KRISHNA JANMASHTAMI

A Hindu Deity who has left behind tales of being a notorious prankster, spell bounding flute player, enchanting lover, a great leader and well renowned teacher, all put together in one, is unmistakably Lord Krishna. With such a multi-faceted persona, He is remarkably one of the most colorful and vibrant incarnations. To mark the birth of this eight avatar of Vishnu, The whole country comes together to joyously celebrate the annual festival popularly known as Krishna Janmashtami. In accordance to Hindu calendar, this festival is celebrated on every 8th Day of Krishnapaksha in the month of Sharavana, which for this year falls on September 5th, 2015.
 
The slayer of evil was born
According to Hindu mythology, it’s been said that whenever the evilness in world outgrows, an avatar would be born to vanquish it. Krishna is the eight avatar of Lord Vishnu, whose life was dedicated towards the same cause.
 
Northern Province of India had an evil prince, Kamsa who grabbed the throne imprisoning his own father. Wicked as his nature, His ruling was harsh and torturous for kingdom people. His deeds became so heinous that one day, a celestial voice made a prophecy that his sister, Devaki’s eighth son would be his slayer. Horrified with such forecast, He attempted to kill his sister to uproot the threat at once. But her husband, Vasudev pleaded for her life and in return offered to hand over all their newborns to Kamsa, immediately after birth. Vasudev and Devaki were then imprisoned, for all their infants to be slaughtered by Kamsa one by one. Witnessing such fate of their infants, Vasudev and Devaki were heartbroken.
 
It was the eighth child whom Kamsa had feared throughout. So, the night Devaki was about to deliver the eight child, Kamsa tightened the security in prison and arranged for child’s immediate slaughter. Though a stormy night, the nature was singing its own song and had come together to welcome the birth of this avatar. As soon as Krishna was born, the guards of the prison fell asleep and the prison doors opened by itself. To transport the child into safety, Vasudev crossed River Yamuna, which cleared and made way by itself for him to walk through. The river was abode of a fearsome five headed serpent, Sheshanaga which sheltered the baby Krishna, from gushing rain, with its hood. This describes that Lord Krishna was cradled in the arms of nature itself.
On the other side of the river Yamuna, was town Gokula. There the chief cowherd, Nanda's wife, Yashoda had given birth to a baby girl, whom Vasudev managed to swap with baby Krishna. And that’s how Yashoda became the foster mother of Lord Krishna. Their bond was so profound and loveable that it echoed through generations ahead.

 

The festival: Krishnashtami

The whole episode of Krishna's birth is exceptionally intense and divine. Hence, on every Krishnashtami, celebrations take place with equal zest and vigor. Mathura, being the actual holy land of Krishna’s birthplace, welcomes this festival with much more grandeur and royalty. Vrindavan, Dwaraka and Mumbai too cherish this colorful festivity.

The day is marked with chanting of Lord Krishna’s name. Devotees observe fast throughout the day, which is broken at midnight, honoring Krishna’s time of birth. At this hour, they bathe the Idol of Lord Krishna with milk, honey and ghee.

On this day, a famous Prasad, Panchamrit is given to devotees. Based on five ingredients, Milk, Honey, Ghee, curd and Tulsi leaves, this Prasad is popularly known for the significance of each ingredient involved.  

The beauty of the activities and rituals of this festival brings together people of all sections and truly stands out to be a cultural fiesta. 
 
Butter stealing

In pampered motherhood of Yashoda, Krishna grew up in Gokula community where majority of people were cowherd, known was Gopala/Gopis. As a child, Krishna was very alluring and apple of everyone's eye. His childhood days were richly known for his irritable pranks, very famous amongst which are of butter thieving.

 

To keep the butter out of children's reach, it would be hung high in a pot, over the ceiling. Krishna along with his friends would sneak into neighboring houses and climb over one another to reach the pot, break it and savor the butter fallen down. These instances have Lord Krishna lovingly referred to as Maakhan chor as well. Though annoyed by his notorious behavior, people couldn't help loving him as these pranks in a way kept the village full of energy and vibrancy.

Continuing the same legacy and joy, every Krishnashtami sees Dahi Handi festival. Celebrated particularly in Maharashtra, hundreds of men come together to form human pyramid, climbing over one another to reach and break the curd pot held several feet high. To give an edge to the fun, People around throw water on these men to prevent them break the pot. Being an annual event, whole country watches it with lots of enthusiasm.
 

Spirit of Krishna

The life of Krishna revolves around life threat, separation from loved ones and sacrifices, but his calmness and charming smile always stayed by him. A quality which we need to imbibe in our daily lives too. Though we are caught up in worldly commitments, we shouldn't give privilege to anything to hinder our joy within. 

 

May the Krishna in you stay alive!