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Across India there is the great Hindu festival of Janmashtami which celebrates the birth of Lord Krishna, also known as Kanha or Govinda. Anyone who has been in India has seen this deity celebrated in temples and street altars or homes, and now I will tell you his story.


Krishna is the supreme deity and popular in Hinduism, the eighth incarnation (avatar) of Lord Vishnu. The sacred Hindu texts Mahabharata, Harivamsa, Bhagavata Purana and Vishnu Purana tells of the birth and life of Krishna, set in northern India especially in the current Member of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Haryana, Delhi and Gujarat.

According to historians and astrologers the birth date of Krishna, in fact known as Janmashtami, can be traced back to July 18 of 3228 BC. His name, Krishna, comes from Sanskrit meaning black, dark or dark blue and therefore Krishna is often depicted with a black or blue skin.

Krishna was the son of Princess Devaki, Vasudeva and his mother, his father. Krishna was born when Mother Earth, devastated by the sins committed on earth, asked for help to the God Vishnu who visited as a cow. Vishnu, agreeing to help her, he promised that he, Vishnu, would be born on Earth. Meanwhile, on Earth, a prince named Kansa had sent his father Ugrasena king of Mathura in prison for usurp the throne. But one day a loud voice from heaven prophesied that the 8th son of the sister of Kamsa (Devaki, the mother of Krishna) allegedly killed Kansa.

Kansa then sat Devaki and her husband Vasudeva in prison where, later, Vishnu appeared to them to tell him that he would be their eighth child, and he would have killed Kansa and destroyed the sin of the world. Krishna then, as Vishnu, produces the conception and also becomes offspring. In fact because of his sympathy for the Earth, the divine Vishnu himself into the womb of Devaki and was born as his son, that is Krishna. At the moment of conception and the birth of Krishna, Devaki and Vasudeva had already conceived 7 children.

The first six of Devaki's sons were killed by Kansa while the seventh seemed to perish in a miscarriage but in fact the real womb that carried forward the secret pregnancy was to another woman, Rohini. Thus he was born Balarama, the elder brother of Krishna. Krishna belonged to the Yadava clan from Mathura (now Uttar Pradesh) district, and being their eighth child, Vasudeva knew that his life was in danger; to save him, he secretly bring Krishna out of the jail cell by his foster parents, Yasoda and Nanda.

These were of Gokula (today Mathura district) and Nanda was the head of a community of cowherds and settled in Vrindavan. The stories of childhood and youth of Krishna tells how he became a herdsman, his mischievous pranks when stealing the butter and its role as protector of the people of Vrindavan. For this he is often depicted as a child in the butter in the hands or close to sheep and cows.

In fact, Krishna is also known as Govinda, the collector of the cows, or Gopala, protector of cows, referring to his own childhood. Krishna was the protector of its people, killed the demons Putana and Trinavarta, has tamed the serpent Kaliya who had poisoned the waters of the Yamuna river, causing the death of cowboys. That's why iconography Hindu Krishna is often depicted while dancing on Kaliya.

Krishna protected his people of Vrndavana from the wrath of Indra, king of the devas (gods) and lord of rain and thunderstorms that became angry when Krishna had advised the people of Vrindavan to take care of their animals and their environment instead of worshiping Indra annually by spending their resources; as Krishna says in the Bhagavata Purana.

Furious Indra retaliated by sending a great storm. Krishna then lifted the Govardhan Hill and held it over people, just like an umbrella. The Rasa Lila or Rasa dance, described in the Bhagavata Purana and the Gita Govinda, for example, tells the stories of Vishnu playing with the gopis, the milkmaids of Vrindavan, especially with Radha, became his wife.

The children enjoyed a childhood of Krishna, Krishna plays his flute, and the gopis come immediately flow around him, on the banks of Yamuna River, where they sing and dance. In fact Krishna is also depicted as a young man relaxed with his musical instrument or seen as a perfect lover. Even when fighting the serpent Kaliya, Krishna seems to play, is not in any real danger.

This idea of having a playful god is very important in Hinduism. The playfulness of Krishna has inspired many celebrations, such as the Rasa-lila, and, in fact, today's festive Janmashtami where you make human pyramids to break clay pots (handis) suspended in the air that spills milk on all people below.

That's why Janmashtami is a fun celebration that unites people. Eventually, Krisha, boy, returned to Mathura and killed his maternal uncle, Kansa, restoring the true king, father of Kansa, Ugrasena, as the king of the Yadava. Became a prince of the court, Krishna befriended Arjuna (the main protagonist of the story Bhagavad Gita and other principles of his cousins. Later, he took his Yadava subjects and took them to the city of Dwaraka (in modern Gujarat), where he established his kingdom. Krishna married Rukmini, princess of Vidarbha, who had asked him to save her from the proposed marriage of Sisupala.

Besides her, Krishna married other queens, Rukmini, Satyabhama, Jambavati, Kalindi, Mitravinda, Nagnajiti, Bhadra and Lakshmana and then 16,000 girls imprisoned by the demon Narakasura, which killed, to save their honor. According to social custom of the time, in fact, all women prisoners under the control of Narakasura were degraded and they could never marry. Therefore Krishna married to restore their status in society.

In the tradition Vaishnava (Vishnu), one of the three main currents of Hinduism, along with Shaivism and Shaktism, the wives of Krishna are forms of the goddess Lakshmi , the consort of Vishnu, or special souls who have attained this qualification after many austerity lives while his two queens, Rukmini and Satyabhama, are expansions of Lakshmi.

The Hindu tradition and the sacred texts are full of stories of Krishna, as it is rich in its iconography. In temples we find it also depicted as a man standing in a formal position, alone or associated with other figures such as his brother Balarama and sister Subhadra, or his queens as Rukmini or with his consort gopis Radha. His passing marks the end of the Dvapara Yuga and the beginning of Kali Yuga (the present age), which is dated Feb. 17/18, 3102 BC.

In the Janmashtami party of Sri Krishna devotees they adore it, watch all night listening to his stories and his exploits, reciting the hymns of the Gita, and singing devotional songs, including the mantra Om namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya.

Today, in Dwaraka, the kingdom of Krishna, the temple is crowded Dwarkadhish more than usual. The faithful came in large numbers to have the darshan , the sacred vision. Lord Krishna is bathed and decorated with precious ornaments and the faithful make the continuous offerings of food, especially dairy products. After-hours, celebrating Janmashtami, with the phrase Nand Gher Anand Bhayo, Jai Kanhiya Laal Ki, devotees welcome the Supreme Lord Krishna up to 2 and a half hours of the morning when the temple is closed.

Even in Vrindavan this occasion is celebrated with great pomp and show. Raslilas or religious dramas are performed to recreate the stories of the life of Krishna and to commemorate his love for Radha. People sing and dance. At midnight, the child Krishna statue is washed and placed in a cradle, which is cradled between the breath of shells and the ringing of bells.

Further west, in Mumbai, the Dahi Handi is the most popular way of celebrating Janmashtami or Krishnashtami. The Dahi Handi is a clay pot suspended in the air and full of butter and yogurt. The faithful, forming a human pyramid, symbolizing the harmony of the group, should allow those at the top of the pile to break it with a hard object, such as a coconut, so the butter will fall on them.

People involved in this performance are known as Govinda Pathak; everything happens at a rate of Govinda Ala Re, a huge round of applause constantly chanted during the performance. The Dahi Handi is celebrated with great devotion and adds great fervor on the streets of Mumbai. While the celebrations at the temple Dwarkadhish reveal the spiritual side of Krishna, the Dahi Handi festival highlights its malignant nature. Janmashtami is also obviously celebrated in Mathura similarly to as occurs in Dwarka.

The Janmashtami festival would also for the fertility of the couple who, in order, is required to follow a precise ritual that includes the worship of Krishna in the form of a child who, in addition to the puja, or prayer, are offered sticks incense, lamps, basil leaves, sandalwood paste and Bhog (sacred food) butter.

Krishna's name appears in Buddhist texts as Kanha that, phonetically equivalent to Krishna. Even the faithful Bahá'ís believe that Krishna was a manifestation of God.

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