Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Sri Krishna Janmaashtami


Om! Gam! Ganapathaye! Namaha!
Om! Sri Raghavendraya Namaha!
Om! Namo! Bhagavathe! Vaasudevaya!
Om! Ham! Hanumathe! Sri Rama Doothaya Namaha!

Janmaashtami is a very popular Hindu festival dedicated to Lord Sri Krishna the most revered God in this Universe. It is celebrated with all gaiety and religious fervor across the country by one and all irrespective of the caste and creed. As per Hindu lunar calendar it occurs during the auspicious month of Sravana Masam on the eighth day (Ashtami) of the dark fortnight. It is also known as Sri Krishna Jayanthi, Gokulaashtami and Janmaashtami.

(Sri Krishna at Udupi temple)

Sri Krishnaavathara took place during the sandhi kala (transit time) in Dwapara Yuga in the 28th Maha Yuga of Vaivaswatha Manvanthara. Lord Sri Krishna considered as the Paripoorna Avathara of Lord Sri ManNarayana, took birth in Chandra Vamsam in Yadu dynasty in the clan of Vrushni.

Sri Krishna was born to the noble couple Vasudeva and his consort Devaki Devi as their eighth child. Devaki and Vasudeva in their previous birth had performed severe penance for several thousands of years to have Lord Sri Maha Vishnu as their child for three lives. As a result, Lord Sri ManNarayana took birth as Prusnigarbha in Krutha Yuga to the Divine couple Prusni and Suthapa, as Lord Vamana to the Divine Sage couple Kashyapa and Aditi in Vaamana Avathara and thirdly as Lord Sri Krishna to Devaki and Vasudeva in Sri Krishnaavathara thus, fulfilling the boon given to them. Sri Krishna was born in the prison of his maternal uncle Kamsa and soon after birth He was moved to Gokula by his father Vasudeva carrying him on his head. Before taking birth, He gave darshan to His parents in his original form of Lord Sri ManNarayana and reminding of their lineage and the boon given to them.

(Sri Krishna at Dwaraka temple)

Since He was born in Yadu dynasty His clan came to be known as Yaadavas. Being the son of Vasudeva, He is also known as Vaasudeva and Sri Krishna says in Bhagawadgeeta that He is Vaasudeva among the Yadavas. Though born to Devaki and Vasudeva, His foster parents were Nanda and Yashoda and Sri Krishna was brought up in Gokul near Brindavan. Nanda was one of the Ashta Vasus (Drona) in his previous birth and his wife Yashoda was Dhara in her previous birth.


Significance of the word Krishna

Though Sri Krishna was called by several other names like Kesava, Govinda and Damodara etc… He was and is very popular as Krishna. It is said that the name Krishna was suggested by Sage Garga who had earlier meditated
on this name before Sri Krishna’s birth. We find Lord Sri Krishna’s name as a last one in 24 Kesava Namas– Sri Krishnaya Namaha. We find reference to the word Krishna in sloka # 7 of Sri Vishnu Sahasra Nama Sthothram (Agraahyah shaashvathahKrishna lohitaakshah pratardanah). The word Krishna is actually pronounced as Krushna or Krshna meaning dark in colour or all attractive. In the word Krushna,Kru sh refers to everlasting (Saaswatha) andN a refers to Sath swaroopa.Krushna means Sat -Chit - Ananda, complete and blissful happiness. Karshatheethi Krushnah,
meaning one, who has the character, capacity and capability of attracting others with his beautiful, charming, delightful, every smiling and fascinating figure. Krishnasthu Swayam Bhagavan– Lord Sri Krishna on several occasions had revealed that He is the Paramatma, the ultimate reality.

Lord Sri Krishna the slayer of all demons, the remover of all obstacles and sole guardian of his countless devotees, guiding them towards salvation by washing away all their accumulated sins. Main purpose of His Avathara was Dusta Sikshana and Sishta Rakshana and to uplift the Dharma. Right from the infant stage Lord Sri Krishna started eliminating the Demonic forces to begin with Poothana. Sri Madbhagavatham considered as the King of all Puranas covers exclusively about Lord Sri Krishna in the10th Canto. Lord Sri Krishna physically lived on this Earth for 125 + years before His niryana took place at Prabhasa Kshethra near Somanath in Gujarat.
Customs and Traditions of Janmaashtami festival
It is our Hindu sampradaya to celebrate the birth days of Avathara Moorthis as a festival. Though the festival of Janmaashtami is celebrated across the country there are divergent traditions that are followed in different regions in celebrations. Generally birthdays are celebrated based on the lunar thithi. But the birth day of Lord Sri Krishna is associated not only with the lunar thithi but also with his birth star.
Due to Calendar difference the festival of Janmastami is observed in Sravana Masam in South India by which time it will be Bhadrapada Masam in North India.

In some regions and philosophies occurrence of Rohini star spreading beyond mid night is given significance while in some others Ashtami thithi spreading beyond midnight is given prominence for observance of the festival. If there is coincidence of both Ashtami thithi and Rohini star it is referred to as Sri Krishna Jayanthi when it is considered as highly sacred.

In some philosophies people observe fasting on the day of Janmaashtami and the fasting will continue till the Rohini Star/Ashtami thithi lasts. Some times it gets extended to the next day when they break the fast after taking bath and performing pooja again.

A special pooja and bhajans are conducted and arghya is given to Lord Sri Krishna on the day of Janmastami at Moonrise time coinciding with Ashtami thithi and/or Rohini star.

Foot prints of a child are drawn with special rangoli starting from the house entrance up to Pooja room, assuming that Lord Sri Krishna would walk into their houses on this day.

Apart from various sweet dishes, fruits, people also offer Butter and Thandulam (Avalakki, Poha rice) as Naivedya to Lord Sri Krishna.

Apart from worshipping Lord Sri Krishna, people also worship on this day Devaki Devi (Mother), and Vasudeva (father) along with Yashoda, Nanda and Balarama.

At some places people wake up whole night singing and dancing in glory of Lord Sri Krishna. Special celebrations are held at all the temples of Lord Sri Krishna especially in Gujarat, Maharastra, Uttar Pradesh and all the states of Southern India.

In Maharastra especially and in some other parts of the country a special celebration known as Dahi Handi is held with lot of zeal and enthusiasm. On this occasion people tie a decorated clay pot filled with butter milk at a reasonable height.

Enthusiasts known as Govinda Pathaks form a human pyramid and the person standing on the top of the human pyramid breaks the pot. At some other places people try to catch the same by jumping while people from surrounding spill water on them. Attractive gifts and prizes are also offered for breaking the pot.


Sri Krishna Arghya

On the day of Sri Krishnaastami whether it is coinciding with Rohini Star or not Arghya is to be given to Sri Krishna with the following manthra after performing pooja to Lord Sri Krishna along with Vasudeva, Devaki Devi, Yashoda Nanda and Balarama.

Arghya should be given with Shanka (Kounch) filled with water, flowers, Chandana and dakshina. Arghya should be given to both Lord Sri Krishna as well as to the Moon God (Chandra) at Moonrise time as per the local calendar. Giving Arghya on this day is considered as highly meritorious that gives the merits of Bhoodana.

Krishna Arghya Manthra


Jaathah Kamsavadhaarthaaya Bhoobhaarottaranaaya Cha|
Kouravaanaam Vinaashaaya dhaityanaam Nidhanaaya Cha ||
Paandavaanaam Hithaarthaaya Dharmasamsthaapanaaya Cha|
GruhaanArghyam Mayaa Dhattam Devakyaa sahitho Hare ||

Chandra Arghya Manthra

KsheerodaarnavaSambhootha AthriGothraSamudhbhava |
GruhaanArghyam Mayaa Dhattam Rhohinyaa sahithah Shashin ||

*(For Arghya manthra in Sanskrit and Kannada please scroll down)
Suggested readings for the day


10th Canto of Sri Mad Bhagavatham (episode of Sri Krishna Janma)

Sri Vishnu Sahasra Nama Sthothram, Purusha Sooktha
Sri Krishna Ashtottara, Sri Vishnu Sooktha
Dwadasa Sthothra
Sri Krishnaashtakam

Astrological significance

As per astrological estimates it is said that Lord Sri Krishna was born on the 19th day of July 3228 BC about 5200 years ago at Mathura in Uttar Pradesh on the banks of holy river Yamuna. He was born at midnight (00.00 hrs) in the constellation ofRohini (4th charana) in Vrushabha Raasi (Taurus) and it was Ashtami thithi in Bahula Paksha (dark fortnight) in Sravana Masam as per the lunar calendar. Moon gets exalted in Vrushabha Raasi and is the star Lord for Rohini constellation. Sri Krishna was born in Chandra Vamsam and Moon God is said to be the Paramatma amsa of Lord

Sri Krishna. Astrologically Rohini star is considered as a Shanti Nakshatra and the native will have Balaarishta Dosha.

Accordingly Lord Sri Krishna had threat to His life till 12th year, during which time He killed several demons. The star Rohini is also considered as malefic to the maternal uncle and accordingly Kamsa the maternal uncle of Lord Sri Krishna got killed at His hands.

Sri Krishna and # 8
Number eight has lot of association with Lord Sri Krishna. He was born as the 8th child of his parents, as the 8th Avathara of Lord Sri Maha Vishnu among the Dasaavatharas, born on the 8th Lunar day Ashtami, and had eight Prime Queens known as Ashta Mahishis. The presiding deity of Ashtami thithi is Lord Shiva and Lord Sri Krishna says in Bhagavat Geeta that He is Shankara among the Ekadasa Rudras. Vaasudeva also means the Lord of Vasus (Ashta Vasus) and Sri Krishna says in Bhagawadgeeta that He is Pavaka among the Ashta Vasus. Sri Krishna further says in Bhagawadgeeta that He is Meru Parvatha (mountain) among the eight great mountains.


Temples of Lord Sri Krishna

There are several temples of Lord Sri Krishna in India and abroad. Among them, some of the very prominent temples are located at Mathura, Brindavan, Dwaraka, Bhet Dwaraka, Dakor (Gujarat), Udupi, Guruvayur, Tiruchanoor (Tirupathi), Puri (Orissa), Nathdwara near Udaipur and Triplicane (Chennai). At Udupi Sri Krishna temple, the idol of Sri Krishna was installed and worshipped by Sri Madhvacharya, the founder of Dvaita Philosophy.

Sri Krishnaavathara has gained unique prominence and significance among the several avatharas of Lord Sri Maha Vishnu. It is a Paripoorna Leela Maanusha Avathara. Sri Krishna was and is a towering and multifaceted personality in Hindu philosophy and Epics ever to remain as a role model. His preachings through Bhagawadgeeta is a Divine gift to the mankind which is accepted across the world as a Universal Bible. The story of Lord Sri Krishna never ends. Our capacity to describe him is limited and when our limit is reached we abandon it half way. Worship of Lord Sri Krishna was prevalent right from His avathara days. Best examples are Akrura, Vidura, Kunti Devi, Sudhama (Kuchela), Rukmani Devi etc… It is our ardent duty and highly auspicious to worship Lord Sri Krishna on the day of Janmaashtami and seek the blessing of the Supreme Lord.

Namo Brahmanya Devaaya Gho Braahmana hitaayacha
Jagaddhitaaya krsnaaya Govindaaya namo namaha
Chaayaam paarijaathasya hemasimhasanopari

Aasinamambuda Shyama maaya thakshamalankritham
Chandrananam chaturbaahum srivatsangitavakshasam
Rukmani Sathyabhaamaabhyam sahitam Krishnam asrayei
Krishnaaya Vaasudevaaya Devaki Nandanaayacha
Nandagopa kumaraaya Govindaaya Namo Namaha
Krishnaaya Vaasudevaaya Haraye Paramaatmane
Pranatha klesaNaashaaya Govindaaya Namo Namaha

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