Sri Krishnashtami /Sri Krishna Jayanti / Gokulashtami
Kasthuri Thilakam Lalaata Phalake ! Vakshasthale Kousthubham!
Naasaagre Nava Moukthikam ! Karathale Venum !
Kare Kankanam ! Sarvaange Hari Chandanancha Kalayam !
Kanthecha Mukthavali! Gopa Sthree Pariveshtitho !
Vijayathe Gopala Choodamani !
Hail to You O King of Cowherds. Your divine beauty glows with the dark musk line on the forehead (Kasthuri Thilakam), shining jewel (Kousthubham) on the breast, the circular ornament at the end of the nose with nine pearls (Nava Moukthikam), holding Flute (Venu), with blazing bracelets (Kankanam), the Sandal (Chandanam) applied on the body spreading fragrances, wearing the pearl necklace (Mukthavali). Salutations to you Diadem of Cowherds, surrounded by the shepherdesses.
Sri Krishna Ashtami is celebrated marking the occasion of birth anniversary of Lord Krishna, the reincarnation of Almighty Vishnu. It falls on the Bahula Ashtami (The Eighth day after the full or new moon) in the Sravana Maasa (The Fifth Lunar Month that fall between August and September of Georgian Calendar). Lord Krishna was said to have born in Rohini Nakshtra (Aldebaran Asterism). Sri Krishna Ashtami is also known as Sri Krishna Jayanthi (birth anniversary) and Gokula Ashtami.
The culture of celebrating birth anniversaries of famous personalities, according to historians, triggered off with that of Lord Krishna.
Two traditions are in practice to celebrate the occasion. Believers celebrate the festival giving importance to star or asterism. They rejoice on the Sravana Maasa Bahula Ashtami night during the transition of Rohini Nakshatra. Others follow a culture of performing the tradition giving importance to Thithi (The date by computation of lunar days by which religious rites are regulated. They make merry on Bahula Ashtami with Rohini Nakshatra either in Sravana Maasa or Bhadrapada Maasa (The Sixth month of the Hindu year in which the moon s changes takes places when the Sun is in Virgo).
On the day of Sri Krishna Ashtami people wake up early. After attending to the nature calls, they bathe with cold water added with Tulasi leaves (Sacred Basil, termed to be sacred to God Vishnu). Elders say the effect of taking bath with Tulasi and cold water gives the result equivalent to bathing in all the Holy Rivers of the country.
After the bath, devotees wear new colourful clothes mostly with golden yellow shades. Then they decorate the Pooja place with all available seasonal flowers and put Rangavalli (pattern or diagram drawn with lines of flour or coloured powder). A special pattern resembling the tiny footprints, meaning Lord Krishna in the form of a small boy arrives to accept the Pooja or sacrifice will be drawn from the main door to the place of Pooja. In addition to the footprints, Shankhu (A Conch) and Chakram (A Wheel) will be drawn near the Pooja Sthali (place).
Varieties of Lord Krishna’s idol forms will be placed at the Pooja Sthali like Tiny Krishna in Mother Yashoda’s arms, dancing with shepherdesses, Krishna consuming cheese from the ports, blowing flute and many other forms. All the idols will be decorated in forms. Then, the devotees perform Pooja to the idols placed and decorated with all the dedication and sanctity. After performing the traditional rituals, they offer varieties of eatables mainly made of milk and milk products, sweets, honey and seasonal fruits as sacrifice to the Lord Krishna.
In villages, Lord Krishna’s followers decorate children with God Krishna’s and shepherdess's attires and take out a procession in the streets singing and hailing Lord Krishna. Decorated cattle form part of the procession. The parade reaches the nearest Riverbank, or Lake where they offer Daddojanam (a pudding of curd, rice, and spice with salt) to the cattle and with sacred feeling eat the sacred offerings made to God. In the evening, a cradle decorated with flowers will be hung from a tree. In the cradle a Tiny Krishna’s idol will be placed and sing hymns and songs, such as
“Jo Achyuthananda Jo Jo Mukundaa
Laali Paramananda Rama Govindaa…Jo…Jo”
The next day of Ashtami is Navami (Ninth day from full or new moon). On this evening, commemorating the naughty activities Lord Krishna was said to have done during his childhood in Dwaraka, hitting the Utti (a tibrous network sling in which pot and money are suspended from a high beam) celebration will be done.
Before hitting the Utti, Vasanthothsavam (throwing coloured water on each other) takes place and with all the enthusiasm people gather near the Utti. The other end of the string to which Utti was knotted would be pulled and released to tease the hitters. Water preserved in big drums will be thrown on to the hitters who jump and attempt to hit the Utti. The person who goes successful in hitting the Utti will be entitled to draw the money tied above it. With this rejoicement, the celebrations of Krishna Ashtami draws to close.
With the belief that Krishna Ashtami is the day on which all the desires would be bestowed upon by the Almighty if the Pooja is performed with all sanctity along with traditions to offer Holy Water to the Moon. Puranas (Mythologies) reveal that a Gold or Silver replica of Moon should be paid homage before praying Lord Krishna on this day. Research scholars feel that Krishna was a super human belonged to Vedic times. There were many hidden meanings to the names Krishna, Arjuna, and Radha. According to Chandogyopanishad (one of the Upanishads or philosophical disquisitions attached to the Vedas), lived about one hundred and sixteen years. According to this Upanishad, a person who performs ‘Purusha Yagna’ (Sacrifice) he was destined to live for 116 years. This Sacrifice means to speak truth, daring death, meditation, and good deeds. It is also believed that many astrological secrets interlaced in the life history of Sri Krishna.
Sri Krishna is a divinely beautiful, political analyst, courageous and philosopher. Hari Vamsa, Vishnu Purana and Bhagavatha mention that Sri Krishna lived his full life for One hundred and twenty five years.
The Nature of Krishna
Lord Krishna was a divine human who gave utmost importance to friendship. This can be recited in the episode of Kuchela (a childhood friend of Krishna) when he visits Lord Krishna to seek financial assistance, instigated by his wife. Kuchela was a poor Brahman and a childhood associate of Krishna. During the time Kuchela suffers with acute poorness and was unable to provide food to his dependants. Kuchela’s wife recalls that he is having such a rich and renowned friend like Krishna. She compels Kuchela to seek the assistance of Krishna to overcome the worldly troubles. Kuchela searches every nook and corner of his house to take something to offer Lord Krishna. He could hardly find anything that can be offered but for two fist full quantity of Atukulu (Rice wetted, parched and flattened). Finally, he greets Krishna, but could not speak for any help in front of him. The God could take the mind of Kuchela. Krishna himself takes the Atukulu packet from Kuchela and takes one mouth full, while Kuchela was shying to offer. When Krishna readies himself to take another fist Rukmini forcibly stops him from doing so.
When Krishna took Atukulu for the first time, half of the Krishna’s properties miraculously get transferred to Kuchela’s family. Rukmini was scared if Krishna consumed the second one, they would lose everything. The worldly riches wished by Kuchela’s wife were bestowed upon her by the grace of Lord Krishna.
The God presented the Indian philosophy with never-ending riches in the form of Bhagavad Gita. Any person who takes a reading of Gita returns to normality from the depression, how ever deep he might be.
Krishna was the first political strategist who founded the policy of Centralised ruling in the country when Kings were totally unorganised and were in chaos.
Krishna was born on Ashtami to Devaki and Vasudev as Ashtama (eighth) child. A complete person bears all the sixteen forms of arts. Krishna had eight wives. Eight when doubled becomes sixteen. Krishna teaches the basics right from his childhood life to have mercy on animals.
Sri Krishna Sthavam (Praise)
Kandarpa Koti Sundara
Mandara dhara Naama Theja
Sundara Vigraha Munigana
Vanditha Mimu Dalathu
Bhaktha Vatsala Krishna!
I bow to you Sri Krishna. You lifted the Mandara Mountain, killed a demon named Madhu. You are so beautiful that is more than the beauty of a crore Manmadhas (God of Beauty) and you are so kind to the devotees.
It is a belief that if He were praised in the above form, Lord Krishna would bless the praying persons and provide them all the worldly comforts and victories.