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Lesson Transcript

Culture Class: Holidays in India Lesson 13 - Birthday of the God Krishna
Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class- Holidays in India Series at HindiPod101.com. In this series, we’re exploring the traditions behind Indian holidays and observances. I’m Eric, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 13, Birthday of the God Krishna. In Hindi, it’s called Janmashtami.
In Hindu mythology, the God Vishnu is revered as the Savior of the world; it is said that he was birthed in human form as Lord Krishna in order to save the world from destruction. Are you familiar with the festival of the Birth of Lord Krishna?
In this lesson, we’ll talk about this special day, which in Hindi is called Krishna Janmashtami, and is celebrated in the month of Shravan, which spans across August and September.
Now, before we get into more detail, do you know the answer to this question-
What is the significance of Radha in the story of Lord Krishna?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep listening.
Lord Krishna is the eighth incarnation of Vishnu. According to the scriptures, he was born in present-day Mathura some 5,000 years ago. Janmashtami is celebrated with traditions relating to the tales of his childhood. Many Krishna devotees fast on this day leading up to the moment of his birth, at midnight on Janmashtami. Small idols of the infant, in Hindi shishu, Krishna are laid in a swing cot and the infant is worshipped.
Krishna was born to the prince and princess of Mathura. But his father, or in Hindi peeta ji, left the infant with his friend Nand and his wife Yashoda for protection. Krishna grew up in the care of his loving adoptive Mother Yashoda in Vrindavan. He was said to be a very naughty child, often stealing and eating fresh butter, which led to the popular tradition of butter pots in Maharashtra state. In an open field, the earthen pot is hung up at a great height and groups of young men form human pyramids, in Hindi called Manav Minar, in order to reach it.
Dance dramas based on Krishna’s youth are also organized on this day. All the cow-herding girls gopis in Vrindavan were enamored by young Krishna; when he played the flute, they would come streaming to him. One night, Krishna played his flute under the moonlight in the forest, or in Hindi Jungle, which drew all the girls to him and brought them to dance under his spell. This episode is still reenacted today in various dance dramas on Janmashtami.
Many skits about Krishna’s life are performed amidst the celebrations, with young children dressing up to play his role. Krishna had dark blue skin, wore formal male loincloths which are called dhoti, as well as earrings, bracelets, and a peacock feather in his hair. In his hands, he carried a flute.
Now it's time to answer our quiz question-
What is the role and significance of Radha to Krishna’s story?
The unique love story of Radha and Krishna is famous all over India. Radha was one of the gopis in Vrindavan who was in love with Krishna. Krishna also loved her, even though she was married. Their love story is very popular in India, and their idols are worshipped together.
How did you like this lesson? Did you learn anything interesting?
Is the birthday of a deity celebrated like this in your country as well?
Leave us your comments telling us at HindiPod101.com!
And we’ll see you in the next lesson!


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Tuesday at 06:30 PM
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Is the birthday of a deity celebrated like this in your country as well?


HindiPod101.com Verified
Monday at 10:38 AM
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Hi Mark,

Thanks for your sharing your experience!

If you have any questions, please feel free to post here.

All the best!


Team HindiPod101.com

Friday at 06:49 AM
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Sri Krishna Janmashtami is celebrated in many countries around the world, since Krishna-bhakti is nowadays a worldwide phenomenon. Case in point: here in New York City, I recently celebrated this mahotsav with a sanga of Krishna-bhaktas of which the majority are immigrants from the Dominican Republic!