Gopashtami


Gopashtami is celebrated on Shukla paksha Ashtami tithi of Karthik masa. This festival is dedicated to Lord Krishna and cows (Goumata). This day commemorates the celebration when Nanda Maharaja, Krishna's father, gave Krishna the responsibility/ charge of handling the cows of Vrindavan or the day He became a skilled cow herd.

Gopashtami 2023

Mon , 20th Nov 2023

Significance

In Vrindavan, boys under the age of 6 can herd only calves and when they step into the age 6 to 10, they are called pauganda and this is the time they are allowed to handle cows. According to Padma purana it is said that on the day of Karthika masa ashtami, when Lord Krishna was 6years of age, He became a skilled cowherd. He was handling only the calves until then and on this tithi, Maharaja Nanda, Lord Krishna’s father allowed Lord Balarama and Krishna for the first time to herd the cows of Vrindavan. This meant that only boys and men move around for herding. This also resulted in Radharani and Her friends being upset about Lord Krishna moving far away. Unable to bear this interim separation, Radharani dressed up like Krishna’s friend Subala-sakha wearing dhoti & turban and joined Krishna. From then on, this tithi is celebrated as Gopastami.

During this charge of cow herding, Lord Krishna and his brother Lord Balarama went across Vrindavan, bare feet. It is believed that they purified the land of Vrindavan by walking bare fort and leaving the prints of their soft lotus feet. This is also described in the Kartika-mahatmya segment of the holy Padma Puraṇa, 

śuklāṣṭamī kārttike tu
smṛtā gopāṣṭamī budhaiḥ
tad-dinād vāsudevo ‘bhūd
gopaḥ pūrvaṁ tu vatsapaḥ

Rituals

On the day of Gopashtami, cows and calves are decorated and worshipped. This festival is very popular in Mathura, Vrindavan and other Braj areas. At ISKCON temples, Radharani is dressed up as Subala-sakha with garments like dhoti, kurta, and turban. Devotees also perform Go puja and feed the cows in the goshala. Cows are worshipped and offered with water, rice, clothes, fragrance, jaggery, rangoli, flowers, and sweets.

Some devotees donate cows and calves to temples or to a priest on this day. This is an auspicious day to worship cow along with the calves to be blessed with good fortune and beautiful moments in life.

Benefits

  • Many Hindu mythology believe that Cows house several deities, goddesses, and celestial beings inside them and possess a special place in the Hindu rituals. 
  • Donating food and fruits to cows in Gaushala (cow shed) during this festival blesses unlimited supply of food and milk.
  • Observing vrat on this day also bestows lucky progeny for childless couple who worships a cow and a calf together on this day.

Gopashtami festival dates between 2019 & 2029

Year

Date

2019

Monday, 4th of November

2020

Sunday, 22nd of November

2021

Thursday, 11th of November

2022

Tuesday, 1st of November

2023

Monday, 20th of November

2024

Saturday, 9th of November

2025

Thursday, 30th of October

2026

Tuesday, 17th of November

2027

Saturday, 6th of November

2028

Wednesday, 25th of October

2029

Tuesday, 13th of November

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