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Significance of Sri Krishna Jayanti

Sri Krishna Jayanti or Sri Krishna Janmashtami is the birthday of Lord Krishna. It is also referred as Gokulashtami or Krishnaashtami or Sri Jayanti. Like the numerous names of the festival, Sri Krishna Jayanti is celebrated by different Hindu sects on two different days. The true significance of Sri Krishna is that he is relevant in the present and even more relevant for the future.

A twenty-four hour fast is observed on Sri Krishna Jayanti and this is broken at midnight. The most important mantra recited on the day is Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya.’ How to celebrate or perform rituals on Sri Krishna Jayanti can be found here.

Temples and Hindu spiritual organizations conduct special bhjans and kirtan sessions. Processions with children dressed as Sri Krishna, Radha and Gopis are held on the occasion. Stories of Krishna are enacted on the day. In a twenty-four hour time span, we remember Sri Krishna superficially and quite often forget his true teachings.

The significance of Sri Krishna is that he used his life to explain to us the great teachings in Upanishads. In true sense, he is the Upanishad man. He lived in the moment. He was not an escapist from life. He accepted life in its entirety. He made life a celebration. He was the ever smiling god and that smile continues to conquer millions of hearts. Throughout, his life there was music and just before getting killed by the hunter’s bow he was playing the flute. Music and that immortal smile were present in his death.

But what have we done to Lord Krishna. We are unable to accept him in entirety, so we have compartmentalized Krishna. Some worship and like the young Sri Krishna, some like the Krishna with Radha, some like the Krishna who is delivering the Bhagavad Gita. This is because we are not used to a God who plays prank, dances, plays flute and solves the mysteries of life.

For many god is a commander, one who grants boons, one who automatically solves problems in life but Sri Krishna will never automatically solve your problems. This he demonstrated in the Kurukshetra while delivering the Bhagavad Gita. Krishna never took up arms but instead gave the right direction to Arjuna. In Kurukshetra, Sri Krishna was trying to make us understand the foolishness in expecting someone above (god) to deliver the goods. We have to perform the actions and each action will have a fruit.

Sri Krishna is full of life. He showed us the way to live in the modern society. He showed us the concept of Brahman – that life is a continuity. He taught us to remain detached and neutral. Live in the moment and life will be a celebration.