Krishna Rasa Leela - Janmashtami Culture & Traditions

Krishna Rasa Leela: Janmashtami Fest

Lord Krishna is one of the favorite deities of Hindus. He is worshiped for his immense power, captivating appearance, unique charm and playfulness. For some, he is the hero, a lover or the guide; while for others, he is a child. He resides in the heart of every devotee and fulfills everyone’s wish, if he is worshiped with in-depth devotion. Janmashtami is celebrated as the birthday of Lord Krishna. It falls on the eighth day of Sravana month (August-September according to the Gregorian calendar).

The celebrations of Janmashtami are marked by cultural programs, chanting of bhajans and special pujas. Dance drama is performed by professional artists, or chosen kids, wherein the formative years of Lord Krishna’s life are depicted. The dance, which is known as Shri Krishna Rasa leela, is one of the significant parts of the celebrations, as the decisive part of life was spent by Lord Krishna, amidst the Gopis in Vrindavan. Read on to know more about Krishna Rasa Leela.

Shri Krishna Rasa Leela

  • Legend
    Raslila is a significant phase in the life of Lord Krishna, when he grew up from a child to a young teen. Before setting his trail to Mathura (Uttar Pradesh, India), in order to accomplish the task of his life (to kill his uncle, Kansa), he grew up by playing around with Gopis on the banks of River Yamuna, in Vrindavan. He was immensely loved by the Gopis due to his adorable mischief. The divine love for Lord Krishna was so strong that the Gopis forgot about the rest of the world, when they were playing and dancing with him. The Gopis performed constant smaran (remembrance) of Lord Krishna and were beloved by himself.
  • Performance
    The Gopis would dance around with Lord Krishna and often play hide and seek. They would also sing songs in the glory of the deity. They considered themselves superior of other women, because they were privileged with the opportunity to dance with Lord Krishna. To teach the lesson of humility, Shri Krishna would hide himself during Raslila and would reappear only if Gopis plead to come back. While most of the time Shri Krishna stood at the center of all the Gopis, he would at times join hands with them and perform mesmerizing dance. All these delightful actions were often witnessed by the demigods like Gandharva, Yakshas and they would throw flowers from the sky, to shower blessings on the Gopis and the divine Shri Krishna.
  • Rasa Leela On Janmashtami
    On the auspicious occasion of Janmashtami, the devotees of Lord Krishna would enjoy the scenes of Rasa leela performed by professional artists. Generally, Brahmin boys aged between 10 and 13 years are selected to enact as Lord Krishna in Raslila. The main theme of the dance drama revolves around the formative years of Lord Krishna. Apart from Raslila, other themes are also chosen for the performance. These may include Janamleela (the birth of Lord Krishna), Shanklarleela, Putanaleela (the assassination of the demon Putana) and Nagleela (the killing of serpent Kaliya). The troupes perform the dance drama with utmost devotion. In fact, Shri Krishna Rasa leela is one of the main forms of entertainment on Janmashtami.

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