Krishna Janmashtami or Janmashtami commemorates the birth of Lord Krishna and it is celebrated on the eighth day (ashtami) of the dark fortnight of the month of Bhadrapada. If we dive deep into the significance of Janmashtami festival, then it can be inferred that the number 8 holds its unique thrust as, Lord Krishna is the eighth son of his mother Devaki. Shri Krishna Janmashtami is one of the most consequential religious festivals in India and hence, the manifestation of righteousness in the form of Lord Krishna is celebrated on the day of Gokulashtami. 14th of August is the Janmashtami 2017 date and in India, Janmashtami celebration can be witnessed in vivid patterns. In order to unshackle our planet Earth from the clutches of evilness, Lord Krishna took birth as the 8th incarnation of Lord Vishnu in the city of Mathura. The occasion of Krishna Jayanthi is observed particularly in Mathura and Vrindavan. Since, Lord Krishna was born at midnight therefore, the Sri Krishna Janmashtami is celebrated for two days. The first day is referred to as Krishnashtami and the second day is marked as Kalashtami.
According to Hindu religious texts, there are two communities namely Vaishnavas and Smarthas. Both, the Vaishnavas and the Smarthas community hold different beliefs as far as the celebration of this festival is concerned. Talking about Vaishnavas, they celebrate the festival on the second day.
|SMARTHAS||14th August, 2017|
|VAISHNAVAS||15th August, 2017|
Janmashtami, being one of the most popular Hindu festival , exemplifies the birth of Lord Krishna, which ponders to a time when the tyrant ruler Kansa was the King of Mathura. Mathura, the birthplace of Lord Krishna was once ruled by King Ugrasena. King Ugrasen was a liberal ruler and had two children; son Kansa and daughter Devaki. Because of his cruel and wicked nature Kansa forcefully became the king of Mathura by putting his father behind the bars. Although, Kansa was callous in nature but he had tremendous love for his sister Devaki. King Kansa got his sister married to Vasudev, who was one of the superior officers in his army. However, as a heavenly prediction, Kansa came to know that the eighth child of Devaki will take birth to kill Kansa. On getting apprised with this prediction, Kansa decided to kill his sister Devaki. Vasudev beseeched King Kansa to spare Devaki’s life. Kansa agreed to Vasudev’s pleadings on a word that they would hand over their children to him in order to kill them. King Kansa ordered to keep Devaki and Vasudev in the dungeons. Kansa was successful in killing the first six babies of Devaki and Vasudev. But through divine intervention, the seventh child got transferred from Devaki’s womb to Rohini’s womb; Rohini being the other wife of Vasudev. Kansa was in a misconception that Devaki had a miscarriage. The seventh child born was the elder brother of Lord Krishna, Balram.
If we ponder over the birth of Lord Krishna , then it can be deduced that it was a miracle followed by a series of dramatic events. The soldiers who were appointed in the dungeons to keep a watch at Devaki and Vasudev fell asleep and the gates of the dungeons got opened. Vasudev decided to hand over the child safely to his friend Nand in Gokul. At that time, it was raining heavily, so the river was in spate due to excessive rainfall. Vasudev had a fear that if he himself would try to cross the river in such situation, then he would drown along with the child. But as soon as the feet of the child touched the water of the river, the flow of the river became normal and Vasudev was able to cross the river easily. He came to know that his child is not an ordinary one, but a divine power. Vasudev returned with a girl child after handing over his child to his friend Nand in Gokul and no one came to know about it. On getting notified about the eighth child, Kansa rushed to the dungeon to kill the baby girl. As soon as Kansa was about to kill the baby girl, she vanished in the air and addressed Kansa that his vanquisher has already taken birth. The girl was none other than the divine illusion. Thus, the eighth child grew up as Yashoda and Nand’s son i.e. Lord Krishna and it was him who became the slayer of Kansa.
Janmashtami Puja Vidhi
Janmashtami celebration begins with the fast and Ashtami Puja. Following are the steps of Puja Vidhi on the day of Janmashtami:
- On the day of observing the fast, wake up early in the morning followed by bath.
- Facing East or North direction, all the deities should be reverenced.
- You need to take a sankalp of the fast keeping holy water, flowers and fruits in your hands.
- After mixing the water with black sesame, sprinkle the water over yourself and make a labor room for Devaki Ji.
- A baby bed or cradle and a kalash should be placed in the labor room.
- Moreover, place a picture or an idol of Devaki feeding milk to Lord Krishna.
- Then, puja is performed chanting the names of Devaki, Vasudev, Yashoda, Nand and Goddess Lakshmi.
- The fast observed by the devotees is concluded after the midnight. One can only have fruits in this fast and sweets made of condensed milk.
The festival of Dahi Handi is observed on the second day of Janmashtami and Mumbai is one such city which witnesses Dahi Handi with great enthusiasm. Human pyramids are made by the professionals and they compete to break the clay pots which are tied to a rope at a significant height. The clay pots consist of butter, curd and money. This Dahi Handi tradition sheds light at the time when Lord Krishna used to break the butter pots hung up in the houses. Thus, this Dahi Handi festival exemplifies the pranks and mischiefs that were played by Lord Krishna.
The festival of Janmashtami has a significance of its own. According to Bhagavad Gita, Lord Vishnu said that whenever evil would prevail in the society, he will incarnate on earth to quash all the evil spirits from this world. The primary significance of Janmashtami is to revitalize righteousness in the society by curbing the malevolent aspects of life. Thus, the festival of Janmashtami typifies trust, belief and the feeling of oneness.