Saturday, August 16, 2014


SUNDAY, AUGUST 17TH, 2014 Janmashtami, or “Krishna Janmashtami”, celebrates the birth of Sri Krishna, regarded as the most venerated in the Hindu pantheon of deities. According to Hindu belief, baby Krishna was born at midnight in Bhado (Bhadra) month. The sacred day of Janmashtami celebrates the beautiful moments of Sri Krishna depicted as a child. Sri Krishna is revered as a representation of joy and simplicity and this aspect is brought out very well throughout the episodes in Mahabharata. 
Lord Krishna represents the joyful spirit in all of us that we should invoke even when we face situations in life. The deeper message of Sri Krishna Janmashtami is that we should make efforts towards imbibing these aspects of Lord Krishna to wade easily through life. To celebrate Janmashtami, devotees observe fasting early on and continue fasting till the auspicious time of baby Krishna's birth arrives. Then they bathe the infant Krishna and adorn him with new clothes and jewellery, and rock him in a cradle.

This is followed by ritualistic “puja”, “aarti” and a whole repertoire of devotional songs and dance performances. Janmashtami “prasada” is offered to the deity of baby Krishna and devotees break their fast after partaking of this holy food. The celebration of Janmashtami still carries on with the same fervor, sticking to the traditions of enacting episodes from Lord Krishna's life, which are typically fun, and playful moments. Deep devotion and elation and strong sense of solidarity is at the heart of Janmashtami celebration. 
In general, “Rasa Lila” is performed everywhere, wherein the life and events of Lord Krishna’s youthful days and his romance with gopis or devotees is depicted to the rhythm of dance and music. “Dahi-handi”, wherein young boys climb up a human pyramid to break a pot filled with a concoction of milk, yoghurt, butter, honey and dry fruits, is the most popular of customs followed this day. Competitions are held and prizes given as it tests one's courage and perseverance on Krishna Janmashtami. 

Janmashtami (Krishna Jayanti) is one of the prominent Hindu festivals celebrated to mark the birth of Lord Krishna. It is celebrated with great devotion and enthusiasm in India and all over the world. The actual celebration of Janmashtami takes place during the midnight, as Sri Krishna is believed to be born on a dark, stormy and windy night to end the rule and violence of his uncle, Kansa. Across India, there will be ceremonies and prayers at temples dedicated to Krishna and the Hindu homes are wonderfully decorated and illuminated. Not just in India, but all over the world Janmashtami is celebrated with devotional songs and dances, pujas, arti, blowing of the conch and rocking the cradle of baby Sri Krishna. Krishna was born in Mathura, Uttar Pradesh. In this region, a common tradition is the performance of Krishna Lila, a folk drama consisting of scenes from Krishna's life. The Janmashtami celebration of Mathura and Vrindavan, the places where Sri Krishna had spent his life, is very special. During Janmashtami festival, Vrindavan and Mathura are full of devotees who come from all parts of India and the world to pay homage to Lord Krishna. People start celebrating ten days prior the date of the festival. Many plays depicting the life of Krishna are staged and rasaleelas are performed at various temples there. Both cities are filled with the sound of bhajans and mantras and professional artists are invited to give their best performances so that Lord Krishna showers them with his divine blessings. The day before may consist of fasting and prayer up to midnight, the time at which it was said that Krishna was born. Nightlong prayers are offered and religious mantras are sung in the temples. One of the liveliest customs connected with Janmashtami festival is the breaking of the “dahi-handi” (dahi: buttermilk, handi: earthen pot). This is a pot of milk, yoghurt, butter, honey and dry fruits that are suspended high above a street. Teams of young men and boys compete with each other to build human pyramids high enough to reach the dahi-handi and break it. The act is symbolic of Krishna’s love for milk and butter, and the memory of his plundering of the local cowgirls’ handis. Our spiritual masters have taught us that Janmashtami celebration is a new opportunity to prepare and purify ourselves so that Krishna will think us to be qualified to get Him. If we sanctify our lives, we may be apt to receive Krishna in our hearts. Krishna is already there, but due to our selfish desires, lustful thoughts, our anger and desire for revenge, our vanity and ignorance, we are not aware of His constant presence as the Lord of our heart. (Editor's note).

“More than 5,100 years ago, Krishna appeared in His original, transcendental form just to please His devotees, annihilate the miscreants, and reestablish the principles of religion.” [...] The date of Krishna’s birth is traditionally given as 5.201 of Bhadra Krishna Ashtami, or 3.226 BC (or 3.227 BC, depends if we consider the year 0 or not). “Bhadra” is the name of a month (corresponds roughly to July-August; Vedic calendar is luni-solar), “krishna” here specifically denotes the dark part of a month (waning moon) and “ashtami” means “8th day”. If you download and calculate the Vedic calendar for your location you can see when Janmashtami (“Krishna’s birth day”: janma - birth, ashtami - 8th day) occurs so that you can take part in its celebration with us in one of our centers. The peak of the celebration is midnight when Krishna appeared.

Vedic Knowledge On Line : 
“Who is Krishna? - Questions about Krishna”
VEDA - Bhaktivedanta Book Trust

Published by dasavatara das - “Vedic Views on World News”

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