As the fervour of the Raksha Bandhan celebrations starts to dwindle, another much loved festival has come in a full blast to lift our spirits and ensure that the mood of festivity, which comprises of happiness and positivity, continues to linger throughout the length and breadth of India. This festival is known as Janmasthami, the birth anniversary of Lord Krishna. The year 2022 is said to be the 5249 birth anniversary of the heartthrob of Vrindavan. Janmashtami will be celebrated on August 18 and August 19 this year. The childhood phase of Lord Krishna is loved by all and His pastimes in Vrindavan are recounted colourfully and merrily in various story books of children along with being given a literal life melodiously in bhajans by eminent singers, soul stirring poems by the poets who are simply awestruck with Him. Meanwhile, the deep teachings that Lord Krishna’s pastimes evokes are narrated passionately in books and lectures by religious teachers. The Lord, who is lovingly called as Kanha, Gopal or Govinda, has a large number of temples dedicated to Him throughout the world. He also has a large number of international devotees besides ardent lovers of Him in India. Srila Prabhupada, who founded the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) commonly known as the Hare Krishna Movement has been able to influence a lot of foreigners into the greatness of the Vaishnava cult due to which ISKCON temples around the world attracts lot of people of various nationalities. There are a good number of saints hailing from outside India who are today serving as teachers preaching the teachings of Srila Prabhupada.
Here are the things that are popularly associated with the beautiful soul stirring pastimes of Lord Krishna-
The banshi or the flute is the most favourite musical instrument of Lord Krishna and many of His happy times with the inhabitants of Vrindavan are associated with it. The mythological television shows on Govinda and the colourful childrens’ story books show the magical atmosphere that He created when His lips struck out the beautiful notes one by one on the holes of the flute. As a devoted cowherd, the Lord ensures that all the cows remain within His sight and control with the help of His flute. With the soothing tunes that Kanha produced on the flute, the cows continued to peacefully graze and remain happy in the company of their Master who is in reality the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Meanwhile as the best friend (Sakha) of the Gopis, Lord Krishna pacified the hard working ladies who used to go about their wares with the beautiful tunes of His flute. Although He played pranks on the Gopis , all living beings- be it human or animal- would at once feel at peace in a transcendental realm when He played His flute. Meanwhile, flute music has been found to be super effective remedy for doing a fully concentrated meditation. When you meditate, do it by playing flute music in the room so that you feel highly positive, contented, energetic and stress-free at the time of opening your eyes.
Handi & Makhan
The stories of Lord Krishna stealing Makhan or butter from the houses of Vrindavan are popular ones and are narrated with joy by parents or grandparents to children who listen to it with wide eyed interest and delight. The Lord, who is the Creator of the Universe itself, manifests Himself as the naughty boy who plans to have fun with His friends in Vrindavan by devising ways to steal their favourite food i.e. Makhan from the Handis or pots that had been kept out of their reach above with the help of ropes. Moreover, Govinda along with His friends would also annoy the Gopis who would go to sell their dairy products from Vrindavan to the surrounding areas by breaking their Handis with the help of a Gulel so that ultimately the ladies would be totally drenched from head to toe in Makhan. The stories of Lord Krishna stealing butter brought alive the childhood events that are associated with every little boy like scoldings, punishments, mischievous fun, laughter etc. The ecstasy of Lord Krishna having fun with Dahi Handis is so great that no festival of Janmashtami is ever completed without holding competitions or events of breaking pots tied above.
The dark blackish and bluish hue of Lord Krishna is always compared to that of dark rain cloud before a thunderstorm. The scriptures and the poems declare that His body colour represents His unlimited form that is filled with a radiant energy far beyond the mortal comprehension. As Lord Krishna decorates His effulgent form with a yellow dhoti, precious jewels but the most attractive accessory that He possess in His mortal body is the peacock feather which He lovingly wears in His head. Every ecstasy induced bhajan or poem associated with Govinda highlights how the peacock feather which serves as a crown in His head charms the vision of His devotees. Peacock feathers are often considered to be the harbinger of good luck as it is associated with Lord Krishna.
Lord Krishna’s childhood pastimes are filled in all glory in many books. His care and love for the people of His realm Vrindavan, His eternal friendship with the gopis who forever wants to spend time in His company, His fun mischievous antics are all brimming with tales of human like qualities but are yet divine in approach. The Raslilas of Radha Krishna and the Gopis are simply full of eternal bliss and the poems and songs that brings alive the ambience and spirit of this divine union are loved by all. The human ways in which Lord Krishna teaches us with His beautiful pastimes has been captivating every human being for centuries and even people who don’t like to believe in God are charmed every bit with the allure of His pastimes. May Lord Krishna charm His way into your soul and help you as an eternal companion in this journey of life and beyond. Happy Janmashtami!