Krishna Janmashtami marks the birth of Lord Krishna, the eighth incarnation of Lord Vishnu, who took birth to destroy the evil and re-establish peace and kindness on earth. This birth celebration of Lord Krishna is celebrated on the 8th day (Ashtami) in the month of Bhadrapad (August–Sept) with utter devotion and faith all over India. The legend says that the sole objective of Lord Krishna’s birth was to kill King Kansa and restore humanity on earth.


Thousands of years ago, Kansa, the cruel son of King Ugrasena imprisoned his generous father and took over the kingdom of Mathura. Under the tyrannical rule of Kansa, people were mistreated and were levied with heavy taxes. The kingdom felt dejected, miserable and pleaded to be rescued from his brutal reign.

On the wedding day of his sister (Devaki), an akashvani (sound from the sky) prophesied the death of Kansa through the hands of Devaki’s eighth son. Angered and frightened, Kansa drew his sword to kill his own sister but her husband, Vasudeva, saved her life. The evil Kansa spared their life on one condition that the couple will hand over all their children to him. Hopeless, they both agreed and Kansa imprisoned Devaki along with her husband. He killed their first six infants the moment they were born.

Devaki had a miscarriage during her seventh pregnancy. Unaware of the Lord’s plans, this miscarriage was an actual divine transfer of Devaki’s child (Balrama) to Rohini’s (Yashoda’s sister-in-law) womb. Balrama was himself an incarnation of Lord Vishnu’s couch, Sheshnag.

It was during her eight pregnancy when Lord Vishnu revealed the secret of Balrama in Vasudeva’s dream and asked Vasudeva to exchange this 8th child with Yashoda’s to-be born baby girl. When everyone was asleep, Vasudeva carried his newly-born son, Krishna, to Yashoda’s residence in Gokul and exchanged with her infant daughter. On returning to his prison cell, every memory related to this divine exchange was erased and Vasudev went back to sleep, only to wake up with to his newly-born daughter crying besides Devaki.

As usual, Kansa rushed to the prison to kill their daughter. To his surprise, the girl slipped from his hands and took her real form of Goddess Yogamaya, who revealed that the one responsible for his death has already taken birth. Afraid, Kansa released Devaki and her husband. His spies followed the couple everywhere and soon, he discovered the existence of Sri Krishna.

Thereafter, with the help of other demons, he tried to kill Lord Krishna several times during His childhood but to add to his misfortune, all his efforts went down in vain.


One day, Kansa invited the grown up Lord Krishna and his elder brother, Balrama, to Mathura. After several futile attempts to kill the Lord and His brother, Kansa challenged the brothers for one-to-one combat with his strongest fighters. Sri Krishna and Balrama accepted Kansa’s challenge and in a wink of an eye, they defeated the fighters. Lord Krishna then pulled Kansa and in a single stroke, he killed the evil ruler.

Mathura was finally free from all the brutality and torments of evil Kansa, and once again, the kingdom was blooming with kindness and bliss. Mathura was back in the reign of gentle King Ugrasena and the brothers finally united with their parents, Devaki and Vasudeva.

The celebration on Kirshna Janmashtami commemorates the triumph of good over evil and evinces the fact that whenever evil power will try to rule humanity, God will appear to rescue His devotees.