Covid-19 subdued the joy for Shri Krishna Janmashtami celebrations
Shri Krishna, one of India's most revered Gods, is the ninth incarnation of Shri Vishnu, the one who protects the Earth. He, who is also hailed as Madhava, Keshava, Madhusudana and several other meaningful names, was born to Devaki on the Ashtami Tithi (eighth day), Krishna Paksha (waning phase of the Moon) in the month of Bhadrapada when Rohini Nakshatra prevailed.
This year, devotees shall observe the 5247th birth anniversary of Lord Krishna.
This year, Krishna Janmashtami will be observed on August 11 and August 12, as per the Smarta and the Vaishnava sampradaya respectively.
Devotees keep a fast on the day of Janmashtami to pay obeisance to their beloved Shri Krishna. They break it only offering their prayers to him at the time designated, i.e. during Nishita Kaal. The ritual of breaking the fast is called Parana. Some devotees break the fast only after Rohini Nakshatra and Ashtami Tithi or one of the two ends.
Several people observe fast as a gesture of devotion while many others indulge in the festivities by organising cultural programmed and puja rituals at home. The celebrations this year have been marred by the coronavirus pandemic and large gatherings, temple visits will have to be avoided.
So far, this year, people across the globe haven't been able to celebrate any festival collectively or in public owing to the coronavirus pandemic. People have restricted themselves to safe confinements of their homes even on festivals to contain the spread of the disease.
This year, The Krishna Janmabhoomi temple, Mathura will remain closed for devotees from August 10 to August 13. The usual rituals will continue to be performed behind closed doors and they will be telecast live.
The festive season in India has begun with several big festivals such as Krishna Janmashtami, Ganesh Chaturthi, Sharadiya Navratri, Diwali and several other significant occasions lined up in the next few months. But people shall not be able to celebrate them collectively in the neighbourhood.
In the last six months, people celebrated major festivals like Ram Navmi, Eid ul-Fitr, Eid al-Adha and other significant occasions at home to contain the spread of COVID-19.
Lord Krishna is revered as the 8th avatar of Lord Vishnu. The festival of Janmashtami is observed according to the Hindi lunisolar calendar. It is said that the day falls as per the Hindu lunisolar calendar, on Ashtami (the 8th day) of the Krishna Paksha in Shravan maas (Shravan/Sawan month) of the lunar Hindu Calendar and Krishna Paksha in Bhadrapad of the lunisolar Hindu Calendar, which overlaps with August and September of the Gregorian calendar.
Lord Krishna was born to Devaki and Vasudev to kill his cruel uncle Kansa, who puts his sister and brother-in-law in jail and kills their seven children one-by-one fearing death.
However, he too is tricked by the divine intervention when the Lord is born, Vasudeva with the help of cosmic powers takes Krishna away from Mathura by crossing the Yamuna river and leaves him in Gokul with foster parents - Yashoda and Nanda.
Vasudeva carries Krishna in a basket and takes him through the river amid turbulent rains and storm. It is believed that during that time, the king of serpents - Sheshnag emerges from the Yamuna river and acts as a shield to protect Lord Krishna under his five-headed hood.
Once Lord Krishna reaches Gokul, there Yashoda gave birth to a baby girl, who is believed to be a form of Goddess Durga. With the help of divine intervention, Krishna is safely placed in Gokul with new parents and the baby girl is taken to Devaki and Vasudev in Mathura.
Therefore, Lord Krishna was raised by Yashoda and Nanda Baba.
Krishna Janmashtami is followed by Nandotsav which hails the festive occasion of the times when Nanda Baba distributed gifts and sweets in the neighbourhood upon the birth of child Krishna.
Krishna Janmasthami Tithi
The Ashtami Tithi begins at 9:06 AM on August 11 and ends at 11:16 AM on August 12, 2020.
Krishna Janmashtami Nishita Kaal Puja Shubh Muhurat
Since Shri Krishna was born at midnight, the puja is performed during Nishita Kaal. The timings for this year puja is between 12:05 AM to 12.48 AM on August 12 as per the Smarta tradition. And between 12:05 AM to 12.48 AM on August 13.
Janmashtami Parana timings
One can break the fast after 11:16 AM on August 12.
If one cannot wait so long, then they can do the Parana after 5:49 AM, August 12.
And here's another Parana timing for those who may not be able to bear long periods of fasting. They can do the Parana after 12:46 AM on August 12.
Those who follow the Vaishnava Sampradaya can do their Parana after 5:57 AM on August 13.
Janmasthami Rohini Nakshatra Timings
The time when Rohini Nakshatra prevails is also of great significance. This year. It starts at 3:27 AM on August 13 and ends at 5:22 AM on August 14.