Story by Suman Shrestha | Photos by Frankie Currie
Krishna Janmasthami, also known as Gokulashtami, is an important annual festival that celebrates the birth of Lord Krishna, who according to the Hindu religion, is said to be the eighth incarnation of Lord Vishnu.
In the Hindu calendar, the festival is celebrated on the Asthami of Krishna Paksh, or the eighth day of the dark fortnight in the month of Bhado.
Hindu Samaj Sheffield celebrates Janmasthani with great devotion and enthusiasm in the temple. Devotees fast, sing songs of love for Krishna and keep vigil into the night on Sunday 2nd September. The programme started at 7pm when everyone entered the temple and Shri Ashwini Kumar Ji, the Pandit (Hindu priest) started puja (act of worship), followed by ‘Aarati’ (light from candle wicks soaked in ghee). Then all moved to the main hall to celebrate the birth of Lord Krishna.
Shri Umesh Asnani said:
“It is always nice to be here, for the celebration, meetings and it is a great way to socialise.”
While preparing for the ‘Dahi Handi’ (an earthen pot filled with curd) celebration, Dr Shiv Sharma remembered Lord Krishna for the philosophy of love, his smile and friendly nature and also his natkhat (naughtiness) – recalling when the Lord robbed butter from his neighbours as a child.
The Pandit chanted mantras with Dr Sharma’s help; moments later all devotees came forward and puja was done. The traditional human pyramid was built in order to reach and break the Dahi Handi. Devotional music was played throughout. Devotees sang ‘Hatti ghoda palki… Jai Kanaihya Lal Ki’ and danced. Kids were dressed as Krishna before the Dahi Handi was broken and it was time for Prasadam (gracious gift) sponsored by Neetaben, which all devotees enjoyed.
Mr Geoffrey Roberts, executive committee member, remembered Lord Krishna for the best philosophy of love. Chairman Shri Bhushan Patil said:
“We are doing this kind of event for future generations. Being away from our home country India, we are trying to manage and celebrate in a traditional way, to demonstrate the beauty and importance of our religion.”
He thanked all the members and volunteers for their hard work and mentioned the upcoming project to build another temple for Sheffield. He invited all devotees to the coming events ‘Ganesh Chaturthi’ and ‘Navaratri’.
The Samaj raised funds recently for the Kerala disaster. They also run free yoga classes, Balgokulam (Hindu Culture for Children) and many other events.
Find more information at http://hmaccs.co.uk/