Saturday, August 23, 2008

Krishna Jayanthi Vs Gokulashtami

Nrihasimha Jayanthi is celebrated on the day of Swathi star. Nrihasimha was born on Swathi star date (Janma Nakshathram). Rama Navami is celebrated on Punar Poosam day. Rama was born on PunarVasu star date. There is agreement among everyone on this.

Sri Krishna Jayanthi (also called Janmashtami, Sree Jayanthi, Gokulashtami, Krishnashtami), for some reason, seems to have split into several factions. Krishna was born on Rohini star. The day he was born was also an Ashtami (8 days into Krishna Paksha - the dark half of the moon). Today (Saturday) is not Rohini. Today, however, is Ashtami. Ashtami begins from midday and extends well into midday Sunday. Smarthas celebrate it on Ashtami - i.e today. Rohini begins Sunday early morning and extends all the way to Monday afternoon. So, some SriVaishnavas celebrate it when Ashtami & Rohini intersect (tomorrow). Some SriVaishnavas ignore Ashtami and celebrate it on pure Rohini star date (Monday).
North India is very correct in this. Janmashtami is celebrated over two days (Saturday & Sunday). The first day is called Krishnashtami and second day is called Kalashtami. To be precise, since Krishna was born at about midnight, celebrations happen at the stroke of midnight. Maharashtra has a nice celebration, which I have only seen in movies. They re-enact the stealing of the butter by Krishna. This enactment involves people reaching out and breaking a pot full of butter with a stick in a competition-style format. Eating habits also have a divergence on this day. Many eat a truckload on this day. Some (mostly in N.India and some in S.India) go on a fast as this day is considered on par with Ekadasi.
Last summer I visited Mathura. The temple has been revamped and spruced up since the last time I visited in 97. There are 2-3 large structures that have been erected there. There is a line you have to join to go down to the basement prison location where Sri krishna was born. South Indians used to huge temples and large deities might be underwelmed with the prison trip. There is no deity in the 'place of birth'. There are a few photos of Sri Krishna kept on a shelf and that's it. Quite underwhelming. However, in these places, especially in the north, one is stunned by the amount of 'prema bhakhi'. Its hard to put this into words. There are less of slokas and yagnas. But people there seem to love Krishna so much. They literally roll on the ground that Krishna walked in. Quite an experience just watching it. And remember, the place was boiling hot. Since I didn't know better, I kept my slippers in he car and walked into the complex barefoot. It is a huge complex and the floor was like boiling coal. Incredible.
Well....I love festivals, little Krishna legs, seedai, murukku, thattai and sweet. However, limiting special food to just one day instead of all three is what I don't like that much.

Yadhaa yadhaa he dharmasya glanir bhavathi Bharatha;
abhyuktaanamadarmasya tadaatmaanam srijaamyahamh

- Srimad Bhagavadh Geetha: Chapter 4 Verse 7 on Krishna's Birth.


Anonymous said...

dai .. got the sloka wrong :)

"Chapter 4, Verse 7

yadaa yadaa hi dharmasya glaanirbhavati bhaarata |
abhyuktaanamadarmasya tadaatmaanam srijaamyahamh ||

When there is decay of dharma (righteousness) and rise of adharma (unrighteousness),
then I (the Lord) am born in this world.

- k

Anonymous said...

not to take the significance off this post .. not meant as an insult .. here is a point of view, which begs to be pointed out .. it may be an obvious point of view, but there is value in explicitly stating it .. it does not reflect my point of view, but only serves to get one to view this point of view.

the customs and habits of this post are just as contrite and made-up (necessary or un-necessary) as the customs and habits mentioned in your independence day post.

this gets me thinking about the futility of criticism and arguments that is generally out there, which ties in well with your other post on criticisms.


Hawkeye said...


i appreciate your last para :-)

now reply to my email.

Hawkeye said...


danks. i changed it. i have no idea how i put it.

bala said...

"Some (mostly in N.India and some in S.India) go on a fast as this day is considered on par with Ekadasi."

When I called my mom back home this morning she mentioned that fasting on Janamashtami day is equivalent to fasting on all 24 Ekadasis in a year combined. So I decided to fast, well, 3 quarters of the day, until 6pm when Krishnar came and distributed seedai and appam. Hopefully it counts for the palan of fasting on 18 Ekadasis :-).

BTW, any idea on the custom followed by some in Tamizh Nadu where people ask "Krishnar vandacha" or "Kannan Vandacha"?

Anonymous said...

I would like to see your reply to anon sr. If it'll spark a fight, could you mail? :) commentspls at gmail

Hawkeye said...


i replied to suresh. didn't i?


/* So I decided to fast, well, 3 quarters of the day, until 6pm when Krishnar came and distributed seedai and appam. */

I did the same thing. Now I have to embrace the treadmill.

Anonymous said...

Krisha & Commumism connecction on Janmashtamai:

Kaal Marx :-)


Anonymous said...

get you murukku fix here....
For those of you who don't have doting visiting pattis that is...

Anonymous said...

hmm i loved the ending...

Anu Russell said...

after moving to US my krishna jayanthi has been restricted to payasam and murukku...miss those days of seedai, thatais and all the fun stuff...miss amma adn the time when we used to do the krishnar kaalu and kolams...ayooo nybagam varudhe....

sexy said...