Meaning of the Auspicious Marks on the Lotus Feet of Lord Krishna
Submitted by Nandini Radha dd
1) BARLEYCORN (Jon) – This mark signifies that His devotees receive all enjoyable opulences of prosperity by serving His lotus feet. It also means that once one finds shelter at His lotus feet, then the devotee’s former journey through many, many births and deaths is actually very tiny, just like a single grain of barley. It further demonstrates that just as the barley grains are sustenance of life for living beings, similarly it is widely celebrated that His glorious feet are the nourishment of all souls.
2) DISK (Chakra) – This mark cuts down the six enemies of His devotees – lust, anger, greed, illusion, envy and bewilderment. It indicates teja-tattva, or the principle of brilliance by which the darkness of sin within is destroyed.
3) UPWARD-CURVING-LINE (Ürdhva-rekhä) – This mark signifies that the devotees who cling to His feet, as if holding a life-line, will be transported to the higher realms. Indeed, they will not fall down. It shows that such devotees need never be doubtful of their upward passage; they cannot be held captive within this small egg-like material universe. It also indicates that the path to His feet, being free of external designations, is very direct. It also reveals that His feet can reach down to the lowest of fallen souls and deliver those who have taken shelter of Him.
4) LOTUS (Padma/Kamala) – This mark increases greed for nectar in the minds of the bee-like devotees who meditate on His feet. The lotus also signifies that just as a lotus grows out of water, similarly, those whose eyes swell with tears upon holding the Lord’s lotus feet to their heart receive the highest benefit. This mark also shows that the goddess of Fortune, Sri Laxmi Devi always resides on His feet rendering humble service. It also reveals that just as a lotus blooms by day and contracts by night, similarly those who remain steeped in meditation on His feet always feel the blossoming unfolding of brilliant ecstasies that dispel the darkness of ignorance. This mark signifies that His feet are so soft that they can only be compared to lotus petals; indeed, upon first glancing of His lotus feet, you would think you are directly seeing fresh lotus blossoms. This mark also indicates that just as bees live inside lotus flowers, similarly the minds of the Gopis always reside in the nectar of His lotus feet. It also shows that this lotus, (or consciousness of His lotus feet), will not grow unless there is profusion of the water of pure divine love. It also means that the bee of the devotee’s mind cannot fly beyond the bondage of dry jnana and vairagya (renunciation) without the temptation offered by the superior nectar of His lotus feet; the mark is indicative of His Supreme Lordship over all creation. He holds the four signs (beginning with the lotus, disc, club and conch).
5) GOAD (Ankuña) – This mark indicates that meditation on His lotus feet brings the elephants of His devotees minds under control and keeps them on the right path. It also shows that those who thus stay on the path toward His feet, become superior among men, just as one riding on top of an elephant travels far above the rest.
6) FLAG (Dvaja) – This mark announces that for the devotees meditating on His feet, He gives security and safe protection from all sorts of fear.
7) THUNDERBOLT (Vajra) – This mark reveals that meditation on His feet smashes to pieces the mountain of His devotees’ karmic reactions to past sins. It also indicates that whoever holds on to His feet becomes as exalted as Lord Indra (whose weapon is the lightning bolt). This mark also shows that the glories of Krishna’s dynasties were established by His own Grandson Vajranabha, who preserved the many places of His pastimes, built temples, installed various deities, and initiated regular festival celebrations.
8) UMBRELLA (Chatri) – This mark proves that those who take shelter of His feet are shielded from the incessant rainfall of material miseries. It also refers to Krishna holding Govardhana Hill up like an umbrella to protect Vraj from the angry Indra. It also denotes that those who sit in the shade of His feet becomes exalted just like Maharajas who usually have umbrellas held over their heads.
9) OCTAGON (Añta-Kona) – This mark signifies that those who resort to His feet are well protected in the eight directions. It also shows that nothing within the kingdom of the eight directions is unattainable for the devotees. Further, His devotees automatically and easily achieve the use of the eight mystic perfections in the course of performing service to His feet.
10) SWASTIKA – This mark signifies that for those who resort to His feet, all is well. It also indicates that nothing inauspicious could possibly remain for one who holds His feet to his heart.
11) ROSEAPPLE (Jambu-phala) – This mark is indicative that His feet are the only worshipable objects for all those who are residents of this region of Jambudvipa (‘island of the rose-apple’) according to Vedic cosmography.
Left Foot – 8 Signs
12) CONCH (Sankha) – This emblem indicates that those who take shelter of His lotus feet are always rescued from all sorts of distress. Just as during the arati ceremony the conch shell is used to hold water that is offered directly after the ghee-lamp, similarly, His feet hold transcendental water that sooths His devotees from the blazing fire of material miseries. In addition, this symbol proclaims ultimate victory for the devotees, since the conch shell mark on the feet contains the entire ocean of material existence that may now be easily crossed. This mark is also symbolic of the principle of water, since from Krishna’s foot has manifested the river Ganga, purifier of all worlds. This mark also shows that those who resort to His feet become completely fearless.
13) SKY (Ambara/Akaña) – This mark of two circles, one within the other indicates that His feet are all pervading throughout the entire universe both within and without all manifestations. It also shows that even though His feet are everywhere, they are unattached just like the sky.
14) BOW (Dhanuña) – This mark reveals that those who take shelter of His feet will perpetually be freed from all worries and difficulties. It also shows that those who are stupefied in the material world remain motionless like a target and do not come to His feet; whereas those who come to (the ultimate goal of) His feet remain there never to go back to the material world. Furthermore, when the minds of the devotees meet the target of His feet, then prema condenses as a result and overflows as the tears showering from their eyes.
15) CALF’S HOOFPRINT (Goshpad) – This mark signifies that those who have taken full shelter of uninterrupted meditation on His feet, the great ocean of material worldly existence becomes very small and insignificant like the water held in a calf’s hoof print, and thus is easily crossed over.
16) TRIANGLE (Tri-kona) – This mark indicates that the devotees who resort to His feet will be saved from the snares of the three-fold modes of nature (maya); that His feet are the first and the last refuge for the inhabitants of the three worlds; that His feet are the safest sanctuary for the devas, humans and animals as well; that His feet are the sole desired object of the liberated, those desiring liberation, as well as the sense enjoyers; and that His feet should be resorted to by everyone with full concentration of his body, mind and speech. It also shows that Krishna, the conqueror of Cupid, is the Lord and husband of all women. It also shows that Krishna is the original source of His three expanded manifestations of Brahma, Visnu and Siva. Krishna also bears this mark on His foot to indicate that the three energies: Sri, Bhu, and Nila are His maidservants. It refers to His stepping over the three worlds: Svarga, Bhumi, and Patala with one-step (Vamana Dev). Also that His feet remove the three miseries: Adhyatmik, Adhibhautik and Adhidaivik. It further signifies that His feet may be attained by worshippers performing any of the three sadhanas: Bhakti, Gyana and Vairagya. It denotes that He never goes anywhere other than Vrndavan, Mathura and Dwarka. In addition, that whether one is a sura (godly), nara (human), or asura (demon), He sees everyone equally and bestows the same bhakti. Also that His feet have attracted the fixed gaze of the three eyes of Shiva.
17) PITCHER/WATERPOT (Kalaña) – This mark shows that His feet hold the golden pitcher full of purely nectarean ambrosia to be freely consumed by the surrendered souls; indeed, they will never be bereft of nectar, for this pitcher always remains full. This mark also indicates that His feet can pour out nectar that extinguishes the burning fire of separation felt by the Gopis as well as blazing three fold miseries of His separated devotees. It also refers to His feet as the source of the Ganga river, which is supremely purifying. Further, the full pitcher is a symbol to show that no inauspiciousness can come near His devotees, but rather that His feet bring ripples of happiness emanating from divine auspiciousness.
18) Half Moon (Ardha Chandra) – This mark symbolizes how His feet truly accomplish the desired objectives of the devotees. It signifies that even gods like Shiva have decorated their own heads with the soles of His feet. It also shows that devotees who likewise decorate their own heads with His feet can become exalted like Shiva. Just as the moon showers nectar with its cooling rays, similarly His feet shower nectar upon His devotees, extinguishing the three-fold miseries. So that the minds of the devotees may reside at His feet, they bear the symbol of the moon. Just as the moon is one, yet destroys the darkness seen by many people simultaneously, similarly the Lord is one, yet by His cleverness can deliver many souls at the same time. The half-moon also indicates that since His toe nails appear as ten splendorous full moons, the real moon has shriveled up in shame and appears in half form. It also indicates that the half hearted attempts of those who are improperly devoted, relishing transcendental topics with the wrong attitude and crooked or duplicitous cannot approach His feet. In addition, just as the half moon is in the process of increasing, similarly the benefit for one who is day by day expanding the glorification of His feet in a spotless manner certainly increases.
19)Fish (Matsya) – This mark shows that just as a fish cannot without water, similarly, the surrendered devotees cannot live without directly associating with His feet. It also shows that all the most cherished desires and longings of these who resort to His feet will be truly fulfilled. It also means that the mind is very fickle, just like fish who wavers this way and that, and so only after much meditation do His feet finally come into the heart. It also indicates that His feet will come to live in one’s heart only if the heart has been liquefied by soft loving emotions; His feet do not thrive where it is dry. He also has this mark on his feet to indicate that He has conquered Cupid, thereby displaying Cupid’s flag of surrender on the soles of His feet. Moreover, it is a reminder that during the great universal devastation and flood, He assumed the form of Matsya, the fish-incarnation, and thereby saved His devotees.
(Sources : Skanda Purana, Matsya Purana, Garga Samhita)