Significance of Janmashtami
Do you celebrate Lord Krishna’s Birthday each year? Know the significance of Janmashtami or Gokulashtami and understand why we celebrate it.
Janmashtami, also know as Gokulashtami is the birthday of lord Krishna which is celebrated with great enthusiasm all over the country. It is believed that lord Vishnu reincarnated in the form of lord Krishna on the auspicious day of Janmashtami. The historical background of the birth of lord Krishna depicts the significance of this Hindu festival. Lord Krishna was born at midnight on the eighth day of Hindu lunar month, Shravana.
Celebration of Janmashtami
The tale of Krishna’s birth is recited and remembered from temples and households. The story signifies the divine power of lord Krishna. Devotional songs are sung which are dedicated to lord Krishna. Cities all over India get into a trance like mode. People visit temples at night, joint their hands and bow their heads in front of Krishna’s idol with enormous faith.
A small cradle is placed with a miniature Krishna’s idol in it as a symbol of his birth. Devotees swing the cradle joyously and celebrate the arrival of Shri Krishna by reciting aarti (prayer) and bhajans. Devotees fast for the whole long day, they break their fast in the midnight or on the next day. The fast is usually a waterless fast. Fragrance of the flowers, soothing aroma of burning camphor and jingle of the temple bells fill the atmosphere with divinity.
Importance of Janmashtami
The verses in the Bhagavad-Gita (a sacred book narrated by Lord Vishnu) say, that whenever there will be predominance of evil and decline of religion, I will reincarnate to kill the evil and to save the good. The main significance of Janmashtami is to encourage goodwill and to discourage bad will. Krishna Jayanti also celebrates togetherness. The holy occasion brings people together, thus it signifies unity and faith.
Why do we celebrate Dahi Handi?
Dahi Handi (pot of curd) is celebrated on the second day of Janmashtami. Shri Krishna, as a child was very naughty. He loved butter. He would steal butter prepared by the gopis. (young women in Gokul)When the gopis complained to his foster mother Devaki, she ran behind him with a stick in hand to punish him. She could not catch infant Krishna. She decided to tie him with a rope. Krishna allowed her to tie him as he knew that his mother loves him a lot. She did not punish him. She scolded Krishna and told him not to steal butter again. Krishna’s charismatic smile made her heart melt. She hugged little Krishna. Thus little Krishna got the name, Makhanchor (one who steals butter) due to this. Krishna is also fondly called as Devakinandan (Devaki’s son).
Dahi Handi is celebrated to mimic the stealing of butter by Krishna. An earthen pot containing butter, ghee (milk fat), dry fruits and milk is hung at a height with the help of a rope. Energetic men make a human pyramid and climb on each other to reach the pot and the break the pot. Later Dahikala (ingredients in the pot) is distributed among everyone. Dahi Handi celebration encourages working in a team, thus signifies the importance of team work.
How do I celebrate Janmashtami this year?
You may be celebrating Janmashtami in a traditional way. Well, there are some other ways to celebrate the festival of Krishna’s birth. You can choose your way to make Krishna happy. Here a few that we thin might be of interest to you.
- Teach mantras to your children on this Gokulashtami to make them aware of our traditions and values.
- Tell your child a story of Krishna’s birth to teach them the significance of Gokulashtami.
- Go in the nearest temple with your family members and perform puja and eat Prasad.
- Enjoy the food delicacies like fruits, milk, curd and all kinds of sweets including ladoos and burfis.
- Worship wholeheartedly for the wellbeing of yourself and your family. If you are keen on fasting, fast until midnight.
Every aspect of Krishna’s life is captivating no matter whether it is naughtiness of an infant Krishna, Krishna’s life in Gokul, Krishna’s romance with Radha or assassination of cruel Kans. God never asks for material things. A deity wants attention from his devotees. Devote yourself fully towards lord Krishna and make this Janmashtami special.