The verses in the Bhagavad-Gita (a sacred book narrated by Lord Vishnu) say, that whenever there will be predominance of evil and decline of religion, I will reincarnate to kill the evil and to save the good. The main significance of Janmashtami is to encourage goodwill and to discourage bad will. Krishna Jayanti also celebrates togetherness. The holy occasion brings people together, thus it signifies unity and faith.
Janmashtami, is an annual commemoration of the birth of the Hindu deity Krishna, the eighth Avatar of Vishnu. Sri Krishna is considered as one of the most powerful human incarnations of the Lord Vishnu. He was born 5,241 years ago in Mathura i.e., on 21st July 3228 BC. The sole objective of Sri Krishnas birth was to free the Earth from the evilness of demons. He played an important role in Mahabharata and propagated the theory of bhakti and good karma which are narrated deeply in the Bhagwat Geeta. His birth was a blessing to mankind and his birthday is celebrated as a festival by Hindus every year to remember him.
Determination of Date
This festival is celebrated on Bhadrapad Krishna Ashtami falling at mid-night. If this Ashtami falls on two days and remains or does not remain available during mid-night then it is celebrated on the second day. If Ashtami falls at mid-night on both days but Rohini Nakshatra falls on first then it should be celebrated on the first day otherwise on second day. Here mid night of Ashtami is also termed as Chandrodayavyapini (Falling of Ashtami during Rise of Moon) because moon rises at mid-night only on the day of Ashtami.
How to Celebrate
Janmashtami is celebrated not only in India but also in Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan. About eighty percent of the population of Nepal identify themselves as Hindus and celebrate Krishna Janmashtimi.
Devotees celebrate Janmashtami by fasting until midnight. They chant slokas from the Bhagvadgita and sing religious songs called bhajans.
Janmashthami is a national holiday in Bangladesh. On Janmashthami, a procession starts from Dhakeshwari Temple in Dhaka, the National Temple of Bangladesh, and then proceeds through the streets of Old Dhaka.
Janmashthami is celebrated by Pakistani Hindus in Sri Swaminarayan Mandir in Karachi with the singing of bhajans and delivering of sermons on Krishna. Janmashtami is celebrated around eight days after Raksha Bandhan. South India celebrates Gokulashtami with fruits, ‘prasadam’ and devotional songs. Maharashtra celebrates the festival by breaking of ‘dahi handi’. The Janmashtami celebration of Mathura and Vrindavan, the places where Sri Krishna had spent his life, are very special. On this day temples and homes are wonderfully decorated and illuminated. Night long prayers are offered and religious mantras are sung in the temples. Hindus celebrate Janmashtami by fasting and staying up until midnight, the time when Krishna is believed to have been born. Images of Krishnas infancy are placed in swings and cradles in temples and homes. At midnight, devotees gather around for exchange of gifts, devotional songs, dance, pujas, arti, blowing of the Conch and rocking the cradle of baby Sri Krishna. Some temples also conduct readings of the Hindu religious scripture Bhagvadgita.
After chanting the Shlokas of Bhagvadgita the devotees of Lord Krishna recite following mantra for getting the blessings on the auspicious occasion of Janamashatami- "Om Namo Bhagvatey Vasudevaay"
Since 1966, the devotion of Lord Krishna spread to other countries like America, Europe, Africa, Russia and South America. The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) was instrumental in creating awareness among people. A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada was founder of the ISKCON movement. In fact, his guru— Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura instructed him to write about Shri Krishna in English and to share the philosophy of ‘Gaudiya Vaishnava’ with people in the Western world.
Srikrishna Janamashtami Vrat (Fast)
(For increasing faith in Lord Krishna and for getting prosperity)
On this auspicious day birthday of Lord Krishna is celebrated throughout the country with lot of devotion and majority of people ovserve fast. According to Lord Krishna all sins get eradicated by observing this fast. It is believed that by observing this fast the sins of 100 births get destroyed.
Method of Observing Srikrishna Janamashtami Vrat
This fast is observed on the Ashtami of dark moon of Bhadrapada. On this day one should not have food. At night in the middle of night Lord Krishna should be worshipped. One can have food next day in the morning. Next day food and money should be offered to Brahmins. In this fast it is very auspicious to listen Srikrishna Janmashtami Vrata Katha.
"Om namo bhagvatey vasudeavaay"