Birth of Shri Krishna is Janmashtami

 

Birth of Shri Krishna is Janmashtami
(Bhagvadgita is for establishing Dharma)

*Dr Chaman Lal Raina

The world has got the BHagwadgita,because of the birth of Vasudeva Shri Krishna. Though himself born in the small prison cell in the court of King Kamsa,yet he paved the way for liberation through his idelogy of the Nishkama Karma Yoga--a very strong concept to love the humanity,through selfless work.

The theme of the Bhagwadgita is an enquiry in distress, by Arjuna, the son of Pandu and Kunti of the Bharta's clan. He was thus addressed as Bharat by Shri Krishna himself. All the five brothers are addressed as Pandava, being the son of Pandu.

The opening Shloka/verse of the Bhagwadgita is ,

धर्मक्षेत्रे कुरुक्षेत्रे समवेता युयुत्सवः।
मामकाः पण्डवाश्चैव किमकुर्वत संजय॥

dharmakshetre kuruxetre samavetaa yuyutsavaH
maamkaaH paaNDavaashchaiva kimakurvat saMjaya

This is the question posed by the blind king Dhritrashtra to Sanjaya .
O Sanjaya,what did my sons and the sons of Pandu did, after assembling in the Dharmakeshtra/pilgrimage at Kurukshetra, very much desiring to fight.

Concluding answer given by Sanjaya to the blind king Dhritrashtra is Yogic in essence, spiritual in content,devotional in spirit, after witnessing the dialogue between Arjuna and Shri Krishna is,

यत्र योगेश्वरः कृ ष्णो यत्र पार्थो धनुर्धरः।
तत्र श्रीर्विजयो भूतिर्ध्रुवा नितीर्मतिर्मम॥

yatra yogeshvaraH kRîShNo yatra paarthodhanurdharaH
tatra shriirvijayo bhuutirdhruvaa nitirmatirmam

Wherever there is the presence of Krishna,who is the Sovereign Master of Yoga, and wherever there is the master archer,there is Shri--auspiciousness,Vijaya--victory, Bhutih --exceptional power, Niti -morality. That is my Matih-- opinion,says Sanjaya.

Shri Krishna Janama Asthmi/ Birth day falls on the 8th lunar tithe/date of the Bhadrapad month, when the Nakshatra/ constellation is on the Rohini. Shri Krishna was born as the eighth child to Vasudeva and Devaki in a prison at Mathura, Bharata/ India.

Why the princely couple Vasudeva and his wife Devaki were imprisoned?

This episode is really an intriguing question and needs to be understood from the spiritual point of view. This problem in the problem of survival. Kamsa was told by the astrologers of the time that the eight issue of Devaki would kill him. This prophecy made Kamsa the victim of the all wrongs. Otherwise he was giving due respect and love to his sister Devaki. He had no malice against her and it was against his conscience. He wanted to give farewell to her sister Devaki and her husband Vasudeva, under royal tradition. He himself drove the royal chariot for Vasudeva, while seeing her off just after marriage,before listening to the Akashvani-- audible sound with invisible person from the heavens.The life is dear to every body, so Kamsa did what a cruel king does to safe his life. So he planned to put the royal couple in the prison cell, himself revolted against his father Agrasen, the ruler of Mathura and put him behind the bars. All such actions of Kamsa were contradictory to the Vedic norms, terrible,unjustified and demoniac in character,quite contradictory to the Shruti-Nyaya and other Dharma-Shastras.

In spite of keeping Vasudeva and Devaki in the cellular jail, with a heavy guard over the iron bars of the prison, Kamsa became a victim of depression,which is more psychological in nature than physical .

How? He partially believed the prophecy of the sooth-Sayers, because the eighth child was supposed to take away his life. There was no need to imprison the princely couple, till Devaki would have conceived for th eighth child. There was no need to kill the six children mercilessly as they were not supposed to kill him. The seventh child Balarama in the womb of Devaki was transplanted,under the mysterious conditions, into the womb of Rohini the first wife of Vasudeva,

Perhapst this was either the lapse on the part of the prison guards, or it could have happened with the connivance of the prison officials or call it the the Divine providence. Whatever it was, but it was the seed sowing tree for the death of Kamsa, because Balrama was born as a potential help to Shri Krishna, in killing Kamsa--their maternal uncle.

Ultimately, after the birth of Balarama from the womb of Rohini, Devaki conceived in the prison for the eighth child as well. In dur course of time,she developed the labor pain at the auspicious time and date. No mid wife was called and Krishna the Savior was born at the exact time of the Chandrodaya--moonrise -the midnight of Bhdarpada Krishna Ashtami--the eighth of the dark fortnight. Call it a miracle, or the Yogic power or the Divine play, but it did happen. The sealed doors of the prison got unlocked, there was thunder and shower, a storm and murky sky with dark clouds charged with dreadful lightning across Mathura, where Yamuna got immediately in spate to swallow every bank and baby Krishna was taken away by his courageous father Vasudeva in the winnowing basket on his head crossing the Yamuna river purely to hand over the Savior to the Gopa Nanda- the chieftain of the Gokul cowherds. See how the Divine works under the influence of the

Vishva Maya/ Vishnu Maya revered as the Purna Prakriti/ Primordial energy. Vishnu Maya is born of Yashodha, the same moment Vishnu as and when Krishna is born, as incarnation of the Divine. Both are complementary to each other, and both have to descend in serving the Sanatana Sandesha/ Eternal message of Dharma. It is Dharma Sanasthapna/establishment of Dharma, as enunciated by Shri Krishna himself in the Bhagvadgita and by Vishnumaya in the Durga Sapta Shati.

Both Purusha and Prakriti work together to make Prithvi/ the Earth planet free from anti divine forces. Purusha is innseparable from Prakriti. When Purusha becomes Dhau /Father sky, then Prakriti/ Energy takes the form of Prithvi/ Mother Earth. Prakriti as matter cannot be destroyed; it gets converted into energy. It is the eternal law of nature. Similarly the Vishnu Maya, which was exchanged for Shri Krishna took her eternal abode, when Kamsa dropped her down to kill the eighth child of Devaki , the very moment, he received the message of the delivery of the eighth child of Devaki. Vishnu Maya was replaced for Krishna-- the eighth child of Devaki by Vasudeva, and Vasudeva could neither remember what happened ,how the prison doors were opened how the Vishnu Msya born from the womb of Yashoda and was taken by him during that fateful night of Ashtami. Call it a miracle or a Divine will. It is thus revered as Janmashtami.

Kamsa again fell into error as it was the eighth male child, who was per providence to kill him and not the female child. This is a henious crime committed by him.Nature takes its own course. Nature is the vibrant force of the Purusha, so the heinous crime was committed by Kamsa to kill just born Kanya/ the very incarnation of Vishnu Maya Durga. Instead of getting killed, she rose up and up ..., transcending the whole universe to draw the dead line for Kamsa’s death.This is what Janama Ashtami stands for and its relevance is still current in the popular Hindu thought . It is the day of deliverance from terror to normalcy, from ignorance to knowledge, from death to immortality, as Vishnu and Vishnu Maya were born at the same time from Devaki and Yashoda. Not only, the devout followers celebrate Shri Krishna’s arrival to the world, as the Krishna Janmashtami, and the Shaktas followers of the Sanatana Dharma see this day as the day of Prakash/ eternal light as the Vishnu Maya stands for the sustaining power of the universe. It is known as SRIJAN of the Srishti Karta, in the Vaishnava Texts.

Philosophically, Krishna and Kali are One,according to the Durga Sapta Shati,and the Devi Bhagwatam. Shri Kali is the Yoga Nidra of Krishna, and was visualised by Brahma,at the very moment, Brahma was born from the navel of Vishnu. The two Rakshasas/ anti Divine power of creativity were also born at the same time from the ears of Shri Vishnu, the Lord of sustenance, who were bent upon devouring the Lord of creation / Brahma.The whole episode is related in the Ratri Sukta --the hymn related to the Eternal Night. It is found as seed in the Vedas, which came from the mouth of Brahma to arouse Yoga Nidra. Vishnu woke up from the Yoga Nidra/ Yogic Samadhi to kill Madhu- Kaitabha, which Janardana Krishna-- through his mere play of his words did save Brahma-- the Lord of Creation. The fight between the good and evil never ends.

Prakriti is of three Gunas--Sattva-Rajas and Tamas. Ever and always emerges a conflict between Sattva and Tamas, and the Rajas part of Shri Vishnu/ Krishna maintains the balance and the rhythm to create a Divine Life on this earth planet from time to time. Kamsa was born and was killed, Kauravas were born and were killed, as Draupadi was humiliated and Mahabharata war became a necessity for the survival of the Dharma, underr such situations. The honor of the Matri Tattva--motherhood of a woman was redeemed in the society.. It is because if that war, we are seeing the Supreme Light in the Bhagvadgita to handle the situation according to the Sanatana Dharma.

The Bhagvadgita is the Shabda Sharira of the seven hundred Shlokas/ verses and the Vishnu Maya Durga Sapta Shati is also the Shabda Sharira of the seven hundred Shlokas . The great Bhaktas/ devotees have taken the " Sapta Shloki/ Seven-Shlokas", to present the essence of the Bhagwadgita to make it easy to understand and remember the quint-essence of the Bhagwadgita

I make an effort to render the Sapta Shloki Gita inEnglish as under:

Arjuna is in mental conflict, which makes him despondent in the battlefield, but he reveals his mind to Krishna the relative, friend and a charioteer under such turbulence. This he did as a part of his human psyche to share his weakness before a close friend or a well -wisher. Arjuna was never aware about Krishna’s Divine Self in the beginning of the Mahabharata. For him, he was Krishna, his brother-in law,a relative and the charioteer for that Mahabharata war for him.

No doubt,the Bhagwadgita gives a new lease of life to Arjuna.He was addressed as Partha, Bharata, Dhanurdhara, Dhananjaya, Kaunteya and many promising names by Krishna in the battle field, according to the scene of the Mahabharata war.The name Krishna gave him during war, was having a great impact in the psyche of Arjuna. it was moral boosting in preparing him for destroying the evil, through his Gaandiva.He even called Arjuna as Krishna's own self ,as being PDhananjaya of the Pandavas while showing him the Vishwaruupa Darshana, in the 10th Chaper 0f the Bhagwadgita.

This is the message of Janmashtami.
(The Septet of the Celestial Song)

1
ॐ इत्यकाक्षरं ब्रह्म व्याहरन्मामनुस्मरन्।
यः प्रयाति त्यजन्देहं स याति परमां गतिः॥
om ityaekākṣaraṁ brahma vyāharanmāmanusmaran
yaḥ prayāti tyajandehaṁ sa yāti paramāṁ gatiḥ

Shri Krishna says: AUM/ OM is the only Mono-syllable and he who meditates upon it as Brahman and leaves the body, while reciting and recapitulating this Word, attains the Parmagati/ blissful state of pure essence.

The Ekakshara is Aum/ Om. It is the Shabda Sharira/ sound body of the Divine and a Divine pulsation that vibrates eternally. It is the rhythm of life and the man must be in constant touch with the Eternal sound. OM should correspond to every breath of life and at the last breath it would lead the embodied soul to the state of Sachhindannda, which is the very nature of Shri Krishna.

2
स्थाने हृ षीकेश तव प्रकीर्त्या जगत्प्रहृष्यत्यनुरज्यते च ।
रक्षांसि भीतानि दिशो द्रवन्ति सर्वे नमस्यन्ति च सिद्धसंगाः॥
sthāne hṛ ṣīkeśa tava prakīrtyā jagatprahṛṣyatyanurajyate ca
rakṣāṁsi bhītāni diśo dravanti sarve namasyanti ca siddhasaṁgāḥ

Arjuna says: O Hrishikesha-- the Omnipresent Lord! It is an admitted fact that the whole universe gets delighted and blessed with your Namakirtana/ singing the glory of the Name and gets too much absorbed in you. The Rakshas get afraid of the power of the Name and flee to the far distant quarters and Siddhas / the perfect sages make their obeisance to you.

Arjuna realizes the potential of the Divine Name and its dominating influence on the mind for creating a sense of self-awareness. He sees demons flee to the distant quarters under the influence the Name. And the perfect sages are seen joining hands to the Almighty Krishna. A Yogi in Arjuna reveal that a Yogi can witness every thing happening in the cosmic life with the efficacy of the Divine Name.

3
सर्वत पाणिपादंतत्सर्वतोऽक्षिशिरोमुखम्।
सर्वत श्रुतिमल्ललोके सर्वमावृत्यतिष्ठति॥
sarvataḥ pāṇipādaṁ tatsarvato'kṣiśiromukham
sarvataḥ śrutimallaloke sarvamāvṛtya tiṣṭhati

Ishvara has enveloped the whole universe. His hands and feet are manifest every where. His eyes are visible every where, his heads are at every direction and his face is visible at every place, because he is very Self of manifestation.

Shri Krishna says that the Universal being is in every animate being, Not a single iota is without his presence. He walks with infinite feet, works with infinite hands and sees at every object with infinite looks and thinks with infinite intellect. He talks with infinite mouths consumes every thing in his own Self.

4
कविं पुराणमनुशासितार--
मणोरणीयांस्समनुस्मरेद्यः।
सर्वस्य धातारमचिन्त्यरूप--
मादित्यवर्णं तमसः परस्तात्॥

kaviṁ purāṇamanuśāsitāra
maṇoraṇīyāṁssamanusmaredyaḥ
sarvasya dhātāramacintyarūpa
māadityavarṇaṁ tamasaḥ parastāt

Any person who adores and constantly remembers Ishvara, who is of the Adityavarna/ having the hue of the solar effulgence as the Kavi/ Omniscient, the Purana/ beginning less and the All Controller, with the Omnipotence of holding the minute of the minutest. That Ishvara is beyond any trace of Tamas.

Shri Krishna explains the effulgent nature of Ishvara and makes Arjuna think of the Divine attributes and the methodology how to meditate upon him. Ishvara is the minutest of the minute and at the same time the greatest of all, beyond any ignorance.

5
ऊर्ध्वमूलमधः शाखमश्वथं प्राहुर्व्ययम्।
छन्दांसि यस्य पर्णानि यस्तं वेद स वेदवित्॥॥
rdhvamūlamadhaḥ ākhamaśvathaṁ prāhurvyam
chandāṁsi yasya parṇāni yastaṁ veda sa vedavit

Shri Krishna says: The tree in the form of the universe is spread in all the quarters, while the branches are spread downwards. The Ashvatha or Pipal tree of the universe is revered as Avyaya / Immutable Ishvara with the Vedas as its leaves. He who knows it in its pure essence understands the Vedas.

Shri Krishna explains the tree of the universe is identified by the Vedic learning. Ishvara is the Veda Purusha, and is to be known through its different mutations like the leaves of the Pipal tree. The relationship between the seer and the seen is to create the universal consciousness within fixed on the Divine. The leaves in the form of the Vedas provide the eternal bliss.

6
सर्वस्य चाहं हृदि सन्निविष्टो मत्तः स्मृर्तिर्ज्ञानपोहनम् च।
वेदैश्च सर्वैरहमेव वेद्यो वेदान्तकृद्धेदविदेव चाहम्॥
sarvasya cāhaṁ hṛdi sanniviṣṭo mattaḥ smṛrtirjñānapohanam ca
vedaiśca sarvairahameva vedyo vedāntakṛddhedavideva cāham.

Shri Krishna says: I abide in the heart of every embodied soul. It is because of Me that the men have the power of cognizance, sense of discrimination between real and unreal and to be away from illusion. I am the Veda, the knower of the Vedas and to be known through all the Vedas. I am the very self of the Vedanta- the knowledge portion of the Vedas.

Shri Krishna identifies himself with the Vedas and the Vedic application in human life. The emphasis is on the Karma/ action and the knowledge portion of the Vedas known as the Vedanta. It is all metaphysical in nature, while the Vedas are the practical teachings to live a homogeneous life. It is the intellect, force of thought and competence in action, which works in realizing the Almighty.

7
मन्मना भव मद्भक्तो मद्याजी मां नमस्कुरु।
मामेवैष्यसि युक्तैवमात्मानं मत्परायणः॥
manmanā bhava madbhakto madyājī māṁ namaskuru
māmevaiṣyasi yuktaivamātmānaṁ matparāyaṇaḥ

O Arjuna! Be my Bhakta/ devotee. Be determined both physically and mentally. Revere me and offer you Namaskars to me. Fix your Atman/ all the faculties of the Self with concentration on me. Thus you would be absorbed in me.

Shri Krishna teaches Arjuna to have full reverence for Ishvara –the creator, preserve and the annihilator of the universe. Adore Ishwara physically through prostrations, think of him mentally through concentration and put devotion in him through all emotions and be the One with the integrated whole,through Yoga

We need to understand the Bhagvadgita to find the various moods of Shri Krishna during the Mahabharata war. Although Arjuna was a Master archer, yet he represents the average human being from the psychological point of view. He was caught in the whirl pool of conflict—“ To fight or not to fight”, when he was already in the battle-field of Kurukshetra. Shri Krishna gives him the very concept of Atman, which later became the thesis of the Prasthana- Trayi/ three dimensional cross roads to reach Shri Krishna. The Prasthana Trayi is in three forms of the sacred texts of the Upanishads, the Brahma Sutra and the Bhagvadgita. Krishna consciousness need to be applied in our own self and in our day to day work for “Atmano-Mokshartham- Jagad-Hitaya- Cha” which is for attaining liberation from the false ego of I-consciousness, instead of being in the set frame of the universal consciousness. Krishna teaches the humanity to live the life with dignity, caring for the honor of Motherhood of woman and be prepared to face any eventuality,as Tamas/ evil is always penetrating through the narrow backdoors of society. A human being is supposed to contribute to the peace within, around and the globe through positive thinking, considering all are equal in the eyes of the Almighty-- Ishwara.

*Dr Chaman Lal Raina is a researcher in the Indological studies. He is an author, writer and Fellow at F I U, for Center for the Study of Spirituality . Dr Raina is interested in painting "Art in Exile" as well. Presently, he is working on Utpaladeva's Shiva Stotravali. Recently, Dr Raina edited the Sharada Sahsranama in Sanskrit.
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