Monday, August 25, 2008

Happy Janmastami!!!!!!!

Happy Krsna Janmastami!

Which Is To Say:

Happy Birthday Sri Krsna!

By John of AllFaith © Sept 3, 2007

Who is Sri Krsna?

The Srimad Bhagavatam (also known as the Bhagavata Purana) describes a most remarkable event:

1.3.1: Sūta said: In the beginning of the creation, the Lord first expanded Himself in the universal form of the puruṣa incarnation and manifested all the ingredients for the material creation. And thus at first there was the creation of the sixteen principles of material action. This was for the purpose of creating the material universe.
1.3.2: A part of the puruṣa lies down within the water of the universe, from the navel lake of His body sprouts a lotus stem, and from the lotus flower atop this stem, Brahmā, the master of all engineers in the universe, becomes manifest.

[May I add: Devout Hindus debate certain aspects of how this manifest material existence came about, what it is in actuality and what function it serves, but the Bhagavata Purana is clear that the Ek Devata or One God sent forth Avatars or Divine expansions "out" into the material multiverse. There is only One God however this utterly inconceivable Being sends expansions out into the multiverse as He pleases and for His own purposes. Some of these Avatars are almost the complete Divinity while others are "lesser expansions." With reference to these expansions of the One Divinity we continue with the Bhagavatam:]

1.3.22: In the eighteenth incarnation, the Lord appeared as King Rāma. In order to perform some pleasing work for the demigods, He exhibited superhuman powers by controlling the Indian Ocean and then killing the atheist King Rāvaṇa, who was on the other side of the sea.
1.3.23: In the nineteenth and twentieth incarnations, the Lord advented Himself as Lord Balarāma and Lord Krsna in the family of Vrsni [the Yadu dynasty], and by so doing He removed the burden of the world.
1.3.24: Then, in the beginning of Kali-yuga, the Lord will appear as Lord Buddha, the son of Añjanā, in the province of Gayā, just for the purpose of deluding those who are envious of the faithful theist.
1.3.25: Thereafter, at the conjunction of two yugas, the Lord of the creation will take His birth as the Kalki incarnation and become the son of Visnu Yaśā. At this time the rulers of the earth will have degenerated into plunderers.
1.3.26: O brāhmanas, the incarnations of the Lord are innumerable, like rivulets flowing from inexhaustible sources of water.

According to many Hindus Sri Krsna is the Supreme Personality of God, the Ek Devata fully manifested on earth in His Original Form as no other. Other equally knowledgeable and devout Hindus see Sri Krsna as a primary incarnation or expansion of Lord Visnu (or Lord Narayana).

Similar to Christian theology, in standard Indian spiritual understanding the Ek Devata (or One God) is conceived as a Trinity as Lord Brahma (the Creator), Lord Visnu (the Sustainer) and Lord Siva (the Transformer). And yet they understand that despite this apparent diversity, as the Sikhs remind us: Ek-Onkar ("There is Only One God").

In India things are seldom simple! And so some regard Sri Krsna as the Original and Supreme Personalty of Godhead (and Lord Visnu/Narayana as His expansion) while others see Sri Visnu or Lord Siva as the Supreme God from whom all others emerge.

Be that as it may, Janmastami is Sri Krsna's appearance day and this year (2007) it occurs on September 4th (although it actually consists of two days, Krishnashtami and Kalashtami). This weekend most mandirs (temples) are celebrating the birth.

Why Sri Krsna Advented Himself:

Astrologically, Lord Sri Krsna was born under the highly auspicious Rohini nakshatram or Rohini star (ruled over by Lord Brahma Himself) on a dark, stormy and windy Wednesday night over 5000 years ago. No one knows exactly when although some people claim they do. People are like that.

To appreciate the importance of Sri Krsna's birth we need to understand the timing, because as they say, timing is everything.

Time is real. It is not an illusion although it is temporary. Time has both a beginning and an ending. In the spiritual world there is no time, only eternity. However here the material multiverse passes through an eternal cycle of four limited ages (Satya Yuga, Treta Yuga, Dvapara Yuga and the current Kali Yuga). Sri Krsna was born near the conclusion of the third age of Dvapara Yuga and oversaw the transition to our present fourth age of Kali Yuga. It is for this reason in part, that many Vaisnavas (worshipers of Lord Visnu) believe that for this age there is no higher form of Godhead than Sri Krsna.

Sri Krsna's maternal uncle King Kansa was an evil man. The only things he cared about were money, power and his beautiful sister Devaki. Indeed at the conclusion of Dvapara Yuga the world had become overrun with demons and wicked humans and there was none more evil than King Kansa! It was into his royal family that Sri Krsna came to defeat these evil beings and prepare the way for the final age (in this cycle of yugas). Indeed as Sri Krsna explains to his devotee and dear friend Arjuna in the Srimad Bhagavad Gita:

    4:7: Surely, whenever and at whatever time righteousness declines, O descendant of Bharata [India], and there occurs a predominance of unrighteousness, at that time I manifest Myself.
    4:8: In order to deliver saintly people, to destroy the wicked and to firmly reestablish religious principles, I appear age after age.

Mother Devaki's Children:

Sri Krsna's holy mother Devaki was expecting. Mother Devaki was of course King Kansa's sister. During her wedding to Vasudev, a celestial voice proclaimed for all to hear that the eighth son of Devaki would kill the evil King Kansa and bring an end to global demonic tyranny. Among those present was the evil king of Mathura!

Hearing of his upcoming death King Kansa determined to prevent it! He loved his sister dearly but he nonetheless grabbed her and prepared to kill her! If she was dead she couldn't give birth to the child!

Mother Devaki and her equally pious husband Vasudev pleaded with the king and offered to surrender their children to him as soon as they were born. Kansa could do with them as he wished. The destiny of everyone resides within the hands of God. Perhaps He would show mercy to the infants.

This arraingement was acceptable to the King and he had Devaki placed in his prison so his servants could keep an eye on her. As promised Devaki's first six children were duly handed over the King as soon as they were born. Even though the prophecy specified it would be the eighth child who would destroy him, Kansa showed no mercy and had intended to have all the children murdered. Such was his evil.

Balaram (Baladeva):

The seventh child appeared to be a miscarriage but was actually miraculously transfered from the womb of Mother Devaki into the womb of Vasudeva's second wife Rohini and so was spared by the sovereign will of God. His name was Balaram. Like Sri Krsna who was soon to be born, Lord Balaram was an Avatar of the Supreme Lord, the nineteenth Incarnation of Lord Visnu according to the reckoning of the Bhagavatam.

The Birth of Bhagavan Sri Krsna:

Mother Devaki was still in her prison cell and gave birth to her eighth child, Bhagavan (God) Sri (highly respected) Krsna (dark skin). It is said that the Lord's complexion was dark, like the most beautiful rain clouds when they are just about to release their blessings on the thirsty earth.

When the glorious child was born it was immediately apparent that he was no ordinary baby! He came from Mother Devaki's womb wearing a bright yellow silk cloth and costly diamond earrings! On his head was an emerald crown and he could speak! He sat before his mother and she beheld that on the soles of his feet there was a svastika (the ancient symbol of health and prosperity). Imprinted on his tiny hands were lotus and discus symbols. Both Mother Devaki and Vasudeva instantly knew that this baby was an Avatar of the Supreme Lord!

As they beheld the divine child in wonder an amazing chain of events took place and father Vasudeva knew that the child had to survive no matter the results. Just then the gate to the prison flew open and Srila Vasudeva noted that the guards were all fast asleep! It was a miracle intended to help rescue the infant!

I've been to this prison in Mathura, India. It is a very intimidating place! Such an event must surely have given Srila Vasudeva the courage to act.

Vasudeva quickly made his plans to save the divine infant. He called for his friend Nanda Maharaja, King of Vrndavana and protector of the holy cows and asked him to take the baby Krsna away before King Kansa discovered what had happened.

The weather was absolutely horrible! It was as if the multiverse was morning the danger into which the Supreme Person had been placed. Nanda Maharaja gently place the child in a basket and headed out into the stormy night.

As Nanda Maharaja and the newborn baby approached the churning Yamuna River it must have seemed obvious they would not be able to cross; however he was a man of deep and abiding faith! Nanda Maharaja prayed to the Ek Devata for protection and entered the still raging waters carrying the baby in a basket on head.

And then another miracle occurred: As they entered the cold waters Goddess Yamuna Devi, Goddess of the Sacred River, realized her honor at having Sri Krsna enter within her and she immediate calmed her waters and parted them so Nanda and Sri Krsna could cross over unharmed.

The rains continued to pour however and so Shesha Naga, the giant serpent devotee of the Lord rose from out of the dark waters of this holy Ganges tributary and spread his cobra-like umbrella over the divine child to protect baby Krsna.

For his part, Srila Vasudev left the royal palace of King Kansa in Mathura and took another route through the dark and gloomy night. Soon he arrived at the home of Srila Nanda Maharaja, king of the cowherd men and his wife Mother Yasoda, who was queen of all Vrajabhumi, which is to say of the holy city Sri Vrndavana.

Laying on the bed beside Mother Yasoda was her newborn daughter. Vasudev exchanged the baby girl with Sri Krsna and took her back to the palace prison.


Meanwhile back at Kansa's Palace... Hearing that his sister Devaki had given birth to the dreaded eighth child, the one destined to kill him, evil King Kansa rushed into her prison cell and found the exchanged baby laying helpless there and fast asleep. Upon seeing such a glorious child laying peacefully beside her supposed mother you might think the heart of the king would be softened, that he would repent of his evils... You might think so, but you'd be wrong!

The demonic King Kansa went to the child, lifted her up and threw her violently against the stone walls of the cell with all his might intending to destroy her! He would murder the helpless child while (he) was still an infant and there would be no more worries about this Akashvani (this celestial voice) of doom!

However... the daughter of Mother Yesoda was no ordinary child! According to some she is Goddess Durga incarnate, Goddess Kali according to others, but to the Vaisnavas she is the glorious and much beloved Srimati Subhadra. She is not so easily undone!

As the mighty demon King threw the child against the wall... she laughed at him with fiery derision! She flew around the prison cell like a sprite, a fire fly! She then turned herself and faced the mighty King Kansa, "Your destroyer has been born and you will die!" she announced and disappeared.

And so Sri Krsna and his brother Lord Balarama (Rama) grew up together in the most glorious village on earth, Sri Vrndavana dham. FYI, this is not the same Lord Rama as in the Ramayana who also was an Avatar of the Supreme Lord. When Vaisnavas chant the Mahamantra they are referring to Lord Balaram:

Hare Krsna Hare Krsna
Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama
Rama Rama Hare hare

When chanting the glories of Lord Rama (of the Ramayana) one of my personal favorites is often recited:

Sri Ram Jaya Ram Jay Jaya Ram
Om Sri Ram Jaya Ram Jaya Jaya Ram
Jaya Sita Rama Jaya Jaya Hanuman
Sri Guru Ram Ananda Bhagavan
Sri Guru Ram Ananda Bhagavan

Shown nearby is the Sri Jagannatha Trimurti, a three-fold form of the Lord: To the Left is Lord Baladeva (Balaram), in the center is Lady Subhadra the Queen of Heaven and to the right is Bhagavan Sri Jagannatha who is none other than Lord Sri Krsna.

Bhagavan Sri Krsna

Sri Krsna and Lord Balaram had many wonderful exploits (or lilas) that space forbids us to discuss here. He fought and bettered countless demons, he tended the cows of Vrajabhumi, he lifted Govardhan Hill and held it over the citizens of Sri Vrndavana dham like an umbrella, he stole butter from the women of the village and was everyone's pride and joy... but none so much as the Gopis! These were the cowherd maidens of Vraja and their leader was the glorious Srimati Radharani with whom Sri Krsna danced the most glorious of all dances, the Rasa Lila.... But there's a divine secret here as well! Srimati Radharani is Herself an expansion of Sri Krsna! The Lord took on this form so that He could fully enjoy the love felt for Him by His devotees! Indeed during that group dance all of the Gopis thought they alone were dancing with Govinda! Such is His mystic opulences!

In India Sri Krsna is perhaps best known for his loving activities in Sri Vrndavana and elsewhere, especially with the Gopis (and for the Kama Sutra)... but for those in the West he is perhaps better known as the chariot driver of the doubting Arjuna during the war of Kuruksetra.

As Dvapara Yuga drew to a close a global civil war was about to begin. The most famous battle of that war is known as the Battle of Kuruksetra. I explain the events leading up this earth changing war elsewhere.

As a famed and glorious Ksatriya (warrior) it was the responsibility of Arjuna to fight with the Pandava armies against the Kuru Dynasty in this inevitable war. But Arjuna didn't want to. As he beheld the soldiers on either side of the field of battle he declared, "I will not fight!"

In his contemplations over the war we see the nature of Kali Yuga defined. Every objection Arjuna raised was correct! And yet still Sri Krsna demanded he fight! Here's an excerpt of Arjuna lament from my translation:

    Bhagavad Gita 1:21-23: Arjuna said, O Unlapsing Vishnu, please place my chariot in the midst of both armies so that I may behold all those desiring to fight, both those with me and those with whom I must enter into this strife of war.
    I wish to look upon those assembled here by the evil minded son of Dhritarastra who are intent upon fighting to please him.
    1:24: Sanjaya said: Thus addressed by Gudakesha [Arjuna], Hrishikesha [Sri Krsna], O descendant of Bharata, placed that best of chariots in the midst of the armies.
    1:25: In the presence of [Grandfather] Bhishma and Drona, as well as all the rulers of the earth, [the Lord] spoke these words: O child of Partha, behold all these Kurus who are thus gathered.
    1:26: There the son of Partha [Arjuna] saw stationed before him fathers, grandfathers, teachers, maternal uncles, brothers, sons, grandsons, friends and fathers-in-law; indeed well-wishers were in both armies.
    1:27: Having seen all these relatives so situated, the son of Kunti [Arjuna] was filled with compassion and with deepest lamentation spoke thus:
    1:28, 29: Arjuna said: O Krishna, seeing all these relatives standing ready and eager to fight, my limbs falter and my mouth is parched.
    My body is trembling and my hairs are standing erect. Gandiva [my bow] is slipping from my hand and indeed, my skin is burning.
    1:30-35: I am unable to stand; my mind seems to reel and I see adverse omens O Keshava [Krishna].
    I see no benefit in killing my own relatives in battle, nor do I desire victory or the kingdom nor [the subsequent] happiness, O Krishna.
    O Govinda, what use to us is the kingdom? Where is the enjoyment in life? For whose sake do we desire the kingdom, material enjoyment and happiness?
    Those for whom we desire these things - our teachers, fathers, sons, indeed, even our grandfathers - are standing ready to battle and give up their lives and wealth.
    Other relations as well, including our maternal uncles, fathers-in-law, grandsons and brothers-in-law; all these I do not wish to kill, even if I am killed by them, O Madhusudana [Krishna].
    O Janardana [Krishna], what pleasure would there be, even if the three worlds were given in exchange for a kingdom; how then for the sake of this earth shall I kill the sons of Dhritarastra?
    1:36: Only guilt will cleave to us by killing these aggressors, therefore we are not justified in slaying the sons of Dhritarastra. Indeed, how can we attain happiness by murdering our relations and relatives, O Madhava [Krishna]?
    1:37, 38: Although these [Kauravas] do not see their fault - their minds being overpowered by greed - the destruction of families and the oppression of friends is a crime.
    Why should we, who know the sin of destroying a dynasty, not cease from this crime, O Janardana [Krishna]?
    1:39-42: With the destruction of a family its noble traditions perish. When its eternal rites and religious principles are destroyed, the whole dynasty is overtaken by irreligion.
    O Krishna, irreligion having become prevalent the women of the family become adulterated. When the women become corrupt, O descendant of Vrishni, caste confusion is generated.
    Such confusion brings to hell the slayers of the family and the family itself. Then the ancestors are deprived of their sacrificial offerings of rice cakes and water and hence they also fall.
    By such faults on the part of the destroyers of the family, caste confusion leads to the devastation of caste religious traditions as well as the eternal family traditions.
    1:43-45: We have heard, O Janardana [Krishna], that those who spoil family traditions have hell as their eternal abode.
    Alas, due to greed for royal pleasures we have determined to commit a great sin and are prepared to kill our own relatives.
    Even if the sons of Dhritarastra, weapons in hand, should kill me unarmed and without resistance in battle, for me, that would be better.
    1:46: Sanjaya said: Having thus spoken, his mind overwhelmed with grief on the battlefield, Arjuna sat down in his chariot and dropped his bow and arrows.

But this war was destined to occur

It marked the beginning of our fourth and final age known as kali Yuga.

Sri Krsna, the Lord of all, agreed to act as Arjuna's charioteer and counselor. As Arjuna expressed his unwillingness to fight, Sri Krsna, who is Bhagavan or God incarnate spoke. This important conversation is recorded in the Mahabharata, "the History of the People of Bharata Varsa [India]," however it is of such important, such glory that it is better known as a stand alone work entitled, The Glorious Song of God or The Srimad Bhagavad Gita. My original translation of this ancient work can be read at my Bhagavad Gita website.

As cited above the Sri Bhagavata Purana accurately foretold the coming of Lord Buddha who was born long after Sri Krsna and his divine brother and exactly as described. The Srimad Bhagavatam also foretells the coming of another Visnu Avatar:

    1.3.25: Thereafter, at the conjunction of two yugas, the Lord of the creation will take His birth as the Kalki incarnation and become the son of Visnu Yaśā. At this time the rulers of the earth will have degenerated into plunderers.

I am absolutely convinced that Lord Kalki will soon arrive at the conjunction of Kali Yuga and Satya Yuga and slay the evil doers even as Lord Buddha came.

According to a literal reading of the Hindu scriptures our present age of Kali Yuga (said to have begun around the year 3102 BCE) should not end for another 428,000 years.

It is taught that as Kali Yuga continues the world will become so vile and evil that those with faith in God will be few and hard to find. They will be ridiculed and condemned by the world, hunted like animals and slaughtered without mercy. People of faith will be forced to live in caves and to salvage for what they can for their survival. Many will commit suicide out of despair, desperation and the desire to go Home to the Ek Devata. Human longevity will gradually decrease. According to the Vedas (and the Bible) people used to live for nearly a thousand years, even longer, but as Kali Yuga took hold humans lives began to shorten to the point that it is now uncommon to see even one's one hundredth birthday. As the world continue to devolve it will be quite literally hell on earth for a long time until finally Lord Kali will appear and end Kali Yuga. Thereafter the first age, Satya Yuga will begin again.

As I see things however this will not happen. My AllFaith spirituality give me hope as I read the promise of Prophet Y'shua be Miriam (Jesus, son of Mary):

    Matthew 24:22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened.

I am convinced that the description given in the Vedas would be fulfilled as written after the rise of the Rex Mundi (Antichrist/Dijal). However as Sri Krsna explains to his devotee and dear friend Arjuna in the Srimad Bhagavad Gita:

    4:7: Surely, whenever and at whatever time righteousness declines, O descendant of Bharata [India], and there occurs a predominance of unrighteousness, at that time I manifest Myself.
    4:8: In order to deliver saintly people, to destroy the wicked and to firmly reestablish religious principles, I appear age after age.

Just as Lord Sri Krsna eventually defeated King Kansa and as Visnu Avatar Lord Nrsimhadeva defeated the evil Hiranyakasipu, so too will the Shiloh, the Moshiach, Lord Kalki defeat the Antichrist. Out of compassion for the Elect the Ek Devata will send forth our deliverer.

Bhagavad Gita 18:78: Wherever there is Sri Krsna, the Master of yoga, and Arjuna the archer, there is opulence, victory, well being, steadfastness and guidance. This is my conviction.


Look familiar?

And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.
His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.
And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.
And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.
And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.
And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS
-- Revelation 19:11-16

May You Have A Blessed Sri Krsna Janmastami!

Om Tat Sat

John of AllFaith
Jagannatha Prakasa


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