Krishna Janamashtami is the birthday of lord Krishna and celebrated all over India with great enthusiasm and spirit. Lord Krishna was born on this great day which falls on the eighth day (Astami) of Krishna Pakshya (dark fortnight) in the Sravana month. People celebrate Janamashtami by keeping fast, singing bhajans, and chanting Hari Nama in praise of the lord, to seek divine blessings to overcome the experience of suppression, chaos, persecution, and bondage, both externally and internally inflicted upon the individual. Symbolically, Lord Krishna stands for destruction of evil force like Kansa (Kamsa), paritranaya sadhunam for the protection of virtuous, Vinashayacha Dushkritam for the destruction of the wicked, Sambhavami Yuge Yuge “I incarnate myself” again in the world as saviour. However, Krishna also stands for annihilation of evil force inside the individual–the anger, lust, jealousy, weakness of the will, anguish, and despair etc.
Krishna means presence (Krish) of bliss (Na) (Srimad-Bhagavatam 10.8.15). Krishna is the source of joy and love and stands opposite to misery, despair, anguish, terror, bondage, and ill will. Ideally, the source of all negativities inside the self is ego. Krishna consciousness in our mind implies the destructions of all negativities and spiritual awakening of the mind to the incessant joy and love. It is the original and natural state of the human being and is the highest point that we might experience in meditation and yoga. We might experience the joy and love inherent in Krishna consciousness in our daily life through regular practice of meditation and yoga.
What it means for fasting?
In India, people keep fast for both material and spiritual reason. Usually, people keep fast on Krishna Janmashtami to please the Almighty and to find their wishes fulfilled by the Lord. In that sense, fasting has material connotation. However, Fasting has both material and spiritual implications. Fasting in Sanskrit called Upavasa, derived from two syllables ‘Upa’ means near and ‘Vaasa’ means to stay; so, fasting implies staying close to the divine. Beyond the spiritual and religious reasons, Fasting also has many health benefits. Medical science finds the benefits of fasting beyond the spiritual and religious reasons. Certain medical intervention presupposes that the patient to stay in fasting. The theory that supports linking spirituality to science is physical and mental well-being. Fast helps releasing the toxins from the body and found to be an easiest way to detoxify the body. Fasting becomes very effective if the person survives with water alone for the entire duration. The detoxification keeps the mind active that aids meditation experience of Joy or spiritual pleasure and higher consciousness . Therefore, fasting assists good meditation experience.