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Thursday, August 29, 2013

Sri Krishna Jayanthi - celebrating the birth of Lord Krishna at Mathura

Today 29th day of August [13th day of Avani] 2013 is a day of Great significance.  Today is  ‘Rohini’ Nakshathiram in the month of Avani,  the day of birth of Lord Krishna.  

People all over celebrate this day in a manner that Lord Krishna is born in every house.  They paint the footsteps of  little Krishna in their houses, have the vigraha of Krishna adorn new clothes and offer choicest dishes to the Lord, many of which are referred to in the Naalayira  Divyaprabandham also.  Sri Periyazhwaar has sung songs celebrating all aspects from the birth of Sri Krishna, to His crawling, His toddling, requesting him to adorn ear rings; offering Him various flowers; bathing Him and more… Lots of fruits are also offered to Krishna at every home. 

Bhagwan Krishna’s birth variously known as Gokulashtami, Krishna Jayanthi and more is often referred to in the South,  as Sri Jayanthi.  There is a notion that ‘Jayanthi’ refers to the birth date and thereby we have no. of Jayanthis !!! -  Heard from Dr MA Venkatakrishnan, Head of Dept of Vaishnavism, University of Madras; a renowned scholar in Sanskrit and Vaishnavism that ‘Jayanthi’ connotes ‘muhurtham’ – among the various muhurthams i.e., the classification of time – one occurring between ‘Ashtami closer to Navami’ and on Rohini is known as ‘Jayanthi’ and it was on this muhurtham Lord Krishna was born.  Because of the birth of Lord Krishna, this muhurtham also attained special significance. As Srivaishnavaites prefix ‘Sri’ with all auspicious things associated with Maha Vishnu, it became ‘Sri Jayanthi’ – hence there cannot be any other Jayanthis – the one and only Jayanthi is that of Lord Krishna.  Just as the birth of Lord Rama is ‘Sree Rama Navami’ – that of Lord Krishna is ‘Sree Jayanthi’.

Mathura is the holy place where Lord Krishna was born…. ~ the centre of what is fondly referred as Braj bhoomi.  Remember Lord was born in a prison cell at Mathura, the capital of Surasena kingdom ruled by Kamsa, the maternal uncle of the Lord.  This is a very old place dating back to Ramayana days.  According to the Archeologists, the Ikshwaku prince Shatrughna slayed a demon called Lavanasura and claimed this  land.  By some accounts this place was a densely wooded Madhuvan.   This place was closely associated with history too.  Centuries later,  Mathura was one of the capitals of Kushan dynasty. Megasthenes, writing in the early 3rd century BCE, mentions Mathura as a great city.

At the place where Lord Krishna was born now exists a Temple popularly known as ‘Janmasthan temple’  -  Kesava Deo Temple considered most sacred for all Hindus.  There is a huge complex comprising of a small temple, the Janmasthan, gallery, a huge temple later built by Dalmiyas – the prison cell – the exact place where Lord Krishna was born is under a doom – all heavily fortified and guarded these days.  At the Janmasthan is the most beautiful  Kehsav Dev(Krishna), the worshipped  deity of this temple. According to traditions the original deity was installed by the  great-grandson of Krishna.

This temple is considered a monument of Gupta period (320 to 550 CE)which was destroyed in 1661 CE by Aurangzeb. Vrindavan is the twin town of Mathura and there are other holy places of Gokulam and Govardhana giri – all in the vicinity.  It is recorded that this  great temple was rebuilt by Bir Singh Deo Bundela during Jahangir’s time at a cost of thirty-three lakhs of rupees. The Dehra of Keshava Rai was one of the most magnificent temples ever built in India and enjoyed veneration of the Hindus throughout the land. The Dehra of Keshava Rai was demolished by Aurangzeb.  In 1815, the East India Company auctioned the area of Katra Keshavadeva, which was purchased by the then Raja Patnimal of Banaras.  In 1944, Madan Mohan Malviya was distressed at plight of the site and arranged for purchase of land from Raja Krishna Das of Benaras; then  Jugal Kishore Birla of Birla group took  the leading role to fulfill the wishes of Malviyaji and formed a private trust in 1951 to which the rights of land were later transferred. Jaidayal Dalmia of Dalmia Group was another leading personality, who took untiring efforts and the temple was finally constructed over the site. The trust which runs the temple has a glorious list of Trustees besides Birla and Dalmia family members.   

Though this modern temple attracts pilgrims, the original place of birth lies within the complex -  a small room  of  a prison cell, where it is  fully believed that Lord Krishna was born.  There is a mosque overlooking this place. 

Here are some photos of Sri Janmasthan of Sri Krishna at Mathura ~ photos of the entrance only as the temple premises is heavily guarded and cameras are not allowed these days.  On the day of Gokulashtami huge crowds would gather and sing paeans in praise of our Great Lord Krishna

Jai Sri Krishna

Adiyen Srinivasadhasan.

29th Aug 2013.

1 comment:

  1. Good nice one and a very different one at that - Laxmi Gupta