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Krishna (/ˈkrɪʃnə/,[13] Sanskrit pronunciation: [ˈkr̩ʂɳɐ]; Sanskrit: कृष्ण, IAST: Kṛṣṇa) is a major deity in Hinduism. He is worshipped as the eighth avatar of Vishnu and also as the supreme God in his own right.[14] He is the god of protection, compassion, tenderness, and love[15][1][2] and is one of the most popular and widely revered among Indian divinities.[16] Krishna's birthday is celebrated every year by Hindus on Krishna Janmashtami according to the lunisolar Hindu calendar, which falls in late August or early September of the Gregorian calendar.[17][18]

The anecdotes and narratives of Krishna's life are generally titled as Krishna Leela. He is a central character in the Mahabharata, the Bhagavata Purana and the Bhagavad Gita, and is mentioned in many Hindu philosophical, theological, and mythological texts.[19] They portray him in various perspectives: a god-child, a prankster, a model lover, a divine hero, and as the universal supreme being.[20] His iconography reflects these legends, and shows him in different stages of his life, such as an infant eating butter, a young boy playing a flute, a young boy with Radha or surrounded by women devotees, or a friendly charioteer giving counsel to Arjuna.[21]

The synonyms of Krishna have been traced to 1st millennium BCE literature.[22] In some sub-traditions, Krishna is worshipped as Svayam Bhagavan, and this is sometimes referred to as Krishnaism. These sub-traditions arose in the context of the medieval era Bhakti movement.[23] Krishna-related literature has inspired numerous performance arts such as Bharatanatyam, Kathakali, Kuchipudi, Odissi, and Manipuri dance.[24][25] He is a pan-Hindu god, but is particularly revered in some locations such as Vrindavan in Uttar Pradesh, Dwarka and Junagadh in Gujarat; the Jagannatha aspect in Odisha, Mayapur in West Bengal;[26] in the form of Vithoba in Pandharpur, Maharashtra, Shrinathji at Nathdwara in Rajasthan,[27] Udupi Krishna in Karnataka,[28] Parthasarathy in Tamil Nadu and Guruvayoorappan in Guruvayoor in Kerala.[29] Since the 1960s, the worship of Krishna has also spread to the Western world and to Africa, largely due to the work of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON).[30]