Krishnashtami Celebrations – Prashanti Nilayam
Procession of Gopalas, Flute Orchestra and Music programme
August 24, 2008
Enchanting Little Krishna has been the most endearing Divine form for millions and billions of hearts over past many millennia, cutting across borders and barriers set by religion, caste and nationality…And His song celestial Bhagavad Gita has been the right recipe for the human minds to reach their final destination. His legacy continuous even after five thousand years of His Divine Advent, as this Divine Being, fondled and nurtured by Mother Yasoda – epitome of Motherly love and compassion, continues to be the stealer of hearts, as is often sung in Prasanthi Nilayam, Chitha Chora Yasoda Ke Bal… Navaneeta Chora Gopal…
The land known for its rich cultural and mythical heritage, land that has given birth to umpteen number of saints and sages, the land that has spread the glory of Lord to the entire world was the only fortunate land that was blessed by Incarnations. Lord Rama in Treta Yuga, Bhagawan Sri Krishna in Dwapara Yuga and now Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba in Kali Yuga…Bharat is the chosen land of God.
Krishna Janmashtami marks the birth of Bhagawan Sri Krishna. Bhagawan Krishna was born in the Dwapara Yuga, over five thousand years ago, in Mathura, India on the eight day (Rohini star on Ashtami day) of the dark half (new moon fortnight) of Shravana.
“I am the conscience in the heart
of all creatures
I am their beginning, their being,
I am the mind of the senses,
I am the radiant sun among lights
I am the song in sacred lore,
I am the king of deities
I am the priest of great seers…”
In India, traditionally Krishnashtami is celebrated with much pomp and splendour by devotees. Celebrations are held on a grand scale in all Krishna temples, especially the ones in Vrindavan, Mathura (Uttar Pradesh), Dwaraka (Gujarat), and other regionally famous temples.
Janmashtami is observed on the day when the ashtami tithi occurs at midnight. If the ashtami tithi and the Rohini nakshatra occur on the same day, then the observance is considered to be most auspicious; otherwise the observance is held on the day on which the ashtami prevails at midnight. The vrata mainly consists of fasting, spending the whole night in the worship of Krishna, reciting hymns of praise and Krishna’s pastimes, reciting prayers from the Bhagavata, offering arghya to Krishna, and the parana or the ceremonial breaking of the fast. The next day is celebrated as Krishna Jayanti.
On this auspicious Krishnashtami morning, Prasanthi Nilayam was filled to capacity, as over three thousand devotees from Vizag have been camping as part of their Parthi Yaatra followed by a huge contingent of over 4000 devotees from Tamil Nadu was slowly pouring in. It was a long wait, for the brimming devotees, who have been waiting from the early hours. The red rays of the early morning sun turned golden and began to filter and beam into the Kulwant hall as if to catch a glimpse of the Lord. But, He being the one beyond time knew when to make it and the thus the waiting continued…
Vishnu Stuthi, the compendium in praise of Lord Vishnu has a line describing the Lord thus:
I salute that God of all Gods
Who wears yellow coloured silk…
…and Bhagawan does recreate the scene invariably in Prasanthi Nilayam, reliving the nostalgic memoirs of Dwapara, by wearing an yellow robe…In Resplendent Yellow, came the Lord with His hallowed Divine Aura, at the stroke of 9:20 to the hall that had been waiting for the moment from the early hours…And there was a special contingent of ‘devotees’, a group of animals specially brought in a procession from Bhagawan’s Sathya Sai Gokulam waiting to receive the Lord. Heading the procession was the little princess, Sathya Geeta who received Bhagawan raising her trunk, reminding one of the elegant, gorgeous and devoted Sai Geeta, who would do the same most majestically during her heydays. Cows and little calves, peacock, doves all were there to receive His blessings and Bhagawan moved around them feeding, blessing them spending quality time near the block leading from the central entrance. Symbolising Peace and Unity, Bhagawan released two doves before returning to the main dais…As the doves soared skywards, the decibel levels in the hall also soared as people joyously clapped at the happy sight. A bouquet of songs specially composed rendered the air giving twists and turns to the spiritual dimension already prevailing, raising the spiritual ambience in the hall, that was already at its zenith with the Lord sitting right in the middle…after couple of songs, first one being “Pandurangaashtakam” followed by “Govardhana Giridhara” the stage was set for a group of flute boys to take over who have been getting trained in the art for past more than two years…a rare opportunity to perform in the Divine Presence…Melodious rendition of some of the famous bhajans was followed by yet another song before Bhagawan called for Managa Arathi…
Boys from all institutions were waiting on their knees for their turn with colour greeting cards to take their chance with the Lord…and they took the centre stage…Lord was completely covered with these boys who went in a disciplined turn…one after one…touching His feet, interacting with Him…reminding one of the days of yore, wherein Sri Krishna moved freely with His devotees…
It was indeed a most memorable occasion when the Lord graciously bestowed upon the devotees a great boon to celebrate the advent of Lord in Dwapara in His immediate presence, whose advent was attributed to the fmed Bhagavad Gita verse:
“Yada Yada Hi Dharmasya Glanirbhavathi Bharatha
Abhyukthanam adharmasya Thadathmanam Srujamyaham.”
“Parithranaya Sadhunam Vinashaya cha Dhushkrutham
Dharma samsthapanarthaya Sambhavami Yuge Yuge”
(Whenever there is a decline in Righteousness and rise of evil, the Lord incarnates from time to time to uphold Righteousness, to protect the Virtuous and to uproot the evil).
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