Another beautiful festival that we find in India, an ancient tradition, is the festival connected to the birth of Lord Krishna. It says “Krishna Janmashtami”, the birth of Lord Krishna, was very special. It is said that he was born at midnight in the dungeons of his uncle, because his parents had been imprisoned. And his uncle was waiting for the child to be born, so he could kill it. And at night his father secretly took him out of the palace, when all the guards suddenly fell asleep, and crossed the river Yamuna to take the boy to the gopis, to Yashoda, in Vrindavan, and told her to take care of him, to raise him.
Now, this is a very strange story if you see, but it has a beautiful symbolism. Because Krishna is a symbol of love, total bliss, and infinity. And Devaki, his mother, represents the body. His father Vasudeva is a symbol for the prana or the mind. So it says when the body and the mind and the prana come together, when that yoga happens, Krishna is born, the infinity, that bliss is born. But then, to be able to protect it, to sustain it, it cannot stay there, because Kamsa, who is a symbol for the Ego, the Ahamkara, will try to kill that or pervert that love, that bliss, that infinity. Now he was the brother of Devaki, of the body, so with the body comes the Ego, the sense of “I”, that limitation. They are connected.
So to protect him, his father, the prana, the mind, took him away, and took him across the river of love, of devotion, that is the Yamuna. It is a symbol of love. So he crossed that love and reached Yashoda, who symbolizes devotion, the gopis symbolize devotion. So the ultimate bliss is possible through yoga. But to sustain it, for it to become firmly established, it has to come to devotion. Without love, without devotion that bliss, that infinity cannot sustain, the Ego will pervert it.
And all the guards in the palace went asleep when Krishna was born because those guards symbolize the senses. And all the senses, when that bliss is born, they turn inward, they go to sleep. So it is a beautiful symbolism, and it shows us we celebrate not just the birth of Krishna at some place and some time. It should be celebrated every day, every moment, with that memory that yes, through yoga, the union of the body, the breath, the mind, that infinity, that bliss is born, and then through love, through devotion, we can nourish and sustain it so that it becomes firmly established in our lives. And then we experience Krishna and that is the true celebration of Krishna Janmashtami.
Krishna Janmashtami 2018 Timings