On Sunday, August 21st, we celebrated Janmashtami at our temple.
Janmashtami commemorates the earthly appearance of Krishna, who is described in India’s sacred writings as God Himself. One of the biggest religious festivals in the world, it is celebrated by nine hundred and thirty million people around the world–and two million in the US alone. To devotees, it’s Christmas and New Year’s in one, a day of deep spiritual renewal and celebration that effectively finishes an old year and begins a fresh one.
We stayed overnight, so that we could celebrate Srila Prabhupada's Vyasa Puja (appearance day) the next day!
His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (1896-1977), founder-Acharya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, is the extraordinary person who dedicated his life to teaching the world about Krishna consciousness, ancient India's most noble message of spiritual wisdom.
In 1965, at the age of 69, on the order of his spiritual master Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura, representing a line of teachers dating back to Lord Krishna Himself, Srila Prabhupada sailed from India to New York to share Lord Krishna's message. He brought with him a trunk of books, $7 in change, and the firm faith that the holy name of Krishna would transform the hearts of people he would meet. In the years that followed, he founded the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), traveled and taught throughout the world, opened more than 100 temples and inspired thousands of devotees.
When we arrived early Sunday, the temple was decorated so nicely. There was a nice kirtan (music) going on, and we were able to enjoy that for most of the evening.
This is the swing for Radha & Krishna that was decorated so beautifully.
Jai was sleeping soundly when we arrived...
The markings on them are called tilak:
This is a picture of Prabhupada whom I mentioned earlier.
The beautiful altar...
Gracie was happy to help with the flower arrangements. She loves helping with garlands, etc.
This is Jai and Avani. They had fun playing together. He kept popping a balloon up and out of her hand as they were playing. I kept telling him that wasn't nice to tease her like that. He wasn't being mean at all...just playing. But the next day, he remembered this...and he walked up to her and said "I wanted to tell you that I'm sorry, I'm sorry for popping that balloon out of your hands". Hahaha. I loved it!
She looked at him like he was crazy. Perhaps it didn't affect her in the same way.
Caught in the act.
Jai playing instruments during kirtan...
...as the night grew on...the crowd swelled. I think this was around 11 or 11:30. We fasted until midnight, and then had a big celebratory feast.
Gracie swinging Radha Krishna...
The birthday cake that I made for Krishna...
The balloons were all popped at midnight...Yikes, it was so loud. The kiddos loved doing that...
The next day was beautiful.
Gracie was picking more flowers to help with the garlands...
I was supposed to make the cake for the feast. My husband let me sleep in a little and I found him in the kitchen baking it. Wow! He did a great job. It was delicious!
The temple has the biggest mixer. I'm jealous! Of course, I would not have anywhere to put this...but it was amazing to see it at work. It was mixed in no time.
I'm also jealous of their super organized spice/food rack. So awesome.
It was so nice outside that the doors of the temple were left open, and I saw this little guy hop in the front door. No one would touch him, so I ran and got someone who I knew would be happy to pick him up and take him outside. Gracie! She was so eager, and ran right over and grabbed him up. She didn't think twice.
A pair of Prabhupada's shoes that one of the devotees has. How cool! :)