Vrindavan and Krishna: Celebrating Janmashtami at Amritapuri

1 Aug 2010, Amritapuri

This year’s Janmashtami was quintessential Amritapuri, alive with love, light and song. From early in the morning, bhajans could be heard throughout the ashram grounds. There were several processions with many of the youngest of the ashram residents dressed up as little Krishnas and Radhas, with special costumes and peacock feathers.

At 4:00 p.m. Amma came and sat amidst all the ashram residents to watch the uriyadi–the traditional pot-breaking game. Before it begun, a small skit presenting the Life of Lord Krishna was enacted by the university students. In uriyadi, children jump to try and hit and break clay pots as water is splashed in their faces. When someone succeed, Amma and everyone else would cheer.

At the end of the games, Amma sang a few bhajans, calling out to Krishna. The ashram turned into a Vrindavan, with Amma enchanting all the gopis and gopas with her song. Longing looks in faces wanting to see a glimpse of that joy-giving Amma, rows of bramhacharis swaying to the music, little cheerful toddlers, students and parents enthralled–it was a beautiful session. Amma later led the main bhajans in the big hall, extolling the presence of the divine and enlivening the Life of Lord Krishna through her love-filled songs.

Amma watching Uriyadi

Around 11:30 p.m., Amma returned to the stage to renew the celebrations once again. There was a reading of the Bhagavtam and a puja, which culminated exactly at midnight, the moment of Krisna’s birth. Amma then gave a satsang reminding us that life itself should be a celebration{news}.

The most heart-rending part of Sri Krishna Janmashtami was Amma’s soulful bhajans, especially “Radhe Govinda Gopi Gopala.” Krishna Janmashtami with Amma was truly special, reminding everyone that Amritapuri is a modern-day Vrindavan, a place where every song is heard and every soul shines as one.

– Tulasi