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According to Bhagvata Purana, Krishna was born without a sexual union, but by divine “mental transmission” from the mind of Vasudeva into the womb of Devaki. In the story of Krishna the deity is the agent of conception and also the offspring. Because of his sympathy for the earth, the divine Vishnu himself descended into the womb of Devaki and was born as her son, Vaasudeva (i.e., Krishna). The Hindu Vishnu Purana relates: “Devaki bore in her womb the lotus-eyed deity…before the birth of Krishna, no one “could bear to gaze upon Devaki, from the light that invested her, and those who contemplated her radiance felt their minds disturbed.” This reference to light is reminiscent of the Vedic hymn “To an Unknown God,” which refers to a Golden Child. According to F. M. Müller this term means “the golden germ of child” and is an attempt at naming the sun.

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This is occasionally brought up as evidence for the hypothesis that “virgin birth” tales are fairly common in non-Christian religions around the world. However, there is nothing in Hindu scriptures to suggest that it was a “virgin” birth. By the time of conception and birth of Krishna, Devaki was married to Vasudeva and had already borne 7 children. Based on scriptural details and astrological calculation the date of Krishna’s birth, known as Janmashtmi, is 18 July 3228 BCE and departed on 3102 BCE. Krishna belonged to the Vrishni clan of Yadavas from Mathura, and was the eighth son born to the princess Devaki, and her husband Vasudeva.

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Mathura (in present day Mathura District, Uttar Pradesh) was the capital of the Yadavas, to which Krishna’s parents Vasudeva and Devaki belonged. KingKansa, Devaki’s brother, had ascended the throne by imprisoning his father, King Ugrasena. Afraid of a prophecy from a divine voice from the heavens that predicted his death at the hands of Devaki’s eighth “garbha”, Kansa had the couple locked into a prison cell. After Kansa killed the first six children, Devaki apparently had a miscarriage of the seventh. However in reality, the womb was actually transferred to Rohini secretly. This was how Balarama, Krishna’s elder brother was born. Once again Devaki became pregnant. Now due to the miscarriage, Kansa was in a puzzle regarding ‘The Eighth One’ but his ministers advised that the divine voice from the heavens emphasised “the eight garbha” and so this is the one. That night Krishna was born in the Rohini nakshatra and simultaneously Goddess Durga was born as Yogamaya in Gokulam to Nanda and Yashoda.

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Since Vasudeva knew Krishna’s life was in danger, Krishna was secretly taken out of the prison cell to be raised by his foster parents, Yasoda and Nanda, in Gokula (in present day Mathura district). Two of his other siblings also survived, Balarama (Devaki’s seventh child, transferred to the womb of Rohini, Vasudeva’s first wife) and Subhadra (daughter of Vasudeva and Rohini, born much later than Balarama and Krishna).

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