Janmashtami: Transcendental Appearance of Lord Krishna
Festivals are an important part of our lives. They give us a break from our routine life which is often so monotonous. The festivals in Vedic culture are very special because each festival is in its essence, trying to bring us closer to God. The festival coming up now is Sri Krishna Janmashtami. Janmashtami is the appearance day of Lord Krishna, who is the Supreme Personality of Godhead as confirmed in various Vedic scriptures. In the Brahma Samhita, Lord Brahma says:
While we enter this world as infants from the womb of our mother in a delivery room, Lord Krishna entered this world through the heart of his father, Vasudeva, who had performed strong penances and austerities for thousands of years in his previous lifetimes. Vasudeva did this in order to achieve an intense meditation on the Lord, by which He was able to attract Krishna to appear as his own son. Devaki, alongside her husband, had also engaged in long severe penances to attract the Lord. From Vasudeva’s heart, Krishna was transferred to the womb of Devaki.
Krishna appears by His own sweet will and His appearance is transcendental or divine, beyond material conception. In the prison cell, where Vasudeva and Devaki were held captive, Lord Krishna appeared smiling. He was born as a wonderful child with four hands, holding a conchshell, club, disc and lotus flower. He was decorated with the mark of Śrīvatsa, wearing the jeweled necklace of kaustubha stone, dressed in yellow silk, appearing dazzling like a bright blackish cloud, wearing a helmet bedecked with the vaidūrya stone, valuable bracelets, earrings and other ornaments all over His body, and beautified by an abundance of hair on His head. No earthly child is born with four hands, decorated with ornaments and nice clothing, fully equipped with all the signs of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Vasudeva wondered how a newly born child could be like this.
Although Krishna is the Lord of the Universe, He still appears to take birth like an ordinary living entity. And although His body does not deteriorate like a material body, it still appears that Lord Kṛiṣhṇa grows from childhood to boyhood and from boyhood to youth. But astonishingly enough He never ages beyond youth. At the time of the battle of Kurukṣetra, He had many grandchildren at home; or, in other words, He had sufﬁciently aged by material calculations. Still He looked just like a young man twenty or twenty-ﬁve years old. We never see a picture of Krishna in old age because He never grows old like us, although He is the oldest person in the whole creation – past, present and future.
The divine nature of Lord Krishna’s appearance and activities is also confirmed in the Bhagavad Gita, in the 4th chapter:
janma karma ca me divyam
evaṁ yo vetti tattvataḥ
tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma
naiti mām eti so ’rjuna
One who knows the transcendental nature of My appearance and activities does not, upon leaving the body, take his birth again in this material world, but attains My eternal abode, O Arjuna.
Although He is the completely powerful Supreme Personality of Godhead, yet He played the role of an endearing and dependent newborn. Although, He is the supplier of all that is, yet it appears that if Mother Yashoda has not given Him food, he would cry. Although the greatest of all demons are fearful of Krishna, yet Krishna fears his mother who is a simple village lady with no mystic powers or much scriptural knowledge. This is the greatness and the sweetness of the Lord Krishna.
This Janmashtami, let us pray to Lord Krishna to also make His transcendental appearance in our hearts in the form of bhakti (devotion) for him, so that we may be able to overcome the sufferings of this world and become blissful.
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