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Sri Krishna Janmashtami
Sri Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He is the Bhagavan because He possesses all the six qualities of beauty, fame, knowledge, strength, wealth and renunciation completely. No one else is equal to or better than Him in these qualities. No one is wise enough to fathom His every opulence. He is our Eternal Master. He incarnated as a simple cowherd boy in Vraja and performed various pastimes to teach us all how to lead our lives in God consciousness. Sri Krsna always comes to protect His devotees, to end the injustice and uphold the dharma (path of righteousness). His intention of appearing as a son to Devaki and Vasudev was the same – to wipe out the adharma that was prevalent then and to reestablish the religious practices.
When Devaki married Vasudeva and was being brought with full pomp and celebration by brother Kamsa, a prophetic voice was heard from the skies which declared that their eighth child would kill Kamsa. Kamsa lost all his love for his sister and right away wanted to kill Devaki so that no one can kill him in future. However, Vasudev wisely and diplomatically handled the situation and convinced him not to slay his sister. He persuaded Kamsa that he would personally hand over to him, every child born to them. Then Kamsa imprisoned them. Though Vasudev was true to his words, he knew he could never trust someone like Kamsa who was submerged in the ocean of unrestricted sense gratification. When the time came, Sri Krsna entered the heart (or mind) of Vasudeva, from where he was transferred to the core of the heart of Devaki. Lord is never born like us mortals. He chooses from where and how He would appear. In this way, the Supreme Personality of Godhead who is the cause of all creations, selected to take His residence within Devaki’s womb for that time. Lord Brahma, Lord Siva, accompanied by great sages like Narada and followed by many other demigods and their wives, invisibly appeared in the house of Kamsa and offered prayers to the Lord. These are called Garbha Stuti prayers (Srimad Bhagavatham 10.2.26 – 41) which are enchanting to Sri Krsna’s devotees and has the potency to fulfill their desires.
At the time of Krsna’s birth, it was mid night, Asthami (8th day) of Bhadrapada month, the prevailing constellation was Rohini. Everything – from planetary systems to nature to mind of everyone was automatically well synched to denote all auspiciousness, full peace and prosperity. After birth, Sri Krsna first gave the darshan to Devaki and Vasudev as four handed Lord Narayana, holding conchshell, club, disc, and lotus flower, decorated with the mark of Srivatsa, and well adorned with many jewels and crown and then changed in to a small human baby. Then with the help of Yogamaya He thoroughly arranged for His father to transfer Him from Mathura’s prison to Gokula, Nanda Maharaja’s home, where his wife, Yashoda had given birth to a child. He was instructed to replace this child with baby Krsna. Thus every year, over lakhs of people across the globe, celebrate the appearance day of Lord Sri Krsna on Krsna Paksha, Asthami day, Bhadrapada month with full faith and pomp to reinforce the mindset that Sri Krsna is all around us and His auspicious appearance marks jubilant celebration among devotees. It denotes that the Supreme Godhead has dawned to protect His devotees, destroy the evil (unrighteousness), restore the peace of the living beings and uphold the Dharma (righteousness). The next day of Janmashtami is always observed as Nandotsav – the day when Nanda Maharaja had distributed sweets to his villagers to rejoice the arrival of his child.
Sri Krsna has performed many pastimes such as Damodara Lila, Govardhan Lila, Vimohana Lila of Brahma to name a few. With His each pastime, Lord imparts us with many lessons. We must meditate on hearing such engrossing Lilas and change our conduct to please Him. Damodara Lila teaches us that Supreme Lord can never be bound or controlled by anyone/ anything. Yet, He accepts willingly to be tied up by true devotion, care and love of His affectionate devotees. In Vimohana Lila of Brahma, Sri Krsna Himself becomes the missing cows and the cowherd boys and thereby gives the pleasure to every mother in Vraja to feed Him and take care of Him as they had desired.
The philosophy of ISKCON, founded by Srila Prabhupada, is mainly based on teachings of Mahapuranas like Srimad Bhagavad Gita, Srimad Bhagavatham and Chaitanya Charitamrita, which are relevant even today. In fact, most apt for modern day’s highly materialistic and inferior quality of living. ISKCON’s vision is to induce a value based way of life – basis these divine scriptures and worship of Sri Krsna. This will nourish one’s soul to elevate it spiritually and also provide a well-balanced and peaceful co-existence. Thus, the movement’s ideology resonates well with every living being in the society today and is not limited to any particular country, religion, caste, sect, age, gender and economic strata in society. Anyone and everyone can follow their key principles of Gaudiya sampradaya and thereby create a harmonious life for self and others.
To the western world, Srila Prabhupada, first introduced the Janmashtami celebration in USA, New York, Second Avenue on September 8, 1966. He told the followers what is the festival about, its significance and that they must fast till mid-night and importance of such fasting. They celebrated by doing kirtanas of Mahamantra, subsequently reading the manuscripts of Srimad Bhagavad Gita and Srimad Bhagavatham. On Nandotsav day, Srila Prabhupada initiated few of the followers. Today, there are over 850 ISKCON temples and various related centers worldwide. The festivity has just got grander every year for ISKCON and its followers. Various prescribed ceremonies such as abhisheks are performed for Deities of Lord Sri Krsna, devotees fast till midnight, scriptures are read, Mahamantra is chanted and after mid night arati (worship) of the Deities, they honour the maha prasadam.
Srimad Bhagavad Gita spoken by Sri Krsna is considered to be His Voice (Instructions). While Srimad Bhagavatham is filled with nectarine anecdotes that depict the relation of the Lord with His pure devotees. Both these scriptures are non-different from Sri Krsna Himself. By listening and reading these Vedic scriptures, Lord gives us an opportunity to understand how to delight Him by every activity we perform in our daily life.
On Janmashtami, the most auspicious day, let us absorb in remembering Him every moment by performing ABC.
A – Associating with His pure devotees and learning from them.
B – Bhagavad Gita and Bhagavatham reading, recitation and deep diving by self and in association of devotees.
C – Chanting of Mahamantra (the Yuga Dharma) as prescribed by Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, who is Lord Sri Krsna Himself.
We must understand that Sri Krsna is the Supreme Controller and owns everything in all the worlds and hence, in true sense, He is the only Enjoyer and we are to be enjoyed (i.e. please Him). The objective of human life is to understand that Sri Krsna is our Eternal master and that we are His timeless servants. Sincerely and determinedly following ABC will help strengthen our relation with Sri Krsna and will bring behavioral changes in us which will please Him. With folded hands, first, let us all be grateful to Sri Krsna for giving us this opportunity to be able to read, listen and know about Him and then pray to Him to bless us with pure devotional service in every lifetime.
Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare