श्रीबालमुकुन्दाष्टकम्: करारविन्देन पदारविन्दं
(My mind remembers that beautiful Bala Mukundam, Whose divine form reflects the Pure Consciousness and Who rests on the banyan leaf with His lotus like hand holding His lotus like feet.)
Janmashtami, one of the most popular festival in Hindu religion is celebrated with lot of enthusiasm. The festival commemorates the birth of Lord Krishna. According to popular legend, Lord Krishna was born in the second fortnight of Krishna Paksh (lunar Fortnight) in Rohini Nakshatram. Lord Krishna was born at midnight.
- Celebration of Janmashatami
It is day of prayer and bhajans (religious songs). Holy mantras are read out. People visit the temple and offer their prayers to Sri Krishna. And pull the string of the cradle in which the image of Sri Krishna has been placed. Sweets are prepared in the houses and special dishes are cooked for the feast after the day long fast. Plays are organized and small children dress up like Sri Krishna. The festivities are held at Gokul, which is located on the banks of river Yamuna, which is 7 miles from the city of Mathura. This is where Sri Krishna was exchanged for another child belonging to Yashoda, who is the wife of Nanda.
- Fasting Rules on Krishna Janmashtami
No grains should be consumed during Janmashtami fasting until the fast is broken on next day after Sunrise. All rules followed during Ekadashi fasting should be followed during Janmashtami fasting also.
The most common ritual observed all over during Janmashtami is fasting by devotees on the day of the festival. Devotees fast for the entire day and break it after the birth of Lord Krishna at midnight. People prefer to have only milk and milk products as they were the favourite of Lord Krishna. Some devotees of Lord Krishna go to the extent of keeping ‘Nirjal’ fast- It involves fasting without having a single drop of water. There are other ardent followers , who keep the fast for two days in the honour of Lord Krishna.
which means breaking the fast should be done at an appropriate time. For Krishna Janmashtami fasting, Parana is done on next day after Sunrise when Ashtami Tithi and Rohini Nakshatra are over. If Ashtami Tithi and Rohini Nakshatra don’t get over before Sunset then fast can be broken during day time when either Ashtami Tithi or Rohini Nakshatra is over. When neither Ashtami Tithi nor Rohini Nakshatra is over before Sunset or even Hindu Midnight (also known as Nishita Time) one should wait to get them over before breaking the fast.
Depending on end timing of Ashtami Tithi and Rohini Nakshatra fasting on Krishna Janmashtami might continue for two complete days. Devotees who are not able to follow two days fasting might break the fast on next day after Sunrise. It has been suggested by Hindu religious text Dharmasindhu.
- Janmashtami of Mathura and Vrindavan
The Janmashtami of Mathura and Vrindavan, the places where Lord Krishna had spent his childhood, are famous all over the world. Devotees from across the world come to these pious places to celebrate Janmasthami. On this auspicious occasion, temples and homes are beautifully decorated and illuminated. Night long prayers are offered and religious hymns are sung in temples. The priests chant holy mantras and bath the idol with Panchamrit which comprises of Gangajal (water from the holy Ganges River), milk, ghee (clarified butter), curd, and honey pouring all these from a conch shell. After this bath the idol of the infant Krishna (also known as Balmukund) is placed in a cradle. Devotional songs and dances mark the celebration of this festive occasion all over Northern India.
The temples especially in Vrindavan witness an extravagant and colourful celebration on this occasion. Raslila is performed to recreate incidents from the life of Krishna and to commemorate his love for Radha.
By Team GangesIndia