Krishna Janamashathmi—A Festival of Granting All Wishes
R- Resplendent glory
S- Savior of religion
H- Holder of Govardhan Parvat
N- Non-attachment in duties
A- An incarnation of Lord Vishnu
This is a very small description of ‘The Great Heavenly Entity’ called Krishna. There are innumerable scriptures which describe the Multiform of Lord Krishna. Lord Krishna is the most adorable deity of Hindus. He is almighty, boundless, Majestic, Supreme Soul, and a Mahayogi of infinite strength. He has enchanted every living and non living being on this earth. Lord Krishna is considered the eighth (and complete) avatar (or incarnation) of Lord Vishnu. The significance of being complete avatar is that all the qualities and powers of Lord Vishnu were integrated in Lord Krishna.
Lord Krishna’s birthday is widely celebrated as Sri Krishna Janmashtami or Krishnashtami, also known as Gokulashtami in all parts of India with great fervor and devotion, on the eighth (Ashtami) day after the full moon in the Shravana Maas (month) of the Hindu calendar. This year Janamashtami is on Ist September.
The birth of Lord Krishna was for the purpose of re-establishing the fundamentals of faith within the Hindu people. As spoken in the Bhagavad Gita by Krishna himself
“Yadaa yadaa hi dharmasya glaanirbhavati bhaarata,
Abhyutthaanam adharmasya tadaatmaanam srijaamyaham”
i.e. whenever faith is under attack in this world, I will re-appear to protect those who are devoted to me and to re-establish faith and order. The message of Vedanta preached to Arjuna through the Bhagavad Gita is perhaps a seminal work. It has set the example for the generations and is considered the jewel in the crown of all Hindu texts.
In Dwapar Yuga when offences and exploitations were crossing limits, Earth appeared in front of Lord Brahma as cow. Lord Brahma, Earth and other deities called in Lord Vishnu. Earth urged Lord Vishnu, “I have been exploited. Offences on earth are crossing limits. Please help me." Lord Vishnu replied “I will take birth from the womb of Devki in Braj Mandal. All deities should disguise as human beings into the Yadav Kul in Braj mandal.” Listening to this all deities and Earth took birth into the Yadav Kul. In Dwapar Yuga, King Agrasen used to rule in Mathura. His son, Kansa grabbed the throne forcefully and threw the king into the prison. Kansa’s sister’s marriage was arranged with Vasudav from Yadav Kul.
Lord Krishna was born to Vasudeva and Devaki who were thrown in the dungeons by Devaki’s wicked brother Kansa. According to predictions Kansa was supposed to meet his end in the hands of Devaki’s eighth child. On the day Krishna was born, due to divine intervention, all the guards fell asleep and the dungeon door flew open. Vasudeva took the baby in an open basket and carried it on his head to his friend Nand at Gokul. As it was midnight and raining heavily the five-headed Naga Devta (Snake king) shielded the baby with his hood and followed Vasudeva. River Yamuna helped Vasudeva to cross the river by splitting and baring the riverbed for him to easily walk across.
Hence Krishna Janmashtami is celebrated across the country with great joy, pomp and pageantry. On this day special Poojas (rituals) with chanting of shlokas are conducted in all the Krishna temples and devotional songs are sung in the praise of the lord. In places like Mathura (birth place of Krishna); Dwaraka (Krishna’s ruling place); Gokula (Krishna’s childhood place) and Vrindavan (where Krishna spent time with his consort Radha), the festivities are colorful and special. In Udupi, Karnataka (South India) the festival is celebrated in Krishna Mutt. The devotees fast on this day and offer pooja to the Almighty at midnight and then break the fast by consuming the Naivedya (offered to the lord). Varieties of delicious savories are prepared on this day and offered to the lord along with fruits, coconut, butter (Krishna’s favorite as a child), avalakki/poha (flattened rice) and milk. In Maharashtra the Dahi Handi ritual is carried out with great enthusiasm. An earthen pot filled with curd is hung 20 to 30 feet above the ground and the group which breaks it by forming a human pyramid wins the contest.
In the households, a small cradle made up of wood or silver is decorated and the idol of Balakrishna (baby Krishna) is placed in it and worshiped. A special Aarti is performed and songs in praise of Lord Krishna are sung. The neighborhood women and children are invited and are offered auspicious items like kumkum, turmeric powder, flowers, fruits, betel leaf and nuts and a packet of assorted savories. The women sing lullabies and the cradle is slowly swayed by a thread decorated with flowers. Baby boys are dressed as Krishna, with peacock feather in the hair and a flute in the hand. Grandparents narrate stories of Krishna’s childhood pranks to their grand children.
Janmashtami is celebrated by some as the day on which the preacher of the highest philosophy, the Vedanta was incarnated onto this earth. The message of the four paths to liberation as spoken by Lord Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita is perhaps the greatest spiritual gift of Janmashtami to the Hindu thought process. The devotees who fast on this auspicious day get all their desires fulfilled.
‘Santan Gopal Mantra’
This festival promises child birth for those who are devoid of children. Worshipping the Baal Roop of the Krishna on this day will bring happiness of the child in their home. One must recite ‘Santan Gopal Mantra’ in front of the Santan Gopal Yantra to get the blessings of the Lord.
Santan Gopal Mantra
ॐ श्रीं ह्रीं क्लीं ग्लौं देवकीसुत गोविन्द वासुदेव जगत्पते देहि मे तनयं कृष्ण त्वामहं शरणं गतः ।
Om Shreeng Hreeng Kleeng Glaung Devakisut Govind Vasudev Jagatpate Dehi Me Tanayam Krishn Tvaamaham Sharanam Gatah
Janmashtami Pooja Items
There are certain special items required for Krishnashtami pooja. Important pooja items are listed below:
- Lord Krishna’s idol with Cradle and Conch
- New Clothes, Flute and Ornaments for Lord Krishna
- Pooja Thali containing a Diya, Bell, Rice, Elaichi(cardamom),Tulsi leaves, Supari, Paan (Betel) leaves, Roli, Brass small container filled with Water, Sindoor, Incense sticks (Agarbatti), Flowers and Desi Ghee.
- For Panchamrit -Milk, Curd, Gangajal, Honey and Desi Ghee.
- A book containing Shri Krishna’s aarti.