Depicting majestic religious fervour, Krishna Janamashtami is a Hindu festive event celebrating the birth of the mystic God Krishna - the eighth avatar of Lord Vishnu. This festival falls on Ashtami, the eighth day of the Krishna Paksha as per the Hindu lunar calendar in the month of Shravana.
Lord Krishna holds very significant importance in Hinduism. Considered as the supreme god, he is revered as a being full of compassion and love. There are innumerable stories, folklores and anecdotes which depict Krishna as a supreme being throughout his childhood to prime days of vigour. Our vast culture portrays this magical being in various aspects of these stories.
Sometimes he is a prankster, sometimes he is a lover, sometimes he is a ferocious king, sometimes a guru and mentor. These various shades of his character arc are what makes him a brilliantly compelling man - a man we can worship and love at the same time.
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Lord Krishna was born in a time when chaos was everywhere around. Freedom was denied to the people. It was a time of evil. Mother earth was unable to handle the burden of sins which were committed by innumerable rulers and kings. So, the earth went to Brahma to appeal for her safety and peaceful continuation of life.
Brahma, who is known as the creator of the world turned to the Supreme God Lord Vishnu for his help. He assured Brahma that soon he will be born on Earth to get rid of all the evils.
Then, it was on the day of Devaki’s and Vasudeva’s marriage that a godly voice echoed through the sky prophesying that the eighth son from their marriage would be the cause of Kamsa’s annihilation and will eventually end all the tyranny on Earth. Thus, Kamsa had to ensure that none of their children lives. But he failed and eventually was killed by their eighth son - Lord Krishna.
It has been seen that mythological and historical records of a synonymous being like Krishna are found and can be traced to 1st millennium BCE. He has also been worshipped as the Svayam Bhagavan. All these sub-traditions depicting Krishna in various lights arose during the medieval era of the Bhakti movement.
Did you know that Krishna is the source of inspiration for various performance arts such as Bharatnatyam, Kathakali, Odissi, Manipuri dance?
The psychedelic charm of Krishna is somewhat more observed in locations like Vrindavan, Jagannath, Odisha, Dwarka and Junagadh in Gujarat. Furthermore, he has been given many names such as Madhusudan, Navnitachora, Parthasarathi, Madhava, Yadhunandana, Nandalal, Radhaavallabha, Yogeshwara, Govinda and there are many more.
Yes, it has been said that there are around 108 names from which Lord Krishna are known and revered in various places and traditions. And it was since somewhere from the 1960s that the worship of Krishna has reached out and encompassed the western world as well. This has become possible mainly owing to the efforts of ISKCON - International Society for Krishna Consciousness.
On the day of Krishna Janamashtami, people indulge in fasting, praying, singing and sharing sweets with each other. The whole environment depicts bliss, celebrations and enthusiasm. People also participate in night vigils (jagarans) in relishing in the bhakti of their lord.
In many temples, Krishna Lilas are organized depicting the life of Lord Krishna. People come to watch it and experience the way of Krishna. Specifically for this, the temples are decorated with great zeal. There are processions, bhajans, kirtan and Satsang which is organized at many places to celebrate the birth of the eighth avatar of Vishnu.
In India, great importance has been given to each and every festival. The reason for this is that our festivals essentially depict who we are as a culture and people. And a civilization, dating back to thousands of years it is only right that we have our traditional dresses for honouring the occasion of every festival. For Janamashtami as well people dress in their best ethnic attires. These mainly consist of Kurta and Pyjama for boys and lehnga-choli or ethnic suits for girls. However, boys and girls who participate in the plays dress themselves up as Krishna and Radha. No need to mention that they look delightfully cute in them.
Krishna Janamashtami is celebrated with great fervour and there are many delightful delicacies prepared on this occasion such as Malai Peda, Makhan Misri & Panjeeri, Shrikhand, Seedai, Murukku, Thatai & Vella Aval etc.
The festival of Janamashtami is celebrated mainly in Mathura and Vrindavan. However, it is a PAN-India festival and is celebrated all over the country - Assam, Manipur, West Bengal, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and many other parts of India as well.
24 August 2019
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