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Gokulashtami - Celestial celebration of the ascent of Lord Krishna

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Life is a dream
Staff member
Gokulashtami is the celebration of divinity ascending on the mundane plane to deliver the exploited and downtrodden from the clutches of the ruthless. Lord Vishnu materialized his 8[SUP]th[/SUP] incarnation as Sri Krishna on this momentous day.
It is also called as Sri Krishna Jayanthi / Janmashtami.

Devotees surrender themselves into the feet of Lord Krishna either in August or September, contingent on the moon’s cycle. The festival runs for two days with ‘Akhand Sankeertan’ (uninterrupted singing of the glory and pastimes of the Lord) being carried out overnight on the connecting night.

Mathura, the birthplace of Krishna is decked up in special ornamentation that profusely exhibits the festive mood innate in every particle of the mystic city. Significant events from the life of the lord are enacted by artists across India.

‘Dahi Handi’ takes the festival to the next level. Ardent fans of lord painted with the unalloyed love of him take to the streets and engage in healthy competition to target clay pots strung up high from buildings. Butter, curd and money are stuffed inside the pots. Fans form triangular structures by climbing over each other to reach the pot and break it open. It is a symbolic homage to the mischievous nature of Krishna who was reputed to have sneaked in the homes of Gopis to steal butter.

Observance of fast by devotees span from day one until midnight, the exact moment when the lord was believed to have descended out of human womb. Prayers, singing and recitation of august pastimes are a regular feature with devotees rocking the baby cradle with lord’s statue majestically seated in it. People can catch the event in its most exalted form in Mathura, where elaborate celebrations mark the entire day. People flock to the holy city and grand temples to participate in dances that depict the various events from the life of the Lord.

Gokulashtami attempts to fortify the faith of people in the divine virtues of selfless love and altruistic activities, which are pivotal in raising the human society from the abyss it has slid into. All locks broke open and the brutal guards of Kamsa were knocked senseless, the moment Lord opened his lotus eyes to the world. The festival impels us to unshackle our mindsets and embrace the celestial virtues of moral excellence, compassion, equanimity, sympathy, empathy, and an array of other merits that would transform earth in GolokDham, the abode of lord. The Lord would then again alight among us and the mundane plane will be witness to his sweet pursuits.

Modern people are increasingly getting away from their cultural roots dazzled by the glitz and glamour of the West. Gokulashtami is a sweet reminder of the glory and richness of our pristine culture which have survived till day owing to the strong moral values underpinned by deep rooted respect for every human being.
Carl Jung has observed in his book on Indian philosophy that, ‘The purpose of religion is to deprive the follower of the experience of God’. Truly so, the ostentations that have enveloped the religion today have entangled followers in the hollow rituals and mere fulfillment of Brahminic traditions. Sri Krishna had left behind his exalted form and donned the temporal veil to exhort people to break off the shackles of insipid rituals and concentrate directly on the Godhead. The name of Krishna will help you ferry across the turbulent waters of the horrific Bhavasagar. The advent of Krishna has deeper connotations and profound bearing on the ones that were to follow the Dwapar Yuga.

Gokulashtami brings you closer to the supreme fountain of unconditioned love, compassion and knowledge. Krishna has thrown open the doors of liberation and deliverance from sins and karmic burden through twofold means; love or knowledge. Janmashtami is the celestial celebration of the spirit of freedom.

Written by Sudha Subramanian
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