JKYog to Organize, Janmashtami Mahotsav on Aug 11-12 2020: Experience Vrindavan at Home

JKYog to Organize, Janmashtami Mahotsav on Aug 11-12 2020: Experience Vrindavan at Home
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New Delhi, Delhi, India: As many as one hundred thousand devotees are likely to join the live broadcast of JKYog Janmashtami Mahotsav (divine appearance day of Shree Krishna) on August 11-12, from the Radha Krishna Temple of Dallas, JKYog worldwide headquarters and a center for spiritual and cultural excellence.

Even in the times of a pandemic, JKYog and the Radha Krishna Temple of Dallas have found a way to keep devotees in high spirits through virtual festival celebrations.

Pooja Raghunath, the JKYog volunteer, says, “Fifty thousand people throng the Radha Krishna Temple of Dallas for Janmashtami celebrations every year. However, this time due to COVID, people are missing that spirit of celebration and devotion. This virtual festival is our way of bringing joy to devotees even in such times. The benefit is that now people world over can view the Radha Krishna deities and participate in the festivities from the comfort of their homes. Moreover, the devotional atmosphere created through this event will drench devotees in the bliss of Vrindavan.”

Swami Mukundananda, JKYog Founder, and senior disciple of Jagadguru Shri Kripaluji Maharaj will deliver special lectures on Aug 11-12, broadcast live via YouTube.

The event also features a variety of cultural performances by renowned artistes and devotional chanting or Kirtan that will continue through midnight culminating in Abhishek (anointing the deities), Bhog (offering of food), and Arti. Dahi Handi decoration, Braj Jhankis (tableaus), and live Krishna-Leela (enaction of pastimes of Shree Krishna) will also be featured.

The festival promises to be a treat for art connoisseurs and devotees alike. The Radha Krishna Temple of Dallas will broadcast devotional performances by award-winning artists. Vidushi Indrani Mukherjee (Hindustani vocalist/ICCR impaneled artiste – extraordinary category), Vidwan Dr. Vijaykumar Krishnan (Carnatic musician/music teacher/researcher and winner of Kasturi Ranga Iyengar Memorial Award, Music Academy Madras), Vidwan Sikkil C. Gurucharan (Carnatic vocalist/Grammy award nominee), Vidushi Debamitra Sengupta (Odissi exponent/disciple of Padmavibhushan Shri Kelucharan Mohapatra), and Vidushi Dr. Deepti Omchery Bhalla (Mohinattam exponent/Sangeet Natak Akademi awardee/ICCR impanelled artiste – extraordinary category) will be performing as part of the festival. Taking the hearts of devotees straight to the homeland of Shree Krishna will be the Bansuri group from Vrindavan that will enact pastimes from Shree Krishna’s life.

Shree Krishna Janmashtami, is undoubtedly one of the biggest festivals in India, marking the beginning of the festival season that continues from August – October, finally culminating in Diwali.

And appropriately so. Shree Krishna is considered “Bhagavan” or the “Supreme Lord” in Sanatana Dharma. The Bhagavad Gita, or the song of God, spoken by Shree Krishna 5000 years ago, on a battlefield to Arjun, is as relevant today as it was then – inspiring us all to adopt a state of mental equanimity and to perform selfless action despite external situations, without being dejected.

But apart from being a warrior, a king, and a great teacher, Shree Krishna is also the perfect relative – the eternal father, son, friend, and beloved. For his selfless devotees, he throws aside the encumbrances of his power and authority – running scared from Mother Yashoda’s stick, grabbing half eaten morsels from the mouths of his cowherd friends, and enchanting the humble Gopis (milkmaids) with his exquisite flute playing and delightful pastimes such as stealing butter.

It is this divine sweetness of Shree Krishna that the festival of Janmashtami celebrates – encouraging the spirit of selfless love or Bhakti, that makes the all-powerful Lord the slave of his devotees.

Swami Mukundananda says, “The essence of all spiritual knowledge is to lovingly remember Shree Krishna and serve Him at every moment.”

Janmashtami is celebrated in different ways across India: South India celebrates Gokulashtami – devotees anoint the Lord at midnight and offer Him various preparations such as Ladoos and Chakkulis. In Dwarka, where Shree Krishna ruled as king, devotees at the Dwarkadheesh temple welcome the Lord at midnight with Arati and Bhog (offering of food) after fasting all day. The Jagannath temple in Puri starts Janmashtami celebrations days in advance with pastimes enacted from his life on each day culminating in Kamsa Vadha or killing of Kamsa (Krishna’s uncle) on Janmashtami day. In Maharashtra, especially Mumbai, Shree Krishna is celebrated as a butter thief with the famous Dahi Handi festival – where different groups of devotees form pyramids to try and break a mud pot filled with butter hanging at a great height. And finally, in his birthplace/place of residence – Mathura/Vrindavan, in the holy land of Braj, tableaus (jhankis) depicting Shree Krishna’s birth are put up and Krishna-Leela (enaction of pastimes of Shree Krishna through dance and drama) is performed. Central to the celebration of Janmashtami across India is the “kirtan” or ecstatic devotional singing and dancing with a great love for the Lord. Indian classical music and dance traditions are based on the idea of devotion to God. Specifically, the love of the divine couple Shree Radha Krishna is beautifully depicted in the compositions of the Bhakti saints, brought to life by musicians in various enchanting ragas or musical scales.

All of India unites in paying tribute to Shree Krishna – the flute playing stealer of hearts who rescues souls from the cycle of birth and death.

The Radha Krishna Temple of Dallas seeks to uphold all these traditions. Devotees worldwide can view these ecstatic celebrations from the comfort of their homes and find cheer in these times of COVID.