India Design Motifs, Part 9

BY: SUN STAFF - 28.6 2017

Krsna's Lotus Feet

A study of the historical, spiritual and cultural elements of Vedic design.

In the 10th Canto of Srimad Bhagavatam there is a beautiful passage describing Krsna and Balarama, walking around Vraja. As they walked through the cow pasture, the auspicious marks on Their lotus feet left impressions which beautified the earth. "Those two exalted personalities beautified the cow pasture with the impressions of Their feet [cihnitair anghribhir], which bore the marks of the flag [dhvaja], lightning bolt [vajra], elephant goad [ankusa] and lotus [ambhojaih]."

Srimad Bhagavatam 10.38.28-33: 

dadarsa krsnam ramam ca
vraje go-dohanam gatau
kisorau syamala-svetau
sri-niketau brhad-bhujau
su-mukhau sundara-varau
cihnitair anghribhir vrajam
sobhayantau mahatmanau
sragvinau vana-malinau
snatau viraja-vasasau
pradhana-purusav adyau
jagad-dhetu jagat-pati
avatirnau jagaty-arthe
svamsena bala-kesavau
diso vitimira rajan
kurvanau prabhaya svaya
yatha marakatah sailo
raupyas ca kanakacitau

"Akrura then saw Krsna and Balarama in the village of Vraja, going to milk the cows. Krsna wore yellow garments, Balarama blue, and Their eyes resembled autumnal lotuses. One of those two mighty-armed youths, the shelters of the goddess of fortune, had a dark-blue complexion, and the other's was white. With Their fine-featured faces They were the most beautiful of all persons. As They walked with the gait of young elephants, glancing about with compassionate smiles, Those two exalted personalities beautified the cow pasture with the impressions of Their feet, which bore the marks of the flag, lightning bolt, elephant goad and lotus. The two Lords, whose pastimes are most magnanimous and attractive, were ornamented with jeweled necklaces and flower garlands, anointed with auspicious, fragrant substances, freshly bathed, and dressed in spotless raiment. They were the primeval Supreme Personalities, the masters and original causes of the universes, who had for the welfare of the earth now descended in Their distinct forms of Kesava and Balarama. O King Pariksit, They resembled two gold-bedecked mountains, one of emerald and the other of silver, as with Their effulgence They dispelled the sky's darkness in all directions."

Commenting on the above slokas, Srila Jiva Goswami states that both Krsna and Balarama are described as having the markings of the Supreme Personality of Godhead on the soles of Their feet, which none of the saktyavesa incarnations such as Prthu Maharaja and others have. These auspicious markings are seen only on the feet of Sri Krsna Himself.

"The Skanda Purana describes the specific places on His feet where Krsna carries various auspicious marks, and the meanings of them:

"The acaryas of the Vaisnava sampradaya explain that since the particular feet under discussion are Lord Krishna's, we should know that the thunderbolt is at the base of His small toe and the elephant goad below the thunderbolt. An elephant goad on the heel belongs rather to Lord Narayana and other visnu-tattva expansions.

"Thus the Skanda Purana describes six marks on Krishna's right foot-the disc, flag, lotus, thunderbolt, elephant goad and barleycorn. And the Vaisnava-tosani mentions even more marks - a vertical line beginning at the middle of His foot and continuing as far as the juncture between His big toe and second toe; an umbrella below the disc; at the base of the middle of His foot, a group of four svastikas in the four cardinal directions; at the four points where each svastika meets the next, four rose apples; and in the middle of the svastikas, an octagon. This makes eleven marks on Krishna's right foot."

'At the base of the large toe on His right foot, the unborn Lord carries the mark of a disc, which cuts down the six (mental) enemies of His devotees.'

'At the bottom of the middle toe of that same foot Lord Acyuta has a lotus flower, which increases the greed for Him in the minds of the beelike devotees who meditate on His feet.'

'At the base of His small toe is a thunderbolt, which smashes the mountains of His devotees' reactions to past sins, and in the middle of His heel is the mark of an elephant goad, which brings the elephants of His devotees' minds under control.'

'The joint of His right large toe bears the mark of a barleycorn, representing all kinds of enjoyable opulences.' [ ]

'A thunderbolt is found on the right side of His right foot, and an elephant goad below that.'

Srila Visvanath Cakravarti also describes the marks on Sri Krsna's left foot, as follows:

"At the base of the large toe is a conchshell with its mouth facing the toe. At the base of the middle toe are two concentric circles, representing the inner and outer sky. Below this mark is Cupid' s unstrung bow, at the base of the bow is a triangle, and surrounding the triangle is a group of four waterpots. At the base of the triangle is a half-moon with two more triangles touching its points, and below the half-moon is a fish.

All together, then, there are nineteen distinguishing marks on the soles of Lord Krishna's lotus feet."

Following are the 11 Auspicious Marks on Sri Krsna's Right Lotus Foot:

Upcurving line 
Elephant Goad
Blackberry Fruits 

And the 8 Auspicious Marks on Sri Krsna's Left Lotus Foot:

Unstrung Bow
Cow Hoofprint
Half Moon 

Sri Ksna's Hands

Following are the 16 Auspicious Marks on Sri Krsna's Left Lotus Hand:

Disc on tip of thumb 
Disc on tip of index finger
Disc on tip of middle finger
Disc on tip of ring finger
Disc on tip of little finger 
Pillar of Glory 
Unstrung Bow
Half Moon 
Life Line 
Fate Line 
Good Fortune/Enjoyment Line

Following are the 17 Auspicious Marks on Sri Krsna's Right Lotus Hand:

Conch on tip of thumb 
Conch on tip of index finger
Conch on tip of middle finger
Conch on tip of ring finger 
Conch on tip of little finger 
Elephant Goad 
Iron Club 
Whisk fan 
Life Line 
Fate Line 

Good Fortune/Enjoyment Line