Krishna-Janmashtami – Rules and observances as per Hindu Dharma shastra
For Krishna Janmashtami on 14th August 2017 Midnight
The following has been extracted from a text describing the customs to be followed on Janmashtami. On 14th August 2017, Monday midnight, we will be set to celebrate the 5244th birthday of Lord Sri Krishna.
Following this Krishnajanmashtami vrata which not only will bring enormous amount of punya (merits) in your spiritual account with destruction of papas (sins), but also Shastras suggest that celebrating Balakrishnajanmashtami with specific mantras addressed to Chandra Deva during this time will be the best time to ask for a boon to beget a child for yourself like Balakrishna.
On 14th August 2017 midnight, we will celebrate Krishnajanmashtami. This is the midnight of 14th and 15th August 2017 joining together.
Dharma Shastra says prepare the pooja room in such a way that it looks like a “Sutikagruha” or “Delivery Room” of Devaki. In your pooja you need to either place an Oonjal/Joola/Palna/or a small rectangular peetham/asan cover it with silk cloth or any good cloth and place the moorthi/vigraha/idol or photo of Balakrishna. Dharma Shastra says the idol of Balakrishna can be of eight types. Gold, silver, copper, peetal, mud, wood, mani (pearl) or drawing by hand. Imagine or draw and colour with hand Devaki, Vasudev, Nanda, Balarama, Yashoda, Gopis, cows, calves, elephants and rakshasas with weapon, kalia snake with Krishna standing on it in river Yamuna. Draw all this and decorate it in the pooja area. If anyone has Golu set of Krishna’s life it is the best as will save all the drawing. If the Oonjal/Joola/Palna is big, place drawing/idol of devaki along with Krishna in a sleeping position as though breast feeding Balakrishna. Even draw a Laxmi image/idol sitting and a lotus and place it near Devaki’s leg as if Laxmi is pressing the leg of the divine mother Devaki who has delivered the divine child. Keep chandan, kumkum, fruits, flowers, tulasi leaves, incense sticks (agarbatti), camphor, ghee lamp, water, butter in a katori (kinnam) ready before pooja starts.
The pooja muhurtham/muhurath is from 12.20am to 01.05am on 14th Aug midnight which actually as per proper time 15th very early hours, few hours before sunrise. Before you start the pooja at 12.20 am all the above preparations can be done after having a bath. In Birmingham, UK all the temples have special Puja till just past midnight.
Then you come to pooja room and perform Sri Krishna pooja right from offering, Water, Chandan, Kumkum, Garland and perform Tulasi/flower archana of Balakrishna. You can either chant “Om Sri Balamukundaya Namaha” or “Om Sri Balakrishnaya namaha” 108 times, and each time you take the name offer tulasi leaves 108 times. You can also chant Sri Krishna Ashtottarashata Namavalli and offer tulasi with each name. This Krishna Ashtottarashata Namavalli ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K3oE-h8Lgxk )is freely available on google. Show Dhoop/Agarbatti, Ghee lamp, offer Neivedya (Prasad), Butter, fruits and show Karpoor (camphor) Aarti to Lord Krishna. Those who know Shodashopachara Padhatti for pooja can also do it as per their way.
Dharma Shastra also mentions staying awake the entire night and singing Bhajans and praises of Lord Krishna or telling stories of Krishna. In case of mud idol or drawing of Balakrishna for which pooja has been done, you can do visarjana in flowing water of any river.
Dharma Shastra quotes an episode of a conversation between Arjuna and Lord Sri Krishna where Arjuna asks Lord Sri Krishna, how should I celebrate your Janmadivas (birthday)? The above procedure is exactly what Sri Krishna told Arjuna around 3150 BC towards the end of Dwapara yuga which is also documented in Puranas. The above procedure is told by Sri Krishna to Arjuna for celebrating his Janmadivas .
Om Sri Balakrishnaya Namaha !