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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
  • 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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Global groundwater depletion - where the amount of water taken from aquifers exceeds the amount that is restored naturally - increased by 22 per cent between 2000 and 2010, said the report, adding that India's rate of groundwater depletion increased by 23 per cent during the same period. Pixabay

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Globally, close to four billion people live in water-scarce areas, where, for at least part of the year, demand exceeds supply, said the report by non-profit organisation WaterAid.

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Physical water scarcity is getting worse, exacerbated by growing demand on water resources and and by climate and population changes.

By 2040 it is predicted that 33 countries are likely to face extremely high water stress – including 15 in the Middle East, most of Northern Africa, Pakistan, Turkey, Afghanistan and Spain. Many – including India, China, Southern Africa, USA and Australia – will face high water stress.

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Globally, close to four billion people live in water-scarce areas, where, for at least part of the year, demand exceeds supply, said the report by non-profit organisation WaterAid. Pixabay

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The report also highlighted that India uses the largest amount of groundwater — 24 per cent of the global total and the country is the third largest exporter of groundwater — 12 per cent of the global total.

The WaterAid report warned that food and clothing imported by wealthy Western countries are making it harder for many poor and marginalised communities to get a daily clean water supply as high-income countries buy products with considerable “water footprints” – the amount of water used in production — from water-scarce countries. (IANS)