Balarama Jayanti, Krsna Janmasthami
This is the appearance day of Lord Balarama, the elder brother of Lord Krishna. Lord Balarama is the first expansion of Lord Sri Krishna. He is the original spiritual master, and devotees offer special prayers to Lord Balarama on this day to receive spiritual strength from Him.
He appeared on the full moon day of shravana. The history of His appearance is unique. He was born as the seventh son of Devaki and Vasudeva.
But, when He was still in the womb of Devaki, He transferred Himself to the womb of Rohini, who was another wife of Vasudeva. The tyrant brother of Devaki, Kamsa, had put Vasudeva and Devaki in prison. Vasudeva had left his wife Rohini, in the care of his dear friend, Maharaja Nanda.
The Krishna Balarama Deities received a splendid abhisheka or bathing ceremony on this day. Lord Balaram was offered a Rajbhog naivedya consisting of 52 special items. All the deities in the main temple were adorned with new garments and jewelry.
Krishna Janmashtami is an annual celebration of the birth of the deity Krishna.
The festival is celebrated on the eighth day (Ashtami) of the Krishna Paksha (dark fortnight) of the month of Shravana (August September) in the India calendar. Rasa lila, dramatic enactments of the life of Krishna, are a special feature in regions of Mathura and Vrindavan, and regions following Vaishnavism in Manipur.
Sri Krishna was born in a prison in the custody of Kansa. Vasudev, His father immediately thought of his friend Nand and decided to hand over his child to him to save Krishna from the clutch of Kansa. Krishna grew up in Gokul and finally killed his uncle, King Kansa.
The actual celebration of Janmashtami takes place during the midnight as Sri Krishna is believed to be borned on a dark, stormy and windy night to end the rule and violence of his uncle, Kansa. All over India this day is celebrated with devotional songs and dances, pujas, arti, blowing of the Conch and rocking the cradle of baby Sri Krishna.
The Janmashtami celebration of Mathura and Vrindavan, the places where Sri Krishna had spent his life, are very special. On this day temples and homes are wonderfully decorated and illuminated. Night long prayers are offered and religious mantras are sung in the temples.