Shri Krishna Janmashtami, the birthday of Lord Krishna is celebrated with great devotion and enthusiasm across India in the month of July or August. It is also known as Janmashtami or Gokulashtami, in which Hindus celebrates the birth of Shri Krishna as the eighth avatar of Vishnu. It is observed, on the eighth day (Ashtami) of the Krishna Paksha (dark fortnight) in Shraavana or Bhadrapad as per Hindu Lunar Calendar.
It is one of the most auspicious festivals of Hindus particularly the Vaishnav tradition. It is celebrated through fasting (upavasa), a night vigil (ratri jagaran), devotional singing in the midnight of day when Krishna was born and dance-drama enactments of the life of Krishna as mentioned in the Bhagavata Purana.
The centre of Janmashtami celebration is particularly in Mathura and Vrindavan.But, now, it has become a global festival. It is an important festival of major Vaishnavas and non-sectarian communities found in Manipur, Assam, Bihar, West Bengal, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and all other states of India.
Krishna Janmashtami is followed by the festival Nandotsav, which celebrates the occasion when Nanda Baba distributed gifts to the community in honour of the birth.
● There are four very great events in history, the siege of Troy, the life and crucifixion of Christ, the exile of Krishna in Brindavan and the colloquy with Arjuna on the field of Kurukshetra. The siege of Troy created Hellas, the exile in Brindavan created devotional religion…Christ from his cross humanized Europe, the colloquy at Kurukshetra will yet liberate humanity. Yet it is said that none of these events ever happened. Krishna as godhead is the Lord of Ananda, Love and Bhakti, he manifests the union of wisdom (Jnana), and works and leads the earth-evolution through this towards union with the Divine by Ananda, Love and Bhakti.
-Sri Aurobindo in: Jutta Zimmermann The Bhagavad Gita as a Living Experience, Lantern Books, 2002
● Every new cosmic cycle — we are entering a new one now, the Age of Aquarius — brings into the world a teacher. People like Hercules and Hermes, Rama, Mithra, Vyasa, Zoroaster, Confucius, Krishna, Shankaracharya, the Buddha, the Christ, Mohammed — these are all Masters who have come from the same spiritual centre of the planet, called the Spiritual, or Esoteric, Hierarchy, which is made up of the Masters and Their initiates and disciples of various degrees.
-Benjamin Creme in The Ageless Wisdom, An Introduction to Humanity’s Spiritual Legacy, Share International (1996), p.6
● In the family of religions, Hinduism is the wise old all-knowing mother. Its sacred books, the Vedas, claim, ‘Truth is one, but sages call it by different names.’ If only Islam, and all the rest of the monotheistic ‘book’ religions, had learned that lesson, all the horror of history’s religious wars could have been avoided. Which other religion has its God say, as Krishna does in the Bhagavad Gita, ‘All paths lead to me’
-Robert R. C. Zaehner in “A Tribute to Hinduism: Thoughts and Wisdom Spanning Continents and Time about India and Her Culture,” Pragun Publications, 2008, p.154
● You must worship the Self in Krishna, not Krishna as Krishna.
-Swami Vivekananda in: The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda ( Vol 1-9 )
● The character of Krishna is unique- whatever he did, did with complete employment of his energy and focus; he didn’t save anything for later needs .He gave the mantra to men to become God but men have become miser as they have forgotten the significance of total sacrifice. Sacrifice doesn’t call for giving away his body to others, rather it is an act of devoting totally for the actions that he does.
-Ram Manohar Lohia in Bharatmata Dharatimata, Lokbharati Prakashan , Allahabad, 2002
Influence and significance
All Vaishnava traditions recognise Krishna as the eighth avatar of Vishnu; others identify Krishna with Vishnu, while traditions regard Krishna as the Svayam Bhagavan, the original form of Lord or the same as the concept of Brahman in Hinduism.
The Jainism tradition lists 63 Śalākāpuruṣa or notable figures which, amongst others, includes the twenty-four Tirthankaras (spiritual teachers) and nine sets of triads. One of these triads is Krishna as the Vasudeva, Balarama as the Baladeva, and Jarasandha as the Prati-Vasudeva.
The story of Krishna occurs in the Jataka tales in Buddhism. The Vidhurapandita Jataka mentions Madhura (Sanskrit: Mathura), the Ghata Jataka mentions Kamsa, Devagabbha (Sanskrit:Devaki), Upasagara or Vasudeva, Govaddhana (Sanskrit: Govardhana), Baladeva (Balarama), and Kanha or Kesava (Sanskrit: Krishna, Keshava).
Krishna is mentioned as Krishna Avtar in the Chaubis Avtar, a composition in Dasam Granth traditionally and historically attributed to Guru Gobind Singh.
Bahá’ís believe that Krishna was a “Manifestation of God”, or one in a line of prophets who have revealed the Word of God progressively for a gradually maturing humanity.
Lessons from Life of Lord Krishna
In all incarnations of Lord Vishnu, Krishna and Rama are full lives lived on this land to show the path of righteousness through their actions. This is the land where whenever harm happens to Dharma, Bhagavan will walk to set everything right by acting according to the environment.
In Treta yuga, people used to follow Dharma if you show them an example being who is an embodiment of it, hence Rama is maryada purushottama, who followed the right paths even by keeping his relationships aside. In Dwapara Yuga, mere showing an example was not enough, Dharma had to be taught even if it takes to punish them. That’s why Krishna stood on the side of Dharma and helped Pandavas to win in Kurukshetra.
When looking up to a God, we can deduct many aspects depending on how we worship them. A person who is devotee of Krishna will make Krishna everything in his life, fills his life with love, floats in the sea of happiness and eventually attains Moksha. I am not talking about them. Since Krishna has a history, how he behaved, what steps he had taken to achieve certain things will help us to learn many things.
Spread love, eventually it will come back to you
After coming to Mathura, Krishna developed strong relationships people around by doing many things. The name Krishna itself means “karshayati iti krishnah: the one who attracts”.
By doing naughty things like stealing butter, milk etc from others houses, he attracted housewives. By killing many demons he attracted his friends and all people, by helping many times he attracted many friends, by his looks and Murali gaana, he attracted many girls, and he attracted cows. Not only in his childhood, he always spread love to the right people.
World is like a mirror. What you give will come back. Always be positive, spread love to the people around you. You will eventually be lovable.
A leader should stand up for his people
The gopalas at Mathura used to worship Lord Indra ( the king of all Devatas) every year. Krishna suggested to worship the Govardhana hill which helps them in many ways like providing food for cows etc. But Indra got angry by this act and wanted to punish them. He sent samvartaka clouds and ordered to rain them heavily. The terrible rains and thunders ravaged the whole place nearly seven days.
Lord Krishna lifted the hill and gave shelter for people. This caused Indra’s false pride shattered into pieces and called back all the clouds.
A leader should always stand in front of his people, show the path of right and be there when there is a need.
Respect and protect the nature
In Mathura, there is a lake named Kalindi, a sub part of Yamuna river. It was inhabited by a serpent named Kaleeya whose fiery poison constantly heated and boiled its waters. The vapors made the river useless and used to kill creatures who accidentally taste that water. Krishna went to the lake and stepped on the heads of that huge snake and started dancing, which made that serpent unconscious. He leaved him alive and insisted him to go away from the river where no hard could be done to anyone upon praised by his wives.
Rivers give us life by giving water. Its every one’s responsibility to protect them. In fact, that’s the main concept behind celebrating Pushkars for every 12 years to major rives in this country.
We shouldn’t contaminate the nature
Favor the side of Dharma, even if it’s weak
Kaurava’s didn’t give the half part of the empire to Pandavs which they deserve. Duryodhana wanted all of it. Krishna took the side of Pandavas and uplifted them in every which way. Helped them to grow their network, killing small enemies, making friends, and even with the war by his sheer political strategies.
Stand up for what is right, even if you are alone.
Protecting women is the man’s thing
In his entire life, Krishna always protected women.
The story of Astaavakri. Before killing kamsa in Mathura, Krishna meets a women who was wretched because of her ugly physical shape. He hugs her and makes her beautiful.
Marrying who loved him. Rukmini loved Krishna to the extreme. While her brother rukmi ignores that and forces her for another marriage, she sends a message of love via a brahmin to Krishna. Krishna comes to her Kingdom and marries her.
Giving life to many- Narakaasura abducts 16k women and makes them slaves. Krishna killed Narakaasura and married all those women and gave them a position in the society.
Protecting Droupadi’s self respect-Krishna saved Droupadi many times. When Kauravas try to remove her clothes while entire Kuru sabha looking, Krishna helps her by extending the clothes.
In aranya vaasa, duryodhana sends Durvaso Maharshi to pandavs place for a visit. Droupadi was unable to provide food for them by finding the akshaya paatra was empty. She prays to Krishna. He finds that a grain of rice in that and makes the Durvasa and all his disciple stomach full. In his entire life, Krishna always protected women.
We should respect then women.
Whatever you may become in life, never forget your friends
A classmate of Krishna, Sudama was extremely poor and it was a fruit in the sky even to eat thrice a day. Upon the advice of his wife, he comes to Dwaraka by walking to visit Krishna hoping that he would help to overcome his poverty. Krishna welcomes him, respects him, changes his life by making him richer even though he wouldn’t ask anything.
Never forget your friends or who helped you when you are in need. Friends are our most valuable gifts .
Be honest, and always be proud of it
Satrajit, a king gets a rarest jewel named syaamantaka mani from lord Sun. It gives huge amounts of gold when wanted. Krishna asks that to give him as it would benefit the whole people of kingdom if used properly. Satraajit denies it. Krishna leaves that topic there.
Some days after, the brother of Satraajit goes for hunting by wearing this jewel. In the forest a lion sees the jewel, things it as tasty piece of shining meat, kills him. Straajit thinks that Krishna killed his brother for jewel.
Krishna goes to the forest in search of the mani. Finds in the house of Jambavanta, fights with him and returns the mani to Satraajit. Satraajit realizes his mistake, apologies him and requests him to take the mani along with his daughter, Satyabhaama. Krishna denies to take the mani, and marries Satyabhaama.
Life won’t always favors us. Fight against it if any predicament comes in your way. People jealous of you always try to corner you in some way or the other. Never let your head down when you are right.
The art of dealing with difficult people
Arjuna and Duryodhana both come to Krishna to request him to be on their side. Duryodhana comes first. Krishna was taking rest then. After waking up, Krishna sees both Arjuna and Duryodhana and favored the side of Dhrma by choosing to be on the side of Pandavas.
“how can you do this? I came first to see you. You should be on my side”
“You came first but I saw Arjuna first”.
Being unable to say anything, Duryodhana leaves from there.
Learn to deal difficult situations wisely. Sometimes a small idea can solve a huge problem.
Always be there for who trust you
Krishna helped Pandavas in getting their rights in every which which way. They worshiped Krishna and sought the help of Krishna when ever they faced a situation. He was there for them, showed them the way whenever the needed, made them realize their strengths, helped them to grow their army by increasing network, motivated them to fight for the right.
Always be on the side of Dharma. Take the side of right and be there for who trust you. If you break trust, you may not gain it again.
The life of Krishna is bunch of lessons and teachings to handle the life in various aspects of life in very efficient manner.