Krishna Janmashtami: Story of Lord Krishna’s Birth

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Krishna Janmashtami: Story of Lord Krishna’s Birth

Feb. 9 marks the Hindu festival of janmasthanam (also known as Krishna Janmashtami or Gokulashtami), which marks the Hindus’ ultimate deity Lord Krishna’s birth. Janmashtami falls on the eighth day of the Bhadrapada month, or Ashtami according to the Hindu lunar calendar, and will be observed this year on August 24 (Saturday).

This day, it is said, Krishna was born in a Mathura prison at the stroke of midnight. It’s no secret that Krishna is a deity of compassion, love, and mercy. A child-like God in Hindu mythology, Rama is depicted as a jokester and kind lover, as well as the highest entity of the universe.

Krishna Leela is the name given to the story and tales of Lord Krishna’s life. According to legend, Krishna was born to Queen Devaki and her spouse, King Vasudeva, of the Yadava tribe in Mathura.

She had a brother, the demon-king tyrant Kansa, along with other demon kings that terrorized Mother Earth. He had seized his father’s throne in Mathura, the beneficent King Ugrasen, by establishing himself as ruler. God of Hinduism, Lord Brahma took on the shape of Mother Earth and pleaded with him for help. It was then that Brahma summoned Lord Vishnu who told Mother Earth that he would take the form of Lord Krishna to remove this oppression.

Lord Krishna

Krishna Janmashtami

It was Kansa’s plan to take over the Yadava tribe, therefore he consented to let Devaki marry Vasudeva, a Yadava prince. Foretellings predicted that one of Devaki’s kids, Kansa, would lead him to his death. It was out of fear that Kansa resolved to assassinate Devaki on the spot. Devaki was imprisoned together with Vasudeva after Vasudeva begged for his wife’s life and vowed to give each of her children to Kansa as soon as they were born. Whenever Kansa learned that Devaki was expecting a child, she would slam the baby’s skull against the jail walls.

Brilliant light flooded the jail on the night of Krishna’s birth and Vasudeva was awakened by an angelic voice that told him to take Krishna over the Yamuna and leave him with his beloved friend Nandraja, chief of the Gopa Tribe, as soon as he was born. So, Vasudeva stealthily took Krishna over the Yamuna river, which was now roaring like the ocean. Vaasudeva helped Krishna cross the river with the aid of Lord Vishnu’s gigantic snake, Shesh Naag. As a result, Vasudeva went to Nandraja’s residence and swapped the babies. As though he had left a piece of his soul behind, his heart was filled with grief. When he returned to Devaki’s cell, the infant, who had been switched, cried out in protest. Kansa was informed by the guards that Devaki’s eighth kid had finally been born and that Kansa should be happy.

Lord Krishna with Radha

When Kansa threatened to kill the baby, Devaki begged him not to. She claimed that the prophecy must have been mistaken, as her son was supposed to be the end of Kansa. It was the goddess Durga who appeared to Kansa when he tried to kill the swapped infant, warning him that his death had arrived in his realm and would return to punish him. She warned Kansa that if he didn’t find peace, he’d keep worrying about his demise, and then she vanished.

While the prophecy may not be fully accurate, Kansa was confident that if his slayer had been born in the jail, he would have murdered him. Kansa ultimately released Vasudeva and Devaki and let them reside in a different palace, which brought him some relief. Though Devaki was saddened, she was relieved when Vasudeva told her what had transpired on the night of Krishna’s birth.

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