2016.08.01 (Mahadevi Dasi). On August 25th in the transcendental holy place of Vrindavan, hundreds and thousands of Krishna’s devotees joyfully celebrated the sacred appearance day of Lord Krishna or widely known as Janmashtami. Thousands of temples in Vrindavan were overflowing with exuberant devotional activities to please Lord Krishna and his eternal consort, Srimati Radharani.
As we know, Lord Krishna appeared in a jail cell in Mathura to Vasudeva and Devaki over 5000 years ago. Still this jail cell in Mathura is visited by millions of Krishna bhaktas from all over the world. How and why Lord Krishna appeared by his own sweet will to these devoted parents in such a humble manner behooves one to study the shastric history of these two great devotees, who after many austerities were given the blessing to have Krishna as their son.
So much suffering Vasudeva and Devaki had to endure. We know they had to personally witness the evil demon King Kamsa thrash 7 previous new born babies to their death, because Kamsa knew that the eight child of Devaki would kill him. To make sure he did not miss his chance to kill Krishna first, he killed all of Devaki’s new born babies and now Krishna was also to be killed!
But of course, again by Krishna’s supreme arrangement, all the guards fell asleep and as Vasudeva was instructed personally by Krishna, the devoted father took Krishna in a baby basket on his head in a torrential downpour, across the swiftly moving Yamuna, to reach the home of Nanda Maharaj and Mother Yasoda in Gokul. Vasudeva then switched baby Krishna with the daughter who had just been born to Mother Yasoda. Yasoda Mayi was sleeping and was so tired from childbirth, and especially because of the covering potency of Yogamaya, she didn’t notice the exchange.
Vasudeva returned to the jail cell through the downpour and shackled himself up again, so King Kamsa would not become suspicious. Again by Krishna’s supreme mystic abilities, all the guards woke up and alerted King Kamsa to the crying of the new baby, who we know flew into the sky when King Kamsa tried to kill her, assuming her eternal form as Durga. This is just the beginning of Lord Krishna’s extraordinary, eternal pastimes in Vrindavan, Mathura, Dwaraka, and on the battlefield of Kurukshetra, vanquishing the demons and protecting, enlivening his devotees. (Bg 4.9)
The internal reasons for Lord Krishna’s Appearance on this planet Earth are described meticulously in the Bhagavad gita AS It Is, the Srimad Bhagavatam and especially in the KRISHNA Book, translated into English from Sanskirt by His Divine Grace AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Now Prabhupada’s Books have been translated into more than 50 different languages so everyone all over the world can learn about Krishna.
Established by Srila Prabhupada in 1975, the ISKCON Vrndavan temple celebrated Janmashtami in a most grandiose way. The temple was teeming with innumerable devotees and guests, all ecstatically absorbed in singing and dancing with the Maha mantra…Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare. There were profuse arrangements of colorful and fragrant flower decorations everywhere on the ISKCON Vrindavan temple campus, filling everyone with pleasure.
The Bhaktivedanta Gurukula International School (or BGIS) was also surcharged with devotional activities and dramas to enhance the 2016 spectacular Festival of Sri Janmashtami.
Several lakhs of guests and devotees streamed through the temple gates all day and night long, enjoying themselves around the great expanse of the ISKCON Vrindavan campus; such a beautiful temple for the whole family to visit. Although the restaurants were open to serve sumptuous prasad, most devotees fast right up until the midnight arati; then a small Ekadasi feast was served to all.
Everyone was relishing the celestial and exciting atmosphere created by the devotees of ISKCON Vrindavan. All 34 departments of ISKCON Vrindavan offered various pujas, donations and services for the auspicious day of Janmashtami. Srila Prabhupada in his eternal samadhi was also honored and decorated with numerous, sublime flower garlands. All the flower garlands that decorate Srila Prabhupada, Sri Sri Nitai Goura, Krishna and Balarama, and Radha Syamasundara are handmade everyday with love and devotion from Their devotees in ISKCON Vrindavan. Hundreds of extra garlands, flower decorations, a huge variety of foodstuffs and kailashas of holy waters inundated Srila Prabhupada and all the Lords on this most inspirational day and night of Janmashtami.
Millions of Hare Krishna devotees around the world celebrated Janmashtami in the most magnificent ways in more than 250 international ISKCON Centers established by Srila Prabhupada, whose Appearance Day is celebrated every year on the day after Janmashtami, known as Nandotsava. This year, Srila Prabhupada’s sacred appearance day fell on August 27th.
Many of Srila Prabhupada’s Western disciples serving in Vrindavan during their senior years, have been with Srila Prabhupada’s ISKCON Movement for more than 40 years. They each took a turn to make their humble offering publicly in front of the assembled devotees to glorify Srila Prabhupada on the most auspicious occasion of his appearance day or Vyasa Puja.
His Divine Grace AC Bhaktivedanta Srila Prabhupada appeared in this world on September 1st, 1896 in Calcutta.
Approximately 25 fortunate disciples of Srila Prabhupada described the unlimited amazing Pastimes of their Spiritual Master and endeavored to share Prabhupada’s Mission of Sadhana bhakti, compassion and cooperation with the assembly of devotees, guests and media. Their offerings can be seen on the link below.
This day of offering awe and reverence to Srila Prabhupada is most important to the Krishna Balaram community of devotees as the Hare Krishna devotees feel without Srila Prabhupada’s appearance and his example of pure devotional service, we would not have been given the divine opportunity of knowing about Krishna. To read and study the transcendental nature of Lord Krishna in such astonishing detail in Prabhupada’s books makes one feel humbly indebted to Srila Prabhupada for such a treasurehouse of transcendental knowledge.
Although Srila Prabhupada disappeared from this planet on November 14, 1977 in his home situated on the Iskcon Vrindavan campus to return home, back to Goloka Vrindavan to live eternally with Lord Krishna, devotees feel the daily presence, shelter and solace of Srila Prabhupada through his books and the bhakti process of Krishna consciousness.
Everyone feels most grateful and humbled by the glorious accomplishments of Srila Prabhupada and the supreme mercy he has given the world in the form of his books, which are so numerous that one could spend a lifetime reading, studying and re-reading and re-studying and still read something new when reading again. Ever fresh.
So the Vyasa Puja Day in ISKCON Vrindavan is a specific day for devotees to rededicate themselves to reading and studying Srila Prabhupada’s Books, Hear the Srimad Bhagavatam and Bhagavad Gita Classes daily, chant minimum 16 rounds of Hare Krishna Mahamantra and serve each other with affection, respect and compassion. Srila Prabhupada taught his devotees and the world that we are all insignificant servants of Guru and Krishna and that we should aspire to see Krishna in each other and in every situation. (Bg 6.30).
There was a sublime Pushpanjalee following the personal prayer offerings of Prabhupada’s disciples when the Temple was packed up with devotees throwing flower petals on Srila Prabhupada while chanting many mantras of praise and glorification. A most delicious Prasadam Feast followed and devotees happily enjoyed the most wonderful Prasad sitting together, like Krishna and His cowherd Friends. Because Srila Prabhupada was known as “kichori mukhi” when he was a small boy as he really liked kachoris, this particular Prasadam Feast always includes lots of kachoris for the assembled devotees to enjoy and lots of kacoris to stuff in their pockets to take home!
All glories to yet another Janmashtami and Vyasa puja celebration in ISKCON Vrindavan since 1975 and we pray to become more sincere devotees for serving Srila Prabhupada, the present Acarya for spreading Krishna consciousness all over the world. May we continue to develop our bhakti for serving Guru and Lord Krishna in whatever we do, say, offer or give away.
Srila Prabhupada told us, “We are trying to give human society the opportunity for a life of happiness, good health, peace of mind and all good qualities through Krishna consciousness.” All glories to all the devotees who endeavor to develop Krishna consciousness!