The birth of Lord Krishna -- Janmashtami -- was celebrated with immense fervour across the country on Thursday. Devotees thronged to key places of worship, including the several Iskcon temples across the country, all decorated with flowers and lights to welcome the lord.
Janmashtami refers to the eighth day (Ashtami) of the Krishna Paksha (dark fortnight) of the month of Shravana in the Hindu calendar.
Principal celebrations took place in Mathura-Vrindavan, the mythological birthplace of Krishna, where all the legends of his childhood are set in the Mahabharata. The main temple organised the main pooja, as over a lakh devotees took ‘darshan’ of the lord, many playing devotional songs at the temple.
In Delhi too, celebrations were held at the Birla Temple near Red Fort, ornamented with lightings and flowers to welcome the ‘Kanhaiya’.
In the neighbouring Noida, nine tableaux depicting the different forms of lord Krishna were set up during the function at Lakshmi Narayan temple in Sector 56.
“Five kinds of sweets, especially made for Lord Krishna, which was given to the deity as ‘bhog’. Devotees thronged to the temple since 5.30 am in the morning and celebrations are set to continue till midnight,” said Jagmohan Seth, a member of Lakshmi Narayan temple committee.
Devotees keep day-long fasts on the occasion and chant mantras and bhajans to appease Lord Krishna.
“Two kinds of fasts can be held on this day -- Nirjal, which is observed by abstaining from any food and water, and Phalahar, which is observed by eating only fruits, milk and water. Puja preparations include pouring a mix of curd, milk, honey, sugar and holy water -- called Panchamrit -- on the idols of Lord Krishna,” Sanjay Bali, a priest at the Sanatan Dharma temple in Sector 41, Noida, told HT.
Several devotees dressed up their toddlers as Lord Krishna while visiting the Thakurdwara temple in Ghaziabad on Thursday evening.
“The temple has been packed with devotees since the morning and we have called singers from Vrindavan to sing devotional songs in Braj language, which is believed to be spoken by Lord Krishna,” said Anand Giri, a member of temple committee.
Speaking to Hindustan Times on the occasion of Janmashtami, Mahaman Das Prabhuji, mahaprabhu and president of International Society of Krishna Consciousness (Iskcon) temples in Madhya Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana, said “If we protect the cows, there will be peace, harmony and prosperity. Cows are very sacred; they are very dear to Lord Krishna.
“Prominent Muslim members of Iskcon in Delhi have advocated that if we follow the principles of Bhagwad Geeta, there will be peace. Terrorism is due to ignorance, because we are identifying ourselves with the body. Some people say they are Indian, then others say they are Chinese, Pakistani Americans or Africans. We are all aatmas (souls). If people follow Geeta, there will be total eradication of violence in the world,” he shared.
Prabhuji believes that in Iskcon, where people from all over the world are members, no religion or nationality exists. He says that it is only the love for Lord Krishna that lives among the hearts of the members.