August 16, 2009
North America

The enthusiasm and spiritual dedication of BAPS devotees becomes the most apparent during the festival celebrations as children, youth, and adults observe fasts, decorate the Mandir halls, and prepare for an elaborate assembly complete with vedic shlokas, traditional dances, meaningful skits and thought-provoking discourses. Shravan Vad 8, or Janmanshtami, which marks the birth of Bhagwan Shri Krishna, one of the most venerated incarnations in the Hindu Dharma, was similarly celebrated on Sunday, August 16, 2009 at all mandirs in BAPS North America.

The divine personality of Shri Krishna as understood through the Bhagvad Gita, guided the evening assembly which started with shlokas from the scripture, dhoon, and prarthana. A brief presentation showed the vital role of scriptures in spiritual endeavors and the canonical position held by the Bhagvad Gita; here, Bhagwan Shri Krishna reveals the path to self-realization to his staunchest disciple, Arjun.

Bhajans sung in accompaniment with various musical instruments spoke of the glory of Shri Krishna and the virtues of an ideal devotee; Krishna Leela, the musical, performed with relevant costumes, dialects, and special effects, transported the audience to the Mathura and Dwarika of Shri Krishna’s time. And witty, yet humorous skits presented the message of true love between a bhakta and Bhagwan.

Learned sadhus conducted thematic discourses on the Mahabharat to further highlight the utmost compassion Bhagwan has for His devotees, and the characteristics of a devotee worthy of such compassion. The assembly also included Swamishri’s event-related video blessings and the evening arti.

The festive atmosphere of the evening was escalated as children and youth performed a grand dance showcasing the ethnic styles of dancing. Later, everyone joined in the singing of “Nand gher anand bhayo, Jai Kanaiyalal ki! Hathi, ghoda, palkhi, Jai Kaniayalal ki…” and lovingly cradled the child form of Shri Krishna in an ornate swing.

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