Krishna Janmastami

Joyous Celebration at Krishna’s Birth

Today we celebrate the birth of Lord Krsna, or Krishna Janmastami, with a full day fast and a feast after his appearance at Midnight tonight. We honor this auspicious day with a post from the Krsna Book.

The joyous vibrations at Krsna’s birth ceremony could be heard in all the pasturing grounds and houses.

 

KRSNA, The Supreme Personality of Godhead
By His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Chapter 5, Meeting of Nanda and Vasudeva

Although Kṛṣṇa was the real son of Vasudeva and Devakī, because of Kaṁsa’s atrocious activities Vasudeva could not enjoy the birth ceremony of his son. But Nanda Mahārāja, the foster father, celebrated the birth ceremony of Kṛṣṇa very joyfully. The next day, it was declared that a male child was born of Yaśodā. According to Vedic custom, Nanda Mahārāja called for learned astrologers and brāhmaṇas to perform the birth ceremony. After the birth of a child, the astrologers calculate the moment of the birth and make a horoscope of the child’s future life. Another ceremony takes place after the birth of the child: the family members take baths, cleanse themselves and decorate themselves with ornaments and garlands; then they come before the child and the astrologer to hear of the future life of the child. Nanda Mahārāja and other members of the family dressed and sat down in front of the birthplace. All the brāhmaṇas who were assembled there on this occasion chanted auspicious mantras, according to the rituals, while the astrologers performed the birth ceremony. All the demigods are also worshiped on this occasion, as well as the forefathers of the family. Nanda Mahārāja distributed 200,000 well decorated, dressed and ornamented cows to the brāhmaṇas. He not only gave cows in charity, but hills of grains, decorated with golden-bordered garments and many ornaments.

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Devotion – The Highest Yoga

Prabhupada1

Devotion – The Highest Yoga
A lecture given by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Founder-Acarya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness
1968

The word yoga has become synonymous in Western vernacular with a lithe figure, radiant health, peace of mind, and other material benefits. But the original meaning of the Sanskrit term carries a different, higher import: linking with the Supreme. In this lecture from 1968, Srila Prabhupada distinguishes the true goal of yoga—loving devotion to the Supreme Lord—from the physical and psychological elements of yoga practice.

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Lord Krsna’s Childhood Pastimes

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…There is no parallel to His childhood pastimes as exhibited at Vrajabhūmi, which are the prototypes of His eternal affairs in the original Kṛṣṇaloka described as the cintāmaṇi-dhāma in the Brahma-saṁhitā [Bs. 5.29]. Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa descended Himself at Vrajabhūmi with all His transcendental entourage and paraphernalia. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu therefore confirmed that no one is as fortunate as the residents of Vrajabhūmi, and specifically the cowherd girls, who dedicated their everything for the satisfaction of the Lord. His pastimes with Nanda and Yaśodā and His pastimes with the cowherd men and especially with the cowherd boys and the cows have caused Him to be known as Govinda. (from purport to SB 1.8.21)

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Fear of Death

Kamsa about to kill Devaki but was pacified by Vasudeva

…Once upon a time, Vasudeva, the son of Śūrasena, just after marrying Devakī, was going home on his chariot with his newly wedded wife.

While the bride and bridegroom were passing along on the chariot, there were different kinds of musical instruments playing to indicate the auspicious moment. There were conchshells, bugles, drums and kettledrums; combined together, they were vibrating a nice concert. The procession was passing very pleasingly, and Kaṁsa was driving the chariot, when suddenly there was a miraculous sound vibrated from the sky which especially announced to Kaṁsa: “Kaṁsa: you are such a fool. You are driving the chariot of your sister and your brother-in-law, but you do not know that the eighth child of this sister will kill you.”

Kaṁsa was the son of Ugrasena, of the Bhoja dynasty. It is said that Kaṁsa was the most demoniac of all the Bhoja dynasty kings. Immediately after hearing the prophecy from the sky, he caught hold of Devakī’s hair and was just about to kill her with his sword. Vasudeva was astonished at Kaṁsa’s behavior, and in order to pacify the cruel, shameless brother-in-law, he began to speak as follows, with great reason and evidence. He said, “My dear brother-in-law Kaṁsa, you are the most famous king of the Bhoja dynasty, and people know that you are the greatest warrior and a valiant king. How is it that you are so infuriated that you are prepared to kill a woman who is your own sister at this auspicious time of her marriage? Why should you be so much afraid of death? Death is already born along with your birth. From the very day you took your birth, you began to die.(Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Chapter 1)

On Janmastami day I decided to start reading the Kṛṣṇa Book over again. I don’t know how many times I have read it but unlike mundane literature, it becomes more and more transcendentally relishable with every reading. In this first chapter entitled “The Advent of Lord Kṛṣṇa”, Vasudeva, in his attempt to pacify Kaṁsa, spoke this very famous lesson about death…

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Unlimited Forms of Godhead

Krishna's unlimited forms

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Sometime back I ran across this picture and saved it to my files thinking I could use it in a post someday. While posting this chapter from the Teachings of Lord Caintanya, entitled “Unlimited Forms of Godhead”, I was looking for an image to use. So I selected the above image and to my surprise when I clicked on it, it moved. I had forgotten how cheesy cool this image was, and why it captured my interest, back when I saved it. So we share it today with our readers, and thank the unknown artist who put this picture to life.

…The different forms of Kṛṣṇa are distributed throughout the universe to give pleasure to the devotees. It is not that devotees are born only in India. There are devotees in all parts of the world, but they have simply forgotten their identity. These forms incarnate not only to give pleasure to the devotee but to reestablish devotional service and perform other activities which vitally concern the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

Teachings of Lord Chaintanya
By His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Chapter Seven

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Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead

That Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the Personality of Godhead, is the only object of worship is confirmed in these two ślokas.

Srimad-Bhagavatam
By His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Canto 1, Chapter Two, Text 28-29

TEXTS 28-29

vāsudeva-parā vedā
vāsudeva-parā makhāḥ
vāsudeva-parā yogā
vāsudeva-parāḥ kriyāḥ

vāsudeva-paraṁ jñānaṁ
vāsudeva-paraṁ tapaḥ
vāsudeva-paro dharmo
vāsudeva-parā gatiḥ

vāsudeva—the Personality of Godhead; parāḥ—the ultimate goal; vedāḥ—revealed scriptures; vāsudeva—the Personality of Godhead; parāḥ—for worshiping; makhāḥ—sacrifices; vāsudeva—the Personality of Godhead; parāḥ—the means of attaining; yogāḥ—mystic paraphernalia; vāsudeva—the Personality of Godhead; parāḥ—under His control; kriyāḥ—fruitive activities; vāsudeva—the Personality of Godhead; param—the supreme; jñānam—knowledge; vāsudeva—the Personality of Godhead; param—best; tapaḥ—austerity; vāsudeva—the Personality of Godhead; paraḥ—superior quality; dharmaḥ—religion; vāsudeva—the Personality of Godhead; parāḥ—ultimate; gatiḥ—goal of life.

In the revealed scriptures, the ultimate object of knowledge is Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the Personality of Godhead. The purpose of performing sacrifice is to please Him. Yoga is for realizing Him. All fruitive activities are ultimately rewarded by Him only. He is supreme knowledge, and all severe austerities are performed to know Him. Religion [dharma] is rendering loving service unto Him. He is the supreme goal of life.

Purport
That Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the Personality of Godhead, is the only object of worship is confirmed in these two ślokas. In the Vedic literature there is the same objective: establishing one’s relationship and ultimately reviving our lost loving service unto Him. That is the sum and substance of the Vedas. In the Bhagavad-gītā the same theory is confirmed by the Lord in His own words: the ultimate purpose of the Vedas is to know Him only. All the revealed scriptures are prepared by the Lord through His incarnation in the body of Śrīla Vyāsadeva just to remind the fallen souls, conditioned by material nature, of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the Personality of Godhead. No demigod can award freedom from material bondage. That is the verdict of all the Vedic literatures. Impersonalists who have no information of the Personality of Godhead minimize the omnipotency of the Supreme Lord and put Him on equal footing with all other living beings, and for this act such impersonalists get freedom from material bondage only with great difficulty. They can surrender unto Him only after many, many births in the culture of transcendental knowledge.

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I Meditate Upon Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa

Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam:
by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda

Canto 1: “Creation”, Chapter 1, Text 1

Questions by the Sages

oṁ namo bhagavate vāsudevāya

janmādy asya yato ’nvayād itarataś cārtheṣv abhijñaḥ svarāṭ
tene brahma hṛdā ya ādi-kavaye muhyanti yat sūrayaḥ
tejo-vāri-mṛdāṁ yathā vinimayo yatra tri-sargo ’mṛṣā
dhāmnā svena sadā nirasta-kuhakaṁ satyaṁ paraṁ dhīmahi

om—O my Lord; namaḥ—offering my obeisances; bhagavate—unto the Personality of Godhead; vāsudevāya—unto Vāsudeva (the son of Vasudeva), or Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the primeval Lord; janma-ādi—creation, sustenance and destruction; asya—of the manifested universes; yataḥ—from whom; anvayāt—directly; itarataḥ—indirectly; ca—and; artheṣu—purposes; abhijñaḥ—fully cognizant; sva-rāṭ—fully independent; tene—imparted; brahma—the Vedic knowledge; hṛdā—consciousness of the heart; yaḥ—one who; ādi-kavaye—unto the original created being; muhyanti—are illusioned; yat—about whom; sūrayaḥ—great sages and demigods; tejaḥ—fire; vāri—water; mṛdām—earth; yathā—as much as; vinimayaḥ—action and reaction; yatra—whereupon; tri-sargaḥ—three modes of creation, creative faculties; amṛṣā—almost factual; dhāmnā—along with all transcendental paraphernalia; svena—self-sufficiently; sadā—always; nirasta—negation by absence; kuhakam—illusion; satyam—truth; param—absolute; dhīmahi—I do meditate upon.

TRANSLATION

O my Lord, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, son of Vasudeva, O all-pervading Personality of Godhead, I offer my respectful obeisances unto You. I meditate upon Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa because He is the Absolute Truth and the primeval cause of all causes of the creation, sustenance and destruction of the manifested universes. He is directly and indirectly conscious of all manifestations, and He is independent because there is no other cause beyond Him. It is He only who first imparted the Vedic knowledge unto the heart of Brahmājī, the original living being. By Him even the great sages and demigods are placed into illusion, as one is bewildered by the illusory representations of water seen in fire, or land seen on water. Only because of Him do the material universes, temporarily manifested by the reactions of the three modes of nature, appear factual, although they are unreal. I therefore meditate upon Him, Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who is eternally existent in the transcendental abode, which is forever free from the illusory representations of the material world. I meditate upon Him, for He is the Absolute Truth.

PURPORT

Obeisances unto the Personality of Godhead, Vāsudeva, directly indicate Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who is the divine son of Vasudeva and Devakī. This fact will be more explicitly explained in the text of this work. Śrī Vyāsadeva asserts herein that Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the original Personality of Godhead, and all others are His direct or indirect plenary portions or portions of the portion. Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī has even more explicitly explained the subject matter in his Kṛṣṇa-sandarbha. And Brahmā, the original living being, has explained the subject of Śrī Kṛṣṇa substantially in his treatise named Brahma-saṁhitā. In the Sāma-veda Upaniṣad, it is also stated that Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the divine son of Devakī. Therefore, in this prayer, the first proposition holds that Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the primeval Lord, and if any transcendental nomenclature is to be understood as belonging to the Absolute Personality of Godhead, it must be the name indicated by the word Kṛṣṇa, which means the all-attractive. In Bhagavad-gītā, in many places, the Lord asserts Himself to be the original Personality of Godhead, and this is confirmed by Arjuna, and also by great sages like Nārada, Vyāsa, and many others. In the Padma Purāṇa, it is also stated that out of the innumerable names of the Lord, the name of Kṛṣṇa is the principal one. Vāsudeva indicates the plenary portion of the Personality of Godhead, and all the different forms of the Lord, being identical with Vāsudeva, are indicated in this text. The name Vāsudeva particularly indicates the divine son of Vasudeva and Devakī. Śrī Kṛṣṇa is always meditated upon by the paramahaṁsas, who are the perfected ones among those in the renounced order of life.

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Bhakti-yoga; The Culmination of Yoga

If one is fortunate enough to come to the point of bhakti-yoga, it is to be understood that he has surpassed all the other yogas. Therefore, to become Kṛṣṇa conscious is the highest stage of yoga, just as, when we speak of Himalayan, we refer to the world’s highest mountains, of which the highest peak, Mount Everest, is considered to be the culmination.

The culmination of all kinds of yoga practices lies in bhakti-yoga. All other yogas are but means to come to the point of bhakti in bhakti-yoga. Yoga actually means bhakti-yoga; all other yogas are progressions toward the destination of bhakti-yoga. From the beginning of karma-yoga to the end of bhakti-yoga is a long way to self-realization. Karma-yoga, without fruitive results, is the beginning of this path. When karma-yoga increases in knowledge and renunciation, the stage is called jñāna-yoga. When jñāna-yoga increases in meditation on the Supersoul by different physical processes, and the mind is on Him, it is called aṣṭāṅga-yoga. And, when one surpasses the aṣṭāṅga-yoga and comes to the point of the Supreme Personality of Godhead Kṛṣṇa, it is called bhakti-yoga, the culmination. Factually, bhakti-yoga is the ultimate goal, but to analyze bhakti-yoga minutely one has to understand these other yogas. The yogī who is progressive is therefore on the true path of eternal good fortune.

It is by great fortune that one comes to Kṛṣṇa consciousness on the path of bhakti-yoga to become well situated according to the Vedic direction. The ideal yogī concentrates his attention on Kṛṣṇa, who is called Śyāmasundara, who is as beautifully colored as a cloud, whose lotus-like face is as effulgent as the sun, whose dress is brilliant with jewels and whose body is flower garlanded. Illuminating all sides is His gorgeous luster, which is called the brahmajyoti. He incarnates in different forms such as Rāma, Nṛsiṁha, Varāha and Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and He descends like a human being, as the son of Mother Yaśodā, and He is known as Kṛṣṇa, Govinda and Vāsudeva. He is the perfect child, husband, friend and master, and He is full with all opulences and transcendental qualities. If one remains fully conscious of these features of the Lord, he is called the highest yogī.

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Liberation from the Material World

…Of course, the world is full of dangers. But Kuntīdevī says, “Because Devakī is Your devotee, You saved her from the distresses imposed upon her by her envious brother.”

…For sense gratification we have fallen into this material condition and are suffering in different varieties of life. Because this is the material world, even Kṛṣṇa’s mother was put into suffering. Devakī was so advanced that she became the mother of Kṛṣṇa, but still she was put into difficulties by her own brother, Kaṁsa. That is the nature of this material world. The living entities in this world are so jealous that if one’s personal interest is hampered, one will immediately be ready to give trouble to others, even to one’s nearest relatives.

“A person who acts in the service of Kṛṣṇa with his body, mind, intelligence, and words is a liberated person, even within the material world.”

Teachings of Queen Kunti
By His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Chapter 6

The Master of the Senses

yathā hṛṣīkeśa khalena devakī
kaṁsena ruddhāticiraṁ śucārpitā
vimocitāhaṁ ca sahātmajā vibho
tvayaiva nāthena muhur vipad-gaṇāt

O Hṛṣīkeśa, master of the senses and Lord of lords, You have released Your mother, Devakī, who was long imprisoned and distressed by the envious King Kaṁsa, and me and my children from a series of constant dangers.

—Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 1.8.23

Devakī, the mother of Kṛṣṇa and sister of King Kaṁsa, was put into prison along with her husband, Vasudeva, because the envious King was afraid of being killed by Devakī’s eighth son (Kṛṣṇa). The King killed all the sons of Devakī who were born before Kṛṣṇa, but Kṛṣṇa escaped the danger of child-slaughter because He was transferred to the house of Nanda Mahārāja, Lord Kṛṣṇa’s foster father. Kuntīdevī, along with her children, was also saved from a series of dangers. But Kuntīdevī was shown far more favor because Lord Kṛṣṇa did not save the other children of Devakī, whereas He saved the children of Kuntīdevī. This was done because Devakī’s husband, Vasudeva, was living, whereas Kuntīdevī was a widow and there was none to help her except Kṛṣṇa. The conclusion is that Kṛṣṇa bestows more favor upon a devotee who is in greater dangers. Sometimes He puts His pure devotees in such dangers because in that condition of helplessness the devotee becomes more attached to the Lord. The more the attachment is there for the Lord, the more success is there for the devotee.

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108 Imporant Slokas from the 1972 Bhagavad-gita As It Is

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The Hare Krishna Cookbook

Songs of the Vaisnava Acaryas

Bhagavad-gita As It Is 1972 Edition “Online”

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Srimad Bhagavatam Online

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Raja-Vidya the King of Knowledge

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Important Slokas from the Brahma-samhita

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Slokas from the Sri Isopanisad

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Prayers By Queen Kunti (Slokas)

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Gajendra’s Prayers of Surrender (Slokas)

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A Short Statement of the Philosophy of Krishna Consciousness

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July 9th Letter

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The Hare Krishna Explosion

Reference Material/Study Guide

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