The spirit of Janmashtami
The order, harmony and structured organization evident throughout the creation indicate that there is a superintelligent designer. The different scriptures throughout the world address this Supreme Being variously as Jehovah, Allah, Buddha, Rama and so
on. The Supreme Person is full of extraordinary attributes, which make Him universally attractive. The name Krishna, meaning ‘the allattractive one’ (sarva akarshati iti krishna) describes this allattractiveness of the Lord and so describes the Absolute Truth, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, in full.
The Lord administers the world through the laws of material nature – gross such as the law of gravitation and subtle such as the law of karma. But when predominance of materialism over spirituality disturbs the universal order, the Lord descends Himself “to deliver the pious, annihilate the miscreants and reestablish the principles of religion.” (Bhagavadgita 4.8)
Krishna descends not just to maintain law, but to awaken love. The love that our heart longs for through relationships with various
persons finds fulfillment only when it is reposed in the Supreme Person, God. Because when we love Krishna, our love is never interrupted, never betrayed, never let down, never disappointed. But unfortunately, in this world of matter, all living beings are attracted, not to the Lord of their heart, but to matter and material enjoyment. However matter being limited and finite can never fulfill the unlimited desires of our spirits; material enjoyment satiates but never satisfies.
So the Lord comes into this material world and performs super human activities which reveal His supreme position and His unparalleled love for His devotees. For example, the Lord lifted a massive mountain Govardhan in order to protect His devotees from oppressive rains. Such acts appear impossible to the skeptical mind, but an ant would similarly consider the lifting of a book by a human being as ‘impossible’. For the Lord possessing unlimited power, such an act is not at all difficult. Through such incredible acts, the Lord invites us to become His devotees and thus reenter the world of endless love, our eternal home, the kingdom of God.
Over 5000 years ago on Janmashtami, the Lord appeared at midnight. This is indeed a historical fact, but it also has a deeper significance. Midnight is the time of maximum darkness and from the moment the Lord appeared the darkness started diminishing. Similarly our heart is dark, being afflicted by multiple anxieties and miseries. But in the darkest hour of our life, when we turn to the Lord and He appears in our heart, all the darkness recedes and the light of eternal hope starts streaming in.
The Lord appeared in a prison cell amidst shackles and then freed His parents. This indicates that all of us who are shackled by our own selfdestructive desires can be freed by the Lord who appears in our heart, which is like a prison house.
Janmashtami commemorates the appearance of Lord Krishna in this world and in our heart. Indeed, amidst all the chaos and disorder prevalent in this Kali Yuga, why has the Lord not appeared as per His eternal promise in the Bhagavadgita?
The Vedic scriptures declare, kali kale nama rupe krishna avatar “In Kali Yuga the Lord incarnates in the form of His Holy Name.” All religions recommend chanting the names of God. The Bible says “Let the Lord always be on your lips”, Islam exhorts the chanting of the 99 names of Allah. Among all the Vedic mantras empowered sound vibrations comprising of the holy names, the Hare Krishna mahamantra is specially recommended in this age for invoking the Lord’s presence. So let us experience the love, care, protection and happiness of Janmashtami the appearance of the Lord in our hearts by devotedly chanting His holy names.