Janmashtami is an annual Hindu festival that celebrates the appearance of Lord Krishna.
The whole world celebrates the appearance of Krishna with great enthusiasm. There is immense pleasure among the devotees who have devoted their life unto the lotus feet of Lord Krishna. On this day people enact dance-drama elements from the Bhagavata Purana which portrays the life of Lord Krishna, sing in the praise of the Lord, keep fast and embrace the Lord with much affection and pure love.
Son of Devaki and Vasudeva, Krishna appeared in Mathura at midnight on the eighth day of Bhadrapada month.
After seeing the devotion of Devaki and Vasudeva, the Lord appeared in the form of their son in the prison of his uncle Kamsa and soon after with the Lord’s grace Vasudeva carried Krishna across the Yamuna, to foster parents in Gokul named Nanda and Yashoda. After Krishna’s midnight hour birth, statues of baby Krishna are washed and clothed, then placed in a cradle. The devotees then break their fast, by sharing food and sweets. Women draw tiny footprints outside their house doors and kitchen, walking towards their house, a symbolism for Krishna’s journey into their homes.
Major Krishna temples organize recitation of Bhagavata Purana and Bhagavad Gita.
It is said that only by hearing Krishna’s stories, we will be set free from the stages of ignorance and passion. We will be situated in the mode of goodness. The malicious things in the heart of the people, accumulated life afterlife, will be cleared out.
As stated in the Bhagavad-gītā, the Lord says that His appearance, birth, and activities, are all transcendental, and one who understands them factually becomes immediately eligible to be transferred to the spiritual world. He appears out of His own sweet pleasure. When the time was mature for the appearance of the Lord, the constellations became very auspicious. The astrological influence of the star known as Rohiṇī was also predominant because this star is considered to be very auspicious. Rohiṇī is under the direct supervision of Brahmā. According to the astrological conclusion, besides the proper situation of the stars, there are auspicious and inauspicious moments due to the different situations of the different planetary systems. At the time of Kṛishna’s birth, the planetary systems were automatically adjusted so that everything became auspicious.
At home, the brāhmaṇas, who were accustomed to offer sacrifices in the fire, found their homes very pleasant for offerings. Due to disturbances created by the demoniac kings, the sacrificial fire alter had been almost stopped in the houses of brāhmaṇas, but now they could find the opportunity to start the fire peacefully. Being forbidden to offer sacrifices, the brāhmaṇas were very distressed in mind, intelligence and activities, but just on the point of Kṛiṣhṇa’s appearance, automatically their minds became full of joy because they could hear loud vibrations in the sky of transcendental sounds proclaiming the appearance of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
When things were adjusted like this, Lord Viṣṇu, who is residing within the heart of every living entity, appeared in the darkness of night as the Supreme Personality of Godhead before Devaki. Vasudeva saw that wonderful child born as a baby with four hands, holding conchshell, club, disc, and lotus flower, decorated with the mark of Śrīvatsa, wearing the jeweled necklace of ‘kaustubha’ stone, dressed in yellow silk, appearing dazzling like a bright blackish cloud, wearing a helmet bedecked with the vaidūrya stone, valuable bracelets, earrings and similar other ornaments all over His body and an abundance of hair on His head. Due to the extraordinary features of the child, Vasudeva was struck with wonder. How could a newly born child be so decorated? He could, therefore, understand that Lord Kṛiṣhṇa had now appeared, and he became overpowered by the occasion. Vasudeva very humbly wondered that although he was an ordinary living entity conditioned by material nature and was externally imprisoned by Kaṁsa, the all-pervading Personality of Godhead, Viṣṇu or Kṛṣṇa, was appearing as a child in his home, exactly in His original position.
The Lord selected His mother and father–namely Pṛśni and Sutapā–specifically to appear in the material world. Whenever the Lord comes as a human being, He must have someone as a mother and father, so He selected Pṛśni and Sutapā perpetually as His mother and father. And on account of this, both Pṛśni and Sutapā could not ask the Lord for liberation. Liberation is not so important as the transcendental loving service of the Lord. The Lord could have awarded Pṛśni and Sutapā immediate liberation, but He preferred to keep them within this material world for His different appearances. On receiving the benediction from the Lord to become His father and mother, both Pṛśni and Sutapā returned from the activities of austerity and lived as husband and wife in order to beget a child who was the Supreme Lord Himself.
In the Millenium of Svāyambhuva Manu, Vasudeva was living as one of the Prajapatis, and his name was Sutapā and wife Pṛśni.
Being ordered by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vasudeva attempted to take his son from the delivery room, and exactly at that time, a daughter was born of Nanda and Yaśodā. She was Yogamāyā, the internal potency of the Lord. By the influence of this internal potency, Yogamāyā, all the residents of Kaṁsa’s palace, especially the doorkeepers, were overwhelmed with deep sleep, and all the palace doors opened, although they were barred and shackled with iron chains. The night was very dark, but as soon as Vasudeva took Kṛiṣhṇa on his lap and went out, he could see everything just as in the sunlight.
Vasudeva silently entered the house and exchanged his son for the girl.
Mother Yaśodā understood that a child was born of her, but because she was very tired from the labour of childbirth, she was fast asleep. When she awoke, she could not remember whether she had given birth to a male or female child.
Bhagavad Gita came into existence from the Supreme Lord Krishna and those who learn the Gita from a bonafide ‘Guru-Shishya parampara’, he will gain the ultimate knowledge including the material and spiritual.
There has been no other philosophical motivation given in the universe other than from Lord Krishna to Arjuna.
Krishna is thus seated in everyone’s heart. ” Īśvaraḥ sarva-bhūtānāṁ hṛd deśe ’rjuna tiṣṭhati ” [Bg. 18.61].
Janmashtami is celebrated with huge pomp and pleasure especially in Mathura where Krishna was born and in Vrindavan where he grew up.