Shri Krishna Janmashtami
Shri Krishna Janmashtami, or Sri Krishna Jayanti, celebrates the birthday of Lord Krishna. In 2011, the date of Sri Krishna Jayanti in North India is August 22. In some parts of South India and in some parts of western India it is on August 21. It is observed as Dahi Handi in Maharashtra, the formation of the huge human pyramids to break the pot hung high up. The festival is also known as Gokulashtami and Krishnashtami.
Shri Krishna is today one of the most widely revered and most popular of all Hindu Gods. He is worshipped as the eighth incarnation or avatar of Lord Vishnu. Krishna is also worshipped as a supreme god in his own right by numerous sects around the world.
Krishna took birth at midnight on the ashtami or the 8th day of the Krishnapaksha or dark fortnight in the Hindu month of Shravan (August-September). This auspicious day is called Janmashtami. Indian as well as Western scholars have now accepted the period between 3200 and 3100 BC as the period in which Lord Krishna lived on earth.
History of Janmashtami
When the Gods could no longer bear the treacherous impact of Kans’ (the cruel king of Mathura) tyranny they decided to teach him a lesson. In a dream Kans was told that his evil reign and life would be bought to an end by his sister Devaki’s son. Fear grips him and made him imprisoned Devaki and her husband so that he could kill all the sons born to Devaki. It was during her detention that Devaki bore six sons but, none could be spared from the treacherous clutches of Kans. However, on the birth of her seventh son i.e. Lord Krishna, Devaki managed to find a way out of the prison with the child. Eventually, Lord Krishna kills Kans and saves Mathura from the control of the wicked King.
Since Mathura is the birthplace of Lord Krishna, people from all over come to this pious place to celebrate Janmashtami. Preparation for this great day starts months ahead. On this day the temples and homes are decorated and illuminated to bring in the desired essence of the joyous occasion. The Lord’s idol is bathed and then rocked in a decorated cradle by all the devotees. This is considered to be a good omen. Devotees of Lord Krishna usually fast the whole day and break their fast at midnight. That was the time when Lord Krishna is supposed to have taken his birth. Songs and hymns are chanted in merriment and they are accompanied by dance and dramas. Since Lord Krishna was an ardent lover of sweet and milk made products, devotees prepared sweets like singhare ki poori, pedha, gulabjamun, shrikhand, doodhachi kheer, gopalkala and celebrate the occasion with great spirit.
Krishna’s birth is celebrated all over the country with great devotion and enthusiasm. Temples are decorated and illuminated for the occasion. The image of infant Krishna is bathed at midnight and is placed in a cradle, amidst the blowing of conch shells and the ringing of bells. Devotional songs and dances mark the celebration of this festive occasion. On this day, devotees fast till midnight and they break their fast only after they have rocked an idol of baby Krishna in a flower-bedecked cradle.
Lord Krishna has played many legendary roles during his appearance in the world. He was Arjuna’s charioteer. He was a master musician. The music of his flute thrilled the hearts of the Gopis and everyone else. He was a cowherd in Brindavan and Gokul. He exhibited miraculous powers even as a child. He killed many Demons. He revealed his cosmic form to his mother Yashoda. He performed Rasa Lila. He taught the supreme Truth of Yoga Bhakti and Vedanta to Arjuna and Uddhava. He had mastered every one of the sixty four fine arts. For all these reasons he is regarded as a complete manifestation of God. To the Hindus, he is the supreme statesman, warrior, hero, philosopher, teacher and God himself.
View More On Below Link also: