Śrī Kṛṣṇa Janmāṣṭamī

वसुदेवसुतंदेवंकंसचाणूरमर्दनम् ।
देवकीपरमानन्दंकृष्णंवन्देजगद्गुरुम् ॥१॥

vasudevasutaṁ devaṁ kaṁsacāṇūramardanam |
devakī paramānandaṁ kṛṣṇaṁ vande jagadgurum ||

I salute Lord Kṛṣṇa, the Master of the Universe, divine son of Vasudeva,

destroyer of Kaṁsa and Cāṇūra and the greatest happiness of Devakī.

Śrī Kṛṣṇa Janmāṣṭamī

Śrī Kṛṣṇa Janmāṣṭamī is the day of celebration of Lord Kṛṣṇa‘s birthday, the avatāra (manifestation/incarnation) of God Viṣṇu. His birth took place at midnight on the eighth day of the dark fortnight of the month of    , usually falling in the month of August or September of the Gregorian calendar. Śrī Kṛṣṇa was born to the couple Devakī and Vasudeva in adverse conditions, as both were in prison due to family conflicts. The occasion is especially celebrated in Mathurā and Vṛndāvan, with the remembrance of scenes from Śrī Kṛṣṇa‘s childhood and adolescence.

Devotees perform vigil and fast the day before until midnight, the time of their birth. Then the image of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, decorated with flowers and peacock feathers, is bathed in water and milk, dressed in new clothes, offering himself his favorite ‘makkhan’, which is butter. The temples are beautifully decorated and rangolīs are designed in the shape of baby Śrī Kṛṣṇa‘s foot. Reinterpretations of the stories are staged through plays and traditional dances. A very common representation is the portrayal of the gopīs’ love for Lord Kṛṣṇa.

Also, many people have the custom of preparing a room for the arrival of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who is a very popular figure and adored by millions of Hindus.

Śrī Kṛṣṇa is declared by many to be the best known avatāra. Bhagavān, the boundless and all-pervasive Lord, assumed a particular form, in a particular place, with a specific purpose: that of re-establishing dharma, with the protection of those who follow this universal law and the punishment of those who contravene it.

There are different categories of avatāra, Śrī Kṛṣṇa is considered pūrṇa avatāra, which means that all the glories of the Lord were present in his incarnation. Considering his trajectory, he was an example of how to live fully. A paver of paths, he was fun and did things that were usually unexpected in the imagination of what an avatāra would be – at one point in his life, he used to steal butter – which brings us closer to him and makes us better accept our own humanity. He played many roles very well: as a son, first of Yaśodā (adoptive mother) and then of Devakī (biological mother), and as a lover, he was the most beloved among the gopīs. He also demonstrated how it is possible for love and detachment to coexist, having left Vṛndāvan, never returning. He was Arjuna‘s best friend, having been his conductor during the battle at Kurukṣetra and also his Guru. Verily, he was the Guru of all mankind.

He showed that when dharma is the subject, there is no such thing as partiality. Most of the time, he resolved conflicts in a unique way, as when Yudhiṣṭhira (the eldest of the Pāṇḍavas) insulted Arjuna‘s bow, who had promised to kill anyone who criticized his weapon; Śrī Kṛṣṇa claimed that in the Scriptures it is stated that when the younger one insults the older one it is as if he killed him and therefore Arjuna was authorized to criticize Yudhiṣṭhira and thus settle the matter.

He always had a smile on his face. Even in battle, when he revealed the teaching to Arjuna, it is said that Śrī Kṛṣṇa seemed to smile and that while teaching Arjuna, he had in mind all those who seek the truth.

Paramātmā, the highest Being, manifested as Śrī Kṛṣṇa and during his upadeśa (teaching) presented the Vedas in a form understandable to humanity; hence it is said kṛṣṇaṁ vande jagadgurum – salutations to Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the guru of the world.

May we celebrate this auspicious date, filling our lives for the purpose of its manifestation.

Om sadgurave namaḥ _/\_
Written by Maline Ribeiro