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Love and Light

Krishna Janmashtami

This Day That Year
Janmashtami Day in Prasanthi Nilayam, August 22nd 2000
Excerpts from Student Diaries ‘Heart to Heart’

This morning the Divine Darshan was around 7.00 am. After the Darshan, there was Sthotram chanting by the students. The students chanted Madhurashtakam, Pandurangashtakam and Bhaja Govindam. It was followed by the Divine Discourse. After the Divine Discourse, Swami went behind the fourth block, near the main gates to bless Sai Geetha, the Gokulam cows and deer, which were brought in procession from the Gokulam by the students and Gokulam staff. After feeding Sai Geetha with apples, Swami blessed all the cows by feeding them bananas with His own Divine hands. Swami also fed the deer. While returning to Mandir, Swami broke coconuts and released doves. At the end, Swami held in His hands, a four-day-old baby deer to everyone’s delight. Even though Swami came back to the Ganesh portico, Sai Geetha was still there in the fourth block waiting for some more of Love and affection from Swami. Swami observed this.

Swami: Geetha…….Geetha, come on. (To a guest) She came here when she was eleven years old. Now, she is 55.

Swami again went near her and blessed her by feeding her. Sai Geetha hugged Swami with her trunk and did not allow Him to leave her. After this, Prasadam was distributed to one and all. Around 9.15 am, Swami retired to Poornachandra.

The evening Darshan was around 2.40pm. After interviews, when Swami came near the third block, there were Vibhuti marks on His Robe. The person who follows Swami in Darshan pointed it to Swami and tried to wipe them. Swami told him to leave it. Swami said that while giving Vibhuti in the interview room, it fell on the Robe. The students who brought the procession from Gokulam in the morning prayed to Swami:

Students: Swami, cowboys padanamaskar.
Swami: Why? The chance given to you is itself a big gift (Adhrushtam). You should have gratitude for that.
Students: Thank you, Swami.
Swami: Next year, you will all be replaced.
Students: No Swami. We will stay here only.
Swami: No, go outside and do service. You should serve the society. (To a schoolboy) Is it correct?
Students: Yes Swami.
Swami: Not after twelfth, after degree.

Bhagawan’s Krishna Janmashtami Message
Excerpts from Divine Discourse in Prasanthi Mandir, 14th August 1990

Who is Krishna? When was He born? Krishna was born in the month of Sraavana, in the Krishnapaksha (dark fortnight), on Ashtami day, in a dark room, as a dark child. Sraavana means that which gives sravanam (hearing), delight to the ear. It is significant that among the nine forms of devotion, the first place is given to Sravanam, listening to the glories of the Lord, and the final stage is Atmanivedanam (total surrender). Today men tend to listen to all kinds of evil things, but do not lend their ears to hear what is pure and holy. What you should hear---sravana is all about God and not other trivial gossip.

Krishna was born during the Krishnapaksha, 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 trouble and difficulties. When do troubles arise? When Righteousness is forgotten. Krishna's advent signifies the dispelling of darkness, the removal of troubles, banishing of ignorance and teaching mankind the Supreme Wisdom.

Krishna's primary role was that of teacher. He taught the Gita to Arjuna. He told Arjuna: "Be only My instrument!" Krishna thereby declared: "Using you as an instrument I am reforming the whole world." All the teachings of the Divine are related to Dharma and Prema (Divine Love)……In the Krishna Avatar, Krishna not only performed many marvellous deeds, but also taught the Supreme Wisdom to the world. He was one who had transcended the gunas, but, for the sake of regeneration of the world, behaved as if He was influenced by the gunas, and delighted the world by His deeds. Sanjay Sahani (who had spoken earlier) said that whatever Krishna did was for the welfare of the world. Krishna did everything, whatever He spoke or whatever action He did, for the good and well-being of the world. But some people, not understanding this truth owing to their own limitations, attributed wrong motives for some of Krishna's actions. In this they reflected their own feelings.

Prema (Love) is nectarine in its sweetness. Bhakti (Love for the Lord) was the highest expression of devotion among the gopikas (the cowherdesses of Gokulam) because they were saturated with the sweetness of Divine Love. They did not seek liberation or higher knowledge. The ecstasy they derived from merely seeking Krishna, they did not get from any other source. Narada coined the phrase, "Parama Bhakti" (Supreme Devotion) to describe the devotion of the gopikas. These supreme devotees regarded the Lord as their companion and most precious treasure. So intense was their devotion that they used to go about as highly intoxicated persons who were unmindful of the world. Leaving their homes, on hearing the music of Krishna's flute, they rushed to the forest in search of Krishna, oblivious to everything.

The Gopikas realised that Jnana (supreme wisdom) consisted in experiencing oneness with the Divine and that all other knowledge was only mundane and related to the physical. Krishna was everything for them. In their feeling of oneness with the Divine, they made no distinction between the animate and the inanimate. They saw the Divine in everything. Pothana (author of the Telugu Bhagavatham) has beautifully described the feelings of the gopikas when they went in search of Krishna in the forest. (Bhagavan recited the poem in which the gopikas describe Krishna and ask the jasmine creepers to tell them whether Krishna is hiding in any of their bushes). Having tasted the nectar of the devotion of Krishna, the gopikas would not think of seeking anything else.

The gopikas prayed to Krishna that He should never leave their hearts in which they had installed Him. Mira also sang in the same strain. "I dived deep into the ocean and found a pearl. Will you let me slip it out of my hand?" (Swami sang the song in Tamil). Samsara (worldly life) is a vast ocean. Desires are like the waves. Our feelings constitute the depth of the ocean. In this deep ocean there are crocodiles, whales and sharks in the form of attachments and hatred. It is not easy for ordinary beings to cross this ocean. The gopikas declared that only with the help of the Divine name can people save themselves.

People tend to look upon the devotion of the gopikas in worldly terms. Their minds never turned towards any sensory objects. They were completely free from sensual desires. All their desires were concentrated on God. They viewed the entire universe as the manifestation of God. The gopikas did not concern themselves with the question whether the Divine was attributeless or full of attributes. They preferred to worship the Divine in the form of Krishna and they wanted their forms to merge in the Divine. "Thereby we shall be formless," they declared.

It is when we forget our form that we can merge in the Formless. The Divine cannot be experienced through Dhyana (meditation)or japa (reciting Lord's name). This is a delusion. These practices may give momentary peace of mind. To experience permanent joy and the Knowledge of the Spirit you have to develop your Divine nature. For this, the environment must also be congenial. Such an environment can be secured only in a place with pure and Divine vibrations. This was the reason why the ancient sages sought the solitude of the forests for their penance in divinely charged atmosphere. They betook themselves to the forests because they felt that the happenings in the villages were not conducive to mental purity. This was sign of weakness. It is not necessary to go to a forest if you can concentrate on the Divine Atma dwelling in the heart. The forest is remote. Here you have "For rest" your heart. The key to inner peace is within you and not outside. In the atmosphere of a sacred Divine presence, you can promote more effectively your quest for peace.

Krishna is said to have stolen butter from the houses of the gopikas. The butter which He stole was the pure, milk-white hearts of the gopikas. Butter is pure and soft. The hearts of the gopikas were like butter. (Bhagavan recited poems in which Yasoda tells Krishna about the complaints she had received from the gopikas against Him and says she will tie Him to a mortar so that He may not go to other houses for stealing their butter). Yasoda did not realise the divinity of Krishna, though even in small things Krishna used to reveal His Divine powers.

Every episode connected with Krishna is a marvel. That was why Vyasa declared that all the stories relating to the avatars of Vishnu are full of wonder and beauty.
Every Avatar is an amazing phenomenon. Not to recognise the Avatar is equally a matter for amazement. Even more astonishing is the incapacity to experience the presence of the Avatar. Most astonishing of all is to be in the presence of the Lord and feel miserable. To be in the proximity of the Avatar, to move about with the Avatar, to sing and sport with the Avatar and yet fail to understand the truth of the Avatar is indeed a remarkable phenomenon. When the Avatar principle is understood, you experience real bliss. When you have faith in the Divine, life becomes a victorious journey.