About Krishna Janmashtami
Janmashtami, or more popularly known as Krishna Janmashtami is the birthday of Lord Krishna which is celebrated with great fervor and zeal in India during the monsoon month. If we go by the Hindu calendar, this important day falls on the Ashtami or eighth day of the Krishna Paksh or dark fortnight of Bhadon month. No one actually knows when this festival originated! May be a thousand years back this festival found its foothold in our culture. One would actually come across various legendary stories and myths encircling the birth of Janmashtami.
Among all of them, the most widely accepted view is that Lord Krishna is the eighth incarnate of Lord Vishnu. We all have known from Mahabharata that the birth of Lord Krishna happened to kill the demon Kansa who happens to be his maternal uncle. Whenever there is some imbalance in the universe regarding peace and prosperity, it is said that Lord Vishnu comes to save the humanity from the hands of demons and goons.
Historians and scholars say that Lord Krishna took birth in a cellular jail in Dwapar Yug biologically to Vasudeva and Devaki. But Vasudeva had to cross the Yamuna River in a stormy night to pass on his child to a friend so save the child from the evil hands of Kansa. So, technically, Maiya Yashodha and Nanda of Gokul region of Mathura were the foster parents of Lord Krishna.
Now this Lord Krishna was a wonder child and his skills were noticed since childhood only. People started believing that this small boy named Krishna is among the commoners to save them from all tumultuous situations. Slowly, people of Nandgaon started celebrating the birth of Krishna in a grand way as they believed this day to be a fortunate one.
We can say that this festival initially originated in Gokul and slowly engulfed the Mathura region and later on the whole Uttar Pradesh state. And now even after 1000 years, the whole country celebrates the birth of Lord Krishna as he is the epitome of love, faith, friendship, and peace.
Why do we celebrate?
The tale of Mahabharata has a lot to do with the life of Lord Krishna. During the Dharma Yuddha or righteous war between two Pandavas and Kauravas, Lord Krishna played the charioteer of Arjuna. He was counselling Arjuna on various segments of life like Dharma (righteous path), Karma (deeds), Theistic Devotion, Yogic ideals, salvation, knowledge, etc. because Arjuna was in emotional turmoil in killing his brothers and cousins. The verses mentioned in this book is often called a life guide or spiritual dictionary. Lord Krishna stated that whenever there will be prominence of evil deeds in this universe, he will reincarnate in various looks and attire to show the path of right and peace to people. The sole reason of celebrating this festival is bringing people together so that principles of unity strengthens.
Dahi Handi is another important aspect of this festival that is observed in the second day of Janmashtami. As a kid Lord Krishna was named "Makhanchor" or the one who steals butter. He used to steal butter from every household of Gokul. Dahi Handi is an event where the same butter stealing activity of Lord Krishna is narrated. An earthen pot or handi is filled with butter, clarified butter or ghee, dry fruits, and milk is suspended at a considerable height with help of ropes. All the local young guys gather to make a human pyramid and climb on each other to reach the handi and break it. This is an activity that teaches the team work principles.