Janmashtami is one of the most popular festivals. Hindus celebrate the birth of their beloved God, Sri Krishna. Detailed story of Janmashtami that is Lord Krishna’s birth has been narrated in Puranas. Continue reading to learn about various fascinating aspects of the Janmashtami legend described in Puranas.
Mathura, a prominent town of Northern India, was the birth city of Sri Krishna. It was ruled by King Ugrasen, a Yaduvanshi [Belonging to Yadavs community]. He was a great king loved by his subjects. He had two childrens, a son named Kansa and a daughter named Devki. Kansa jailed his own father and usurped throne. He forcefully became the king of Mathura. Also, he was very cruel and wicked. His subjects in Mathura and neighbouring towns and localities were tormented.
Love for sister Devki and Brother in law Vasudev:
Even though Kansa was unkind and cruel, he loved his sister, Devki immensely. He married her to Vasudev who was a high ranking officer in his army. However, on the day of their wedding, there was a heavenly prediction. It was announced that Devki’s eighth child would kill Kansa. Hence, he decided to kill his sister right away. Kansa changed his mind when Vasudev pleaded and promised to hand over every Devki’s child. Kansa put the couple in the dungeons.
Birth of Balram:
Kansa managed to kill the first six new born babies of Devki and Vasudev. However, the seventh child was saved by divine intervention. The child was transferred from Devki’s to Rohini’s womb. Rohini was Vasudev’s other wife. Thus Balram, the elder brother of Krishna was born. However, Kansa had the impression that Devki had a miscarriage.
Birth of Krishna:
After Devki’s eighth child Krishna was born, a series of dramatic events occurred. As soon as the child was born, miraculously all the prison guards fell asleep. Magically, the gates of the dungeon flung open themselves. Hence, Vasudev decided to smuggle this child to safety in a basket. Immediately, he thought of his close friend Baba Nand in Gokul. There was torrential rain that night. The River Yamuna was all swollen. Vasudev was afraid that he and his child might drown in the river. However, as soon as the infant’s feet touched the river, the river water became normal. Thus, Vasudev was able to cross it easily. Sheshnag, the five headed serpent of Lord Vishnu protected the child with its fangs. Thus, Vasudev realised that this was no ordinary child but a divine being. On reaching Gokul, Vasudev exchanged his eighth child with the girl child. Vasudev returned to Mathura with the girl child but no one knew about it.
On hearing the news of the eighth born child, Kansa rushed to kill the girl. Kansa did not listen to his sister, Devki’s pleadings to spare the girl child. He held the child by her legs to bang her against the wall. But, the girl child vanished into thin air. She announced that Kansa’s slayer has been born and is living safely in Gokul. This girl child was Yogmaya [divine illusion].The eighth child grew up as Yashoda and Nand’s son in Gokul. Krishna later killed his maternal uncle, Kansa. Thereby, he relieved all the people of Mathura from Kansa’s tyranny.