Janmashtami 2014: Hindus Celebrate The Birth Of Lord (Prophet) Krishna

Huff Post: Hindus around the world are observing Janmashtami, a holy day that celebrates the birth of Krishna, who is believed by devotees to be the eighth avatar of Vishnu (the Hindu deity of cosmic maintenance) and the Supreme Lord of the Universe. The holiday falls on August 17 in 2014.

Krishna is the teacher in the Bhagavad Gita, a 700-verse scripture set on a battlefield that contains some of the most important teachings of Hinduism. He is often depicted in the form of a dark-skinned young boy playing a flute, wearing a peacock feather crown and yellow garments.

Krishna, whose name is often translated as “all-attractive,” is honored and worshiped in many ways. To his devotees, he is not only the Supreme Lord and a wise teacher, but also a dear friend, beloved child, and a handsome lover.

According to Hindu teachings, Krishna was born at midnight on the ashtami or the 8th day of the Hindu lunar month of Shravan in a prison to Vasudev and Devaki in the town of Mathura. Moments after his birth he escaped to the village of Gokul, where Krishna was raised by Nanda and Yasoda, his foster parents. The stories of Krishna’s childhood and youth paint the picture of a mischievous and endearing flute-playing cowherd who loved to play pranks on everyone and flirt with the gopis, or cowgirls.

Janmashtami is a festive occasion and celebrations on this day re-enact popular tales from Krishna’s childhood. Many devotees fast on this day and stay up all night worshiping, listening to stories about Krishna’s childhood and singing devotional songs. In Krishna temples across the world, a statue of the infant Krishna is bathed and placed in a cradle which is rocked by devotees amidst the chanting of devotional songs.

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Categories: Asia, India

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