As per Hindu calendar we celebrate this day on Bhadrapada month or Ashtami, this year on 18th August 2022(Thursday).
Janmashtami, also known as Gokul Ashtami, is a major Hindu festival in India. On this day we celebrate the birth of Lord Krishna, who happened to be the eighth incarnation of Lord Vishnu, the supreme God of the Hindus. Lord Krishna was born in the Yadava clan of Mathura to Queen Devaki and King Vasudeva in Mathura in the prison. Krishna is the god of love, tenderness and compassion. Hindu mythology portrays him as a prankster, a gentle lover, a universal supreme being and child-like God.
Devaki had a brother, Kansa, who along with some other demon kings was terrorizing Earth. Kansa had usurped the throne of Mathura from his father, the benevolent King Agrasen. Mother Earth took the form of a cow and went to Lord Brahma, the creator God of Hinduism, with her plight. Lord Brahma then summoned Lord Vishnu, who assured Mother Earth that he would take birth as Lord Krishna to end this tyranny.
Kansa agreed to let Devaki get married to Yadava prince Vasudeva in the hopes of taking over the Yadava clan too. When Devaki was getting married, Kansa was told by fortune tellers that one of the sons of Devaki would bring his death. In his paranoia, Kansa decided to kill Devaki right there and then. But after Vasudeva begged for his wife’s life and promised to hand each child to Kansa as soon as it was born, Kansa let go of his sister, and instead imprisoned Devaki and Vasudeva, and made sure that none of Devaki’s children survived. As soon as a child was born to Devaki, Kansa would smash the child’s head against the walls of the prison.
However, on the night of Krishna’s birth, as soon as Krishna was born, a bright light filled the prison and Vasudeva was woken up by a divine voice that guided him to take Krishna across the Yamuna and leave him with his dear friend Nand raja, the head of the Gopa tribe. Nand raja and his wife Yashoda had also given birth to a baby girl that night, so Vasudeva secretly carried baby Krishna across the Yamuna River, which was no longer in its calm state, but instead was raging as if it were the ocean. Just then Lord Vishnu’s Shesha Naag, the giant multi-headed snake came and helped Vasudeva carry Krishna safely across the river. Vasudeva went to Nand raja’s house and exchanged the babies. His heart was filled with a deep sadness, as if he had left a part of his soul behind. He headed back to the prison with the exchanged baby, who gave a loud cry as soon as she lay next to Devaki. The guards informed Kansa that Devaki’s eight child was finally born.
Devaki begged Kansa not to kill the baby, she pleaded that the prophecy must have been wrong as her son was meant to bring the end of Kansa but to no avail. When Kansa tried to kill the exchanged baby, it transformed into Goddess Durga and warned him that his death had arrived in his kingdom, and would come back to punish Kansa for his sins. That Kansa would find no peace and keep thinking about his end, she said that she could kill him then and there, but Kansa’s end had to be timely, and then the goddess vanished.
However, Kansa was certain that the prophecy may not be entirely true given that if his slayer was born inside the prison, he would have surely killed him. With a slight relief, Kansa finally freed Vasudeva and Devaki, and let them live in a separate palace. After some days, Vasudeva shared what happened on the night of Krishna’s birth, and though Devaki was sad, she was relieved to hear her son was safe.
Days later, news of Nand raja and Yashoda’s son’s birth reached the kingdom, people were gushing about the unique twinkle in the child’s eyes, about how he was always happy and how his mere presence spread joy and cheer all around. Krishna grew up unaware of his destiny, far away from all the chaos of Mathura, in Gokul, with Nanda Baba and his wife Yashoda, as his foster parents.
The next morning in Gokul, the word spread that Nanda had a little boy and he was named Krishna. Now kansa heard rumors that devki son is alive in Gokul so he ordered a wicked demoness name Putana to go to Gokul and kill every baby born in the month of Shravan. Putana then using her magic turned into a beautiful woman, she then applied poison on her breasts. In Gokul she then searched for all the babies of the right age. She act as if she was playing with them and then she would nurse them with her poisoned breasts. In this way, she killed many babies. Finally she came to Nanda's house and found baby Krishna there. She acted as if she was playing with the child, and then she picked him up and started to feed him. Now baby Krishna being divine, instead of succumbing to her evil ways, sucked the life out of her.
Krishna grew up a playful, mischievous child. He grew up amongst the cowherds of Gokul and even came in contact with his brother Balrama. Another miracle Krishna performed as a teenager was the taming of Kaliya. Kaliya was a poisonous snake with many heads, and inhabited a lake in Gokul. Kaliya would devour any cow that would drink from the lake. Krishna, angered by this, took a vow to tame Kaliya. He jumped into the lake and fought Kaliya. Alarmed by this, his friends ran to the village and informed his parents. Upon returning to the lake they found pools of blood on the surface of the lake. They though that surely Krishna was dead. After a while, the many headed Kaliya rose to the surface with Krishna dancing on top of him. Kaliya was tamed. Krishna then ordered Kaliya to leave the lake and the inhabitants of Gokul alone.
The people of Gokul used to worship Indra, the arrogant King of the devas, more out of fear than of love of him. Krishna thought that this was wrong. He said that they should instead worship the Mountain Govardhan (Gokul was on the foothills of this mountain) who had given them so much. The people started to worship Govardhan, this made Indra really angry. Indra, in order to punish them for their insolence, sent storms their way. It rained for many days and Gokul was flooded. The people of Gokul approached Krishna for help. Krishna lifted the entire mountain Govardhan with his little finger and gave shelter to the people of Gokul under it.
After many attempts to kill Krishna, Desperate Kansa sought suggestion from Akrura who asked him to invite Lord Krishna and his brother Balaram to to Mathura. A ceremony was organized to masquerade them. The ceremony was called Dhanush-Yagya. Kansa made plan to kill both of them. However, Akrura was an ardent devotee of Lord Krishna and revealed about Kamsa evil intentions to him. But, in the same time, his hands were tied too because he was bound to carry out the instructions of his master Kansa.
Akrura visited Vraja where Lord Krishna and Balaram used to live. Sri Krishna and Balaram were delighted to meet Akrura and after the formal exchange of pleasantries, Krishna took Akrura to his home. Akrura conveyed the message which Kansa sent for Sri Krishna and Balaram and invited them cordially to Mathura. Akrura also said that Lord Krishna was the incarnation of Lord Vishnu and Kamsa will be killed by him.
It was already evening when Sri Krishna and Balarama reached Mathura accompanied by Kansa. On their way, Sri Krishna saw a dyer with colorful clothes and demanded some of them from him. On his refusal, Sri Krishna slapped him so hard that he vomited blood and died right there. Sri Krishna then collected some of the clothes and proceeded to the place of Kamsa. He then met with a crooked woman with some sandalwood paste and demanded some of it. The woman handed over some of the paste to Sri Krishna without hesitation. Sri Krishna blessed her and she instantly got rid of her physical-deformity.
Finally, Sri Krishna reached the place where Dhanush-Yagya was supposed to be performed and upon reaching he broke a bow into two pieces. It was a divine bow and Kamsa was rather surprised to see it broken. Infuriated, Kamsa ordered Chanura to kill Krishna in a wrestling-bout. Kamsa fortified that place by deploying wild elephants and mighty-warriors at all entrance points. Sri Krishna and Balarama spent the whole night in captive. In the morning, when the proceeded towards the palace, they met a mighty elephant called Kuvalyapeeda which he killed very easily. This event terrified the powerful warriors who were all set at the gymnasium to kill Sri Krishna. Their troop dispersed which slashed Krishna's effort by half.
Kamsa ordered his to lieutenants Chanura and Mushtika to kill Krishna right away. While Chanura confronted Shri Krishna, Balarama fought a duel with Mushtika leaving kamsa all alone. Making use of the oppertunity, Shri Krishna pulled Kamsa by the hair and knocked him down to the ground. The injury was so fatal that Kamsa died on the spot. Balarama also killed Kamsa's younger brother Surama. After winning the battle, Krishna went to meet his real parents Vasudeva and Devaki and freed them from Kamsa's prison along with their grandfather Ugrasena who was held captive too. Finally, Ugrasena became the king of Mathura.