Krishna is the teacher who taught, in Bhagavad Gita, the basic principles of life. Since His teachings apply equally to all, He is called jagadguru, the world teacher.
In Gita, Krishna is identified with Ishvara, the Supreme Lord. He is a personal god, a deity who can be perceived and related to as a person instead of the unmanifest impersonal reality.
He is a manifested God. Though unborn, imperishable and the lord of all creations, yet establishing Himself in His own nature, He comes into being through His inner power (maya) (Shloka 4.6). Unlike other beings, the Lord takes birth through His own power and through His own free will.
For spiritual upliftment of human race, the Divine takes birth again and again. Assumption of human nature by the Divine Reality does not in any way enhance or diminish the integrity of the Absolute Spirit.
Krishna is stated to be the ninth incarnation of Vishnu. He was born to Vasudeva and Devaki, at Mathura. Taking birth in the darkness of night and within the confines of a prison carries an important symbolic message. Amidst the all-encompassing distress and stifling enslavement, the saviour of the mankind was born.
Krishna says that He has not preached anything new in Gita. He has only repeated what He had said earlier (Shlokas 4.1 to 4.3). He is, thus, not confined to a particular time period. He is not an individual belonging to a bygone era, but the indwelling spirit, a reflection of one’s spiritual consciousness. He is the Eternal Truth. He is everywhere and in everyone, as willing to speak to us now as He would have been to speak to anyone else.
He is, thus, both – a historical figure and an incarnation of the Divine.
Due to the limitations of our mortal means, it is very difficult for us to comprehensively define Krishna. But Gita, through its various shlokas has made this task comparatively easy.
It has been demonstrated in chapter eleven that whole of the universe exists in the Supreme Lord. But God’s presence becomes more prominent in whatever is glorious, beautiful and vigorous.
Krishna is the creator as well as destroyer of the world. It is said in shloka 9.8 that He creates all the multitudes of beings, again and again. It has further been stated that He is the generating seed (origin) of all existences. No being – whether moving or non-moving – can exist without Him (Shloka 10.39). He is the source of whole of the creation and He makes everything in the cosmos to evolve (Shloka 10.8). He is the seed-giving father of all beings belonging to different species of life (Shloka 14.4). Further, it is stated in shloka 7.6 that all beings arise out of His two natures (material and consciousness). He is the creator and destroyer of the entire universe.
It has been stated that pervading the entire universe, Krishna supports it, with a single fraction of Himself ( Shloka 10.42). He gives out heat. He withholds and sends forth the rain. He is immortality and also the death. He is both – sat and asat (being as well as non-being) (Shloka 9.19).
Krishna is the support, the mother, the father and the grandfather of the universe. He is the object of knowledge and also the purifying syllable AUM. He is rig veda, sama veda and also the yajur veda (Shloka 9.17). He is the supreme goal of all beings, their sustainer, their lord, the witness who sees all, their abode, their refuge ; and the dear friend. He is the origin and the dissolution of the universe, the basis of everything, the resting place ; and the imperishable seed (Shloka 9.18).
Under His directions, the nature creates all things – both moving and non-moving ; due to which the cosmic wheel revolves (Shloka 9.10). It has further been stated in shloka 15.12 that the splendour of the sun, of the moon ; and of the fire – all such splendour belongs to Him.
He is the Self (Atman) seated in the hearts of all beings. He is also the beginning, the middle and the end of them all (Shloka 10.20). Dwelling in the hearts of all beings, He makes by His maya everyone to revolve in this world, in such a manner as if they were mounted on a machine (Shloka 18.61).
Nothing whatsoever is higher than Him. Everything is strung on Him as beads on the string of a necklace (Shloka 7.7).
Krishna is omniscient. He knows all the beings who were in the past, those who live in the present ; and also those who are yet to come (Shloka 7.26).
Krishna also represents the Ultimate Reality, the Unmanifest Eternal. He states in shloka 7.24 that the ignorant do not know His higher nature, which is imperishable and supreme. They thus think of Him, the unmanifest, as having manifested ( taken birth as an ordinary human being). He has further stated in shloka 7.25 that veiled by His inherent power, yogmaya, He is not revealed to all. Hence, the ignorant beings do not know Him, the unborn and the imperishable.
In the end (Shloka 18.66), Lord Krishna has assured mankind that there is no cause for worry. Whosoever surrenders to His will and takes refuge in Him, he shall be released from all evil.