Radhanath Swami explains the reason for Lord Krishna’s descent to this material world:
He does not come to this world to try to enjoy the resources of material nature. In the spiritual world of Vaikuntha, the Lord is eternally engaging in the most blissful, loving exchanges with the pure souls who are His eternal devotees.
Krishna explains in the Gita,
‘paritrānāya sādhūnām vināśāya ca duskrtām
dharma-samsthāpanārthāya sambhavāmi yuge yuge.
This material existence is a place of birth and death. Duhkhalayam asasvatam. It is a place where there is so much envy and hatred amongst people. It is a place where all living beings are condemned to the threefold miseries, adhyatmika, adidaivika and adibhautika, miseries inflicted by one’s own body and mind, miseries inflicted by natural disturbances like too much rain, earth quakes, too much cold, too much heat and miseries caused by other living beings. And no one can escape these threefold miseries. However wealthy we may be, however educated we may be, however much temporarily we may be in good health with great power and influence, still we see that people who have all these opulence must suffer. Therefore, the supreme lord personally descends into this world simply to reveal the way by which we can attain true happiness and peace. The real perfection of our life is to live by the message that Krishna gives us. Bhagavad gita teaches the process by which we can achieve the highest joy of pure devotional service and how to give it to others. When we celebrate Janmashtami, it should be a time when we commit ourselves and dedicate ourselves to live by the will of Lord Krishna. This is the real celebration.
Krishna is the proprietor of all that exists:
Krishna explains in the Gita that the eternal soul which is living within the heart of every living being is eternal, full of knowledge and full of bliss by nature. And this material body that the soul is temporarily dwelling within is by nature subjected to birth, old age, disease and death. When the soul forgets its own spiritual quality and identifies with this dying body which is being consumed by time at every moment that is the cause of all sufferings and all disunity within this creation. And the way to escape all the sufferings of this existence is simply to realize our eternal pure nature as part of God as the spirit soul, not this body. And how to do this? Krishna explains, we have to live according to His instructions. We have to learn to see everything within this world as the property of God. And we must know that we cannot be the owner of anything. The real purpose of everything is to be used in the service of Krishna. Our body, our minds, our wealth, our family, all of our abilities, everything is meant to be used in the service of Krishna, because Krishna is the proprietor of all that exists. To the extent we claim these things to be our own, we are bound by the laws of karma.
bhoktāraḿ yajña-tapasāḿ sarva-loka-maheśvaram
suhṛdaḿ sarva-bhūtānāḿ jñātvā māḿ śāntim ṛcchati.
To know that Krishna is the proprietor of all that exists, that everything is meant for His enjoyment, to be used in His service; and to trust that He is our true friend, that is the path of real peace. And that is real wealth.
Krishna’s pastimes as a little baby:
When Krishna was just a small child living in Vrindavan, Gokul, one time a lady came to the village and she was selling fresh fruits. And she called ‘if anyone would like to buy fruits, please come.’ So Krishna, He wanted to enjoy nice fruits. So He used to see Yasodamayi, His mother, sometimes buying by trading grains for whatever else she would like. At this time, He was very small child and He filled His hands with grains but taking the role of an ordinary little baby, as He was running, the grains were falling from His fingers. When He arrived, there was only 2-3 little grains left in His hand. But His beauty and His charm was so attractive that when He looked at the lady and He said ‘please give me some fruits’, she became so much overwhelmed with love that she filled His arms with as many fruits as He could hold. Krishna was so happy that with His hands filled with fruits, He ran home. And when the fruit vendor turned around, she looked in her basket and her basket which was at one time filled with fruit, was filled, overflowing with the most valuable, precious jewels. Krishna wanted to show us that what we give to Krishna, we should never think that we are the loser. But by offering whatever we are given by God in His loving service, we become the greatest, most richest and happiest beings. But who was this little Krishna, who is running and who could not even hold the grains in His hand? He was the supreme personality of Godhead. We must understand Krishna as He is. When He appeared in the prison cell of Kamsa in Mathura as the son of Devaki and Vasudev, from the womb of Devaki, He appeared in His splendid form of Lord Narayan. He appeared holding His conch shell, His disc, His club and lotus flower with His four celestial arms. He was bedecked with beautiful jewels and a golden crown and a wonderful garland of celestial flowers. From the very beginning of His appearance in this world, He revealed Himself to be the absolute truth, the cause of all causes and the God of all. But for the pleasure of His devotees, on the request of Devaki, He transformed into His beautiful form of BalGopal.
Krishna’s inconceivable pastimes with His dear devotees and with the wicked demons:
Although in one hand, He is a baby child, He killed the mighty witch demon Putana; on the other hand, He would cry for His mother’s milk. On one hand, He lifted the Govardhan hill for seven days with the little finger of His left hand when He was a small child; and on the other hand, when mother Yasoda would request a plank of wood as a sitting place, with great, great difficulty, He would struggle and strain to lift it to bring it to His mother. And when Nanda Maharaj was going into his temple of worship, He would ask Krishna to bring his wooden shoes and Krishna would take the wooden shoes of His father Nanda and place it on His head and with great difficulty, trying to carry this load, He would look like He was about to fall at any second and He was struggling and straining to bring the shoes to His father. Giridhari Bhagavan ki Jai!! On one hand, Krishna is stealing butter from the pots of the Gopis and He appears like He is so hungry for that butter that He is willing to create so much mischief just to steal it. And sometimes, when He breaks the pot of butter, mother Yasoda chases after Him with stick and He runs away trembling in fear with tears in His eyes. On the other hand, when Krishna’s Gopa friends accuse that He had eaten dirt and mother Yasoda looked in His mouth, she saw the entire universe contained within His mouth. And even the greatest, most super natural powers of the world, Indra and Brahma were bowing at His feet trembling in fear. We must understand that Krishna’s pastimes are completely transcendental. When Krishna has His wonderful Rasalila with the gopis, we should know that it has nothing to do with the attraction between male and female of this world. But the greatest sannyasis like Shankaracharya, Ramanujam acharya, Madhwacharya, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Sukadeva Goswami, Rup and Sanatan, they glorify this Rasalila as the purest, most perfect expression of divine love.
Krishna celebrates His birthday to show how much He loves His devotees:
When Krishna appears in this world, He comes to attract our hearts again to hearing His glories and chanting His holy names. And this is the most perfect method of religion, to hear and chant the glories of Lord Krishna. It is a great mystery… although Krishna is the supreme power that is the source of all energy, He appears like an ordinary child just to attract our love. One day, Krishna was playing with His friends, so many nice games. At that time, He was only approximately 3-4 years old. And Rohini Devi came and requested Balaramji, her son, the brother of Krishna ‘please Krishna Balaram, it’s time for lunch and You are so late. Your father is waiting for You. Please come home. But Krishna was so busy playing with His friends that He and Balaramji didn’t hear the words of Rohini. So Rohini Devi went back and told Yasodamayi. And Yasodamayi came and she said ‘oh beautiful lotus-eyed Krishna! Oh Gopal, most attractive love of my life, please come and drink the milk from my breast. It’s very late and You have missed Your lunch. Please come home just now. Your most beautiful and charming features are the attraction and the soul of my heart.’ At that time, Krishna and Balaram, being so much attracted by the sweet loving words of Their mother began to return home. But Their friends became very much angry with Them. They said, ‘Krishna and Balaram, You are ruining our game by leaving. Our playing is just at its summit. If You leave now, we will never let You play with us again.’ So Krishna, Balaram became so much afraid of displeasing the friends and not being allowed to play again that They again started to play. Krishna, who is feared by fear personified; who Brahma, Vishnu, Siva, Indra, they all come down to bow at His lotus feet, He is frightened that His friends will not allow Him to play tomorrow. So They began to play. At that time, Yasodamayi became very angry. She began to chastise all the cowherd boys and chastise Krishna and Balaram. ‘What do You think, You are like a street child? Just staying out all day? You are playing in the dirt and You are all dirty. And Your father has been waiting for so long for You. You must come home right now. It is my order. You must come and let me give You bath and put fresh clothes on You. You must come home and allow me to decorate You with beautiful flowers and jewellery. Besides, You have forgotten, today is Your birthday. And You must come home and we must give cows in charity to the Brahmins for Your birthday.’ So Krishna came home with Yasoda Devi. And to celebrate His birthday, mother Yasoda, through Krishna and Balaram, gave beautiful decorated cows to the Brahmins. So in Vrindavan, this is the way Krishna celebrates Janmashtami, by giving sacred holy cows to the Brahmins, to the great devotees. So we can understand how preciously dear the devotees are to Krishna. He is bhakta-vatsal. He loves to give pleasure to His devotees. namo brahmanya-devaya-go-brahmana-hitaya ca jagad-hitaya krsnaya govindaya namo namah. Krishna celebrates His own birthday by showing the world how dear His devotees are to Him and how dear the cows are to Him. Haribol!
Krishna appears in Kaliyuga within the sound of His holy name :
So this is the supreme personality of Godhead performing such charming pastimes just to attract our hearts. But why our hearts are not so attracted to these beautiful lilas of the Lord? Because they are covered by material attachments. And when these material attachments are removed from our hearts, automatically we become spontaneously attracted to chanting Krishna’s name and hearing His glories and performing all our work in His loving service. Therefore, Lord Sri Krishna appears in this age of Kaliyuga as the yuga avatar Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to teach us how to love Krishna through the simple process of the chanting of the holy names. Kali–kale nama–rupe krsna–avatara. In the age of Kali, Krishna appears within the sound of His name and all the power, glory and all the attractive qualities of Krishna are fully manifested in every syllable of His name and by chanting this holy name, everyone and anyone can attain pure love of Krishna. And Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, who is Krishna Himself, extracted the most powerful and the most sublime mantra of all the Vedic hymns. And that is the chanting of the Hare Krishna maha mantra.
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
This Hare Krishna maha mantra is the prime benediction for all humanity. It doesn’t matter whether one is young or old, rich or poor, educated or uneducated, whether one is of a high caste or a low caste, whether one is of one religion or another, the eternal soul of every living being is awakened through the glorious hearing and chanting of the holy names.
The person who sacrificed his life to give the world the greatest gift of charity:
In this age of Kaliyuga, no one has the capacity to properly perform silent meditation, yagna or deity worship in such a way to perfect their lives. But simply by sincerely chanting the holy names, we can achieve the perfection of all other processes of religion. And the greatest gift of charity in this entire world is to induce another person to take the holy names of Krishna. And the greatest giver of charity is that great personality who took the pure essence of sanatana dharma and the name of Krishna to every continent in this world. And there is only one personality in our modern history who has sacrificed his life to bestow such love and mercy upon the world. And that was His Divine Grace Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad. Srila Prabhupad, at the age of 70 years old, with no money was given passage on a cargo ship from Calcutta to New York across the turbulent oceans. He didn’t know anyone, he had nowhere to go. There were only three things in his possession. Complete faith in the instruction of guru and Krishna, a heart full of pure love and compassion for all the sufferings of humanity and the chanting of the holy names of Krishna. He has revealed Krishna throughout the entire world by inducing everyone to chant His holy names. And by his great love, at this particular time, Americans, Europeans, Russians, Africans, Chinese, Indians, people of every race and every nationality on the planet, they are all celebrating Janmashtami by coming together to chant the holy names. So when you go home tonight, you should take with you the gift that Srila Prabhupad has given, the gift of Krishna’s most intimate mercy in the form of His holy name. And please, kindly every day, regularly, chant the holy name of Krishna, this maha mantra with great attention. And please, take, kindly, some of our Gurudev’s books who is presenting the teachings of Gita in such an easy and practical way by which we can live our lives and live a pure life without committing sins that further entangle us in misery. And regularly come and associate with the lord’s devotees. Here, in Mira Road and Bhayandar, there are so many wonderful devotees, nice temples, please come and join us every week and chant and dance and hear the truth and take nice Krishna Prasad. Can you tell them where these satsangs are? This is all that is required to perfect our life to regularly associate with such wonderful devotees – to avoid illicit sex, intoxication, gambling, meat eating; to regularly hear the wonderful teachings and the wonderful pastimes of Lord Krishna and to chant His holy names.