Event: Krishna Janmashtami and Founder’s Vyasa Puja
Dates: 5th & 6th September, 2015
Venue : ISKCON, Hare Krishna Land, Bhaktivedanta Swami Road, Off ECR, Akkarai, Sholinganallur.
The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) is celebrating “Sri Krishna Janmashtami” on September 5, 2015, Saturday at its center off the ECR. Celebrations will begin from early morning 4 am and continue until 1 am the next day.
Sri Sri Radha Krishna, the presiding deities of ISKCON Chennai, will be bedecked in a special decoration for the occasion. Darshana will be open throughout the day. Special arrangements have been made to ensure smooth vehicle parking, quick movement in darshan lines and archanaseva. Prasadam will be served to all visitors.
There will be a cultural program in the evening. Padma Bhushan Dr. Padma Subrahmanyam will grace the occasion as Special Guest. There is a dance event and a Tamil drama on ‘Sudama, the Friend of Krishna’ directed and acted by Mr. Danush of tele-serials 63 Nayanmargal and Ramanujar fame.
The main highlight of the day will be the elaborate Maha-abhisheka to the utsava deities Sri Sri Radha Krishna Chandravali beginning from 10.30pm and culminating with Mahaarati and sankirtana at 12 midnight, coinciding with the time of Krishna’s birth.
The next day, September 6, popularly celebrated as Nandotsav, is also the appearance day of Srila Prabhupada, the founder acharya of ISKCON. This is the 119th appearance anniversary of Prabhupada and the day is observed as his Vyas Puja as the spiritual master is the representative of Srila Vyasadeva.
This year is very special for ISKCON as it celebrates the 50th year of its incorporation (1965-2015). The year-long celebrations began with a massive program in Kolkatta marking the determined voyage that Srila Prabhupada began at the age of 69 from the port of Kolkata on the 13th of August 1965, to Buttler, Pennsylvania. Spectacular events were held on that day and two records were made in the Guinness book. One was for the most number of countries represented in a chorus – devotees of ISKCON from 108 countries of the world sang together. The other was for the most number of people performing yoga.
Tracing the path that Srila Prabhupada’s ship Jaladuta took, events will be held in each port such as Cochin and Sri Lanka recollecting that solitary voyage of one man that has now led to millions of followers all over the world.
His Holiness Bhanu Swami, Governing Body Commissioner of ISKCON for Tamil Nadu said, “This year is a celebration of the faith that Srila Prabhupada had in the order of his guru Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur to spread Krishna consciousness in the West. It is a confirmation of Lord Caitanya’s prophecy that the Hare Krishna maha mantra will be sung in every town and village of the world.
ISKCON Chennai Branch President, Sumithra Krishnadas added, “Srila Prabhupada visited Chennai twice. Once on February 11, 1972 and later on January 1st and 2nd of 1976. Events will be organised on these dates in honor of Srila Prabhupada in Chennai.”
What is Janmashtami?
Janmashtami commemorates the earthly appearance of Krishna, who is described in India’s sacred writings as God Himself. One of the biggest religious festivals in the world, it is celebrated by nine hundred and thirty million people around the world.
But why Janmashtami, you may ask? What’s so special about Krishna, as opposed to any other form of God? It’s His loving personality. He reciprocates in unique, personal ways with every devotee who offers Him love-He is the most adorable, mischievous son, the most romantic lover, the most compassionate friend. And on Janmashtami, devotees celebrate Krishna in all of these aspects. For just as Krishna reciprocates individually with His relatives and confidantes, he responds to the distinct feelings and desires held most deeply in the heart of every single worshipper.
As per the vedic scriptures, the supreme personality of Godhead, Lord Krishna, descends from his eternal transcendental abode to this temporary material world in every millennium. The purpose of his incarnation is to display his extraordinary pastimes and impart his instructions in the form of Bhagavad-gita. This is just to give a chance to the people of this world to get free from the cycle of repeated birth and death, and to re-establish their eternal loving relationship with him.
So remember that whatever way you worship Krishna on Janmashtami, He will reciprocate with you accordingly. It’s a meditation that makes for an extremely rewarding devotional experience.
How is Janmashtami Celebrated?
Where Vaishnava temples exist, festivities begin before dawn and extend all day until midnight, the exact moment of the anniversary of Krishna’s appearance. Events include kirtan, singing the Lord’s name along with other devotees; and japa, private, more intimate prayer. Some devotees cook a feast of over five hundred dishes, while others perform drama and dance. Some clothe and decorate the deity of Krishna while others string enormous flower garlands and other decorations for the temple. Incense burns, scriptures are read, and all but the young and the infirm fast all day. The deities are also bathed with a variety of auspicious liquids in a kind of ablution ceremony called abhisheka. Sometimes taking over two hours, this is performed with great pomp.
Finally, at midnight, priests pull apart the curtains to reveal thefreshly dressed deity of Krishna on a creatively festooned and coloredaltar. The excitement builds, and a rousing kirtan ensues.