Sunday, August 13, 2017

Janmashtami: Celebration in Honor of Krishna

Krishna Janmashtami or Gokulashtami is a very important festival in the modern Hindu culture. This festival is celebrated as the birthday of Krishna during August or September. The auspicious time for the Janmashtami festivities starts at midnight when devotees sing and pray. The puja begins with the bathing of the idol of Bal Gopal with ghee and scented water. The idol is then decorated with colorful garments and precious jewels.

Offerings are made of various kinds of fruit, pastries, milk, flowers, and incense. Mantras containing the 108 names of Krishna are recited. The women wear red bracelets, along with a pendant. The women, dressed as Gopi's, chant Narayan, Narayan and Gopal, Gopal. The auspicious color for the day is yellow. Special prayers and pooja are held in temples dedicated to Krishna.

Radha Krishna Janmashtami wallpapers images decoration

Krishna was said to be born around the third millennium BC as the eighth son of Devaki and Vasudeva. According to Hindu mythology, Krishna was born at midnight in a prison where his maternal uncle Kamsa, a Bhoja king had imprisoned his parents. Kamsa usurped the throne of his father, Ugrasena to become the ruler of Mathura.

Kamsa killed all the male children of Devaki and Vasudeva immediately after their birth. When Krishna was born, a few guards allowed Vasudeva to escape with the baby. Vasudeva kept the baby in a basket on his head and carried him across the river Yamuna. Vasudeva came to Gokul in the house of Nanda and Yasoda, where the woman had just given birth to a daughter. Vasudeva took their daughter and put Krishna in their laps and returned back to Devaki in prison.

Two of his siblings were Balarama and Subhadra, born from Vasudeva's first wife Rohini. There are many stories about his life in the Gokul that show his way of being naughty and playful. Bala Krishna was was dark skinned and often used to steal butter. For example, once a woman had hidden the butter, at the top so that the children cannot get there. The children made a pyramid with their bodies and were able to reach their treasure.

Krishna often played his flute and his melodious music charmed all. Finding the Gopi's bathing in a pond, he steals their clothes and took refuge at the top of a tree. Holi, the festival of colors is closely associated with Krishna and the careless games of his youth.

Kamsa after learning the deceit of Vasudeva decided to get rid of Krishna. So he commissioned a witch to kill him. This witch named Putana went around the villages until she found the child. She went to the house of Krishna and showed up saying she has a milk of nectar, which will be able to give immortality to those who drink it. In truth, her milk was poisoned.

The mother of Krishna entrusted her with the baby. Putana thought it would be simple. But the poison did not have any effect on the baby. After this, Kamsa decided to send another one. But the little boy managed to stop even the fearsome giant. The fair-skinned Radha or Radharani was the female consort associated with Krishna.

Radha was born in Barsana as the daughter of Vrishbhanu and Kirti or Kamlavati. Radha's origins are obscure. She is not mentioned in the Srimad Bhagavatam or in the Mahabharata. We find her mention only in Brahma Vaivarta Purana, composed later than these texts, which cite the already married Radha as the consort of Krishna. Her birthday is celebrated as Radhashtami. Jhulan yatra is the festival of the swing, which celebrates the pastimes between Radharani and Krishna.

After moving to Mathura, Krishna kills Kansa and gives the throne back to Ugrasena. After Krishna becomes the king of Mathura he had to face several attacks from the powerful Magadha King Jarasandha, a relative of Kamsa. After losing one of the battles against Jarasandha he moves to Dwaraka. There he married Rukmini, daughter of King Bhishmaka of Vidarbha. After killing Narakasura, he rescued 16000 women. Having been retained by Narakasura, their family would not accept nor anyone would marry them. Krishna welcomed them in his new palace.

In this period he made friends with Arjuna and the other Pandava princes of the kingdom of Kuru, across the Yamuna river. When Kuru Dushasana undressed Draupadi, the wife of the Pandavas publicly, Krishna bestowed her a garment. During the bloody battle of Kurukshetra described in the Mahabharata, Krishna takes the side of the Pandavas against their cousins Kauravas. Balaram instead favored the Kurus.

Krishna asks Arjuna (the third of the Pandavas) and Duryodhana (the eldest of the Kauravas) to choose between him and his army on the battlefield, with the condition however that he would not fight. The Pandava chooses Krishna, while Duryodhana chooses the army of Krishna.

Before the battle, finding himself in front of cousins, grandparents, mentors, and friends lined up in the opposing camp, Arjuna refuses to fight. As narrated in the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna urges him to fight. After eighteen indecisive battles, Bhima shoots Jarasandha in the battle of Kurukshetra. The Pandavas get the victory in Kurukshetra despite the numerical inferiority of their army than that of the Kauravas. The death of the Krishna is narrated in the Mahabharata in the Mausala Parva.

After the fierce civil war, Krishna retreats into the forest. He was struck by an arrow by a hunter. The Matsya Purana indicates that Krishna was 89 years during the battle of Kurukshetra.

Radha Krishna Janmashtami wallpapers images decoration

Krishna, who has many similar traits to the Greek deity Pan does not appear in the four Samitha of the Vedas. There are references to his figure in Chandogya Upanishad, a text presumably written in the eighth century BC. Krishna is presented as a god only in Mahabharata, a text written between fifth century BC and the fifth century AD. His figure becomes central in the Bhagavad Gita, written in the third century BC.

Scholars believe that Krishna and Vishnu were two separate deities. These deified warrior heroes find their transformation in Vedic and Brahmanical orthodoxy with the meeting of the Vedic and Brahmanical Vishnu. The merger between the warrior gods became necessary in the context of the criticism from the heterodox religions such as Buddhism and Jainism.

They were merged fully in the fifth century AD when Krishna was referred to as an avatar of Vishnu in the Vishnu Puraṇa, a text written in the fifth century AD. Rama was also not originally considered the incarnation of Vishnu. In the Rig Veda, the oldest Indian text, dated to the middle of the second millennium BC, Vishnu is a very minor character.

The close links between the two deities, however, have precedents in a column of the first century BC found in Goṣuṇḍi. Here Krishna and Narayana were found, who was previously associated with Vishnu. The images relating to the period of Kushan Empire in first century AD represent Krishna and Vishnu with same weapons.

The Krishna Vasudeva of the Mahabharata is referred to as the head of the Vrishni clan of Mathura, the Yadava tribe. References were also found in Mahabhasya of Patanjali and the Buddhist Gatha Jataka. A number of traditions and regional deities may have been merged into the stories of Krishna. There is added, then a further Krishna called the Krishna Gopala. More traits are added to this character.

Abhira, a nomadic ethnic group which extended its territory from Punjab to the Deccan and Ganges plains worshiped the Gopala Krishna. When the Abhira tribes reached Mathura area of Braj, they met the Vrisni clan. Their worship of Krishna Gopala was integrated with that of Krishna Vasudeva.

In summary, Krishna was a deified hero of the Yadava clan. It is likely that the Devakiputra Krishna referenced in the Chandogya Upanishad in the seventeenth Khanda is none other than the Krishna of Yadava clan who was in close contact with the Vrisni clan of Mathura, who worshipped Vasudeva, another deified hero. In fact, some of the contents of the Chandogya Upanishad reverberate in the Mahabharata.

Krishna was opposed to the older Indo-European gods, which tends to confirm their Aboriginal origin. Every year the inhabitants of the various villages worshipped Indra. At that time there was a great flood so as to engulf all those poor villagers in Vrindavan. Krishna carved a cave inside the Govardhana mountain and all flee down there and were saved. Krishna ordered them to worship the Govardhana mountain. In the Vaishnava version of the myth, Indra was replaced by Krishna as the slayer of the dragon serpent, Vritra.

Govinden Thiruvizha is a festival commemorating the worship of Govardhan hill. It is widespread in South India and Mauritius. During the prayers, a large lamp is lit that burns all night. Singing and dancing take place for the whole night. Fasting takes place during the Tamil month of Purattaasi.

Radha Krishna Janmashtami wallpapers images decoration

Radha Krishna Janmashtami wallpapers images decoration


Huellas said...

Buenas fotos con un colorido muy vistoso. Saludos.-

Gowthami Nandigala said...

Hare Krishna!

Woww...kalyan...I just cannot speak how I felt after going thru this post and by looking at the most charming Krishna...

Well described!

Jai Shree RadhaGovind :)

Stay in touch Kalyan..

soujanya said...

Hare Krishna...
Happy Janmastami...briefly explaned....
Pics are amazing cant move my eyes out of them...
appreciate it!

Gopika Ram said...

You have got such beautiful pictures of HIM :) I loved em all :) Awesome.. I just love Krishna :)

Jai Shree Krishna :)

Vardhini said...

Happy Janmashtami. Amazing pictures.

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Kalyani's Platter said...

Happy janmashtami ... Beautiful pictures ...