A daily study of the Network’s diverse faiths
Krishna Janmashtami (Gokulashtami, कृष्ण जन्माष्टमी, Jayanti). Start of Hindu celebration of the birth of Krishna, the eighth incarnation of Vishnu, a particularly important festival (महोत्सव)) in the Vaishnavism tradition of Hinduism. With: folk dance-drama enactments of the life story of Krishna and truth and duty prayers according to the Bhagavata Purana text; hymns of praise; upavasa fasting, with those unable to fast having fruit and milk, until midnight; devotional singing in the temple through midnight, when Krishna was born; and a Ratri Jagaran (night vigil) before the Dahi Handi festival on 31 August. Dahi Handi (Yogurt Pot) is a major part of the celebration of Janmashtami, with a handi earthen pot filled with dahi curd and makkhan butter being hung at a height and a group of young boys making a human pyramid to attempt to break the handi and take the makkhan. Celebrated particularly in Mathura and Vrindavan, with the major Vaishnava and non-sectarian communities found in Manipur, Assam, Bihar, West Bengal, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and all the other states of India. Hindu women in South India decorate their houses with rice-flour mixed with water and make a child’s footprints to feel that God’s own feet have made these marks. In some homes and temples, a blue image of the new-born Krishna is placed in a cradle and special sweets are distributed. Image: indianexpress.com.
Prayer OM Krishnaya Namah. Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare. Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare. OM Devaki Nandaya Vidmahe Vasudevaya Dheemahi Tanno Krishna Prachodayat. OM Shri Krishna Sharanam Mamah. I bow before you, O Krishna! Salutations the son of Devaki and Vasudeva, bless me with wisdom so that I can gain higher intellect. I bow before your feet, O Krishna!
Saint Jeanne Jugan (Sister Mary of the Cross LSP) (1792-1879). Feast Day for the French religious born during the French Revolution when congregations of religious women and men were being suppressed by the national government. Jeanne became a kitchen maid for a family that served poor, elderly people and, as a nurse at the hospital in Le Rosais, Saint-Malo joined a Third Order group founded by St John Eudes. With a woman she met there, she visited the poor, taught catechism to children and with other women continued a similar life in nearby Saint-Sevran. A woman of determination and vision, Jeanne began, with five hundred members, the Little Sisters of the Poor (Fondatrice des Petites Sœurs de Marie Mère du Rédempteur (Mère Marie of the Cross)) and founded six more houses as far away as England, to care for the elderly who had no other resources. When Jeanne died on 29 August 1879 in Saint-Pern 40 km north of Rennes, there were 2,400 Little Sisters of the Poor. Venerated in Roman Catholic Church (Little Sisters of the Poor and the Eudist Fathers). Major shrine La Tour Saint-Joseph, Saint-Pern. Patron of the destitute elderly. Image: catholicnewsagency.com.
Heilige Heribert von Köln (St Heribert of Cologne) (c970-1021). Millennial Feast Day in Cologne for German Roman Catholic prelate born and educated in Worms, who became Archbishop of Cologne. He also served as Chancellor for the Emperor Otto III and collaborated with the Holy Roman Emperor Henry II, with whom relations were strained though strengthened over time. Heribert founded the Deutz convent on the Rhine and often sent alms to the poor and to priests to distribute to them. Died 16 March 1021 in Cologne. Venerated in Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodoxy. General Feast Day 16 March. Patron saint of Deutz, rain. Image: www.erzbistum-koeln.de.