In both ears he wears “makara-kundala.” Kundala just means “earring.” Makara means “Capricorn.” What is a Capricorn? A “mythological” creature most akin to a sea-dragon which is a blend of crocodile and dolphin. It has the fearsome power of a Crocodile’s unyielding bite, but the timid intelligence and grace of a dolphin in its long tail. It is something like a “shark” but much grander and exotic.
Krishna wears this creature as his earrings. Lord Shiva also wears one of them on his ear. And the goddess of the river ganges rides upon a makara as her steed.
In ancient Indian culture males wear many ornaments, like females. But male ornamentation is, sort of like men themselves, very connected to status. Women wear earrings and such to enhance their natural beauty. Men wear them to display their power and accomplishments.
In ancient Indian culture, the Capricorn Earring is the symbol of extreme accomplishment in education. The dolphin tail is the most intelligent and sensitive creature – and its combination with a crocodile’s mouth gives it the manly power to put its intellect into action with unstoppable power.
The Goddess of the river Ganges, Ganga-Maataa, has a Capricorn for her steed because she is a powerful river, powerful like a crocodile, yet is wise and learned and intelligent like the dolphin.
The God Shiva wears one Capricorn earring to show his intellectual understanding of the entire complexity of the universe (dolphin) yet his power to destroy it all (crocodile) – as is his task every several trillion years.
Krishna is the original form of Godhead. This is not a sectarian boast but a philosophical truism: The ultimate meaning of life is happiness (we all intuitively know this from the depths of our bones to the fringes of our skin). Krishna is the form of Godhead who, with his co-manifestation as Goddess Radha, manifests the happiness and joy of life to the deepest infinite extremes. Thus it is simply an ontological observation that Radha-Krishna is the ultimate and original form of life, Godhead.
When Krishna wears Capricorn earrings it displays his erudition and accomplishments in the arts. In ancient India arts included the musical, visual, dance, theatrical dimensions we are accustomed to today, as well as arts in the subject of flirtation, romance and lovemaking. All these arts are imperitive to the full enjoyment of life, therefore the Godhead Krishna – who most deeply manifests the bliss of existence – is the most learned in all of these arts. This is what his Capricorn earrings signify.
The Bhagavata Purana, in the 65th verse of the 24th poem in its 9th book, says:
nityotsavaḿ na tatṛpur dṛśibhiḥ pibantyo
nāryo narāś ca muditāḥ kupitā nimeś ca
Beautiful ears adorned with Capricorn earrings.
Brilliantly opulent decorations upon his forehead
And most beautiful of all: the enjoyable smiles decorating his mouth
To see his face is to celebrate an endless festival
But because that vision is interrupted by eyelids when we blink
We think the Creator of our eyes to be an idiot!
The swinging of Krishna’s earrings attracts to him all of us, souls who deeply year for our natural “birthright” of pure love and joy. The dolphin tail of the Capricorn causes the earrings to dance delightfully – but the crocodile bite of the Capricorn sinks its teeth into our consciousness and never lets go. To look upon the Capricorn earrings of Godhead is thus to become lost forever to a world of pure happiness.
– Vic DiCara