(Shri Krishna Janmashtami: 24th August)
The birthday celebration of Lord Krishna is mysterious. The all-pervading Supreme Brahman who, understanding the need and importance of humans, invented and accepted various dimensions to ensure the progress of every level of individuals in society. The incarnation of the omnipresent Supreme Brahman assuming a form with attributes to awaken the Jiva (individual soul) in his innate greatness by singing, dancing, eating, feeding and enjoying life, is the incarnation of Lord Krishna.
The secret of playing the role of a cowherd
When the administrative power on Earth went into haughty and lustful hands; the power of Dharma (religion) into the hands of selfish people and the political power into the hands of exploiters of the public; people lost their Krishna- the bliss. The love, the laughter, independence and the ability to get inherent joy possessed by people were destroyed. Shri Krishna realised that efforts to uplift people by becoming their superior would not work. And they would disregard me if I make efforts to uplift them, considering them elders. They would not be able to get the benefits of my efforts. So, let me dance, sing and hum with them as their equal so that they are uplifted.
The secret of birth in jail
Shri Krishna did not live like a prince or an emperor in his childhood. He was born in a prison cell to symbolise that the jiva has been imprisoned for thousands of births. If you want to see prisoners, you only have to go to jail. On the one hand Shri Krishna goes into jail to release prisoners, and on the other hand he enjoys absolute freedom according to the jnanis (Self-realized men).
Everyone looked upon Lord Krishna’s form according to the concept each had about Him, because He is Poorna Avatar. The friends (cowherds) saw Krishna as a friend, the wrestlers Chanura and Mushtik as a wrestler, Kansa as death, Yogis as the Lord of Yogis, devotees as God and cowherd girls as their beloved, and Vasudeva as his son. Vedanta states: ‘The same Krishna, the same consciousness assumes various forms – a son, a beloved, death, life, our own and a stranger in different places.’
The people of India believe in 33 crore deities. Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh are major gods. There are three stages the universe passes through – Creation (birth), sustenance (life) and destruction (death); and Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh are their respective gods. Creation and destruction of the universe is not in our hands but Life surely is. So our blissful songs should resound in this life only, hence the Supreme Aadi Narayan Lord Vishnu incarnated as an endearing baby for that purpose, the name of this form is Shri Krishna.
It is not (true) that Shri Krishna does right acts at right times, instead whatever act He does becomes right. When selfishness is gone, every act being done by the Self-realized person is right.
The secret of worshipping Govardhan Hill
When power and wealth are worshipped in society, the human being, blinded by its glamour becomes oblivious of inner reality (inner Self) and inner wealth. Hence Lord Krishna, through tricks and humour, rectifies these mistakes to awaken the consciousness of the person. Krishna’s lila depicts this act well. People worshipped Indra, the symbol of wealth and power. So Krishna said, ‘We worship Indra every year. Let us worship Govardhan Hill this year.’
The Sanskrit word ‘Go’ also refers to Upanishads. Worship the ‘wealth of the Upanishads’ means worship of our Atman, the truth absolute, while sitting at the lotus feet of Self-realized great men is the worship of Govardhan Hill. If you have the wealth of Self-knowledge and understanding, zeal and courage, even without having material wealth and power you can worship the great Govardhan without caring about the support of so called big guns who have power and wealth. The men possessing wealth and power might possibly suppress, threaten and intimidate you, but still Lord Krishna is with you, Self-god is with you. Make efforts like the cowherds applied their sticks to support the hill, then He will lift the hill on his little finger and you will not be distressed even by mountain-like sorrow. It will become a protective shield for you.
Seeing such plays of Krishna, even the regulatory bodies felt insecure of their might on the public. They were worried as to who will now be governed by us. The blind laws of Kansa cannot trap Krishna. The more he tries to capture Krishna, the more he is compelled to run away.
Intellect should be applied to practice in life. Intellectuals misused their intellect exploiting people, and people of an emotional temperament became frightened. Hence, the need of the hour was to take birth among the sentimental, simple innocent people and develop their intellect and wisdom through amusement, and blessing them with pure love. Krishna’s goal would be to develop wisdom to such an extent that the person becomes free from the cycle of birth and death being awakened in his own glory.
Then your goal is accomplished
Believers of Krishna do not believe in Him due to His lilas and miracles alone. Performing miracles is not the ultimate goal of life. The ultimate goal is to attain realization of the consciousness which enables one do the miracle. Shri Krishna has accepted everything, be it driving a chariot, stealing the butter, making a gesture with a thumb in derision. If Shri Krishna comes now and you ask him to play a drum or bugle, he would even agree to that.
The life of Lord Krishna reflects the heart of Vallabhacharyaji and Ramanandji, the knowledge of Shankaracharyaji and the lila of Kabirji. The way the entire universe exists in the Absolute Brahman, all dimensions are accepted in the life of Lord Krishna. So the celebration of Lord Krishna’s birthday is ever fresh, even after thousands of years because it has been touching the human mind. Janmashtami is the birthday of that Lord whose life shows the brilliance of that Supreme Brahman, Supreme Self in fullness. We salute Him again and again. Our goal is not achieved merely by singing and dancing on His name, making shouts of victory, or lighting a lamp before Him, which indeed is the beginning of the journey. The goal is achieved when you realise the eternal Supreme Being dwelling in your heart and get liberated from the endless cycle of birth and death.