Photo Tour Report
Sri Krsna Janmastami
The Birthday Celebration of Lord Sri Krsna
September 3-4, 2007 India
The Sri Krsna Janmastami celebrations began the night before with a large,
festive parade around the town of Mathura. Under the direction of Srila
Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja, kirtana started in front of Sri
Kesavaji Gaudiya Matha at 5pm, and Srila Maharaja came out of his room around
5:30pm to begin the parade.
He first performed arati to the Deities of Sri Radha-Krsna and
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, who were regally seated on a large, beautiful chariot
that would be pulled by two bulls during the parade. In all the previous years
of this celebration, Srila Maharaja would then immediately ascend a horse-pulled
chariot or his car, but this year he began walking, with the kirtana and floats
in front of him, for about 30 minutes.
PLEASE CLICK ON THE ABOVE PICTURE TO SEE A
MOVIE CLIP OF THE PARADE.
Getting into his car, to continue with the parade
Then, the next morning, the morning of Sri Krsna Janmastami,
bhajanas for the occasion began around 6am, when Srila Maharaja requested that
the following songs be sung: Sri Mangala-gitam, Sri Dasavatara-stotram, Sri
Damodarastakam, Sri Nanda-Nandanastakam, Sri Radha-Krpa-Kataksa-Stava-Raja,
Krsna Deva Bhavantam, Radhe Jaya Jaya Madhava Dayite, and Yasomati-nandana.
Srila Maharaja then spoke about Sri Krsnas birth, and he began by saying,
Today is the constellation Rohini. Today is also astami, the eighth lunar day.
And what day of the week is it? It is Tuesday. There is a very beautiful
constellation in the sky now, and this was the time that Krsna took birth.
He continued by briefly explaining the history of how Sri Krsnas sweet pastimes
came to manifest in this world in book form. He related how, just before
beginning of the universal creation, Lord Visnu spoke the very condensed form of
Srimad-Bhagavatam (four verses) to Lord Brahma, which, in a nut-shell, included
everything about Krsnas form, pastimes, and qualities. He then discussed how
Brahma elaborated upon that Srimad-Bhagavatam while narrating it to Sri Narada
Rsi, and how Narada told Srila Vyasadeva to elaborate upon it further. Narada
ordered Vyasadeva to enter a trance of bhakti-yoga and present to the world what
he saw in his trance. Srila Maharaja then shared with his audience a narration
about Srila Vyasadevas vision of all of Krsnas Vrndavana, Mathura, and Dvaraka
In the course of his lecture, Srila Narayana Maharaja talked about the events
leading up to Krsnas birth. He narrated the history of Mother Earth in the form
of a cow approaching Brahma to protect her from demons in the forms of kings who
were ruling her citizens. Brahma then took her, along with other demigods to the
ocean of Milk, where a message was given to Brahma that the Lord would very soon
Srila Narayana Maharaja continued, Devaki (Krsnas mother in Mathura) married
Maharaja Vasudeva. She was the sister of Kamsa not the real sister, but still
Kamsa honored her very much.* Devakis father, King Devaka, donated a dowry of
very beautiful gifts like chariots, gold, and thousands of maidservants. He also
arranged for his other daughters to marry Vasudeva Maharaja.
To please his sister, Kamsa sat Devaki and Vasudeva on the chariot, and he
personally began to drive it. In the meantime the demigods, who desired that
Krsna take birth very soon, spoke in an aerial voice to Kamsa, You foolish
rascal! With great love you sit your sister on this chariot and bring her to her
palace, but you are unaware that her eighth child will kill you.
Why did they say this? There is a secret here. They didnt say that the eighth
son will kill him; they had just said child not a boy or a girl. When Krsna
was transferred to Gokula and placed on Yasodas bed, her new-born baby daughter
was brought from her bed to Mathura.
Kamsa thought, I thought for sure this would be a boy; but it is a girl! He
and his ministers thought that this girl was the daughter of Devaki, so he tried
to kill her. He performed so many sins, and therefore the Lord was obliged to
come and kill him.
Starting from about 5 pm, many thousands of local devotees and
guests visited the Sri Kesavaji Gaudiya Matha (temple) to behold the Deities of
Sri Sri Radha-Vinoda Bihariji and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu on this auspicious
day. In order to give an opportunity for everyone to see the Deities, all the
visitors entered the temple building through the main gate, continued upstairs
to the temple room, and then left through the back exit of the temple.
From about 7 pm, the area next to the temple room started filling up with people
who came to attend the traditional Janmastami evening program. At 8 pm Srila
Narayana Maharaja entered the temple room and, after first taking darsana of the
Deities, sat on the vyasasana to watch the performances of devotional musicians
and dancers. Shortly before midnight, he requested Krsnadasa brahmacari to lead
kirtana, at which time many people in the audience got up and began dancing in
Srila Maharaja indicated to Sripad Tirtha Maharaja to begin the
midnight bathing ceremony (abhiseka) of the Deities. Finally, all the guests and
devotees went upstairs to the roof, where a delicious anukalpa prasadam feast
(without grains) was served to them.
[*Endnote: Devaki's father Devaka was the brother of Kamsa's father Ugrasena.
That would make him the cousin-brother of Devaki. Moreover, when Ugrasena's wife
Padmavati was young, she met a demon named Drumila, and, although she was
married to Ugrasena, she fell down with Drumila and begot her son Kamsa.]
Editorial Advisors: Pujyapad Madhava Maharaja, Sripad Brajanath dasa, and Sri
Prema Prayojana dasa
Reporter: Vasanti dasi
Translator: Radhika dasi
Photographers and Moviemaker: Anita, Janaki and Vasanti dasis
Editor: Syamarani dasi