Krishna Janmashtami 2020: What is the significance?

Shree Krishna Janmashtami 2020 also referred to by the names like Janmashtami, Krishnashtami, Gokulashtami, Krishna Jayanthi, etc.  is just around the corner. It marks the birth of Shri Krishna (9th incarnation of Lord Vishnu) and is celebrated on the Ashtami (eighth day of Krishna Paksha) in the month of Shravana or Bhadra.

Shri Krishna Janmashtami is one of the most popular Hindu festivals and is celebrated with great enthusiasm across India and beyond. Mathura, Vrindavan, Gokul (UP), Dwarka (Gujarat) are some of the prominent places in India that celebrate Janmashtami with great fervor by dancing and singing at midnight to usher in the Lord’s birthday. 

The celebrations aren’t just limited to India, but countries like Fiji, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Singapore, USA, UK, too celebrate Janmashtami with equal enthusiasm and the Hindu immigrants contribute a major share of the population in these countries. The festival holds a special significance in Mathura and Vrindavan because Lord Krishna spent most of his childhood in these two cities.

How Does Iskcon Temple Celebrate Lord Krishna’s Janmashtami?

The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (or Iskcon), known colloquially as the Hare Krishna movement or Hare Krishna, is a Gaudiya Vaishnava Hindu religious organization. Founded in 1966, it now has 850 temples, ecovillages, and centers.

To celebrate Sri Krishna Janmashtami, the Iskcon temple starts its preparations well ahead of time. The entire temple is cleaned and repainted with fresh colors, while the electricians spread out fixing the lights to dazzle the onlookers. The temple hall is decorated with flowers, festoons (a garland hanging from two points), while several people contribute their services to please the Lord.

This year, the Iskcon temple will be celebrating the Janmashtami festival on August 11, 12, 2020. Every year, the temple offers 108 delicacies to Lord Krishna prepared by the devotees with great care, attention, and love. Prasadam is offered to the visitors who come specially to view Iskcon Janmashtami and have darshan of Sri Krishna. At the stroke of midnight, the ceremonial bathing of Krishna begins to commemorate Lord Krishna’s birthday. The deities are bathed with yogurt, ghee, sweet water, etc. and then smeared with turmeric powder and bathed in Ganges water followed by the showering of flowers until the deities are submerged in the soft bed of flowers.

 

Date and Muhurat Timings for Celebrating Janmashtami

Sree Krishna Jayanthi (or simply Janmashtami) will be celebrated with great zeal and devotion on August 11, 12 2020 (Tuesday or Wednesday).  The muhurat details are as follows:

Nishita Puja Time– 00:04 to 00:48

Parana Time– After 11:15 (12th August)

Rohini Nakshatra End Time- Janmashtami without Rohini

Ashtami Tithi Begins – 09:06 (11th August)

Ashtami Tithi Ends – 11:15 (12th August)

Shri Krishna Ashtami – Astrological Significance of Lord Krishna’s Birth

Lord Krishna was born on Krishna paksha Ashtami Tithi of Bhadra Mass at midnight. Both his Ascendant and the Natal Moon fall in the Rohini Nakshatra (and hence the name – Rohini Ashtami).

According to some Indian & Western scholars, the life of Krishna, on an approximate, was between 3200 and 3100 BC. Some astrological calculations suggest the date of birth of Krishna as 18th July 3228 and, it is supposed that he lived until 18th February 3102 BC.

 

Legend of Shri Krishna Janmashtami – Facts, History, and Background

Lord Krishna is known as the 9th Avatar of Lord Vishnu and was born as the eighth son of princess Devaki and her husband Vasudeva. Devaki’s brother Kansa imprisoned the couple based on the prophecy that predicted his death at the hands of their 8th son. To safeguard his life, Kansa killed all the previous newborns.

When Krishna was born, Vasudeva took baby Krishan with him to Gokul and left him on the doorstep of Nanda and Yashoda place. In exchange, Vasudeva brought their baby girl (Goddess Durga) who later warned Kansa of his upcoming fate.

Lord Krishna grew up in Gokul with his brother Balram and on returning to Mathura, he killed his uncle Kansa and freed his parents Vasudeva and Devaki from his clutches with his brother’s aid.

People celebrate Janmashtami at the stroke of midnight (in the belief that Krishna’s birth took place at midnight) with devotional songs, pujas, aarti, and by rocking the cradle of baby Krishna.

As a child, Krishna or Kanhaiya (one of the most popular names of Lord Krishna) was mischievous, yet loved by everyone in Gokul.  Many of his stories from the Hindus folklore are popular among everyone like – his stories of stealing Butter (Makhan), and how Yashoda used to save him every time despite his faults.

 

Janmashtami: Different Forms of Celebrations

 

To celebrate the Krishnashtami festival, people dress up in the attire of Hindu Puranas while children are made to dress up like Lord Krishna enacting different instances from his life. People dance, sing, pray and chant hymns from the Bhagavad Gita.  The celebrations occur as per the cultures and the traditions, but the sole motto of everybody remains the same i.e., to seek blessings of Shri Krishna – the most adored deities of the Hindu culture.

Some people also observe fast and stay up till midnight. Few houses place a baby cradle in their temples keeping infant Krishna’s idol into it and swing it at the stroke of midnight to symbolize his birth.

Different states celebrate this festival as per their culture and customs like in Maharashtra, several people (mostly youngsters) fill pots with buttermilk and tie them up at a certain height. Once the celebration starts, these youngsters form a pyramid-like structure and try breaking the pot as many pots as possible to win the prize. The festival of Janmashtami is known as Govinda here.

The same festival is celebrated in parts of South India (under the name Uriyadi), while in Tamil Nadu, the audience distracts the boys (trying to break the pots) by throwing water at them.

Following Hindu folklore, the festival holds major significance in Mathura, Vrindavan, Gokul, Dwarka, etc. and hundreds of pilgrimages visit temples like Dwarkadhish, Rajagopalaswamy and others to celebrate. 

Observing Fast and Pujas on Krishna Janmashtami – The Right Way

 

To observe fast and perform pujas on the auspicious day of Janmashtami, take into consideration the following pointers:

  • Start your fast at sunrise and end it past sunrise the next day

  • In case you have taken Nirjala fast, break it only when you’re done with the midnight aarti and have offered the prasad to the deity. In the case of Phalahar fast, you’re allowed to eat fruits, and milk throughout the day and is broken once the puja is done at midnight.

  • Take a bath in the morning and recite the mantra “Om Namo Bhagvate Namah” as many times as possible

  • If you have an idol of baby Krishna in your temple, decorate them with fancy clothes and jewelry. At the stroke of midnight, swing the cradle of baby Krishna and offer them panjiri, and white butter.

  • Offer Lord Krishna a bhog of 52 food items the next day. Once you have offered the items to Bal Krishna, you can end your fast and eat food.

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