Janam is birth and Ashtami is the 8th day of the Hindu Vedic calendar. Janamashtami marks the manifestation of Shri Krishna, the 9th incarnation of Bhagwan Vishnu on Ashtami tithi during Krishna Paksha (darker phase of Moon cycle/waning Moon). Panchang tells us that Shri Krishna was born on Ashtami in Rohini Nakshatra.
The system of Panchang( basis of Hindu Vedic Calendar) is an age-old method used to indicate time, eclipses, change of seasons, moon and sun (rise and set ) constellations etc. It is interesting to note that Panchang which is also the basis of Jyotish Shastra ( Indian Astrology) has been a successful method of timekeeping used for ages much before satellites and space organizations came into play. I will do a separate post on Panchang sometime.
History of Hinduism, legends, stories, and also my grandparents and parents have been telling me about the birth of Shri Krishna which happened more than 5000 years ago(3228 BCE, as per Gregorian). With 16 Kalas, this avatar or form has been regarded as Purna Avatar.
Shri Krishna is a karma yogi, a friend, a guide, who continued following the path of Dharma despite the difficulties and obstacles in life. Janamashtmi is special for everyone who sees Shri Krishna as the supreme power, friend, and guide. Traditionally, people like to fast on this day till midnight( that’s when Shri Krishna was born). A lot of people fast without any food and water during the day followed by prayers, and celebrations at midnight. Hindu temples across India and the world are decorated followed by celebrations throughout the day. There’s flexibility around the way one likes to celebrate this festival as per health conditions and their way of connecting to the divine because the most important thing is your bhav( your purity of heart).
As in any other Hindu festival, the main idea is to get in touch with your self, nature, give your body and mind a chance to rest, and come together as family and friends. What is a better way to do this than engaging in chanting, meditation, rituals, and fasting? And perhaps the best way to make use of lockdown time too.
Here are the glimpses from yesterday’s celebration of Janamashtami at home in NZ(It’s lockdown time). Thanks to my amazing flatmates.
There’s a beautiful article on spiritual significance of Janamashtami by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Ji. It can be read here.