Krishna Janmashtami: Celebrating the Divine Birth of Lord Krishna

5, Sep 2023 |

Krishna Janmashtami is a cherished festival that celebrates the birth of Lord Krishna and the eternal values he represents

Krishna Janmashtami is a vibrant festival that commemorates the birth of Lord Krishna, one of the most revered deities in Hinduism. Also referred to as Krishnashtami, Saatam Aatham, Gokulashtami, Ashtami Rohini, and Srikrishna Jayanti, this festival holds significant cultural and spiritual importance for Hindus. It is celebrated with great zeal and devotion on the eighth day of the dark half, or Krishna Paksha, of the month of Bhadra in the Nepali calendar of Bikram Sambat, typically falling in August or September of the English calendar.

The Divine Legend of Lord Krishna

Lord Krishna, regarded as the eighth avatar or incarnation of Lord Vishnu, was born in the Vrishni clan of Yadavas in Mathura. His parents, King Vasudev and Queen Devaki, welcomed him into the world at the stroke of midnight. Krishna's birth marked the beginning of his mission to end the tyranny of his malevolent maternal uncle, Kansa. Although born to Vasudev and Devaki, he was lovingly raised by Nanda and Yasoda Maiya. Krishna's childhood was filled with playful adventures, and his youth was characterized by his romantic escapades with the Gopis and Gopinies. He married Rukmani and shared a deep bond with Radha, his beloved Gopini.

Krishna played a pivotal role in the Holy Battle of the Mahabharata, serving as the charioteer for Arjuna. His profound teachings to Arjuna on duty, righteousness, and sin are enshrined in the Bhagavad Gita. Although he did not engage in physical combat, Krishna was the heart and soul of the Pandavas, guiding them to victory in the epic battle.

The many names and attributes of Krishna

Lord Krishna is worshipped under various names, such as Krishna, Murari, Hari, Gopal, Shyam, Nanda Lala, and Makhan Chor, among others. He once proclaimed, "You just remember me; whatever name you use, I will be with you if I know you are calling me. His name, Krishna, signifies his dark complexion. He is also credited with inventing the basuri or murali (flute), which he was often seen playing. The enchanting music of his flute is said to resonate in the atmospheres of Brindavan and Mathura to this day.


Significance of Krishna Janmashtami

In the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna declares, "Whenever there is a predominance of evil and a decline in righteousness (dharma), I will reincarnate repeatedly to vanquish evil and uphold righteousness. Krishna Janmashtami symbolizes the triumph of good over evil and the preservation of dharma. It serves as a reminder that when the vessel of sin overflows, God descends to rescue humanity. The festival recounts stories of the timeless battle between good and evil, reiterating the victory of goodness.

Krishna Janmashtami Celebration in Nepal

Krishna Janmashtami is celebrated worldwide by Hindus with great fervor. A common tradition is to observe a fast until midnight. Devotees recite verses from the Bhagavad Gita and sing devotional songs (bhajans) in praise of Lord Krishna. Temples dedicated to Lord Krishna are adorned with decorations, and bhajans and kirtans (hymns) fill the air. In Nepal, prominent temples like the Krishna Mandir in Patan Durbar Square and Narayanhiti Krishnamandir become the focal points of festivities.

On this auspicious night, devotees flock to the ancient Krishna temple in Patan Durbar Square, where they keep vigil throughout the night of Krishna's birth. Women chant the many names of the Lord, while some sing ancient hymns and others offer prayers. Devotees make their way up narrow steps to the temple's dark interior, where they present flowers, coins, and food offerings to the main idol of Lord Krishna, eagerly awaiting the distribution of prasad (blessed food) by the temple priest.

Throughout Nepal, beautiful cribs depicting the infant Krishna (Balgopal) and the mischievous butter thief (makhan chor) are installed in Krishna temples. Krishna lila, or dramas depicting scenes from Krishna's life, are performed during the festival, adding to the festive atmosphere.

Krishna Janmashtami is a cherished festival that celebrates the birth of Lord Krishna and the eternal values he represents. It brings together devotees in Nepal and around the world to worship, sing, dance, and reflect on the timeless wisdom imparted by Lord Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita.

photo credit: Samrat Group Nepal

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