Krishna Janmashtami or Gokulashtami is a Hindu festival that celebrates the ‘Birth of Krishna’. Krishna is a major diety in Hinduism, worshipped as eighth avatar of Lord Vishnu.
Krishna, he is the God of Compassion, Protection, Tenderness and Love. He is the main character in Mahabharata and Bhagavata Purana. In the Hindu Mythological texts they portray Krishna as a God-child in infancy eating butter, young boy playing flute, a great lover with Radha or surrounded by women devotees.. and then a friendly charioteer, a divine hero giving counsel to Arjuna in Kurukshetra.
Krishna is referred by many names. .some of the common names are Vaasudeva, Mohana, Muralidhara, Gopala, Jagannatha and many more. The honorary title “Sri” (also spelled “Shri”) is often used before the name of Krishna.
Lord Krishna’s life marks the passing of the Dwapara Yuga and beginning of the Kali yuga (which is also considered as the current era).
Here is a shloka from Bhagavad Gita.
“Yada yada hi dharmasya glanirbhavati bharata
Abhythanamadharmasya tadatmanam srijamyaham
Paritranaya sadhunang vinashaya cha dushkritam
Dharmasamsthapanarthaya sambhabami yuge yuge“
Whenever there is decay of righteousness, O Bharata,
And there is exaltation of unrighteousness, then I Myself come forth
For the protection of the good, for the destruction of evil-doers
For the sake of firmly establishing righteousness, I am born from age to age.
Lord Krishna is the 8th incarnation of Vishnu, the protector of the Universe. The reason for his incarnation was to destroy the sins and establish ‘Dharma’ (righteousness) in the world.
According to the tale, Krishna was born in the Yadava clan of Mathura to Queen Devaki and her husband, King Vasudeva. The occasion is observed especially in Mathura and Vrindavan, the scenes of Krishna’s childhood and early youth. On the preceding day, devotees keep a vigil and fast until midnight, the traditional hour of his birth. Then Krishna is bathed in water and milk, dressed in new clothes, and worshipped.
Krishna is born in an area of chaos. It’s a time when persecution was rampant, freedoms were denied, evil was everywhere, and when there was a threat to his life by his uncle King Kansa. Immediately following the birth at Mathura, his father Vasudeva takes Krishna across the Yamuna river, to foster parents in Gokul, named Nanda and Yashoda. This legend is celebrated on Janmashtami by people keeping fast, singing devotional songs of Krishna, and keeping a vigil into the night.
How Janmashtami is Celebrated?
After Krishna’s midnight hour birth, statues of baby Krishna are washed and clothed, then placed in a cradle. The devotees then break their fast, by sharing food and sweets. Krishna Janmashtami or Gokulashtami is celebrated in many ways in our country according to their culture and tradition. In Tamilnadu, people decorate the floor with rangoli’s (kolams) also draw small foot prints from the entrance to Pooja room. That depicts as little Krishna entered into our house.
In Maharashtra, ‘Dahi Handi’ is played which involves the making of human pyramid and breaking the pot filled with curd. This is based on the belief that Krishna and his friends always went to everyones house and stole butter, curd which was hung out of reach.
In Karnataka have a tradition of performing the divine play called Rasleela, locally named as Vittal Pindi, which Krishna had performed with Radha and other Gopis of Vrindavan. Huli Vesha dancers perform attractive dances to add more charm to the festive celebrations. Add to that, the local boys gang up to form a human pyramid in order to break the dahi handi.
Prasadam or Naivedyam offered to Lord Krishna:
Krishna also known by the name ‘Makhan Chor’ (the one who steals butter). He loves butter, curd, milk, poha. Also many sweets and savouries are offered to the lord. Some recipes you can check out in my blog are:
One of the my recent favourites in Bhakti songs of Krishna is
Achyutam Keshavam Krishna Damodaram,
Ram Narayanam Janaki Vallabham,
Achyutam Keshavam Krishna Damodaram,
Ram Narayanam Janaki Vallabham
Why Lord Krishna is depicted in blue ?
The name “Krishna” originates from the Sanskrit word Kṛṣṇa, which is primarily an adjective meaning “black”, “dark”, “dark blue” or “the all attractive”. The waning moon phase is also called Krishna Paksha, relating to the adjective meaning “darkening”.
Lord Krishna is an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, emblematic of internal strength, calmness and serenity. As per ancient scriptures, when the demon Putana tried to kill young Krishna with her poisoned milk. Krishna didn’t die, instead his skin became blue.
Interesting story behind Krishna’s Birth:
Krishna Janmashtami or Gokulashtami is celebrated every year on the eighth day of the Krishna Paksha or a dark fortnight in the month of Bhadrapada according to the Hindu calendar.
Before starting the story do you know why is it celebrated on the eight-day or Ashtami? It is believed that Krishna is the eighth child of his mother, Devaki so, Krishna Janmashtami is celebrated on the eighth day.
According to Hindu mythology, the evil king Kansa ruled Mathura. To extend his empire, his sister gets married with Vasudeva, the Yadu king. After the marriage, Kansa decided to shower the newlyweds with lavish gifts because he wanted to gain the trust of Vasudeva. But heaven has another plan for them. When he takes the reins of the nuptial chariot, a voice from heaven booms that his evil ways will come to an end by his sister’s child.
After knowing about his prophecy, Kansa kept his sister and her husband Vasudeva in a prison. Actually, Kansa wanted to kill Devaki but Vasudeva promised him that he will give all his children in the hands of Kansa if he would spare Devaki’s life.
Kansa agreed and one by one he killed all the six children who were born to the couple. For the 7th time when Devaki got pregnant interesting things started happening. Through divine intervention, the seventh child of Devaki is transferred from her womb to the womb of Rohini, Vasudeva’s first wife, and in this way, Devaki’s and Vasudeva’s seventh child was safely born.
When Devaki was pregnant again, Kansa again was anxious to kill the couple’s child but God’s wish was different. Krishna was in fact the eighth child of Devaki and also an avatar of Lord Vishnu.
However, on the night of Krishna’s birth, as soon as Krishna was born, a bright light filled the prison and Vasudeva was woken up by a divine voice that guided him to take Krishna across the Yamuna and leave him with his dear friend Nandraja, the head of the Gopa tribe. Nandraja and his wife Yashoda had also given birth to a baby girl that night, so Vasudeva secretly carried baby Krishna across the Yamuna river, which was no longer in its calm state, but instead was raging as if it were the ocean. Just then Lord Vishnu’s Shesh Naag, the giant multi-headed snake came and helped Vasudeva carry Krishna safely across the river. Vasudeva went to Nandraja’s house and exchanged the babies.
Why we always call as RadhaKrishna?
‘RadhaKrishna’ is a romantic relationship, symbolises the soul seeking divine love. Although Radha’s story is blurred in most of the hindu texts. Radha appeared on earth 5000 years ago. The special day is known as Radha Ashtami. Celebrated 15 days after the Krishna Janmashtami.
Radha is said to be an avatar of Goddess Lakshmi. Among all the Gopi’s in Vrindavan, Radha was Krishna’s favourite. She was the daughter of cowherd Vrishabhanu and Kamalavati of Barsana.
Radha loved Krishna deeply and was very devoted to him. When Krishna left for Mathura and later became King of Dwaraka, Radha earnestly waited for his return. Krishna had told Radha that her name would always be taken before his name. That is why always we say it as ‘RadhaKrishna‘ and never Krishna Radha. The devotional and unconditional love of Radha for Krishna can be seen as the symbol highest form of divine love.
Vasudeva Sutam Devam Kansa Chanura Mardanam।
Devaki Paramanandam Krishnam Vande Jagadgurum ||
May Lord Krishna brings happiness, love, laughter to your family. Happy Janmashtami to Everyone.
How do you celebrate Krishna Janmashtami? Leave your views in the comments below.