The festival of Krishna Janmashtami is celebrated to mark the birth of Krishna – the eighth avatar of Vishnu. Hindus celebrate the festival by fasting, singing and praying together and visiting Krishna and Vishnu temples. Dahi Handi is celebrated the day after Krishna Janmashtami in Maharashtra and other Western states India. The story behind the birth of Krishna is an interesting one..
The story of Lord Krishna’s birth
A long time ago, in Mathura, there was a king named Kans who was infamous for his greed and unfair rule. After the marriage of his sister Devaki to Vasudev, a prophetic voice from above announced, “Kans, your tyranny is going to come to an end.The 8th son born to Devaki and Vasudev will kill you.” This enraged Kans and he imprisoned the newlyweds.
Kans went on to kill 7 of Devaki’s children. When she gave birth to her 8th child, the prophetic voice returned, and said, “Take the child across the river Yamuna to Gokul and exchange him with your friends Nand and Yashoda’s newly born daughter.” Vasudev looked down to realize, his hands had been unchained. He quickly picked up his child and put him in a basket, arriving at the gates to find them opened on their own and the guards asleep.
As he crossed the stormy river, the basket upon his head, the water never rose above his shoulders. When he struggled, a ten-headed snake appeared to protect the child from the pouring rain. Vasudev by now had realized that his child was a divine being.
At Nand’s house, Vasudev switched the children and returned to the prison. When Kans arrived and tried to harm the child, it took the form of Goddess Durga and said “The 8th child, who is going to end your reign of terror, has been born and will fulfil his prophecy.”
The child, Krishna, was raised by Yashoda and went on to kill Kans, symbolizing the victory of good over evil.
And so, every year we celebrate the birth of Krishna, also known as Janmashtami, across India.
To watch the story of Janmashtami in Hindi, click here.