Swami holding materialized image of Krishna on the beach near Dwaraka, May 1968
Krishnajanmashtami is celebrated to commemorate the birthday of Lord Krishna. Man's Hridaya (heart) is the birthplace of Krishna. To worry over why Krishna and Rama were born on such inauspicious Thithis (8th and 9th phases of the waning and waxing moon) is foolish. It is only when the Hridaya becomes cool, pure and peaceful like the Himachala (the Himalayan mountains), that is the true birthday of Krishna. God makes such a heart His dwelling place which is pure, sacred and peaceful.
Krishna had to wage a number of wars during His lifetime. That is why elders say that the birthday of Krishna, Ashtami, is associated with difficulties. When Krishna was born, the day was Ashtami and the star was Rohini. It is a common belief that whoever is born with such a combination of day and star, will face hardships throughout his life. There is another belief that such a person will be the emancipator of the nation. Krishna destroyed the wicked and protected the righteous. He established Dharma. Hence, do not consider the time of Krishna's advent to be inauspicious. It is a noble and a sacred day.
Right from the beginning till the end, the tasks performed by Krishna were wonderful, sacred, mysterious and beyond human comprehension. Therefore, it is not proper to consider the birthday of Krishna to be inauspicious. It is a highly sacred day and is to be celebrated with unbounded joy.
Divine Discourse: August 19, 2003
Sweeter than sugar, tastier than curd, sweeter indeed than honey is the Name of Krishna. Constant repetition of this sweet Name gives one the taste of divine nectar itself. Therefore, one should contemplate on the Name of Krishna incessantly. Since ancient times, the nectarous principle of Krishna has fascinated young and old alike. Right from His advent Krishna made people forget themselves in ecstasy with His Divine pranks enchanting music and inexpressible bliss.
n Dvaapara Yuga women experienced Krishna's Divinity more. In fact, it was they who revealed the story of God through their devotion. Once some Brahmins were performing Gayatri Yajna in a forest. Krishna told the cowherds to bring some food from the Yajnashala as He and His brother Balarama were very hungry. When the cowherds requested the Brahmins for food they turned them away saying, "Do you think it is a choultry to feed you as and when you ask? No. Wait till the Yajna is completed. If there is anything left after we eat our food, then we will give you." When this was conveyed to Krishna, he advised them to approach the women who were preparing the food at the backside of the Yajnashala. As per His advice, the cowherd boys went and saw the ladies preparing bobbatlu (a delicious sweet item). They asked those women, "Mothers, our Krishna and Balarama are hungry, can you give them some food?" The women were extremely happy for having got an opportunity to serve Krishna. Immediately, they packed whatever food items they had prepared and took them to Krishna. Some women raised an objection as to how could they serve food to Krishna (who belonged to the cowherd clan) before it was offered to their husbands (Brahmins). But their objection was brushed aside and Krishna and Balarama were fed the items that were prepared. They considered Krishna as God.
I wish to emphasise in this context that during the lifetime of any Avatar, it is only the women who recognise the divinity first. They are the people who lead their husbands to divinity. It is only because of the devotion of women that men cultivate devotion to some extent at least. But for women, men will not have devotion at all. It is said that a house without a lady is literally a forest. Women are identified with Bhakti (devotion) and men are identified with Jnana (wisdom) since time immemorial. Women can enter even the inner precincts of a palace, whereas men are permitted to go only up to the Durbar hall (court room). It means that Jnana will lead you up to God. Bhakti, on the other hand will take you to His heart. That is why such a great value has been attached to Bhakti. In fact, it was Gopikas who were responsible for the spread of Bhakti Tatthva (path of devotion) in the world.
Divine Discourse: August 31, 2002
When was Krishna actually born? He was born 3228 years before the Christian era on 20th July at 3 a.m. As this is 2001 A.D., today He will be 5229 years old. In the auspicious month of Sravana, in the Bahulapaksha (brighter fortnight), on Ashtami day (8th day of the phase of the moon) under the star Rohini, the holy child was born. This confluence of Ashtami and Rohini has resulted in the occurrence of many marvelous events. At that time, there was a demoness named Balanthaki. Her real name was not known to any and she was generally known by the name Poothana. It was her practice to wander from village to village and kill infants with poisoned milk. In the course of her wanderings, she came to Repalle. She took on a beautiful form and entered Yashoda's house and started feeding her poisoned milk to the infant Krishna. The infant Krishna sucked out along with the milk and the poison her entire lifeblood until she fell dead. Yashoda came running to Krishna as she heard the thud of Poothana falling down. Seeing the dead demoness, Yashoda questioned Krishna as to why He went to her. Krishna replied, "Mother, I did not go to her, in fact, it is she who came to Me. It is my duty to kill this cruel demoness who had come with the evil intention of killing Me.".
As He grew up, He started taking the cows for grazing every day into the forest along with other cowherd boys. One day as they were lost in playing games, the cows moved to some other forest. Suddenly there was a big surge of flames in the forest. Frightened by the fire, the Gopalas started praying to Krishna to save them and their cows. Krishna dispelled their fear by saying everything would be all right and told them to close their eyes for some time. Gopalas never disobeyed Krishna and did as He said. After some time, the raging fire was extinguished and the cows started returning safely. Amazed by this experience, the Gopalas went about sharing this miracle with others in the village. They said, "Krishna is no ordinary being, He is verily God as it is not possible for anybody to perform such a miracle."
On this sacred Krishnashtami day, I affirm to you that soon the entire world, be it Pakistan, China, Germany, Russia or any other country big or small of this world will be our friend. This shall be our resolve. Our natural goodness is an assisting factor for this. This is the root cause of this hope for unity. Unity contains purity and purity leads to Divinity. You should strive to achieve the triad of unity, purity and divinity.
Divine Discourse: August 11, 2001
People worship God with devotion and sincerity, but God is not satisfied with external worship. You should serve the society. Only service can confer bliss on you. By rendering service to the society, not only can you alleviate the sufferings of the people, but you can also bring about transformation in their lives. Yad Bhavam Tad Bhavati (as is the feeling, so is the result). If you serve with sacred feelings, it is bound to yield sacred results. Serve the society to your utmost capacity.
Do not take pride in your youth and wealth. They are like passing clouds. So, do not entertain excessive desires. Do your duty sincerely. Whatever happens, be it good or bad, accept it as the gift of God. Understand that it is good for you. Time is the most precious gift of God, but you are wasting it in vain pursuits and unsacred feelings. Sanctify the time given to you by serving the society. Through service alone can one get rid of ego, pomp and other evil qualities. The Vedas say, Chitthasya Shuddaye Karmaha (the goal of action is the purity of the mind). Service alone can purify the mind. That is why they are unable to experience peace of mind. The peace that one gets out of worldly activities comes and goes like a passing cloud. One should aspire for the true and eternal peace, which originates from the heart.
What is your Dharma? You should lead the life of a human being. Remind yourself that you are a human being, not an animal. Having been born as a human being, you should cultivate human values. Do not behave like an animal. Adhere to truth and righteousness. The entire creation is based on truth. Where there is truth, there you find plenty and prosperity. Human life is not meant to enjoy physical comforts and conveniences, which are momentary. It is meant to set an ideal to the rest of the world. Having lived all these years, what is the ideal that you have set? What is it that you have achieved? Put a question to yourself. The answer is a big zero. You might have done a few good deeds in life, but they pale in comparison with the number of bad deeds you have performed. That is not the quality of a human being. Cultivate good thoughts, speak good words and perform good deeds. That is true humanness. The names of ancient sages and seers are remembered even today because of the good deeds they performed. Do unto others what you do unto yourself. Satisfy your conscience. That is your Dharma. Do not follow the dictates of body, for body is like a water bubble. Do not indiscriminately follow the mind, for the mind is like a mad monkey. Follow the conscience, i.e., the principle of Atma.
Divine Discourse: August 22, 2000
Today we are celebrating the Birthday of Krishna. You are attaching importance to His body, but not to His teachings. You will be celebrating Krishna's Birthday in the true spirit of the term only when you put His teachings into practice.
All the actions that you undertake must be sacred. There should be harmony in your thought, word and deed. The proper study of mankind is man. "Work is Worship", "Duty is God". This was the teaching of our ancient seers. Consider all activities as an offering to God and all work as God's work. Just as two wings are essential for a bird to soar high in the sky, two wheels for a cycle to move, Prema (Love) and Seva (service) are essential for man to reach his destination. No benefit accrues from rendering service devoid of love. Do not expect any returns for your acts of service. The satisfaction which you derive from rendering service is itself a reward.
People merely say, "Krishna, Krishna," as they go round or pass-by a temple. Of what value is such part-time devotion? They are mere name's sake Bhaktas. You must strive to earn the great wealth of God's love. God is omnipresent in all His attributes. One experiences this unity. Ramadasa also had this experience. Thaneesha put him in jail, but he never gave up the name of Rama. "O Rama! When all is your form, how can I be apart from you,", he prayed.
There are those who sit in Dhyana or meditative postures. But their minds are in the market or in hair dressing shop. Is this Dhyana or Japa? The mind should be immersed in Krishna. Instead it is filled with desires (Trishna). What is needed is Krishna not Trishna. Krishna will fulfil all your Trishnas.
Divine Discourse: September 3, 1999
Though all incarnations are Divine, Krishna avatara was special in this sense that He spent all his time smiling and smiling, full of love. At no point of time, He was angry. He was always smiling. This is the main quality of God. God has no trace of ego or pride or jealousy whatsoever.
Love has no reason. Love is the basis for love. Only through this love, we can attain God. Any other spiritual pursuits give us the temporary joy and not the permanent bliss. Only through the principle of love and its practice, we can recognize and realize the embodiment of love. Where is this love? This love is within us, but we divert this love in different ways. We have a variety of sweets, but the same sugar is present in all of them. Similarly, the Divine love is inherent and immanent in everybody. There is no human heart in which there is no love. So, we should visualize the love which is in everybody. To teach this path of love, Krishna incarnated. Krishna said, "Yadaa, Yadaahi Dharrmasya Glaanir Bhavathi Bharatha; abhyuthaanamadharrmasya, Tadaatmaanam Srujaamyaham." Whenever the hearts of human beings become barren, because of unrighteousness and lovelessness, in order to sow the seeds of love and in order to propagate the principle of love, God incarnates.
Divine Discourse: August 14, 1998
Krishna is omnipresent. The word has three meanings. "Krishithi-ithi Krishna". (The man who ploughs is Krishna). The heart is the symbol of a field. The heart should be cleared of weeds (evil qualities). It should be filled with love. The seeds of the Lord's name should be sown in it. Krishna encourages the devotee to do all this.
"Karshathi-ithi Krishna". (Because he attracts, he is Krishna). Krishna has the supreme power of attraction. By his words, his sport, his music and all his actions he attracts all people. This power of attraction is present in everyone. Hence everyone is potentially Krishna.
"Krushyathi-ithi Krishnah".(Because he imparts bliss, he is called Krishna). Everyone seeks happiness. The Divine, who is the embodiment of happiness, is in you. God wants you to be happy, but you do not realize it. Try to recognize the source of bliss within you. It is not the true nature of man to be unhappy. When anyone is otherwise, persons around him are concerned about him. You should always be happy because you are the embodiment of the Atma. Never give way to worry.
Festivals like Rama Navami and Krishna Janmaashtami are designed to remind people about the purpose of human life. Devotees who participate in such festivals should learn a lesson from the cows. Absorb as much of the teachings as you can during your stay. Ruminate over them when you go back, like the cows chewing the cud they have eaten. Do not forget what has been taught here. After ruminating over what you have heard, try to put into practice what has been taught. Always contemplating on God, make your lives meaningful.
Divine Discourse: August 25, 1997
Today we celebrate the birthday of Krishna. Where was he born? In a prison. What were his possessions? Nothing. Born in a prison, he was taken to the house of Nanda and then he went to Mathura. He owned nothing. But he became the greatest figure in the world. What does this show? Worldly possessions are not the secret of greatness. Krishna's greatness consisted in His permanent state of bliss (Ananda).If you recognise the distinction between Krishna and Rama, you will appreciate better the nature of Krishna. Krishna always smiled at the outset and carried out his task later. For Rama, the deed came first and then the smile. Krishna made women cry. Rama wept for the sake of women. Rama went into the battle only after having a strong cause for it. Krishna first provoked the conflict and then determined its outcome.
The Krishna principle revels in delight. The Rama principle is based on the concept of obligation ("baadhyatha").
The Ramayana is intended to promote the reign of Truth and Righteousness on earth. The Krishna Avatar was intended to give a perennial message to the world. He sought nothing for himself. He kept nothing for himself. He gave away everything to the people. He slayed his maternal uncle, Kamsa. He installed on the throne Kamsa's father Ugrasena. He did not covet the Kingdom. He befriended the Pandavas, defeated the Kauravas and crowned Dharmaja as the emperor. He did not make himself king. He was a king without a crown. He was the king of kings. He had no kingdom of his own. But he ruled over the hearts of the millions. It is this profound truth that is proclaimed by the Krishna principle (Krishna thathwa).
If you enquire deeply, you will find that every Avatar has incarnated to convey a special message and carry out a particular mission.
Divine Discourse: Sept 4, 1996
The incarnation of Krishna proclaimed the doctrine of divine love, as manifested by the Gopikas. Man today is like an earthen pot filled with nectar. His body may be made of clay, but his spirit is eternal. The Divine has to be experienced through the body. Hence, human birth should not be treated as something trivial. Human life is worth living - it should be cherished as something precious.
The Gopikas are perfect examples of total and pure devotion. They were totally absorbed in Krishna. They ignored the message brought to them by Uddhava. They told Uddhava that they were so totally immersed in the adoration of Krishna that they had no time or inclination to do anything else. They had totally identified themselves with Krishna.
Krishna was a six-year-old boy when he was sporting with the Gopikas. Even Bharatiyas have wrong notions about Krishna's sports with the cowherdesses. His sports were those of a young child with his brothers and sisters. By his sports Krishna moved the hearts of the Gopikas. The Gopikas saw the image of Krishna in every creeper, every flower and every plant. When Krishna was away from Gokulam, the Gopikas went to Brindavan and appealed to every creeper and flower, to let them know where Krishna, who had stolen their hearts, was hiding Himself. The Gopikas had only one image before them, that of Krishna. They had only one vision, that of Krishna.
Divine Discourse: August 18, 1995
Krishna was born during the Krishnapaksha, the dark fortnight of the month. The effulgence of the Lord is seen with greater effect when it is dark. In a world of disorder, Krishna was born to establish order. He was born on Ashtami day. Ashtami is associated with trouble and difficulties. When do troubles arise? When righteousness is forgotten. Krishna's advent signifies the dispelling of darkness, the removal of troubles, banishing of ignorance and teaching mankind the Supreme Wisdom.
Krishna's primary role was that of teacher. He taught the Gita to Arjuna. He told Arjuna: "Be only My instrument!" Krishna thereby declared: "Using you as an instrument I am reforming the whole world." All the teachings of the Divine are related to Dharma and Prema (Divine Love).
We must understand properly the meaning of the term Krishna. The word has three meanings. One is: "Krishyathi iti Krishnah" (The one who cultivates is Krishna). What is it that has to be cultivated? The Hridayakshetra (field of the heart). Krishna cultivates the field of our hearts by removing the weeds of bad qualities, watering it with love, ploughing it with the use of sadhana, and sowing the seeds of devotion. This is how Krishna cultivates out hearts.
The second meaning of the word is: "Karshathi iti Krishnah." (The one who attracts is Krishna). Krishna attracts you by His eyes, His speech, His sports, and by every action of His. By His words, He softens and calms the hearts of even those filled with hatred and makes them rejoice.
A third meaning of the word Krishna is "Kushyathi iti Krishna" (one who is always blissful). Krishna was always in a state of bliss.
It was because He had these various qualities, the sage Garga named Him Krishna. The ordinary meaning of the word Krishna is "one who is dark." But people think only of this meaning and forget the deeper and truer meanings of the Lord's name.
Divine Discourse: August 14, 1990