“There are three gates to self-destruction and hell: Lust, Anger & Greed.” - Krishna Janmasthami, Lord Krishna
Do we even need to Introduce who he is? He is Lord Krishna – the eighth Avatar of Lord Vishnu, the destroyer of evil King Kansa, and the mischievous Makhan (Butter) thief.
We all know his name and to some extent his story as well, There have been many series and cartoons about him after all, and does anybody remember that cartoon called “Roll number 21”?
All of us are familiar with his story in one way or another. He was the abandoned son, who later became an important character in the Hindu Epic Mahabharata. He also killed the Evil Kansa and freed the kingdom from his evil influence.
But how many of you know about his birth circumstances?
While the birth of Lord Krishna is not as popular as his deeds, it is an important part of Hindu Culture- this is the main reason why we have Krishna Janmasthami, a festival meant to celebrate the birth of Lord Krishna.
So let’s talk about Shree Krishna Janmasthami – the festival meant for the celebration of Lord Krishna’s birth day.
What is Shree Krishna Janmasthami?
Also known as the eighth avatar of Lord Vishnu, Krishna, is an important deity in Hinduism.
Shree Krishna Janmasthami, which is also simply known as Kanmasthami is an annual festival that is celebrated in reverence to the birth of Lord Krishna. This festival is observed on the Ashtami (eighth day) of Krishna Paksha as per the lunar Calender. For Nepali that would be the Asthami in the month of Shrawan Or Bhadra depending on the Lunar calendar.
Now that we know what this festival is, did you realize that the name had this hint all along?
If we break down the name of this festival, we get Krishna Janma Asthami – the celebration of Janma (birth) of Lord Krishna on the day of Asthami! That was a great easter egg.
Now that we know what Krishna Janmasthami is, let’s go into details about why we celebrate it.
Why we do celebrate Krishna Janmasthami?
There was chaos everywhere when he was born. Freedom was just a dream, evil Kansa reigned supreme and as soon as he was born – his own uncle, king Kansa tried to kill him, because the prophecy told that he would be killed by his own nephew. On the day of his birth, which was destined to take place successfully, lord Vishnu helped in saving him off from the prison cell.
Krishna’s Father carried him off to the cowherds in a different place and came back with a newborn girl. Kansa learning about the birth came to kill the child but this time wasn’t like the last 7 times. Things got out of his hand and he couldn’t kill the new born child as Vishnu saved her and made her into a goddess.
With this day’s happenings Krishna’s birth signified the end of the chaos, his birth signified the end of the evil rule.
Later when words spread that a godlike child was present in a nearby village of cowherds, Kansa’s fear was proved right. He learned the child was the one from the prophecy, so to end the risks, Kansa sent demons after demons to finish what he couldn’t on the day of Krishna’s birth.
Despite many attempts, all of the assassinations attempts ended in failure. It is said that even nature helped protect the kid Krishna from the hands of the evil King Kansa.
But he survived and later killed Kansa during this era of chaos and brought peace to the world.
Does this seem like the plot of some epic medieval fantasy series? It’s not! Instead, this is the reason why we celebrate Shree Krishna Janmasthami.
That was an interesting story – the reason behind why we celebrate this festival. Now how do we do it then?
How Do We Celebrate Krishna Janmasthami?
The process of celebrating this festival is not complicated, to be honest. There are not many ritual practices related to this festival as it is a celebration of the birth of a lord.
Instead, those who celebrate this festival hold a puja and fast till midnight while singing songs of love and praise for the lord. After midnight, statues of baby Krishna are washed, clothed, and put in a cradle before the devotees break their fast.
After the fast is broken, women draw baby footprints outside the house and kitchens going into their house, signifying the entrance of Lord Krishna into their home.
While fasting people recite Bhagwata Gita and sing religious bhajans to refresh the teachings of Lord Krishna – which includes the starting line of this article. As with all the festivals, the major Krishna temples are decorated. Along with this, the shops sell mini Krishna figurines and peacock tail feathers as well.
So these are all the things that you should know. Now, do you want to read the story of Krishna Janmasthami?
Myth Behind Krishna Janmasthami
In a time long ago, there was chaos everywhere. Evil kings were waging wars for no reason and making the lives of their subjects miserable. There were no rights, no freedom, just suffering. One of these Evil Kings was King Kansa – the evil ruler of Mathura.
He had a sister called Devki. Being a king, he wanted Devki to be married to someone he could trust- after all regardless of how evil a king is, he is still a brother- or maybe not. You see when Devki was married to Vasudeva – King Kansa’s friend, there was a predicted prophecy heard that Kansa will be killed by the eight child of Devki and Vasudeva.
Being the kind brother he is, Kansa threw his sister and friend into prison and started to kill every son they had. He succeeded in killing 7 of their children before Vasudeva had enough and used trickery with the help of Lord Vishnu’s powerover Krishna to hand over their son to Nanda and Yasodha.
When Vasudeva returned to Mathura after swapping the children with Yasodha, he presented the girl to the Evil King Kansa – and he killed the girl, right?
Well, there is one more plot twist before this myth ends. You see here, everything was pre-determined. Kansa was supposed to die in the hands of Lord Krishna. The daughter of Yasodha – the girl Vasudeva swapped, turned into Goddess Yogmaya when she was presented to Kansa and warned the evil king of his failed assassination – that the eighth son of Vasudeva was still alive.
Naturally, Vasudeva was thrown back into prison again. However years later, when Lord Krishna grew up, he fulfilled his duty and King Kansa met his fate – death in the hands of his own blood.
Lord Krishna was born to kill the evil King Kansa and free his entire kingdom from a tyrant ruler. The birth of Lord Krishna was the beginning of an end for an evil king and this birth is celebrated eons later till this day as Krishna Janmasthami.
This is the story and the myth behind the origin of this festival that celebrates the birth of Lord Krishna.
Krishna Janmasthami is an important Hindu festival that is meant to celebrate the Birth of Lord Krishna – the eighth avatar of Lord Vishnu who ended the reign of an evil king. The concept behind this festival is pretty straight forward and the myth is quite simple as well.
We celebrate this festival to invite the blessing of Lord Krishna into our homes on his birthday and by worshipping the deity by fasting, and singing songs. While the concept of using cradle to invite Lord Krishna in the middle of the night is a bit creepy if looked at from an outside perspective, the process and the festival are simple enough.
Hope you found this helpful. If you have any suggestions for us, do let us know then down in the comments below. And as always thank you for reading till the end.
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