The Birth of Lord Krishna : The Celestial Protector
Krishna Janmashthami marks the birth of Lord Krishna the eighth incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Lord Krishna is beloved among Hindu deities, he is the god of protection, compassion, kindness, and love.
Also known as Gokulashthami, according to legends the birth of Lord Krishna was for the protection of the pure and innocent against evil forces. Born to Devaki and Vasudeva, the child’s life was under threat from his uncle King Kansa.
On Janmashtami, people keep fasts, sing devotional songs of love for Krishna, and maintain vigil through the night known as ‘Ratri Jagaran’ to commemorate this legend.
Baby Krishna or ‘Gopala’ idols are bathed, dressed, and then put in a cradle after his midnight birth. Devotees offer fruits, betel, butter and sweets to their lord. They then share food and desserts to break their fast.
Women depict Krishna's journey into their houses by drawing small footprints outside their kitchen doors and home entrances. It is a significant celebration, especially in the Hindu Vaishnavism tradition.
’Rasa Lila’ or ‘Krishna Lila’ are dance-dramas that depict Krishna's life as it is described in the Bhagavata Purana.
Lord Krishna plays a significant role in the Bhagavata Purana, the Bhagavad Gita, the Brahma Vaivarta Purana, and many other Hindu philosophical, theological, and mythological works. They present him from a variety of angles, including that of a godchild, model-lover, celestial hero, and ultimate deity of all creation.
His iconography depicts him in many life phases, such as a newborn consuming butter, a young child playing the flute, a young lad with Radha, surrounded by female followers. Lord Krishna is also known as a wise counsel and charioteer to Arjuna during the Mahabharata war.
Significant Vaishnava and non-sectarian populations found in a majority of regions in India celebrate the occasion. Krishna Janmashthami is celebrated primarily in Mathura and Vrindavan, considered the birth and residence of Lord Krishna.
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