Toronto, Canada

Aug 24: Krishna Jayanthi with Br. Ramanand

Games, songs and prayers to welcome Baby Krishna

Woman carrying Krishna murti in a procession

Janmashtami or Krishna Jayanthi celebrates the birth of Lord Krishna, the eighth avatar of Lord Vishnu, the Preserver of the Universe. On Saturday, August 24, Amma's Toronto satsang celebrated Krishna Jayanthi in the presence of Br. Ramanand. The festivities began with opening prayers and Nagara Sankeerthanam (procession) lead by Ramanandji. Devotees carried their murtis (images) of Sri Krishna, decorated with flowers, in a procession while singing Krishna bhajans, and chanting “Hathi Ghoda Pal Ki, Jai Kanhaiya Lal Ki!" After the procession, the Krishna murtis were placed on an outdoor altar, and the Uriyadi games began.

Uriyadi or "breaking the pot" is a traditional South Indian game, similar to hitting a piñata. A clay pot is strung up on a pulley, and players try to break it with a stick, despite being splashed with cold water by others trying to distract them. The first few pots were filled with water and flowers, while the last one was contained hard candies. Both adults and kids had a wonderful time playing. Once all the pots had successfully been broken, the Krishna murtis were brought in and set on an the altar inside. Everyone changed into dry clothes, and enjoyed a sumptuous dinner.

After dinner, Br. Ramanand began the satsang with opening prayers to Amma, and guided meditation. Ramanandji sang Taye Maha Maye and Dinom Ke Dukha Karta Tum, before leading the group in the chanting of the 108 names of Lord Krishna. The devotees were then treated to a feast of Krishna bhajans: Vande Nandakumaram, Lord of Vrindavan, and Kanne Kalankate, all lead by Ramanandji, and Chillanka Keti led by the Amrita Bala Kendra children.

Girl getting splashed with waterRamanandji then gave a discourse, highlighting what we can learn from Lord Krishna: Intriguingly, the name 'Krishna' means at once 'one who attracts', 'one who disciplines', and 'one who teaches by action'. The latter is particularly striking, since Sri Krishna often acted in ways that, on the surface, seemed opposite to dharma. However, a deeper examination into the situation always revealed that Krishna's actions were always facilitating the dharmic workings of karma. Krishna did whatever he had to do to uphold dharma, even if it meant displeasing or confusing His friends and kinsmen, or getting a bad name. Krishna was absolutely detached from his parents, friends, lovers, and relatives. He had no attachment to name or fame. He was an embodiment of perfect vairagya (dispassion), and thus, He was completely free. Despite His total detachment and freedom, Sri Krishna always sought to protect others and make them happy, when as His own life was full of tragedy and adversity. This demonstrates the depth of the Lord's compassion. Lord Krishna's powerful actions, clear vision, and all attractive personality have left such an impact that His birth is still being celebrated thousands of years after his disappearance from the Earth. Like Amma, Lord Krishna's teachings, and example inspire us to right action. In Chapter 18, verse 78, the Bhagavad Gita says: “Wherever there is Krishna, the Lord of Yoga and the bow-wielding Arjuna, there reign good fortune, victory, prosperity and justice.” When the disciple is ready to act and is guided by a Sadguru, true victory is the result.

Mother with Baby dressed as Baby KrishnaRamanandji's inspiring talk was followed by more beautiful bhajans: Chandra Bhaga Tiri, Krishna Govinda Gopala, Swagatam Krishna, and Vanamali Radha Ramana. Just before midnight, Ramanandji's sang verses 1-10 of the Srimad Bhagavatam, Chapter 3, Canto 10, depicting the birth of the Lord. As the the word “Avirasid” was sung, the form of Baby Krishna in the cradle was unveiled on the altar to the sound of clanging bells, drums and cymbals, and the chanting of "Om Sri Krishnaaya Namah". Ramanandji's then offered fruits, sweets, and incense to newborn Krishna. The devotees sang Govinda Gokul Aayo with great fervour and joy, welcoming the Lord. Satsang ended with Arati and closing prayers. The devotees took turns rocking baby Krishna’s cradle, offering their prayers and wishes to the lotus feet of the Lord, and receiving in return His sweet prasad.

May Krishna be born in our hearts everyday in the form of compassion and kindness toward all beings.

Hathi Ghoda Pal Ki! Jai Kanhaiya Lal Ki!

Click here to view a slideshow of photos from the Krishna Jayanthi celebration.

Br. Ramanand before the beautiful Krishna Jayanthi altar