Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Janmashtami: The birthday of Krishna and Yogamaya

Millenniums ago, a lot happened in Mathura and Gokul at midnight on Janmashtami. A child who was radiating divine light, wearing celestial jewelry and a pitambar, and holding a conch, chakra, mace, and lotus was born to Devaki and Vasudev in a prison in Mathura. After offering praise to Bhagavan Krishna, the cause of the universe, mother Devaki requested him to hide his divine form, for she was afraid that her brother, Kansa, would try to hurt him. Krishna soon turned into an ordinary child.

As the Srimad Bhagavata Purana further tells us, Yogamaya, the Goddess, had also been born on the same night to Yashoda and Nanda in Gokul. By her all-pervading influence, Yogamaya opened the gates of Vasudev’s prison and had the guards lose their consciousness so that Krishna’s father could easily transfer Krishna to Gokul and bring her back to Mathura. Vasudev reached Gokul in the midst of heavy rains and a flood in the river Yamuna, who eventually made a way for Krishna’s first journey. The incarnation of the Mother Goddess also turned Yashoda Devi unconscious so that she could recognize Krishna as her real son when she woke up. When Vasudev brought baby Yogamaya to Mathura, the ignorant Kamsa threw her against a wall in an attempt to kill her. The Goddess reached the sky, revealed her divine form, and announced, “O Fool! Don’t kill innocent children. Your annihilator has already taken birth.”

Happy Janmashtami!

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