“Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya”
Shree Krishna Janmashtami is a joyful celebration to commemorate the appearance of Lord Krishna, “The Creator of all Universe”. Shree Krishna Janmashtami, the celebration of love, and divinity are one of the most revered religious festivals of Hindus all over the world.
Birth of Lord Shree Krishna
Shree Krishna Janmashtami celebrates the birth of Lord Shree Krishna who was born on the ‘Rohini’ nakshatra (star) on the eighth day also called “Ashtami” in the Hindu month of “Shraavana” or “Savana” more than 5,000 years ago in the 28th year of Dwapur Yug.
According to Barhapatyamana, the month of Shraavana corresponds to the month of Bhadrapada Krishna Paksha. Lord was born in the year of Visvavasu, appx. 5,227 years ago.
According to some scholars, Lord Shree Krishna was born on Wednesday, the eighth day of the second fortnight in Shraavana month in the year of Visvavasu around 3227 BC, also known as “Dwapur Yug”. July 19th 3228 BC to be more accurate. He lived for 125 years and disappeared on February 18th 3102 BC on the new moon night of Phalguna. His death was the onset of the current corrupt age known as “Kaliyuga”.
Thus, Janmashtami is generally celebrated in the Georgian month of August-September. Also, as per Hindu scriptures, Lord Shree Krishna was born on a dark, stormy, and windy night to end the rule and atrocities of his maternal uncle, “King Kansa”.
When is Krishna Janmashtami Celebrated
Krishna Janmashtami is celebrated for over two days as “Rohini” nakshatra and Ashtami may not fall on the same day. The first day known as Krishnashtami, as the birth of Bhagwan Krishna falls on the eighth day after Raksha Bandhan, which generally falls in the month of August. The second day is known as “Kalashtami”.
However, generally celebrations for Krishna Janmashtami also popularly known as “Gokul Ashtami “in North India, starts at midnight. It is believed that Lord Shree Krishna is said to have made his divine appearance in that hour.
Fasting, Bhajans, Pujas, and many other rituals mark the celebrations of Shree Krishna Janmashtami all over the world.
Lord Krishna’s “Universal Happiness Of All Forms Of Life”
Lord Krishna is considered to have a unique personality. He always reciprocates his devotees who show him love and devotion in an exceptional way.
Lord Shree Krishna is believed to be the manifestation of the most mischievous but the most adorable son, the most trustworthy friend, and the most passionate lover.
From the time, Mother Devki conceived Shree Krishna, she began to glow and exude divine light. The prison walls glowed with the aura of the newborn infant. The atmosphere of peace and happiness prevailed all over, Forests were all green and full of trees with all kinds of beautiful flowers, rivers were all swollen due to joy, peacocks began to dance in sheer joy, and people in all villages started being happy.
Why Lord Shree Krishna took Birth on Earth
As Per Bhagwad Geeta, when the earth is full of Evil, Lord will come to earth to clean it up.
Lord Shree Krishna’s birth was to free Mother Earth from the wickedness of demons. Lord played an important part in Mahabharata. the legendary battle in Kurukshetra and narrated “Bhagwad Geeta“ to his disciple and friend Arjuna which propagated the theory of bhakti, Yog, and good karma.
As per Hindu scriptures, the people of Mathura were extremely unhappy with the wicked king Kansa who put his father, king Ugrasen in prison and declared himself the king of Mathura. It was to put an end to his evil ways and other demons that Lord Vishnu decided to take birth on Earth in human form. According to Akash Vani (heavenly voice) at the wedding of his beloved sister Devki, Kansa got to know that the eighth child of his sister will take birth to kill him. So, in turn, he rushed to kill his sister. Kansa gave up the idea of killing after being assured by Vasudev that he will hand over all his children to him. He put them in Prison. Kansa killed all the six infants as soon as they were born. The seventh child (Balram) was saved due to divine intervention when he was transferred from Devaki’s s womb to that of Rohini’s, another wife of Vasudeva.
How Lord Shree Krishna was born?
Lord Shree Krishna was born in a prison cell in the captivity of King Kansa. He took birth in divine form with lotus-like eyes, his palms bearing the signs of a lotus and discus. He had a swastika sign on his sole. Lord wore a yellow-colored silk cloth, adorned with precious diamond earrings and a crown made of emeralds.
Soon after the birth, a chain of events astonished Father Vasudev, when he saw the gates of the cell flow open and all the guards fast asleep. He immediately thought of Nand, his close friend in Gokul, and decided to hand over his child to him in order to save him from the clutch of Kansa.
The night of birth was witnessed by heavy rains which led to River Yamuna being in flood. As soon as the feet of the Lord were immersed in the river, the flow became normal and the Yamuna made way for the Lord. Sheshnag, the serpent formed an umbrella to save the newborn baby from rain.
Father Vasudev kept his child next to fast asleep Yashoda and took the baby girl lying with him back to Mathura. The baby girl is believed to be the sister of Lord Vishnu.
On hearing the news of the birth of the eighth child of Devki and Vasudev, King Kansa rushed to the prison cell and lifted the baby girl to kill her despite pleadings from Devki. However, instead of hitting the stone, the child flew up in the air and announced that the annihilator of Kansa was born and in safe hands.
Lord Shree Krishna later grew up in Gokul and finally killed his maternal uncle, King Kansa.
How is Krishna Janmashtami Celebrated?
Devotees celebrate the birth of Lord Krishan in a very harmonious and divine manner.
- During the preceding eight days, Japa of “Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya” is done intensely.
- Those who can recite the Bhagavatam during this period. Others will listen to it being recited.
- On the birthday itself everyone fasts and spends the whole day in holy communion.
- Everyone greets others with the holy Mantra, “Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya”.
- A grand havan is performed on that day.
- There is continuous Satsang from 4 A.M. early in the morning till night. Yogis, Sannyasins, and learned men discourse upon the glorious life and teachings of the Lord.
- From sunset, people assemble in the elaborately decorated temple and sing the Lord’s Names and glories.
- Many hymns and portions of the Bhagavatam, especially the Gopika Geetam, are recited.
- The celebration reaches its peak at midnight, with the birth of Lord Krishna, with a lot of hymns, arti taking place, and blowing of the Conch (shankh), rocking the cradle of the Lord. The idol of the lord is bathed with Panchamrit (A mixture of milk, ghee, oil, honey, and Gangajal) while his Name is chanted 108 times. The Panchamrit is later distributed as Prasad to the devotees along with other sweets. While some Fast on the first day and break it at midnight for others the fasting continues for both days. The period coincides with the rainy season.
- This worship concludes with offerings of flowers, waving of lights (Arati), and reading of that portion of the Bhagavatam which deals with the birth of Krishna. This synchronizes with midnight, the hour of the Lord’s birth, at which time the murti of the Lord is rocked in a beautifully decorated cradle. After this item, all the assembled devotees partake of the holy prasad or sacrament and then retire, filled with the Grace and blessings of Lord Krishna.
Learned people often advise that if one can’t read the whole of the “Shrimad Bhagavatam”, at least the person should recite the following four most important verses from the book. The leading two verses and the closing verses are the prologues and the epilogue respectively:
“Hear from Me the most secret knowledge coupled with the essential experience and its component parts”.
“May you realize by My Grace, the knowledge of Myself and what form, qualities, and actions I am endowed with”.
“Before creation, I alone existed. There was nothing, neither existence nor non-existence. I am that which remains after dissolution”.
“Understand that to be Maya or illusion which is devoid of any purpose, which is not to be found in the Self and which is unreal like light and darkness”.
“As the primary elements are amalgamated, with one another and also separate from one another at the same time, so I pervade the whole universe and am also separate from it”.
“The aspirant should, by the method of positive and negative, know that thing which exists always and everywhere”.
“Experience this truth through the highest superconscious state so that you will not be disturbed even by illusory objects”.
There is another beautiful verse in the Bhagavatam which you can recite daily:
“In days of yore, the Lord, born of Devaki, brought up in the house of Yashoda, killed the wicked Putana of illusive form and lifted the Govardhan hill, killed Kamsa and the sons of the Kuru race, and protected the sons of Kunti. Thus, is recited the essence of the ancient Bhagavat Purana consisting of the nectarine stories of the deeds of Lord Krishna”.
Delicacies During the Krishna Janmashtami Celebrations
Some Hindus simply don’t go to sleep during the celebrations and instead sing bhajans, traditional Hindu songs. Food is a key ingredient for Janmashtami. Shree Krishna is thought to have favored milk and curds, so meals are prepared from these ingredients. However, devotees also choose to fast all day and night for the first day of Shree Krishna Janmashtami, breaking the fast at midnight.
Song, dance, and drama are essential to lively and colorful celebrations. Plays are carried out by re-enacting scenes from Krishna’s early life. In temples, images of Krishna are bathed and placed in cradles, whilst the shankh (conch shell) is blown and bells are rung. Holy mantras are also chanted to venerate him.
Another striking tradition is the “Human Pyramid”, a young boy, who stands right at the top, is elevated by the crowd to reach a clay pot. The pot, known as a handi, is filled with buttermilk (dahi). When the boy reaches the top of the pyramid, he smashes the pot, and the buttermilk spills.
Shree Krishna Janmashtami in Other Parts of India
Although the northern city of Mathura is famous for the splendid Shree Krishna Janmashtami, it is celebrated with equal joy in other parts of India too.
In South India, during Shree Krishna Janmashtami, the houses are beautifully decorated by women. Various sweet meals are prepared and offered to the Lord. Butter, one of the favorite dishes of Lord Krishna is offered to please him in almost every house. The entire house right from the door to the temple is marked with the footprints of a child. A mixture of water and flour is used to make footprints. This custom creates a feeling of joy among the people as they feel Lord himself has blessed them by entering their homes. The day is marked by the ritual of chanting of the holy Bhagavatam, accompanied by the singing of devotional songs and dances.
The central state of Gujarat also witnesses a very peculiar as well as an interesting ritual by the womenfolk during Janmashtami. Women give up all the household chores like cooking and cleaning etc. to celebrate with friends. This is an age-old tradition. And, according to sociologists, this custom may have begun as a pass-time for women in the joint family system who are fasting all day long,
Krishna Janmashtami Celebrations Around the World
Krishna Janmashtami is not only celebrated all over India, where each region has its own way of marking the special occasion but it is equally celebrated all over the world.
Heading into South-East Asia is the city-state of Singapore. Here a large Hindu community means that Diwali is a public holiday. And while Janmashtami may not be a holiday, it still finds plenty of festivities marking the occasion. Religious processions with “Hare Krishna” chanting take place on Serangoon Road, a street that stretches from Little India to Kallang. A colorful celebration at Shree Lakshmi Narayan Temple in the Little India district.
Shree Krishna Janmashtami celebrations are seen in many temples in Moscow and St. Peterburg. Devotees all over Russia come together to celebrate the birth of Lord Krishna. Devotees from Moldova, Belarus, Ukraine, and Georgia also travel to these cities to commentate on the birth of the Supreme Godhead.
In the UK, one of the biggest celebrations for Shree Krishna Janmashtami is held in London and also at Manor Hertfordshire. Hundreds of Thousands of plates of prasad, a sacred vegetarian food, are given to visiting pilgrims. This Manor Hertfordshire, the country house was donated to the Hare-Krishna movement by George Harrison, lead guitarist, songwriter, and singer of The Beatles.
The international reach of Shree Krishna Janmashtami can be seen even far across the Pacific Ocean, as devotees celebrate it with great enthusiasm. In Fiji, the festival is called ‘Krishna Ashtami’, and celebrations are spread over a week, with the eighth and last day being celebrated on Lord Krishna’s birthday. During these eight days, the Hindus in Fiji gather at temples or at their homes to immerse themselves in prayers. The devotional groups celebrate by singing songs, dancing, and reciting prayers.
Krishna Janmashtami celebrations are also held in the Himalayan country of Nepal, one of the Hindu majority countries in the Indian subcontinent. Celebrations here are held at the famous Krishna temple located at Patan Durbar Square where devotees offer flowers, food, and coins to Lord Krishna.
Shree Krishna Janmashtami celebrations are held in New York and those parts of the US that also have sizeable Hindu communities, such as New Jersey, Florida, Texas, California, and Massachusetts. Activities include traditional Hindu worship services, a costume contest for children and ecstatic kirtans (sacred chants), and a vegetarian feast.
Krishna Janmashtami is a special festival for the people living there. Amid the ongoing Hindu genocide, Hindus come together for the major celebrations which took place in the main Hindu temple of the country, Dhakeshwari Temple in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh.
Although Pakistani Hindus always live under the fear of persecution and conversion, they come together to celebrate the Krishna Janmashtami festival at Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Karachi with bhajans and sermons on Krishna.
In countries like Malaysia, Canada, and New Zealand, where there is a large community of Hindus, Janmashtami is celebrated with great pomp and show.
The day is marked with great fanfare and fervor in Poland and there is a unique temple in the Macau peninsula where celebrations are held.
There is no true science except devotion to Lord Krishna. That man is wealthy indeed and loves Radha and Krishna. Shree Krishna is the ocean of bliss. Devotion is the only means of attaining Lord Krishna. Bhakti kindles love for the Lord. When love is directed towards Krishna, man is freed from the bondage of the world, And Krishna Janmashtami, the birthday of Lord Shree Krishna is the best day to embark on this journey.
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