FRIDAY, AUGUST 10: Want to experience extreme joy? Look no further than Sri Krisha!
Across India today, Hindus rejoice in Krishna Janmashtami, a festival honoring the eighth incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Legend has it that remembrance of this deity’s heart brings joy because he was a manifestation of joy at all levels and, even in caste-dominant Indian society, for all walks of life. On Krishna Janmashtami, devotees perform dramatic scenes from Krishna’s life; form human pyramids to break high-hanging pots of buttermilk; and pray intensive words at midnight. (Wikipedia has details.)
Even Westerners can participate by practicing Karma Yoga, a form of Yoga rumored to have been taught by Sri Krishna. The principal Karmayogi taught followers to identify the divine essence in every being and to serve the world by giving away oneself.
Uniquely, young people can easily relate to this Hindu deity. Many of the gods in religious traditions around the world are envisioned as mature or timeless, but Sri Krishna is remembered in both his youth and adulthood. Toss in the fact that Sri Krishna was known for his love of sweets, pranks and overall mischievous nature, and it’s a deity kids of all ages can appreciate! In his honor, Hindus bake batch after batch of sweets for Krishna Janmashtami, along with milk products like butter—known to be other childhood favorites of Krishna. (Learn more from I Love India.)
In many regions of India, handi pots are hung high above the streets and filled with buttermilk, enticing youngsters to attempt human pyramids. If successful, the topmost person on a human pyramid will break the handi, pouring buttermilk down the entire pyramid and, often, ensuring a monetary reward for the group. In recent times, political groups and other organizations have been sponsoring handi pots and dolling out generous rewards.
One of the grandest parties takes place in Uttar Pradesh, the birthplace of Lord Krishna (Times of India has an article); in another region, 145 intricate, colorful dioramas devoted to Lord Krishna will be on display for visitors (The Hindu reported that 15 artists created these sculptures during the past three months). Indians in other regions will enjoy Krishna aur Kans—a 3D animated film—that will bring the deity’s myths to life on the big screen. Six states have already declared the film tax-free, and other states are considering the proposal; schools are buying tickets in blocks and families have been flooding theaters since its release on Aug. 3. Parents of young children have expressed appreciation for an easy way to introduce Hindu legends to their sons and daughters.