Sri Krishna Janmashtami
Sri Krsna Janmashtami is the festival to celebrate the appearance day of Sri Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Lord Krishna appeared on the eighth day of waning moon (krishnapaksha, ashtamitithi) in the month of Shravana, as the eighth son of Vasudeva and Devaki.
Though unborn and eternal, the Supreme Lord, of His free will and causeless mercy, incarnates to deliver the pious and annihilate the miscreants. Lord Krishna appeared as the son of Vasudeva and Devaki, but had His childhood pastimes at Gokula, Vrindavan. Janmashtami is celebrated very gorgeously.
Do you know? Who is most beautiful, most intelligent, most famous, the wealthiest, the strongest and the most renounced? Famous people like film stars, sport stars, industrialists, scientists and politicians can attract millions of fans for few years but they all appear, disappear and forgotten with the passing time like shooting stars. God is one, who is the oldest and yet possesses all six opulences in full FOREVER. The Supreme Lord is called by many names like ‘Krishna’, ‘Christ’ and ‘Allah’. The Greek word ‘krstos’ comes from Sanksrit word ‘Krsta’ or ‘Krsna’ meaning ‘all attractive’. So when we address God as “Christ”, “Krsta” or “Krishna” we indicate the same all-attractive Supreme God.
Krishna, in his manifest pastimes, exhibited six opulences or “attractive qualities” in full: beauty, knowledge, fame, wealth, strength, and humility. No other incarnation of Godhead exhibited these qualities to the same degree, and therefore Krishna is worshipped throughout India as “The Supreme Personality of Godhead.”
īśvaraḥ paramaḥ kṛṣṇaḥ
anādir ādir govindaḥ
Krishna, who is known as Govinda, is the Supreme Godhead. He has an eternal blissful spiritual body. He is the origin of all. He has no other origin and He is the prime cause of all causes.
Lord Krishna who is the most beautiful, strong, wealthiest, famous, intelligent and renounced person wanted to protect his pure devotees. During the birth of Lord Krishna, the whole atmosphere became filled with prosperity and joy. The trees were laden with fruits and flowers. The rivers were overflowing with water, and the lakes were beautifully decorated with lotus flowers. The birds in the forest began to sing with sweet voices, and the peacocks began to dance. The wind blew very pleasantly, carrying the aroma of different flowers. All the people’s minds became filled with peace and joy. The denizens of the heavenly planets began to sing, offer prayers and dance on the auspicious occasion. The heavenly residents being pleased also began to shower flowers. At the seashore there was the sound of mild waves, and above the sea there were clouds in the sky which began to thunder very pleasingly. Amidst such a wonderful atmosphere, Lord Krishna in order to protect his devotees took birth as the eighth child of Devaki and Vasudeva, bringing boundless joy to both of them.
The Lord’s appearance is different from the birth of common man. He descends by His causeless mercy to protect the pious and vanquish the unrighteous. Sri Krsna is not conditioned by the laws of nature, as we are, because physical nature is one of His multifarious energies.
The significance of celebrating Sri Krsna Janmashtami every year is to try to know Him as He is and thus to be released from the conditioned state of life. To know Him means to get complete freedom from the chain of birth and death.
To this end, although he is unborn and eternal, the supreme lord appears in this world on the auspicious eighth day of the dark fortnight in the month of Bhadrapada, during the auspicious Rohini nakshatra, when all the stars were in auspicious constellations, a sweet scent permeated the atmosphere and the entire universe sanctified in the welcome of the Shyamsundar.
However, due to his compassionate nature the Supreme Lord in his original form with all of his potencies and partial manifestations descends to this material world once in a day of Brahma to annihilate the miscreants, deliver the devotees and reestablish the principles of religion.
vinasaya ca duskrtam
sambhavami yuge yuge
In order to deliver the pious and to annihilate the miscreants, as well as to reestablish the principles of religion, I advent Myself millennium after millennium.
janma karma cha me’ divyam
evam yo ve’tti tatvatah
tyaktva deham punar janma
naiti maame’ti so arjuna
One who knows the transcendental nature of My appearance and activities does not, upon leaving the body, take birth again in this material world, but attains My eternal abode, O Arjuna. – Bhagavad-gita 4.9
True observance of Sri Krsna Janmashtami will solve the problems and crises in our civilization. Because of human shortcomings, we cannot solve our problems by ordinary plans. Human frailties always accompany the best endeavor of a conditioned soul. However the solutions are given by the Lord when He descends, as He did when He spoke Bhagavad-Gita and Shrimad-Bhagavatam, and for chanting the holy names of God. Participation in this programme will help one revive the lost consciousness of one’s eternal relationship with the supreme lord. When this takes place, one becomes pure in heart and thus experiences peace and happiness.
This glorious day is therefore celebrated by all the Vaishnavas with great enthusiasm as it is the day when the lord of their lives purified this earth by his appearance, in a most attractive form of a bluish baby as soft as butter tinged with musk. Keeping the same spirit, this festival is celebrated in HKM, Bhilai with great pomp and show.
The altar is beautifully decorated with colorful flowers. After taking darshan of the lords with a new outfit both at the time of Mangal arati and Darshan arati, when the lords are dressed in a beautiful new outfit and decorated with various splendid ornaments, variety of jewels and colorful fragrant flowers, oozing nectar from every pore of their transcendental forms which submerges the devotees in an ocean of bliss, the devotees start engaging in speaking and hearing the glories of Giridhari, the lifter of the Govardhan hill. After the glorification, all the devotees engage all their time and energy in the service of the lord in various ways, till 10’o clock at night when they all assemble for the gorgeous Abhishek ceremony of the deities of Radha Krishnachnadra. The Abhishek which is accompanied by the heartfelt singing of the Holy Names by all the devotees, is followed by an elaborate bhoga offering comprising of an unending variety of delicacies. At midnight, the lords are offered an Arati, witnessing which fills the hearts of all the onlookers with immense pleasure and a feeling of relief from the miseries of material existence.
The day when Lord Krishna took birth is called as Janmashtami. The Janmashtami festival is celebrated by millions of people every year all over the world. On this day people take bath early in the morning and wear new clothes. In temples the deities of Krishna are decorated with beautiful clothes, jewels, garlands and flowers. People visit the temples to see Krishna and sing songs glorifying his activities. They read the teachings of Lord Krishna written in the Scripture called the Bhagavad Gita. They also distribute these Holy Books to everyone.
At homes lot of sweets, savories and festival meals are prepared with love and then offered to Lord Krishna. These foods are then shared and relished by one and all. People visit their friends and relatives’ homes and exchange sweets and good wishes. On this glorious day all people chant the names of Krishna for bringing peace and happiness to everyone.
Devotees fast till midnight and engage in various services to please the Lord. A grand abhisheka is performed at midnight for their Lordships Radhakrishnachandra while bhoga offering of more than 400 items are offered to Their Lordships with devotion. A maha-arati is performed and the devotees honor anukalpa-prasada (ekadasi prasada) after midnight.
At midnight, after abhishek, grand aarti is done and then enjoy a sumptuous feast prepared and offered to the Lord with love and devotion.
On Janmashtami day, the mood of a great festival sets in at Bhilai. There is a virtual flood of thousands of visitors and guests that traffic control to keep people always on the move is organized. A variety of cultural programs entertain the guests.
The festivities, however, continue the next day, when Nandotsav is celebrated and all the devotees perform various services for the pleasure of the lord and a huge feast is offered to the Deities, which is then honored by all the devotees with great relish to their hearts content.