By Karnamrita Dasa. Many important perspectives can be expressed for Janmastami or the birth/appearance day of Krishna—who is considered in Gaudiya or Chaitanya Vaishava tradition to be the original Supreme Personality of Godhead. To begin with he is not forced to take birth as we are, but “appears” or manifests himself in his original form for many external and internal reasons. Externally he appears to teach the method of self-realization for the age, to annihilate the “miscreants” or sinful, materialist people (which is done by his Vishnu aspect) and more confidentially, to protect his devotees.
However, Krishna’s most confidential reason for appearing is to taste the sweet essence of love of God (prema) as a way to also propagate this standard of pure devotional service on the platform of spontaneous attraction. This is the opposite of formal reverential adoration as expressed in the hymns of the Vedas. Although there is certainly a place for respectful worship, awed by the Lord’s majesty (as offered to Lord Vishnu or in vidhi bhakti), it doesn’t truly satisfy Krishna. Why? The reason is because Krishna means the heart of God, or God in forgetfulness of his own Godhood in the madness of love. Krishna wants to be himself without the Godly profile. This is important to understand since the more “aishvarya” (awe and reverence) present in him, then the less intensity of friendship and love (and visa versa) that is shared.
Even within our experience we find that famous movie stars get tired of all the limelight and want to just be themselves without being honored or swooned over. So this nature is also in God. In particular to Krishna, “madhurya” means his sweetness and unrivaled beauty. The relationships Krishna shares with his devotees are dripping with the unparalleled sweetness of loving intimacy.