The birth of Lord Krishna is celebrated on the eighth day of Krishna Paksha (or second
half) of Sravana month. The word ‘Janma’ means birth and ‘Ashtami’ translates to eighth day, hence this festival is
known as ‘Janmashtami’. It is also called as ‘Gokulashtami’ since Lord Krishna spent his childhood in the town of
Krishna was born in an era of chaos, persecution was rampant, freedoms were denied, evil
was everywhere, and when there was a threat to his life by his uncle King Kansa. Immediately following the birth,
his father Vasudeva took Krishna across Yamuna, to foster parents in Gokul, named Nanda and Yashoda. This legend is
celebrated on Janmashtami by people keeping fast, singing devotional songs of love for Krishna, and keeping a vigil
into the night. After Krishna’s midnight hour birth, statues of baby Krishna are washed and clothed, then placed in
a cradle. This excerpt is taken from here.
I worship the naughty Krishna, who is the joy of Nanda. the only ornament of Vraja,
who destroys all the sins (of his devotees), who satisfies the desires of his devotees. Who wears a peacock
feather on his head, who plays a flute with a sweet sound, and Who is the ocean of the art of love.
मैं नटखट श्रीकृष्ण की पूजां करता हूँ, जो नंद का आनंद हैं। व्रज के एकमात्र आभूषण, जो
(अपने भक्तों के) सभी पापों को नष्ट कर देते हैं, जो अपने भक्तों की इच्छाओं को पूरा करते हैं। जो अपने सिर पर मोर
पंख धारण करते हैं, जो मधुर ध्वनि वाली बांसुरी बजाते हैं, और जो अथांग प्रेम का सागर है।
I offer my obeisance’s to Lord Krishna, the beloved son of Vasudeva, who killed the
great demons Kamsa and Canura, who is the source of great joy to Mother Devaki; and who is indeed a world
teacher and spiritual master of the universe.
मैं वसुदेव पुत्र, देवकी के परमानन्द, कंस और चाणूर जैसे दैत्यों का वध करने
वाले, समस्त संसार के गुरू भगवान कृष्ण को वन्दन करता हूँ।