‘The birth in which love, knowledge, and mischief all come together is considered as the birth of Lord Krishna’ – Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shanker.
Sri Krishna Janmashtami also referred to as Gokulashtami, is one such festival that marks the celebration of the birth of Lord Krishna in full fervor and enthusiasm by the devotees all over the country. The incarnation of Lord Krishna signifies the end of all darkness and the eradication of evil from the earth. Celebrated mostly by Hindus worldwide, Krishna Janmashtami observes a large conflux of people from all walks of life engaging themselves in the jubilation of the festival. As per the Hindu calendar or Panchanga, the festival falls on the eighth day of the Krishna Paksha (dark fortnight) in the month of Shrawan.
Shri Krishna Janmashtami: Legend
The legend behind Krishna’s birth is as intriguing as the occurrences during his lifetime. As per the Hindu mythology, when sinful and unscrupulous forces unleashed havoc over the world, Mother Earth requested Lord Brahma to put an end to the rampant conditions. Lord Brahma took this concern of Mother Earth to Lord Vishnu, who in turn reassured him of his birth on earth to purge it from all prevailing evils.
As promised, Lord Vishnu took birth as Krishna on Earth at midnight on the 8th day (Ashtami) of the month of Shravan. Krishna, the eighth avatar of Lord Vishnu, was born to Devaki and Vasudev in Mathura in a prison. Krishna was born at a time of turmoil, raging persecution, lack of freedom, and when evil forces were reigning on the earth. His own life was at risk from his uncle King Kansa due to the prophecy that proclaimed his death at the hands of his nephew, Krishna. Knowing of the dangers that hovered over the life of Krishna, his father, Vasudeva, immediately handed him over to Yashoda and Nanda in Gokul to keep him away from King Kansa. This folklore is celebrated as the festival of Janmashtami by the devotees who keep fast, sing devotional songs of Krishna, and visit Krishna temples.
Shri Krishna Janmashtami: Significance
The festival of Janmashtami is celebrated with great fun and gaiety all over the world by the Hindus owing to the fact that Sri Krishna was one of the most forceful human incarnations of the Lord Vishnu. Krishna is one such God in Hindu mythology, about whose birth and death, a lot has been written. Ever since he took birth on earth in human form, he is worshipped by the people as a god-child, an adorable prankster, a charming lover, a spiritual guide, and the principal power. The prime motive of his birth on Earth is to end all the darkness prevailing at that time, eliminate all the evil forces from Earth, and restore ‘Dharma’ in times when his uncle, Kansa, was making lives of the people miserable.
There is a popular saying in Bhagavad Gita- “Whenever there will be a predominance of evil and decline of religion, I will reincarnate to kill the evil and to save the good.” The festival of Janmashtami encourages goodwill and to dissuade malice. The day is observed as a sacred occasion that celebrates togetherness and faith.
Shri Krishna Janmashtami 2020: Celebrations across India
The birth of Krishna is celebrated with great enthusiasm, devotion, and warmth by everyone in the county. The cities across the country get overwhelmed with a feeling of exaltation. The devotees keep fast for the whole day. The folklore of Krishna’s birth is narrated in temples and households. The energetic youth of the country, completely immersed in exhilaration, actively participate in the Dahi handi festival. At some places, people perform raslilas to recreate occurrences from the life of Lord Krishna. Plays and dance performances based on Krishna’s life are also organized.
On this auspicious occasion, the idol of Krishna is placed in the cradle and bathed with panchamrit which is made from ghee, milk, gangajal, honey, and tulsi leaves. This panchamrit is also distributed among the devotees as prasad. Devotees joyously swing the cradle and welcome the blessings of Krishna in their lives. The chanting of the aartis, mantras, blowing of the Conch, hymns, kirtans becomes a common scenario everywhere where the celebrations are going on.
Celebrations in Temples
The Krishna temples are beautifully decked up with lights and flowers which is an awesome scene in the night. People wear new clothes and visit temples to pay respect and perform pujas of their beloved God. The priests in temples sing hymns and chant mantras. Some temples in India also perform readings of Bhagavad Gita. The beautiful fragrance of the flowers, soothing odor of burning camphor, and the sound of the ringing bells in the temples captures the entire atmosphere with sanctity.
Celebrations in Mathura and Vrindavan
The Janmashtami celebrations in the Mathura and Brindavan is often praised by everyone. The festival is celebrated with great pomp and show in these places where Lord Krishna spent most of his life. The temples of Mathura and Vrindavan come to life at night with jagrans, plays, dance performances, all based on Krishna’s childhood.
Celebrations in Maharashtra and Gujarat
Janmashtami is mostly celebrated in Pune and Mumbai in Maharashtra, and in Dwarka in Gujarat on a large scale witnessing immense participation from the people. The Dahi handi festival is organized in many places where people participate in large numbers. In some places, the butter was replaced with money with time. The prize money is given to the winning team that manages to break the handi.
Celebrations in South India
Devotees prepare large kolums, a rangoli made with rice flour, on the floor, and make prints of the foot of Baby Krishna on their home entrances. This depicts the welcoming of Lord Krishna in their homes.
Shri Krishna Janmashtami 2020: Muhurat
Janmashthami tithi: August 11
Nishita Puja Time- 12:21 am to 01:06 am
Ashtami Tithi Begins- 09:06 am on August 11
Ashtami Tithi Ends- 11:16 am on August 12
Dahi Handi on August 12
Krishna Janmashtami: Sri Krishna Temples to visit
- ISKCON temples
- Banke Bihari Temple, Vrindavan
- Dwarkadish Temple, Dwaraka
- Krishna Balaram Mandir, Vrindavan
- Sri Krishna Temple, Udupi
- Guruvayur Temple, Kerala
- Govind Dev Ji Temple, Jaipur
- Rajagopalaswamy Temple, Tamil Nadu
- Jagannath Temple, Puri, Odisha
- Prem Mandir Vrindavan
- Shri Nathji Temple, Nathdwara, Rajasthan