Janmashtami, also known as Krishna Janmashtami or Gokulashtami, is a festival celebrated to mark the birth of Lord Krishna. According to the Hindu calendar, this significant event falls on the Ashtami (eighth day) of the Krishna Paksha in the month of Bhadrapada. Krishna embodies love, joy, and eternal bliss. This festival is a momentous occasion for millions worldwide to engage in devotion and worship.
New York, USA – Sep 06, 2023
Ashtami Tithi Begins – 06:07 AM on Sep 06, 2023
Ashtami Tithi Ends – 06:44 AM on Sep 07, 2023
Chennai, India – Sep 06, 2023 & Sep 07, 2023
Ashtami Tithi Begins – 03:37 PM on Sep 06, 2023
Ashtami Tithi Ends – 04:14 PM on Sep 07, 2023
For local timings download the Cosmic Insights app.
The Spiritual Significance of Janmashtami by Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
“Janmashtami is the day when we celebrate the birth of Lord Krishna. Lord Krishna signifies Ananda (bliss, pure happiness). We express any happiness by celebration. So Janmashtami is celebrating the birth of Bliss. It is the day when that (divine) joy became manifest.
Devaki (Lord Krishna’s mother) represents the physical body, while Vasudeva (Lord Krishna’s father) represents the Prana (the vital life-force). So when the Prana flows through the body, then Ananda (bliss, represented by Lord Krishna) is born. But at that time, the ego (represented by Kamsa, Lord Krishna’s maternal uncle and an evil King) wants to destroy the bliss. Where there is joy, there cannot be ego. Lord Krishna is the symbol of love and joy. Love, happiness and naturalness are the greatest enemies of the ego. And what does Lord Krishna represent? He is the symbol of happiness, joy and being natural. He is the very source of bliss. This is why there is a war between ego and love, because ego melts and disappears when love dawns within.
Kamsa represents the ego, and ego is born along with the birth of the body. Devaki (the body) is Kamsa’s sister. When Lord Krishna was born in the prison cell, all the prison guards fell asleep. When there is no happiness and joy (Lord Krishna), the body feels like a prison. So when love (Lord Krishna) was born in this prison (body), all the senses (symbolized by the prison guards) fell asleep.
The five senses – the eyes, ears, nose, tongue and skin – are the guards of the body, and they always look outwards for joy. They are actually the guards of Kamsa (ego). So they fall asleep when one turns inwards towards the source of joy, the bliss that is born within (Lord Krishna). Now after being born, Lord Krishna had to be taken to another place for the sake of protection and safety (from Kamsa). So Lord Krishna went to Vrindavana after being born, to the house of Nanda and Devi Yashoda. So when you look deeper into these stories, you will be able to understand their greater spiritual meanings and values.”
Rituals and Personal Practices
- Mantra Chanting
Begin the day by chanting the mantra “Aum Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya.” This powerful invocation can be chanted 108 times or sung as a bhajan to connect with the divine energy of Lord Krishna.
- Scriptural Reading
Reading from the sacred texts like the Bhagavad Gita or Srimad Bhagavatam can deepen your understanding and connection to Lord Krishna’s teachings.
- Satsang and Musical Celebration
Since Lord Krishna epitomizes joy and celebration, engaging in a Satsang or getting together with friends and family to sing devotional songs is highly encouraged.
- Light a Lamp
Traditionally, a lamp is lit facing the east. This signifies wisdom, driving away the darkness of ignorance.
If you have an idol of Lord Krishna, you can perform a ritualistic bath using Panchamrit, a mixture of five sacred ingredients: Milk, Butter, Ghee, Honey, and Yoghurt.
- Offering Fragrance
Light an incense stick or apply chandan (sandalwood) to the idol to offer fragrance as a form of respect to Lord Krishna.
- Food Offerings
Krishna had a fondness for dairy products and sweets. Offer butter, milk products, sweets, and rice as a mark of devotion.
- Meditate or Listen to Flute Music
Close the rituals by meditating or listening to flute music, which was Lord Krishna’s favored instrument, to center your mind and connect with inner peace.
The Astrological Aspect
The Ashtami Tithi is ruled by Rahu, and it is believed that performing these rituals can mitigate the malefic effects of Rahu, while enhancing the benefic influences of planets in one’s astrological chart.
Janmashtami is not just a ritualistic celebration but a spiritual journey that allows one to delve deeper into the realms of consciousness, love, and bliss. As Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar suggests, understanding the allegorical aspects of the Janmashtami story can enrich our lives by helping us understand the spiritual values hidden behind them.