The day when the legend of all the era’s took birth – ‘Krishna Janmashtami’, is a much awaited auspicious time of the year. This is the day when Lord Krishna decided to spend some time on earth and instill certain moral values of bhakti and karma among us fellows. This festival is also known by other names like Saatam Aatham, Gokulashtami, Ashtami Rohini or Srikrishna Jayanti.
Mid Night Moment = starts at 24:25
It is celebrated on the eighth day every year after the full moon of Shravana. It is believed that Lord Krishna took birth at midnight on the Ashtami, Krishna paksha in the Hindu month of Shravan (August-September).
Why Is Janmashtami Celebrated?
The tales from the ancient times say that Lord Krishna was born inside Mathura jail on a dark, windy and rainy night. He was the eighth son of Devaki and was predicted to be the destroyer of the demon king Kansa. As Kansa was aware of this prediction, he used to kill every new born baby of Devaki but unfortunately missed on the eighth baby. The moment Krishna was born, the doors of the jail opened on their own, and his father Vasudev carried the baby secretly to Gokul. On their way, they faced many hurdles like a deep sea and a huge snake. But, miracles happened and the baby reached safely to the cowherd’s family. Lord Krishna was exchanged him for a newborn girl who was taken back to Mathura. Vasudeva returns to the prison with the girl. When Kansa learns of the birth, he rushes to the prison to kill the child. But when he arrives, the infant ascends to the heavens and is transformed into the goddess Yogamaya. She tells Kamsa, “O foolish! What will you get by killing me? Your nemesis is already born somewhere else.”
Meanwhile, Krishna is raised as a cowherd, leading an idyllic childhood. As he matures, he becomes a skillful musician, wooing the women of his village with his flute-playing. Krishna took birth to represent the mankind’s aspiration to embody all that is divine.
How Is Janmashtami Celebrated?
On Janmashtami, a lot of devotees of Lord Krishna observe a fast for the whole day and night. The fast is broken on midnight where people prefer to have only milk and milk products as they were the favourite of Lord Krishna. Some also observe ‘Nirjala’ fast which involves fasting without having a single drop of water.
Chanting forms the main attraction on Janmashtami. If you must have observed, the hymns ans songs sung for Lord Krishna tend to be quite melodious and peaceful. Devotees indulge in continuous chanting all day long. They chant mantras and shlokas to please the lord. Chanting of 108 names of Lord Krishna is another ritual that takes place in various temples.
Songs and Dances
Song and dance mark the celebration of this festive occasion. At midnight, the statue of infant Krishna is bathed and placed in a cradle, which is rocked, amidst the blowing of conch shells and the ringing of bells. Raslilas or religious plays are performed to recreate incidents from the life of Krishna and to commemorate his love for Radha.
Maharashtra Specialty – Dahi Handi
People belonging to this region are hard core followers of Lord Krishna. The custom of Dahi Handi rules all the limelight. Thousands of people come out on the streets on Janmashtami to enact the “Dahi Handi ” (stealing of curd) episode from Krishna’s childhood. Large earthen pots with butter are kept at great heights in the middle of the roads, and pyramids of volunteers try to break the pots to win prizes.
The Birth Place Of Krishna – Mathura
In Mathura, the festival of Janmashtami is celebrated with great grandeur and devotion. The most popular and grand can be witnessed at the Dwarkadhish Temple where Krishna is given a ritualistic bath in milk and curd. Jhulanotsavas are held all over Mathura during the month of Shravana. The Ghatas and the temples are such elegantly and elaborately decorated that these exude splendor and magnificence all throughout the month. The city of Mathura can be seen immersed in prayers and sound of the conch and bells fill the air. Hordes of devotees gather in this holy city to welcome Lord Krishna. Innumerable delicacies such as Kheer, Laddoo and Butter are offered in elegant platters to please the god.
The Childhood rejoice – Dwarka
The town of Dwarka in Gujarat, Krishna’s own land, comes alive with major celebrations as hordes of visitors flock to the town. Janmashtami, the birthday of Shri Krishna, is celebrated with great splendor. Rows of lights are lit everywhere, kirtans and bhajans are sung, sermons are delivered and Krishna is worshipped in his infant form. Thousands of people go to Dwarka to visit the temple and participate in the fair. After visiting the main temple, devotees go to Shankhoddhar Beyt.
According to legend, Lord Krishna was very fond of milk and milk products like butter and buttermilk. He was also fond of Sweets like Kheer, Pedhas etc. Therefore devotees all over make sweets during the festival to please the Lord.
Interesting Facts On Janmashtami
- According to research or you can say unexplainable powers some of our ancestors claim that Krishna was born on 19th July 3228 B.C.E.
- The term Krishna in Sanskrit means ‘black’. As he had a dark skin tone.
- Lord Krishna was a cow boy and his family had a setup for cultivating dairy products.
- Lord Krishna is worshiped with Radhaji on this day as she is said to be his true love.
- Besides, some people also worship Shri Krishna’s brother Balaram as well as sister Subhadra on the day of Janmashtami.
- Mathura has around 400 temples dedicated to Nandgopal.
- Lord Krishna is known by around 108 names in the world.
- Raas Leela is the most famous dance performance of Lord Krishna that is still observed in India.