THE MAHABHARATA IS TRADITIONALLY CONSIDERED INAUSPICIOUS BECAUSE IT DEALS WITH BLOODSHED AND THE BREAK-UP OF A FAMILY
( poorna- avatar), the most perfect personal manifestation ( saguna
brahman) of the impersonal divine ( nirguna brahman).
So, for many devotees, Krishna’s heaven of Goloka stands higher than Vishnu’s heaven of Vaikuntha. Vaikuntha is located in the ocean of milk, but all this milk comes from the udders of cows located in Goloka. These cows voluntarily release their milk because they are so moved by the music of Krishna who, inspired by the beauty and love
In Tamil Nadu, Krishna is rarely distinguished from Vishnu. He inspired the collective of poets known as Alvars. In Kerala, about 400 years ago, the Sanskrit poetry known as Narayaniyum was composed. It tells the story of the Bhagavata Purana in a very short form and it is popular in the Guruvayur temple. North India is completely unaware of these traditions.
In South East Asian countries like Cambodia, Krishna is heroic. He wrestles and defeats demons, but there are no references to his pastoral roots.
So the Krishna who became popular in South East Asia over 1,000 years ago is Vasudev Krishna of the Mahabharata, not Gopal Krishna of the Bhagavata. Krishna is thus very different when seen through the lens of geography, as he is when seen through the lens of history.
Udupi Krishna with churning staff