on Aug. 29, 2021
We here at ISKCON News, wish you a very healthy and happy Janmashtami. May the Lord shower you with His blessings.
What is Janmashtami?
Source: ISKCON Desire Tree
Janmashtami is the day we celebrate the appearance of Krishna on earth. It is one of the biggest religious festivals in the world. It is celebrated by nine hundred and thirty million people around the world–and two million in the US alone. To devotees, it’s Christmas and New Year’s in one, a day of deep spiritual renewal and celebration that effectively finishes an old year and begins a fresh one.
Lord Vishnu’s reincarnation as Krishna, the child of Devaki and Vasudeva.
How to Celebrate Janmashtami
Where Vaishnava temples exist, festivities begin before dawn and extend all day until midnight, the exact moment of the anniversary of Krishna’s appearance. Events include kirtan, singing the Lord’s name along with other devotees; and japa, private, more intimate prayer. Some devotees cook a feast of over one hundred and eight dishes, while others perform dramas and dance. The deities are also bathed with a variety of auspicious liquids in a ceremony called abhishek.
Abhishek Photo Source: Mayapur.com
How to Celebrate Janmashtami at Home
- * Decorating your home for Krishna can be fun, particularly for children. Encourage them in helping to make garlands, hanging balloons, and festoons of leaves, and generally making the house beautiful for Krishna’s appearance.
- * Get a copy of the Vaishnava Songbook or look through KKSONGS and choose some of your favorite bhajans (devotional songs in praise of God) to sing. Krishna, also known as Murlidhara, or “one who holds the flute,” loves music.
- * You can also chant extra rounds of the Hare Krishna mantra on your japa mala (prayer beads). This is an intimate one-on-one exchange with Krishna and makes you feel much closer to the Lord.
- * Read the story of Krishna’s advent and other exciting pastimes from Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead or Srimad Bhagavatam, Canto Ten. Pass the book around, and try dramatic readings to bring the story to life. Janmashtami is all about completely immersing yourself in thoughts of Krishna in a festive way. Free digital copies can be found on Vedabase and free audiobook narrations from Bhaktivedanta Vedic Library.
- * Recreate the temple program and hold an abhisheka bathing ceremony for your deities. Simply buy different liquids like yogurt, honey, ghee, and fruit juices and bathe the deity with them while
singing devotional songs.
- * Temples prepare at least one hundred and eight different food dishes on Janmashtami. Of course, you don’t have to go that far, unless you’re feeling particularly energetic! But it’s always nice to cook some very special preparations to offer to the Lord. Imagine that Krishna was actually right there, in your house—what would you offer Him? This makes for a wonderful meditation while cooking on Janmashtami.
- * Have a midnight arati (worship ceremony) with a kirtan. This is the exact time that Krishna appeared on this planet, so it is most auspicious and spiritually inspiring. If you have arati paraphernalia, then you can do a full offering. If not, don’t worry–Krishna says in the Bhagavad-gita, “If you offer Me with love a leaf, flower, fruit or water, I will accept it.”
So offer whatever you can—it’s your love and devotion that matters.
- * Live Streams from all over the world will be available at Mayapur TV
- * If you are able to fast from food, fasting until midnight is recommended. If fasting is too difficult, then try to eat only light foods during the day. By putting our own needs aside and concentrating more on Krishna’s, we show our love for Him.
- * Children also enjoy dressing up as Radha, Krishna, and their associates and re-enacting Krishna’s pastimes. This helps to create a very festive mood.
Photo Souce: ISKCON-Koramangala Center, Bangalore