on and wait for the arrival of the devotee. Rukmini too came there and thensheforgave the Lord.
It is believed that the Lord still waits there for his devotees to visit them.
He waits with his hands on his hips. They say that with this pose Lord Krishna is telling the devotees that he has made their vast ocean of grief shallow. He keeps his hands on the hips and says, "See, it is only this deep now".
Guruvayurappan Of Guruvayur, Kerala
Guruvayur temple in Kerala is known as 'BhoolokaVaikuntha' or the Vaikuntha on earth. Lord Sri Krishna is called Guruvayurappan or the father of Guruvayur. It is said that the four-armed idol of Guruvayur was worshiped by the Lord himself in Dwaraka. After the deluge that swallowed Dwaraka, Brihaspati and Vayu installed the idol in Guruvayur.
Though the idol is four armed here, the devotees often pray to him in the Bala Gopal form. He delights them with his childish pranks and leelas. The devotees offer tasty pal payasam, unniappam along with the Lord's favourite butter and mishri as bhog here.