Shree Krishna Janmashtami
Vasudeva Sutam Devam Kansa Chanura Mardanam
Devaki Paramanandam Krishnam Vande Jagadgurum.”
वसुदेव–सुतं देवं कंस–चाणूर–मर्दनम्
देवकी–परमानन्दं कृष्णं वन्दे जगद् गुरुम् ||
Salutations To Sri Krishna, The Jagadguru (The Master Of Universe);
Son Of Vasudeva;
The Destroyer Of Kansa And Chanura; And He Who Brought Immense Joy To Mother Devaki.
Who is Krishna?
Krishna is arguably the most fascinating, the most popular, and the most versatile deity of the Hindu pantheon. Where do I even begin to introduce him? A mischievous child, a fierce warrior, a loyal friend, a great philosopher, a countryside cowherd, a passionate lover, a duty-bound brother, a fearsome demon slayer, a just king, a profound preacher you name it and he is that.
His life saga is an amalgamation of many disparate elements in one harmonious and coherent whole. Krishna is the god of love, affection, and compassion. More importantly, Hindus often considered him the universal Supreme Being.
Krishna is possibly the only avatar of Vishnu who is depicted in a myriad of ways, including as a child devouring on butter (makkhan), as a youth playing his flute, and chariot driver of warrior Arjuna from the Mahabharat epic.
He is generally characterized as having blue skin (a common characteristic of avatars of Vishnu), a yellow dhoti (loincloth), and a peacock feather tucked into his turban or crown.
बहुल चिकुर भारम् बद्ध पिञ्छावतंसम् चपल चपल नेत्रम् चारु बिम्बाधरोष्ठं
मधुर मृदुल हासम् मन्दरोदार लीलम् मृगयति नयनम् मे मुग्ध वेषम् मुरारेः
(Krishna Karnamtritam, 14th century)
Bahula Chikura Bharam Badda Pinchavtamsam Chapala Chapala Netram Charu Bimbadharosstham
Madhura Mridula Haasam Mandodara Leelam, Mrigayati Nayanam Me Mugdha Vesham Murare
He who has His luxuriant tresses adorned with peacock feathers, with flashing eyes, with a delicate smile in his charming red lips, with very generous appearance – my eyes search for that Krishna with the youthfully attractive look.
The word Krishna itself means “the dark-hued”. Addressed by several names like Gopal, Mukunda, Giridhari, Murari, Govinda, Madhusudan Vasudev etc. Krishna Sahashra Namam, the thousand names of Krishna, lists as many as a thousand names of Krishna. He appears prominently in Mahabharat, the great Hindu Epic, and in various other Hindu scriptures like Puranas and Upanishads. The “Bhagwat Geeta”, deemed as the epitome of Hindu philosophy, is supposed to have been a discourse Krishna gave to Arjuna, right before the epic battle of Kurukshetra between cousin brothers the Pandavs & the Kauravs.
Krishna Ashtami, also known as Krishna Janmashtami or Gokul Ashtami, is a major Hindu festival celebrated all over Nepal that celebrates the birth of Lord Krishna. Krishna is the eighth incarnation of Lord Vishnu, the supreme protector God of the Hindus. The eighth day of the Bhadra Krishna Paksha (waning moon) or Ashtami as per the Hindu lunar calendar marks Krishna Ashtami.
According to Hindu mythology, Krishna was born in a dungeon of Mathura (in India) on this day at midnight. The narrative and stories of Lord Krishna’s life are referred to as Krishna Leela. According to the tale, Krishna was born in the Yadava clan of Mathura to Queen Devaki and her husband, King Vasudeva.
The largest celebration of this festival takes place in Krishna temples all across Nepal, especially in the famous Krishna Mandir at Patan Durbar Square.
In the Vamsagopal Temple of Kathmandu Durbar Square, there is a tradition of installing a beautiful cradle holding a small idol of the “Balgopal”, the baby Krishna which is rocked gently by the devotees singing bhajans & lullabies as mothers rock their babies to sleep.
Devotees also flock to the Gopinath Temple (aka Jagannath Temple) in Bhaktapur Durbar Square.
Since Lord Krishna was born at midnight, devotees observe a fast for the whole day and sing devotional songs for him at midnight. Post-midnight devotees break their fast and share food and sweets.
- Goswami, Satsvarupa dasa. The Qualities of Sri Krsna.
- “Krishna the Yogeshwara”. The Hindu.
- Feature Photo: Devotees lined up for Shree Krishna darshan around Krishna Temple at Patan Durbar Square, by Priti Thapa