Sri Krishna Janmastami - Krishna`s transcendental Appearance Day is approaching. In many ISKCON Temples this is the biggest festival of the year. A lot of organization is required and a lot of preparations are to be made.
Sitting in my office I go through the many `to do` lists and I am trying to check whether everything is ready. Ok, we got the permission, police is informed as well as our neighbours. The Indian ambassador got an invitation, flyers were distributed. Bhoga shopping is almost completed, service coordination is still going on. Maha-cleaning will take place today. Flower decorations will be done tomorrow, the new outfit for the deities has arrived, abhishkea is also organized - I believe we are ready for Krishna Janmastami.
Well, we might be ready to celebrate the Lord’s appearance in this world 5000 years ago, but Krishna not only appeared in the past. No, Krishna is ready to appear at any moment again. Where? Within our hearts! The appearance of Krishna in our own consciousness, in our own heart is what we are really looking for. Are we ready for that? Is my heart prepared to receive the Lord there?
First of all, what is required to do so? Srila Vishvanatha Chakravarti Thakur gives a very beautiful commentary in this regard. Srila Prabhupada has summerized it for us in the following way:
„Thus situated in devotional service, a devotee, although in the material world, is not in the material world. Yet a devotee always fears, "Because I am associated with the material world, so many contaminations affect me." Therefore he is always alert in fear, which gradually diminishes his material association. Symbolically, mother Devaki's constant fear of Kamsa was purifying her. A pure devotee should always fear material association, and in this way all the asuras of material association will be killed, as the sad-garbhäsuras were killed by Kamsa. It is said that from the mind, Marici appears. In other words, Marici is an incarnation of the mind. Marici has six sons: Käma, Krodha, Lobha, Moha, Mada and Mätsarya (lust, anger, greed, illusion, madness and envy). The Supreme Personality of Godhead appears in pure devotional service. This is confirmed in the Vedas: bhaktir evainam darshayati. Only bhakti can bring one in contact with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The Supreme Personality of Godhead appeared from the womb of Devaki, and therefore Devaki symbolically represents bhakti, and Kamsa symbolically represents material fear. When a pure devotee always fears material association, his real position of bhakti is manifested, and he naturally becomes uninterested in material enjoyment. When the six sons of Marici are killed by such fear and one is freed from material contamination, within the womb of bhakti the Supreme Personality of Godhead appears. Thus the seventh pregnancy of Devaki signifies the appearance of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. After the six sons Käma, Krodha, Lobha, Moha, Mada and Mätsarya are killed, the Sesa incarnation creates a suitable situation for the appearance of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In other words, when one awakens his natural Krishna consciousness, Lord Krishna appears.“ - Purport to Srimad Bhagavatam 10.2.8
In other words Krishna only appears in a pure heart that is free from lust, anger, greed, illusion, madness and envy. Therefore, we might ask ourselves, “Is my heart ready for the appearances of Sri Krishna?” Maybe there’s still more preparation required. The process of chanting the holy name and hearing Srimad Bhagavatam from the person Bhagavat will help us to purify our heart. The more we absorb ourselves in sravanam - kirtanam, hearing and chanting, the more our hearts get purified and the more we will be able to receive the Lord in our heart…!
Back to my `To do` Lists: What about the `welcome sweets`? Are the gifts for the donors, VIP guests and artists ready? Who will do the opening ceremony on the stage? And by the way, the next day is Srila Prabhupada`s Appearance Day, who will help me with the Abihseka? Are some devotees cooking small preparations for the pleasure of Prabhupada?