One of the Avatars of Vishnu, a Hindu god, Krishna is revered as the highest leader of the Hindu religion.
Hinduism: Krishna Janmasthami (Krishna Jayanti)
Krishna Janmashtami ( Nepali: कृष्ण जन्माष्टमी) is a festival observing the birth of Lord Krishna. This festival is also known as Krishna Ashtami, Saatam Aatham, Gokulashtami, Ashtami Rohini, and Sri Krishna Jayanti, which falls on the eighth day of the dark lunar fortnight (Krishna Paksha).
The day is marked with observant Fasting the entire day. It is widely celebrated by Hindus living around the world, yet it is mainly observed in India, Nepal, and Bangladesh.
In the Bhagavad Gita , Krishna said,
Whenever there is a predominance of evil and the decline of good works (religion), it will reincarnate again and again to end evil and save the Dharma (good) ”. Krishna Janmasthami is the celebration of the victory of good and Dharma over the devil and bad food.
Therefore, the festival has the value of eliminating the evils of society, by celebrating the birth of Krishna, the one who eliminates the evils.
Krishna: Origin and History
According to ancient scriptures, Krishna’s birth took place on July 19, 3228 BC, about 5,200 years ago. It is assumed that he lived for 125 years. Being the eighth incarnation of Vishnu, he was endowed with majestic charm and unmatched powers and wit.
Krishna belonged to the Vrishni clan of the Yadavas of Mathura and was the eighth child born to Princess Devaki and her husband Vasudeva. He was wanted by his maternal uncle Kansa because he was the chosen one who would kill the latter and eliminate the evils of society. Despite many difficulties and misadventures, he was finally able to overcome Kansa.
He played an important role in the Battle of Kurukshetra, a holy battle mentioned in the Hindu mythology of the Mahabharata. A forerunner of justice, he helped remove evils and marks the importance of virtues in society. Krishna’s death in 3102 BC is considered the beginning of the Kali Yuga (Dark Age) which continues to this day. He is revered by many of the Western nations for the Bhakti movement, largely due to the International Society for Krishna Consciousness.
The celebration of Krishna’s birth began thousands of years ago in India. Later, it followed other surrounding nations due to a greater influx of Hindu inhabitants. The city of Mathura in Northeast India is considered his birthplace, therefore the people of the city celebrate the day with enormous zeal.
Krishna Janmasthami Celebration in Nepal
Nepal, with a Hindu population of almost 80%, tends to celebrate the holiday with great zeal. On one of the holidays, crowds of devotees line up outside the great Krishna temples in the city of Kathmandu to offer prayers. The Krishna temple of Mangal Bazar in Lalitpur receives the largest number of devotees today.
Some of the fascinating observations of the festival in Nepal are;
The ‘Bhagavataam’ (Bhagwat Ramayan: the story of Lord Krishna) is recited. Rhymes are sung and devotees pray and hymns in Sanskrit are recited in admiration of Krishna.
Devotees gather on the temple premise and offer prayers, flowers, food, and sweets.
Devotees watch fast until midnight.
At midnight, devotees crowd the temples to participate in the special ‘Aarati’ to alleviate the birth of Krishna.