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Celebrating Krishna Janmashtami: Find out why Krishna is the most loved and adorable Deity of Hindu Pantheon

A reciprocator of devotees’ love, Lord Krishna is known to be the most adorable and mischievous of all Hindu Deities

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Baby Krishna sleeping. Image source: Wikimedia Commons
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  • Janmashtami is celebrated by 930 million people all over the world, in the month of July or August
  • The festival is 2-day long affair, also known as Krishna Ashtami on the first day, and Janmashtami on the second day
  • At midnight, the curtain is unveiled to finally reveal the flamboyantly decorated idol on an even brighter altar

August 24, 2016: Krishna Janmashtami is one of the most celebrated festivals among the Hindus in India and this year it falls on Wednesday, August 24. It is, after all, a day that marks the earthly appearance of the favorite Hindu god, Krishna!

Krishna is known to be the favourite of the whole Hindu pantheon. A reciprocator of devotees’ love, He is known to be adorable, the most mischievous. According to the Hindu Mythology, Krishna is known to be the most gentle and romantic lover and his loyalty and love for friends is unparalleled. A fierce warrior, an earnest hero and the wisest teacher and philosopher- Hindus view him as the most powerful human incarnation of Vishnu, the highest avatar, according to Hindu Mythology.

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Janmashtami is celebrated by 930 million people all over the world, in the month of July/ August and with the same spirit and zeal as that of a New Years. It marks the day of spiritual renewal and regeneration among Hindus.

Bal Gopal. Image source: Wikimedia Commons
Bal Gopal. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

According to Hindu Mythology, Krishna is said to have been born almost 5,200 years ago in the Indian city of Mathura and the main purpose for his birth is to free the earth from demons and their evil deeds. Krishna is also said to have given birth to the concepts of bhakti (devotion) and good karma in particular, which are very deeply mentioned in the Hindu text, Bhagavad Gita.

The festival is a 2-day long affair and is known as Krishna Ashtami on the first day, and Janmashtami on the second day. The entire period is observed by some Hindus by substituting sleep with bhajans (Hindu hymns). Krishna is believed to have been born at the stroke of midnight and it is at this time that the main festivities start.

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Bhog (food offered to the God) is prepared from milk and curd as Krishna was a famous dairy stealer in his young age and curd, butter, and milk are believed to be his favorites. A few believers also offer chappan bhog (56 dishes offered to the God). Some Hindus (except the young and infirm) even fast on the first day and only break their fast after the midnight festivities and religious ceremonies, by having panchamrit (holy water).

Krishna's idol during Janmashtami. Image source: Wikimedia Commons
Krishna’s idol during Janmashtami. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Much like Diwali, various plays, dances, and songs are re-enacted from the god’s early life. In temples and homes alike, painting and idols of Krishna are bathed, decorated with new clothes, jewelry, and flower garlands, and placed in a cradle behind a curtain. A shankh (conch shell) and holy chants are also played and sung to express admiration for the little Krishna. The cradle is rocked by every attendee of the festival, or as many as possible. Incense is burnt and scriptures are recited, all adding to the vibrancy of the festivities.

At the midnight, the curtain is unveiled to finally reveal the flamboyantly decorated idol on an even brighter altar. Kirtans (group singing lead by an individual) usually begin at this time, all devoted Krishna. The religious celebrations in the temples of Mathura- Krishna’s birthplace, and Vrindavan- another religious city in India, are especially famous for their grandeur and illumination.

-by Varsha Gupta of NewsGram. Find her on Twitter: @VarshaGupta94

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India Continues Engaging With USA Over H-1B Passport Issue

India is closely engaged with the US administration as well as the US Congress on this matter.

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As Trump proposes changes in H1-B visa, India continues to engage with US

India is continuing to engage with the US over the H-1B visa, largely availed of by Indian IT companies, after the Trump administration proposed changes to the programme, a senior official said on Thursday.

“It is a very important topic for us and that is the reason why we have time and again at various levels, we have taken up this matter with the US side,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said in response to queries by journalists here.

Kumar said that most recently, the issue was raised during the first ever India-US 2+2 Ministerial Meeting held here last month that was attended by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defence Secretary Jim Mattis.

On Wednesday, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said that the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) plans to come out with its new proposal by January 2019.

India n Passport
It will also “revise the definition” of employment and employer-employee relationship to “better protect” US workers and wages Flickr

The DHS said it was also proposing to remove from its regulations certain H-4 spouses of H-1B non-immigrants as a class of aliens eligible for employment authorisation.

The move to end the rule could have an impact on more than 70,000 H-4 visa holders, who have work permits.

The H-4 visas are issued by the USCIS to immediate family members (spouse and children under 21 years of age) of the holders of H-1B visa.

The DHS said it will propose to revise the definition of speciality occupation to increase focus on obtaining the best and the brightest foreign nationals via the H-1B programme.

It will also “revise the definition” of employment and employer-employee relationship to “better protect” US workers and wages, the DHS said.

Donald Trump, India
President Donald Trump speaks about immigration alongside family members affected by crimes committed by undocumented immigrants, at the South Court Auditorium on the White House complex, June 22, 2018, in Washington, VOA

In his remarks on Thursday, Kumar said that India is closely engaged with the US administration as well as the US Congress on this matter.

Stating that there are certain bills which have been introduced, he, however, said that “it is important to note that none of these bills have been passed so far”.

“When we have engaged with the US, we have emphasised that our partnership which we have in the digital sphere have been mutually beneficial,” the spokesperson said.

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“We have highlighted the role which has been played by the highly skilled Indian professionals who have actually contributed to the growth and development of the US economy,” he stated.

“And also they have helped the US to maintain a competitive edge in the world towards innovation and science and technology.” (IANS)