Celebrating Janmastami

So today we honor Lord Sri Krishna’s appearance day with a full day fast, followed by a small feast after His appearance at midnight. We will try to increase our remembrance of Him by additional chanting and reading ,and singing His glories.

My good friend Padmapani Prabhu over at The Prabhupada Connection sent me the following post in my email this morning, we share the text with you.

“There are many statements about the festive days in connection with Kṛṣṇa’s different activities. One of these festive days is Janmāṣṭamī, the day of Kṛṣṇa’s birth. This Janmāṣṭamī day is the most opulent festival day for the devotees, and it is still observed with great pomp in every Hindu house in India. Sometimes even the devotees of other religious groups take advantage of this auspicious day and enjoy the performance of the ceremony of Janmāṣṭamī. Ecstatic love for Kṛṣṇa is also aroused on the days of Ekādaśī, which are other festive days in connection with Kṛṣṇa.” (Nectar of Devotion, Chapter 26)

“Of course, this Janmāṣṭamī ceremony is observed by all Hindus. Irrespective of becoming Vaiṣṇava or not, this ceremony is observed in India every home. Just like in your Western countries the Christmas is observed in every home, similarly Janmāṣṭamī is observed in every home. Today is a great ceremonial day. So our program is, at twelve o’clock night the Lord will take birth and we shall receive Him.” (Srila Prabhupada Janmastami Lecture, Montreal, August 16, 1968)

“Today at (20/8/65) the captain arranged for a meeting on board the M/V Jaladuta on account of Janmastami day and I spoke for an hour on the philosophy and teachings of Lord Sri Krishna. All the officers attended the meeting and there was distribution of Prasadam. The matter was radiographed to Smt. Sumati Moraji in Bombay. The ship is stranded on the Arabian Sea about 4 miles away from the coast. We are in this position from 3/20 p.m. 20/8/65 to 9/30 a.m. on 22/8/65.” (Srila Prabhupada’s Jaladuta Diary, August 20, 1965)

“The devotees celebrated the festival of Janmāṣṭamī, Kṛṣṇa’s birthday, which is also called Nanda-mahotsava, the festival of Nanda Mahārāja. At that time Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and His devotees dressed themselves as cowherd boys.

“Having dressed up like cowherd boys, all the devotees carried pots of milk and yogurt balanced on rods over their shoulders. Thus they all arrived at the festival grounds chanting the holy name of Hari.” (Caitanya-caritāmṛta Madhya 15.17-18)

“Kṛṣṇa is present throughout the whole universe in some feature. In one universe you will find Kṛṣṇa is taking birth, Janmāṣṭamī. In some universe you will see Kṛṣṇa is playing with the cowherd boys. Somewhere… In this way. Therefore it is called nitya-līlā. Nitya-līlā means the janmāṣṭamī-līlā is going on permanently somewhere or other. Therefore it is called līlayā, yadṛcchayā.

So this is a great science, Kṛṣṇa science, kṛṣṇa-tattva. So we have to learn from the authorized Vedic literature about Kṛṣṇa. And that is required in human life. Because if we simply understand the truth about Kṛṣṇa, janma karma ca me divyam (BG 4.9), which are divine transcendental, yo jānāti tattvataḥ, if you try to understand and if you become fortunate to understand the divine nature of Kṛṣṇa’s līlā, then you become liberated, immediately: tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma naiti mām eti kaunteya (BG 4.9).” (Srila Prabhupada Lecture, Bombay, December 16, 1974)

“Kṛṣṇa cannot be understood fully because He is unlimited, and we have got limited knowledge. But still, as far as possible and as much as possible, if we try to understand Kṛṣṇa, janma karma ca me divyam evaṁ yo vetti tattvataḥ (BG 4.9). Kṛṣṇa advents Himself, comes on this planet. He executes so many duties, takes part in so many occupational functions as human being, but everything is full of instructions. Therefore Kṛṣṇa says, ‘Don’t try to understand, even that is also good superficially, but in truth.’ Janma karma ca me divyam evaṁ yo vetti tattvataḥ. Tattvataḥ means ‘in truth, in fact.’ So if anyone… Janma karma ca me divyam. Divyam means His birth is not ordinary birth. If it had been ordinary birth, then why we are still performing the Janmāṣṭamī ceremony, Kṛṣṇa’s birthday ceremony? Many big, big kings came and gone. Who is performing the birthday ceremony of that king?” (Srila Prabhupada Lecture, Hong Kong, January 31, 1974)

“Kṛṣṇa is born here at Janmāṣṭamī, and as soon as Kṛṣṇa is taken to Gokula by Vasudeva, Kṛṣṇa is seen in another universe, born again. Just like our sun. As soon as it rises at six o’clock or, say, five o’clock… So as soon as here five o’clock finished, in another place five o’clock begins. But it is going on. Ananta-cakra. The five o’clock is permanent. Anywhere, there must be some five o’clock. Anywhere, there must be six o’clock. Anywhere, there must be seven o’clock. Just like the twenty-four hours is going on. You cannot say that the sun’s rising at five o’clock, because it is finished within your view, it is finished. No. It is not like that. The five o’clock is permanent to the sun. If it is so possible to a material thing, why not Kṛṣṇa? Therefore it is called nitya-līlā. Nitya-līlā means eternally Janmāṣṭamī is going on. Eternally everything is going on, eternally. So one who is liberated from this world and he is given the spiritual body, he’s immediately transferred to the place where Kṛṣṇa’s līlā is going on. Just like in Vṛndāvana, when Kṛṣṇa was present, all the Vṛndāvana-vāsīs, they were not ordinary men; they were liberated. They transferred to associate with Kṛṣṇa, practice. And after this complete practice, they were transferred to the Goloka Vṛndāvana.” (Srila Prabhupada Lecture, Gorakhpur, February 16, 1971)

“So Lord Kṛṣṇa for this reason has appeared. He wants to call the conditioned souls back to Godhead. He wants us to realize that He is the source of the whole universe, He is the owner of the universe, He is the supreme enjoyer, the supreme knower of everything, and that we are always welcome to associate with Him by the grace of His devotees, by the grace of a spiritual master. And so He has appeared, and we are now celebrating the Janmāṣṭamī day, the day when Lord Kṛṣṇa came to this conditioned plane out of His own transcendental power, with His full spiritual potency, in order to reveal the supreme nature of sac-cid-ānanda vigrahaḥ… eternal knowledge, consciousness, and bliss, to all the conditioned souls so that they might be attracted to Him, and so that they might come out of the miseries of material existence and of ignorance. At this particular time in the world it is very much necessary that all people hear about Kṛṣṇa and that they should become attracted to chanting the name of Kṛṣṇa, to hearing about Kṛṣṇa’s wonderful pastimes. So that by this exquisite attraction for Kṛṣṇa they might forget their lower desires.” (Srila Prabhupada Janmastami Lecture, Montreal, August 16, 1968)

“The advent of Kṛṣṇa, it is very important thing. We should try to understand Kṛṣṇa, why He advents, why He comes on this material world, what is His business, what are His activities. If we simply try to understand Kṛṣṇa, then what is the result? The result is tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma naiti mām eti kaunteya (BG 4.9). You get that immortality. The aim of life is to achieve immortality. Amṛtatvāya kalpate. So in the advent of Kṛṣṇa, we shall try to understand the philosophy of Kṛṣṇa.” (Srila Prabhupada Janmastami Lecture, London, August 21, 1973)

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