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Krishna Janmashtami

by Vidya Sury August 17, 2014 18 comments
Krishna Janmashtami vidya sury

Krishna Janmashtami or Gokulashtami celebrates the birth of Lord Krishna. Today, we celebrated it at home with prayers and a pleasant Sunday together. I made a sweet dish with coconut and condensed milk from scratch. The main offerings for this festival are milk, curds, poha or flattened rice and butter – because these are Krishna’s favorites.

During my childhood, my Grandmother used to make at least 15 items – we were a large joint family and everyone enthusiastically enjoyed the eats. Since the puja and the festival were celebrated in the evening, everyone was home and eager! Ah, how lovely our house would smell!

Legend has it that Krishna visits our home at midnight to eat all the stuff we offer him. To guide him, little footsteps are drawn from our door to the altar. I remember we would try so hard to stay awake and manage to drop off just before midnight.

The next morning, we’d find a bit of butter around the mouth of the Krishna (thoughtfully applied by my Grandma) and feel so excited that he had indeed visited.  We’d argue about not being woken up when he came, because obviously she had seen him…and she would say that she didn’t want to make a noise and scare him away. Ah, what fond memories!

These days, I restrict myself to just a couple of items and simply get a festival pack from the famous sweet shop near our place. Enough variety, eh? We used to make all this and more!

Krishna Janmashtami

At our native place Varagur in Tanjavur district, Krishna Janmashtami is a major festival and marked by “Uriyadi” – a fun event celebrated for for ten days until the day after Janmashtami. A pot or Uri is tied at the top of a pole and those who participate in this festival must climb this pole blindfolded with a stick to help them figure out where the goodies are and strike it, so they can win it. Another event is the slippery post – where a post is covered in butter and the participant is expected to climb the pole successfully to win the goodies at the top, as water is flung on them to make it harder. Everyone in the area takes part in the festivities.

We have a few Krishna temples around our place where the festival is celebrated in a big way. Let me show you some photos of one of our favorite temples – the Venugopalaswamy temple. These pictures depict some of the pastimes of Krishna. When Vidur was around 11 years old, he wrote a series of 15 posts describing these. To read the stories, please visit Vidur’s post here. I have also linked the description for the photos below:

Here are the pictures of the temple’s wall. I had posted photos of this temple here.

For perspective, this is the wall:

Krishna Janmashtami vidya sury

And here’s a close up of each “tableau” in the wall.

Krishna is born

Krishna Janmashtami vidya sury

His father Vasudeva transports him to safety, from the wicked King Kamsa

Krishna Janmashtami vidya sury

Kamsa is furious and sends a demon named Putana to kill Krishna. The infant Krishna has the last laugh.

Krishna Janmashtami vidya sury

Undeterred, Kamsa continues to send a stream of demons to nix Krishna, who turns the table on them and each one attains “moksha”. The following depict Krishna’s victories over various demons.

Sakatasura is conquered

Krishna Janmashtami vidya sury

The release of Nalakubera and Manigreeva

Krishna Janmashtami vidya sury

Krishna defeats Kaaliya the serpent

Krishna Janmashtami vidya sury

Krishna lifts the Govardhana mountain

Krishna Janmashtami vidya sury

Krishna slays Bakasura

Krishna Janmashtami vidya sury

Killing the wild elephant

Krishna Janmashtami vidya sury

and finally, destroying Kamsa

Krishna Janmashtami vidya sury

Nobody can say Krishna led a boring life! He may have been divine, but he’s reputed to have been amazingly naughty.  There’s a belief that children below 5 are incarnations of Lord Krishna.

The Song of the Divine One, the Bhagavad Gita is the conversation between Krishna and Arjuna in the Mahabharata.

Krishna Janmashtami vidya sury

Let me share one of my favorite stanzas from the Bhagavad Gita which relates to the Karma Theory:

(Chapter 2, stanza 47)

Karmanyevaadhikaaraste maa phaleshu kadaachana;
Maa karmaphalahetur bhoor maa te sango’stwakarmani.

Thy right is to work only, but never with its fruits;
let not the fruits of actions be thy motive, nor let thy attachment be to inaction.

Which basically implies that we let go of outcomes and focus on our duty. Solid life-lesson there, eh?

Happy Krishna Janmashtami to you!

I am linking up with Unknown Mami for Sundays In My City because I enjoy world travel. Click the pic below to see what the others are up to!

Unknown Mami
Have a fabulous week ahead!
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Beloo Mehra August 18, 2014 at 11:04 am

Happy Krishna Janmashtami to you and your family! And thanks for sharing your fond memories of the Janmashtami celebrations, just reading about it make them seem so special. Great pictures, Vidya.
Beloo Mehra recently posted…Listen. Listen Closely to What She Says…

Jyothi Nair August 18, 2014 at 1:50 pm

I want that pack! I just love the way your pictures are always so perfect and apt. We never really celebrate the festival as such. But yes, we do love the Sweets and Savories.
Jyothi Nair recently posted…The Incident

Vidya Sury August 19, 2014 at 9:16 am

Jyothi, the great thing about festivals is the food! 😀

Inderpreet Kaur Uppal August 18, 2014 at 5:24 pm

Such a nice post about Janmashtmi, we too celebrated it in my husbands’s unit. It was a fun filled, event and good sermons too. I took pictures but nothing as grand as the ones of the temple.
The tray of yummies for Lord Krishna made my mouth water too! Address of the sweet shop please for I will have to visit Bangalore soon, such temptation for a foodie like me.
The whole story and the pictures make it a delight to read.
Inderpreet Kaur Uppal recently posted…Friendly – At Long Last.

Vidya Sury August 19, 2014 at 8:38 am

Inderpreet – wherever you find an Adayar Anand Bhavan, you’ll find these fabulous sweets. They make some of the best and have branches far and wide! 🙂
Vidya Sury recently posted…Positive Affirmations for Life

Elle August 18, 2014 at 6:36 pm

Stunning pics as usual Vidya…and the story that goes along with them. 🙂
Elle recently posted…What To Do On Days When Life Is One Big Struggle

Vidya Sury August 19, 2014 at 9:16 am

Thank you, Elle!

Susan Scott August 19, 2014 at 1:03 am

Happy Krishna Janmashtmi birthday to you Vidya. Such a lovely post thank you. Happy Birthday to Lord Krishna too yesterday. I’m glad to know about this.
Susan Scott recently posted…Wide Open Spaces

Vidya Sury August 19, 2014 at 9:16 am

Thank you so much Susan! 🙂

vishalbheeroo August 19, 2014 at 1:27 am

Happy Krishna Janmasthami, Vidya. I am sure Lord Krishna visited you to pick his share and love the pics of the temple. Mind-blowing:)
vishalbheeroo recently posted…Guest post and words

My Inner Chick August 19, 2014 at 7:30 pm

Vidya, I’d love to sit and eat w/ you one day. Did ever tell you that Indian food is my all time favorite, although I have NO idea how to make it.

Love you more than strong coffee w/ whipping cream from my coffee machine! xxxx
My Inner Chick recently posted…Behind the Mask 0f Depression

Asha Balakrishnan August 19, 2014 at 7:37 pm

A divine post! you have covered everything the prasadam, the legend, nostalgia, the celebrations and lovely pics of the murals. Nice post, vidya:)

Proactive Indian August 19, 2014 at 10:18 pm

Very nice post, particularly the photos of the temple wall!
Happy Janmashtami to you and your family!
Proactive Indian recently posted…Little gesture, huge impact!

Sebastian Aiden Daniels August 19, 2014 at 11:48 pm

Happy Krishna Janmashtami. Go naughty Krishna : D. Thank you for sharing the beautiful pictures. I love learning about another culture from you Vidya.
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Claudia August 20, 2014 at 10:47 pm

So mouth watering! That seems amazing.
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Birgit August 21, 2014 at 1:18 am

It is so wonderful and mind opening to see other cultures and their celebrations. I love the pictures you showed here. I hope your celebration was wonderful
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nabanita August 21, 2014 at 11:40 am

Mine was spent at the hospital Vidya….Enjoyed reading about the celebrations…
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Vidya Sury August 21, 2014 at 11:50 am

Dearest Naba, I have your Mom and you in my prayers. I hope she’s doing much better! Hugs!
Vidya Sury recently posted…Krishna Janmashtami


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