Why do We Celebrate Janmashtami?
Days We Celebrate By Mrs. Navneeta Talukdar
Janmashtami refers to the day when the Appearance of Lord Krishna, the supreme Hindu deity, is celebrated. It is a celebration of joy, love, and divinity. The story of Krishna’s advent reminds us, through Kansa’s actions, that ego and pride are the major faults in human beings which can only doom them.
It is because of our ego that we end up doing things that are not Godly. But with humility and love, we can defeat ego. The image of baby Krishna is the image of unbridled love. Lord Krishna’s appearance is a symbol of the mind’s prosperity, and it is this uninhibited love for the humanity and unrestricted prosperity for all that is celebrated on this day.
The story goes that Devaki’s brother; the tyrant Kansa, was warned about his inevitable end in the hands of one of her children. Kansa decided to kill Devaki so that he could ensure his safety.But Vasudeva, her husband, begged Kamsa to spare Devki and promised to give him all of their children right after their birth.After being assured of receiving all the new-born babies of the couple, he did not killhis sister but imprisoned both Queen Devaki and King Vasudeva. Kansa made sure that none of her children survived.
On the night of Lord Krishna’s appearance, Vasudeva was asked by the Lord Himself, to take Him as the baby to his friend Nandraja and his wife, Yashoda, in Gokul. The weather that night was tempestuous, and Vasudeva was having a tough time to take the baby Lord Krishna across the raging river Yamuna.This is when Lord Vishnu’s Shesh Naag arrived and helped Vasudeva to carry the child across the river safely. Vasudeva then exchanged Lord Krishna for a baby girl that Nandraja and Yashoda had that very night, and headed back to the prison with the girl child.
When the cruel Kansa came to kill the new-born baby, a miracle happened. The baby transformed into Goddess Durga who then warned Kansa about his impending doom. This is the story of the Supreme Lord, Krishna’s advent in this world.
On this day, Krishna temples around the globe are decorated and devotees come in large numbers to rejoice. The Deities of Radha and Krishna are adorned with beautiful flowers, amazing ornaments, and celebrations of Janmashtami are conducted with love and devotion. In some temples, games and activities are organized for children as this day celebrates the birth and childhood of the Lord.
Dahi Handi is an integral part of Janmashtami celebration and is celebrated the next day. A handi or earthen pot filled with dahi (curd), Makhan (butter), ghee, sweets, and nuts, is hung at a height. Then, a group of young boys make a human pyramid to get to the handi and break it.
Child Lord Krishna loved to eat white butter (Makhan), curd and milk, and used to steal it from the villagers. So, to save their delicacies from Child Krishna and his friends, women in the village used to tie their butter, curd and milk in a handi at a height so that he would be unable to reach it. However, Krishna and other children made human pyramids to reach the handi, break it and distribute it among themselves. Thus, it is all about brotherhood, teamwork, coordination, focus, and strength.
Therefore, the festival of Janmashtami or Gokulashtami bears a very deep message for the entire humanity. Apart from the joy and blessings that this day showers on us, it also teaches us very important lessons to live a more fruitful and progressive life.