Janmasthami – the day when Sri Krishna appeared in this world



One of my old friends hasn’t been very well lately. Born in Essex, he now lives in New Zealand where he teaches and is a community brahmana. He wrote the following piece and sent it to me, so I thought I’d share it with you. If you like it, please ask Lord Krishna to bless him with many years. Wherever you are on Sunday, may you have a day blessed by Sri Krishna.

Who is Sri Krishna?

By Jaya Tirtha Charan Das

Sri Krishna is God – the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This fact is stated and corroborated in the Vedic scriptures and by various authorities. Lord Brahma in Brahma Samhita says, “Krishna who is known as Govinda is the Supreme Godhead. He has an eternal blissful spiritual body.
He is the origin of all. He has no other origin and He is the prime cause of all causes
” (BS 5.1). In the Bhagavata Purana Krishna becomes the chief object of devotion. After describing various incarnations of the Lord such as Rama, Balarama, Vamana, Nrsimha, and Vishnu, Srila Sukadeva Goswami states, “All of the above mentioned incarnations are either plenary portions
or portions of the plenary portions of the Lord, but Lord Krishna is the original Personality of Godhead
” (SB 1.3.28).

Lord Shiva in Gita Mahatmya, states “Only one God – Krishna, the son of Devaki” (Verse 7). In the Padma Purana it is stated, “By scrutinizingly reviewing all the revealed scriptures and judging them again and again, it is now concluded that Lord Narayana is the Supreme Absolute Truth, and thus He alone should be worshipped“. Similarly it is said in the Skanda Purana, “In the material world, which is full of darkness and dangers, combined with birth and death and full of different anxieties, the only way to get out of the great entanglement is to accept loving transcendental devotional service to Lord Vasudeva. This is accepted by all classes of philosophers“.

The position of Krishna as God is confirmed by great personalities like Narada, Asita, Devala, Vyasa, Parasara, Brahma and Shiva. Finally Krishna Himself confirms this fact in the Bhagavad-gita to His friend and devotee, Arjuna. He says “I am the Supreme Lord of all planets and demigods” (BG 5.29), that “There is no truth superior to Me” (BG 7.7) and – “I am the source of all spiritual and material worlds. Everything emanates from Me” (BG 10.8).

What is the position of Krishna?

As God, there is no one equal to or greater than Krishna. He is the original, unborn, eternal person, the most ancient, completely independent, and the cause of all causes. Parasara Muni, the father of Sage Vyasadeva and a great scholar , very nicely defines the position of Bhagavan (God) as one Who is complete in six kinds of opulence namely – wisdom, beauty, fame, power, wealth and renunciation. While there are many great personalities who are very famous or very wealthy, only Sri Krishna as God is replete in all six opulences.

The scriptures not only give us the unique position of Krishna but also give us a detailed description of all His aspects. They tell us that above this temporary material universe is an eternal spiritual world called Vaikuntha . Here Krishna eternally resides, served by Mahalakshmi , the goddesses of fortune.

Krishna has a form just like human but His body is spiritual and thus eternal. His complexion is dark-blue, like that of a rain-filled cloud and His eyes are like lotus petals. He is ever youthful, full of bliss and His beauty excels that of thousands of cupids. He likes to play the flute, He sports a crown with a peacock feather and He is adorned by the exquisite kaustuba jewel.

What is Krishna avatar?

In Chaitanya-charitamrita (2.20.263-264) states that the avatar, or incarnation of Godhead, descends from the kingdom of God for creating and maintaining the material manifestation. And the particular form of the Personality of Godhead who so descends is called an incarnation, or avatar. Such incarnations are situated in the spiritual world, the kingdom of God. When They descend to the material creation, They assume the name avatar.

The Srimad Bhagavatam states that there are countless incarnations just like the waves of the oceans. They fall in various categories like lila (pastime), yuga (period of yuga), manavantara (period of Manu), purusa (Vishnu expansions) and shaktivesa (empowered). These avatars perform various pastimes based on the time, place and circumstances, but their purpose is always the same – “to attract the conditioned souls back to their eternal spiritual abode“.

The incarnations emanate from Vishnu. Maha-Vishnu is the original cause of all material creation and from Him Garbhodakashayi-Vishnu expands and then Ksirodakasayi-Vishnu. Generally all incarnations appearing within the material world are plenary portions of Ksirodakasayi-Vishnu (also known as Hari).

However only once in a day of Lord Brahma (which lasts for 4.32 billion of earth years), does Mahavishnu descend in His original form as Krishna, as the avataree, the cause of all avataras. When Krishna appears all the incarnations join with Him. The Supreme Personality of Godhead is the complete whole and all the plenary portions and incarnations always live with Him. So when Krishna appeared, He was Lord Vishnu Himself .

Appearance of Krishna

In the era of the Svayambhuva Manu, Prajapati Sutapa and his wife Prsni were instructed by Lord Brahma to have progeny. They performed severe austerities for twelve thousand years of the devatas to have Lord Vishnu as their child. Pleased by their austerities the Lord appeared and granted them this benediction. Since He gave them this benediction three times, in Satya-yuga He first appeared as the son of Prsni and Sutapa and was called Prsnigarba. In Treta-yuga they were Aditi and Kasyapa Muni and the Lord appeared as Vamana . Finally in the Dvapara yuga, Vishnu in His original form, appeared as Krishna to become the child of Devaki and Vasudeva.

Krishna appeared specifically on the request of Bhudevi, the presiding deity of the Earth planet. Distressed by the burden of many demons who had appeared as powerful Kshatriyas and were ruling the planet impiously, she assumed the form of a cow and pleaded to Lord Brahma for help. Lord Brahma with all the devatas prayed to Lord Vishnu in Svetadvipa by chanting the Purusa-sukta prayers. At this time the Supreme Lord informed Brahma that in order to establish religiosity and destroy evil, He would soon appear as His original Self. In the meantime the various devatas were instructed to take birth in various families in the Yadu dynasty and prepare for the appearance of the Supreme God.

Lifeline of Sri Krishna

Historically, Lord Krishna appeared in the Dvapara yuga, on the midnight of the 8th day of the dark half of the month of Sravan. This corresponds to July 19th in the year 3228 BC. He exhibited His pastimes for a little over 125 years and disappeared on February 18th 3102 BC on the new moon night of Phalgun. His departure marks the beginning of the current age of corruption known as Kali-yuga.

The great scholar Srila Vishvanatha Chakravarti neatly outlines Lord Krishna’s activities in this way. He was born in Mathura in the prison cell of Kamsa and carried to Gokul. The first three years and four months were spent in Gokula, then equal lengths of time in Vrindavan and Nandagram. At the age of eleven He left Vrindavan for Mathura where He lived for eighteen
years and four months, and finally ninety-six years and eight months in Dvaraka totaling about 125 years of manifest pastimes. At the time of Mahabharata, when Krishna spoke the Bhagavad-gita, He had been in the world for ninety years.

Pastimes of Krishna

The tenth canto of Srimad Bhagavatam describes the activities and transcendental pastimes of Sri Krishna. They are also described in the epic Mahabharata, specially in the Bhishma parva which also contains the Bhagavad-gita . The pastimes of Krishna appeal to the liberated souls, those that are trying to get liberated and also to the gross materialists.

The pastimes of Sri Krishna, known as Krishna-katha fall into two categories. Words spoken by Krishna, as the Bhagavad-gita and words spoken about Krishna, as in the Srimad Bhagavatam . Souls in the liberated stage derive great pleasure in relishing anything and everything related to
Krishna. For those that are trying to be liberated, Krishna-katha makes their path of liberation very clear. By studying the Gita one becomes fully conscious of the position of Sri Krishna ; and when one is situated at the lotus feet of the Lord, he understands the narrations of Krishna as described in the Srimad Bhagavatam.

Even the gross materialists are attracted by the pleasure pastimes of Krishna with the Gopis and His wives. Even though the loving affairs of Krishna have nothing to do with the gross, mundane sex affairs, they attract the people engrossed in sense-gratification and gradually elevate them to higher levels of spirituality.

Causeless mercy of Krishna

Even though Krishna is completely self sufficient and self satisfied, He descends for the benefit of all the conditioned souls. His most endearing quality is that of “bhakta vatsala“. His pure devotees are always trying to please Him, and He is always trying to please His devotees. Just as He lives in the heart of His devotees, His devotees constantly reside in Him.

Krishna is so merciful that He not only helps His devotees, but also those who are loved by His devotees. Krishna destroys evil by providing them with an opportunity to take up devotion.

On the greatly auspicious day of Krishna-Janamashtami, let us all pray to Sri Krishna for a drop of His causeless mercy, for only that alone is sufficient to take us out from this material word, back home, back to Godhead.

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Janmasthami – the day when Sri Krishna appeared in this world

  1. krishnabluesboy

    Speaking of Janmashtami, wasn’t Jayadev (and his cast of thousands) superb?

    Hare Krishna!

  2. lorraine

    hello, i was singing with the choir, with jayadev at the weekend, i wondered if there were any pictures published that i could look at. i found the experience, especially monday, very uplifting, thank you, lorraine

  3. Yes Lorraine, I will try to put one up tonight or tomorrow. Thank you for making such a welcome contribution to the Janmasthami festival. I believe that a DVD of the songs will be forthcoming.

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