Midnight celebrations – Krishnasthami

After bhajans all the devotees took their dinner and, as Amma returned to the auditorium, settled down to watch a evening of performances including a dramatic, musical staging of the Bhagavad Gita, produced and performed by ashramites. Directly after the performances concluded, the reciting of the Srimad Bhagavatam, the Purana which describes the life of Sri Krishna, was begun.

The Srimad Bhagavatam narrates that Sri Krishna was born at midnight. Therefore, the reciting is scheduled so that the portion of the Purana describing Sri Krishna’s birth is chanted at midnight exactly.

Just before midnight, oil lamps and camphor were lit all along the front of the stage. When the actual moment occurred, the entire ashram burst forth in celebration. The musicians from the parade earlier in the day returned to play the marching beat of victory, as the devotees erupted in cheers. Conchs were blown, and every bell in the ashram rang out simultaneously.

Then the arati was performed to the idol of the Baby Krishna. At the same time, Swami Amritagitananda Puri placed a beautiful garland around Amma’s neck and performed arati to Her, the living embodiment of Krishna.

After the arati, Amma led the joyous crowd in special bhajans that are sung only on Krishna’s birthday, beginning with Agatanayi Agatanayi Vishnu Devan! (Lord Vishnu Has Come!).

During the last bhajan, Govind Gokula Ayo, Amma stood and danced, cymbals in hand. The front of the stage was packed with enthusiastic devotees, dancing, clapping and jumping in time with the devotional music. Then, when Amma withdrew Herself in spontaneous meditation, all present remained motionless and silent. It had been a day to celebrate the Divine Incarnation of Krishna. Now here they were, fortunate enough to spend this day with their own beloved Amma, and for a few moments they were allowed to witness Her retreating to the unfathomable depths of Supreme Consciousness that only She knows.

After a few minutes, Amma stood again and served payasam to all the visiting devotees.