Let me ask you what you are planning to do to do this year in celebration of Janmashtami, the appearance day of Lord Sri Krishna. I encourage you to make a plan so you don’t miss out on the great benefit of participating in this auspicious occasion.
Many of us will be at the temple, where there are usually many activities available for devotees, well wishers and visitors. There will be dramas, talks, and videos and other performances at temples all over the world. There will certainly be Kirtan and dancing before the Lord and at the right time, after midnight, there will be Krishna Prasadam.
Many take the opportunity to visit the temple on the occasion of Janmashtami, and there is usually lots of people to talk to. There will be old friends to catch up with and new friends who have come to find out what’s going on and to get to know something about Krishna and Krishna consciousness
For some people there is no temple nearby and for others the association of devotees is not directly close at hand. For those in this kind of position it is even more useful to have plan. Even though you may not be at a temple, even though you might not be around other devotees, you can benefit from the reciprocation Krishna makes to those who offer love and devotional service to Him on His appearance day.
If you don’t have access to a temple here are some of the things you can think about doing:
Chant the holy names of the Lord, Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare/ Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare. Leading up to and during the day of Janmashtami you can chant these names of the Lord. If you already chant rounds on japa beads you can make an effort to chant extra rounds. If you have no beads you can chant anyway. Chanting is a perfect gift to offer Krishna on his appearance day.
Offer your humble obeisance to the Lord. Offering your obeisance by prostrating your body before a deity or a picture of the Lord or even just by thinking of him, is a simple but powerful way to enter into a relationship with the Supreme. You can glorify his name, his pastimes and his position as the Supreme Personality of Godhead whilst you do this. You can also pray for his mercy in bringing you to his lotus feet and for guidance on the pat of Krishna consciousness.
Fasting. The Vedic literature and the teachers from the disciplic succession encourage us to fast during the day leading up to the appearance of Lord Krishna. Fasting can happen on many levels. Some of us are strong enough to be able to fast completely, not taking any food, during the day until midnight when the feast begins. The feelings that you have when your body starts to become hungry are a good indicator that this is an important occasion and in this way you will be reminded of the celebration throughout the day.
Some may need to drink water or fruit juice through out the day as their digestion does not fast happily. Others such as children on older people need to have a light meal to keep up their energy during the festival. Whatever level at which you are able to fast will be pleasing to Krishna.
Cooking and offering food. You can prepare food and offer it to Lord Krishna to celebrate his appearance day. Food offered to Krishna becomes Prasadam, or the mercy of the Lord. To eat Prasadam provides you with spiritual benefit. If you share Prasadam with other they obtain spiritual benefit also. Remember Krishna only likes to eat vegetarian food.
You can plan to read about Krishna during Janmashtami. Reading is a great way to fucus the mind in the Lord. You may already own some books, such as the Krishna: The Supreme personality of Godhead. If you don’t have a book already you can buy one at a local temple or online. If you can’t afford to buy a book you will find many of Srila Prabhupada’s books available to read online for free.
Using the Internet you can also take Darsan of Lord Krishna. There are many websites who post beautiful photos of the Lord and his expansions in His deity form. Here at Krishna.com you can watch live streaming video from temples around the world. There are some sites which allow you to watch videos that have been uploaded to the internet.
You will also find audio files to download and play as part of your Janmasthami celebration. There are talks and lectures by devotees and Gurus from all over the world. You can listen to listen to music online or download it to your computer. There are thousands of kirtans and bhajans being uploaded to the Internet everyday. You can listen to the radio here at Krishna.com. To accompany the music you can clap, sing along and dance for the pleasure of Lord Krishna.
To get yourself started visit the Krishna.com ‘home page.’ www.krishna.com
You can share your experiences with us here in our forum at Krshna.com http://connect.krishna.com/forum/56
Happy Birthday Lord Krishna from Brihadmrdanga.com
All Glories to the Electronically Assembled Devotees.