It’s was almost 7pm. Maya and her friends were busy ornamenting the living room of her home. Long threads of garlands made from colourful flowers dropped hanging from the wall in a wave pattern; a small table covered with red velvet cloth, miniatures of animals placed randomly on the table with the beautiful Lord Krishna’s idol in the centre. In the centre of the hall-way, a matki (earthen pot) was hanged filled with dahi, milk and coins. The milieu was filled with the aroma of the Prasad her mother-in-law was making. Soon all was done and it was time to get her son Ayush ready. And in no time, he was. Looking strikingly cute and adorable, dressed as Lord Krishna, he wandered in the room mesmerizing all. Women from the neighbourhood began to flock at Maya’s place and at around 10:30 in the night, the dancing and singing of bhajans began. With the melody of dhols and majiras, it was almost a trance like state. The clock struck mid-night and it was time of Krishna Janma. Lord Krishna was born. The milieu resonated with the sounds of ‘Nand Ghar Anand Bhayo, Jai Kainaiya Lal ki’. Little Ayush who was dressed as Krishna then was lifted up by his father so he could reach the matki, which he got it down and broke it.
What a beautiful and mesmerizing vista which is to be seen on the day of Krishna Janmashtami. Celebrated day of Ashtami of Krishna Paksh or on the 8th day of the dark fortnight Bhadon month of Hindu calendar, on a small and large scale at homes and temples across India, it marks the birthday of Lord Krishna – the incarnation of Lord Vishnu. In India, there are many places like Mathura, Gokul, Dwarka and Kurukshetra that mark the presence and tell many tales of Lord Krishna. He played different roles in different stages of his life, but the most admired is his childhood.
According to the Hindu mythology, a prophecy was made that the 8th son of Vasudev and Devki will kill Kansa. He has been brutal towards his subjects. Everyone in Mathura was being oppressed by his rule. Hence Lord Krishna took birth as the saviour who would eventually kill his uncle and free everyone from his unrelenting rule. His birth is marked by victory of good over evil.
On this day, the devotees of Lord Krishna assemble in various temples or at home and celebrate his birth with joy and happiness. The Krishna puja and celebrations begins at mid night at 12. Day before the temples is beautifully decorated with lights, garlands, and their aroma is spread all around. For the entire day a range of competitions and programs are held at various places. One of the most interesting features is the display of life events of Lord Krishna in the form of “jhankis. Such displays are visually appealing at the same provide with the life history of Lord Krishna. Young children dress as Krishna to be part of costume and fancy dress competitions. All the temples have music and dances about Krishna. A lot of men and women also observe fast on this day.
When the clock struck 12, proper puja and welcome of Lord Krishna is done. The abhishekh of Lord Krishna is performed with honey, curd, milk, and Gangajal. Later he is dressed in his new dress just like a newborn baby and decorated with precious jewels and garland. The “prasand” is made of peanuts bharfi, coconut bharfi and milk. Thousands of people gather in various temples to be part of this grand event.
Janmashtami is a very important festival for all the Vaishnavites. It is celebration of welcoming and acknowledging Bal Krishna and His Leelas.