Janmashtami- Birth of the Supreme Lord and Our Beloved Companion

The holy and diverse country of India celebrates countless festivals with great fervour and passion. An instance of one of these days is Janmashtami. As Bhagwan Vishnu's eighth avatar, Shri Krishna was born on Janmashtami. This day is also known as Gokulashtami. Hindus celebrate this particular occasion all across the world. Janmashtami will take place on August 18th, 2022, on the eighth day, or Ashtami Tithi, of the dark fortnight, under Rohini Nakshatra. It is Shravan month according to the Hindu calendar, and it is Bhadrapada month in the Purnima calendar. This corresponds to the months of August and September on the Gregorian calendar.

Time and Date

Ashtami Tithi will begin at 09:21 pm on 18th August.
Ashtami Tithi ends at 10:59 pm on 19 August 2022.
Janmashtami Puja Time: 12:04 am to 12:48 am, Aug 19.
ISKCON Janmashtami date:19th August 2022, Friday.
ISKCON Janmashtami Puja Time:12:03 am to 12:47 am Aug 20.

Birth of Shri Krishna: Triumph of the Good over Evil:

The era had been difficult beyond description. Kamsa had overthrown his father Ugrasen, and installed himself as the king of Mathura. Repressive and unjust, the brutality of this new king had broken all bounds. Every living entity, human, animal, bird, and vegetation during his reign, was entrenched in pain and despair. Kamsa's beloved sister, Devaki, had married Vasudeva, a noble chieftain of the Yadav clan. While driving the chariot on their wedding day, in a famous prophecy; an ominous sound foretold Kamsa's death at the hands of the eighth child of the newlywed couple. Unsheathing his sword and seizing his sister by her braided hair, he challenged the prophecy and imprisoned the couple. Devaki was pregnant with her eighth child. At midnight, on the eighth day, within the tyrannical confines of the dark dungeon, Devaki gave birth to the two-handed form of Parabrahman and the eighth avatar of Bhagwan Vishnu. It is on this day and at this time of the Bhadrapada that Vaishnavas call Janmashtami ( Janm means 'to be born', and Ashtami means 'eighth day'). The seventh child was named Balarama and the eighth was named Krishna. These two were not meant to meet the same destiny as Devaki's previous six children who had perished at the hands of their evil uncle Kamsa.
Balarama was given into the care of Rohini, Vasudeva's other wife, who had previously escaped from Kamsa. Placing Shri Krishna over his head in a basket, Vasudeva spirited Shri Krishna to Vrindavan and handed him to Nanda, the village elder, and his wife Yashoda. He was now the son of Nanda Baba. It was to this day that a world slain in deep slumber awoke to Krishna-Consciousness. All across India and abroad, this festival is celebrated with great verve and jubilation, with Mathura and Vrindavan being the major centres of this celebration smeared with reverence and ebullience. This blue dollop of cosmic manifestation was intensely charming. He was doe-eyed. He had a golden effulgence like that of a delicate champak flower. His lips stained with the hue of bright red tulips and his teeth like the delicate buds of white jasmine, Shri Krishna was matchless in his beauty. Krishna, called the 'dark one',also signifies 'the one who draws and provides joy to everybody'.

Dahi Handi, or Gopalkala:

Shri Krishna was a butter thief; a young cowherd boy who enjoyed breaking the yoghurt pots of Radha and other Gopis who hopelessly fell vulnerable to his naughty pranks. All of his transcendental pastimes are enacted during Janmashtami, the most famous being 'Dahi Handi', or the 'Pot of Yogurt'. At midnight on the Ashtami of the Krishna Paksha (dark fortnight) in the month of Shravan, earthen pots filled with yoghurt and butter are tied at a height difficult to reach. In an act of imitating Shri Krishna, a human pyramid is formed by various participants. Breaking the pot filled with milk delicacy and water, the contents spill over the partakers.

How Janmashtami is celebrated:

Decorated Krishna temples, in particular, are a resplendent sight to behold. Devotees in huge numbers await the 'darshan' of their Kanhaai. Just to have a glimpse of Shri Krishna in His infant form, the impatience of these devotees is as good as that of a gravid mother; who while carrying her child cannot hold herself to see the beautiful and enchanting form of the creamy flesh that she had been shaping all these months. While waiting for Shri Krishna, His Bhajans, Kirtans, music and dance make an inseparable part of these love-lorn devotees. Vrindavan is also called the 'Land of the Heart'. To mystics, it's a hidden inner realm where the purest and unstained happiness exists. Under the roof of the dark midnight, every Krishna Bhakta sees the innermost sanctuary of the temple transpire into Vrindavan, a place where undivided bliss is found. Keeping a fast, or Upavasa, devotees keep a night vigil, or ratri jagaran. The next day of Ashtami, the ninth day or Navami, is celebrated as Nandotsav (The Festival of Nanda), also called Mahotsav (The Great Festival). Bullock carts are decorated and processions depicting various events from the life of Krishna are enacted. Eating mud pies and on being scolded showing his mother Yashoda the entire cosmos in his tiny mouth, sneaking into the homes of Gopis with his young companions to steal butter, curd and milk from the high hung earthen pots, gracefully tapping his lotus feet on the aahood of Kaliya Naag; the multi headed venomous serpent and lifting Govardhana on His little finger protecting inhabitants or the Vrajvasis from the wrath of Indra are but a few of examples from Shri Krishna's enchanting life which are intricately recalled and sang by His devotees on the night of Janmashtami.
The festival, though with its basic commonalities, is celebrated in different styles all across India. Dayaram, a Pushtimarg (The path of Grace) Vaishnav was a poet and had significantly contributed during the Bhakti movement in Gujarati literature. In Gujarat and Rajasthan, his works have become a popular recital on Janmashtami. Visits, folk dances, and bhajans form a ravishing sight at the temples of Nathdwara and Dwarka—where Krishna is believed to have established his kingdom. Borgeet is a collection of lyrical songs set in beautiful ragas, Ankia Naats, or the one-act plays of Assam primarily based on Krishna and Sattriya.
The most important lesson we can learn from such a detailed portrayal of Janmashtami is that we should start our life with love and accept its purity. The life of Shri Krishna can be a source of profound learning and inner development for any being in the modern era. To understand Shri Krishna's many sides clearly and to reestablish Dharma in our lives, all we have to do is invoke the appropriate perspective.
Shri Krishna has rightly said in the Bhagwad Gita: "The only way you can conquer me is through love, and there I am gladly conquered"
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