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Then & Now
A day in Ashram


The land known for its rich cultural and mythical heritage, land that has given birth to umpteen number of saints and sages, the land that has spread the glory of Lord to the entire world was the only fortunate land that was blessed by Incarnations. Lord Rama in Treta Yuga, Bhagawan Sri Krishna in Dwapara Yuga and now Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba in Kali Yuga…Bharat is the chosen land of God.

Krishna Janmashtami marks the birth of Bhagawan Sri Krishna. Bhagawn Krishna was born in the Dwapara Yuga, over five thousand years ago, in Mathura, India on the eight day (Rohini star on Ashtami day) of the dark half (new moon fortnight) of Shravana.

"I am the conscience in the heart
of all creatures

I am their beginning, their being,
their end

I am the mind of the senses,

I am the radiant sun among lights

I am the song in sacred lore,

I am the king of deities

I am the priest of great seers…"

In India, traditionally Krishnashtami is celebrated with much pomp and splendour by devotees. Celebrations are held on a grand scale in all Krishna temples, especially the ones in Vrindavan, Mathura (Uttar Pradesh), Dwaraka (Gujarat), and other regionally famous temples.

Janmashtami is observed on the day when the ashtami tithi occurs at midnight. If the ashtami tithi and the Rohini nakshatra occur on the same day, then the observance is considered to be most auspicious; otherwise the observance is held on the day on which the ashtami prevails at midnight. The vrata mainly consists of fasting, spending the whole night in the worship of Krishna, reciting hymns of praise and Krishna's pastimes, reciting prayers from the Bhagavata, offering arghya to Krishna, and the parana or the ceremonial breaking of the fast. The next day is celebrated as Krishna Jayanti.

Bhagawan Sri Krishna is considered to be Lord Vishnu’s eighth Avatar (incarnation) on earth. The life and message of Bhagawan Sri Krishna is the most stirring saga of one of the greatest saviours and profounder of Love. Born in the dungeons of Kamsa, (by birth His maternal uncle) who was out to kill him at the very moment of his birth, Sri Krishna's life is replete with many such mortal dangers which He successfully triumphs over.

Birth of Lord Krishna

Krishna was born during the Krishna Paksha (the dark fortnight of the month). The effulgence of the Lord is seen with greater effect when it is dark. In a world of disorder, Krishna was born to establish order. He was born on Ashtami day. Ashtami is associated with troubles and difficulties. When do troubles arise? When righteousness is forgotten. Krishna’s advent therefore signifies removal of darkness, end of troubles and effulgence of Supreme Wisdom.

– Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba

“Krishna was born on 20th July, 3227 B.C., during the early morning at 3 a.m.” - Baba

The Divine Advent

The birth of Krishna is in itself a transcendental phenomenon that generates awe among the Hindus and overwhelms one and all with its supra mundane happenings.

Mother Earth, unable to bear the burden of sins committed by evil kings and rulers, appealed to Brahma, the Creator for help. Brahma prayed to the Supreme Lord Vishnu, who assured him that he would soon be born on earth to annihilate tyrannical forces.

One such evil force was Kamsa, the ruler of Mathura (in northern India) and his people were utterly terrified of him. On the day Kamsa's sister Devaki was married off to Vasudeva, an akashvani or voice from the sky was heard prophesying that Devaki's 8th son would be the destroyer of Kamsa. The frightened Kamsa immediately unsheathed his sword to kill his sister but Vasudeva intervened and implored Kamsa to spare his bride, and promised to hand over every new born child to him. Kamsa relented but imprisoned both Devaki and her husband Vasudeva.

When Devaki gave birth to her first child, Kamsa came to the prison cell and slaughtered the newborn. In this way, he killed the first six sons of Devaki. Even before her 8th child was born, Devaki and Vasudeva started lamenting its fate and theirs. Then suddenly Lord Vishnu appeared before them and said he himself was coming to rescue them and the people of Mathura. He asked Vasudeva to carry him to the house of his friend, the cowherd chief Nanda in Gokula right after his birth, where Nanda's wife Yashoda had given birth to a daughter. He was to exchange his boy and bring Yashoda's baby daughter back to the prison. Vishnu assured them that "nothing shall bar your path".

At midnight on ashtami, the divine baby was born in Kamsa's prison. Remembering the divine instructions, Vasudeva clasped the child to his bosom and started for Gokula, but found that his legs were in chains. He jerked his legs and was unfettered! The massive iron-barred doors unlocked and opened up.

While crossing river Yamuna, Vasudeva held his baby high over his head. The rain fell in torrents and the river was in spate. But the water made way for Vasudeva and miraculously a five-mouthed snake followed him from behind and provided shelter over the baby.

When Vasudeva reached Gokula, he found the door of Nanda's house open. He exchanged the babies and hurried back to the prison of Kamsa with the baby girl. Early in the morning, all the people at Gokula rejoiced the birth of Nanda's beautiful male child. Vasudeva came back to Mathura and as he entered, the doors of the prison closed themselves.

When Kamsa came to know about the birth, he rushed inside the prison and tried to kill the baby. But this time it skipped from his hand and reaching the sky. She was transformed into the goddess Yogamaya, who told Kamsa: "O foolish! What will you get by killing me? Your nemesis is already born somewhere else."

Meaning of Krishna

“The name Krishna has to be properly understood. ‘Krish’ + ‘Na’ = Krishna. This means that He is one who cultivates (Krish) the heart. ‘Karsh’ + ‘Na’ is another derivation, which indicates that Krishna is one who attracts (‘Krishnati it Krishnah’). Krishna attracts people not only by the matchless beauty of his form. He attracts people by his music, his dance, his sports and his words.

Sri Krishnashtami in the Divine Presence

Prasanthi Nilayam, the abode of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba witnesses the rare sight of celebrating Avatar’s Birthday in the Divine Presence of Avatar Himself. Sri Krishna Janmashtami has been a major celebration in Prasanthi Nilayam for the past many years. The festivity normally begins with the arrival of Bhagawan to Sai Kulwant Hall for giving coveted Divine Darshan to the milling crowd of thousands. As soon as Bhagawan takes seat on the specially decorated throne meant for Him on the dias, students from the Institute sing various hymns exalting the Lord of Dwapara and the Lord of Parthi. Half way through the musical offering, the procession comprising of Sai Geeta, Bhagawan’s pet elephant, cows and calves from Bhagawan’s Gokulam, all adorned in style befitting the grandeur of occasion arrives at the Mandir followed by dancing students from the school and devotees from the neighbouring villages. Bhagawan blesses the procession by giving away fruits to Sai Geeta, cows and calves. Prasadam will be distributed to the devotees before the offering of Mangala Aarati to Bhagawan. Invariably, Bhagawan gives His Divine discourse either in the morning or in the evening, most of the time narrating various incidents from the life of Bhagawan Sri Krishna. Krishnashtami is a spiritual treat to the devotees flock into Prasanthi Nilayam, a rare opportunity to celebrate the Birth of one Avatar in the immediate presence of present Avatar.

The supreme message of Bhagawan Krishna's life is the uniqueness of Love Principle. This Yadava born, darling Chinni Krishna, whose childhood pranks, dream of every mother, weave nostalgic memory of those Golden Days of Dwapara, whose flute still enchants the love filled hearts of present day gopikas, whose song celestial is the guide to Ultimate Truth for the present day Arjunas was the embodiment of Supreme Divine Love.