Sri Krishna Janmashtami

Sri Krishna Janmasthami

yadā yadā hi dharmasya
glānir bhavati bhārata
abhyutthānam adharmasya
tadātmānaṁ sṛjāmy aham

Bhagavad Gita 4.7
Whenever and wherever there is a decline in religious practice, O descendant of Bharata, and a predominant rise of irreligion – at that time I descend Myself.

The Supreme Personality of Godhead Sri Krishna who is glorified in every verse of the Vedas as the Supreme Person, out of His causeless mercy for the suffering conditioned souls (jivas) of this material world, appeared by His own will about five thousand years ago on this planet, thereby fulfilling His eternal vow which is depicted here in this verse of the Bhagavad Gita. We, the conditioned souls are part and parcel of Sri Krishna and originally belong to Krishna in the eternal spiritual realm, but due to the misuse of our free will and having foolishly decided to independently enjoy away from Krishna, are being inflicted with the three-fold miseries by the material energy of the Lord and hence are made to suffer since time immemorial. Foolish men who proudly take to atheism, do not even hesitate to decry the Supreme Lord or hurl harsh words at Him not realising that the cause of their miserable state is the uncontrolled mind that is driving them into the madness of sense gratification. In this material world, such disposal of harsh behaviour from anyone would result in the complete rupture of all kinds of mercy and sympathy from one’s heart. But here we have the All-Compassionate Supreme Father, Sri Krishna who in spite of being neglected by His ungrateful children, descends from His transcendental abode to take us back home, back to Godhead. The unlimited Lord Sri Krishna has inconceivable qualities which we being His part and parcel can never comprehend fully. Yet from the very fact that Sri Krishna personally appears for the sake of the jivas of this material world which is just one-fourth of His creation and is as insignificant as one grain of sand on the sea beach, is enough to depict His compassion and love for us. Religion or “dharma” refers to the principles or orders of the Supreme Lord Himself. Often the so-called advanced philosophers of this material world proclaim that religion or “dharma” is the creation of man but that is just a complete misinterpretation. Srimad Bhagavatam states “dharmaṁ tu sākṣād bhagavat-praṇītam” meaning religion or dharma is given by the Supreme Lord Himself and hence is eternal. The sole purpose of the Vedas is to push the conditioned soul to completely surrender unto the Supreme Lord by realizing oneself as a spirit soul and re-establishing our relationship with Him which is based on pure, unalloyed devotional service. This pure devotional service which is the inherent nature of the soul is dharma. And when this dharma is at risk by miscreants who try to obstruct or subdue it, Lord Krishna appears personally in this material world once in a day of Brahma which is 8,600,000,000 years, as the Original Supreme Lord who is the source of all the avatars.

Lord Krishna declares the purpose behind His appearance in the very next verse as follows:

paritrāṇāya sādhūnāṁ
vināśāya ca duṣkṛtām
dharma-saṁsthāpanārthāya
sambhavāmi yuge yuge

Bhagavad Gita 4.8
To deliver the pious and to annihilate the miscreants, as well as to re-establish the principles of religion, I Myself appear, millennium after millennium.

Here, the mission of the Lord’s descend has been clearly stated. The Supreme Lord descends to deliver the pious, to annihilate the miscreants and to re-establish dharma. Out of the three, the primary objective of the Lord is to deliver the pious. Who is considered to be pious? The Vedic scriptures state that the devotee of the Supreme Lord, Sri Krishna is considered to be pious or ‘sadhu’. In material consciousness, everyone is after sense gratification and in this attempt, one tirelessly endeavours like an ass to gather material opulence like wealth, position and status. However, the Vedas simply considers such people to be foolish and men of the lowest kind because they are simply wasting their valuable human form in earning temporary things. The devotees, on the other hand, who have surrendered to the Lord are considered to be the highest even if they lack all the material opulence because they, out of their unalloyed devotional service have attained the Supreme Truth, Sri Krishna Himself. The Supreme Lord need not appear personally to destroy the miscreants who do not care for Krishna consciousness. The empowered agents of the Lord are competent enough to accomplish it very easily. The Lord descends just to appease His pure devotees and relieve them from the miscreants who harass them. The Lord’s divine instructions are referred to as dharma. Sanatana Dharma or eternal religion is not man-made. It is given by the Supreme Lord Himself just like the Vedic knowledge was instilled within the heart of Lord Brahma by the Supreme Lord, Sri Krishna. The Vedic scriptures injunct that a man bereft of dharma is equivalent to an animal and the Lord descends whenever and wherever dharma or the religious principles decline.

The Lord, on the request and the pleasure of His pure devotees descends upon this material world and performs enchanting human-like pastimes but we must not consider the Lord’s birth or activities to be ordinary and on the mundane level. This is a great secret and anyone who understands the true transcendental nature of the birth and activities of the Supreme Lord transcends all material contamination and after having left this body attains the Supreme abode of the Lord. The Bhagavad Gita confirms as follows:

janma karma ca me divyam
evaṁ yo vetti tattvataḥ
tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma
naiti mām eti so ’rjuna

Bhagavad Gita 4.9
One who knows the transcendental nature of My appearance and activities does not, upon leaving the body, take his birth again in this material world, but attains My eternal abode, O Arjuna

Mundane scholars who might be glorified in this material world for their dry, speculative knowledge, out of their jealousy towards the Supreme, challenge the authority of the Supreme Lord because they think the Lord’s birth and activities to be like the mere mortals. This verse of the Bhagavad Gita completely eradicates such claims of these so-called scholars. Lord Krishna Himself proclaims that His birth and activities are all transcendental and anyone who can understand them in truth, attains to His eternal abode. In this respect, when Lord Krishna says to Arjuna that he had first given the knowledge of Bhagavad Gita to the Sun God billions of years ago, Arjuna immediately enquires that how could it be possible when he can himself see Krishna standing before him then. Lord Krishna then clarifies and establishes his Supremacy by answering to Arjuna that both of them have taken many births in the past but the difference is that Arjuna remembers none of them while the Supreme Lord Sri Krishna remembers all. Sri Krishna appeared in the prison house nearly five thousand years ago to Devaki and Vasudeva. Many foolish people today say that Lord Krishna was born just like a mortal human is born. But that is not the case with the Supreme Lord. Srimad Bhagavatam in detail describes the transcendental nature of the appearance of the Supreme Lord. The Lord was not born out of the cooperation between a man and a woman. He is supremely independent and does not require any such arrangements to appear.Some scholars think that when the Lord appears in this material world He is also bound by the laws of karma and the modes of material nature but this again is the mere display of their poor fund of knowledge about the Truth.

ajo ’pi sann avyayātmā
bhūtānām īśvaro ’pi san
prakṛtiṁ svām adhiṣṭhāya
sambhavāmy ātma-māyayā

Bhagavad Gita 4.6
Although I am unborn and My transcendental body never deteriorates, and although I am the Lord of all living entities, I still appear in every millennium in My original transcendental form.

This verse from the Bhagavad Gita emphatically establishes the point that whenever the Lord appears in this material world, He appears in His original transcendental form that never deteriorates. He appears as the Master of all Creation and hence is unaffected by Kala (time), Karma (action and its effects) and the modes of material nature because He is both the source and the controller of them all. A king, out of his mercy might decide to visit his prison-house to survey the condition of the prisoners. He does so in accord with his authority. He comes to visit the prison house at his disposal and leaves at his own will. At no time and under no circumstance does he get bound by the regulations or conditions of the prison because he is the master of the kingdom. It is foolish on the part of anyone who begins to compare the king with the other prisoners and thinks that the king too is a prisoner. Similarly, Sri Krishna being the proprietor of everything is free and independent. When He appears in this material world, He is welcomed by all His energies including this material energy in the same way a king is welcomed by his subjects. The activities of the Lord too are transcendental and should neither be misinterpreted nor mentally speculated or imitated. The Lord says that anyone who understands the divine nature of His birth and activities in truth attains liberation at once. This is not easy for the gyanis and yogis who meditate on the impersonal Brahman and think the Lord to be formless. Such personalities might even attain to the impersonal Brahman by their extreme penances but there is always a risk of falling back unto the material plane. The Bhagavad Gita clearly states that only the unalloyed, pure devotee can understand the Lord as He is. There is no alternative method or process except pure devotion, through which the Lord, His birth and activities can be understood in truth.

bhaktyā mām abhijānāti
yāvān yaś cāsmi tattvataḥ
tato māṁ tattvato jñātvā
viśate tad-anantaram

Bhagavad Gita 18.55
One can understand Me as I am, as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, only by devotional service. And when one is in full consciousness of Me by such devotion, he can enter into the kingdom of God.

Simply by loving surrender unto the Lord, the devotees not only save the entire pain that the yogis and dhyanis undergo but also attain the highest which is Krshna Prema- spontaneous divine love of God which no one else can ever achieve. We might make unlimited speculations about the Lord but they will never lead us to the truth. The modern days of Kaliyuga are filled with brains that only spread ignorance by publishing articles that simply try to describe the Lord and His transcendental activities on the material plane. Their endless speculations are meaningless and insignificant just like the darkness whose existence is of no value when the sun rises in the horizon. The appearance of the Supreme Lord Sri Krishna on the Krishna paksha Ashtami of Bhadrapada is like the rising of the Sun of All auspiciousness and knowledge that completely dissipates the deepest of the darkness of ignorance from the hearts of anyone who simply tries to surrender unto the Lord. This human form is simply meant to understand Krishna and surrender unto Him. That is the perfection of life and the entire celebration of Janmasthami throughout the world is observed with this very spirit of devotion and surrender as we come together to welcome the Lord of our lives- Sri Krishna.

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

The entire GIVE family invites you and your loved ones to become a part of the grandest celebration of the appearance of Lord Krishna on the day of Janmasthami at our centre. Let us cleanse our hearts and consciousness so that the Lord can reside within. As a great acharya said that when our hearts become as pure and white as the milk and as soft as butter with devotion, that butter-thief will come and steal our hearts away.

All glories to Sri Sri Radha Krishna
All glories to Sri Sri Gaur Nitai
All glories to Srila Prabhupada