Janmashtmi

By Bhavin Shukla | Jul 25, 2020 | in Festivals , Kids Korner | Share

Birthday of Lord Krushna, Janmashtmi is one of the most popular holidays celebrated by people of all ages.

Janma = birth and ashtmi = eighth. Eighth day of dark fortnight of the Shravan month is celebrated as the birth of Lord Krushna, one of the most popular, most revered, most loved and most celebrated gods of Hindu culture. Lord Krushna, born on the eighth day, was the eight avatar (incarnation) of Lord Vishnu and was the eighth child born to Vasudev (father) and Devki (mother). Vasudev and Devki were imprisoned by Devki’s brother, Kansa (king of Mathura) because of a prophecy that Devki’s eighth child would kill Kansa. To save him from Kansa’s wrath, Vasudev escaped from jail that very night and dropped off baby Krushna at Vrundavan at Nanda and Yashoda’s place. Thus, Lord Krushna, born to Devki and Vasudev in Mathura, was raised by Yashoda and Nanda at Vrundavan. Such were the events that took place before Krushna was even a day old! Rest of his life were as eventful, if not more, as the first day. There is so much that he has done, said, accomplished, and taught – we shall be so fortunate even if we grasp a small fraction of it. It is said that “you should ‘do’ what Lord Rama did and ‘follow’ what Lord Krushna said”. As a child, I never fully understood or appreciated why that was the case; as I learned more about all the things that Krushna did, I began to appreciate the magnitude and impact of his deeds.


Celebrations

Janmashtmi is mostly celebrated quite literally by reenacting the birth of Lord Krushna at midnight. Devotees stay up till midnight and celebrate the birth of the little baby Krushna. They sing prayers that sing his praise; they read Bhagvad Gita that he taught to Arjuna on the battlefield; they lose themselves in the chants that utter his name … Krushna, Krushna, Krushna.


But what are we celebrating? Are we celebrating an event that took place thousands of years ago? Are we celebrating a man? Are we celebrating a place? There’s nothing wrong in celebrating all of these … but above-all, we should celebrate the teachings that Lord Krushna gave us. We should remind ourselves on those lessons. We should strive to live our lives by those values. We should yearn to follow that moral compass. That moral compass is the “way of life”. That moral compass leads the way. Last verse of chapter 16 of Bhagvad Gita reminds us of that again.


What’s in a name?

Most English literature refers to Lord Krushna as Lord Krishna. Correct pronunciation is Krushna. Krishna refers to someone who loves Krushna. For example, Draupadi was referred to as Krishna. It is critically important to pronounce the words as they were meant to be. As Amitabh Bachchan said in this speech, "dishonest words will give dishonest results".


The word Krushna is made up of 2 elements: Krush and Ana. Krush refers to authority with which one can control. Ana refers to the bliss and joy with which one can lead. And thus, Krushna is someone who can do both. The age-old Machiavellian question of “is it better to be loved or feared” was already answered by the leadership qualities that Krushna demonstrated. Krushna has been referred to by many names in the great epic of Mahabharata. Bhagvad Gita, which is a section of Mahabharata, where Krushna teaches, encourages and motivates Arjuna to rise and fight, also has several names that Arjuna calls him by. Each name reminds us of qualities that Lord Krushna was, possessed, did, acquired or influenced. He was a visionary, a strategist, a shrewd statesman, balanced politician, an athletic player, a fearless warrior, a faithful lover, a trustworthy friend, an extraordinary son, a remarkable mentor and above all, a charismatic leader. That is why कृष्णम वन्दे जगत् गुरुम is eternally relevant.


His life

There is so much literature, stories, poems, movies and TV shows about Lord Krushna that all of us are familiar with. From Ved Vyas’s Mahabharat to Dr. K. M. Munshi’s Krushnavatar to current TV serials, we have imagined and seen Krushna fight many demons, played many games, and teach us many life-lessons. Yet, there is more. There is a level of mystique that Krushna always carries. And it is that mystique that is adored by people of all ages. One can experience all 9 stages of bhakti by worshipping different forms of Krushna. Each and every incident in his life is worth examining, worth reciting and worth learning from.


Let us remind ourselves of what it is to be human on this auspicious day of Janmashtmi.


There are many prayers that one can recite and enjoy on Janmashtmi.

 


Prayers:

  1. Achyutashtakam
  2. Madhurashtakam
  3. Krushnashtakam

 

Bhagvad Gita:

  1. Bhagvad Gita - Chapter 1
  2. Bhagvad Gita - Chapter 2
  3. Bhagvad Gita - Chapter 3
  4. Bhagvad Gita - Chapter 4
  5. Bhagvad Gita - Chapter 5
  6. Bhagvad Gita - Chapter 6
  7. Bhagvad Gita - Chapter 7
  8. Bhagvad Gita - Chapter 8
  9. Bhagvad Gita - Chapter 9
  10. Bhagvad Gita - Chapter 10
  11. Bhagvad Gita - Chapter 11
  12. Bhagvad Gita - Chapter 12
  13. Bhagvad Gita - Chapter 13
  14. Bhagvad Gita - Chapter 14
  15. Bhagvad Gita - Chapter 15
  16. Bhagvad Gita - Chapter 16
  17. Bhagvad Gita - Chapter 17
  18. Bhagvad Gita - Chapter 18