This is the famous verse from Shrimad Bhagvad Gita,

“Yada yada hi dharmasya glanirbhavati bharata

Abhythanamadharmasya tadatmanam srijamyaham”

Paritranaya sadhunang vinashay cha dushkritam

Dharmasangsthapanart- hay sambhabami yuge yuge

which means:-

“Whenever, O descendant of Bharata, there is decline of Dharma, and rise of Adharma, then I body Myself forth. For the protection of the good, for the destruction of the wicked, and for the establishment of Dharma I come into being in every age.”

Here, ‘I’ means Lord Krishna.

Janmashtami, also known as Gokulashtami and Krishnashtami is celebrated with great zeal across India.

As per Hindu belief, Krishna is the 8th and most powerful incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Krishna, who is supposed to have been born in Mathura around 5,200 years ago, was destined to destroy all evil on earth. Krishna the 8th son of Devaki and Vasudeva and was born in a prison. Kansa, Krishna’s maternal uncle, had been prophesied that the child of Devaki and Vasudeva would kill him hence he had imprisoned both of them and would kill every child that Devaki gave birth to. Unbeknownst to Kansa, Krishna was the one destined to kill him, which he did at a very young age. He also played an important role in the Mahabharata. His teachings from the Bhagwad Gita are of great significance even today.

The sole reason of celebrating this festival is to bring people together so that the principles of unity are strengthened. Temples are decorated; processions are taken out, people sing religious bhajans and kirtans in his praise. At some places, they also do satsangs and some also host dance-dramas enacting parts of Krishna’s life as described in the Bhagavata Purana.

Dahi Handi is another important aspect of this festival that is observed on the second day of Janmashtami. As a kid Krishna was a very naughty child who used to steal butter from the pot and the gopikas used to complain about this to his mother, Yashoda. Hence he was named ‘Makhanchor’ meaning the one who steals butter.

Dahi Handi is an event where the same butter stealing activity of Krishna is narrated. An earthen pot or handi is filled with butter, dry fruits, and milk and is suspended at a considerable height with the help of ropes. Many youngsters gather to make a human pyramid and climb on each other to reach the handi and break it.

These days Dahi Handi has become a very commercial activity. Competitions are organized and the winning team gets a prize. Gradually, we are losing the essence of the festival which is to celebrate unity, humanity and love among us all.