Shri Krishna, one of the 24 incarnations of Vishnu, was born over 5,000 years ago on Shravan Vad 8. Shri Krishna incarnated on this Earth to kill the evil Kansa and give the discourses of the Gita to Arjun. On this day, devotees observe nirjala, a waterless fast, and remember the life and message of Shri Krishna. At midnight, the hour at which Shri Krishna was born, devotees perform aarti. Then, a child murti of Shri Krishna is placed in a swing and devotees sing bhajans. In the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha, devotees come together and recall Shri Krishna’s lila and the invaluable life lessons he taught.
Reason for Incarnation:
The Bhagavad Gita (4/78) explains why Bhagwan incarnates on the Earth:
“Yadaa yadaa hi dharmasya glanir bhavati Bharat; Dharma sansthaapanaarthaaya sambhaavami yuge yuge.”
“I incarnate whenever Dharma declines and evil predominates, to establish Dharma and vanquish evil.”
Shri Krishna incarnated on this Earth for several reasons, particularly, to vanquish Mathura’s evil King Kansa, expel darkness from the lives of pious people, and fulfill his promise to Vasudev and Devki, his parents. When Vasudev and Devki were married, Kansa heard a divine proclamation. It explained that the couple’s 8th son would bring about Kansa’s demise. Thus, Kansa imprisoned the couple and killed the first seven sons born to Devki. When Shri Krishna was born, Vasudev placed him in a cradle, traveled across the Yamuna River, and brought the child to safety to be reared by his foster parents. Eventually, Shri Krishna fuflfilled the prophecy and rid the people of Mathura of Kansa.
Devotees observe a nirjala fast on this day, recall the divine lila from Shri Krishna’s life, and perform aarti at midnight.
Special parayans of the Shrimad Bhagavata Purana and the Shrimad Bhagavad Gita are arranged in the days leading up to Janmashtami.