Janmashtami: birth of the all attractive Krishna

Hare Krishna Dear devotees,

जन्म कर्म च मे दिव्यमेवं यो वेत्ति तत्त्वतः।

त्यक्त्वा देहं पुनर्जन्म नैति मामेति सोऽर्जुन।।

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.

(BG  4.9)

Let us hear about Krishna’s birth in Gokula and His immediate activities, then see if the sweetness of His divine pastimes can penetrate our steel framed heart and touch some deep spot within us. Can we develop a greed to know, and meet, this blue-hued cowherd boy with blooming eyes like lotus petals, with head decked with peacock’s feather and a beauty which charms millions of Cupids.

The background

The time for an appearance of the Lord coincided with two internal desires  of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. First the Lord desired to descend  on earth to increase the fortune of Yasoda and Nanda. Also at that time  Krishna wanted to relish the sweet mellow of srngara rasa (par­amour love)  while enacting His worldly pastimes. For these two reasons the Lord  appeared within the material creation on Bhuloka, (earth planet), along  with His parents, friends, and other eternal associates

The Scene

Shri Nanda, Yasoda, and others appeared in Brhadvana (Mahavana) before the  Lord. The gopas, gopis, and other eternally liberated associ­ates appeared  after the Lord. Then those who had attained perfection by sadhana, namely  the sruti-caris and muni-caris, took birth in Vrndavana.Learning of Krishna’s imminent appearance, the earth personified, feel­ing  like a wife happily greeting her husband after a long separation,  im­mersed in unlimited joy. At the time of Krishna’s birth the general mass  of people tasted the inner bliss that devotees forever relish. Auspicious  signs abounded everywhere. As Vishnu’s conchshell Pancajanya opens in a  clock­wise fashion, similarly, auspicious sacrificial fires glowed in all  directions. Pure gentle breezes brought a refreshing coolness like  devotees who satisfy and sanctify everyone with their calm, sweet, and  affectionate be­havior. The whole atmosphere became as completely purified as the heart of a  devotee. The devotees once again found peace and prosperity in wor­shiping  the lotus feet of Lord Hari. Fruits filled the jubilant trees.

The bodies of all creatures manifested extraordinary beauty and youth­ful  vitality. Men felt extremely joyful and displayed virtuous qualities.  Throughout the world people behaved cordially and interacted amicably.  Happiness twinkled in everyone’s eye.

The Time

At the end of Dvapara-yuga, which  completely destroys faults and doubts, an auspicious, favorable,  obstacle-free time appeared on the eighth day of the waning moon in Bhadra  month. Just at that sweet moment the Rohini Naksatra, along with the good  quali­ties of the moon and an auspicious conjunction of stars called  Ayusman, appeared in the sky to give shelter to gentle persons.

Krishna at first manifests in Mathura

As the living entity comes out from the womb of his mother and the moon  appears on the lap of the eastern direction, Yogesvara Shri Krishna, the personification of complete bliss, appeared amidst great festivities. As  the moon appears in the lap of the eastern direction, which is like a  beautiful bride, Krishna manifested the wonderful pastime of His appear­ance  out of His love and compassion for the conditioned souls. Due to austerities performed in previous lives, Vasudeva and Devaki  received the opportunity to momentarily relish parental affection for Lord  Shri Krishna when He appeared before them in His form as Vasudeva.

But His final stop is somewhere else..

There ­after in fear of Kamsa, Vasudeva brought Vasudeva Krishna to Gokula. There the Supreme Lord appeared as Govinda before Nanda and Yasoda, His  eternal parents who have been smothering Him with the sweetest form of  parental love since time immemorial.

Lord Hari, who is  bliss personified, appeared in the home of Nanda Maharaja, the king of  Vrndavana for three reasons: to engage the self satisfied sages in  devotional service, to please the devotees by performing sweet  transcendental pastimes, and to relieve the earth’s burden caused by the  demons. At the time of His majestic birth Krishna employed His inconceivable  powers to appear in a body of eternity, bliss and knowledge.

Krishna’s birth in Gokula

Everyone in  the maternity room swelled with joy upon seeing the Lord’s exquisite  transcendental form that looked like a creeper of beauty.

Mother Yasoda resembled a lake of spiritual ecstasy in which a brilliant  blue lotus of personified bliss had appeared. Neither the wind nor the  bees relished the fragrance of that blue lotus. That unborn lotus was  never touched by the waves of the modes of nature. Even Lord Brahma could  not see it, what to speak of ordinary men. After Yasoda and her family members fell asleep in the maternity room,  Hari cried beautifully like a newborn baby. His crying sounded like the  maha-vakya omkara announcing the auspicious arrival of His pastimes.  Omkara is a transcendental vibration that had previously emanated from the  mouth of Lord Brahma. When the ladies of Vrindavana heard the sweet sound  of Krishna’s crying, they woke up and ran to see the Lord. With the mellow  of their matchless overflowing affection they anointed His body.

His transcendental body

The natural fragrance of Krishna’s body smelled just like musk. After the  ladies bathed Krishna in sweet ambrosia, He looked cleansed and beauti­ful.  Then they smeared His body with fragrant sandalwood pulp. The pre­siding  deity of the house sent a campaka flower resembling the flame of a lamp  into the maternity room to worship that ornament of the three worlds. With  the strength of His little arms, delicate as the tender leaves of a tree,  Krishna made all the lamps in the maternity room look like a garland of  lotus flower buds. The ladies of Vrndavana saw baby Krishna like a blossoming flower made of  the best of blue sapphires, or like a newly unfurled leaf of a tamala  tree. Krishna looked like a fresh rain cloud decorated with the musk tilaka  of the goddess of fortune of the three worlds. The ointment of the  great­est auspiciousness lined His eyes. His presence filled the maternity  room with good fortune. Although a mere baby, Krishna had a head full of  curly hair. To hide the unique signs on His hands (goad, fish, conch etc.)  the Lord folded His delicate petal-like fingers into His lotus palm. At  that time Krishna laid on His back with His eyes closed.

The spontaneous love of mother Yasoda

Mother Yasoda awoke amidst the joyous chattering of the elderly gopis.  Leaning over the bed she admired her gorgeous son. But upon noticing her own reflection on Krishna’s body, she imagined it another woman. Thinking that a witch had assumed her form to kidnap Krishna, Yasoda became  bewildered and yelled, “Get out of here! You go away!” Spontaneously she  cried out to Nrsimhadeva to protect her precious son. Beholding Krishna’s  tender face, Yasoda showered tears of affection that looked like an  offering of a pearl necklace.Yasoda saw Krishna’s body as a mound of dark blue musk, softer than the  butter churned from the milk ocean. Overflowing with nectar, His charm­ing  body appeared like the foam of milk, but being dark blue in color it  seemed the foam was full of musk juice. Admiring the supremely delicate  form of her son, Yasoda worried about His safety and feared the touch of  her body might hurt his tender body.

As she leaned over the bed Yasoda bathed Krishna with the milk dripping from  her breasts. The elderly gopis instructed Yasoda how to caress the baby in  her lap, and affectionately push the nipple of her breast into Krishna’s  mouth to feed Him. Due to Yasoda’s intense love, personified bliss flowed  from her breasts as steady streams of milk. When milk sometimes spilled  out of Krishna’s bimba fruit red lips onto His cheeks, Mother Yasoda would  wipe His face with the edge of her cloth. After feeding her son, Yasoda  gazed affectionately at Him in wonder.

She saw her child’s body as made of dazzling blue sapphires. His mouth  resembled a red bimba fruit and His hands and feet looked like exquisite  rubies. Krishna’s nails shone like precious gems. In this way, Yasoda  thought her child was completely made of jewels. Then she perceived that  His naturally reddish lips looked like bandhuka flowers, His hands and  feel resembled Java flowers, His nails looked like mallika flowers. Yasoda  then thought, “Krishna’s whole body seems to be made of blue lotus flowers.  He does not appear to be mine.” After thus deliberating within herself  Yasoda became stunned in amazement.

The beautiful, soft curly hairs on the right side of Krishna’s chest  resembled the tender stems of a lotus. Seeing the mark of Shrivatsa on His  chest Yasoda thought it was breast milk that had previously spilled out of  His mouth. She tried unsuccessfully to remove these ‘milk stains’ with the  edge of her cloth. Struck with wonder, Yasoda thought this must be the sign  of a great personality. Observing the sign of Laksmi (a small golden line)  on the left side of Krishna’s chest, Yasoda thought a small yellow bee had  made a nest amidst the leaves of a tamala tree. Could this be a streak of  lightning resting on a rain cloud, or could it be the golden streaks marking a black gold-testing stone? Krishna’s delicate, leaf-like hands and fee  glowing pink like the rising sun, looked like clusters of lotus flowers  flowing in the Yamuna.

All attractive Krishna

Sometimes Yasoda saw the curly, dark blue locks of baby Krishna as swarm of bumblebees surrounding His face. Intoxicated from drinking too much honey nectar, the bees just hovered in the sky. His thick, beautiful blue hair appeared like  the dark night. The two lotus eyes of Krishna looked like a pair of blue lotus buds. His cheeks resembled two huge bubbles floating in a lake of liquefied blue sapphires. Krishna’s attractive ears looked like a  pair of fresh unfurled leaves growing on a blue creeper.

The tip of Krishna’s dark nose appeared like the sprout of a tree, and His nostrils looked like bubbles  in the Yamuna River, the daughter of the sun god. His lips resembled a pair of red Java flower buds. Krishna’s chin rivaled a pair of ripe, red jambu fruits. Seeing the extraordinary beauty  of her son fulfilled the purpose of her eyes and submerged Yasoda in an  ocean of bliss.

Nanda maharaja’s arrival

The elderly Vrajavasi ladies addressed Vrajaraja Nanda, “O most for­tunate  one, you fathered a son!” Previously Nanda Maharaja had felt deeply  aggrieved over his long-standing inability to obtain a son. His heart was  like a small lake that had completely dried up during a long hot summer.  But when Nanda Maharaja heard of his son’s birth he felt as if the dry  lake of his heart had been blessed with a sudden downpour of nectar. The  gentle sound of Krishna’s voice removed all his grief and lamentation. Now  he bathed in the rains of bliss, swam in the ocean of nectar, and felt  embraced by the joyful stream of the celestial Ganges.

Eager to see his son, Nanda’s body thrilled with astonishment and waves of  ecstasy as he stood outside the maternity room. Because he had  accu­mulated heaps of pious activities, it appeared that the King of  Vrndavana was now shaking hands with the personification of pious deeds. Anxiously standing in the background, Yogamaya induced Nanda Maharaja to  en­ter the maternity room. He rushed in to see his son, the personified  seed of condensed bliss. It seemed that all the auspiciousness of the  three worlds now resided within Krishna, the original cause of everything.  Nanda saw his son as a perfectly charming person. The kajala around  Krishna’s eyes looked like lines on a black creeper of beauty. As the very  embodiment of Nanda’s good fortune, Shri Krishna bloomed like a beautiful  flower in a garden of desire trees.

Let the festivities begin

Cymbals, damru drums, bherries, and big drums vibrated auspicious sounds  in specific melodies. A celestial concert of precise poetical meters,  proper rhythms, and metrical compositions suddenly manifested there. The  musical ensemble inspired the society girls to sing and dance in mirth and  merriment. Though not good singers, by the will of the Lord they sang with  great virtuoso. Their wonderful songs filled Nanda Maharaja’s heart with  joy. The combined vibrations of brahmanas’ chanting Vedic hymns, the  recitation of Puranic lore, and the panegyrics’s prayers trans­formed the ether into sabda brahman.

The joy of Krishna’s birth celebration taxed the drains of Nanda’s capital  city as they swelled to the brim with milk, yogurt, and other auspicious  liquids. Soon rivers of this nectar flooded the streets of the town and  permeated the entire atmosphere with a sweet fragrance. Disguising  them­selves as birds, the demigods descended to Vrajapura to happily drink  the flood of nectar. The Vrajavasis decorated their cows with gold and jeweled ornaments. Then in great excitement they smeared them with oil,  fresh butter, and turmeric paste. Beholding Krishna in their hearts, these  fortunate cows looked like the essence of the earth’s auspicious-ness. The  whole world resounded with their jubilant bellowing. Absorbed in the  ecstasy of Krishna’s birth, they forgot about eating and drinking. The festival drowned the gopis in an ocean of joy. After offering oil,  vermilion, garlands, and utensils in charity to all the assembled gopis,  Rohini, the wife of Vasudeva, asked them to bless Krishna. Upon comple­tion  of the sacrifice, Upananda and the other relatives felt constant  hap­piness while taking their baths. Keeping the King of Vrindavana in the  front, Nanda’s relatives offered opulent cloth, jeweled ornaments,  tambula, garlands, and sandalwood pulp to the guests. Then they humbly  requested all in attendance to bless that wonderfully auspicious boy who  had just appeared in Vrindavana.

(Ananda Vrindavana Champu, chapter 2)

He who accepts this truth (that Krishna’s appearance and activities are transcendental) on the strength of the authority of the Vedas and of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and who does not waste time in philosophical speculations attains the highest perfectional stage of liberation. Simply by accepting this truth on faith, one can, without a doubt, attain liberation. The Vedic version tat tvam asi is actually applied in this case. Anyone who understands Lord Kåñëa to be the Supreme, or who says unto the Lord “You are the same Supreme Brahman, the Personality of Godhead,” is certainly liberated instantly, and consequently his entrance into the transcendental association of the Lord is guaranteed. In other words, such a faithful devotee of the Lord attains perfection.

(BG  4.9p)

 

Please accept my humble wishes and prayers for a very happy Janmashtami.

 

All glories to the most auspicious Janmashtami

All glories to Sri Guru and Gaurnaga

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

 

Your servant,

Giriraj dasa

Sri Vrindavana dhama

Vrindavana

vraja-bhūmi cintāmaṇi, cidānanda-ratna-khani
(The land of Vraja is a wish-fulfilling gem; indeed, it’s a jewel mine of consciousness and bliss)

Let me glorify Vrajabhumi, the place where Sri Krsna enjoys transcendental pastimes. Simply by drinking with their ears the nectarean description of Vrajabhumi, the liberated souls abandon the bliss of impersonal Brahman and yearn to attain the land of Vraja.

With a pure heart let me worship Vrajabhumi, which is the form of the sweetness of meditation on Sri Krsna, which is eternal, transcendental, blissful, and peerless, and which, although it cannot be understood by ordinary people, is easily understood by its residents.

Millions of material universes and even millions of spiritual Vaikuntha planets are not very significant in comparison to Vrindavana, where Sri Krsna enjoyed lunch with His friends on the Yamuna’s sandy bank, and enjoyed many other transcendental pastimes.

Sri Krsna’s friends and associates, who enjoy pastimes with Him as equals, reside in this perfectly spiritual abode of Vrindavana.

All these associates of the Lord have spiritual bodies, although their forms and activities appear ordinary and material to the conditioned souls. These associates of the Lord are enchanted by Lord Krsna’s charming pastimes in Vraja.

Vrindavana cannot be understood by conditioned souls, for although it may appear to be material, all its villages, forests, and cow-pastures are perfectly spiritual.

Some portion of transcendental Vrindavana becomes visible in this world at the time of Lord Krsna’s manifest pastimes. Conditioned souls think Vrindavana is material, although actually it is spiritual, and beyond their ability to understand or describe.

Wild rams have chewed fragrant kakkola berries and wild buffaloes with their horns have torn the bark and branches of fragrant sarala trees. All this has made the Vraja forest very aromatic.

Wild elephants have broken the tender young branches of fragrant sallaki trees, and wild buffaloes have spread the aroma of fresh grass by their grazing. All this has made the Vraja forest very aromatic.

Filled with many rasala trees, panasa trees, amrataka, sriphala, jambhu, palasa, pungasana, coconut, madhuka, punnaga, sirisa, priya, bilva, arjuna, karma ranga, kapittha, lodhra, priya, lavali, asoka, lakuca, karira, campaka, tamala, nava-malika, jatidvaya, rayabilva, kosataki, parkatika, vata, asvattha, sala, khadira, and sami trees, which all have many wonderful splendid fruits and flowers, and also filled with many lavanga vines, and various other beautiful vines, and also filled with many parrots and other birds, as well as many wild beasts, the forests of Vraja are splendidly beautiful.

In Vraja there are many splendid ponds, pools, lakes, and rivers, all filled with many white, blue, red, yellow, and multicoloured kahlara, padma, and utpala lotus flowers, as well as many swans and other water-birds.

In some places the ground of Vraja is made of camphor dust. In some places it is saffron. In some places it is made of ground musk, and in some places it is made of the aromatic substances used in religious ceremonies.

From the branches and roots of the trees of Vraja all Brahmas and Sivas emanate. Although the trees of Vraja are as splendid as the sun, they still are wonderful parasols to shade one from the sun’s rays. They shine with the lustre of youth, just as the four Kumaras.

The trees of Vraja were never planted or husbanded. They never grew from any seed. They glisten with many leaves and flowers. They bear many ripe, unripe, and ripening fruits.

The splendid trees of Vrajabhumi are perfectly spiritual in nature and full of all potencies. They are just like the incarnations of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Just as the conditioned souls misunderstand the spiritual nature of the Supreme Lord’s incarnations, in the same way they misunderstand the glory of these trees in Vraja.

Splendid with many eternal flowers, fruits and eternally sprouting fresh new buds, the vines fulfil all the desires of the infallible Supreme Personality of Godhead and His devotees.

 

Sri Krsna, the moon of Vraja, enjoys pastimes and also rests in these groves, which are filled with many wonderful trees and vines eternally blossoming with many beautiful flowers, even down to their roots.

In the groves of Vraja, the cuckoos and bumblebees sing very melodiously, the plants are all splendidly beautiful, the camari does gracefully move their tails, and the musk oxen diffuse a sweet aroma in all directions.

Among Vrindavana’s splendid forests, which make the splendours of Vaikuntha seem very pale, the very beautiful forest named Vrindavana-vana is the best.

They who offer respectful obeisances to her or bathe in her waters, the Yamuna, which is like a moat of black mascara encircling Vrindavana, transform into pure devotees carrying Lord Krsna in their hearts.

The Yamuna river is like a blue lotus flower garland, a sapphire necklace, or a blue sash worn by the goddess of Vrindavana.

Passing the seven seas and seven planetary systems, and breaking through the sevenfold covering of the universe, the Yamuna enters the spiritual Goloka planet and wanders here and there to serve Vrindavana by carrying water.

Many greedy men will wait at a rich man’s doorstep, hoping to meet him and benefit hundreds of thousands of times over. In the same way the Yamuna flows in a very winding course, greedy to get some of the wealth of Vrindavana forest.

Everywhere in Vrindavana and on the Yamuna’s shores, are trees that are like the Lord’s incarnations, that give the gift of pure love, and that make one remember the Lord, making He who is the moon of Vraja suddenly rise within the heart.

Generally the six seasons come one after another, and the qualities of only one season are manifest at any given time. Here in Vrindavana, He who is the moon of Vrindavana can enjoy the pastimes of any season at any time.

In Vrindavana all the seasons are eternal, and they all diligently serve Sri Krsna, the moon of Vrindavana. The gopis decorate Sri Krsna with garlands and other ornaments made from the flowers of many different seasons.

The animals, birds, trees, vines and all other living entities that reside in Vrindavana yearn to see the rising of Vrindavana’s moon (Krsna).

Originally there is only one kalpa vrksa tree in Vrindavana, and the other trees have attained the qualities of kalpa vrksa trees by its association. In the same way, there is only one Sri Krsna, the master of Vrindavana, and by enjoying pastimes with Him His friends have attained qualities like His.

(Selected verses from Sri Vraja-riti-cintamani by Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura)

New Year prayer for all the devotees

May the cowherd boy who is a festival of ecstatic bliss for the hearts of the fortunate creatures residing in the groves of Govardhana, who eagerly enjoys loving pastimes in the forests of Vrindavana with the gopīs, and whose complexion is as splendid as a great sapphire, eternally enjoy transcendental pastimes in our hearts.

(Padyāvalī 75)

All glories to Sri Vrindavana Dhama

 All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

 

(All pictures from HH Indradyumna maharaj’s Vrindavana yatras)