JKYog Global Janmashtami Mahotsav - a virtual cultural and religious feast broadcast on Aug 11-12 via JKYog worldwide headquarters, the Radha Krishna Temple of Dallas and attended virtually by thousands worldwide - was a celebration of Krishna Janmashtami in the true spirit, with Bhakti or selfless devotion for the Lord at the center of it all. The recently inaugurated Radha Krishna Temple of Dallas Cultural and Educational Center presented live Krishna-Leela from Vrindavan and a stupendous cultural program with high calibre artistes on the occasion. The event was widely covered by world media.  
Janmashtami undoubtedly is the most important festival in Hinduism, signaling the beginning of the festival season that starts in August and ends in October during Diwali. Despite a pandemic, JKYog and the Radha Krishna Temple of Dallas, made it possible via the live broadcast for devotees globally, to honor this timeless tradition of welcoming the Lord into their homes. All of India unites in paying tribute to Shree Krishna - the flute playing stealer of hearts who rescues souls from the cycle of birth and death. 
During the Janmashtami Mahotsav, the Radha Krishna Temple of Dallas showcased the diversity of Janmashtami traditions across different parts of India: : Braj Jhankis(tableaus), enactment of the pastimes of Shree Krishna(Krishna Leela), Dahi Handi decorations, Children’s Fancy Dress, devotional kirtan, classical dance and music, Aarti, Abhishek and Bhog.
JKYog founder Swami Mukundananda, senior disciple of Jagadguru Shri Kripaluji Maharaj (5th original Jagadguru, Vedic Scholar of gigantic proportions and propounder of Bhakti Yog) , and a global spiritual leader, delivered a rousing discourse over two days on the significance of Janmashtami, specifically the mercy of God in taking the beautiful, loving personal form of Shree Krishna to enhance our Bhakti.
“It was about five thousand years ago that the master of infinite universes, the all-pervading, descended in His personal form on our planet Earth and displayed such wonderful pastimes that endeared the minds of one and all. The father of all became the son of Nand and Yashoda. He who is without beginning or end, was willing to be tied up in the rope of love of Yashoda. “, said Swamiji.
It is this divine sweetness of Shree Krishna that the festival of Janmashtami celebrates - encouraging the spirit of selfless love or Bhakti, that makes the all-powerful Lord the slave of his devotees.
Swamiji’s blissful, captivating lectures were focused on the importance of developing faith and therefore love for God, His incarnations and pastimes based on Vedic knowledge.
Common questions surround the birth and existence of God which affect our ability to develop love for Him, due to a lack of faith. Did Shree Krishna really exist or was His descension just a story someone made up? Is God born like an ordinary child is born? If God takes a form, how can He exist in multiple places at the same time?...and so on. While these questions are valid, one must strive to move past them with the bonafide knowledge of the scriptures to fulfill the purpose of human life - developing selfless Bhakti for God.
Why exactly does God incarnate? Shree Krishna states in the Bhagavad Gita:
To protect the righteous, to annihilate the wicked, and to reestablish the principles of dharma I appear on this earth, age after age. - Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 4 Verse 8.
However, the all-powerful God does not need to take on a personal form to do such works. He also always takes care of devotees like a mother protects the child, when they surrender to Him. God is Happiness and thus needs nothing for Himself.
Karan Hari avatar ko, kripa akaran jan.
Apar jite karan kahe, tinahin gaun kari man.
- Bhakti Shatak verse 56, Jagadguru Shri Kripaluji Maharaj
All the reasons for Krishna's descension that are described in the scriptures are correct, but the foremost reason is only to causelessly grace the souls.
Therefore, the real reason that God descends is to help others alone; to help them purify their minds, contemplate on His divine names, forms, pastimes, attributes, and abodes and thus attain Bhakti for Him. This is the secret of God’s incarnation.
The ecstatic chants by the Radha Krishna Temple of Dallas kirtan team, forcibly drowned the hearts of devotees in the nectarine pastimes of Baby Krishna featured in the compositions of Jagadguru Shri Kripaluji Maharaj.
One of the kirtans “Latapatata Nandalala Chalata Sakhi” beautifully portrayed Baby Krishna faltering as he walked. The gopis of Braj are totally absorbed in the adorable sight of little Shree Krishna, as He pitter patters across the floor like a toddler, His “pitambar” coming loose!
Swamiji expounded on two endearing Pads:
He painted an adorable mental picture of Baal Gopal trying to wake up from sleep at Mother Yashoda’s insistence, in the beautiful Pad Vyakhya - “Nainana Neenda Bhare Uthe Hari” composed by Jagadguru Shri Kripaluji Maharaj. The nectar of Shree Krishna’s eyes in the half-awake state are unmatched!
Swamiji also described another composition, "Paya Bhala Guru Gyan Maiya Mai To" - where little Shri Krishna justifies why he should eat mud to Yashoda Maiya in the most adorable way! Yashoda Maiya, worried sick about this bad habit, finally convinces Him to not do so, giving the reason that trees may grow out of Him if He eats mud!
The festival excitement and devotional bliss - beginning with loving Abhishek of Bal Gopal, performed by Swamiji - reached a crescendo when our beloved Baby Krishna was welcomed at midnight with jubilant chants of “Nanda ke Anand Bhaiyo, Jai Kanhaiya Lal ki”. Amid cake cutting, offering Bhog of makhan-misri, dhol and dancing, devotees took turns to hold Baby Krishna, swing Him(Jhulan) and He was showered with flowers! Swamiji himself danced with joy!
Watch the celebration here.
Beautiful Bhog of 56 items was offered on the second day. The event also featured live Krishna Leela by the Bansuri group from Vrindavan which brought the bucolic bliss of Shree Krishna’s homeland of Braj, to the drawing rooms of devotees. Watch the Krishna Leela here.
The very scene of Shree Krishna’s divine appearance day in Braj from 5000 years ago, was brought to life vividly in the minds of all devotees through all these combined festivities, thus heightening their feelings of transcendental bliss and Bhakti.
World renowned exponents of Indian classical music and dance offered deeply devotional performances that forcibly tugged at the heartstrings of viewers. They showcased compositions by saints in different languages, joined together by the singular thread of Bhakti.
Vidushi Debamitra Sengupta, Odissi exponent(ICCR Empaneled Artiste) and disciple of Padmavibhushan Late Kelucharan Mohapatra, delighted and enthralled everyone with Raas-Leela(based on Padabali Kirtans of Bengal) depicting a divine dance competition between Shree Radha Krishna, ending in Shree Radha letting Shree Krishna win. Shree Krishna then applies red paint on Her feet and the Gopis marvel at the Lord becoming a devotee of His devotee.
Grammy nominated musician Vidwan Sikkil C. Gurucharan, Carnatic vocalist, captured the hearts of listeners and transported them to the divine realm with his deeply devotional renditions of the Ashtapadis of Jayadeva (from the Gita Govinda, highlighting selfless Bhakti) and the Tarangams of Sri Narayana Teertha (pastimes of Shree Krishna from his birth to his marriage). His presentation ended with unforgettable chants of “Radhe Radhe”.
Mohiniattam is a traditional classical dance from Kerala. Vidushi Dr. Deepti Omchery Bhalla is one of the foremost exponents of this dance form and a Sangeet Natak Akademi awardee/ICCR Empaneled Artistes - Outstanding Category. The dance is characterized by soft swaying movements and based on compositions of Lord Krishna/Padmanabha/Vishnu. Dr. Bhalla and her group delivered an extremely blissful, captivating performance that awakened sentiments of Bhakti in the viewers. Particularly the presentation on the 10th Ashtapadi from Jayadeva’s Gita Govindam, where a gopi requests Radha Rani to grace the pining and lovesick Shree Krishna with Her darshan, was exquisite!
Vidwan Dr Vijaykumar Krishnan(Carnatic musician, music teacher/researcher, winner of Kasturi Ranga Iyengar Memorial award, Music Academy Madras), sees music as a route to the divine and a way to surrender to God. His mesmerizing vocal/instrumental violin performance reflected the same thought - starting with the famous Bhaja Govindam composed by Adi Jagadguru Shankaracharya about the transience of human life and ending in the composition of Surdas on Gajendra Moksham - a desperate plea for deliverance in total surrender to God.
Vidushi Indrani Mukherjee is an Indian Classical Vocalist, an exponent of Khayal (Kirana - Rampur style) and Thumri (Purab Ang). Mukherjee is an "A" Grade in AIR, ICCR Empaneled Hindustani Vocal Artist, outstanding category. The sublime purity of her vocals beautifully mirrored the utter devotion reflected in compositions of saints such as “Nirbal ke Bal Ram” by Surdas. She evoked sentiments of divine longing(More Naina Barsan Lage) by masterfully juggling emphasis on musical variations and lyrics alternately.
Watch all the performance videos at the links below:
Watch these endearing pastimes of Shree Krishna narrated by Swami Mukundananda!
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