Destiny, Sacrifice, and Divine Guidance

We take a look at the story of Krishna’s birth and how he got his name, leading to the celebration of Janmashtami every year.

Apr 30, 2024
Lord Krishna was the eighth offspring of the humble, good-hearted couple, Devaki and Vasudeva. But Devaki had a brother Kansa, who had robbed her and her world of every possible joy.
To Kansa, the birth of this child was nothing short of a death threat. It was once prophesied that Kansa, who was evil and greedy, would be killed by an offspring of Devaki and Vasudeva. So for the past several years, Kansa had held the couple as prisoners, ending any chance of a surviving offspring.
Hearing of the birth of this new baby, Kansa amped up the security measures and instructed guards to alert him the moment Devaki went into labor. However, Lord Vishnu cast a spell that put everyone to sleep, including the guards and Kansa, masking Devaki's labor.
Upon Krishna's birth, Vishnu asked the birth father something unfathomable. In the neighboring village of Gokul, another woman named Yashoda had just given birth to a baby girl. Yashoda hadn’t seen the baby yet, because she too was asleep as a result of Vishnu’s spell.
Vishnu assured Vasudeva that the only way to ensure that his baby lives would be to quickly swap the boy with Yashoda’s newborn. Vasudeva successfully switched the infants and returned to his cell with Nanda's newborn daughter. The moment the spell lifted, the girl cried, waking the guards who then notified Kansa. When Kansa attempted to kill the baby girl, she transformed into a prophecy, a bodiless voice from the heavens, stating that Devaki's eighth child had been born and was safe.
Simultaneously, in Gokul, Yashoda and her husband Nanda lovingly held their child, unaware that it was Lord Krishna himself. Apart from becoming a father, Nanda had also become an uncle - his nephew was born on the same day as Krishna.
Nanda was thrilled and wanted to host a grand naming ceremony for both boys. However, Kansa's resolution to kill all newborns in surrounding villages prevented them from sharing the good news. Given the situation, even a small celebration seemed risky.
It was then that a revered scholar and sage named Acharya Garg visited Gokul. Nanda convinced him to stay and secretly informed him about the newborns, requesting a discreet naming ceremony. The sage was hesitant until he intuitively realized that one of the boys was Vishnu’s incarnation. Nanda and Yashoda, oblivious to their son’s divinity, brought the boys to a secluded cattle shed for the ceremony.
During the ceremony, Garg first looked at Nanda's nephew and named him ‘Balram’ for his apparent strength. Then, holding Krishna, Garg declared, "He hasn’t just been born on Earth. He has returned to earth, once again, incarnated across ages to liberate humanity from evil. Born with dark skin like the dark skies of the Krishna Paksha, the waning fortnight, may he be called Krishna.”
Thus, the deity earned His name, and the world came to know and worship Him in countless forms.
Let's celebrate Janmashtami by immersing ourselves in the wisdom and beauty of Lord Krishna's divine names.
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