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How Shri Krishna celebrates his birthday in Eternal Vrindavan – from Siddha Krishna Das Baba’s Gutika

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Vrindavan, 2017.08.14 (VT): Siddha Krishna Das Baba of Govardhan was one of the four famous siddha babas of 19th century Braj. He spent most of his life by the banks of the Manasi Ganga, at Chakleshwar, where his samadhi is now. After receiving a direct vision of Shri Lalita Sakhi and Sanatan Goswami, by their infinite mercy the deep meanings of the scriptures manifested within his heart.

Siddha Krishna Das Baba helped many to dive deep in the ocean of Shri Radha and Krishna’s lilas, and he wrote many books about them. His most famous book is simply called Gutika (The Pill). The Gutika contains detailed descriptions of Shri Radha and Krishna’s daily lilas in the Gaudiya Vaishnav mood. It also describes the yearly festivals and other rare information about the eternal lila.

Siddha Krishna Das Baba’s full biography can be read here.

Shri Radha Comes to Stay at Nand Bhavan

In a previous section of the Gutika, Siddha Krishna Das Baba explained that in Eternal Vrindavan, preparations for Janmashtami have been going on since the day after the full moon. Nand Baba’s palace has been decorated sumptuously. Banana trees and other auspicious items frame every doorway.

In fact, every house in Nandgaon has been decorated so gorgeously, that an outsider would have a hard time guessing which house the birthday boy lives in!

Servants were sent from Shri Krishna’s house to invite Shri Radha’s family to the celebration. On shashti, Radha and her family came from Barsana to Nandgaon, and they will stay in Krishna’s house until navami. Radha’s sakhis and other gopis have also been invited to stay in Nand Baba’s home throughout the festival.

[The Nabadwip Lila, which is an integral part of Siddha Baba’s Gutika, has been omitted for this publication. May the readers kindly excuse us.]

Shri Krishna Janmastami Maha Mahotsav
The Great Festival of Shri Krishna’s Birthday
(On the eighth day of the dark fortnight of the Hindu lunar month of Bhadra – Bhadra Krishna Ashtami)

Shri Radha and Krishna Awake and Get Ready

On Janmashtami morning in Nandgaon, Shri Radha and her sakhis bathe, dress and adorn themselves. As soon as they are ready, Kundalata comes and says, “O Radhe! Please come and have darshan of Shri Krishna’s abhishek!”

Radha then proceeds to the place where the abhishek is being held, along with all her sakhis and manjaris. All the residents of Nandgaon, along with Shri Nand and Yashoda’s dear guests who have been invited from other villages, are gathered around to watch their beloved Krishna’s abhishek. 

Earlier this morning, Krishna’s servants helped him complete his morning routine. After bathing him in the normal way, they dressed him in an extremely soft and thin white cloth with elegant ornaments. His nose bears a delicate pearl. He has a golden necklace on his neck, armlets on his arms, bracelets on his wrists, a fine chain of tiny bells around his waist and jingling anklets on his feet.

Fully dressed and ornamented, he comes to the ornate jeweled bathing platform and sits on a low seat made of gold inlaid with precious gems, under a lovely canopy with bejewelled borders.

The Abhishek Begins

Musicians are playing on an array of different instruments. The Brahmins begin to chant the Vedas while the womenfolk praise Krishna, and panegyrists sing the glories of his ancestors.

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Janmashtami at Radharaman Temple, 2016

Shri Bhaguri Rishi chants the abhishek mantras as his servants begin his ritual bath. First he is bathed with mahaushadhi jal (water with antiseptic, rejuvenating, and revitalising Ayurvedic herbs); arghya (water with yellow mustard seed, rice, black sesame seed, durva grass, kusha grass, fragrant flowers, tulsi, sandalwood paste offered from a conch shell), followed by panchagavya (cow ghee, cow’s milk, cow yoghurt, cow urine and cow dung), then panchamrit (ghee, milk, yoghurt, honey and sweetened water).

Then he is bathed with phalodak (green coconut water), pushpodak (rose water and other flower waters), gandhodak (water infused with fine fragrant substances like agarwood, sandalwood, saffron and so forth – each offered separately), teerthodak (holy water from Yamuna, Radhakund, and so forth), with shatghat jal (six pots), then by a sahasradhara (an apparatus that creates a shower-like effect), and finally with plain water from a conch shell.

When the abhishek is over, Krishna’s servants gently dry his body and wrap him in a fresh yellow dhoti (peetambar). He sits upon his jewel-studded shringar vedi and his servants lovingly dress and decorate him to their heart’s content as the supremely ravishing king of all dancers. (natavar naagar)

After the servants comb and dress Krishna’s curly locks, they stylishly place a golden crown on his head, decorated with pearls and a peacock feather. On his forehead they draw tilak with fine gorochana (a very rare, bright yellow substance that comes from a cow’s digestive system) and a leaf-motif is painted on his lovely cheeks.

A delicate pearl is hung from his nose and dragon-shaped earrings grace his ears. They place a jeweled necklace over his heart, armlets on his strong arms, fine bracelets on his wrists, a belt of bells on his hips, and two layers of anklets on his lotus feet (payjeb and nupur).

The Giving of Gifts

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Shri Radharaman Lal, Janmashtami 2016

Taking a bunch of durva grass in his hand, Bhaguri Rishi encircles Krishna’s body with it seven times, and all the Brahmins give him their blessings.

Radharani’s father Shri Vrishabhanu Maharaj then comes with a golden plate heaping with gifts like new clothes and jewellery, and gives it to Krishna along with his deepest blessings. Then Radharani’s mother Kirtida and other elder women come to shower their gifts and blessings on him.

At last Shri Radha herself comes with her gifts for her Beloved, lovingly arranged on a golden plate. With her own lotus hands she places a garland of precious gems around his neck.

At this time, Bhaguri Muni is given daan in the form of an extremely beautiful and rare cow called a padma gaay. Having just recently given birth, the padma gaay is overflowing with milk, and she is accompanied by her adorable young calf. Draped in fine yellow cloth and decorated with jewelled ornaments, the cow’s horns are adorned with gold and her hooves are covered with silver.

Shri Krishna Honors His Elders

After the gift-giving is over, Krishna comes down from his shringar vedi. He bows to Paurnamasi Devi and offers her money and gifts in charity. Then he bows to his mother and father, to Radharani’s parents Shri Vrishabhanu Baba and Kirtida Mata, and to all the parents assembled there.

Radha Cooks for Krishna

Then Mother Yashoda calls Krishna to come and eat. He goes with his friends to the dining room where they enjoy a light snack. When they have finished eating, Shri Radharani and the other Yutheshwaris like Chandravali and others, sit each with their own sakhis to eat.

Then Mother Yashoda takes only Radha and her sakhis aside, and asks them to begin cooking the main meal. Simultaneously other dishes are being prepared by Brahmins. When the cooking is complete, Yashoda Maiya inspects all the preparations. She is very pleased by what she sees, and instructs Madhumangal to offer the bhog to Shriman Narayan Dev (Shri Krishna’s family deity).

Madhumangal places a bit of each dish in little golden bowls and arranges them on a golden plate. Then he offers the bhog to Shriman Narayan Dev and, when the offering is finished, he performs aarti and puts the Lord to sleep.

In the next section, Siddha Krishna Das Babaji Maharaj describes a special game reminiscent of Holi, during which Shri Krishna and his family and friends throw yoghurt and other milk products at each other in celebration. Although Siddha Baba includes this game in his description of the Janmashtami pastimes, in modern-day Braj this game is usually played on Nandotsav (the day after Janmashtami). Therefore we shall endeavor to bring you this lila tomorrow.

 

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