As Hindus across the world celebrate the birth of Bhagwan Krishna this Janmashtami, my thoughts take me back to my first and only trip to Mathura at a very young age. That visit made a long-lasting impression on me because I experienced first-hand the aggression perpetrated by Islamic invaders and drew my attention towards the apathy of Hindus who have normalized a slave mentality.
Bhagwan Shri Krishna was born on Krishna Paksha Ashtami of Shravan month in the Rohini nakshatra. He was born to Vasudev and Devaki in a prison in Mathura where his uncle Kansa had kept his sister and brother-in-law captive. Bhagwan Shri Krishna, however, grew up in Gokul in the house of Nanda (Nandlal) and Yashoda.
Since Bhagwan was born at midnight, it is customary to do Pooja at midnight by offering various items as Prasad with home-made butter and other milk products being the main items of naivedya (Prasad offering). Other offerings may vary from region to region.
Dahi-handi is a popular sport played the day after Janmashtami celebrating the naughtiness of bal Krishna who would often raid homes in Gokul with his friends in search of his favourite butter.
Janmashtami celebrations at Gokul, Vrindavan, Mathura and Dwarka in particular and Shri Krishna temples all over the world are a sight to behold. Every Hindu loves celebrating the birth of Shri Krishna as their own family member.
Bhagwan Krishna is the epitome of love, knowledge and upholder of Dharma. Every life-stage of Bhagwan is a lesson in itself and the best life lesson handed down to generations of Hindus is the one that He imparted to Arjuna explaining the importance of “living your Dharma” that is today known as Srimad Bhagavad Gita.
Mathura has a special place in the history of Bhagwan Krishna. It was not just the place where He was born but also the place from where His journey into adulthood and subsequently politics that would change the fate of Bharatvarsha began.
It was here that He returned on the command of His uncle Kansa to give mukti to the latter and release His parents from their imprisonment. It is here that He left His naughty self and took the first step in His transformation into Bhagwan Shri Krishna from natkhat bal Krishna (naughty baby Krishna) who would teach the world “Dharmo Rakshati Rakshitah” (Dharma protects those who uphold it).
Janmashtami is not and should not be just a celebration of Bhagwan’s birth, instead, it should be a day to renew our pledge to “uphold and serve Dharma”. This year, in particular, is not just another Gokulashtami. Having laid the foundation to reclaim the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi, it is only apt that Hindus begin their quest to reclaim the Shri Krishna Janmasthan.
As I already mentioned, Mathura is the place where I personally witnessed Islamic aggression. Even though I was quite young, what I saw and heard certainly did not make me happy. The Shahi Idgah which stands adjacent to the present Shri Krishna Janmasthan Mandir has without a shred of a doubt been built above the ancient temple that stood on the site and the priest told us the cell where Shri Krishna was born presently lies within the mosque.
Hindus should by now be familiar with Islamist modus operandi. Islamists would more often than not partially destroy temples and replace the gopura with a dome to convert the temple into a masjid. Additionally, they would break the vigrahas and carry them off along with temple wealth. Most of the times the pieces of these broken vigrahas would be strewn on steps of mosques for Muslims to trample upon; that was the level of hatred Islamists harboured for Hindus and other Dharmics.
A 1968 agreement between the Shah Idgah Trust and Sri Krishna Janmashtan Seva Sangh speaks of “resolving the long-standing disputes” through bilateral settlement and thereby avoid frequent court cases. In short, the Eidgah Trust admits that the Masjid stands on Mandir land.
History says that it was Shri Krishna’s great-grandson Vajranabh who built a temple dedicated to Bhagwan Krishna here which was earlier known as Katra Keshavdeva. Archaeological explorations here have revealed artefacts belonging to as early as 6th Century BCE.
It is difficult to put an exact date to the construction of the original Vaishnava temple but suffice here to say that it would be of great antiquity considering that Vajranabh was crowned ruler of Mathura by Pandavas just before they left for Vanaprastha.
Mahmud of Ghazni sacked the temple sometime around 1017-18 CE and carried away a massive 4m tall solid gold idol of Bhagwan Krishna. Mahmud wrote, “if anyone wished to construct a building equal to it, he would not be able to do so without spending a hundred million dinars, and the work would occupy two hundred years, even though the ablest and experienced workmen were employed.”
Ghazni was by no means the first or the last Islamic ruler to have sacked Mathura and destroyed its temples. Sikandar Lodi had also attacked Mathura and destroyed numerous Hindu temples. However, it was Aurangzeb who sacked Mathura in 1670 and not only destroyed the existing Keshavdeva Temple but also sponsored the construction of the Shahi Eidgah in its place.
The present Krishna Janmasthan Mandir is fairly new having been constructed after independence. However, the fact remains that the original Shri Krishna Janmasthan Temple has been replaced by the Shahi Eidgah and legally there are two obstacles to reclaim it under present circumstances.
The first is the aforementioned 1968 agreement and the second is the 1991 Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, a ‘gift’ of then Congress government to Hindus, that prohibits ‘changing’ the character of any place of worship and maintaining the status quo as it existed on 15th August 1947. Both Mathura and Kashi were on the list of temples to be reclaimed in a 1984 VHP resolution.
The 1991 Act is the biggest fraud played on Hindus and the best example of Congress’ minority appeasement policy. It is pertinent to mention here that a resident of Vrindavan named Manohar Lal Sharma had petitioned the Mathura District Court in 1992 asking for both, quashing the 1991 Act as well as challenging the 1968 agreement.
This Janmashtami is a good time to take a pledge to reclaim our heritage, after all fighting for and protecting our Dharma is our foremost duty.
Hindupost wishes its readers a very happy Shri Krishna Janmashtami. May Bhagwan Krishna bless you all with health, wealth and prosperity and guide you on the path of Dharma.
(Featured Image Source: Wikipedia)
Suggested reading: “The story of Krishna Janmabhoomi” – by TrueIndology.
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