Krishna Janmashtami 2022

[Yashoda and Krishna]“In contaminated consciousness one sees everything to be for his own enjoyment, but in pure consciousness, or Krishna consciousness, he sees that everything exists for the enjoyment of the supreme enjoyer. That is the difference between the dream state and wakefulness. The state of contaminated consciousness is compared to dream consciousness, and Krishna consciousness is compared to the awakened stage of life.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Shrimad Bhagavatam, 3.27.25 Purport)

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We have so much to worry over on a given day. It could be said that an entire lifetime is squandered through concern, in what is known as shochati in Sanskrit. The initial cause is hankering, kankshati, which has the root cause of birth, janma. Fortunately, there is the occasion of Janmashtami to give a reminder on how the same lifetime can be spent in concern over the person whose interests matter the most.

His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada describes material existence as a kind of contaminated consciousness. It is a dream state, wherein a person does not see things as they are. As an example, last night I dreamed that someone was chasing me. I could not move. I was paralyzed.

I could not move my arms or legs. I was helpless. The only hope was for the dream to end, which it finally did. That experience is really no different than what takes place between birth and death. From beginning to end, we see items and people, thinking there is substance, but in an instant the dream vanishes.

Within that dream there are so many issues of concern. Why am I living paycheck to paycheck? If something goes wrong at the office, how will I pay for basic necessities? My family relies upon me. If I am unable to work, how will they be supported?

There is that upcoming task at work. Will I be able to complete it in time? Will I have to sacrifice time spent at home with loved ones in order to succeed? What is the point to working so hard when there is no enjoyment?

The other consciousness is Krishna consciousness. This is known as pure consciousness. While the distinction is subtle, it makes all the difference. Instead of seeking pleasure and enjoyment within the dream, there is interest only in the true reality. The object of attention is known as the Absolute Truth.

[Shri Krishna]The occasion of Janmashtami gives a glimpse into that life. Within the pure consciousness, there is similar attention to duty, honor, righteousness, friends, family, and the like. The difference is that everything revolves around the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

He is so kind that if a person is pure enough in thought, word, and deed, He will appear within their midst. He will be the one they worry over the most. He will be the object of their affection. He will be the fixture within the mind, the person to whom all efforts are directed.

Janmashtami celebrates the appearance of the Divine as Shri Krishna, who spent the childhood years in Gokula. Krishna was under the care of the foster parents, Nanda Maharaja and mother Yashoda. They lived for Krishna, as did the rest of the population within that community.

[Yashoda and Krishna]The affection extended to the animal community. The cows produced milk upon seeing the darling Govinda. The parrots spoke to one another about His pastimes. The trees seemed to offer obeisances through their branches that reached almost to the ground.

In the pure consciousness, the attention to duty and obligation makes a lasting impact. Unlike the dream, everything does not vanish in an instant. The experience of Krishna’s time in Gokula is as much vibrant today as it was some five thousand years ago.

Krishna consciousness is like finally waking up. A person sees that they are spirit soul on the inside. Their existence is not dependent on the external conditions. Krishna is their friend from time immemorial. He is the only continuous link, from one birth to another. He can remember every instance of appearance, whereas we cannot.

श्री-भगवान् उवाच
बहूनि मे व्यतीतानि
जन्मानि तव चार्जुन
तान्य् अहं वेद सर्वाणि
न त्वं वेत्थ परन्तप

śrī-bhagavān uvāca
bahūni me vyatītāni
janmāni tava cārjuna
tāny ahaṁ veda sarvāṇi
na tvaṁ vettha parantapa

“The Blessed Lord said: Many, many births both you and I have passed. I can remember all of them, but you cannot, O subduer of the enemy!” (Bhagavad-gita, 4.5)

In Gokula, Krishna steals butter from the homes of the neighbors. He gives pleasure to the cows and the senses. He dances with the gopis under the bright moonlight. He protects against wicked forces envious of His supreme standing. He gives utmost protection to all under His shelter, showing the meaning to true surrender.

In Closing:

Too many worries for me,
Never any relief to see.

What meaning to it all?
When never happiness to call.

Janmashtami with proper priorities placed,
Where Krishna in Gokula faced.

Concern and attention all the same,
But for Govinda’s pleasure the aim.

Categories: feature, holiday, janmashtami

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