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Saturday, August 24, 2019

Celebrating Birth of Lord Sri Krishna ~ Gokulashtami 2019

Celebrating Birth of Lord Sri Krishna ~ Gokulashtami  2019

yajna-dana-tapah-karma * na tyajyam karyam eva tat
yajno danam tapas caiva * pavanani manisinam

Acts of sacrifice, charity and penance are not to be given up but should be performed. Indeed, sacrifice, charity and penance purify even the great souls. ~ heavenly advice of Lord Sri Krishna in His Bhagwat Geetha.   The yogis should perform acts for the advancement of human society. There are many purificatory processes for advancing a human being to spiritual life. The Lord says here that any sacrifice which is meant for human welfare should never be given up. All prescribed sacrifices are meant for achieving the Supreme Lord. Therefore, in the lower stages, they should not be given up. Similarly, charity is for the purification of the heart.

Today   24th Aug 2019     is a day of great significance, for we Celebrate the ‘Birth  of Bhagwan Sri Krishna’.  Ithihasa Puranas are the fundamentals to tenets of Vaishnava philosophy and one can learn everything in Sri Ramayana and Mahabaratha.

The dark ocean-hued Lord Krishna should come to our homes – at our homes we should have Him leave His imprints of one foot etched with the conch (Sangam) and the other with the discuss-(Chakram) giving us waves of lasting joy that rise over and over again,  as Lord Krishna comes  toddling.

கண்ணன் பிறந்த இந்நாளை எல்லா திருகோவில்களிலும், எல்லாரது இல்லங்களிலும் சிறப்புற கொண்டாடுகிறோம். யசோதை ஸ்ரீக்ருஷ்ணருடைய திருப்பாதங்களில் ஒன்பது விரல்களுக்கு நவரத்ன வர்ணத்தையும் மற்றொரு விரலுக்குப் பொன்னிறத்தையும்  இட்டு கண்ணனை கொஞ்சி சீராட்டி வளர்த்தாக பெரியாழ்வார் பாடியுள்ளார்.  அந்த குழந்தை கண்ணன் நம் இல்லங்களுக்கு தவழ்ந்து தளர்நடையிட்டு வரும் அனுபத்தை ரசித்து, இல்லங்களில் கண்ணனின் திருப்பாதங்களை வரைந்து,  பூஜை அறையில், கண்ணபிரானை நீராட்டி, புது ஆடை உடுத்தி, அவருக்கு பலவித பழங்களையும் பக்ஷனங்களையும் படைத்தது நாம் கொண்டாடுகிறோம்.

குழவி தளர்நடை காண்டல் இனிதே  .. .. .. தளர்நடை !    குழந்தைகள் வளரும் ஒவ்வொரு பருவமும் ஒவ்வொரு விதமான இனிமை.  குழந்தை தவஸ்த்த பிறகு, நின்று, இரண்டொறு அடிகள் எடுத்து வைக்கும் போது - விழுந்துவிடுமோ என பெற்றோர் ஐயுறுவர்.  இந்த பருவத்திலே  குழந்தைகள் தடுமாறி நடப்பது போன்ற நடை.  தளர்நடை.  மாயக்கண்ணனின் பிறப்பின் ஒவ்வொரு பருவத்தையும் அனுபவித்து பாடிய பெரியாழ்வார் - தளர்நடை பருவத்தையும் சிலாகிக்கிறார். 

ஒருகாலில்சங்கு ஒருகாலில் சக்கரம் உள்ளடி பொறித்தமைந்த
இருகாலும்கொண்டு அங்கங்கு எழுதினாற்போல் இலச்சினை படநடந்து
பெருகா நின்ற இன்பவெள்ளத்தின்மேல் பின்னையும் பெய்துபெய்து
கருகார்க்கடல்வண்ணன் காமர் தாதை தளர்நடை நடவானோ.

மிகவும் கருநிறமுள்ள ஸமுத்ரம் போன்ற திருநிறமுடையவனும், காமதேவனுக்குப் பிதாவுமான சிறுபிள்ளை கண்ணபிரான், ஒரு பாதத்திலே சங்கமும், மற்றொரு பாதத்தில் சக்கரமும் பாதங்களின் உட்புறத்திலே பொறித்து, ரேகையின் வடிவத்தோடு கூடி அமைந்திருக்கப் பெற்ற இரண்டு திருவடிகளினாலும் அவ்வவ்விடங்களிலே அடி  வைத்து, அழகான படத்தை  சித்திரித்ததுபோல இலச்சினை  அடையாளமுண்டாம்படி  அடிவைத்து நடக்கின்ற  வடிவழகைக் கண்டு பொங்குகிற இன்ப வெள்ளத்தின் மேல் ஆநந்தத்தை மிகுதியாக உண்டாக்கிக்கொண்டு தளர்நடை நடக்க வேணுமாய் பிரார்திக்கிறார் நம் பெரியாழ்வார்.

Mathura is the holy place where Lord Krishna was born…. ~ the centre of what is fondly referred as Braj bhoomi.  Remember Lord was born in a prison cell at Mathura, the capital of   Surasena kingdom ruled by Kamsa, the maternal uncle of the Lord.  This is a very old place dating back to Ramayana days.  According to the Archeologists, the Ikshwaku prince Shatrughna slayed a demon called Lavanasura and claimed this  land.  By some accounts this place was a densely wooded Madhuvan.   This place was closely associated with history too.  Centuries later,  Mathura was one of the capitals of Kushan dynasty. Megasthenes, writing in the early 3rd century BCE, mentions Mathura as a great city.

The land of Braj is full of sacred places, revered on account of their being the reputed haunts and homes of Krishna. The pilgrims can never rest until they have made the round of these holy shrines, and hence, especially upon the occasion of Krishna's birthday, called JanmAshtami, falling in the month Bhadon, corresponding with our August-September, in the midst of the rainy season, they may be found by the thousands making the Ban Jathra, or perambulation of Braj. The distance travelled is popularly said to be eighty-four kos, or one hundred and sixty-eight miles, with Mathura as the central point in the circle.  The pilgrims naturally start from the holiest place in the holy city of Mathura, namely, Visrant Ghat. The first halting place is Mahaban, some four or five miles southwest of Mathura, in the present village of Maholi, lying back from the river about the same distance. This is the reputed place, as has been before related, where Rama's brother, Satrughna, founded the city of Madhupura, which Hindu classic literature from the earliest period identifies with Mathura.

 The birth of Lord Sri Krishna at Mathura to Vasudeva and Devaki is celebrated with gaiety everywhere.  While some celebrate the coming of Lord Krishna to this Universe on Ashtami day as ‘Gokulashtami’ – in South India, it is more with the star of ‘Rohini’ and the birth day is being celebrated as : Krishna Jayanthi, Janmashtami, Gokulaashtami, Sri Jayanthi and more – all various names celebrating the birth of Bhagwan Lord Sri Krishna in this Universe on the Ashtami (8th day of dark half of Krishna paksha) on the Rohini Nakshathiram.  This year, Srijayanthi is being  celebrated grandly at Thiruvallikkeni and other divyadesams today 24th Aug 2019.

At the place where Lord Krishna was born now exists a Temple popularly known as ‘Janmasthan temple’  -  Kesava Deo Temple considered most sacred for all Hindus.  There is a huge complex comprising of a small temple, the Janmasthan, gallery, a huge temple later built by Dalmiyas – the prison cell – the exact place where Lord Krishna was born is under a doom – all heavily fortified and guarded these days.  At the Janmasthan is the most beautiful  Kehsav Dev(Krishna), the worshipped  deity of this temple. According to traditions the original deity was installed by the  great-grandson of Krishna.  This temple is considered a monument of Gupta period (320 to 550 CE)which was destroyed in 1661 CE by Aurangzeb. Vrindavan is the twin town of Mathura and there are other holy places of Gokulam and Govardhana giri – all in the vicinity.  

Krishna's birthplace is shown at the back of the Katra, near the site of the temple of Kesva Deva, now occupied by the mosque of Aurangzeb, built in 1669. It is on the margin of a large quadrangular tank called Potara  Kund, where it is said Krishna's "baby linen" was washed. It is a small room called Janam Bhoomi, "the birthplace/' or Karagrah, "the prison house," where the parents of Krishna, Basudeva and Devaki, were imprisoned. Apart from inscriptions and other fragmentary archaeological vestiges of its ancient glory, the first authentic contemporary record of Mathura that we find in existing literature is dated the year 1017 A.D., when it was sacked by Mahmud of Ghazni in his ninth invasion of India. The original source of information recording Mahmud’s campaigns is the Tarikh Yamini of A1 Utbi, who was himself secretary to the Sultan, though he did not accompany him in his expeditions. Years later, after reign of Shahjahan,  Murshid Ali Khan, in the year 1636, made a commander of 2,000 horse, and appointed by the Emperor Governor of Mathura and Maha-ban, with express instructions to be zealous in stamping out all rebellion and idolatry. The climax of wanton destruction was, however, attained by Aurangzeb, the Oliver Cromwell of India, who, not content with demolishing the most sacred of its shrines, thought also to destroy even the ancient name of the city by substituting for Islamabad. Mathura was casually connected important events in his life as  born here  in 1639, his eldest son, Muhammad Sultan, who expiated the sin of primogeniture in the Oriental fashion by ending his days in a dungeon, as one of the first acts of his father, on his accession to the throne, was to confine him in the fortress of Gwaliar  fortress of Gwaliar, where he died in 1665. . 

In 1944, Madan Mohan Malviya was distressed at plight of the site and arranged for purchase of land from Raja Krishna Das of Benaras; then  Jugal Kishore Birla of Birla group took  the leading role to fulfill the wishes of Malviyaji and formed a private trust in 1951 to which the rights of land were later transferred. Jaidayal Dalmia of Dalmia Group was another leading personality, who took untiring efforts and the temple was finally constructed over the site. The trust which runs the temple has a glorious list of Trustees besides Birla and Dalmia family members.  Though this modern temple attracts pilgrims, the original place of birth lies within the complex -  a small room  of  a prison cell, where it is  fully believed that Lord Krishna was born.  There is a mosque overlooking this place. 

Born in this land and following Lord Sri Krishna, we are blessed to have received His upadesams ~ the most sacred ‘Bhagavad Gita’ -  also known as Gitopanishad. It is the essence of Vedic knowledge.   It is handed over to mortals by Bhagwan Sri Krishna Himself. For a Srivaishnavaite, the simplest karma is to worship Lord Krishna, fall at His golden feet, follow Him truthfully, do service to Him and to His bhagavatas.

அடியேன் ஸ்ரீனிவாசதாசன்   [ஸ்ரீ சம்பத்குமார்]
24th Aug 2019.

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