Worshipping Krishna – child, lover, god, philosopher


New Delhi : Millions of Hindus in India and abroad Tuesday celebrated Janmashtami, the birthday of Lord Krishna, one of the most popular Hindu gods, with special prayers, spiritual discourses, dance and music.

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The day started with people thronging Krishna temples, with devotion in their hearts and prayers on their lips.

Many temples wore a festive look, bedecked with flowers and illuminated by lamps. Several places of worship also had floats depicting scenes from Krishna’s childhood.

As ever, the maximum rush of devotees was at Mathura, the lord’s birthplace some 135 km south of New Delhi.

Mathura had pilgrims coming from all over the country. Temples in the holy city were richly decorated and they liberally distributed sweets to everyone.

In New Delhi, the Birla temple saw people queuing up right from early morning. Generous offerings of fruits, flowers and sweets were made to the gods.

Celebrations were on in many households too — with kheer prepared for the special day. Many observed a fast.

“Barring children, all members of our family are fasting to celebrate the Lord’s birthday. We visited the Birla temple and Akshardham temple,” said Ajit Kumar Nayak, a teacher.

Krishna is one of the most lovable gods. Famed for his naughty antics as a child and his flirtatious playfulness, Krishna is at the same time believed to be the ultimate saviour and protector.

“To a foreigner or a non-Hindu the escapades of the child Kanha, or the dalliances of Murari, could appear a trifle bizarre. But the attraction of Krishna lies precisely in this exuberance of his multifaceted personality,” says author Pavan Varma in “Krishna: The Playful Divine”.

Hundreds of devotees gathered at Delhi’s International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) temple and Akshardham temple, many dancing to the beat of drums and chanting “Krishna Krishna hare hare…”

“We are welcoming every one to join the celebrations,” an ISKON temple official said.

Tales of Krishna have enchanted children over the ages — and fired the imagination of poets and writers.

Tight security was evident in many places. Police were deployed near all major shrines here and devotees were prohibited from carrying liquids or breaking coconuts inside temple premises.

Cultural extravaganzas were held at several places, with children dressed as Krishna and Radha, enacting stories about the Lord.