Shri Krishna Bhagwan is a popular Hindu deity for millions around the world. He manifested on earth thousands of years ago on the Hindu calendrical day of Shravan Vad 8. This year, that auspicious day fell on Wednesday 12 August.
His birth anniversary was celebrated at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London, with a host of devotional festivities, including a ceremonial offering of food (the ‘annakut’), singing, chanting, and an arti signifying the holy birth.
This year’s Janmashtami festival also marked the beginning of the series of events celebrating the 25th anniversary of London Mandir. This was fitting, as the Mandir’s inauguration festivities in 1995 had also begun with Shri Krishna Janmashtami.
The festival was further celebrated through an online evening assembly which began auspiciously with images of swamis lighting traditional divas (oil lamps) under the central dome in the inner sanctum, reciprocated by devotees in their homes.
The teachings of Shri Krishna, specifically his message of faith and loyalty, were presented through an enlightening programme that included bhajans sung eloquently by swamis, a captivating drama, and insightful discourses.
Yogvivekdas Swami reflected upon Krishna Bhagwan’s intense love for and protection of his devotees, drawing upon incidents from the Mahabharat and Shrimad Bhagwat Puran. Video blessings of Mahant Swami Maharaj from the 2015 Janmashtami celebrations also reiterated this message, encouraging devotees to remain faithful to God.
The festivities culminated with the divine birth of Shri Krishna signified by the arti followed by the joyous swinging of the paranu (swing) accompanied with vibrant devotional singing.