Krishna Jeyanthi or Janmasthami or Gokulasthami is the blessed day the beautiful Lord watching over the world from the Ocean of Milk floated down into the dungeons of Mathura and took his eighth avatar in Devaki’s womb, emerging out as Lord Krishna. We celebrate it today all over the world with joy and divinity spreading everywhere.
Krishna was born to kill his demon maternal uncle, Kamsa, and since the King knew it, he imprisoned his own sister and her husband under his eyes, murdering every baby she gave birth to, highly anticipating the eighth son with whom his prophecy of death was made. Little did he know he stood no chance against the Lord when He decided to put an end to him and his cruel administration?
On that blessed evening, Devaki lies there, lifeless, as her gaze travels over every blood stain on the wall that stood for the death of each of her babies when the monster threw them against it in one clean stroke. Vasudeva, her husband, watches her with soulless sighs and that is when a dazzling light descends down from out of nowhere, shaping itself into the form of Lord Vishnu. While this happens, the guards standing outside get knocked out like someone had hit them over the head with a club. Kamsa undergoes the same and he tumbles to the floor, completely unconscious to the miracle happening right down in his very dungeon.
Devaki and Vasudeva stare at Lord Vishnu in shock as he twinkles down at them, bedecked with ornaments, whose glory is overshadowed by the love in His eyes and smile. He expresses his desire to be born as their son, a revelation that stuns them speechless and causes tears to stream down Devaki’s eyes as she falls to His feet in gratitude. Consoling her for everything she went through, He requests her to accept Him and with folded hands, she closes her eyes in ecstasy. The warmth envelops her and she turns radiant as the Lord nestles Himself into her precious womb.
This isn’t a normal pregnancy.
He emerges out within minutes, giving her no touch of any labour pain.
Devaki and Vasudeva beam down at their bundle of joy gurgling happily in his mother’s lap, with a smile to consume all the darkness in the world.
(You can view this scene from an episode of Star Plus’ fantastic rendition of Mahabharat. Click here to watch the episode Lord Vishnu descends into the dungeon and takes birth as Krishna)
They spend a few precious minutes with him until Vasudeva realises Kamsa would come down any minute and his child should be protected. Seeing the guards are still out of the world, he quickly takes advantage and wraps baby Krishna in several cloths and hides him in a basket, which he cradles against his chest. The doors fly open of their own accord, encouraging him to get out of there as quick as possible, and he flees out into the storm of the night, fixing his destination as his friend’s house in Vrindavana. Mid-way, he has to cross the River Yamuna and he transfers the basket to his head, holding Krishna above the danger of the water as he carefully wades through. He is rendered incapable of doing anything about the rain pouring down but the King of Serpents, Adisesha, who shelters Lord Vishnu in his abode, isn’t. Adisesha immediately comes to his Lord’s aid and shields Him with his five-hooded crown, following invisibly behind the brave man who carried Him.
He vanishes as soon as Vasudeva reaches Gokula and calls for his friend, Nanda. He quickly fills him in his situation and Nanda immediately takes Krishna, promising to take good care of him. But he also gives her his newborn baby daughter. Vasudeva refuses, knowing what fate will await the innocent child if he took her back, but Nanda assures him his wife, Yashoda, has been asleep all along and doesn’t know what baby she had given birth to. He also assures him once Kamsa sees they have a daughter instead of the son he feared for, he would spare her and they could be parents. Vasudeva consents and takes the baby back to the dungeons, where Devaki immediately embraces her and holds her close, praying Kamsa would spare her.
But as soon as he wakes up and storms inside, he doesn’t think he should. Boy or girl, it’s still her eighth child, as prophesied, and he isn’t taking chances. He lunges for the baby and snatches her out of screaming Devaki’s arms. Laughing, he throws the little girl against the wall but instead of hitting it, she flies upwards. A flash of light bursts out of the baby and turns into the divine form of Yogamaya, the Goddess, who glares down at Kamsa with disgust and wrath. She gives him his death sentence, saying the prophesied baby has been born and is safe in a place he can’t reach. He will come back to kill him.
And Krishna does, after spending all his childhood and early teens in the happy village of Vrindavana. He breaks pots and pans, steals butter, sets the calves loose so they can drink abundant milk from the cows, gets into all the trouble his mischief can concoct, and charms the girls with his flute and handsome smile.
Once he knows his time there is over, he comes back to Mathura and kills Kamsa, saving everyone from his reign of terror. He releases his beloved parents from imprisonment and takes them with him to a new place – Dwaraka – a blessed city he creates from the ocean, to start the next phase of their lives. From there, Krishna plays a pivotal and key role in the famous story of the Mahabharata, aiming to put an end to Adharma (Injustice).
Throughout, he is the haven to every single disturbed soul, the five Pandavas and Draupadi being the first in line.
To Arjuna, he is his best friend, who immediately turns to him when he is at a loss of what to do. The most significant scenario of this is the first day of the war, when Arjuna drops his Gandiva with horror at the idea of killing the rest of his family and relatives standing on the other side. Krishna enlightens him about Dharma and Adharma and the duty of a man – the Bhagvad Gita – finally displaying his cosmic form and telling him to surrender unto him, for he is the ultimate beginning and end of everything.
He is Draupadi’s closest confidant as well as sole protector, for when she stands in the crowded courtroom and rigidly watches Dushasana pick up the end of her saree to take it off her, it is Krishna she calls out to. He comes in the blink of an eye and provides infinite length to her saree. Every time Dushasana tugs off one layer of the wraps, a new one takes its place and he ends up being half buried under heaps of Draupadi’s saree while she remains fully clothed, eyes closed in prayer to her Lord. Dushasana tires out soon and faints on the floor.
Another notable help he gives to Draupadi is arriving to the forest home with a smile while she stands in the middle of it with fear and an empty vessel, wondering how she’s going to feed the short-tempered Sage Durvasa and his hungry disciples waiting outside. Krishna peeks into the vessel and takes out a small grain of rice she hadn’t noticed, beaming it was enough to feed the whole world. As she stares at him in confusion, he puts the rice into his mouth and swallows. Immediately, the Sage feels like he had eaten an entire feast and looks around to see his disciples rubbing their bellies. They decide they can’t eat Draupadi’s meal and leave the other direction. Krishna saves her from being brutally cursed by Durvasa.
Every single presence of Krishna in the Mahabharata symbolises the fact that if you love Him with no expectations except his guidance and presence in your lives, He’ll always be there for you and will keep you safe and protected from harm. You don’t need wealth or sophistication or beauty to please him. Feel the pulsing thrum against your chest? Feel it? That’s your heart. Use it to love him unconditionally.
Him – Krishna, Madhava, Govinda, Vaasudeva, Devakinandana, Keshava, Madhusudana, Manmohana, Nandagopala, Padmanabha, Paarthasarathi.
Him – The Paramatma.
Happy Janmasthami to all of you!
Jai Shree Krishna ❤