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By: Mahanidhi Swami

To increase our observance of Bhagavan Sri Krishna’s Jayanti, appearance day festival, we will cite some valuable points from Srila Sanatana Goswamipada’s 276 verse discussion in Hari-bhakti vilasa 16.

Why should I observe Janmastami?

Bhavishyottara Purana: Achyuta Sri Krishna said to King Yuddhisthira, “Everyone from the age of 8 to 80 must celebrate My appearance day. Observing Janmastami is an eternal function in three ways—It pleases Bhagavan Sri Krishna; It is a scriptural injunction; It is a sin if you don’t observe it. O King, by observing My Jayanti one will get good children, good health, unlimited good fortune and go to Vaikuntha after death.”

Vishnu-rahasya Purana: Lord Brahma said to Narada Muni, “One who eats on Janmastami eats all the sins of the three worlds. Eating on Janmastami is equal to eating the flesh of a donkey or a human being.”

How to observe Janmastami?

There are many detailed pujas and procedures mentioned in Hari-bhakti vilasa. But we will mention a few which are easy to perform.

Morning of Janmastami take a sankalpa (vow), “O Supreme Controller Devakinandana please help me to observe a complete fast today with I will break tomorrow after sunrise.”

Spend the day reading and hearing about Sri Krishna’s childhood pastimes.

Charity given on Janmastami yields 100 times more benefit than any other day.

Offer arati to a picture of Vasudeva and Devaki, glorify them, and pray for their mercy and blessings.

During moonrise offer Candradeva and his wife Rohini devi (the nakshatra Krishnaji appeared in) some water in a conch shell (arghya) while chanting Krishna’s Holy Names like “He Krishna, Govinda, Damodara, Madhava, Hari, Kesava, Madhusudana”!

What are the PUJA DETAILS?

* Bathe Krishna at midnight with bhakti-surcharged pancha amrta (milk, yogurt, ghee, honey, sugar water). Offer a new dress, crown ornaments etc. Offer full arati along with kirtana, and sound lots of conches, bells, drums, voices and peacocks!

*Bhoga—offer varieties of seasonal fruits plus coconut, dates, and many cow ghee cooked preps; all made with the utmost loving care.

* Flowers—offer lots of fragrant garlands and flowers like lotus, mogra (jasmine), champaka, malati and mallika along with many tulasi leaves and manjaris.

* Scents—offer Lord Krishna camphor, musk, aguru, kumkum, and sandalwood paste.

*Conclusion:

To conclude, I pray to Sri Krishna’s Mathura father Vasudeva to bless me with pure consciousness (vasudeva-chit), so that someday Sri Krishna will also appear in my heart, and then initiate a grand festival of pure devotional service which will continue throughout every day of my life.

Sri Krishna Jayanti ki jai!

Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

By: Mahanidhi Swami

The Fall season in Vrindavana (Oct-Nov), Karttika, is surcharged with both sensual beauty and spiritual shakti. The peacocks freely advertise their rainbow colors, and tall trees scent the breeze with sweet aromas from their flowers. With the loving arms of her soothing waves, the Yamuna River offers crystal clear water for tasting and cooling currents for bathing.

Every day at the Radha-Damodara temple, thousands of Vaisnava pilgrims go around the temple, participate in the many kirtanas, and hear the enlightening Bhagavata discourses by different panditas speaking in turn. This spiritual atmosphere, swelling with sounds, scents and sentiments, saturates any sincere soul with ecstatic love for Sri Krishna.

All the months of India are named after different forms of Narayana like Madhava, Govinda, Keshava and so on as in Vaisnava tilaka. Similarly, the month of Karttika is called “Damodara” which also refers to a Vishnu form. This fact is confirmed in sanatana-siksha (Cc. 2.20.201), wherein Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said:

äçvine padmanäbha, kärtike dämodara, rädhä dämodara anya vrajendra-kumara

“In the month of Äçvina, the predominating Deity is Padmanäbha, and in Kärttika it is Dämodara. This Dämodara [which the month is named after] is different from Rädhä Dämodara, the son of Nanda Mahäräja in Våndävana

Nevertheless, most Vaisnavas understand that the “Damodara month” refers to that naughty boy, Krishna, who Mother Yasoda bound around the waist with a rope, which took place on Dipavali day in Karttika. During this Damodara month, if one manages to capture Krishna with the ropes of pure devotion, he will be released from the bondage of repeated birth and death.

Gauòéya Vaiñëavas consider Radharani to be the presiding Deity for the month of because Sri Srila Rupa Goswamipada (Utkalika-vallari) refers to Radharani as Karttika-devi, the goddess of Karttika. Unlike others who call it the “Damodara” month, Gaudiyas, using the following scriptural evidence, refer to Karttika as the “Radha-Damodara” month.

“One day in Karttika, Shyama arrived late for His rendezvous with Priyaji in Her kunja. In loving anger, Manini Radha glanced at Shyama with frowning eyebrows. Using some golden vines, Kunjeshvari then tied a rope around Shyama’s belly to punish Him for not showing up as promised. Madhava pleaded that He was late because Maa Yashoda had kept Him home for a festival. Seeing Her mistake, Radha quickly untied Her beloved Damodara.” (Bhaviñya Puräëa, Uttara-khaëòa) Rädhäräëé’s desire to bind Krishna with Her love is fulfilled in this pastime. Thus Vrajavasis adore this Damodara, bound by Devi’s love.

The Garga-samhita tells another wonderful lila of Radha-Damodara: “One day as children Radha and Gopala were walking together in Bhandiravana along the shimmering blue waters of Kalindi. The lovely couple rested for a time under the cooling shade of a Banyan tree. In an instant, Yogamaya manifested their robust, youthful forms. Suddenly from nowhere, Lord Brahma arrived. Then acting as the officiating priest, Brahmaji performed a mock marriage with all the demigods in attendance. During the wedding ceremony the sari and dhoti of Radha and Krishna were tied together as is the custom in Vedic weddings. After the ceremony the guests left, and Radha-Govinda again assumed their childhood forms and walked home.” Since the Divine Couple were tied together at this time, some Vaiñëavas consider this pastime a lila of Radha-Damodara ki jai!

Damodara Yashoda-dulala ki jai!

Karttika Vratotsava ki jai!

Jai Jai Sri Radhe!