Krishna Janamashtami

This folklore is celebrated as the festival of Janmashtami by the devotees who keep fast, sing devotional songs of Krishna, and visit Krishna temples
Krishna Janamashtami
Kashmiri Pandits celebrate Janamashtami in Srinagar on Saturday. Aman Farooq/GK

Janmashtami is an important Hindu festival that celebrates the birth of Lord Krishna — the eighth incarnation of Vishnu. While the dates may vary on a region-to-region basis, the festival is largely celebrated in August and this year it is being celebrated on 30.08.21. The number eight has another significance in the Krishna legend in that he is the eighth child of his mother.

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.

krishna is worshipped as the eighth avatar of Vishnu and also as the supreme God in his own right. He is the god of protection, compassion, tenderness, and love and is one of the most popular and widely revered among Indian divinities.

The anecdotes and narratives of Krishna's life are generally titled as Krishna Leela. He is a central character in the Mahabharata, the Bhagavata Purana, the Brahma Vaivarta Purana and the Bhagavad Gita, and is mentioned in many Hindu philosophical, theological, and mythological texts.They portray him in various perspectives: a god-child, a prankster, a model lover, a divine hero, and as the universal supreme being. His iconography reflects these legends, and shows him in different stages of his life, such as an infant eating butter, a young boy playing a flute, a young boy with Radha or surrounded by women devotees, or a friendly charioteer giving counsel to Arjuna.

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.

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