Janmashtami is the birth day of Lord Krishna in Hindu mythology. It is an annual festival. In the Krishna Paksha of Bhadrava masa on the eighth day. In the night religious texts are recited along with dance and enactments of Krishna’s life coutinue till midnight (the time of Krishna, birth). It is celebrated not only in India but abroad also.
We get Krishna’s birth in Sacred texts like Mahabharata Bhagabata Purana, Lord Krishna was born in a difficult itme when a rude and arbitrary King Kansa was ruling in Mathura. He was like a predator. People were fed up and praying to God for their safety. At this juncture, Lord Vishnu came down to earth in the person of Krishna who was born to Father Vasudeva and Mother Devaki in the prison cell of king Kansa. There was a prophesy that Krishna (eighth child of Devaki would kill Kansa. So Kansa was living in a constant fear. Krishna was transferred to Gopa village to his foster mother Yosoda and father Nanda.
Since birth Krishna was a miraculous person. In the raining night, Father Vasudev brought the child across full flooded Yamuna river. It is said-yamuna gave way to the almighty. How prison cells were opened and the guards fell asleep; Itis simply wonder. These event are celebrated and enacted on the Janmastami night. Lord Krishna was a complete Avatar. The problem of evil is always there. So God has to come down to earth to save the mankind specially who are good populace.
Krishna Janmastami has much significance to Hindus around the world. It is celebrated in myriad ways according to regional and cultural customs. Hindus celebrate Janmastami by fasting, singing, praying together, preparing and sharing special food, night vigils and visiting Krishna temples. The important places are Mathura and Vrindaban for Janmastami. In Manipur also Janmastami is celebrated with much enthusiasm. After Krishna’s midnight birth forms of Baby Krishna arebathed and clothed. And then placed in a cradle. Then the devotees break their fasts by sharing food and sweets.
Women draw the footprints outside their house doors and kitchen walking towards their house. It is a symbol of Krishna’s journey into their homes. The Braj Bhasa poems of surdas are popularly recalled, some of which narrate the birth and childhood of Krishna.
Janmastami is popular abroad also. Nepal identifies with Krishna and celebrate Janmastami. It is a national holiday in Nepal. In Bangladesh, Fijji, Pakistan, Mauritious, United States of America (Arizona) in the Caribbean countries like Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, Surinam. Janmastami is celebrated. ISKCON temples world wide celebrate Krishna Janmastami.
Once all the Gods went to Brahma and asked-who is the greatest God. Brahma replied-Krishna is the greatest God. He was perfect being on earth. Still many people like Duryodhan, Sisupala, Jarasandha, Rukma and others disbelieved him and misbehaved also. Krishna did not mind. He was a symbol of tolerance also. Lord Sri Krishna was an accomplished person. So we must respect him and worship him.
(The views expressed are the writer’s own.)
Radhakanta Seth is a former Income tax officer in Sambalpur. He is a freelance writer and his articles have been published in some Oriya dailies like Sambad, Samaj, Dharitri, and English dailies like The Telegraph and in a sociological journal ‘Folklore’ published in Kolkata.
He can be reached at [email protected]