The following "Janmastami article" was published in the Hindustan Times on August 26, 2005:
Janmashtami: Who is Krishna?
HERE'S A Janmashtami question. Can God manifest mortal characteristics or is he always super-human? According to the Bhagavata, God is Krishna, who sometimes cries, displays genuine fear and is a naughty child.
These are some of the activities of the supreme Godhead that are sometimes overlooked. Janmashtami is a time for merriment, so we tend to ignore its deeper theological significance. And many who know Krishna's stories, take them to be fairy tales.
When Yashoda caught little Krishna stealing butter and feeding it to monkeys, she threatened to beat him up. At this point, the scared chlid cried real tears. When his playmates entered the mouth of Aghasura, Krishna followed them into the great snake's belly because he couldn't bear to be separated from their company.
Krishna had to kill the demon and yet save his friends. This was a difficult task. But after entering the snake, Krishna expanded his body and killed Aghasura. All his playmates were also saved.
A doubt naturally arises, "Why would the supreme controller let the boys enter Aghasura's mouth in the fIrst place?" The Bhagavat's answer is that the boys had ascertained the peril of entering the snake's mouth but had decided, "Krishna will save us." - even if it meant literally rescuing them from the jaws of death.
Krishna's mortal characteristics, even when contemplated, tend not to be thought of as the province of an all-knowing, ever-present, all-powerful godhead. This is one of the inner meanings of Janmashtami.