Synonyms: Janmashtami, Janmashtam, Gokulashtami, Krishnashtami, Kalashtami
The birth of Shri Krishna is celebrated at midnight on Shri Krishna Jayanti. This year it falls on August 28, 2013.
According to the Hindu lunar calendar, Shri Krishna was born on the eighth day (ashtami) of the second (dark) fortnight of the month of Shravana. Five thousand years ago, He incarnated, at the end of the third cosmic era, 'Dwapar Yuga' and the beginning of the present era, 'Kali Yuga'. The divine principle (tattva) of Shri Krishna is most active on this day of the year.
At midnight, the ritual of waving lit lamps (aarti) is performed. Krishna Jayanti is especially significant from the viewpoint of establishing Righteousness (Dharma), and surrendering unto The Lord.
This video gives practical and scientific information about Sree Krishna Janmasthami. Video includes how to prepare prasadam i.e. Dahi-kala, spitiual significance of Krishna Janmashtami. Currently video is available only in Marathi language.
This image is made by seekers of Sanatan Sanstha.
Following points provide information about Janmashtami. For details about Shri Krishna, please refer the series of articles.
The number eight is a reducing number (kshayaank). According to numerology the number eight is responsible for generating revolutionary thoughts. It would not be wrong to say that Shri Krishna's entire life was an era of revolution.
1. The birth of Shri Krishna is celebrated at midnight on Krishna Jayanti. At midnight, the ritual of waving lit lamps (aarti) is performed. (Click here for the listening aarti.)
2. His statue is placed in a swing and devotionally offered many sumptuous food dishes, in particular kheer (a sweet dish made from milk, sugar and rice/vermicelli) or halva/sheera (a sweet dish made from semolina,ghee and sugar).
3. People incorrectly think that Shri Krishna loved butter and so offer butter to Him. In fact, He ate butter because the evil king Kansa taxed the people, and in order to pay their taxes, they were forced to sell butter. To prevent these civilians from suffering and caving into the unrighteous demands of the king, Shri Krishna would eat or spill their butter. In doing so, He taught the people to develop a fighting spirit (kshatravrutti) and not to tolerate injustice in any capacity.
4. One should fast the whole day before the celebration at midnight. The fast is ended either at midnight by eating the Holy sacrament (prasad) or the next morning by eating an offering of a mixture (dahikala) of curd (yogurt with enzymes retained) with various eatables, milk and butter. When grazing the cattle along with the cowherds at Vraj (a city in ancient India - in modern day North India), Shri Krishna mixed the lunches of His companions with that of His own and ate it along with them. In keeping with this story, later it became customary to prepare dahikala and break a hanging pot containing curd on the day after Gokulashtami.
5. Temples are decorated for the occasion. Kirtans are sung, bells are rung, the conch is blown, and Sanskrit hymns are recited in praise of Shri Krishna. At Mathura (a city in North India, near the birthplace of Shri Krishna), special spiritual gatherings are organized at this time. Pilgrims from all over India attend these festive gatherings.
Fasting on this day as well as observing Rushipanchami, a vowed religious observance (vrat), reduces the effects of menses, impurity and touch on women. [The effects on men are reduced by performing acts of repentance (prayashchitta karma), such as shaving the head, etc. Performing the ritual of Udakshanti reduces the effects on the premise.]
Krishna Jayanti is especially significant from the viewpoint of establishing Righteousness (Dharma), and surrendering unto The Lord.
"Where there is Krishna, there is Dharma, where there is Dharma, there is victory. Since Duryodhana, leader of the Kauravas, did not observe dharma, he did not have Krishna. No Krishna, no victory."- Sage Ved Vyas
During the Mahabharat war Shri Krishna uttered 700 shlokas (holy verses) in the form of the 'Bhagavat Gita' to convince the reluctant Arjuna to fight his own kith and kin to reinstate Righteousness (Dharma). The Lord finally uttered the essence of His teachings in the following verse (18/66) : "O Arjun! Forsake all your personal beliefs and surrender to me. Do not lament, for I shall deliver you from all sins."
Not only is His principle (tattva) most active on Krishna Jayanti, but in present times His energy is 100% manifest, and He rushes to the aid of the devotee who surrenders unto Him. His devotee long to feel closer to Shri Krishna every day and not just on Shri Krishna Jayanti. To invoke Shri Krishna's principle the best solution is to repeat Shri Krishna's Name as follows: Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya continuously through every action.
Chanting (repetition) of His Name invokes His presence within oneself as The Lord and His Name are one. All of the qualities that reside in The Lord are there in The Name. Thus, repeating His Name will surely herald His presence and blessings in life.
Therefore, to derive maximum benefit from Krishna Jayanti, devotees can daily make conscious efforts through chanting and prayer to surrender at the Lord's lotus-feet. Such spiritual practice would equip one to participate in establishing Righteousness by spreading the importance of Spirituality to others, removing misconceptions about it and helping curb incorrect practices.
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