Janmashtami is the celebration of Lord Krishna’s birth. This year Janmashtami will be celebrated on 14th august 2017. Janmashtami is celebrated majorly in places like Vrindavan and Mathura as it is the birthplace of Lord Krishna. Along with this, northern, western and southern parts of India majorly participate in this event as Lord Krishna is considered to be born on a dark and windy night. Lord Krishna is believed to have lived for 5000 years in the lands of Mathura, Vrindavan, Kurukshetra and Dwarka, where many stories of his conquest during his growing up years have been written about.
Even though Janmashtami is a daylong celebration in most parts of the country, as the birth time of Lord Krishna was a dark night, celebrating Janmashtami during midnight is considered to be an ideal item. Lord Krishna is considered to be the eighth incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu was a supreme god and being his eighth incarnation makes Lord Krishna, the destroyer of all things evil. Lord Krishna is one of the most powerful human incarnations of Lord Vishnu. He was born 5,200 years ago in Mathura and hence, the place is lit up on this auspicious day.
Janmashtami is observed on the Ashtami( 8th day) of the ‘Krishna Paksha’ according to the Hindu calendar. This usually falls in the time period of July and August.
Lord Krishna was born to Princess Devaki and Vasudeva in Mathura. However, as his father wanted to protect him from the evil king Kansa, who was also Lord Krishna’s uncle. Therefore, Vasudeva gave Lord Krishna to Nanda, his friend. Subsequently, Lord Krishna grew up in Gokul and stayed with his foster parents, Nanda and Yashoda.
Since Lord Krishna is considered to be the destroyer of evil, Janmashtami also marks the presence of good and destruction of all that is evil. Lord Krishna’s birth is a spiritual magnificence as he was born in a jail in the custody of his uncle King Kansa.
According to verses in the Bhagavad-Gita, a famous shloka narrates that whenever there will be a predominance of evil and decline of religion, Lord Vishnu will reincarnate and save the earth from all that is evil. The main purpose behind the celebration of Janmashtami along with Lord Krishna’s birthday is the prevalence of goodwill and this is what unites people from different regions together on the auspicious occasion.
Lord Krishna is often signified as the butter thief and is given reference as the ‘Makhan Chor’ in many famous Indian fables. It is known that wherever butter would be involved, one could find Lord Krishna near that site. Therefore, on Janmashtami every year, many people get involved in the Matki Todh competition organized by many societies across the country. The winner who is able to reach the top and break the earthen pot is rewarded with the buttermilk inside the pot.
Other than this, according to Hindu mythology, Lord Krishna was exchanged with the baby girl born to his foster parents, Yashoda and Nand. This is because of his birth parents, Devaki and Vasudeva wanted to save him from his maternal uncle, Kansa. Since King Kansa was adamant on killing Lord Krishna during his birth, he also imprisoned his birth parents.
Owing to its spiritual significance, Janmashtami is also celebrated by many on the day which marks the incarnation of the highest preacher of the philosophy of the Vedas, Vedanta. In the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna has spoken about four paths to liberation. According to many, these four paths to liberation are the greatest spiritual gift of Janmashtami to mankind and their thought process.
Usually, to celebrate this day, along with the ‘Mataka Todh’ competition, Lord Krishna is often embellished in a cradle and ceremonies and celebrations are held around it. Therefore, Janmashtami’s sole significance and importance lies in one fact: the destruction of evil and the prevalence of good and positive things around us subsequently leading to unity and faith amongst those who celebrate this day.