This is the most important fest of Vaishnavite society all over the world
By: Amar Krishna Paul
We are thankful to all Vaishnavite faithfuls and devotees of Lord Krishna all over the world. They preach about the glorious pastimes of the Lord in every village, town and city of the planet Earth. Keeping in mind the age of deterioration, the celebration of the most auspicious appearance day of Lord Krishna gains momentum.
From a spiritual point of view, Janmastami’s meaning is deep rooted. It conveys a message that all human beings spend their life engulfed with the darkness of their own vices. We are bound with so many shackles of anger, greed, temptations, attachments and material pangs. But as the Lord takes birth, every bit of the darkness fades away and we are released from all the chains of the so-called worldly pleasures which are very short-lived.
Devotees celebrate Janmastami by fasting and staying awake until midnight. Midnight is significant as Lord Krishna was descended in the cage of King Kamsa at midnight. So, people gather at midnight to celebrate the advent of Lord Krishna by singing devotional songs and reading scriptures. The idol of ‘Baal Gopal’ or Little Krishna is placed in a cradle as a symbol of his birth. Devotees rock the cradle joyfully while reciting hymns and singing songs. Whenever darkness and evil prevails on the Earth the Lord takes birth and eradicates all evils. So, Janmastami is also symbolic in this sense. This occasion brings everyone together which encourages unity, faith, firm determination to serve the Lord, et al.
Over 5,000 years ago, Lord Krishna said in the battlefield of Kurukshetra (now in Haryana State of India) that he appears on the Earth to save the saints and wipe out the miscreants. He does it to make the Earth a peaceful paradise to live in. He also emancipates the devotees from the cruel rulers or demonic kings in different regions of the globe.
In fact, our Siksa Gurus (teachers) at the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) advise us to read and study seriously the Supreme Science of Lord Krishna from the verses given in the ‘Srimad-Bhagavd Gita As It Is’ , the ‘Srimad Bhagavatam,’ etc.
It is very interesting to note that the Lord is coming back once again. If we turn over the pages of the Srimad Bhagavatam with rapt attention, we find that Lord Krishna will descend as ‘Kalki’ incarnation.
In the 12th Canto, Chapter number two and text number 18 of the Srimad Bhagavatam, it has clearly been predicted that Lord Kalki will appear in the home of the most famous Braahmana of Shambhala village – the great soul (personality) – Visnuyasaa.
Our Siksa Guru His Grace Srijeeva Das, Temple President of ISKCON Guwahati, passed a very impressive statement during a discourse session recently.
He said that we should fine tune our Krishnatarian activities in such a manner so that the entire world community comes to Guwahati to see our rich and colourful cultural heritage.
Importantly, Pre-Janmashtami Celebrations under ISKCON Heritage Festival 2023 was started at the premises of Sri Sri Rukmini-Krishna temple, Mount Hare Krishna, South Sarania, Ulubari, Guwahati from August 27, 2023.
This Heritage Fest was organised for children to impart their spiritual knowledge and cultural values through various competitions on Vedic Drawing, Krishna Bhajan Performance, Vedic Fancy Dress and Gita Sloka Recitation.
According to the ‘Koli Santa Purana’, in this age of quarrel and hypocrisy, the only means of deliverance is the chanting of the holy name of the Lord; there is no other way, there is no other way and there is no other way.
So, all ISKCON devotees chant the holy name of the Lord throughout the Janmastami Mahotsava. They perform non-stop Hare Krishna Kirtana.
ISKCON Founder and Spiritual Master His Divine Grace Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada echoed in a podcast, “This transcendental vibration by chanting of – Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare – is the sublime method for reviving our Krishna Consciousness. As living spiritual souls we are originally Krishna conscious entities, but due to our association with matter from time immemorial, our consciousness is now polluted by material atmosphere. With this polluted concept of life, we are all trying to exploit resources of material Nature. But actually, we are becoming more and more entangled in our complexities. But there is no need of understanding the language of the mantra, nor there is any need of mental speculation nor intellectual adjustment for chanting this maha mantra. It comes automatically from the spiritual platform. And as such any one can take part in this transcendental sound vibration without any previous qualification and dance in ecstacy. We have seen it practically, even a child can take part in the chanting or even a dog can take part. Chanting is exactly like a genuine cry by the child for mother – Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.”
Our Siksa Guru His Grace Gaurdev Das, Vice President, ISKCON Guwahati said to me, “You, just go on practising devotional service under the able guidance of spiritual master in the disciple succession and Lord Krishna, one day you will definitely realise the Absolute Truth – the Supreme Personality of Godhead – Krishna as he is.”
Krishna Janmashtami occupies a unique place amongst the various festivals celebrated in India. The Vedas explain that Krishna means ‘akarshati iti Krishna’ – he is the all-attractive person and most dear friend of everyone. That’s why Janmashtami is one of the most celebrated events all over the world.
Historically, this festival was spread all over the world by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. In 1966 ISKCON began in New York, the USA, in a storefront and now it is spread practically in every city in the world.
Swami Prabhupada taught that the path to happiness is not found in material pursuits, but in simple living, high thinking, and in awakening love of God – Lord Krishna. Over five decades, ISKCON has grown into an international community with more than 1,000 temples, 100 vegetarian restaurants, and 516 million books in print in 87 different languages.
To sum it up, Lord Krishna taught common masses both the art of living and the art of dying. He showed how to enliven the family way of life, social way of life and spiritual way of life. Only humbleness, dutifulness, pridelessness, simplicity, tolerance, etc. are the basic requisites for a serious devotee of Lord Krishna. (The author is a Guwahati-based writer and analyst on Current Affairs who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)